In 1938, Anglo-French author Hilaire Belloc wrote, "The future always comes as a surprise, but political wisdom consists in attempting at least some partial judgment of what that surprise may be. And for my part I cannot but believe that a main unexpected thing of the future is the return of Islam." He continued,
Millions of modern people of the white civilization—that is, the civilization of Europe and America—have forgotten all about Islam. They have never come in contact with it. They take for granted that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past. . . . Anyone with a knowledge of history is bound to ask himself whether we shall not see in the future a revival of Mohammedan political power, and the renewal of the old pressure of Islam upon Christendom.5
At the time of the Munich crisis and Stalin's great purges, such concerns seemed eccentric, but by the start of the twenty-first century, Belloc's opinions have acquired remarkably mainstream status, and by no means just among Catholics of reactionary bent. Bernard Lewis, one of America's most notable scholars of Middle Eastern history, famously remarked in an 2004 interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, "Current trends show Europe will have a Moslem majority by the end of the twenty-first century at the latest. . . . Europe will be part of the Arab west—the Maghreb." Other writers have made similar religious prophecies. Already in 1996, French demographer JeanClaude Chesnais asserted that "there will be an overall mingling of cultures and civilizations that may lead, as far as France is concerned, to the emergence of a predominantly African population and to rapid Islamization."6
This view has been much echoed. Spanish journalist Silvia Taules notes that "many people say that it is predestined. That Spain will once again be Muslim, centuries after the splendor that al-Andalus possessed in its time." In 2004, European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein forecast a global future in which "the USA will remain the only superpower. China is becoming an economic giant. Europe is being Islamicized." Contemplating this Muslim future, he continued, "If this comes about, the liberation of Vienna in 1683 will have been in vain." Even moderate Muslim scholar Bassam Tibi wrote that "either Islam gets Europe-anized, or Europe gets Islamized. . . . The problem is not whether the majority of Europeans is Islamic but rather which Islam—sharia Islam or Euro-Islam—is to dominate in Europe."7
Some observers see Europe making a wholesale transition into the Muslim world, becoming part of Eurabia, a word that provides a concise shorthand for an array of cultural and ethnic nightmares. The word originated in the 1970s as the title of a journal designed to promote Euro-Arab integration and solidarity, but it was later appropriated by harsh critics of such a vision. Egyptian-born Jewish writer Bat Ye'or envisages Eurabia as an emerging Muslim-dominated subcontinent, in which the remaining Christians and Jews might enjoy some tenuous kind of second-class status, of dhimmitude. Journalist Mark Steyn suggests that much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There'll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands— probably—just as in Istanbul there's still a building called St. Sophia's Cathedral. But it's not a cathedral; it's merely a designation for a piece of real estate.
George Weigel contemplates "a Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the central loggia of St. Peter's in Rome, while Notre Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine—a great Christian church become an Islamic museum."8
Journalist Joachim Guntner notes how thoroughly Germans have internalized such warnings of tiberfremdung, of being overwhelmed by foreigners. Such warnings have promoted urban legends, usually heard via a "friend of a friend":
There's news of Catholic parishioners in Duisburg that were being sent across the street by Turks claiming that one sidewalk belonged to them and their mosques; one hears tales of women in headscarves threatening "We're going to outbirth you." ["Wir gebären euch kaputt"] Becoming a minority in one's own country is a frightening thing because there's no hope of returning to the homeland—an illusion that immigrants can at least harbor.9
If the Islamic future is so assured, then so is the likelihood of chaos and bloodshed leading to its foundation. Following the nationwide rioting by Arab and African youths in France in 2005, the cover of the British Spectator portrayed a giant crescent looming over a map of western Europe, under the headline "Eurabian Nightmare." Mark Steyn saw the French riots as an "early skirmish in the Eurabian civil war." A photograph of cars burned in these events adorns the cover of Claire Berlinski's book Menace in Europe, directly above the subtitle Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too.10
For decades, a political consensus held that Muslims would be drawn into Europe's overwhelmingly secular social order, but in the past five years the notion of assimilation has suffered a series of heavy blows. In 2004, bombing attacks at Madrid subway stations killed two hundred civilians, and in the process helped decide the course of a national election. In the Netherlands, filmmaker Theo van Gogh was assassinated by a Muslim activist who had once been held up as a model of integration into Dutch society. On July 7, 2005—7/7—terrorist bombings in London drew attention to a subculture of utterly disaffected second-generation British Muslims, who were prepared to kill and die for their beliefs. The following year, a similar group of young men was reportedly plotting the mass destruction of British and U.S. airliners in a massacre that would have rivaled the September 11 attacks. Also in 2006, the ferocious international response to various perceived insults to Islam suggested the gulf that separates the values of many European Muslims, their attitudes to individual liberty, from those of the secular mainstream. At best, Europe, far more than the United States, faces decades of culture wars, rooted in religious allegiances, while nightmare scenarios for the European future are all too easy to imagine. For recent European writers, Islam threatens Jihad in Europe, the War in Our Cities; for one author, France stands on the cusp Between Jihad and Reconquista. Two best-selling Danish authors argue that Europeans who fail to acknowledge the lethal seriousness of the Islamist threat are members of the self-deluded tribe of the Naivists.11
Visions of doom have become thoroughly familiar, to the point of cliché. As Matthew W. Maguire writes, "To hear many American
Christians talk of Europe, the minarets are all but fitted onto the spires of Chartres and Notre Dame." The date of Islamization has also moved steadily closer to the present. Conservative Danish politician Morten Messerschmidt warns that "Europe will—maybe not in twenty, but rather thirty to forty years from now—have a Muslim majority of population, if nothing is done. That'll mean the end of our culture and the end of European civilization." A parody widely circulated on the Internet depicts a map labeled "Europe 2015," in which the various countries have been ominously relabeled. Britain has become North Pakistan. France is the Islamic Republic of New Algeria, Spain the Moorish Emirate of Iberia, Germany is New Turkey, Belgium is Belgistan, while Italy and Albania are merged into a new Albanian Federation. Also in the realm of satire, the National Review published an advertisement for a "Farewell to Europe" tour as early as the year 2010, a last chance to visit before the borders were closed to infidel visitors and total Islamic law imposed. "We'll relax in a famous German Biergarten with glasses of sweet mint tea!" The Islamic Republic of the Netherlands provides a highlight of the trip: "For this special two-day event, females traveling with our party will be allowed to disembark the plane without a veil!"12
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