* As always, a Daniel Pipes article has the soldiers of Allah throw hissy fits. Looks like Yusuf Â already has a severe Â case of indigestion…
THE future of Europe is in play. Will it turn into “Eurabia”, a part of the Muslim world? Will it remain the distinct cultural unit it has been for the past millennium? Or might there be some creative synthesis of the two?
The answer has vast importance. Europe may constitute a mere 7 per cent of the world’s landmass but for 500 years, 1450-1950, for good and ill, it was the global engine of change.
How it develops in the future will affect all humanity, especially daughter countries such as Australia that still retain close and important ties to the old continent. I foresee potentially one of three paths for Europe: Muslims dominating, Muslims rejected or harmonious integration.
* Muslim domination strikes some analysts as inevitable. Oriana Fallaci found that “Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam”. Mark Steyn argues that much of the Western world “will not survive the 21st century and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries”.
Such authors point to three factors leading to Europe’s Islamisation: faith, demography and a sense of heritage.
The secularism that predominates in Europe, especially among its elites, leads to alienation from the Judeo-Christian tradition, empty church pews and a fascination with Islam. In complete contrast, Muslims display a religious fervour that translates into jihadi sensibility, a supremacism towards non-Muslims and an expectation that Europe is waiting for conversion to Islam.
The contrast in faith also has demographic implications, with Christians having on average 1.4 children a woman, or about one-third less than the number needed to maintain their population, and Muslims enjoying a dramatically higher, if falling, fertility rate. Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in about 2015, are expected to be the first large majority-Muslim cities.
Russia could become a Muslim-majority country in 2050. To employ enough workers to fund existing pension plans, Europe needs millions of immigrants, and these tend to be disproportionately Muslim due to reasons of proximity, colonial ties and the turmoil in majority-Muslim countries.
In addition, many Europeans no longer cherish their history, mores and customs. Guilt about fascism, racism and imperialism leaves many with a sense that their own culture has less value than that of immigrants.
Such self-disdain has direct implications for Muslim immigrants, for if Europeans shun their own ways, why should immigrants adopt them? When added to the existing Muslim hesitations over much that is Western, especially concerns about sexuality, the result is Muslim populations who strongly resist assimilation.
The logic of this first path leads to Europe ultimately becoming an extension of North Africa.
* But the first path is not inevitable. Indigenous Europeans could resist it and, as they make up 95per cent of the continent’s population, they can at any time reassert control should they see Muslims posing a threat to a valued way of life.
This impulse can be seen at work in the French anti-hijab legislation or in Geert Wilders’s film, Fitna. Anti-immigrant parties gain in strength; a potential nativist movement is taking shape across Europe as political parties opposed to immigration focus increasingly on Islam and Muslims. These parties include the British National Party, Belgium’s Vlaamse Belang, France’s National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Party for Freedom in The Netherlands and the Danish People’s Party.
They are likely to continue to grow as immigration surges ever higher, with mainstream parties paying and expropriating their anti-Islamic message. Should nationalist parties gain power, they will reject multiculturalism, cut back on immigration, encourage repatriation of immigrants, support Christian institutions, increase indigenous European birthrates and broadly attempt to re-establish traditional ways.
Muslim alarm is likely to follow. US author Ralph Peters sketches a scenario in which “US Navy ships are at anchor and US marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe’s Muslims”.
Peters concludes that because of Europeans’ “ineradicable viciousness”, the continent’s Muslims “are living on borrowed time”. As Europeans have “perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing”, Muslims, he predicts, “will be lucky just to be deported” rather than being killed.
Indeed, Muslims worry about just such a fate; since the 1980s they have spoken overtly about Muslims being sent to gas chambers. European violence cannot be precluded, but nationalist efforts will more likely take place less violently; if anyone is likely to initiate violence, it is the Muslims.
They have already engaged in many acts of violence and seem to be spoiling for more. Surveys indicate, for instance, that about 5 per cent of British Muslims endorse the 7/7 transport bombings. In brief, a European reassertion will likely lead to ongoing civil strife, perhaps a more lethal version of the 2005 riots in France.
* The ideal outcome has indigenous Europeans and immigrant Muslims finding a way to live together harmoniously and create a new synthesis. A 1991 study, La France, une chance pour l’Islam (France, an Opportunity for Islam), by Jeanne-Helene Kaltenbach and Pierre Patrick Kaltenbach, promoted this idealistic approach. Despite all, this optimism remains the conventional wisdom, as suggested by an Economist leader in 2006 that dismissed, for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia as scaremongering. This is the view of most politicians, journalists, and academics, but it has little basis in fact.
Yes, indigenous Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, make more babies and again cherish their heritage. Yes, they could encourage non-Muslim immigration and acculturate Muslims already living in Europe. Yes, Muslim could accept historic Europe. But not only are such developments not under way, their prospects are dim. In particular, young Muslims are cultivating grievances and nursing ambitions at odds with their neighbours.
One can virtually dismiss from consideration the prospect of Muslims accepting historic Europe and integrating within it. American columnist Dennis Prager agrees: “It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for western Europe than its becoming Islamicised or having a civil war.” But which of those two remaining paths will the continent take?
Forecasting is difficult because the crisis has not yet struck. But it may not be far off. Within a decade, perhaps, the continent’s evolution will become clear as the Europe-Muslim relationship takes shape.
The unprecedented nature of Europe’s situation also renders a forecast exceedingly difficult. Never in history has a civilisation peaceably dissolved, nor has a people risen to reclaim its patrimony. Europe’s unique circumstances make the outcome difficult to comprehend, tempting to overlook and virtually impossible to predict. With Europe, we all enter into terra incognita.
Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube/Diller distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. He is in Australia for the Intelligence Squared debate to take place this evening in Sydney. This article derives from a talk he delivered yesterday to a Quadrant dinner