Spain fears rebirth of Islamic kingdom (& Palestinians continue to mourn Saddam)

January 10, 2007

* Saddam and cousin discussed killing thousands: tapes
* Internet cafes in the front line of new Gaza violence
* Mohammed is a popular name

 

CONTENTS

1. Islamic radicals leading revival of Islam in Spain
2. Hizbullah delegation visits Saudi Arabia
3. Internet cafes attacked by radical Islamists in Gaza
4. Factional Palestinian violence spreads into West Bank
5. Tapes show Saddam and his cousin planned to kill thousands of Kurds
6. Shia hostages hanged in streets in revenge for Saddam’s execution
7. Palestinians mourn Saddam
8. Plans to establish an American University in northern Iraq
9. Bahrain marathon runner stripped of citizenship for competing in Israel
10. Irwin Cotler joins defense of tortured Bangladeshi journalist
11. The next “field of Jihad”
12. Mohammed is a popular name
13. “Spanish bishops fear rebirth of Islamic kingdom” (Independent, Jan. 5, 2007)
14. “What’s going on in Somalia?” (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 27, 2006)
15. “Say goodbye to Europe” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 9, 2007)



[Note by Tom Gross]

This dispatch contains articles connected to violence in the Middle East and to the spread of Islam there and beyond.

ISLAMIC RADICALS LEADING REVIVAL OF ISLAM IN SPAIN

Spanish bishops say they are increasingly alarmed at plans to recreate the ancient Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus, as a pilgrimage site for Muslims, in the Spanish city of Cordoba. Al-Andalus was the caliphate that ruled Spain for more than five centuries.

Cordoba’s Muslim Association has announced plans that include the construction of a half-size replica of Cordoba’s eighth century great mosque. Other large mosques are also planned for Medina Azahara near Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

Close to one million Muslims live in Spain. In recent years hundreds of mosques have popped up all over Spain, and many residents complain that the big, shiny mosques are more than just centers for culture and worship, but are funded by undemocratic countries promoting Islamic radicalism. (For more, see the first article below, which surprisingly comes from the Independent newspaper of London, the paper of Robert Fisk.)

HIZBULLAH DELEGATION VISITS SAUDI ARABIA

Whilst Saudi Arabia feels threatened by Iran, it seems it is nevertheless maintaining ties with the Iranian proxy militia, Hizbullah.

The “Hizbullah Media Relations Department” has issued a statement (January 4, 2007) on Hizbullah’s al-Manar Television station, saying “that at the invitation of King Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a Hizbullah delegation comprised of Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Shaykh Na’im Qasim and Minister Muhammad Funaysh visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and met King Abdallah in the city of Jedda where talks were held, focusing on the internal Lebanese situation and the importance of emerging from the current impasse as well as the connection between this situation and regional developments.”

According to the same statement, “King Abdallah expressed his interest in Lebanon and achieving understanding among the Lebanese people…”

Other sources reveal that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also attended the meeting, which took place in secret on December 27.

For more on Saudi Arabia and Iran, see Saudis “to buy nuclear bomb” from Pakistan to counter Iranian threat (Dec. 17, 2006).

INTERNET CAFES ATTACKED BY RADICAL ISLAMISTS IN GAZA

Internet cafes have been targeted by radical Islamists in Gaza. The Islamists are also bombing pool halls and chemists in the land vacated by Israel in the summer of 2005. Many of the cybercafes in Gaza have closed after the attacks.

According to the Times of London, a group calling itself the Swords of Islamic Righteousness is believed to have carried out more than a dozen attacks in recent weeks.

The group issued a warning letter in November threatening to “execute the laws of God” and claiming responsibility for “shooting rocket-propelled grenades and planting bombs at internet cafes in Gaza, which are trying to make a whole generation preoccupied with matters other than jihad and worship.”

The group has also claimed attacks on unveiled women, music shops and motorists playing loud music. Palestinian police claim they are powerless to act since members of the security services are locked in a power struggle between Fatah and Hamas.

Women’s rights groups report an increase in “honor killings” of women suspected of “immoral behavior.”

Mona al-Shawa, of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said that the situation in Gaza was the worst that she had known. “I have never felt scared like I feel now. It is far worse than when Israel was here.”

Suddenly, the BBC and other leftist media and “human rights” groups so eager to report on every detail of life in Gaza have fallen strangely silent about such abuses of Palestinian rights.

FACTIONAL PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE SPREADS INTO WEST BANK

The internecine warfare that has plagued the Gaza Strip in recent months appears to have spread to the West Bank. Heavy gunfire was reported in the city of Jenin on Saturday night. Earlier in the day, the deputy mayor of Nablus was kidnapped at gunpoint and gunmen stormed the Ramallah office of the Interior Ministry, shot the office manager and took him away. Both Fatah and Hamas are said to be recruiting fighters and stockpiling weapons.

TAPES SHOW SADDAM AND HIS COUSIN PLANNED TO KILL THOUSANDS OF KURDS

The cousin of Saddam Hussein, Hassan al-Majeed, known as “Chemical Ali”, is currently on trial with five other Baath party officials for their roles in the 1988 Anfal (Spoils of War) military campaign in northern Kurdistan.

Prosecutors say that 180,000 people were killed, many of them gassed. According to tapes played at al-Majeed’s trial on Monday, Saddam Hussein and his cousin “Chemical Ali” discussed how chemical weapons would exterminate thousands before unleashing them on Kurds in 1988.

In their conversation, Hassan al-Majeed is heard saying that he “will strike them with chemical weapons and kill them all and damn anyone who is going to say anything.”

Saddam is also heard on the tape confirming that the gas is “effective, especially on those who don’t wear a mask immediately.” He also says that “it exterminates thousands and forces them not to eat or drink and they will have to evacuate their homes without taking anything with them, until we can finally purge them.”

Saddam was hanged on December 30 after being convicted in an earlier trial for his role in the murder of Shi’ites in the 1980s. Majeed, who faces charges of genocide, is considered the main enforcer of the Anfal campaign.

SHIA HOSTAGES HANGED IN STREETS IN REVENGE FOR SADDAM’S EXECUTION

Meanwhile Saddam’s execution has inspired grim revenge. In central Baghdad, Sunni murderers set up a fake security checkpoint around Haifa Street, a mostly Sunni Arab enclave with a small Shiite population. They rounded up Shiites, blindfolded them, pulled them on to the street and then hung them from lampposts and electricity poles. Those hostages who resisted were shot. Others who were still alive had nooses tied around their necks and were then suspended in mid air to choke to death.

The Iraqi government said that 102 bodies were recovered later, with many of them showing signs of torture.

The (London) Daily Telegraph reports “All were left hanging, and the victims received little sympathy from those who witnessed the events. ‘We watched as all these blindfolded men were hung up and some were shot in the head,’ Imad Atwan, a supermarket worker said. ‘We are all Sunni people here so we supported the gunmen. Some of them are the guards of our neighbourhood. Somebody called the police and the guards waited to shoot at them when they arrived. Half an hour after the police fled, they came back with the army and took the bodies away.’”

PALESTINIANS MOURN SADDAM

Palestinians in the West Bank town of Bethlehem opened a “house of condolence” where dozens of people gathered to mourn Saddam Hussein, the executed former dictator of Iraq. In Gaza City a garage was converted into a mourning area for the former Iraqi tyrant.

In addition there was also at least one parade in Saddam’s honor in Gaza, where Palestinians displayed a poster of his image next to former Palestinian dictator Yasser Arafat.

A rally mourning Saddam was also held in Halhoul, near the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. 500 people burned the Israeli and American flags, and chanted slogans against Iran and against Iraqi Shiites such as Muqtada al-Sadr who opposed Saddam.

During the second Intifada Saddam gave a total of $35 million to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other terrorists who had murdered Israelis.

PLANS TO ESTABLISH AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN NORTHERN IRAQ

The London-based international daily al-Sharq al-Awsat has reported on an “ambitious plan” to establish an American University in Iraq, in which studies will be conducted in English and the graduates will be able to compete for positions with high salaries in “practical fields” and computer sciences.

According to the article, the university already has a board of trustees, three candidates to head the university and a sum of $25 million, most of which comes from the American government and Kurdish sources. It is thought the university will need $200-250 million over the course of fifteen years.

The chosen site for the university, which will follow the curriculum of the two famous existing universities in Cairo and Beirut, will be on the outskirts of Sulimaniyya, “far away from the car bombs and the death squads which tear the Arab territories in Iraq.”

A work plan has recently been completed by the international consulting company Mackenzie & Co.

The article (which was translated specially for this email list/website) can be read in Arabic here.

Information on the other two universities can be found at www.aucegypt.edu and www.aub.edu.lb.

BAHRAIN MARATHON RUNNER STRIPPED OF CITIZENSHIP FOR COMPETING IN ISRAEL

Mushir Salem Jawher, a Kenyan runner who defected to Bahrain, has lost his citizenship and livelihood after becoming the first Arab athlete to compete in Israel. Jawher took part in the annual Tiberias marathon in northern Israel and has been told by Bahrain that he is no longer welcome.

In addition, Kenya has told the athlete that he has forfeited the right to represent the country of his birth. Jawher won the event and was subsequently stripped of his Bahraini passport.

After winning, Jawher told the Jerusalem Post that he was “proud” to run in Israel which was “a free country” and that “there should be no restrictions” on where athletes are allowed to run. He added that “When I decided to come I didn’t know it was history for me to be here… For me it was no problem and I hope to come back and compete next year.”

A record 900 athletes, including 21 from Kenya, took part in the Tiberias marathon, which is run around the Sea of Galilee.

Jawher is one of dozens of African athletes who have left their homelands to represent Arab states, such as Bahrain and Qatar, in return for tax-free salaries and lavish accommodation. Born Leonard Mucheru in Kenya in 1978, he moved to Bahrain in 2003, where he took an Arab name, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations.

IRWIN COTLER JOINS DEFENSE OF TORTURED BANGLADESHI JOURNALIST

Noted International Human Rights Attorney, Irwin Cotler, has joined the defense of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, the Muslim journalist imprisoned and tortured by Bangladeshi authorities after promoting peace with Israel, and advocating interfaith dialogue.

Choudhury now faces charges of “sedition, treason, and blasphemy” for which he could be put to death. Cotler who will be the international legal counsel for the defense has previously acted as counsel for Nelson Mandela, Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and Saad Edin Ibrahim, among others.

Cotler, a member of the Canadian Parliament, and an expert in comparative, constitutional and criminal law, has identified eight violations of Choudhury’s rights under Bangladesh law.

Resolutions urging the Bangladeshi government to drop the admittedly false charges have been approved or introduced by several nations including the United States and the European Union.

For more on Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, please see the sixth point in the dispatch So busy attacking Israel, they forgot about these beheadings (Nov. 21, 2006).

THE NEXT “FIELD OF JIHAD”

On Monday, a U.S. plane targeted two suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia. One was reportedly involved in bombing U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the other was said to be the group’s commander in East Africa.

The second article attached below is “a guide to the latest terror-war front” by Jonathan Stevenson, a professor of strategic studies in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College.

Stevenson warns that “Even if Somalia does not become a terrorist redoubt, it could become a potent fount of regional geopolitical instability and perhaps the next ‘field of jihad’ unless diplomatic attention is rallied to rescue the situation.”

Please note that this morning the French newspaper Le Monde reports that British and Canadian citizens were among the dead and captured as Ethiopian forces claimed victory over Islamists in Somalia.

MOHAMMED IS A POPULAR NAME

The third and final article below, by Michael Freund, warns that “soon enough, most of what we now think of as Western Europe will be transformed into a branch of the Muslim world, which is sure to make it an even less welcoming place for Americans, Israelis and for Jews… That, at least, is the unpleasant, yet entirely unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from Europe’s headlong demographic drive toward oblivion.”

As columnist Mark Steyn points out in his acclaimed new book, America Alone, “What’s the Muslim population of Rotterdam? Forty percent. What’s the most popular baby boy’s name in Belgium? Mohammed. In Amsterdam? Mohammed. In Malmo, Sweden? Mohammed.”

Last month, the (London) Daily Telegraph reported that, “Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies’ names in England and Wales than George.”

Whilst Freund’s article is a little alarmist, and perhaps exaggerated, at the same time demographics in Europe should not be ignored altogether. They may have far-reaching consequences for the whole Western world.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

AMBITIOUS PLANS TO RECREATE CORDOBA AS A PILGIMAGE SITE FOR MUSLIMS

Spanish bishops fear rebirth of Islamic kingdom
By Elizabeth Nash
The Independent
January 5, 2007

news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2125423.ece

Spain’s bishops are alarmed by ambitious plans to recreate the city of Cordoba – once the heart of the ancient Islamic kingdom of al-Andalus – as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe.

Plans include the construction of a half-size replica of Cordoba’s eighth century great mosque, according to the head of Cordoba’s Muslim Association. Funds for the project are being sought from the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and Muslim organisations in Morocco and Egypt. Other big mosques are reportedly planned for Medina Azahara near Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

The bishops of those cities are alarmed at the construction of ostentatious mosques, fearing that the church’s waning influence may be further eclipsed by resurgent Islam financed from abroad. Up to one million Muslims are estimated to live in Spain. Many are drawn by a romantic nostalgia for the lost paradise of Al-Andalus, the caliphate that ruled Spain for more than five centuries.

Last month, Spanish Muslims reasserted their right to pray in Cordoba’s great mosque. The mosque houses within its arches a cathedral built to consolidate Catholic rule after Muslims were expelled from Spain in 1492. Muslims are forbidden to pray in the building.

Mansur Escudero, president of Spain’s Islamic Council, has challenged the current head of Spain’s Episcopal Conference, Bishop Ricardo Blazquez of Bilbao, to explain why Muslims could not pray in Cordoba’s mosque. Mr Escudero said he had been encouraged by the Pope’s act of prayer in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque on his recent visit to Turkey. “It showed that mosques are open to Christian worshippers,” he said. “Could not Muslims pray in Cordoba’s mosque?”

Bishop Blazquez replied that public collective praying was prohibited, but he supposed private or individual prayer was acceptable. Mr Escudero then announced that Muslims would henceforth return to Cordoba’s mosque to pray “in a respectful, private and individual capacity”. The bishops hit back, insisting that “Muslims cannot in any way pray in Cordoba cathedral”.

Spain’s Muslims have been long respectful towards civil and ecclesiastical authorities, but as numbers have grown they have turned to more radical leaders. An alliance of Spanish converts, pro-Moroccan and pro-Saudi leaders took control of one of Spain’s two main Islamic federations last year. Half of the new leaders are imams from Saudi-funded mosques in Madrid and Fuengirola.

Mr Escudero, an ousted moderate who nonetheless remains head of Spain’s umbrella Islamic Council, said he did not favour the construction of flamboyant mosques with foreign money. “I prefer more modest, decent buildings that are backed by Spanish local authorities,” he said, but added: “Muslims have the right to build mosques big and small wherever they like.”

Hundreds of mosques have popped up all over Spain. But churches, and many residents, complain that big, shiny mosques are more than just centres for culture and worship, and say they are funded by undemocratic countries promoting Islamic radicalism.

 

A GUIDE TO WHAT’S GOING ON IN SOMALIA

What’s going on in Somalia?
A guide to the latest terror-war front.
By Jonathan Stevenson
The Wall Street Journal
December 27, 2006

www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009440

Though 98% Muslim and long without a functioning government, southern Somalia has not, so far, ripened into the fully fledged terrorist threat that many have feared it would. This week, however, as Ethiopia engaged Islamist Somali militiamen, Somalia became the site of a nascent regional war. The primary combatants are Somalia’s secular Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is internationally recognized and politically supported by the U.S., and the Islamist “Islamic Courts Union” that holds sway on the ground. They are backed militarily by two fierce rivals, Ethiopia and Eritrea, respectively. The military balance appears indeterminate. Ethiopia has deployed 15,000 to 20,000 troops in Somalia. Eritrea has provided arms to the Islamic Courts militias and sent only about 2,000 troops to support them; but the Islamic Courts hold more territory than the TFG and have greater indigenous assets and popular support. Even if Somalia does not become a terrorist redoubt, it could become a potent fount of regional geopolitical instability and perhaps the next “field of jihad” unless diplomatic attention is rallied to rescue the situation.

Ethiopia has a politically dominant Christian tradition and is vigorously opposed to Islamism. Al-Ittihad al-Islamiah, a Somali Islamist group aligned with the Islamic Courts, has sought to force the secession of Ethiopia’s heavily ethnic Somali Ogaden region, and Ethiopian troops were responsible for eliminating several terrorist training camps run by al-Ittihad in the late 1990s. Although about half Muslim and half Christian, Eritrea’s support for the Islamic Courts rests on its strategic enmity toward Ethiopia. The Islamic Courts are also politically and financially backed by several Muslim states, including Egypt, Djibouti, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan. Ethiopia’s preventive intervention against the Islamic Courts – tacitly approved by the U.S. – prompted them to declare jihad against Ethiopia in November. Meanwhile, on Dec. 7 the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted U.S.-sponsored Resolution 1725, authorizing the deployment of an African force in Somalia to protect the TFG and partially lifting a weapons embargo to Somali factions, which stands to strengthen the TFG and secular militias. The resolution spurred the Islamic Courts to declare jihad against any U.N. – sanctioned force, and the Eritrean government branded it “an attack on the Somali people.” Foreign jihadists are reported to be infiltrating Somali territory already.

The volatile situation in Somalia presents the West with a thorny and immediate problem. To quell geopolitical tensions created by Ethiopia and Eritrea’s intervention, a U.N.-sanctioned force would have to be led by a major power. Yet even if such a power could afford the troops and materiel, the insertion of a significant number of Western-led foreign troops would run the risk of attracting (as in Iraq) still more foreign jihadists to Somalia and inspiring terrorist attacks worldwide.

The U.N. and the African Union (AU) support the TFG, and the former has authorized peacekeeping troops. In hopes of minimizing regional tensions, the Security Council resolution bars the participation of neighboring nations Kenya and Djibouti as well as Ethiopia in any peacekeeping contingent, and limits the notional outside force to physically protecting the TFG in and near Baidoa, and to training TFG security forces. But there is little manpower available for any serious effort. The resolution also does not deal with foreign forces already in Somalia. While the resolution is nobly intended to promote political negotiations between the TFG and the Islamic Courts Union, coupled with Ethiopia’s substantial military commitment to the TFG it may have had the effect of providing the TFG with enough political cover to defer dialogue. Furthermore, only Uganda has offered troops, and has done so ambivalently and against domestic public opinion. In any case, though trained by the French and the British, Ugandan troops would probably be both numerically and professionally inadequate.

Although Washington would probably provide logistical support and some funding for a Uganda-led force, it has essentially charged Uganda and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – most of whose members (Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and, less rigidly, Kenya) oppose intervention – with executing Resolution 1725. Accordingly, the military mission, in any case of dubious political value, is unlikely to gather momentum. Meanwhile, rough military parity allows the two Somali factions to procrastinate diplomatically.

While at times disingenuously denying that it has deployed troops in Somalia, Ethiopia has indicated that any troops are intended as a deterrent and that it is not eager to engage in a long war. The Islamic Courts, for their part, have demonstrated a degree of caution. Fatalities still probably number only dozens rather than hundreds. Thus far, the major powers have tacitly allowed Ethiopia and Eritrea to keep assets deployed in Somalia while pressuring both to refrain from escalating to all-out war. But these weak constraints cannot produce operational equilibrium between the TFG and the Islamic Courts Union for long enough to allow effective major-power attention to gravitate to Somalia before war arises.

Absent an unattainably strong peace-enforcement contingent, the only solution would appear to be robust diplomacy aimed at stabilizing the Somali situation by a power-sharing arrangement between the TFG and the Islamic Courts. Both the U.N. and the AU, as well as the U.S. and key European capitals, however, have their hands full with even more pressing regional matters, such as Darfur. Indeed, all save the AU are overstretched by Iraq, Afghanistan and the campaign against Islamist terrorism. They cannot be expected to devote serious diplomatic attention to Somalia in the short term. While Yemen and the Arab League have made attempts to facilitate dialogue, they are not likely to have the influence to close a sustainable deal.

The EU, however, has shown appreciation for the gravity of the crisis. On Dec. 8, EU development minister Louis Michel held separate talks with the TFG and the Islamic Courts in hopes of lowering tensions, albeit to no clear avail. Kenya, the most effective broker in the region on Somali issues, has sponsored the TFG. But Nairobi – constrained by a rising cross-border threat from the Islamic Courts and political pressures from its own substantial ethnic Somali population – has defaulted to a position of “neutrality.” Since open conflict could send hundreds of thousands of refugees over its border, however, Nairobi may abandon timidity and push for negotiations. Religious leaders in Kenya have urged as much. With the EU’s diplomatic sponsorship and residual U.S. support, such an effort might enforce a pause and bring the four principals – the TFG, the Islamic Courts, Ethiopia and Eritrea – to the table. Otherwise, only further escalation is likely to bring decisive major-power attention to the Horn of Africa.

 

“IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE THE EIFFEL TOWER UP CLOSE, YOU HAD BEST NOT DELAY”

Say goodbye to Europe
By Michael Freund
The Jerusalem Post
January 9, 2007

www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467696394&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

If you ever wanted to see Paris or Rome before you die, but haven’t had a chance to do so, you might want to hurry. Soon enough, most of what we now think of as Western Europe will be transformed into a branch of the Muslim world, which is sure to make it an even less welcoming place for Americans, Israelis and for Jews.

That, at least, is the unpleasant, yet entirely unavoidable conclusion to be drawn from Europe’s headlong demographic drive toward oblivion.

Think I’m exaggerating? Consider a few cold hard facts.

According to a recent report by the Rand Corporation, “Across Europe, birth rates are falling and family sizes are shrinking. The total fertility rate is now less than two children per woman in every member nation in the European Union.”

Needless to say, demographers consider a birthrate of 2.1 children per family to be the replacement level at which a society’s population size remains stable. Barring large-scale immigration, anything less means decline and dissolution.

A research study published last year in the International Journal of Andrology found a similar trend, concluding that, “Fertility rates have fallen and are now below replacement level in all European Union (EU) Member States. In the 20-year period since 1982,” it noted, “most EU Member State countries have had total fertility rates continuously below replacement level.”

At the bottom of the list are Spain, Italy and Greece, where birthrates hover around just 1.3 per couple, leading some forecasters to suggest, for example, that Italy’s population could shrink by one-third by the middle of the century.

Others, such as Germany’s 1.37, the UK’s 1.74 and Sweden’s 1.75, aren’t all much better.

The figures are so bad that in many European countries, the total number of deaths each year has actually begun to exceed the number of births.

Indeed, the Council of Europe’s 2004 Demographic Yearbook warned that, “for Europe as a whole, more people died in 2003 than were born.” In 1990, said the yearbook, “three countries – Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary – had negative natural growth for the first time. By 2002, it was negative in fifteen countries.”

Last year, after the publication of statistics revealing that 30 percent of German women have not had children, Germany’s family minister, Ursula von der Leyen, caused a stir when she said that if her nation’s birth rate did not turn around, the country would have to “turn out the light.” And while Europeans may be busy everywhere but in the bedroom, the Muslim populations in their midst are proving far more expansive.

As columnist Mark Steyn points out in his must-read new book, America Alone, “What’s the Muslim population of Rotterdam? Forty percent. What’s the most popular baby boy’s name in Belgium? Mohammed. In Amsterdam? Mohammed. In Malmo, Sweden? Mohammed.”

Last month, the UK Daily Telegraph reported that, “Mohammed, and its most common alternative spelling Muhammad, are now more popular babies’ names in England and Wales than George.”

This, said the paper, using typically British understatement, “reflects the diverse ethnic mix of the population.”

But that “mix,” so to speak, is rapidly changing – and not in traditional Europe’s favor.

Islam, by all accounts, is the fastest growing religion in Europe, spurred by immigration and high fertility rates. According to projections by the US federal government’s National Intelligence Council, the continent’s current Muslim population of 20 million will likely double by 2025.

And as Bruce Bawer noted last year in While Europe Slept, “Already, in most of Western Europe, 16 to 20 percent of children are Muslims…within a couple of generations many [European] countries will have Muslim majorities.”

Not since September 8, 1683, when the Ottomans were threatening to breach the walls of Vienna, has Islam been so perilously close to seizing control over Western Europe.

The implications of all this are far graver than we can even begin to imagine, and it is not just a matter of choosing new and more hospitable tourist destinations.

An increasingly Islamified Europe will prove ever more hostile to Israel and America, and this trend will only intensify as the Muslim population there continues to grow.

Even if European governments succeed in reversing the curve, which seems highly unlikely, it will be decades before it would begin to be felt. In the meantime, however, Muslim political power on the continent will develop and expand, and European leaders will be hard-pressed to ignore their demands.

This makes it far less likely that Israel and the US can count on Europe – if they ever really could – at times of crisis in the decades ahead. Just pick an issue, from the war on terror to Palestinian statehood, and you’ll see what I mean.

For however unbalanced Europe’s stance has been until now, it will likely only grow worse in the years to come.

Europe as we know it is a thing of the past, and it is time for Israeli and American decision-makers to take this into account as they plan for the future. The face of Europe is changing rapidly, and with it the continent’s social and political make-up.

So if you really want to see the Eiffel Tower up close, you had best not delay. Before you know it, it might just turn into a minaret.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.