Last night when I debated Dinesh D'Souza for what I hope is just the first time, he kept invoking Bernard Lewis. I would make a point about Islamic teaching or the jihad ideology, and he would respond by talking about Bernard Lewis. It wasn't so much an Argument From Authority as an Argument From Bernard Lewis. Now, we have taken issue with Bernard Lewis in the past, and will not hesitate to do so in the future if we think it necessary; we do not believe, as some apparently do, that being the leading and justly renowned authority in a field confers infallibility. Nevertheless, at the same time it remains true that my areas of agreement with Lewis are much larger than any areas of disagreement I may have with him, and D'Souza's attempt to portray me as the Anti-Lewis founders on any actual examination of what I have written (an examination D'Souza has clearly not made).
And as Andrew Bostom points out to me, Bat Ye'or saw all this in 1994, when she said: "I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in a relativization of religion, a self-critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism...we are light years away from such a development...On the contrary, I think that we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking...All the racist fanaticism that permeates the Arab countries and Iran has been manifested in Europe in recent years..." Lewis was light years away from saying anything like this at that time, but it is good to see that he is catching up.
"Muslims 'about to take over Europe,'" by David Machlis and Tovah Lazaroff in the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
Islam could soon be the dominant force in a Europe which, in the name of political correctness, has abdicated the battle for cultural and religious control, Prof. Bernard Lewis, the world-renowned Middle Eastern and Islamic scholar, said on Sunday.
The Muslims "seem to be about to take over Europe," Lewis said at a special briefing with the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post. Asked what this meant for the continent's Jews, he responded, "The outlook for the Jewish communities of Europe is dim." Soon, he warned, the only pertinent question regarding Europe's future would be, "Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?" The growing sway of Islam in Europe was of particular concern given the rising support within the Islamic world for extremist and terrorist movements, said Lewis.
Lewis, whose numerous books include the recent What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East, and The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, would set no timetable for this drastic shift in Europe, instead focusing on the process, which he said would be assisted by "immigration and democracy." Instead of fighting the threat, he elaborated, Europeans had given up.
"Europeans are losing their own loyalties and their own self-confidence," he said. "They have no respect for their own culture." Europeans had "surrendered" on every issue with regard to Islam in a mood of "self-abasement," "political correctness" and "multi-culturalism," said Lewis, who was born in London to middle-class Jewish parents but has long lived in the United States.