Sunday, July 24, 2005


I've just finished reading Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, written by Bat Ye'or.

Ye'or argues that a huge cultural shift has resulted in Europe due to the support by the European Economic Community (EEC) -- precursor to the the European Union -- for a Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD), which was started in 1973 on the advice of France and the Arab League in response to the oil crisis brought on through the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to refuse to sell oil to Western countries that had supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

The cultural shift was toward European dhimmitude, the attitude -- under Islamic supremacy -- of 'protected' non-Muslims who recognize Islam's superiority and must live in a condition of gratitude for the 'tolerance' granted them by Islam.

Ye'or thinks that this attitude was a mostly unintended consequence of the Euro-Arab Dialogue -- though Europeans should have been foreseen that the Islamic world would never accept the multicultural view that all cultures are equal but would use this view to its advantage in pressuring the EEC/EU for Muslims' right to maintain their own Islamic culture within Europe.

In effect, argues Ye'or, the EAD opened European countries to large-scale Muslim immigration but denied these countries any right to require the immigrants to assimilate. Combined with a declining native European birthrate and a high immigrant birthrate, the immigrants' Islamic culture looks set to become a powerful force throughout much of Western Europe by late in this century. In France alone, Muslims constituted 7% of the population as of 2003, which may not sound like much, but the numbers are more significant when broken down by age groups. According to Michel Gurfinkiel ("Islam in France: The French Way of Life Is in Danger," The Middle East Quarterly, March 1997, Volume IV, Number 1), already by 1997:

The birthrate of Muslims being three to four times higher than that of non-Muslims, the proportion of children, teenagers, and young adults in urban France is . . . a very impressive 33 percent or so.

Timothy M. Savage ("Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing," The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2004, pdf) notes that some population projections put Muslims at 25 percent of the entire French population by 2025 -- and a majority there and even in the whole of Western Europe by mid-century.

This is enormously significant for the future not only of France and French culture but of the entirety of European culture. Savage expresses hope that Islam can be channeled toward effecting a positive change in European society, but he also foresees the dark potential for a clash of cultures. Ye'or argues that this darker vision is more likely.

Currently, most evidence supports Ye'or and her pessimistic view.

But is she right about how Europe got itself into these circumstances? Her view that an EAD elite has manipulated the EEC/EU bureaucracy to transform European culture into a Eurabian one does not entirely convince me. I am persuaded by her primary sources that the EAD has urged the EEC/EU to increase Muslim, especially Arab immigration, instruction in Arabic, support for Arab culture, and a number of other such policies, but I am not persuaded that the EAD has actually had much effect.

Why not?

In the European recovery from the devastation of WWII, the countries of Europe faced a labor shortage due to the loss of population, the low birthrate, and the revival of the economy. Since the Cold War shut off Eastern Europe as a source of labor, to whom could Western Europe have readily turned other than Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey? These areas were experiencing rapid population growth in a stagnant economy and thus could afford to export labor.

Moreover, the ideology of multiculturalism has not been limited to Western Europe, for it is found in the U.S., Canada, and Australia as well. If multiculturalism has been more successful in Europe, that may well be because . . . well, Europe is multicultural. Nearly every one of those European nations has its own language and culture. Europe as an entity is inherently multicultural. Such may have left it more open to the introduction of yet another culture, namely, an Islamic one.

Note that I'm not saying that the economic and ideological causes behind the rise of Islam in Europe mean that the decisions by particular countries to increase Muslim immigration were wise decisions. Given the current problems that Europe faces with Islamist radicalism, the decisions appear rather shortsighted and unwise.

In short, while I am not fully convinced by Ye'or on the EAD's leading role in these decisions, I do worry that she is correct about the rise of European dhimmitude as Islam's demographics force a transformation in Europe.


Post a Comment

<< Home