“Political violence is aimed at promoting a cause – in this case, special consideration for Islam. If a country cannot stop the violence directly, then the public will demand that it stop the violence indirectly, by thwarting the cause the violence serves. The rise of Geert Wilders’s party in the Netherlands, the referendum to ban minarets in Switzerland, theproposed ban on burkas in France – these are all desperate measures to declare that Islam is not the first religion of Europe.
“‘This is a war,’ the mainstream French weekly L’Express editorialised in the wake of the attempt on Mr Westergaard’s life. ‘To flee this conflict would be to buy tranquillity today at an exorbitant price in blood tomorrow.’ It concluded: ‘Banning every kind of full-body cover [the burka] in our public spaces is a necessity.’ This is not the non-sequitur it appears to be.”