The original sin is attributed to Charles de Gaulle. Disappointed by the loss of the French colonies in Africa and the Middle East, as well as with France’s waning influence in the international arena, the president of France in the 1960’s decided to create a strategic alliance with the Arab and Muslim world to compete with the dominance of the United States and the Soviet Union. This alliance became the position of the European Community (pre-European Union) during the course of the 1970s, when an extensive European-Arab dialogue developed. However, this alliance, in the context of which Europe allowed the immigration of millions of Muslims to its territories and adopted an anti-Israeli and anti-American policy, will ultimately – and in fact has already – transform Europe into a continent under the thumb of the Arab and Muslim world. Europe is dead, and in its stead “Eurabia” has arisen.
This controversial thesis belongs to Bat Ye’or, the pen name of a self-taught Jewish intellectual who was born in Egypt and who currently lives in Switzerland. She refuses to reveal her real name for security reasons, she says, but her thesis is just the prologue to far-reaching conclusions and extreme statements about some European leaders who are kowtowing to Islam. While her ideas were once almost completely ignored, nowadays, because of the prevailing consternation in Europe regarding its complex relations with the Muslim world, she is receiving more attention, though she is still quite far from entering the European mainstream.
Last week she was invited to Jerusalem to speak at a conference of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University. “This is a matter of a total transformation of Europe, which is the result of an intentional policy,” says Bat Ye’or in an interview. “We are now heading towards a total change in Europe, which will be more and more Islamicized and will become a political satellite of the Arab and Muslim world. The European leaders have decided on an alliance with the Arab world, through which they have committed to accept the Arab and Muslim approach toward the United States and Israel. This is not only with respect to foreign policy, but also on issues engaging European society from within, such as immigration, the integration of the immigrants and the idea that Islam is part of Europe.”
Bat Ye’or’s most recent book, “Eurabia – The Euro-Arab Axis,” which was published in English in 2005, could not have been published at a better time as far as she is concerned, precisely when the question of the Muslim immigrants’ integration into the continent and Europe’s cultural coloration is coming up repeatedly for discussion. The terror attacks in Madrid and London, the Prophet Mohammed cartoons, the murder of the Dutch director Theo Van Gogh and the riots about six months ago in the Paris suburbs have made these questions more critical. Europe, with its pluralist and democratic ethos, has hesitated in its reaction to these phenomena, although today there is a move toward policy changes.
Europe’s hesitation has helped bolster extremist attitudes toward Muslim immigration in particular. In the political realm, this is seen among the far-right movements. In intellectual circles, this is evinced inter alia by people like the provocative Italian journalist and writer Oriana Fallaci, Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and also Bat Ye’or. Although all of these individuals are opposed to the extreme right and its violence, they are warning that Europe as a secular, enlightened civilization with a Judeo-Christian background is dying. In its stead, says Bat Ye’or, will come a civilization subjugated to Islamic forces and their jihad ideology.
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