Saturday, September 30, 2006


An article from De Standaard aka De Stavda, Belgium's main newspaper:


"In Antwerp, at the start of the new academic year, rector Frans Van Loon of the University of Antwerp (UA) announced the inauguration of a new "Stille Ruimte" (Silent Room) on the premises of the university's student restaurant on the Keizerstraat. It is intended to be a prayer room for students of all religions.

The Silent Room is another chapter in the UA's efforts to fully realize its pluralistic goals. The UA is the merger of three small universities, Ruca, UIA and Ufsia of which the latter one was Catholic and the others secular. To illustrate that diversity the UA engaged two architects, Claire Bataille and Paul Ibens, who created a space with sober colours and without references to any religion. At the table, one can study and "establish contacts". . Apart from that, there's separate meditiation benches."

Can you frikkin believe it. Good God. I can imagine myself after a severe sunstroke deciding to go follow a course of Moral Equitism at the UA and meeting American Muslim there, freshly expelled from the United States, de facto having become now Belgian Muslim and studying Toxicology. In dire need of some spiritual dimension in our wretched lives we meet in the Silent Room. "Yo, Ameri, erm, Belgian Muslim, how are they hanging?" I says. "What do you cowardly barbarian expect after torturing and almost murdering an innocent Muslim young man? It is long past time that you learned that the world belongs to Allah (swt) and His servants. If you continue in your arogant unbelief, surely you will be taught some hard lessons about the reality of your situation. Embrace Islam now and live in peace in submission to the will of Almighty Allah (swt). Your grandchildren will be Muslim. Allahu akbar!" he answers. Upon hearing the last two words my mental relays click in place, I suddenly realize who I am and like Brandon Routh on steroïds I tear a meditation bench from the wall and crash it on Belgian Muslims head.

OK, I let myself go there. Once again Islam is involved here and Ayatollah Khomeini said that there is no place in Islam for humor. Anyway, I saved the translation of the article's best part for the end:

"With this Silent Room the UA at the same time wants to lower the treshold for immigrant youths in Antwerp. There is no mosque for these muslim youths. But a prayer room where they too can worship, must give the immigrants an argument to pursue higher studies."

Dang. It's really there. That's how it was printed. Let me repeat it for you:

"With this Silent Room the UA at the same time wants to lower the treshold for immigrant youths in Antwerp. There is no mosque for these muslim youths. But a prayer room where they too can worship, must give the immigrants an argument to pursue higher studies."

I really think studying that last sentence is useful since in a couple of lines it says such an awful lot of the mental state of our woolly headed academic crowd who rather engage in hyped up wishful thinking than plant themselves for a couple of seconds on solid asphalt.

First, the Christian religion in Western Europe is in a comatose state. Especially among students the act of worshipping the Christian God is something as utterly uncool as playing Herb Alpert's This guy's in love with you on a groovy Spring Break party with boobies flashing galore. If there are students showing an inclination for indulging in some spiritual activity, their vocabulary will contain words like yin, yang, zen, feng shui and what not. Or they will proudly tell you they arrange their lives in Buddhist fashion. Or, in the worst case, they will confide that they read the Quran and actually find it a book of great wisdom. Especially the girls will tell you that. But a student actively practicing Christianity? If you spot one, let me know and I'll bring my Nikon Coolpix 4800. In short, if the good rector expects his sheep will now flock in great number to the Silent Room, tripping over each other and the meditation benches in the process, he might be in for a disappointing entrée.

Second, all these university guys undoubtedly think very high of themselves and their intellect, but upon hearing them so proudly announce the opening of a new Silent Room I bet they never contemplated whether there might not be a connection between Europes frantic efforts to erase or downplay its judeo-christian heritage and the ever dwindling number of churchgoers. Instead of reinvigorating, redefining and actualizing the christian message for the 21st century, they prefer to cling to hollow multiculti babble which thinly veils the basic atheism they succumbed to a long time ago. An ugly, horrible and utterly sterile nonidentity space like the professors' Silent Room is the perfect visualization of their mental state or what they truly believe. When it comes to God, there is but this void.

Third, and most striking of all, is that these wackademics seriously think that installing a Silent Room will make attending university more attractive for muslim youths. The reasons why muslim youths almost as a rule do not pursue higher studies are well documented. It starts at a young age. Among the majority of muslim families, kindergarten is considered a waste of time. In Belgium, one is only obliged by law to send one's kids to school from age 6 on. The result is that Ali, Kareem and Mohammed are dropped in school with language development lagging three years behind that of the average Koen, Jonas and Dirk. It's a barrier from which many never recover, and indeed half of the immigrant youths (which in Belgium means perhaps 80% muslim kids) finish high school without a diploma. It doesn't help either that Muslim parents as a rule refuse to attend regular contact evenings with the teachers. I'm NOT saying here that their kids are more stupid than ours. What I DO know, is that if I kept my kids at home till they're 6 instead of sending them to kindergarten at age 2 1/2, they'd immediately be among the class's worst and it would probably require an effort of several years of all involved to get them to the level of their schoolmates. Then there is the fact that a great many of immigrant teens and adolescents are encouraged to earn quickly - higher studies without acquiring an income are considered a waste of time, especially for boys. The result is that of those who do finish high school, very, very, very few go to university.

All this has been documented ad nauseam. Yet here we have a University Rector who thinks that if he provides an expensive void no one can identify with, muslim youths will have one reason more to embark on an academic career. Our youths, who have by and large flushed God and Christianity through the john, already can't identify with a hollow no man's land. Why would muslim boys and girls, with a resurging sense of pride in their religion and culture, feel attracted by this hollow monstrosity?

Europe, look at that Silent Room. That's you. A void.


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