Finally, though, the pursuit of tolerance at any price is being assessed realistically. The British have now been forced to confront - and finally judge - the actions of some minority Muslims who have embedded themselves in a counterculture hostile to British society. Forty-nine men, predominantly from Pakistan, were convicted (or are still wanted) for luring 47 underage British girls to lairs for serial rape. At least one victim was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night, according to the police. Two girls became pregnant and a 13-year-old reported aborting a baby conceived by rape. Nine of the Muslim men were found guilty last week. Authorities expect to charge four more, and up to 40 additional suspects remain at large.
Judge Gerald Clinton accused the predators of targeting white girls because they were not part of the Islamist "community or religion." The ringleader was removed from the courtroom for being disrespectful of the judge and the legal process.
It is even more shocking to consider that this is just the most recent case. For years British police failed to make arrests for fear of being called racist, even though girls were reporting the rape rings. Both MP Simon Danczuk and former MP Ann Cryer have charged the police with dereliction due to political correctness.
While some will wonder what it was about coexistence that these Muslim men did not understand, others will realize a hard truth. These girls were the prey of men whose very definition of womanhood is distorted. For these Muslims, women are defined according to a man's needs and his status in the clerical community.
What Westerners have understood as an Islamist honor code is really better described as a culture based on shame. Muslim men are rated according to how their women conform - to how observantly they dress and and how obsequiously they obey clerical dictates. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and now an activist in the cause of abused women, has tried to explain for uncomprehending Westerners this endemic mindset: "In most of the shame cultures, people in the system don't necessarily know that this abuse is wrong."
The question that Europeans and Americans now must answer is why such a culture has been accommodated to the point that the rule of law is breaking down. The noble goal of tolerating cultural difference has long covered neglect of the need to define legal and constitutional standards. The principles of individual liberty, self-determination, and equal rights undergird our social compact and must not be compromised for the purpose of negotiating coexistence with a subversive and implacable counterculture.