Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald suggests that the French, and Europe in general, study a bit of history before they decide how to deal with a panoply of issues, including the Muslim presence in Western Europe and Turkey’s entry into the EU.
The rioting in France may have administered the coup de grace to Turkey”s bid to enter the European Union. One may hope.
It may seem the easier course not to turn Turkey down flat, but to string it along, hoping that something will happen to allow a more graceful way of preventing full Turkish membership. This would be a mistake. It would string along all sorts of secularists, too, in Turkey, and they need to come to grips with their own failure to support the constraints on Islam that one can identify by the name “Kemalism.” It is important that this “war of civilizations” nonsense be nipped in the bud. There is no “war of civilizations” today — just as there was not in 770 A.D., or 840 A.D., or 1453 A.D. For that phrase hides the real truth: the world is not a group of distinct interests — the Christian and post-Christian West, divided into Catholic and Protestant, the Orthodox, Sinic, and Hindu civilizations (all noted by Huntington). No, it is simply the ancient war of Islam against all non-Muslims. If that war has here and there died down, even for centuries, it is only because the forces of Islam lacked an enemy they could defeat. It was not for want of trying — for a thousand years Muslim raiders went up and down the coasts of Europe, and in Africa, for a thousand years, seized black African pagans for enslavement. Its conquest of India was a Muslim Jihad.
Even in the last two centuries, there have been Jihads — not named as such by non-Muslims, but clearly called that, and regarded as that, by Muslims. There was the Emir in West Africa in 1804; Abd el Kader,”l’homme des deux rives” as an exhibit last year in Paris dared to call him, in North Africa, and in West Africa, the Mahdi of Khartoum, and the Last Cavalry Charge at Omdurman, and “Chinese” Gordon, and the Fuzzie-Wuzzies, and “The Four Feathers,” and Kipling’s “We have the Gatling gun, and they have not.” The war against Israel is a classic Jihad, only since 1967 more or less tarted up as a “nationalist” crusade so as to win Western affection (and, not incidentally, to help fool the Israelis themselves, who have been eminently foolable). The war to kill Christians in Indonesia, to persecute the Copts in Egypt, to murder or mass-murder the non-Muslims in the southern Sudan, to murder a million Christians in the Biafran War (1967-1969) are all examples of Jihad.
It was not that Jihad somehow went away. It is just that we, the non-Muslims, failed to recognize what was going on. We failed, and many fail still, to see the ideological roots of Muslim behavior — a behavior that is remarkably similar in time and space in its treatment of non-Muslims. It would be surprising were it otherwise, for the texts, Qur’an and hadith and sira, have remained the same, in time and space. What would surprise would be if Infidels were treated differently, say, in conquered India from the way they were treated in conquered Persia, or Mesopotamia. Everywhere, the choices: immediate death, immediate conversion, or dhimmitude were the only possibilities. And if today the Muslim populations in Western Europe and North America pay lip service to pluralism, it is only in order to take advantage of that pluralism until such time as they feel strong enough to pull off the mask, and deal with Infidels as their belief-system tells them to believe with Infidels. Those who, like Gilles Kepel, appear to believe that some other development, some “new Euro-Islam,” will emerge, should be asked to explain just how. Why was there never an emergence of a “new Islam” over 1400 years, in all of the varied lands that Islam conquered — even in Indonesia? Initially there, because the Islamic conquest was not military but was achieved through Muslim missionaries and traders (also missionaries, as all Muslims must be), it seemed that in the East Indies, something softer, more syncretistic, might emerge. But we see quite the reverse happening: the more established Islam has become, the fiercer it is with non-Muslims. It was only the Dutch rulers who, for a time, and with the advice of such canny officials as the Orientalist Snouck Hurgronje, who managed to tame or constrain Islam — a taming, a constraining, that left with the Dutch, and the effects of their rule have by now worn off. Look at all the Christians killed in East Timor, in the Moluccas, in Ambon.
Learning from history is not a bad idea.