September 2009

Top of This issue Currrent issue



The religion of Islam is of Near Eastern origin, founded in the seventh century AD in Arabia by Mohammed in many visionary experiences with Allah (God). Second only to Christianity in the west it has well over a billion adherents and appears to be poised to gain many more in Europe, a collection of nations that appears to be mired in past glories and present pleasures and only dimly aware of certain imminent realities. That is, too much Arab immigration in the past fifty years in western Europe, which at first seemed innocuous and helpful economically during the boom years replacing the depleted manpower of World War II, and now in recession times an uncomfortable drag not only economically but even more importantly, socially. In a sense this last half century Islamic episode in Europe can be viewed as a mere incursion into European affairs, although, as we shall see many millions of people of the Moslem faith are now on European soil, and the most recent group, arriving in the last fifty or sixty years, are the most problematic.

The first large scale invasion of Europe occurred almost with the birth of Islam. Mohammed, the founder of the religion, claimed to be the last great prophet, the successor to the prior great prophets Moses and Jesus, who in a series of exalted visionary revelations with God (Allah) was able to dictate the Koran and Mohammeds’ affirmation of the doctrine of monotheism and similar codes of conduct affirmed too by their prior Jewish and Christian neighbors. Mohammed’s greatest strength, and that of his immediate successor disciples, however, evidently was an awesome military genius that created inspired Arab armies from hitherto feuding inter-tribal local fiefdoms. Armies that went forth to create a vast empire in Asia Minor, North Africa, Sicily, the Balkans, and even Spain before losing its momentum in southern Europe before Christian resistance in the about 1492, the time of Ferdinand and Isabella, and Columbus. In central Europe, however, the Moslem tide continued unabated until 1683 and the siege of Vienna in Austria in the heart of Europe, when the western allies were able to finally halt and turn back the surging armies of the Moslem Ottoman Empire.

From then on the power of the vast Islamic political complex in Asia and Europe gradually ebbed and became less an aggressive threat and more of an inert bureaucratic maze that survived passively until the end of World War 1 when it was disassembled---having been on the German, losing side--- into individual nation states with differing Christian and Moslem affinities that at times flared lethally as in the late twentieth century on Bill Clinton’s presidential watch. Then Serbian “ethnic cleansing” and resistance in Albania and Kosovo led to NATO (really U. S.) forces pacifying the area,--after many atrocities even unto now. This area has become relatively dormant militarily with the continued passive but alert US air force presence there, with the active threat of strategic bombing if necessary to keep the peace.

However, the situation in Western Europe is quite different. About twenty million Muslim adherents live in England, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and surrounding areas. They are the new vanguard of Islam, which now comprises almost ten percent of total European population. Many of these people are the aftermath of the over recruitment of the previous post war generations of non European people. They and their parents most definitely want to remain in the modern West and not in the previous poverty of Middle Eastern lands. However, the bulk of the native, traditional majorities of these countries are not too happy with the flux and upset of their environment. Crime and vandalism and catering to minority Moslem prejudices are perceived as excessive . Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union has a socialist mayor with an advisory cabinet made up mainly of Moslems; Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other large European cities may reach majority Muslim status within a few years, and the British Moslem population is increasing at a much greater rate than the general population. Banks in Britain have ceased giving out piggy banks for fear of offending Moslem customers. Shariah law—Moslem jurisprudence---is now allowed in select heavily Islamic areas in both England and France. The ultimate banning of the headscarf in public by the French was undoubtedly the crest of the wave of anti social immigrant unrest by resident people against overt Moslem dress. Also the fatwa, the religious edict to kill Salman Rushdie for his slandering of Allah, the murdering of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, who criticized excessive Arab immigration, and the world wide Moslem ire over Danish cartoons of impish comment on Moslem activity all resonated back to its origins in western Europe, where the local denizens wished the almost impossible---that the transplanted Arab Islamoculture would disappear. These native Europeans seem somehow disenfranchised; never having voted for this influx of foreign labor and not having leaders with sufficient gumption to expel them.

Hanging in the balance was the dubious fear of whether ultimate assimilation or disparate contending and fractious groups would emerge. Two almost polar opposites are part of modern history. Famous but somewhat ignored now is the Jewish conclave (Sanhedrin) convened by Napoleon in the early 19th century in Paris to clarify the status of the Jewish people, who were a world wide religious body with many tenuous political and worldly aspirations that Napoleon wanted to clarify before they could qualify to become citizens of a secular nation state such as France. (The Jews had been a homeless Diaspora people for about 1700 years ever since being finally routed and dispersed by the Romans from their homeland in Judea). Many famous Jewish rabbis and Talmudists attended and the general conciliatory stance was to be a Jew at home and citizen of the country (France) in public. Modest dress and prescribed domestic religious ritual at home and in the synagogue, and obeying the legal and civil demands of French citizenship in public life.( A more modern formulation of the biblical “render unto Caesar what is necessary and unto God what He demands”) This became the happy example for many such minorities in the budding and existing nation states forming at that time. Allowing for both a productive religious and wholesome patriotic fulfillment. But there was also the extreme opposite approach as in the province of Quebec, Canada, where French is the national language and speaking English is definitely déclassé.! And secession from the parent country, English speaking Canada, is stlll a putative and teasing topic of debate, but certainly not the emotionally urgent subject that the Gallic hero, Charles DeGaulle, whom we rescued from German Nazi oblivion during World War II, had the consummate chutzpah to urge the French Canadians to consider a separate spiritual alliance with France, if only for emotional satisfaction!

In modern western Europe today we have a relatively small but demographically dynamic Moslem Arab group, evidently committed to their religious precepts---the supremacy of Allah, the inferiority of infidels, and the sanctioning of Jihad---and they have now passed beyond the small mass level where polite minority compliance is most politic and rewarding. As was the case of the Jews and Napolean. As stated above, about 20 million relatively young Moslems now live in western Europe. These people are evidently committed to their present ideology and feel secure enough in their new environment to demand validation of their true ideals, Not like the prior rather meek Jews who internalized or modified their true ideals to cohere in their new society. And then go on to make make positive contributions to all branches of culture and science.

A good index of this is the Nobel Prize record since its inception at the beginning of the last century. Nobel Laureates in every cultural, intellectual and scientific field are awarded for this distinguished list of accomplishment worldwide. The list comprises several thousand western and oriental names. Only a handful of Moslem names appear. The great Moslem heritage of astronomy, mathematics, and architecture are medieval accomplishments and in the modern world Islam evidently subsists on the “dole” of oil revenue. Indeed, most of the hijackers of the four planes involved in the 1/11/01 crashes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon were middle class students, radicalized by the apparent “wealth” they saw in middle class Hamburg, Germany. Convinced that Osama Ben Laden had to be right, and that only Satanic greed and lust in the United States and demonic Israel could have caused this unjust western opulence as contrasted with their native material inferiority. (And that their Jihad vengeance would receive the cherished reward of virgins galore for their holy suicide deaths!)

Not only is Islam foreign, but most importantly it is culturally very different. Robin Hood, Maid Marion and Sherwood Forest and robbing the rich and uplifting the lot of the poor are not the same as Hagar and Ishmael and Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. Hagar was cast out with her son, Ishmael, perhaps unjustly, but is saved by the angel of God. He is the one God, common to the three prime western religions, but Allah, evidently, is now the most meaningful, most current, most “Is” as Bill Clinton would have put it a the time of Monica Lewinsky. The preceding Jewish and Christian versions of God are essentially irrelevant and superceded. Although many have somewhat similar customs, most dissimilar today is the apparently inferior position of Moslem women. However, most dissimilar, too, is the relaxed increasingly secular welfare culture of Europe, the “I’m all right, you’re all right, as long as I get my annual six weeks vacation, and pension” relativism. Essentially, capitalist America rescued Europe from Hitler and Nazi Germany and Stalinist communisim in the last hundred years and restored stability in middle Europe( under Bill Clinton) in the last with 50 years after Yugoslavia disintegrated into Serbian, Croatian and Albanian Moslem/ Christian anarchy.

Today in Western Europe we have a strong minority of Euro/Moslems, demographically out producing endemic native mostly secular Europeans and apparently firm in their religious convictions. Although they are still a small minority history shows that dedicated, aspiring minorities many times command momentous upheaval and change. As in our revolution in 1776 in the Soviet Bolshevik revolution of l917. While we must maintain a studied neutrality in this most eventful apparent change from Europe into Eurabia, we are a Judeo Christian culture, as in Europe, in all our bedrock hopes, aspirations, and actions. And we shall continue so as we go from strength to strength peaceably but firmly as we modify this eastern Moslim ingress to our advantage and not our ultimate distress. Into some form of positive e pluribus unum as we have so successfully done in the past. Thankfully our Moslem minority population is very small and compliant, but our sympathies and prayers are for our historic western allies in Europe, as they try to go from strength to strength, perhaps with our help again, to meet and grow with the new Moslem “immigration invasion” that is now upon them.