Friday, October 15, 2004

Global Jihad:The Fear of Islamic Terror in Europe

[ The increasing numbers of Muslims and reducing numbers of Christians is a visible reality for Europe and America which has led to a serious Islamophobia. The attacks by Islamic terrorist could not have come at a worse time. The background was already prepared. In a way the 11th September incident and the latest developments proved to be the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. Are these fears totally unfounded? The role of Muslims in the world of crime further fuels the Western fears. The Western prisons are full of Muslim young man. Will it not be a matter of concern for a society if a very large number of criminals come from one single community? It is unbelievably true that more than 50 per cent of all prisoners in France are Muslims. Conditions are not much better in other European countries. Another fearful trend is that the large number of Muslim prisoners have converted these prisons into dens of conversion. ]

The Fear of Islamic Terror in Europe

Atul Rawat

In his book the Story of Civilization the famous historian Will Durant has written in the context of Indian history: "The Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within."

This comment by the great historian aptly describes the fear of Islam in the minds of the Europeans, though the original comment is in the context of India. Fritz Bolkestein who is the Single Market Commissioner of the European Union has given voice to the European fears. He has opposed the integration of Turkey into the European Union because it will suddenly increase the Muslim population in Europe by some seventy million. Interestingly, Bolkestein has never been a communal politician. He is counted as a liberal Dutch politician. He said that if seventy million Turkish Muslims were allowed entry, the European Union will implode. He further said that if Turkey enters the European Union then whatever dreams remain of a great European state, will also be demolished. Calling demography the mother of politics, he raised a pertinent question that while America remains the only superpower and China is emerging as an economic superpower, was Europe destined to be Islamized only? The fears to which this high level functionary of the European Union has given voice in this statement have emerged as all the more serious cause of concern in France and Germany.

The fear of Islam is increasing in almost all major countries of Europe. They are not limited to the question of Turkish integration into the European Union. The use of terrorism and demographic aggression as instruments of a growingly fundamentalist Islam is their root cause. The clash of Islam with the Western civilization is an emerging reality of the twenty first century. The rise of Islamic terrorism as the new enemy after the decline of communism and disintegration of the Soviet Union also represents the initial stages of the clash of the two major civilizations. The above quotation of Will Durant, aptly describes the situation because it focuses attention on both the strategies of the fundamentalist Islam — external aggression (the terrorism) and multiplication within (the demographic aggression). The demographic aggression again has two dimensions. One is the large-scale immigration both legal and illegal and the other is the high rate of growth of native Muslim population. Thus, the populations of the developed world are under twin pressures of (a) decreasing population of non-Muslims and (b) the increasing population of the Muslims both by immigration from the third world and a high rate of internal growth. On the other hand, the growth rate of Muslims is the highest in the Third World. According to data published in the New York Times, the population of the developed world has already begun to decline. By the middle of the twenty-first century, the world population will increase by around fifty per cent it would be around nine billion. The earlier estimates were for twelve billion. That means around three billion people would be missing in comparison to earlier estimates and these missing people would be mostly from the developed world. Even in real terms the population of Japan would reduce by 20 per cent. The populations of Russia, Germany and Italy will also decline. The United States will be an exception and its population will increase by 43 per cent. But immigration will also be a factor in this growth and many new Americans would be culturally much different from the white Americans. So the white population of Americans will have less power within the US. The same period will see the Italians reduced by ten per cent, Russians by 17 per cent and Germans by nine per cent. On the other hand, the projections in the Muslim world will be telling an entirely different story. The population of Pakistan will increase by a whopping seventy per cent and will be nearing almost 200 million or twenty crore. The population of Indonesia will increase by 40 per cent to reach the figure of 210 million or 21 crore.

It is due to the gravity of the situation that many western observers have begun to take note of the religious dimensions of the demographic problem. Samuel P Huntington gave the basic concept of the clash of civilizations in the early nineties of the last century. With the Islamic demographic aggression, the developed world increasingly believes the Huntington thesis. The increasing numbers of Muslims and reducing numbers of Christians is a visible reality for Europe and America which has led to a serious Islamophobia. The attacks by Islamic terrorist could not have come at a worse time. The background was already prepared. In a way the 11th September incident and the latest developments proved to be the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. Even if the hidden or exposed "fellow travellers" of the Islamic fundamentalists and the resultant terrorists may be speaking in highly intellectual terms, the complexities of the socio-economic, cultural and (what not) background of the international process, their undercurrents and surface manifestations which supposedly lead to terrorism, yet the reality is that the West is fearful of the growing numbers and aggressiveness of Islam and their own declining populations.

Are these fears totally unfounded? The role of Muslims in the world of crime further fuels the Western fears. The Western prisons are full of Muslim young man. Will it not be a matter of concern for a society if a very large number of criminals come from one single community? It is unbelievably true that more than 50 per cent of all prisoners in France are Muslims. Conditions are not much better in other European countries. Another fearful trend is that the large number of Muslim prisoners have converted these prisons into dens of conversion. When an Islamic terrorist is sent to jail he begins converting other prisoners into Islam. The Englishman, Richard C Reid, the famous shoebomber was converted to Islam in a prison. The socially misfit, the people from fringe groups, drug addicts, those from broken families and those with poor financial state sometimes land up in prison. They are easily converted first to Islam, subsequently to radical Islam and finally to terrorism. This trend is true not only in Europe, but similar incidents have been reported from Australia and America also. The Australian taxi driver of English origin by name Jack Roche was converted in a jail and the famous American Joe Predila became a Muslim in Florida jail in 1992.

The Whites are not alone in entering terrorism after conversion into Islam. Dhiren Barot was an India-born Hindu who became an Islamic terrorist by conversion. He took the name Abu Musa Ala Hindi. He is a famous British terrorist today. He has cases ranging from murder, making dirty bombs, chemicals and other explosives on him. He had secret plans of big American trade establishments like New York Stock Exchange and International Monetary Fund. The Muslims from all corners of the Islamic world are to be found in the rank of the Islamic terrorists. If the Spanish are fearful of moors and Asiatic Muslims, the Mirpuris have instilled fear not only in Southhall or even London, but in the whole of England.

Today Europe is fearful of Islam. During Medieval times such fears were created by invaders like Chengiz Khan (though he was not a Muslim). At one point of time in history the question of Crusades was churning Europe. The Christian emperors were raising armies to attack the Islamic world. That was in the beginning of the second millennium. Today at the beginning of the third millennium West and Islam are again confronting each other. The West is knocking at the doors of the Islamic world with American armies leading the Western civilization. But in this new crusade Islam, instead of fighting back directly, has chosen the weapons of terrorism and demographic aggression. These may not be as sophisticated as the American technology, but they are no less effective. And the West understands it fully well. That is why even a liberal leader like Bolkestien speaks in terms of imploding of the European Union under the pressure of Turkish Muslims. It is to be noted that the European fears of Islam are really grim.

Consider these facts: (a) no big terrorist has come from Turkey; (b) Turkish society can hardly be said to be under the clutches of the Islamic fundamentalism; and (c) Turkey is a NATO ally. But even a liberal leader is fearful of Turkey becoming a member in the European Union. If modern Turkey had given rise to Islamic fundamentalism or terrorism the way it is happening in Arabia or Central Asia or South Asia, how much the West would have been fearful or aggressive, can only be imagined!

Atul Rawat is an independent scholar of history and a journalist

Sentinal 14/10/2004