Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Militant Islam Confronts Europe - by Yisrael Ne'eman

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Liberal, socially democratic Europeans are exactly where they thought they would never be – on the firing line for radical Islamists who condemn their societies, way of life and “non-values”. In particular the riots over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed (yes, they were first printed in September) and Islamic frustration over opposition to the Iranian nuclear program have Europeans at loggerheads with militant, totalitarian Islam. Most everyone is analyzing the Islamists, but an understanding of Europe itself and its inability to stand up to the extremists is necessary to explain why the Islamists know to press their offensive against a frightened society preaching civil liberties.


The most fundamental value of human and societal continuity is missing in central and Western Europe where the reproduction rate is less than 1.5 children for women of child bearing age (certainly men can raise children too). Moslem European families have many more offspring. Christian Europeans have consciously decided that they do not want children, meaning they do not want the continuation of their own societies or culture. Selfishness (like charity) begins at home. To raise children one needs to invest quality time, tremendous physical and spiritual energies and much money, not to mention lost income and possible career opportunities. To ensure national and cultural continuity the older generation must consciously decide to pass on its values to the next generation. The surest - but obviously not foolproof – way of doing this is through nurturing youth in the values of their parents. By not doing so, today’s dominant European society slowly commits suicide.


There are certainly values and societal norms to pass on: liberty, fraternity, equality, democracy, the rights of minorities, social justice, etc. Like all liberal-democratic societies not everything is realized, but most function quite well in comparison with the rest of the world. Western/central European nations have high standards of living and well developed social welfare systems. Governments guarantee certain norms of functional equality and physical well being. From here there is no longer a personal responsibility since one pays taxes, especially in Scandinavia, and the government is entrusted with caring for all. The average person is devoid of religion, pursues a career, thinks not of family or society and lives for personal success and/or a hedonistic existence. “Life is good” and there are very few worries.


The materially satisfied European is looked upon as a mortal enemy by Islamists who have close family, religious and societal ties. Ideologues are those who are willing to die for what they live for. Committed Moslems will die to ensure the continuation of Islam knowing their children will carry on in the name of Allah. But religion need not be the unifying factor. Many Europeans (esp. the British) and Americans fought for freedom and nation over dictatorship in WWII. (Okay, so the Russians did not fight for freedom). But would today’s Europeans be willing to fight to the death to guarantee the existence of their liberal, socio-democratic societies with all the extent material well being? For whom would they defend their society?


European rights to freedom of expression (Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed), liberal sexual norms, and individual human rights are seen by Islamists as permissive aberrations damaging to a cohesive society. Where Islam rules, individuals must “submit”. Europe is the antithesis and no greater tragedy could be had, than if such a “valueless” way of life would be absorbed by Moslems.


What are the collective values and loyalties of today’s Europe? Is the age of European cultural pride at an end? Many have died for the collective of peoplehood, religion and nationalism over the centuries. But who is willing to die for their own individual rights? After all, once you are dead the game is over.


Europe is perceived as a bastion of materialism, worshippers of the Golden Calf, where morality has no absolutes. Islamists are no fools as they watch post-modernist, cultural relativist (or whatever) European “intellectuals” equate the killing of innocent civilians by suicide bombers with the elimination of those who sent the bombers by western (and esp. Israeli) security forces. These same European groups scratch around for an excuse, such as the “oppression of Moslems” even though the Islamists make it clear that all their actions are directed at Islamic world domination. The Islamist can only explain such interpretations as self incriminating and view the Europeans as a people who have no respect for themselves and acquiesce to the end of their own existence.


In contradiction to the European commitment not to hold talks with the Hamas until they recognize Israel and renounce terrorism, the Russians with French support have already reversed their promise. After the ruckus caused by the Danish cartoons we can expect a healthy dose of self-censorship throughout the continent and despite the threats made against the Iranians concerning their nuclear program Europe will waver unless Washington succeeds in kicking them into line.


As a big, soft, wealthy patsy, Europe tried to compromise with the Islamists for as long as possible. Now comes the moment of truth where Europe may attempt to stand up to the Islamists. But with a sharply declining birthrate and the need for a cheap (and later disenfranchised) industrial working class to prop up their comfortable lifestyle one can expect a continual growth in the Moslem population and its radicalization.

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Reprinted from Middle East on Target, with permission from Elliot Chodoff. Middle East on Target is a think tank and source of commentary on the Mid-East. On a related note, I'll be posting my essay on the confusion between the terms democracy and liberalism in today's mainstream media. That idea was inspired by all the talk of democracy in the muslim world, and by the recent cartoons 'scandal'.

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