/ Mar 16, 2003
"The Islaming of Europe" Influencing France Says Author
New Book Reveals How Europe's Population Has Changed
"Fundamentalist Muslims will not be satisfied until, from England to Russia, the whole of the European continent is Islamic. What the Muslims could not conquer in previous centuries, they have determined to conquer in this one, says Alan Caruba.
Well before Americans had to ask why France was challenging America's view that Iraq must be disarmed and Saddam Hussein removed from power, the columnist wrote about "The Islaming of Europe." His new book, "Warning Signs", includes the now prescient commentary.
Writing in April 2002, Caruba said, "The assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, an outspoken opponent of immigration in general and Muslims in particular, plus the uproar over the initial success of the French politician, Le Pen, who shared similar views, points out the growing concerns many Europeans have regarding its Muslim population, in particular, and immigrants in general.
"The vote in France for Le Pen, a candidate with extreme right-wing political views, was generated by a growing concern of ordinary, native-born French men and women regarding their Muslim population and other immigrants. Here again, the fact that some five million Muslims are the second largest religious group in France may come as a surprise; more than half of whom are French citizens. They are largely the result of France's colonial past, especially in the North African region."
In "Warning Signs", Caruba points out that "Most of the Muslim community in France are from nations called the "Maghreb", Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Others come from Turkey, Senegal, and Mali. Some are converts. Islam has a long history in France. Ironically, the spread of Islam into Europe was ended with their defeat at Poitiers, France, in 732. It would not be until 1683 when Muslims were defeated near Vienna, that further expansion efforts ended in Europe. Now Muslims merely immigrate to European nations.
"France's situation is particularly instructive," says Caruba today. "Immigration began in earnest in the 1950s, primarily from Maghreb nations. For decades, the religion was largely invisible and Muslims represented the lowest rungs of the economic and social ladder, but, in the 1990s second and third generation French Muslims underwent a re-conversion of sorts, joining the ranks of radical Islam to seek an identity in a society from which they felt excluded.
"This is interesting, too, because, twenty years ago, the demand for official recognition of Islam led to the Charter of Muslim Faith that defined how a French Muslim could remain faithful to both Islam and France. Today, native French citizens tend to regard Muslims as a danger to their society."
A clue as to why France has become an obstacle to US objectives lies in the fact, says Caruba, that "The French government, however, has seen integration of Muslims into French society as a wiser path than some form of de facto isolation."
Americans Unaware of Europe's Muslim Population
Few Americans are aware of the extensive Muslim population throughout the whole of Europe, says Caruba. The good news is that "Reportedly, the overwhelming majority of Europe's Muslims see their religion as a moderate one. There are 32.5 million Muslims throughout England, Europe, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Some are in the process of redefining Islam as people born and bred in Europe." The bad news is that many of the terrorists involved in 9-11 or its planning have a European connection, having lived or studied there."
Always in the shadow of Germany, many are surprised to learn that, "currently, Muslims are the third largest religion in Austria and growing. Their numbers doubled between 1981 and 1991. These Muslims are largely immigrants and are often political refugees. The bulk are formerly Turkish and citizens of the former Yugoslavia. The recent Balkan wars drove a lot of Muslims to choose Austria as a homeland.
"The relationship between Muslim minorities and the State of Austria has been formalized and regulated since 1912 by the Islam Act that officially recognized the religion. It led to the establishment of the Muslim Faith Union in 1979 and Austrians Muslims are taught their faith in public schools with teachers paid by the State. The rise of nationalistic political parties in Austria reflects a concern seen in France. Increasingly, a growing portion of native Austrians are suspicious and fearful of Muslims."
Similarly, notes Caruba, "In Poland, chiefly Polish-Lithuanian Tartars, a group estimated between two and three thousand, have lived in that nation for some 600 years. Their small numbers versus the overwhelmingly Catholic Poles has left them largely ignored."
It's a much different story, however, in the post-Soviet Caucasus. "Islamic fundamentalism has, for example, led Muslim Chechens to use terrorism and war on the Russians to seek a separate and Islamic nation. The Russians have responded to the Chechens in the same fashion as the US has to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"Several former Russian provinces, now independent, but allied republics, have large, if not dominant Muslim populations. These include Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kryghyezstan, and Kazakhstan. Add to this, Albania. The recent Balkan wars were largely religious movements by militant Muslims and, ironically, the US sided with them and against the Serbs. So did the rest of Europe."
"Now, when you say Europe," says Caruba, "keep in mind that the nations that compose it are increasingly home to a growing population of Muslims." Caruba warns that, "Wherever a population of Muslims gains in numbers, they begin to demand autonomy or a change in the governmental structure to reflect Islamic law."
While most American do not regard Great Britain as part of Europe, Caruba says, "It may surprise you to learn that Muslims are the second largest religious group in England after the Anglican and Catholic majorities. There are some two million Muslims in Great Britain. They are not indigenous to England, being largely newcomers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. Others come from Africa, Asia, and even Europe.
"The Muslims of England are very diverse in many ways, except for their faith in Islam. Increasingly, though, demands have grown for education of Muslim children to reflect their religion, for official recognition of the Islamic faith. Native-born Brits are less than thrilled with their growing numbers and demands."
Caruba's weekly column, "Warning Signs", is posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, (www.anxietycenter.com) a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns designed to influence public opinion and policy.
Founded by Caruba in 1990, the Center is headquartered in Maplewood, NJ. His column is excerpted on more than thirty news and opinion Internet sites and has an estimated readership exceeding fifty million. "Warning Signs", the book has just been published by Merril Press of Bellevue, Washington. It is available from Amazon.Com.
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