[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach a slightly longer version of a book review I wrote for yesterday’s New York Post.
The review explores the pioneering work on “Eurabia” by the Egyptian-born, Geneva-based writer (who for reasons of security) goes by a pseudonym, Bat Ye’or. (The name means “daughter of the Nile” in Hebrew.)
Is Western Europe in denial about the extent of the threat from within, as Ye’or asserts? Are some European politicians and diplomats effectively in collusion with the jihadists? (Only last week a Dutch diplomat was caught on film embracing a member of the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad in Gaza.)
The review explores this important issue, which has enormous geo-political implications not just for Europe but for the US as well.
[Ye’or is a recipient of this email list.]
-- Tom Gross
Jihad Warning: The coming Eurabia?
June 26, 2005
“Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis” by Bat Ye’or
(Fairleigh Dickinson, 384 pp., $23.95)
Review for the New York Post
By Tom Gross
For over three decades, the historian Bat Ye’or has been a voice in the wilderness. Her warning that “jihad” - a movement central to Islamic thinking from India to Nigeria - had in the 1970s emerged as a powerful force in much of Europe, fell on deaf ears. Most Europeans remained in complete denial about what was confronting them. They were equally blind, according to Ye’or, to the fact that many European politicians and diplomats were effectively in collusion with the jihadists, motivated by economic aims and a philosophy of appeasement, or by the shared values of anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism, and anti-Semitism.
There has been greater awareness of the Moslem fundamentalist threat in Europe following the 9/11 attacks on the US (along with the revelation that several of the 9/11 perpetrators had been educated at European mosques and universities), and following the Madrid train bombings which killed 190 people last year. But a great deal of willful ignorance remains.
Indeed militant Islamists have been much better at understanding and exploiting western cultural ideals and weaknesses than European and American intellectuals (preoccupied with attacking the US and Israel) have been in understanding theirs.
Even today, many Western liberals - viewing the world through their own narrow prism - insist that Islamic terrorism is the product of ignorance and poverty, despite overwhelming evidence that most suicide bombers and their handlers have been highly educated and relatively wealthy. Like Nazis, Communists, and others before them who would destroy western civilization, the Jihadists in Europe, Iraq and al-Qaeda, know exactly what they are doing.
Bat Ye’or’s new book Eurabia has already been welcomed as one of the definitive works of this decade, and compared by some to Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations.”
She points out that for over a millennium, the effect of Islamic “jihad” through its political, military, economic and cultural components, has been to subjugate and in some case extinguish once-thriving Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist civilizations in Asia, Africa and Europe.
She argues that “jihad” has now reappeared in Europe, not by accident but as the result of a grand design by French and other European Union diplomats to forge a new political entity “Eurabia” which would fuse together the European and Arab worlds, dispose of Israel - the irritant in their way - and then challenge America for world hegemony.
The term “Eurabia”, notes Ye’or, was first used in the mid-1970s, as the title of a journal edited by the President of the Association for Franco-Arab Solidarity.
Relying on detailed documents, minutes and directives generated by government bodies, including a little known organization set up by France in the 1970s called the Euro-Arab Dialogue, Ye’or charts the deliberate co-operation that has brought European democracies, Arab dictatorships and Islamic terror groups closer together. (Only last week a Dutch diplomat was caught on film embracing a member of the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad in Gaza.) One motivation behind this is appeasement, and the jihadists are adept at exploiting the European desire to avoid trouble. Today the European Union can, as Osama Bin Laden implied in his message last summer, be placed in the category of “lands of temporary truce.”
But as Ye’or notes, what started as a scheme for a greater “Eurabia” controlled by the French (who would in turn welcome the flow of Arab oil and Muslim immigration into Europe), has turned into an attempt by fundamentalist Muslims to take over Europe.
Within a single generation, a significant portion of the population of major cities in a dozen European countries have become Muslim. “The Economist” projects, for instance, that by 2020, the three largest Dutch cities will have an almost 50% Muslim population.
Yet the crisis for Europe isn’t about numbers, but about militancy. Of course most European Muslims wish to integrate, while practicing their religion in a peaceful way. But - given the opinion polls that show an admiration, among other things, for Bin-Laden - it seems clear that an increasing minority do not.
Bat Ye’or is a pseudonym that this brave, pioneering Egyptian-born Jewish writer has been forced to adopt following threats. (The name means “daughter of the Nile” in Hebrew.) She has long been a resident of Geneva, Switzerland, and a close observer of a sweeping historical trend that many of us may have been slow to detect.
Just occasionally what she writes smacks of conspiracy-theory. The processes she describes are probably a little less systematic and more fragmentary than she suggests. But she is broadly right, and the facts she lays bare will have enormous repercussions not just for Europe but for the US as well.
(Tom Gross is a former Jerusalem correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph.)