Delusions of Eurabia: The Islamification myth, European Islamophobic Extremists and a rational picture of European Muslims.
April 11, 2010
The fuel that Geert Wilders and his "Freedom Party" run on are the extraordinary stories of the "take over of Europe" by "Muslims" who want to "Islamify Europe." These books, like America Alone by Canadian Mark Steyn, paint a gloomy picture of "Muslims" as 40% of the European population by 2025. In Steyn's book in the year 2020, Europe's old catherals are hollowed out shells, gay clubs are shut down and the streets emptied, but all women are veiled. The evacuation of white Europeans took place five years ago. France's young rioters back in 2005 were just the start of the European civil war. The America Alone book about the coming "long Eurabia night" is not a sci-fi thriller, but intended to be a stark prediction that has many high level supporters, such as Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney (Underhill July 11, 2009; Hari March 8, 2007).
These Eurabia myth books and the American conservative activism in Europe, have lead to a rise in support for far-right parties, including those that carry the dubious name of "Freedom Party." These "freedom" parties contain positions that seek, once in the power of government, to take way the religious and cultural rights of especially European Muslims. Some of these parties have deep connected roots to old-fashion Nazism, like the Austrian "Freedom Party," which has rode to election successes on the Islamification myth much to the delight of neo-Nazi and BNP leader Nick Griffin (Briggs March 18, 2009). The problem with election successes is that they provide legitimacy and sometimes public funding for anti-Muslim, far-right parties. This legitimacy leads to acceptance of both the anti-Muslim bigotry and policies based on the Eurabia - Islamification myth.
Despite the evidence that there is neither the Islamification of the Netherlands or the rest of Europe is occuring, Dutch and European voters are still turning out to vote for political parties pushing the Islamification nonsense. The reality that the recent studies show is that there is NO Islamification of the Netherlands or Europe going on - and those voters in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands - and the rest of Europe for that matter - that cast their ballots in the name of "preventing Islamification" are voting for a myth against something that simply is not happening. These voters should vote Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny for all it's really worth!
The myth of Islamification and the Islamophobia that follow are bringing about political parties that have and will have real political power in the future and this reality is a dangerous threat to Europe, as well as individual countries, like the Netherlands. The growth of the European far-right, including Geert Wilders, on the Islamification myth should be regarded as a greater security threat to European democracies than so-called "Islamic terrorism." After all, over the past 100 years - it is a safe bet that the European far-right has a vastly higher body count.
This is a paper that serves as a "data -mining" and working paper for the study on the moral panic of Islam in Europe - mainly the Netherlands. However, this work also serves as a hope on the part of the author that others will follow in her footsteps to expose the myths that are driving dangerous people like Geert Wilders - before anymore gains are made by the far-right and Islamophobic extremists. It can be said in the Clausewitzian center of gravity around which Wilders and like-minded bigots revolves is the Islamification myth. We must expose this Islamification myth and kick out the center of gravity - and dangerous people like Wilders will go back into irrelevance.
Now - if you are a European voter, would you vote for a party that told you something that was exposed as a myth ?
Debunking the Eurabia myth.[TOP]
First of all, the genre of books about a coming "Eurabia" and the "Islamification of Europe" was believed to have been triggered by the September 11 attacks. It follows on the heels of the attacks "having been planned in Germany" and could also be a result of media hype about the so-called "new terrorism" which also follows the notion of asylum seekers and "illegal immigrants" as a "breeding ground of terrorists." The whole notion of "Eurabia" is one where Muslims in largely the Middle East are told to migrate to Europe and have babies. The purpose of this "baby-making" is to replace the European population that is not reproducing itself. The notion is the all Muslims are a part of Team Islam" and unified for dangerous actions in Europe, which include terrorism and riots, like the riots on France in 2005. The notion of "unified Islam." What makes the Eurabia myth so sinister, but graphically shows how dubious it is, is that it denies the reality that Muslims are not a "united by Islam" Every European Muslim is a carrier of the jihadist germ and a cunning carrier of the sharia project (Johann Hari 2007; Justin Vaisse 2010).
European Political Islam - There are no powerful Islamic movements on the European Continent and, as far as Dutch Muslims are concerned, they simply cannot get together to form a basic political movement to represent their common interests. Part of this is due to the nature of Islam as a decentralized religious faith. According to Sara Silvestri (2007) the decentralization of Islam, similar to that of Protestantism, and the belief in the direct relationship of the Believer to God means that Islam lacks a central leader (170) with a centralized religious view. This aspect of Islam means that there is a fractured and highly diverse European Muslim community, which has been described by many authors (Klausen 2008, Buijs and Rath 2003, 6; Open Society 2010).
The fragmentation aspect of Islam, as well as the idea that European Muslims are highly diverse, could be present in the Dutch Muslim community. A former member of the Green Party and Dutch Parliamentarian, Mohammed Rabbae, lamented that "more unity would be good" and that suffered from "sectarian and personal interests that are common place in Islamic movements." In 2006, the Islamic Party Netherlands got only 0.2 percent of all the ballot cast. Theo Coskun, a member of the Rotterdam city council who knows the Muslim community well, stated that "a lot of people who call themselves 'Muslim' are very secular" and that Dutch Muslims prefer to vote for established political parties. Coskun also stated that "no Turks will vote for a Moroccan. The opposite is even less likely" Overall, attempts at bring Muslims together into political parties have failed and Muslims that do enter politics do so through established political parties. (NRC February 5, 2010; Open Society Institute 2010 192-193).
According to the Open Society Institute's (OSI) 2010 report, over 80% of Muslims in five European cities - Antwerp, Leicester, Rotterdam, Stockholm and London, are eligible to vote in both local and national elections (187). Muslims that stand in for local elections are questioned about their identity. Most respond that they will be elected to represent all in their constituencies and not their religious and ethnic groups. Some political parties, as in Germany and Belgium, seek the minority voting bloc. The strong secular and universalist traditions shape how Muslims' political participation (191).
The OSI study also found that Muslims do participate, along with non-Muslims, in decisions involving their city. The civic and political engagement is likely to produce a trust of local and national institutions, like the courts, the police, the national Parliament, national government and the city council. Most Muslims trust the police and the courts of the five institutions listed above (2010, 186, 197). This is also true with regard to "visible signs" of religious identity:
There is no significant difference between Muslims with visible manifestations of their religious identity and those without in relation to their sense of whether they can influence decisions affecting the city. Thus, 42 per cent of Muslim respondents with a visible religious identity agreed or strongly agreed that they could influence decisionmaking at the city level, and 39 per cent of non-visibly religious Muslims felt the same (OSI 2010, 197).On the EU level, there are a number of policy issues that impact European Muslim communities. These issues are social cohesion, immigration and human rights However, Silvestri, in her history of Muslim activism in Europe (since the 1970s) and describes the three dynamics in which European Muslims mobilize in both the European and national political space, and beyond the EU (Buijs and Rath 2003, 15). The first are traditional religious institutions, like schools and mosques. The second is grassroots and civil society organizations, which are like community associations, pressure groups, advocacy and cultural projects, which tend to be political in nature. The third dynamic is the Muslim states that help out their own diasporas though funding of various cultural programs (Silvestri 2007, 171, 177).
The second dynamic of Muslim engagement is mainly in the form of organizations, such as mosques, halal butchers, schools, press agencies, broadcasting organizations, up to political parties. Among the impediments encountered by these organizations are the lower class positions of many Muslims and the spread of racist and anti-immigrant ideologies and exclusionary practices across Europe. There are three practices that European Muslims engage in: 1) seeking the support of non-Muslim supporters and advocates; 2) seeking supporters or advocates from the homeland; 3) fostering their own leadership. These groups also can be formidable political pressure groups (Buijs and Rath 2003, 15; Silvestri 2007, 175).
[A] surprisingly small number of Muslims advocate fundamentalist reform. With the rise of the second and third generation of immigrant Muslims, the conditions of ideological development are changing thoroughly. Individual Muslims show cosmopolitan tendencies and the various Islamic communities create their own new leaders, willing to discuss the adaptation of the traditional Islam-reception to the changed circumstances, not as a result of pressure but as a result of its own momentum (Buijs and Rath 2003, 16)Demographics - Why "counting Muslims" is a "bigot's buzzywork". Taking firm counts "Muslims" is problematic and only estimates can be arrived at. First of all, several EU Member States do not include the religion repondents for census reporting in Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Spain (Cesari 2006 11; Klausen 2008 13). For example, a third generation Turkish German may be secular and not identify as "Muslim." Should such a person be counted as "Muslim?" Conversions are often overlooked, as are those from Muslim countries that do not practice or have even renounced the faith (Cesari 2006 11). The Netherlands changed its method from extrapolation from immigrants to a social survey and found that the country had only about 850,000 Muslims (940,000 according to Pew - October 2009), which is 5% of the Netherlands' population - and not the over one million as claimed in 2006 (Klausen 2008, 13-14).
The fertility rates for Muslims are above that for the European norm, but that is changing for two reasons. The first is that the European birthrate norm is rising, not due to "debates about immigrants," but efforts by national governments to increase birthrates (Klausen 2008 15). In the 1990s there was an increase of births among immigrant, non-national women and account for 1/5 of all births in several European countries. First generation immigrants from Bangladesh, Morocco, Pakistan and parts of sub-Saharan Africa have fertility rates that far exceed those of native women in many European countries. However, some women from predominately Muslim countries have lower birthrates (Sobotka 2008, 233). The authors also point out that immigrants from Latin America also have high birthrates, including those out of marriage (Sobotka 2008, 236). and with regard to the mixed data of Muslim immigrants fertility that data show that being "Muslim" have, in all likelihood, to do with other factors other than religion:
They also show that the differences in fertility rates between ethnic or national groups cannot be explained by a single factor, such as religion. This is most clearly evident in the case of women coming from predominantly Muslim societies who, according to commonly held opinion, have fertility far above that of native women in European countries. Although some Muslim populations in Europe display the highest fertility and the slowest pace of fertility decline… the contrasting examples of very-high fertility of women from Somalia and Pakistan and low fertility of women from Iran and Indonesia…point out that the pronatalist influence of religion, if any, is strongly modified by other factors, including woman's socio-economic position (Sobotka 2008, 234).The second factor why fertility rates are changing among immigrant women is assimilation to the to local fertility patterns. This assimilation to the local patterns of fertility though exposure to the larger society in various forms, such as educational attainment, employment, national welfare policies, have been observed, and the younger a woman arrives in the host country, the closer her childbearing choices are to host country patterns (Sobotka 2008 236, 237). For the Netherlands, Joop Garssen and Han Nicolaas (2008) have observed that fertility rates for both Moroccan and Turkish women are falling and the second generations will play a part in the decrease. Like Dutch women, second generation women of immigrant backgrounds are waiting to have children and this second generation resembles native Dutch women. There is a decline in newly arrived Turkish and Morrocan women compared to those who arrived in the Netherlands a few decades ago. Garssen and Nicolaas believe that this is due to declining fertility rates in Morocco and Turkey, the countries or origin (1276, 1275).
In striking contrast to the first generations, the second generations have a completed fertility and mean age at first childbirth that hardly differ from those of native Dutch women. Turkish and Moroccan women in their early thirties have even slightly fewer children than native Dutch women of the same age. The teenage fertility rates of second generation Turkish and Moroccans are likewise comparable to that of native Dutch girls. In terms of fertility, women of the second generation no longer take up a middle position between the first generation and native Dutch women, but resemble native Dutch women much more than their mothers.
Our data indicate that the age at first childbirth, childlessness and family size can change very strongly from one generation to the next. The prevailing western system of social norms and possibilities, for example with respect to female education and labour participation, may therefore have a much stronger effect than the traditional values held by the non-western first generation (Garssen and Nicolaas 2008, 1276-1277)."Counting Muslims" is dubious - a bigot's buzywork - as all babies born to women of Musilm background must be carriers of the dreaded sharia disease, right?. Now, given that some of Muslim background may not practice, or renounce, there are converts, and many European governments do not "count" those residing in their nations by "religion" - "counting" is folly. The real purpose of "counting Muslims" is dehumanization and such discourse degrades into one of Islamophobia intended to create fear as to the "number of Muslims in my country must mean a certian level of Islamification."
European Islam - If the Muslims in the Netherlands can't get their political act together to Islamify their country, surly "they" must attend the mosque in large numbers. Well, no … and it seems that the carriers of the sharia disease really are quite Europeanized. Only about 27% of Dutch Muslims attend mosque weekly, in contrast to 7% of Catholics attending weekly mass - and 20% of the entire country attends some kind of worship once a week (CBS 2008). A study project of Dutch Muslims between 1999 and 2002 found that only 1/3 attended mosque regularly, and of those most only occasionally. Most Turks and Moroccians say they practice their religion at least partially, however, young people see themselves as Muslims but do not have the same religious convictions as their parents (Klausen 2008 19; Demant, Maussen and Rath. 2007 14).
[T]he focus on Muslims as a group faces the challenge that Muslims are not a fixed group with defined boundaries, but rather a diverse set of individuals with different religious practices and attachments, who are currently defined and marked as such mainly from outside (Open Society 2010, 30).With all the talk of "integration," it could actually be the discrimination and prejudice against European Muslims that is the actual problem. According to the Open Society Institute (2010) this discrimination and prejudice affects European Muslims in housing choices, schooling and low expiations from teachers and the ability to access the labor market. The OSI study found that European Muslims in the 11 cities held the desire to live and interact in mixed communities and this finding renders as a myth the notion that European Muslims desire to live among their own kind. The most interaction between people occurred in the homes (23-24).
The picture of European Muslims presented by the several studies is not one of "Islamification" nor the creation of "Eurabia," but one where Islam is a part of the European mosaic. The implications of the Eurabia myth assumes that European Muslims are "united by Islam." First, we see that the studies themselves indicate that European Muslims are a highly diverse group. This diversity depends upon the national origins of the Muslim believer (Turkey, Morocco) and the community the believer lives in. Second, European Muslims, for the most part, participate in the democratic processes of their local and national communities, and place trust in democratic institutions. On the European level, European Muslims participate in civic organizations that are often aimed to European level issues, such as human rights and freedom of woriship. The notion that Islam is "incompatible with democracy" in the context of European society is absolutely delusional, as the research does not provide any support for this notion.
Defining Islamophobia. Yes - there is a real definition.[TOP]
It has been said, usually by the far -right and their supporters, that there is "no such thing as Islamophobia." Well - the term is getting use in academic writing, not that it is a psychiatric term normally associated with "phobia," but out of a need to label the irrational fear of Islam and Muslims. Which is the starting point here for the definition of "Islamophobia." In their book, Islamophobia Making Muslims the Enemy (2008) on hate of Muslims in America and in political cartoons, Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg take several pages to define the term, starting with an exercise for the reader to "brainstorm" and think of words associated with "Islam" and "Muslim" (1). To Gottschalk and Greenberg, Islamophobia is a social anxiety toward Islam and Muslims. Part of the significance of Islamophobia involves stereotypes and images of "Muslims," such as men as perpetrators of violence and oppressors of women. Also part of this stereotype is the notion that "Muslims" come from a "fifth column" of "those people," that is expressed though the images of political cartoons. It is not that the artists of political cartoons, suggest the authors, but that their latent Islamophobia is expressed though their cartoons (4-6).
Chris Allen give us a definition of Islamophobia as the first sentence of his essay, "Islamophobia and its Consequences" as the shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam - and, therefore, to fear or dislike of all Muslims (2007, 144). Allen derives this definition from the 1997 Runnymede Report by the Commission on British Muslims, where the term was used and not really though of having use beyond the United Kingdom. Allen points out that the term is often abused, but that it also does apply to "those that openly espouse hatred for Islam and Muslims founded upon various ideological foundations." Like Gottschalk and Greenberg, the media the main producer of stereotypical misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims, along side of notion of "clash of civilizations," from which we see European governments, who are attempting to bring about bans on various aspects of Muslim symbols, such as the headscarf of Mulsim women (145).
Allen gives use the idea that there are several "Islamophobias" and researcher Jocelyne Cesari gives us the uses in the European context. This term in practically non-existent in America, but extensively used in the United Kingdom, and is often the subject of debate. Islamophobia, according to Cesari, "is a modern and secular anti-Islamic discourse and practice appearing in the public sphere with the integration of Muslim immigrant communities and intensifying after 9/11."
We can arrive at a definition of Islamophobia from the discourse in chiefly Europe contexts as a "a largely social anxiety toward Islam and Muslim communities that manifests itself as an often an irrational fear and hate of the presence of Islam and Muslims in Europe that is shown in speech, images, actions and public policy directed against European Muslims."
Some of this Islamophobia after September 11 also fell into the already uneasy discourse of the European public over immigration. The European far-right radicals, including Geert Wilders, are becoming united in their Islamophobia and the belief in the Islamification myth. As we have seen, the notion that European Muslims are united for "Team Islam" and set up to take over Europe is Islamophobic rubbish, but in the section below we shall see some of Europe's most noted believers in the Islamification myth, based on the fable of Eurabia.
What the European far-right and Wilders have in common - belief in the "Islamification" myth. Since WWII Europe has seen far right parties come and go, but this new episode is far more dangerous of a threat to Europe and the European project. The anti-Semitism that these parties preached is often illegal in some European countries, but Islamophobia and hate for European Muslims is not. For this reason, it is safe to bash Muslims and this bashing has meant that anti -Muslim platforms have been adapted, provide a unifying force for Europe's far right - and has meant great election successes for these new "freedom fighters."[TOP]
The Austria's fascist far-right and its "new warnings about Islam." The Austrian "Freedom Party" (FPO), which is described as a neo-Nazi party, pays tribute every year to "heroes" that fought against the Russians' for the Hitler regime. Herbert Schweiger, a former Nazi officer is described as being the one who crafted the successes of Europe's far-right. Schweiger has remarked that "our time is coming again soon and we will have another leader like Hitler" (Briggs March 18, 2009).
Could Geert Wilders be that Hitler?! Bigots of a feather flock together - and Islamophobia and the Islamification myth is the binding hate force in Europe these days and Wilders is now that major force, as you shall soon see.
These days, anti-Semitism has been replaced with attacks on European Muslims and "their Islamification of our country." Like Geert Wilders, FPO members complain that they "are not allowed to tell the truth about … a threat" and they "must fight to save our heritage and culture." To these FPO members, the "anti-fascists are the real fascists." Also like Geert Wilders, the FPO would like to repeal "anti-free speech" law," which in Austria prevent the display of Nazi symbols. In September 2008, the FPO made massive gains in an election along side of another far-right party, which frightened many with visions of the rise these parties in the 1930s. The election successes of the FPO leader, Heinz Christian Strache, have been cheered on by Nick Griffin, who wished for further election successes for the European Parliament elections and the desire to form a far-right bloc in Brussels. As Billy Briggs, who was sent to observe the rise of the Austrian far-right noted:
The Swiss People's Party and nationalist Islamophobia. The usually tolerant nation of Switzerland is also falling victim to the Islamification myth. It has been noted that the Swiss People's Party (SVP) ran an "American style campaign" (Swissinfo 28 September 2007), but what the Swiss People's Party is best noted for was how it engineered the ban on the construction of minarets into the Swiss Constitution. This Swiss People's Party ran a highly negative political campaign that blamed foreigners for all the problems of Switzerland. There were riots in the streets as the SVP called to throw Muslims out of the country. The Swiss foreign population is about a fourth, with many coming from Muslim nations that will be EU member states someday, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia. (CNN October 22, 2007).And just as the Nazis gained power on the back of extreme nationalism and virulent anti-Semitism, the recent unprecedented gains in Austria were made on a platform of fear about immigration and the perceived threat of Islam. FPO leader Heinz Christian Strache, for example, described women in Islamic dress as 'female ninjas'. Emboldened by the new power in parliament, neo-Nazi thugs have desecrated Muslim graves.
The SVP played the Islamification myth like a song, as the Swiss defied all calls by their Church leaders and government officials to vote NO to the ban. The ban was promoted as a form of "integration" and to "stop Islamification of Switzerland," even as government officials did not favor the ban and warned that the ban could spawn terrorism and a backlash. The posters the promoted the YES vote were glaringly Islamophobic in nature, just as the SVP was accused in 2007 of running an racist election campaign. Even the Swiss President denounced the SVP's 2007 campaign: (Bremmer, November 30, 2009; Ivereigh, November 30, 2009).
The SVP's racism was criticized by UN special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène, who contacted the Swiss Interior Minister to protest the racist campaign that was being run is Switzerland. The SVP spokesperson said about the UN rapporteur's words that "she was a troublemaker that never had a good thing to say about Switzerland." With its Islamophobia, banking scandals, tax havens, along with the far-right Swiss People's Party - there is a prospect that Switzerland is becoming a rogue nation (Swissinfo August 30, 2007; Kettmann, March 19, 2010). Unlike "real" rogue nations - there are no sanctions, cutoff in aid, trade, and the like for Switzerland. It's business as usual with this rouge nation.I think it is important that there are people in this country who have the courage to stand up and denounce this type of campaign, which to be quite frank disgusts me. It disgusts me because it stirs up hatred. They are racist campaigns (Swissinfo August 30, 2007).
To pick on Muslims is easy, as American Magazine's Austen Ivereigh points out. Swiss Christians spoke out in spades against the banning of Islamic minarets, with only four in the entire country - as a violation of the freedom of religion. Part of the rubbish arguments were that "Christians can't build churches in Saudi Arabia, but many of the Swiss Muslim population comes from the Balkans - and could care less about the policies of Saudi Arabia! Oh - the nonsense of the Islamification myth and the Islamophobia that follows it!
The theme that Switzerland, and other European nations - may be under some kind of panic. The ban reflects "Europeans growing fear of Islam." (Europeans have more to fear from missing the Easter Bunny that from Islam.) the whole talk from those that either believe the Islamification myth and those that are sick with Islamophobia are "sending a strong signal about the concerns of average people regarding Islam; it will encourage people in other countries to develop strategies." (Pommereau November 30, 2009; )Yes - to oppress a religion in the name of a myth and irrational fear of a religion that was in place in Europe before 9-11 and some state is a western religion (Roy 2004).It is a good illustration of the scapegoat mechanism. The smaller the minority, the easier it is to whip up hatred against it. Muslims make up about 6% of Switzerland's 7.5 million people, many of them refugees from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, and fewer than 13% practise their faith. It's not as if there was a backlash against muezzins either -- Swiss mosques do not broadcast the call to prayer outside their buildings. Switzerland has about as much chance of being 'Islamified' as being flat (Ivereigh, November 30, 2009).
Geert Wilders the Islamophobic maniac (and Hitler?) In a commentary Oliver Kamm pointed out that the rise of "populism" and the far right in Europe was a result of the fears of Islamification. The commentator rightfully pointed that Wilders believes in the fantastic notion that Europe and his own country are being "Islamified" - which we now know is absolute rubbish:
So true, but there are enough Dutch voters that could put Wilders' in as the Netherlands' next prime minister - and - as Mladá Fronta Dnes points out, we will have the first leader of an EU Member State that actually believes in the fable of "Eurabia" (PressEurop March 4, 2010). Wilders apparently gave a speech in which he called for the mass deportation of Muslims from the Netherlands, that Dutch Muslims should be given money to leave the country. If Geert Wilders succeeds in obtaining the post of prime minister in the June general elections, for the first time ever an EU state will be governed by a man who believes in the existence of Eurabia - a mythological future continent that will replace modern Europe, where children from Norway to Naples will learn to recite the Koran at school, while their mothers stay at home wearing burqas (PressEurop March 4, 2010). Now -last year, 2009, Wilders restated false rubbish to a Danish television station, as demonstrated above, that European Muslims want a "non-democratic" society and that Islam is "antidemocratic." From above, Islam is as decentralized as Protestantism and is expressed in various ways in various cultures in Europe, including in a democratic fashion. European Islam is, for the most part secularized and quite harmless. It's Wilders that's the threat.This is nonsense. Muslims are a small minority in Western Europe and their median fertility rate is declining. The secularist position seeks to remove religion from government, not to drive it out of civil society (Times Online November 30, 2009).
So, according to Wilders, millions of European Muslims should be stripped of their nationality and deported (to where?). "Huge numbers" of Muslims want this "non-democratic society" (again rubbish) as soon as "they get stronger" (so they can't have their own civil organizations?) Wilders states that "millions and millions" of Muslims should be deported - but Wilders appears to generalize the "crime problems" and criminality to "Muslims." Apparently Wilders, the champion of "freedom of speech" does not want to debate other Dutch political figures over his generalizations (NRC June 15, 2009; DutchNews June 15, 2010). Would Dutch Muslims be "law abiding" if their holy book, the Koran, is banned or even made criminal?
Wilders is as good at generalities, as every Muslim that reads the Koran (probably most do) are "Islamists" and it is clear from Wilders that every Dutch Muslim is an Islamist, and therefore, a terrorist. After a former Muslim parliamentarian was attacked, Wilders then called for the banning of the Koran. Wilders, as we know, likened the Muslim holy book to Hitler's Mein Kampf, he argued in the Volkskrant in August of 2007. Dutch Muslim Contact Group spokeswomen started that Wilders "should be ignored" and that Wilders antics were a result of there "being a lack of news for the moment." (Reuters August 8, 2007; Waterfield Auguat 9, 2007)."Ban this wretched book just like Mein Kampf is banned. Send a signal ... to Islamists that the Koran can never, ever be used in our country as an excuse or inspiration for violence" (qtd. in Reuters August 8, 2007).
As demonstrated above, the Dutch Muslim population, immigrants from Morocco and Turkey, acquire the birthrates of native Dutch, non-Muslims in the second generation, but Wilders seems to think that there is a "tsunami of Islamisation" in his country of less than one million Muslims. As demonstrated, it is possible to be a Dutchman and a Muslim, and the two are not exclusive (2) and the Dutch Muslim population is an integrated and secularized one in Dutch society.
Conclusions -the powerful myth of Islamification.[TOP]
While this paper serves largely as data mining exercise for the research project on the Islamification myth and the moral panic that is following it - this moral panic over the Islamification myth is resulting sad observations. The Swiss were once known as a tolerant and peaceful society, so much so that human rights institutions are located there. Likewise, the once noble and highly respected Dutch national identity of tolerance and human rights and respect for international law is being tossed out for a new and dangerous nationalism built on the Islamification myth.
For their part, European Muslims are victims of this (greater victimization may be in the future) and as the data show European Islam is as much a part of the European mosaic as humanism, atheism, and yes, Christianity. European Muslims are a diverse population, owing to the differences in cultural traditions they come from AND the cultural differences of the European homelands that they had adapted to. There is every indication that the second generation Muslims are every bit as European as non-Muslim Europeans. Radicalized young Muslims are a lost generation - but they are very few in number, and the larger European Muslim community can and must be enlisted to save the few Muslim youth from radicalization and certain death. These short-sighted policies based on Islamophobia are based on the myth that "Europe is being Islamified." This myth of Islamification has its own moral panics in individual countries of Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
What may actually occur is a self -fulfilling prophesy of the radicalization of Muslims youth due to the pains of discrimination, social exclusion - and European institutional structures, such as the Council of Europe, that are ill-equipped to protect the rights of European Muslims and due true justice. What can be said is that it is Europe and European nations that are becoming radicalized, radicalized by the far-right and extremists, like Geert Wilders.
Neither Europe, nor the Netherlands are being "Islamified" - that is clear from recent research on European Muslims - and this notion is a myth that drives the European far-right and extremists, like Geert Wilders. What European Islam is not, however, a monolithic invading force that has come to destroy Europe. European Muslims are not some kind of radicalized army, "united by Islam" that carry the "sharia" disease.
This irrational notion of Islamophobia is now being mainstreamed as the moral panic of European Islam is resulting in targeted bans on headdress worn by Muslim women under what appear to be dubious and shaky legal grounds. While claiming to "emancipate women from a symbol of bondage," there is nothing to say about Muslim women who choose to wear a head covering out of her own religious belief. There are even calls in Belgium to criminalize the wearing of Muslim women's clothing! Putting limits on the personal choice of clothing of Muslim women in the name of their "emancipation" is hypocritical rubbish, but indicates the moral panic that Europe is under with regard to Islam. The fact that many European Muslims are citizens of their European nations and the European Union
All of these sad losses of once cherished and respect national identities are being replaced by far-right nationalism that is centered on irrational fears (Islamophobia) of European Muslims. The moral panic study will probably add European moral panic as a part of Islamophobia.
The reality is that especially Geert Wilders needs to be taught the truth and the facts about Muslims in his own country and in Europe. Islam is not a threat to Europe - but its extremists and far-right hate mongers that are the real threat to Europe. Exclusion of Muslims is simply not the right answer, but for the blind like Wilders, leading the blind, those that follow him. The threat to Europe and the Netherlands is not from Muslims, they are too diverse and too much a part of the European mosaic to be of harm to anyone. Again - Islamification is a myth and Eurabia is a fable - but a dangerous one if Wilders actually gets to be the next Dutch prime minister.
1. This exercise reminds me of my criminology undergraduate days as Florida State, when we had to, in class, close your eyes and picture a "rapist," "mugger," "drug dealer," and most often the vision for many in class was young, male and black. This exercise is effective in demonstrating "generic criminal-type." Now - close your eye and picture a "terrorist" and "religious radical!" What do you see - a dark-skinned Muslim? We should be reminded that Europe's most dangerous terrorists were white European "reds" influenced by communism.
2. The same demographic organization that studied European and Dutch Muslim birthrates also had a wonderful article on being both Dutch and Muslim. "On being Dutch and Muslim" - Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographics Institute.
Allen, Chris and Jørgen S. Nielsen. 2002. Summary Report on Islamophobia in the EU after 11 September 2001. European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. May. [http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/attachments/Synthesis-report_en.pdf] accessed on April 2, 2010.
Allen, Chirs. 2007. Islamophobia and its Consequences. In European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy. Amghar, Samir, Amel Boubekeur and Michael Emerson, eds. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies, 144-168.
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Other related articles and websites[TOP]
Eurabia MythAktürk, Sener and Mujeeb R. Khan. 2010. How Western anti-Muslim bigotry became respectable: The historic roots of a newly resilient ideology. Axis of Logic. 5 January. [http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_58013.shtml] accessed on March 4, 2010.
Boot, Max. 2010. “Eurabia” Debunked. January 6. Commentary Magazine. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/boot/212021 [accessed on April 11, 2010.]
Greenweld, Glenn. 2009. The allegedly growing domestic Muslim threat. December 14. Salon. [http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2009/12/14/terrorism] March 20, 2010.
Peters, Ralph. 2006. The 'Eurabia Myth.' Muslims taking over Europe? Sorry, there's no Chance. November 29. New York Post.
Saunders, Doug. 2008. The 'Eurabia' myth deserves a debunking. September 20. Globe and Mail. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/article711186.ece] accessed on March 4, 2010.
Vaïsse, Justin. 2010. What Eurabia Authors get wrong about Islam in Europe. Janurary/Feburary. Foreign Policy. [http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/04/eurabian_follies] Accessed on March 4, 2010.
Wolf, Joerg 2006. US Prophets of Europe's Doom are Half Wrong. October 20. Atlantic Review. accessed on March 4, 2010.
Dutch MuslimsBayham, Lindsay. 2008. Second Generation, Not Second Class. May. Duke University. [http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1046&context=isp_collection]
Brinks, Jan Herman. 2008. The Netherlands between Islam and populism. Politique étrangère, Nr. 3, 587-98.[http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/cgjs/publications/HBLesPaysEng.pdf] accessed on March 4, 2010.
Kent, Mary Mederios. 2008. Do Muslims Have More Children Than Other Women in Western Europe? Feburary. Population Reference Bureau. [http://www.prb.org/Articles/2008/muslimsineurope.aspx?p=1] accessed on March 4, 2010.
Valenta, Markha. 2006. Facing up to Islam in the Netherlands. Feburary 6. Open Democracy.
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Verkuyten, Maykel and Jochem Thijs.2002. Racist victimization among children in The Netherlands: the effect of ethnic group and school. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Vol. 25 No. 2 (March), 310-331.
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European MuslimsCaeiro, Alexandre. 2004. Muslim Youth in France. June 11. CNRS-GSRL [http://www.cestim.it/argomenti/02islam/02islam-caero-torino.pdf] accessed on March 4, 2010.
City Mayors Society. 2010. The state of Muslims in Western European cities. March 22. [http://www.citymayors.com/society/muslims-europe-cities.html] accessed on April 1, 2010.
Council of Europe. Islam in Europe. [http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/youth/Source/Resources/Forum21/Issue_No12/N12_Islam_in_Europe_en.pdf]
Human Rights Watch. 2007. In the Name of Prevention. June 5. [http://www.hrw.org/en/node/10947/section/2] accessed on Feburary 20, 2010.
Inglehart, Ronald and Pippa Norris. 2009. Muslim Integration into Western Cultures: Between Origins and Destinations. March Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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Torrekens, Corinne. 2007. Concentration of Muslim populations and structure of Muslim associations in Brussels.Brussels Studies. Issue 4, March 5. [http://www.briobrussel.be/assets/andere%20publicaties/en_35_bs4en.pdf] March 16, 2010.
Vaïsse, Justin. 2008. Muslims in Europe: A Short Introduction. September. Brookings Institute. [http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2008/09_europe_muslims_vaisse.aspx] [PDF Report] accessed on April 1, 2010.
Vladescu, Eloisa. 2006. The Assimilation of Immigrant Groups in France— Myth or Reality? U. of Miami. Vol. 5 No. 39 [http://www6.miami.edu/eucenter/VladescuWP%20French%20Immigration.pdf] March 16, 2010
YaleGlobal. Swiss Referendum Stirs a Debate About Islam - http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/swiss-referendum-stirs-debate-about-islam