Michael Radu: "The Islamist Ghost Haunting Europe"
The late Michael Radu has a posthumous book published recently, Europe's Ghost: Tolerance, Jihadism, and the Crisis of the West. The title makes the book sound interesting.
Dr. Radu, a Romanian immigrant to the US, was an FPRI expert on Europe and a scholar whose e-circulars I had been reading for several years until his unfortunate, premature demise about one year ago at the age of 61, so receiving a recent e-note about his book brings mixed feelings, gratitude mingled with melancholy. Accompanying the notice, and adapted from his book, was an essay, "The Islamist Ghost Haunting Europe," and I quote a brief passage here concerning the dilemma faced by Islam in Europe:
[H]ere is the key dichotomy that Muslims living in Europe face (or, more often, avoid): either agree with the radicals, who are [also] Muslims, that Islam is under threat globally and violence is the answer, or reject the main premise [of the radicals] and admit [along with moderate Muslims and most non-Muslims] that Islam has to adapt to different circumstances because Muslims now live under various circumstances. The latter conclusion would require cooperating with [non-Muslim] authorities and, most importantly, willingly accepting adjustments to traditional Islamic (or pseudo-Islamic) customs and beliefs: intolerance toward gays and denial of women's rights, but also practices such as polygamy, female genital cutting (FMG), and honor killings. The alternative is grim: the continuous rise [among native, non-Muslim Europeans] of populist, anti-immigrant demagogues, serious attempts to stop Muslim immigration, and eventually a general cultural clash in most, if not all, European countries. Of course, the creation of an Islam of Europe, adapted to the postmodern cultural environment, would solve all such problems. But that process is, at the very best, in its incipient, baby-steps stage.Most European Muslims making noise these days are the radical sort, nor is there much sign of a 'European' Islam -- whatever that might mean -- but given the power and ruthlessness of the Islamists, we should hardly be surprised that moderate Muslims generally don't speak up. Nor should we be surprised that no strong moderate Islam is emerging, for Islamism is radicalism of Islam not at the margins but at the center. Islamists draw on deep sources in Islam, which they perhaps distort and misapply, but the texts that they cite are not marginal, as I've previously noted.
Dr. Radu's point, anyway, is that unless Muslims reinterpret Islam for non-Muslim contexts -- specifically, a European context -- then the Islamists will provoke populist reactions among Europeans. If that happens, then in my opinion, Europe will break up like Yugoslavia did, for populism in Europe takes the form of ethnic nationalism, and Europeans won't just be attacking Muslims in Europe, they'll be attacking each other along ethnic lines.
"I have seen the future . . ."