In recent years this prediction of “Either Islam will be Europeanized, or Europe will be Islamized,” has been made by many major experts, among them the American Bernard Lewis, the Syrian-born German Bassam Tibi, and the French Gilles Kepel. This is, without question, an uncomfortable and sensitive topic, but it’s one that is very pertinent now that the Swiss have put their foot down and said that they will not accept another minaret within their borders.
In recent decades, Islam has exploded in Europe. You can see the changes with your own eyes from year to yearwhether it’s the increasing presence of hijabs on the street in a city like Oslo, or the bearded men with ankle-high baggy pants, or the new and resplendent mosques that are under construction. For my part, I’ve noticed an increasing insecurity and unease among “ordinary” people who feel like aliens in their own country. People ask: what is the purpose of this project? Don’t we, as a nation, have a right to pass our own cultural legacy, our traditions and values, on to our children and grandchildren?
Should we, in the name of tolerance, give in to the demands made by “others” whose influence is growing, and whose voices are becoming louder, as their numbers increase? Or as a Norwegian Labor Party politician said to me in a private conversation: “On the day that most of the members of the city council are Muslims, what do you think will happen to the right of Oslo bars to serve alcohol?” Another leading Laborite with over a couple of decades’ experience in politics put it more bluntly when I asked him “What you think about immigration from the Muslim world?” The answer was so crisp, merciless, and genuinely felt that I gasped: “What have they contributed?” Period.
Let it be said that of course there are many Muslims in Europe who are getting along just fine and who get the same chills down their spines that other European citizens do when they think of Sharia and the lack of freedom that accompanies classical Islam. But as a rule those aren’t the Muslims who are the most prominent members of their faith among us; they aren’t the ones who enjoy power in the Muslim community, and they aren’t the ones who are best organized and who have developed exceptionally strong connections to our public officials.
No, it’s not the secularized Muslims who are leading the wayfar from it. Ayaan Hirsi Ali made this clear when I and a colleague of mine from Human Rights Service in Oslo met her at the Dutch Parliament in The Hague in 2005. As she put it, there most certainly are Muslims in Europe who want a Europeanized Islamthat is to say, a private, personal Islam without political and judicial influence. But these aren’t the Muslims who are powerfully positioned in Europe’s community organizations, Europe’s corridors of power, and Europe’s universities.
Read it all in the ever-vigilant and faithful patriot ragFrontPage. And for another strong piece on what recently happened at the voting booths in Switzerland, this article in the Jerusalem Post explores the greater context of whether the Swiss may or may not have changed a thing in Switzerland or any other place on the earth with regard to stifling the advance of the Islamic minaret.