08 January 2009

Europe's long slow awakening

Behind the vile anti-Semitic thuggery (see yesterday's posting) and the mindless Israel-bashing demonstrations, there are signs that Europe is waking up to the reality of the Islamic threat to the West and to modern liberal civilization in general. This report is most interesting:

Europe's traditional position on the Arab dispute has been quietly changing: It is gravitating closer to a US-Israeli framing of a war on terror, a "clash of civilizations," with a subtext of concern about the rise of Islam.....Causes for the shift are complex and manifold, and in no small way associated with the rise of Muslim populations in Europe. But since Sept. 11, the discourse and psy-chology in Europe has shifted, with pro-Arab support "diluting and weakening," as Karim Batir, with the International Institute of Strategic Relations in Paris, puts it – and converging with US-Israeli framing of a fight against terror.

That "rise of Muslim populations in Europe", and the resulting threat to European liberal values and civilization, is a crucial factor which remains little-understood in the US. As I have said before, we think that Europe doesn't have any equivalent to our far-right puritan religious extremists waging a "culture war" on gays, women's equality, etc. -- but in fact, it does. It's just that in Europe the religious extreme right is Muslim, not Christian. And they're actually even more dangerous since, unlike most Christian fundamentalists, they do not hesitate to use and endorse violence.

Europe itself is not the Europe of decades past, dominated by French diplomacy, with its Arab ties. There are 27 nations. Eastern and former Soviet states, like Poland and the Czech Republic, often take American positions on foreign affairs. As Prague took over the EU presidency last week, it issued a statement that Israel's actions in Gaza were "defensive" – later backing down under French and British censure. In Scandinavia, traditionally pro-Arab states have found social tensions with new Muslim populations – the crisis in Denmark over a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, for example – and public support for Arabs is down in polls.

The value of what eastern Europe brings to the table cannot be overstated -- the fervor for freedom of the newly-liberated, and a vigorous sense of national and civilizational identity which the groggy peoples of western Europe have half forgotten.

There is a general 'Arab fatigue' in Europe.....Europe fears an Islamist threat, whether internal or external, and this has begun to change the overall views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

It is amazing how long it took this point to sink in. The long jihad against Israel, the terrorist attacks in London and Madrid (and in New York and Beslan and Mumbai), the intimidation and thuggery in the cities of western Europe, the genocide in southern Sudan, the persecution of non-Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia, the endless killings in southern Thailand, and on and on -- are all part of a single global phenomenon. This onslaught singles out Jews for especial hatred and violence (as fascism and Communism did), and proclaims explicit loathing for secularism, gender equality, and sexual liberation; but ultimately all non-Muslim people and values are its targets.

The day will come when the Europeans will recognize the debt they owe to those who first raised the alarm. Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh (men with impeccable liberal credentials) were murdered; Oriana Fallaci died in exile in the US; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was born into Islam but renounced it and embraced Western civilization with the fervor of one who had seen and lived the contrast, was hounded out of Europe and remains under threat of death.

But they saw the danger, and they told the truth, and the lands that scorned them are finally waking up.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Hello Mr.Infidel...I spent time in London back in the late 80's... and back at that time it had a heavy percentage of population that was from muslim majority countries..it was a little suprising to me actually. At the time I didnt think too much about it...cause it kind of reminded me a little of Dallas,Houston,or Los Angeles with their heavy latino population's,it was very noticeable...I couldnt figure out why they had so many immigrant's from places like middle eastern region's though...I mean...it's England. I ate out most of the time and frequented their inde eateries...which were reasonable eating,pretty good and saturated all over the city. This was over 20 years ago...I can only imagine what it's like in 2009.I wasnt against these folk's or ever been racist...but it was extremely noticeable...and to me it seemed odd...I guess for one because of the weather...and choosing a town like London to live.

08 January, 2009 21:24  
Anonymous NickM said...

Well, I'm into Manchester for the pro-Israel rally on Sunday. You're blog-rolled now BTW. Not that our site is working. The techie one of us is in Brisbane...

09 January, 2009 13:44  

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