Muslims in Europe: Euro-Islam for Integration or Push for Eurabia?
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A hit book of the 1990s was Samuel P. Huntigton’s Clash of Civilizations and the New World Order. Many considered the author’s claim that the end of the Cold War was not the end of history, as Francis Fukuyama’s theory predicted, but a clash of different religious and cultural civilizations to aggravate and even unnecessary scaremongering. Twenty-five years later, we see that the prediction has been confirmed: Europe has become a battleground between Islam and Western culture with Muslims in Europe choosing either to put up with European values or taking a more conservative, even fundamentalist route.
There are two opposing trends in the relationship between the indigenous European population and immigrant Muslims. The first, based on the clash of civilizations paradigm, essentially postulates a war between democratic Europe and its millions of Muslims imported from anti-democratic countries. The proponents of this position envisage a very ominous scenario, with the Islamization of Europe and the creation of Eurabia, a Muslim-majority caliphate.
On the other hand, Euro-Islam does not accept the former, as it does not consider the democratic Muslim immigrant masses who have already become Europeans and cannot be automatically classified as jihadists. The theory is that the front line is within the Muslim world, between Muslim fundamentalists and the moderates who oppose them. According to the theory’s adherents, European Muslims should not be seen as a homogeneous community, but as rival groups with very different individual motivations. The proponents of this movement express the hope that Europe can absorb and Europeanize this mass. One of its prominent proponents and theoretical founders is the Syrianborn German philosopher Bassam Tibi.
How did we get here, is there a solution, or will Islam be the dominant religion on our continent in 50-100 years? The spread of Islam is the duty of all Muslims, so they call Muslim areas the land of Islam – dar al Islam – and the rest the land of war – dar al harb – which they believe must be conquered. Usually with weapons, but also with pens, speech and money. Today in Europe, we call this stealth Sharia or quiet Islamisation.
One sign of Europeans’ possible submission to Islam is the growing number of converts. Around a fifth of the Islamic State’s European jihadists are indigenous, typically from the old Christian middle class. According to a 2014 survey, almost a quarter of the 1,132 French jihadists registered at the time were white Muslim converts. As for the women, they mostly embrace the religion of Mohammad in the suburbs in the hope of escaping the constant harassment from Mohammad’s imported third-world followers
The apocalyptic vision however of a Muslim Europe is still a long way off.
The last reliable statistic made in 2017 puts the number of Muslims in Europe at just 5 percent of the overall population of the European Union (including Great Britain at the time), or 30 million. Of course, the proportions vary greatly from country to country, with Muslim communities being less than 1 percent in Central and Eastern European countries (in Hungary less than 0,5 percent) in particular, and between 5 percent and 10 percent in some Western European countries (France, Belgium, Germany). If we look not only at the EU, but also at Russia, which has a large Muslim minority, and the Balkan states, the same figure is only 6 percent. Perhaps more interesting, the question of population growth, which is not yet conspicuously high, and is even similar to the non-Muslim population.
The End of Multiculturalism in Europe
In his book, British writer and publicist Douglas Murray argues that European multiculturalism is based on celebrating the host culture while focusing on the negative aspects of one’s own. The most welcoming countries were thus paradoxically branded as racist. Politicians can only talk about immigration in an optimistic narrative. When you find out that a terrorist worked in a fish and chip shop, you say, “But he’s integrated.” It was as if the buffet had infused him with British culture.
The author asks the question: why is diversity good in itself? Does not Europe need to diversify its culture? Is European gastronomy not diverse enough? Even if the answer is yes (the truth is no), a hundred thousand immigrants from the Levant will not make gyros more diverse. And if diversity is so important, why are immigrants only from former colonies? And if there are great aspects of cultures, should it be concealed that there are difficulties and negatives – even in the culture of immigrants? After all, does it not matter that there is a bit more beheadings, higher crime rates and a lot of sexual violence by immigrants, because it is the price of great progress that we can enjoy their
The greatest danger in Islam is undoubtedly fundamentalism.
Fundamentalists who dress their political goals in religious garb are extremely popular with the common people. They want to create a purely Islamic state in which religious scholars hold power and follow the teachings of the Quran to the letter. Their ideal is an Islamic state, which promotes the use of religious language and symbols. They advocate the expansion of Muslim education in public schools and even establish schools themselves. They declare a holy war, a jihad, to spread the faith of Muhammad so that the rest of the world will have the image of Islam as violent intolerance.
Throughout Europe, we have been talking for some time about the failure of multiculturalism, of the multicultural model. In addition to the real lack of a solution to the situation of Muslim minorities and the social, economic, political and cultural problems and tensions that come with it, the strong actions and rhetoric of extremist anti-Muslim and xenophobic parties and organizations certainly play a role.
In the Europe of today, left-liberal-minded people are basically tolerant of Islam and believe in the success of the integration of the Muslim masses. An exception is Denmark, where the left-wing immigration minister is the most vocal spokesman in controversies over Muslim integration. Conservatives who define themselves following right-wing values are like modern-day crusaders who are very hostile to the influx of Muslims, but they also oppose mass migration.
Although the vast majority of this population considers their religion important, the multi-million strong mass is very heterogeneous and their identities are diverse and multi-layered. Religious solidarity exists mainly in rhetoric. In practice, at any rate, other layers of identity (nationality, social class, place of residence, etc.) or even current conflicts of interest easily override a common religion.
The analysis further detailing the political situation of Muslims in Europe as well as different relevant aspects of Islam that defines Muslims’ stance towards a society and lifestyle much different from their own, was originally published by and is available on ‘The Long Brief’.
The article can be purchased HERE.
István started his studies in 2003 at the Department of Political Science, in the University of Miskolc. He received his degree in Political Science in 2008. The focus area of his degree was security policy issues in international relations. The topic of his thesis was the American geopolitics in the Middle East and the Iraq War. After graduation, he was admitted to the Hungarian Administrative Scholarship. He spent his traineeship in the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, and at the Hungarian Permanent Representation in Brussels, at the Press and Protocol Department. Meanwhile, he finished a correspondence master’s course in European and International Administration in the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest. Formerly, he worked as a press officer in various ministries. He successfully completed training of journalism and project management.
István was the organizer and participant of numerous international conferences: Visegrád School of Political Studies in the V4 capitals (2015, participant); the annual World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg (2015, participant), the joint workshop of the CDDG Committee of the Council of Europe on e-democracy and e-government in Budapest (2015, organizer) International Conference on Christian Persecution in Budapest (2019, organizer) GLOBSEC Tatra Summit (2021, participant)
Currently, he works as a project manager and freelance journalist for various Hungarian online magazines focusing on security policy and the post-soviet region.