Any organization or group with the words “Euro” or “Mediterranean” in the title is likely to consist of manipulated or calculating deux-rivistes — that is, those who believe that the peoples of the two “rives” or banks, north and south, of the Mediterranean are not so much divided as united, or should be, by that body of water. The unknown or even secret agreements, governmental or quasi-governmental, according to which European states committed themselves to allowing the Arabs to freely promote a European Party Line on Islamic culture, Islam, and the Arab Muslim view of such matters as the Lesser Jihad against Israel, can be found in Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia. By now many in Europe have become aware that their ruling elites have betrayed them on the matter of Islam and Muslim immigrants, but do not know exactly how, when, where. Eurabia helps tell them.
With deux-rivisme, the deux-rivistes replace the tiersmondistes. And to hell with the Christians of Black Africa — as in the southern Sudan, or southern Nigeria, or the Cote d’Ivoire. French colonialism, consisting of the manipulation and corruption of local leaders and the application, where necessary, of French force, now stands foursquare with Muslim colonialism, and therefore with Arab imperialism. The “deux-rivistes” know which side of the mosque their bread is buttered on.
And what is the Article of Faith of the deux-rivistes? That Article of Faith is the belief that there must exist a natural commonality of interest between the “deux rives” (two banks) of the Mediterranean, and that the only thing truly separating the people and civilizations of each littoral is that body of water, one so easily overcome nowadays by all those Arabs from North Africa disembarking even now from their ships and planes to set up permanent camp in France, in Spain, in Italy. It is to view the Mediteranean not as a dividing line between Europe and its historic enemy, Islam, but rather as a now-trivial geographical obstacle to that once and future unified civilization — that of the Mediterranean. And for the past two decades these “Mediterraneanists” have celebrated the effacement of that watery barrier. And they have led too many in power and in the media to believe that what unites these “Deux Rives” is far greater than all those trivial things — such as Qur’an, hadith, and sira, and their effect on the minds of men — that divide them. About the really important things — olive oil, couscous, mint tea, cardamom — well, according to the deux-rivistes who control so much of the public discussion, there is no division.
And so the real division, the one reflected in or caused by Islam itself, which uncompromisingly divides humanity between Believers and Infidels and offers loyalty to one and endless hostility, even murderous hostility, to the other, is ignored. But that teaching of such a divisiion between Believer and Infidel cannot be effaced or ignored, and its effects can be seen everywhere that Muslims and non-Muslims live in the same polity, whether in Dar al-Islam (Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lebanon) or in Dar al-harb, where Islam does not yet prevail and Muslims do not yet rule. Until very recently, no one was allowed to notice this. Few even today permit themselves, or are permitted, to discuss that difference, that inculcated abyss that cannot, alas, be bridged by the non-Muslim side only, and cannot be bridged by the Muslims until the tenets of Islam itself, its canonical texts, are transformed.
The deux-rivistes tell us not to be silly. They tell us (as Tariq Ramadan helps to cheer them on) whatever they want to tell us about Islam and the history of Islamic conquest and of non-Muslims under Muslim rule. They tell us, indeed, whatever they want to tell us about the history of Western civilization, for they are secure in the knowledge that few Infidels have any knowledge of their own about these matters, and will be willing to believe whatever version of events is insistently presented and is plausible, and above all comforting, so that Infidels will want to believe it. So, we are told, where would the Renaissance in Europe have been without Islam? It was an outgrowth, we are told, of Islamic sources of intellectual ferment and skeptical inquiry. And isn’t putting Man at the center of things, and Individualism — aren’t these really at the very heart of Islam? No wonder the Europeans had to look south for all that fruitful cross-pollination etcetera etceterum, that “cross-pollination” whose time, we are told, has come round again at last, and this time is not to be stopped.
And don’t forget, those Infidels are told, to form in your mind at moments like these a mental picture of the grave old men murmuring low, among the low murmurs of fountains, in the stately courtyards of the House of Translators, at the Court of Haroun al-Rashid in Baghdad in the old days. Or of Maimonides, no doubt being tended in his final illness by a special set of Muslim doctors sent by kindly Saladin himself. Or think of Washington Irving’s Alhambra, and the Moor’s last sigh, and how splendidly everyone got along in Al-Andaluz, by the Guadalquivir, and the scent of orange-blossom — holiendo a azahar — and the gitanillas overflowing beyond the black grillwork of the whitewashed walls, and the narrow alleys in Cordoba, or Seville, or Grenada (all at different times, of course, depending on how the Reconquista was doing).
Oh, and now is the time to mention that long and glorious list of the Great Men of Islamic Civilization who Practically Constructed — in their days off — the Western world. One must never fail to mention those Great Figures. Dominique de Villepin never fails to mention them when he gives his little speeches and deuxriviste pep talks in Cairo, or at the “Library” (whew — $225 million in Euros down the drain) of Alexandria, or anywhere he dares to travel in the Maghreb. So here they are. Get out your pencils, and note them down: Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Al-Rhazi. Oh, have I left anyone out? Yes, I forgot to mention Avicenna, Al-Rhazi, Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Averroes. And perhaps I did not mention Averroes, Al-Farabi, Al-Kindi, Al-Rhazi, Avicenna. Oh, how silly of me to have forgotten to mention, and I’ll add them here, if you don’t mind — Averroes and Avicenna. And also Al-Rhazi. Did I leave anyone out? Oh yes, Al-Farabi. Sorry.
What a list. How can Europe be expected to top that, with its pathetic little list of supposed “great men”? Or the Chinese, on their high Tang horse? Or the Koreans, or the Japanese, or the Mayans with their supposed calendrical and other scientific achievements? Don’t even try to top that list of Great Islamic Achievers. And please don’t bring up the matter of just how many of them were orthodox, and how many practically apostates. And certainly do not begin looking into which ones were Persians and Turks and which ones were Arabs. That would not be fair. That would not be kind. That would even be Islamophobic.