The first thing I ever wrote about Islam was an essay for Partisan Review entitled "Tolerating Intolerance," which was published a few months after 9/11. My argument, in brief, was that Islam is not just a religion but an ideology that teaches an extreme and violent intolerance – and that Europeans had a right to protect the freedom of their societies by implementing well-informed immigration and integration policies. Now the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), founded in 2008 and consisting largely of former European presidents or prime ministers, has issued a report whose thrust is – and I quote – that there's "no need to be tolerant to the intolerant." But the argument of the report – which was presented to the European Parliament in late September and takes the form of a "Model Statute for Tolerance" that the ECTR hopes to see enacted by all EU member states, is light-years away from the one I made all those years ago in Partisan Review. The ECTR's concern is not with addressing the importation into Europe of Islamic intolerance but, rather, with addressing the purported intolerance of Europeans toward (among other things) imported Islam.
If you want an idea of where the ECTR is coming from, check out a recent article, "Divided We Fall: Intolerance in Europe Puts Rights at Risk," by Benjamin Ward of Human Rights Watch. Here's how Ward starts out: