FOR over three decades, the historian Bat Ye’or has been a voice in the wilderness. Her warning that “jihad” had in the 1970s reemerged as a powerful force in much of Europe, fell on deaf ears.
Most Europeans denied what was confronting them. They were equally blind, according to Ye’or, to the fact that many European politicians were effectively in collusion with the jihadists, motivated by economic aims, a philosophy of appeasement or by the shared values of anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
The 9/11 attacks, along with the revelation that several of the perpetrators had been educated at European mosques and universities, led to a greater awareness of the Muslim fundamentalist threat in Europe. And the Madrid train bombings, which killed 190 people last year, only reinforced that understanding. Yet willful ignorance remains.
Indeed, militant Islamists have been much better at understanding and exploiting Western cultural ideals and weaknesses than European and American intellectuals have been in understanding theirs.
Many Western liberals “” viewing the world through their own narrow prism “” still insist that Islamic terrorism is the product of ignorance and poverty, despite overwhelming evidence that most suicide bombers have been highly educated and relatively wealthy. Like Nazis, Communists and others before them who would destroy Western civilization, the jihadists in Europe, Iraq and al Qaeda know exactly what they are doing.
In “Eurabia,” Ye’or points out that, for over a millennium, the effect of Islamic “jihad” through its political, military, economic and cultural components has been to subjugate and in some case extinguish once-thriving Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist civilizations in Asia, Africa and Europe.
She argues that “jihad” has now reappeared in Europe, not by accident but as the result of a grand design by French and other European diplomats to forge a new political entity, “Eurabia.” It would fuse together the European and Arab worlds, dispose of Israel “” the irritant in their way “” and then challenge America for world hegemony.
The term “Eurabia,” notes Ye’or, was first used in the mid-1970s, as the title of a journal edited by the president of the Association for Franco-Arab Solidarity.
Relying on detailed documents, minutes and directives generated by government bodies, including a little known organization set up by France in the 1970s called the Euro-Arab Dialogue, Ye’or charts the cooperation that has brought European democracies, Arab dictatorships and Islamic terror groups closer together. (Only last week, a Dutch diplomat was caught on film embracing a member of the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad in Gaza.)
But as Ye’or notes, what started as a scheme for a greater “Eurabia” controlled by the French (who would in turn welcome the flow of Arab oil and Muslim immigration into Europe) has turned into an attempt by fundamentalist Muslims to take over Europe.
Within a single generation, a significant portion of the population of major cities in a dozen European countries have become Muslim.
Yet the crisis for Europe isn’t about numbers, but militancy. Of course, most European Muslims wish to integrate, while peacefully practicing their religion. But opinion polls indicate that an increasing minority do not.