What the "Eurabia" Authors get wrong about Islam in Europe

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by ejazr, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/04/eurabian_follies?page=full

    BY JUSTIN VAÏSSE

    The shoddy and just plain wrong genre that refuses to die.

    By 2050, Europe will be unrecognizable. Instead of romantic cafes, Paris's Boulevard Saint-Germain will be lined with halal butcheries and hookah bars; the street signs in Berlin will be written in Turkish. School-children from Oslo to Naples will read Quranic verses in class, and women will be veiled.

    At least, that's what the authors of the strange new genre of "Eurabia" literature want you to believe. Not all books of this alarmist Europe-is-dying category, which received its most intellectually hefty treatment yet with the recent release of Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, offer such dire and colorful predictions. But they all make the case that low fertility rates among natives, massive immigration from Muslim countries, and the fateful encounter between an assertive Islamic culture and a self-effacing European one will lead to a Europe devoid of all Western identity.

    Despite their Europe-focused content, these books are a largely North American phenomenon. Bat Ye'or (or Gisèle Littman), an Egyptian-born British author, wrote one of the first of the genre in 2005, with Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, which argued that political subservience to a Muslim agenda was turning Europe into an appendage of the Arab world. But most of her recent followers, including Caldwell, the jocular and hyperbolic Mark Steyn, the shallow Bruce Thornton, the more serious Walter Laqueur, and the high-pitched Claire Berlinski and Bruce Bawer, write from the other side of the Atlantic.

    It's not that Europeans don't produce books in the same vein. Consider Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci's The Rage and the Pride, a rabid attack on Muslim immigrants, or British columnist Melanie Phillips's Londonistan, castigating the British left for handing over the country to the Muslim Brotherhood. Still, there is no real European version of the Eurabia panic, and the books that do exist tend to be country-specific, and part of a fringe far right. They do not dominate the market, while works by a range of serious scholars, including Italian sociologist Stefano Allievi's work on European Muslims, German cultural anthropologist Werner Schiffauer's studies of political Islam among Turkish immigrants, British sociologist Tariq Modood's Multicultural Politics, and French political scientist Olivier Roy's Globalized Islam, have offered important, data-driven analyses that undermine the facile dichotomies of the Eurabia myth.

    But in the United States, the Eurabia books continue to proliferate even today, close to a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which triggered the genre. Part of the explanation lies in the post-9/11 narrative of America besieged by militant Islam -- a clash of civilizations in which Europe is the front line, threatened by internal subversion. "If Europe is unable to assimilate its immigrants, if Europe is a breeding ground for anti-Americanism and Islamic radicalism -- and it is -- this is our problem," Berlinski warns in Menace in Europe (2006). "The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s," Tony Blankley writes in The West's Last Chance (2005). "We cannot afford to lose Europe."

    In this sense, many of these books offer a variation on the conservative Cold War vision of Europe as vulnerable to the spread of communism -- only now, Muslims have replaced Soviets and Euro-communists as the enemies. The continuity in clichés with the Europhobic literature of the 1970s and 1980s is striking: In both periods Europe is described with terms like appeasing, impotent, asexual, feminine, post-nationalistic, irreligious, apologetic, self-loathing, naive, decadent, and so forth.

    Clichés are not the only reason why the foundations of the Eurabia literature are shaky. By relying chiefly on anecdotes rather than data, these books misrepresent the complex evolving picture of Islam in Europe. They also eliminate social and economic conditions, including discrimination, from the picture. "There is considerably more phobia vis-à-vis Westerners and things Western than Islamophobia," Laqueur opines in The Last Days of Europe (2007). Leaving out poverty and racism (which, pace Laqueur, is a daily problem for Europe's nonwhites, Muslim or not), the Eurabia writers overemphasize culture and religion in explaining tensions and lay the blame solely on Muslims.

    After the 2005 riots in French banlieues, for example, independent studies pointed to the same factors: police violence, discrimination, unemployment, and a large youth population in the housing projects where the trouble erupted. But the Eurabia authors weren't impressed. Immigrants don't have much to complain about, they claim, so the riots were all about jihad, or, as Caldwell suggests in his recent book, "the Arab cause." "Even if they did not believe in Islam, they believed in Team Islam," he writes.

    This is not, of course, to suggest that things are going well. The bleak vignettes and shocking tales about social tensions and violence linked to Islamism, like the killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, are indeed part of the picture. But the paradox of this genre is that it dwells on the heated controversies and tensions taking place in Europe while at the same time claiming that Europeans are in denial of their problems. And the emphasis on the anecdotal tends to obscure the fact that, from the fight over minarets in Switzerland to the debate over headscarves in France, current tensions are part of a normal and democratic process of adjustment, not the first signs of an impending catastrophe.

    Beyond all the sloppy anecdotal evidence, the Eurabia literature relies on two major false assumptions. The first is demographic. The literature holds that Europe will be Islamic at the end of the century "at the very latest," with Muslim majorities in some European countries "in the foreseeable future," in the words of Bernard Lewis in his 2007 pamphlet, "Europe and Islam." That's because "native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic," Steyn explains in America Alone (2006). "Europe will be semi-Islamic in its politico-cultural character within a generation."

    If these books insist so much on the future, it is because current figures are unimpressive. According to the higher range of estimates by the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC), there are already as many as 18 million Muslims in Western Europe, or 4.5 percent of the population. The percentage is even lower for the 27-country European Union as a whole. The future will certainly see an increase, but it's hard to imagine that Europe will even reach the 10 percent mark (except in some countries or cities). For one thing, as the same NIC study indicates and demographers agree, fertility rates among Muslims are sharply declining as children of immigrants gradually conform to prevailing social and economic norms. Nor is immigration still a major source of newly minted European Muslims. Only about 500,000 people a year come legally to Europe from Muslim-majority countries, with an even smaller number coming illegally -- meaning that the annual influx is a fraction of a percent of the European population.

    Finally, though the Eurabia books describe Europe as committing "slow motion suicide" (Thornton in Decline and Fall), reality begs to differ -- and increasingly so. According to demographers, in 2008, fertility rates in France and Ireland were more than two children per woman, close to the U.S. (and replacement) level; in Britain and Sweden they were above 1.9. And though in the 1990s European countries set an all-time record for low fertility rates, figures are now rising in all EU states except Germany.

    But isn't the uptick due to Muslims? Although migrant women, some of them Muslim, have a negligible impact on overall fertility rates, adding a maximum of 0.1 to any country's average, they contribute substantially to the total number of births, typically 10 to 20 percent in high immigration countries. That is the origin of Mark Steyn's overblown claim that Mohammed is "the most popular baby boy's name in much of the Western world." But it doesn't mean Europe will end up Islamicized.

    Caldwell makes a point of highlighting the second and most crucial false assumption of this literature. The British cover of his book asks, "Can Europe be the same with different people in it?" For most of these authors, Muslims are "different people," and Muslim identity is incompatible with anything else -- an assumption they share with Islamists.

    But to large majorities of Europe's Muslims, Islam is neither an exclusive identity nor a marching order. Recent poll data from Gallup show that most European Muslims happily combine their national and religious identities, and a 2009 Harvard University working paper by Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris demonstrates that in the long term, the basic cultural values of Muslim migrants evolve to conform to the predominant culture of the European society in which they live.

    More generally, average European Muslims worry first and foremost about bread-and-butter issues, and to the extent that they are religious, they want to be able to practice religion freely and in decent conditions, not to impose the caliphate. As a 2006 pan-European Pew Research Center study makes clear, "Muslims in Europe worry about their future, but their concern is more economic than religious or cultural," and though there are tensions, these are mostly due to racism, not some grandiose clash of cultures.

    The most likely scenario for the next few decades -- increasing integration of Muslims accompanied by continued cultural tensions, occasional terrorist bombings, and differentiated outcomes in various countries -- is a conceptual impossibility for most Eurabia authors because for them Muslims can't really become Europeans. It is, however, already the reality. Maybe it is time they take notice.
     
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  3. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Typical of Europe's liberal left discourse the author while completely dismissing Europe's rising Islamophobia as alarmist and baseless,his dismissive is also by and large based upon mere assumptions and apparently does not reflect ground facts,esp on the question of integration and assimilation.I think the Liberal left is yet to come to terms with the resurgence of neo antisemitism in Europe and what really rankles them is how they missed it coming,they didn't miss it they just pretended all along it didn't exist,atleast in the mainstream.

    Justin Vaisse is a historian surely a glance through the dog eared pages of Europe's history would have told him why Europe has always rejected Semitic faiths.Early Christianity itself when it first appeared upon the shores of Europe was completely indistinguishable from any other Judaic school of philosophy,while mainstream Judaism did not proselytize and thus did not threaten the dominant culture,early Judeo-Christians did and were subject to a long running confrontation with the dominant culture.It was only when the early Christian community and leadership completely rejected many of its inherent Judaic traits that christian-European acculturation gathered pace and eventually when Christianity became acceptable(esp during the post Constantine period)it had so radically transformed(assimilated one must say)from its Judaic origin that Christianity was mostly less Semitic than pre-Christian European.

    There is no evidence to suggest that Islam and its adherents in Europe are willing to subject themselves to this level of cultural assimilation and integration,which is further accentuated by the real danger that Muslims in Europe might function as a Fifth column for pan Islamist movements which have very clear political motivation.In fact the present chasm that seems to developing between Muslims in Europe and their hosts appears to reflect the failure of such a assimilation process.When a system is unable to assimilate something extraneous to it,then it rejects it,forcefully if need be.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  4. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    life in rotterdam ,europe's most islamised city

    ROME, May 19, 2009 – One of the most indisputable results of Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land was the improvement in relations with Islam. The three days he spent in Jordan, and then, in Jerusalem, the visit to the Dome of the Mosque, spread an image among the Muslim general public – to an extent never before seen – of a pope as a friend, surrounded by Islamic leaders happy to welcome him and work together with him for the good of the human family.

    But just as indisputable is the distance between this image and the harsh reality of the facts. Not only in countries under Muslim regimes, but also where the followers of Mohammed are in the minority, for example in Europe.

    In 2002, the scholar Bat Ye'or, a British citizen born in Egypt and a specialist in the history of the Christian and Jewish minorities in Muslim countries – called the "dhimmi" – coined the term "Eurabia" to describe the fate toward which Europe is moving. It is a fate of submission to Islam, of "dhimmitude."

    Oriana Fallaci used the word "Eurabia" in her writings, and gave it worldwide resonance. On August 1, 2005, Benedict XVI received Fallaci in a private audience at Castel Gandolfo. She rejected dialogue with Islam; he was in favor of it, and still is. But they agreed – as Fallaci later said – in identifying the "self-hatred" that Europe demonstrates, its spiritual vacuum, its loss of identity, precisely when the immigrants of Islamic faith are increasing within it.

    Holland is an extraordinary test case. It is the country in which individual license is the most extensive – to the point of permitting euthanasia on children – in which the Christian identity is most faded, in which the Moslem presence is growing most boldly.

    Here, multiculturalism is the rule. But the exceptions are dramatic: from the killing of the anti-Islamist political leader Pim Fortuyn to the persecution of the Somali dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the murder of the director Theo Van Gogh, condemned to death for his film "Submission," a denunciation of the crimes of Muslim theocracy. Fortuyn's successor, Geert Wilders, has lived under 24-hour police protection for six years.

    There is one city in Holland where this new reality can be seen with the naked eye, more than anywhere else. Here, entire neighborhoods look as if they have been lifted from the Middle East, here stand the largest mosques in Europe, here parts of sharia law are applied in the courts and theaters, here many of the women go around veiled, here the mayor is a Muslim, the son of an imam.

    This city is Rotterdam, Holland's second largest city by population, and the largest port in Europe by cargo volume.

    The following is a report on Rotterdam published in the Italian newspaper "il Foglio" on May 14, 2009, the second in a major seven-part survey on Holland.

    The author, Giulio Meotti, also writes for the "Wall Street Journal." Next September, his book-length survey on Israel will be published.

    The photo above is entitled "Muslim women in Rotterdam." It is from an exhibition in 2008 by the Dutch photographers Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek.


    In the casbah of Rotterdam

    by Giulio Meotti


    In Feyenoord, veiled women can be seen everywhere, darting like a flash through the streets of the neighborhood. They avoid any sort of contact, even eye contact, especially with men. Feyenoord is the size of a city, and there are seventy nationalities coexisting there. It is an area that lives on subsidies and residential construction, and it is here that it is most obvious that Holland – with all of its rules against discrimination and all of its moral indignation – is a completely segregated society. Rotterdam is new, having been bombed twice by the Luftwaffe during the second world war. Like Amsterdam, it is below sea level, but unlike the capital it does not enjoy an image of reckless abandon. In Rotterdam, it is the Arab shops selling halal food that dominate the cityscape, not the neon lights of the prostitutes. Everywhere are casbah-cafes, travel agencies offering flights to Rabat and Casablanca, posters expressing solidarity with Hamas, or offering affordable Dutch language lessons.

    It is the second-largest city in the country, a poor city, but also the economic engine with its huge port, the most important in Europe. Most of the population are immigrants, and the city has the tallest and most imposing mosque in Europe. Sixty percent of the foreigners who arrive in Holland come here to live. The most striking thing when one arrives in the city by train are the enormous and fascinating mosques framed by the vibrant green, luxuriant, wooded, watery countryside, like an alien presence compared to the rest. They call it "Eurabia." The Turkish Mevlana mosque is imposing. It has the tallest minarets in Europe, even higher than the stadium of the Feyenoord soccer team.

    Many of the neighborhoods in Rotterdam are captive to the darkest, most violent form of Islamism. Pim Fortuyn's house stands out like a pearl in a sea of chador and niqab. It is at number 11 Burgerplein, behind the train station. Every now and then someone comes to put flowers in front of the home of the professor who was murdered in Amsterdam on May 6, 2002. Someone else leaves a card: "In Holland everything is tolerated, except for the truth." A millionaire named Chris Tummesen bought Pim Fortuyn's house so that it would remain intact. The evening before his murder Pim was nervous, and had said on television that a climate of demonization had been created against him and his ideas. And his fears came true, when he was shot in the head five times by Volkert van der Graaf, a militant of the animal rights left, scrawny, head shaved, eyes dark, dressed like an environmental purist in a handmade shirt, sandals, and goat's wool socks, a strict vegetarian, "a guy impatient to change the world," his friends say.

    Not long ago in downtown Rotterdam, funerary photos of Geert Wilders were placed under a tree, with a candle to commemorate his upcoming death. Today Wilders is the most popular politician in the city. He is the heir of Fortuyn, the homosexual, Catholic, ex-Markist professor who had formed his own party to save the country from Islamization. At his funeral, only the absence of Queen Beatrice kept the farewell to the "divine Pim" from becoming a funeral fit for a king. Before his death they made a monster of him (one Dutch minister called him an "untermensch," an inferior man in Nazi parlance), afterward they idolized him. The prostitutes of Amsterdam left a wreath of flowers in his honor beneath the National Monument in Dam Square, a memorial to the victims of World War II.

    Three months ago, "The Economist," a weekly publication far from Wilders' anti-Islamic ideas, spoke of Rotterdam as a "Eurabian nightmare." For most of the Dutch who live there, Islamism is now a threat greater than the Delta Plan, the complicated system of dikes that prevents flooding from the sea, like the flood in 1953 that killed two thousand people. The picturesque town of Schiedam, part of the greater Rotterdam area, has always been a jewel in the Dutch imagination. Then the fairy tale glow faded, when in the newspapers three years ago it became the city of Farid A., the Islamist who made death threats against Wilders and Somali dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali. For six years, Wilders has lived under 24-hour police protection.

    Muslim lawyers in Rotterdam also want to change the rules of the courtroom, asking to be allowed to remain seated when the judge enters. They recognize Allah alone. The lawyer Mohammed Enait recently refused to stand when the magistrates enter the courtroom, saying that "Islam teaches that all men are equal." The court of Rotterdam has recognized Enait's right to remain seated: "There is no legal obligation requiring Muslim lawyers to stand in front of the court, insofar as this action is in contrast with the dictates of the Islamic faith." Enait, the head of the legal office Jairam Advocaten, has explained that "he considers all men equal, and does not acknowledge any form of deference toward anyone." All men, but not all women. Enait is well known for his refusal to shake hands with women, and has repeatedly said he would prefer them to wear the burqa. And there are many burqas on the streets of Rotterdam.

    The fact that Eurabia has arrived in Rotterdam has been demonstrated by an episode in April at the Zuidplein Theatre, one of the most prestigious in the city, a modernist theater proud of "representing the cultural diversity of Rotterdam." It is located in the southern part of the city, and receives funding from the municipality, headed by a Muslim, the son of the imam Ahmed Aboutaleb. Three weeks ago, the Zuidplein Theatre allowed an entire balcony to be reserved for women only, in the name of sharia. This is not happening in Pakistan or in Saudi Arabia, but in the city from which the Founding Fathers set out for the United States. It was from here that the Puritans disembarked in the Speedwell, which they later exchanged for the Mayflower. This is where the American adventure began. Today, it has legalized sharia.

    For a performance by the Muslim Salaheddine Benchikhi, the Zuidplein Theatre agreed to his request to have the first five rows set aside for women only. Salaheddine, an editorialist for the website Morokko.nl, is known for his opposition to the integration of Muslims. The city council has approved this: "According to our Western values, the freedom to live one's own life by virtue of one's convictions is a precious possession." A spokesman for the theater has also defended the director: "It is hard to get Muslims to come to the theater, so we are willing to adapt."

    Another man who has been willing to adapt is the director Gerrit Timmers. His words are fairly symptomatic of what Wilders calls "self-Islamization." The first case of self-censorship took place in Rotterdam, in December of 2000. Timmers, the director of the theater group Onafhankelijk Toneel, wanted to stage a performance about the life of Mohammed's wife Aisha. The play was boycotted by the Muslim actors in the company when it became evident that it would be a target for the Islamists. "We are enthusiastic about the play, but fear reigns," the actors told him. The composer, Najib Cherradi, said that he would withdraw "for the good of my daughter." The newspaper "Handelsblad" gave the story the title "Tehran on the Meuse," the name of the gentle river that passes through Rotterdam. "I had already done three works about the Moroccans, so I wanted to have Muslim actors and singers," Timmers tells us. "Then they told me that it was a dangerous issue, and they could not participate, because they had received death threats. In Rabat, an article came out saying we would end up like Salman Rushdie. For me, it was more important to continue the dialogue with the Moroccans, rather than provoke them. For this reason, I see no problem if the Muslims want to separate the men from the women in a theater."

    Let's meet the director who has brought sharia to the Dutch theaters, Salaheddine Benchikhi. He is young, modern, confident, and speaks perfect English. "I defend the decision to separate the men from the women, because here there is freedom of expression and organization. If people can't sit where they want to, that is discrimination. There are two million Muslims in Holland, and they want our tradition to become public, everything is evolving. Mayor Aboutaleb has supported me."

    One year ago, the city was buzzing when the newspapers published a letter by Bouchra Ismaili, a Rotterdam city councilman: "Listen up, crazy freaks, we're here to stay. You're the foreigners here, with Allah on my side I'm not afraid of anything. Take my advice: convert to Islam, and you will find peace." Just a walk through the streets of the city, and you know right away that in many neighborhoods you are no longer in Holland. It is right out of the Middle East. In some schools, there is a "room of silence" where Muslim students, who are in the majority, can pray five times a day, with a poster of Mecca, the Qur'an, and a ritual washing before the prayers. Another Muslim city councilman, Brahim Bourzik, wants signs placed in various parts of the city showing the direction to Mecca.

    Sylvain Ephimenco is a Franco-Dutch journalist who has been living in Rotterdam for twelve years. For twenty years, he was the "Libération" correspondent in Holland, and is proud of his leftist credentials. "Even though I don't believe in that anymore," he says, welcoming us to his home overlooking one of Rotterdam's little canals. Not far from here is the al Nasr mosque of the imam Khalil al Moumni, who when gay marriage was legalized described homosexuals as "sick people worse than pigs." From the outside, it can be seen that the mosque is more than twenty years old, having been built by the first Moroccan immigrants. Moumni has written a pamphlet that is circulating around the Dutch mosques, "The path of the Muslim," in which he explains that the heads of homosexuals should be cut off and "hung from the highest building in the city." Next to the al Nasr mosque, we sit down at a cafe for men only. In front of us is a halal Islamic slaughterhouse. Ephimenco is the author of three essays on Holland and Islam, and today is a famous columnist for the leftist Christian newspaper "Trouw." He has the best perspective for understanding a city that, perhaps even more than Amsterdam, embodies the tragedy of Holland.

    "It is not at all true that Wilders gets his votes from the fringes, everyone knows that, even though they don't say it," he tells us. "Today educated people vote for Wilders, although at first it was the lower class Dutch, the tattoo crowd. Many academics and people on the left vote for him. The problem is all of these Islamic headscarves. There's a supermarket behind my house. When I arrived, there wasn't a single headscarf. Now it's all Muslim women with the chador at the register. Wilders is not Haider. His positions are on the right, but also on the left, he's a typical Dutchman. Here there are even hours at the swimming pool set aside for Muslim women. This is the origin of the vote for Wilders. Islamization, this foolishness with the theater, has to be stopped. In Utrecht, there is a mosque where they provide separate city services for men and women. The Dutch are afraid. Wilders is against the Frankenstein of multiculturalism. I, who used to be on the left but am no longer anything, I say we've reached the limit. I feel the ideals of the Enlightenment have been betrayed with this voluntary apartheid, in my heart I feel the death of the ideals of the equality of men and women, and freedom of expression. Here the left is conformist, and the right has the better answer to insane multiculturalism."

    One of the professors at Erasmus University in Rotterdam is Tariq Ramadan, the famous Swiss Islamic scholar who is also a special adviser for the city. Some of Ramadan's statements against homosexuality were uncovered by Holland's most famous gay magazine, "Gay Krant," directed by a talkative journalist named Henk Krol. On a videocassette, Ramadan calls homosexuality "a disease, a disorder, an imbalance." On the tape, Ramadan also has comments on women, "they should keep their eyes on the ground when they're on the street." Wilders' party asked for the city council to be disbanded, and for the Islamic scholar from Geneva to be sent packing, but instead he was renewed in his post for two more years. This was happening while across the sea, the Obama administration was confirming the ban on Ramadan entering United States territory. The tapes in Krol's possession include one in which Ramadan tells women: "Allah has an important rule: if you try to attract attention through the use of perfume, or your appearance or gestures, you do not have the correct spiritual orientation."

    "When Pim Fortuyn was killed, it was a shock for everyone, because a man was murdered for what he said," Krol tells us. "That was no longer my country. I'm still thinking about leaving Holland, but where can I go? Here we have been criticized by everyone, by the Catholic Church and by the Protestants. But when we criticized Islam, they answered us: you are creating new enemies!" According to Ephimenco, the street is the secret of Wilders' success: "In Rotterdam, there are three enormous mosques, one of them is the largest in Europe. There are more and more Islamic headscarves, and an Islamist impulse coming from the mosques. I know many people who have left the city center to go to the rich, white suburbs. My neighborhood is poor and black. It is a question of identity, on the streets Dutch is not spoken anymore, but Arabic and Turkish."

    Let's meet the man who inherited Fortuyn's column in the newspaper "Elsevier." His name is Bart Jan Spruyt, a robust young Protestant intellectual, founder of the Edmund Burke Society, but above all the author of Wilders' "Declaration of independence," and his coworker from the beginning. "Here an immigrant no longer has to struggle, study, work, he can live at the expense of the state," Spruyt tells us. "We have ended up creating a parallel society. The Muslims are in the majority in many neighborhoods, and are asking for sharia. This isn't Holland anymore. Our use of freedom has turned back against us, it is a process of self-Islamization."

    Spruyt was one of Fortuyn's close friends. "Pim said what the people had known for decades." He attacked the establishment and the journalists. It was a great relief for the people when he went into politics, they called him the 'white knight'. The last time I spoke with him, one week before he was killed, he told me he had a mission. His killing was not the act of a lone madman. In February of 2001, Pim announced that he wanted to change the first article of the Dutch constitution, on discrimination, because in his view it kills freedom of expression, and he was right. The following day in the Dutch churches, which are mostly empty and used for public meetings, the diary of Anne Frank was read as a warning against Fortuyn. Pim was truly Catholic, more than we think, in his books he spoke out against modern society without fathers, without values, empty, nihilist."

    Chris Ripke is a well-known artist in the city. His studio is near a mosque in Insuindestraat. Shocked in 2004 by the murder of director Theo Van Gogh by an Dutch Islamist, Chris decided to paint an angel on wall of his studio and the biblical commandment "Gij zult niet doden," thou shalt not kill. His neighbors at the mosque found the words "offensive," and called the mayor of Rotterdam at the time, the liberal Ivo Opstelten. The mayor ordered the police to erase the painting, because it was "racist." Wim Nottroth, a television journalist, camped out on the spot in protest. The police arrested him, and his film was destroyed. Ephimenco did the same in his own window: "I put up a big white sheet with the biblical commandment. Photographers came, and the radio. If you can no longer write 'do not kill' in this country, then you are saying that we are all in prison. It is like apartheid, whites living with whites and blacks with blacks. There is a great chill. Islamism wants to change the structure of the country." For Ephimenco, part of the problem is the de-Christianization of society. "When I arrived here, during the 1960's, religion was dying, a unique event in Europe, a collective de-Christianization. Then the Muslims brought religion back to the center of social life. Aided by the anti-Christian elite."

    Let's go for a stroll through the Islamized neighborhoods. In Oude Westen there are only Arabs, women clothed from head to foot, ethnic foods shops, Islamic restaurants, and shopping centers with Arabic music. "Ten years ago, you didn't see all these headscarves," Ephimenco says. Behind his house, in a flourishing middle class area with two-story houses, there is an Islamized neighborhood. There are Muslim signs everywhere. "Look at all of those Turkish flags, over there is an important church, but it's empty, no one goes there anymore." In the middle of one square stands a mosque with Arabic writing outside. "That used to be a church." Not far from here is the most beautiful monument in Rotterdam. It is a small granite statue of Pim Fortuyn. Beneath the gleaming bronze head, the mouth saying his last words on behalf of freedom of speech, there is written in Latin: "Loquendi libertatem custodiamus," let us safeguard the right to speak. Every day, someone places flowers there.


    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1338480?eng=y
     
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    First of all, Justin Vaisse is not a leftist. In fact, his latest book on NeoCon movement can be considered a sort of defense of the movement. A quick profile from Wikipedia and his Brookings profile page
    You might know that the Brookings institute in the US would hardly hire leftists as director of research for the Center on the United States and Europe. Check out his other works at his Bookings page.

    http://www.brookings.edu/experts/vaissej.aspx


    Now the article itself is discussing the notion of "Eurabia" and does not gloss over problems.
    But the exaggerated notion that Muslims would take over Europe by 2050 is just that --exaggerated. Even now, Muslims consist less than 5% of the total EU population. And with even maximalist trends, their population would not exceed more than 10% of EU population even by 2050 (assuming Turkey doesn't become a part of EU of course).

    So the demographic takeover theory is basically standing on shaky if not false grounds. I guess time will only tell what will be the outcome.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    @ashdoc

    The articles quoted apart does have a few valid points but towards the tail end follows the "anecdotal" genre. As Vaisse notes:
    Lets look at some French government surveys. Before the "Burkha ban" in public, the French government did a survey on how many Muslim women actually wore them. The police came back with a figure of 367 or 0.015% of the Female Muslim population. The Danish govt. survey came back with a number between 100-200 and similar numbers in Holland. But going by this article, it would seem that entire Muslim female population is probably doing just that.

    And I can understand wearing say a niqab can be an issue, but why should wearing headscarves be though of as a stumbling bloc in integration and contribution to society as the authors suggests?Just quick flashback to 2009, there was a case of an Egyptian migrant to Germany who studied Pharmacy and worked as a Pharmacist and contributed taxes and value to German society. She was murdered by a person who was an ethnic German but was living on unemployment benefit as a burden to the state. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Marwa_El-Sherbini.

    So just as there are some lunatic fringes from poor migrant communities, there are intolerant xenophobes among the indigenous European communities which in the wake of economic crisis is increasing. In fact, most Jewish and Muslim organizations are working on joint efforts in many European countries due to increase in anti-Semitic and racist attacks.

    The second premise after the "demographic takeover theory" that "Eurabia" authors don't realise is that European Muslims are happy to be a part of Europe. This is what you get if you hear from European Muslims on what they think.
    There will be some contentious issues ofcourse, but these face all migrants from poor countries. Unlike the US for example were most Muslim migrants were educated and highly skilled and hence were better off financially, European migrants were war refugees from former colonies or were running away from horrific conflicts in Somalia or central Africa which would have scarred anyone for life. But as the PEW surveys quoted suggest, majorities of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation European Muslims tend to align themselves towards the European mainstream rather than away from it.

    And two points need to be addresses, European muslims themselves must tackle the deviant political Islamic ideology and take groups like Hizb-tehrir e.t.c head on. Not just privately in mosques or among muslims, but also using public platforms and taking part in the democratic process.
    Secondly, Europeans as a whole of all faiths and no faiths should redefine the idea of Secularism. Rather than take it to be anti-religion, they should look towards the Indian/US model of giving equal respect/rights to all faiths.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

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