Published: 00:00 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 11 August 2005
The Islamization of Europe
On Friday 20th May 2005 a crowd of some 300 Muslims burned a wooden cross outside the American embassy in London. This was part of a protest against the rumoured desecration of a Qur’an by American soldiers in Guantanamo Bay, during which British and American flags were also burned. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this event was that it was not deemed to be newsworthy, receiving little attention in the national press.
The whole scenario is reminiscent of what happens in so many Muslim-majority countries: a rumour of an insult to Islam, a violent and blasphemous anti-Christian reaction, police watching idly, and a complete lack of public interest let alone outrage. It could have been Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia or Northern Nigeria. But it was the UK.
Europe is undergoing a rapid process of change as Muslims make their presence felt in politics, economics, law, education and the media. While there is a wide range of attitudes amongst Muslims in Europe, with many who are broadly content with the status quo and just want to live their lives peacefully, others are striving deliberately to drive forward the changes. As a result of the efforts of the latter, Europe is gradually being transformed into a society in which Islam takes its place, not just as an equal alongside the many other faith communities, but often as the dominant player. This is not purely, or even primarily, a matter of numbers, but is more a matter of control of the structures of society. It is not happening by chance but is the result of a careful and deliberate strategy by certain Muslim leaders.
Though the effects are only now becoming noticeable, the planning was done decades ago. In 1980 the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States which clearly explained the Islamic agenda in Europe. When Muslims live as a minority they face theological problems, because classical Islamic teaching always presupposed a context of Islamic dominance; hence the need for guidance on how to live in non-Muslim states. The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organise themselves with the aim of establishing a viable Muslim community based on Islamic principles. This is the duty of every individual Muslim living within a non-Muslim political entity. They should set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority. In order to resist assimilation, they must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration within the population as a whole. Yet they must also interact with non-Muslims so as to share the message of Islam with them. Every Muslim individual is required to participate in the plan; it is not allowed for anyone simply to live as a “good Muslim” without assisting the overall strategy. The ultimate goal of this strategy is that the Muslims should become a majority and the entire nation be governed according to Islam. (M. Ali Kettani “The Problems of Muslim Minorities and their Solutions” in Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States (London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1980) pp.96-105)
Not all Muslims would support this action plan. The more secularized are happy to become integrated within the majority society. Even amongst those who agree on the ultimate goal of creating an Islamic state, there are differences about methodology i.e. whether this should be a slow and peaceful transition, or whether it should be hastened by means of political dominance or even – say some – by violence.