Friday, April 09, 2010

Michael Radu: "The Islamist Ghost Haunting Europe"

Michael Radu
(Image from FPRI)

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 . . ."

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At 11:27 AM, Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept is also a good read. He is an American emigrant to Scandinavia, speaks several northern European languages, and has followed the "stealth jihad" and Europe's denial of it for several years.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, Bawer's book is good. I've even blogged on it -- several times, I think.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:54 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

It may or may not be significant that in Byrne, his last novel, Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange) predicts that Muslim extremism--ironically supported by the movement to unify Europe--will at last destroy Europe.

At 4:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I guess that we'll find out. Certainly the multiculturalism necessitated by EU integration has played its part in allowing Islamism to gain a foothold.

The moderate multiculturalism of the EU -- a reasonable acceptance of cultural distinctions -- has thus morphed into a radical multiculturalism utterly without rationality (for it defies the principle of noncontradiction).

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:12 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

If there is any rationality to it, it is this:

The City of London, Wall Street, Switzerland (while preserving itself) Gordon Brown, Brussels et al, are engaged in a New World Order-Bankster project, where mitigating the European nation-state through cultural upheaval is on the front burner. The alarm created by the emergency of clashing cultures further empowers the pols by placing them in the position of being arbiters over competing groups. I bet they wish they could dump 100,000 islamists on Iceland....

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You might be giving them too much credit. I see it more as unintended consequences of an unwarranted belief in the attraction of a secular Europe.

Jeffery Hodges

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