Eurabia

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Eurabia is a political neologism.[2] The concept was coined by writer Gisele Littman (under the pen name Bat Ye'Or) in the early 2000s. In Littman's use, it denotes a conspiracy theory, where European and Arab powers aim to Islamise and Arabise Europe, thereby weakening its existing culture and undermining previous alignment with the U.S. and Israel.[3][4]

Several similar conspiracy theories have been developed from Littman’s “Mother conspiracy theory”.[5] The term is used by far-right activists,[6] by members of the counterjihad movement.[7] The premises common to these theories are that Europe’s rapid demographic transition is induced by “European politicians and civil servants”,[8] and will lead to a Muslim majority who will have an unchanging, hostile attitude toward their host nations.[9] Other premises, such as acquiring the compliance of or control over bureaucracies, intelligentsias and European political leaders are frequent.[10] The conspiracy theories have been compared to antisemitic conspiracy theories such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the Zionist Occupation Government.[11][12]

While leading demographers believe that the Muslim population in Europe will increase, the prospect of a Muslim majority in Europe is regarded as extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future.[13] The Pew Research Center notes that "the data that we have isn't pointing in the direction of 'Eurabia' at all",[14] and predicts that percentage of Muslims is estimated to rise to 8% in 2030. Several academics have described the Eurabia concept as an Islamophobic conspiracy theory.[15]

Origin of the concept[edit]

Eurabia was the title of a newsletter published in the 1970s by the Comité européen de coordination des associations d'amitié avec le monde Arabe, a Euro-Arab friendship committee.[1] According to Bat Ye'or, who has been perhaps the most influential Eurabia theorist in recent years, it was published collaboratively with France-Pays Arabes (journal of the Association de solidarité franco-arabe or ASFA), Middle East International (London), and the Groupe d'Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient (Geneva).[16]

After the September 11 attacks Muslims and the Arab world emerged as a perceived threat.[12] Muslim minority populations and Muslim immigration gained new political significance. Scholar José Pedro Zúquete notes that

the threat that the Crescent will rise over the continent and the spectre of a Muslim Europe have become basic ideological features and themes of the European extreme right [6]

Eurabia had then re-entered into the vocabulary through Bat Ye'Or's work, most notably the book published in 2005, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis,[3] although she first used the term in 2002.[16][17] Subsequently, the coining of the term has been attributed to her.[18] In Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Bat Ye'or claims that Eurabia is the result of the French-led European policy originally intended to increase European power against the United States by aligning its interests with those of the Arab countries. During the 1973 oil crisis, the European Economic Community (predecessor of the European Union), had entered into the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) with the Arab League.[19] Ye'or notes it as a primary cause of alleged European hostility to Israel, referring to joint Euro-Arab foreign policies that she characterizes as anti-American and anti-Zionist.[16] Her definition of Eurabia is:

Eurabia is a geo-political reality envisaged in 1973 through a system of informal alliances between, on the one hand, the nine countries of the European Community (EC) which, enlarged, became the European Union (EU) in 1992 and on the other hand, the Mediterranean Arab countries. The alliances and agreements were elaborated at the top political level of each EC country with the representative of the European Commission, and their Arab homologues with the Arab League's delegate. This system was synchronised under the roof of an association called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) created in July 1974 in Paris.[20]

Ye'or established the close connection of the Eurabia conspiracy and the term "dhimmitude", denoting alleged "western subjection to Islam".[18]

Impact[edit]

Academic[edit]

The Eurabia theories are dismissed as islamophobic and extremist[4][6] conspiracy theories in the academic community[15] and in the mainstream media.[21] At first academics showed little interest in the Eurabia theories due to their lack of factual basis.[5][12] The theme was treated in studies of rightist extremism[6] and Middle East Politics.[22] This changed after the 2011 Norway attacks, which resulted in the publication of several works specifically treating the Eurabia conspiracy theories.[18][23] However, professor of political science and member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Janne Haaland Matlary has discouraged such analyses, arguing that "it is poor use of time to analyse something so primitive".[24]

European politics[edit]

The theories have failed to impact most policy makers and academics.[12] They have, however become a basic theme in the European extremist right. Through political competition with far-right parties with parliamentary representation the main anti-Islamic theme has also penetrated into mainstream European politics,[6] for instance in the case of Geert Wilders:

This government is enthusiastically co-operating with the Islamization of the Netherlands. In all of Europe the elite opens the floodgates wide. In only a little while, one in five people in the European Union will be Muslim. Good news for this multiculti-government that views bowing to the horrors of Allah as its most important task. Good news for the CDA : C-D-A, in the meanwhile stands for Christians Serve Allah (Christenen Dienen Allah).[25]

This has led to the adaption of political positions that were previously considered extreme, but has also led to significant alterations in the asserted positions of the far right, notably when it comes to the rights of women and homosexuals.[6][26][27]

The conservative historian Nigel Ferguson referred to the concept, taken as the potential future Islamisation of Europe based on mere demographic facts and a supposed ideational lack of the continent.[28]

2011 Norway attacks[edit]

2083: A European Declaration of Independence, the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, includes a lengthy discussion of and support for the "Eurabia" theory. It also contains several articles on the Eurabia theme by Bat Ye'Or and Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen (Fjordman). [29] As a result, the theory received widespread mainstream media attention following the attacks.[30] In the verdict against Breivik, the court noted that "many people share Breivik's conspiracy theory, including the Eurabia theory. The court finds that very few people, however, share Breivik's idea that the alleged "Islamization" should be fought with terror."[31]

U.S. politics[edit]

In the United States, the theories have found strong proponents in the counterjihad movement, among them the president of Stop Islamization of America, Robert Spencer[32] and right-wing political commentators Daniel Pipes[33] and Mark Steyn.[34] In his 2011–2012 run for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum warned that Europe was "creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia", and that the continent was "losing, because they are not having children."[35]

Eurabia theories have also been espoused by less typical conservatives, for example, Bruce Bawer, an American expatriate who has lived in Europe since the 1990s, and supported Ye'Or's allegations that there was a deliberate, coordinated effort to create Eurabia. Bawer argued that many European politicians and policy makers, in efforts to gain approval of Muslim voters or to appeal to multiculturalism, were effectively allowing the creation of Muslim-only enclaves where basic human rights were ignored and events like honor killings had become commonplace.[36][37][38]

Bernard Lewis suggested that sometime in the future, Islam will take over Europe.[39] He further added that "Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century."[40][41]

Eurabia literature[edit]

Main works[edit]

Bat Ye'Or's Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis was the first print publication in the Eurabia genre,[18] which has since grown to a number of titles,[9][42] including Melanie Phillips' Londonistan,[43] Walter Laqueur's The Last Days of Europe,[44] Oriana Fallaci's The Force of Reason,[45] and Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept.[46] The term is often used by the writers (Fallaci,[47][48] Steyn)[49][50][51] and several web sites, many of them affiliated with the counterjihad movement.[52] Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen's Defeating Eurabia[53] earned him a high standing among far-right extremists.[54]

Laqueur has since nuanced his position and written that "the fears that Europe risks becoming a Muslim-dominated Eurabia, adopting Sharia, are a vast distortion of the views of serious students of Europe's present state and future prospects". He notes that Muslim immigrants to Europe come from many different countries, the majority non-Arab, and that they have "common interests... but also great differences, even in their attitudes to religion".[55]

Critical comment[edit]

The Economist, acknowledging that integration of immigrants was a difficult process, nevertheless rejected the concept of Eurabia as "scaremongering".[56] Simon Kuper in Financial Times described Ye'or's book as "little-read but influential", and akin to "Protocols of the Elders of Zion in reverse", adding that "though ludicrous, Eurabia became the spiritual mother of a genre".[42] In another article, Kuper wrote that most academics who have analysed the demographics dismiss the predictions that the EU will have Muslim majorities.[57]

According to Marján and Sapir, the very idea of "Eurabia" is "based on an extremist conspiracy theory, according to which Europe and the Arab states would join forces to make life impossible for Israel and Islamize the old continent."[4]

Writing in Race & Class in 2006, author and freelance journalist Matt Carr argued that Eurabia had moved from "an outlandish conspiracy theory" to a "dangerous Islamophobic fantasy". Carr states,

"In order to accept Ye'or's ridiculous thesis, it is necessary to believe not only in the existence of a concerted Islamic plot to subjugate Europe, involving all Arab governments, whether 'Islamic' or not, but also to credit a secret and unelected parliamentary body with the astounding ability to transform all Europe's major political, economic and cultural institutions into subservient instruments of 'jihad' without any of the continent's press or elected institutions being aware of it. Nowhere in this ideologically driven interpretation of European-Arab relations does Ye'or come close to proving the 'secret history' that she professes to reveal."[11]

Arun Kundnani, writing for the International Centre for Counter-terrorism, notes that "Eurabia" fulfills the Counterjihad-movement's "structural need" for a conspiracy theory, and compares "Eurabia" to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[8]

Justin Vaïsse, co-author of Integrating Islam Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France, seeks to discredit what he calls, "four myths of the alarmist school", using Muslims in France as an example. Specifically he has written that the Muslim population growth rate was lower than that predicted by Eurabia, partly because the fertility rate of immigrants declines with integration.[58] He further points out that Muslims are not a monolithic or cohesive group,[59] and that many Muslims do seek to integrate politically and socially. Finally, he wrote that despite their numbers, Muslims have had little influence on French foreign policy.[60]

David Aaronovitch writes that the proponents of Eurabia confuse Islamists with mainstream Muslims. He acknowledges that the threat of "jihadist terror" may be real, but that there was no threat of Eurabia. Aaronovitch concludes that those of study conspiracy theories will recognize Eurabia to be a theory that combines the "Sad Dupes thesis to the Enemy Within idea".[61]

In his book Wars of Blood and Faith, conservative US military analyst Ralph Peters states that far from being about to take over Europe through demographic change, "Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time" and that in the event of a major terrorist attack in Europe, thanks to the "ineradicable viciousness" of Europeans and what he perceives as a historical tendency to over-react to real or perceived threats, European Muslims "will be lucky if they're only deported."[62]

Eric Kaufmann, author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century (2011), argues that a Muslim majority is extremely unlikely in Europe in the near or long-term. He states "Even if higher Muslim fertility rates do not persist, Islam will make a significant imprint on European life—so saner Eurabian ideas should be publicly discussed. Nonetheless, the overwhelming weight of demographic evidence points towards a decline in Muslim fertility and a more plural Europe."[63]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b WorldCat.org "Eurabia (item listing)". Worldcat. Retrieved May 11, 2012. , OCLC 5966570
  2. ^ The word is a portmanteau of Europe and Arabia. It was first used as a name for the newsletter of a Euro-Arab friendship committee in the 1970s.[1] See wikt:Eurabia and Eurabia (newsletter) (fr).
  3. ^ a b Ye'or, Bat (2005). Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis. New Jersey, USA: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 978-0838640777. 
  4. ^ a b c Marján, Attila; André Sapir (2010). Europe's Destiny. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 161. ISBN 0-8018-9547-2. 
  5. ^ a b "Eurabiske vers" [Eurabian verses] (in Norwegian). Morgenbladet. August 19, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Zúquete, José Pedro (October 2008). "The European Extreme Right and Islam: New directions?". Journal of Political Ideologies 13 (3): 321–344. doi:10.1080/13569310802377019. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ Examples of proponent's use:
  8. ^ a b Arun Kundnani (June 2012). "Blind Spot? Security Narratives and Far-Right Violence in Europe" (PDF). International Centre for Counter-terrorism. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Justin Vaïsse (January–February 2010). "Eurabian Follies". Foreign Policy. The FP Group, a Washington Post subsidiary. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ For instance in:
  11. ^ a b Carr, M. (2006). "You are now entering Eurabia". Race & Class 48: 1–0. doi:10.1177/0306396806066636.  edit
  12. ^ a b c d Simon Kuper (September 9, 2011). "The end of Eurabia". Financial Times. Retrieved May 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ Grim, Brian J.; Karim, Mehtab S.; Cooperman, Alan; Hackett, Conrad; Connor, Phillip; Chaudhry, Sahar; Hidajat, Mira; Hsu, Becky; Andrew J. Gully, Noble Kuriakose, Elizabeth A. Lawton, Elizabeth Podrebarac (January 2011). Stencel, Sandra; Rosen, Anne Farris; Yoo, Diana; Miller, Tracy; Ramp, Hilary, eds. The Future of the Global Muslim Population (Projections for 2010-2030) (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center. Retrieved May 12, 2012.  Summary about Europe0, retrieved 18 September 2012.
  14. ^ Brian Grim quoted in Richard Greene, World Muslim population doubling, report projects, CNN, 2011-01-27
  15. ^ a b See:
  16. ^ a b c Bat Ye'or (December 2002). "Le dialogue Euro-Arabe et la naissance d'Eurabia" [The Euro-Arab Dialogue and the Birth of Eurabia] (PDF) (in French). Observatoire du monde juif. Retrieved May 11, 2012.  English translation
  17. ^ Bat Ye'or (2002-10-09). "Eurabia". National Review. 
  18. ^ a b c d Fekete, Liz (2012). "The Muslim conspiracy theory and the Oslo massacre". Race & Class 53 (3): 30–47. doi:10.1177/0306396811425984. 
  19. ^ "Euro-Arab dialogue". MEDEA. [dead link] [1]
  20. ^ Bat Ye'or quoted by Jamie Glazov, Jamie Glazov (September 21, 2004). "Eurabia". Frontpage Magazine. Sherman Oaks, California: David Horowitz. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  21. ^ For example:
  22. ^ Roy, Olivier (2008). The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-80043-3. 
  23. ^ Gardell, Mattias (2011). Islamofobi (in Norwegian). Oslo: Spartacus. ISBN 9788243006683. 
  24. ^ "Advarer mot å ta Breivik seriøst" [Warns against taking Breivik seriously] (in Norwegian). Norsk Rikskringkasting. Norsk Telegrambyrå. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  25. ^ Geert Wilders. "speech in the Dutch parliament, September 16, 2009". Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  26. ^ Bhandar, Davina (2010). "Cultural politics: disciplining citizenship". Citizenship Studies 14 (3): 331–343. doi:10.1080/13621021003731963. 
  27. ^ Mepschen, Paul; Duyvendak, Jan Willem; Tonkens, Evelien H. (2010). "Sexual Politics, Orientalism and Multicultural Citizenship in the Netherlands". Sociology 44 (5): 962–979. doi:10.1177/0038038510375740. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  28. ^ Niall Ferguson (April 4, 2004). "The way we live now: Eurabia?". New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  29. ^ See:
  30. ^ "Psykiater om Breivik: – Så komplisert at vi først i historiens lys kan få svar" [Psychiatrist on Breivik: - So complicated that answers will only come in light of history] (in Norwegian). Tv2.no. July 28, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  31. ^ Smilende Breivik fornøyd med dommen, nettavisen.no, 24.08.12
  32. ^ see for instance:
  33. ^ see for instance:
  34. ^ http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2007/03/steyn-european-america-muslim
  35. ^ Max Blumenthal (January 5, 2012). "Santorum warns of 'Eurabia,' issues call to 'evangelize and eradicate' Muslims". Al-Akhbar English. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  36. ^ Bawer, Bruce (Winter 2006). "Crisis in Europe". The Hudson Review 58 (4). , [2] [3]
  37. ^ Bruce Bawer, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom, Doubleday, 2009-05-19, ISBN 978-0-385-52398-1
  38. ^ Bruce Bawer, The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Massacre to Silence Debate About Islam, Broadside Books, 2012-01-31, ISBN 9780062188694
  39. ^ Muslims 'about to take over Europe'
  40. ^ Will Islam Become the Religion of Europe?
  41. ^ "Europa wird islamisch" (original interview with Bernhard Lewis in the german newspaper "Die Welt")
  42. ^ a b Simon Kuper (October 11, 2007). "The Crescent and the Cross.". Financial Times. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  43. ^ Melanie Phillips (2006). Londonistan: How Britain is creating a terror state within. London: Encounter. ISBN 9781594031441. 
  44. ^ Walter Laqeur (2007). The Last Days of Europe. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 9780312368708. 
  45. ^ Oriana Fallaci (2004). La forza della ragione [The Force of Reason] (in Italian). Milano: Rizzoli. ISBN 9788817002967. 
  46. ^ Bruce Bawer (2007). While Europe Slept. New York: Anchor/Random House. ISBN 978-0767920056. 
  47. ^ Tunku Varadarajan (June 23, 2005). "Prophet of Decline". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved none. "Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam" 
  48. ^ Dopo Londra (September 15, 2006). "Il nemico che trattiamo da amico". Corriere della Sera. Retrieved May 13, 2012. "Fallaci says (Italian) "Sono quattr' anni che parlo di nazismo islamico, di guerra all' Occidente, di culto della morte, di suicidio dell' Europa. Un' Europa che non è più Europa ma Eurabia e che con la sua mollezza, la sua inerzia, la sua cecità, il suo asservimento al nemico si sta scavando la propria tomba." ("Since four years I am talking about the Islamic Nazism, the war to the West, the cult of death, the suicide of Europe. A Europe that is no longer Europe but Eurabia, which with its softness, its inertia, its blindness, its servitude to the enemy is digging its own grave.")" 
  49. ^ Mark Steyn (2006). America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0847827534. 
  50. ^ Mark Steyn (January 2, 2006). "It's the Demography, stupid". The New Criterion. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  51. ^ Mark Steyn (October 10, 2006). "The future belongs to Islam". Macleans.ca. Retrieved May 13, 2012. 
  52. ^ including Gates of Vienna, Paul Beliën's Brussels Journal, Free Republic, Front Page Magazine, Richard Landes's Eurabia article, Fjordman's The Eurabia Code article and his Defeating Eurabia compilation.
  53. ^ Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen (2008). Defeating Eurabia. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781409247159.  (available online)
  54. ^ Sandvik, Siv (3 August 2011). "Fjordman hevder han vil hjelpe politiet i terroretterforskningen". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  55. ^ Walter Laqueur (2009). Best of Times, Worst of Times. University Press of New England. p. 211.
  56. ^ "Tales from Eurabia". The Economist. June 22, 2006. Retrieved December 19, 2008. "Integration will be hard work for all concerned. But for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia looks like scaremongering." 
  57. ^ Simon Kuper (August 19, 2007). "Head count belies vision of 'Eurabia'". Financial Times. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  58. ^ See also Randy McDonald, France, its Muslims, and the Future, 2004-04-13, Doug Saunders, "The 'Eurabia' myth deserves a debunking", The Globe and Mail, 2008-09-20, Fewer differences between foreign born and Swedish born childbearing women, Statistics Sweden, 2008-11-03, Mary Mederios Kent, Do Muslims have more children than other women in western Europe?, Population Reference Bureau, prb.org, February 2008; for fertility of Muslims outside Europe, see the sentence "The dramatic decline in Iran's fertility provides a recent example of how strict Islamic practices can coexist with widespread use of family planning.", and (the articles) Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi and Mary Mederios Kent, Fertility Declining in the Middle East and North Africa, prb.org, April 2008, especially the figure 2, Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi, Recent changes and the future of fertility in Iran, especially the figure 1;
  59. ^ See also "Merely speaking of a 'Muslim community in France' can be misleading and inaccurate: like every immigrant population, Muslims in France exhibit strong cleavages based on the country of their origin, their social background, political orientation and ideology, and the branch or sect of Islam that they practice (when they do)." in Justin Vaisse, Unrest in France, November 2005, 2006-01-12
  60. ^ See also Justin Vaïsse, La France et les musulmans: une politique étrangère sous influence?, April 2007 (French)
  61. ^ David Aaronovitch (2005-11-15). "It's the latest disease: sensible people saying ridiculous things about Islam". London: The Times. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  62. ^ Peters, Ralph (2007). Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts That Will Shape the Twenty-First Century. Stackpole Books. pp. 333–334. ISBN 978-0-8117-0274-4. 
  63. ^ Kaufmann, Eric (20 March 2010). "Europe's Muslim Future", Prospect, Issue 169.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]