“The long distance, already successfully underway, is to apply existing western laws to implement Sharia in their societies. Between Sharia and radical violence is a distance so short, it is impossible for the west to avert or mitigate the risks of Islamic terror.”
Washington DC – August 10, 2009 (Farid Ghadry Blog) -ï¿½In 2004 through 2005, Alex Alexiev, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute, held conferences in Europe to warn Europeans of the spread of Islam, on their continent, because of liberal immigration policies and organic high birth rate.
In 2004, The Standard Weekly followed with an article by Christopher Caldwell. “When Bernard Lewis speaks” was an interview with the world renowned history scholar. In it, Prof. Lewis aims at informing Europeans of the deep social and political change their continent is experiencing due to change the EU identity by the end of the century.
Yesterday, the Telegraph of London, published a report entitled: “Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent” detailing the social change the EU is facing, the gist of the article: EU Policy makers are not paying attention to this problem dubbed a “Time Bomb” by the author Adrian Michaels.
“The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain’s population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe’s Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys’ names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.”
Prof. Bassam Tibi (A fellow Syrian living in Germany) predicted in an interview in 2004 that Germany will, in 10 years, be fighting Muslim youth on the streets of its major cities. In January of 2006, he wrote a research paper entitled: “Between Segregation and Assimilation: the Formation of a Euro-Islamic Identity” in which he introduced further evidence of the on-going Islamization of Europe.
Then in October of 2006, in a Der Spiegel interview, Tibi responded to the lack of interest of his prediction by saying that “Europeans Have Stopped Defending Their Values”.
In the winter of 2005, Lorenzo Vidino wrote in The Middle East Quarterly a compelling research on the subject entitled: “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe”.
In 2008, Alex Alexiev, updates us in an article entitled “Stumbling toward Eurabia” published in the Journal of International Security Affairs. In it, Alexiev outlines the startling new evidence in Germany of the off-limits Muslim Ghettos where extremism flourishes, unnoticed and forgotten. Such is the case in France as well where riots erupted in 2007 and the world saw, for the first time, a view on the inside of these ghettos.
In 2006, during a conference in Prague, with President Bush attending, I spoke publicly about this issue (Having been inspired by Alexiev and having attended one of Tibi’s private conferences at The Hudson Institute in Washington DC) from an angle only a liberal Muslim and defender of freedom and human rights can speak from.
I said that oppression in Muslim countries is driving Arab Muslims to immigrate in large numbers to Europe. The combination of the EU’s liberal immigration policies, the newly found political correctness amongst EU policy makers, and the support Europe lends to Arab dictators areï¿½having an impact on their identity. I warned that unless Europe (and the US for that matter) helps address the root of the problem in the Arab countries, we all would be Sharia followers in the not so distanced future.
In 2008, during the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Annual Weinberg Founders Conference, the Makah of political conferences, a side forum moderated by Matthew Levitt about Muslims in Europe was held. The panel consisted of Colin Mellis, a Dutch expert, Maajid Nawaz of the British-based The Quilliam Foundation and Ms. Farah Pandith, at the time a Bush administration senior advisor on Muslim engagement in the European and Eurasian region (Today Ms. Pandith is the special representative to Muslim communities in the Obama administration). The discussion centered on the programs Holland and Britain were instituting to absorb or eradicate extremist Islamic behavior.
This event was important because many still remembered the subway bombings in London and the savage killing of Theodor Van Gogh on an Amsterdam street in November of 2004, by an extremist Muslim, for making a short film called “Submission”. The film was inspired by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Muslim member of the Dutch Parliament at the time fighting Islamic radicalism. After the movie made its debut, Ms. Ali survived the threats she received because of a 24/7 security provided by the Dutch Government (Today, Ms. Ali is a celebrated scholar living in the US).
Now, I am not an expert on social behavioral change programs but what I heard that day at the WINEP Weinberg conference, was not exactly comforting. Very smart people were describing to an audience how it is possible for Europe, with the help of the US, to keep a check on Islamic radicalism. The group paraded one social program after another with some success stories; and in my mind there is no doubt that Colin Mellis and Maajid Nawaz are honest and eager individuals promoting co-existence in the true liberal sense. However, none of the speakers spoke about the root of the problem: Lack of freedom in Arab Muslim countries forcing Muslims to emigrate, grow through birth rate, and eventually become radicalized through funding by extremist Islamic ideologies controlling today’s Muslim landscape.
For a moment, imagine the CDC (Center for Disease Control) solely concentrating on curing a deadly virus only to those coming through hospital doors without looking for those spreading the disease outside their center. That is what Europe and the US are doing today, with the exception of pursuing the Taliban and al-Qaeda. To stop radicalism, one has to reach to the Arab Muslim population, not through speeches, but by deposing their oppressors as the US did in Iraq. To stop the erosion of the European identity, violent Arab dictators must be deposed.
That’s not to say that the actions taken today by the US State Department and other US government institutions are not helping eradicate extremism through the work of civic societies in the Arab world, which address issues leading to freedom and democracy. On the contrary, MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative), one such program, helps in a variety of ways. But MEPI’s successes are measured against internal goals and not against the harm a violent Arab regime causes as a result of its oppressive methods. The success is measured by MEPI racing against itself when it should be measured against the regimes of tyranny.
Many would argue that a sudden jolt of freedom without a strong base of civic organization work helps radicals as we witnessed in the Gaza elections. True on the surface but the argument is faulty when pegged against the notion that dictatorial regimens will never allow any civic organization see the light of day to threaten its existence.
In Syria, for example, every organization must be registered and only those controlled by the regimes are allowed to operate using guidelines set by the very same regimes those organizations are supposed to challenge. The west has turned a blind eye to our affliction, and in some instances, helped create monsters it can no longer control.
Also, continued support for violent Arab dictators radicalizes the masses slowly and secretly. They escape to Europe where their indoctrination starts by taking advantage of western freedom and democracy. The long distance, already successfully underway, is to apply existing laws to implement Sharia in western societies. Between Sharia and radical violence is a distance so short, it is impossible for the west to avert or mitigate the risks of Islamic terror. So Tibi’s predictions of 2004 are right on target.
The solution to Islamic radicals is Muslim moderates in power to affect real change by helping Islam discover its path to harmony through real reforms. How would engaging Assad today help derail Islamic extremism when his oppressive rule germinates it? Many of us have been witnesses to Arab history over the last 40 years, which clearly demonstrates that supporting tyrannical rulers culminates in religious terror. Prior to the 70’s, there was no Islamic terror, no suicide bombers, or cars, and no Jihad against the infidels to speak of. Only the hijacking of planes, the killing of athletes and handicapped old men by Palestinian extremists. Upon dying, they were called martyrs and not Jihadists.
But if you follow, Lewis, Tibi, Alexiev, and scores of other scholars and journalists, it just may be too late. The west has to live in fear of extremism as long as the west supports violent Arab dictators. Meanwhile, moderate Muslims, already a minority, are fast becoming extinct.