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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
tension and backlash against Muslims in Europe
Europe’s Backlash Against Islamization
Facing a precarious future, Europe has only just begun to reckon with
increasing Muslim populations and Islamic extremism. If current
demographic trends persist, Europe’s democratic secular foundations will
be in serious jeapordy in about twenty five years. This disturbing
reality is causing a backlash, forcing European governments to confront
the threat of Sharia law — and even some Muslims are joining the fight.
The battle for the fate of the continent is intensifying.
France took the first step in trying to stop the spread of Islam by
banning any religious symbols from being worn in public schools, which
included the headscarves worn by many Muslim women. This caused outrage
in the Muslim world, and President Obama criticized it during his
address in Cairo. Then in November, the Swiss voted in favor of banning
the construction of minarets on mosques. This has sparked major
movements on the continent to take further measures that would have been
unthinkable a decade ago.
One by one, the countries of Europe are placing restrictions on wearing
the burqas and niqabs in government buildings or even in public. In
April, Belgium became the first of them to pass an all-encompassing ban,
and the French Council of Ministers followed by passing a similar ban
that the National Assembly has just approved. It is expected to pass the
Senate in September and then be signed by President Sarkozy.
Now, the Senate in Spain has passed a motion calling on the government
to completely ban the wearing of the veil in public, and several
municipalities in Spain have also placed restrictions on the burqa,
although the parliament of Catalonia has switched its initial vote in
favor of a ban. The Senate’s motion went further than what the ruling
Socialist government wanted, which only sought to stop the veils from
being worn in public buildings. There are growing movements with varying
success in Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and
Italy for placing restrictions on the face veils. A battle over Sharia
courts should be expected in the coming years, which Norway is taking
the lead on. The Foreign Minister, who is the head of a panel on
integration, has just expressed his opposition to them, saying
“desegregation is our society’s biggest social challenge.”
Political parties that express a hard line on assimilation and Islam are
gaining in the polls. A new Poll poll found that bans on the face veils
are supported by a strong majority of Western Europeans. Eighty-two
percent of the French, 71 percent of the Germans, 62 percent of the
British and 59 percent of the Spanish are in favor of such a law.
The Freedom Party of Geert Wilders came in third in last month’s general
elections in the Netherlands, expanding their number of seats from nine
to 24. Wilders rightfully said that his party was “the biggest winner
today.” Wilders is best known for releasing a movie called Fitna that
caused outrage among Muslims for tying acts of Islamic terrorism and
oppression to specific verses in the Koran, resulting in so many death
threats (note the curious irony) that he constantly has bodyguards and
frequently switches where he sleeps.
Wilders is currently being prosecuted for inciting hatred for his
comments about Islam, the Koran and Mohammed. He has called for ending
Muslim immigration, ceasing the construction of mosques, closing Islamic
schools, and banning the Koran, among other measures. Those that feel
these policies are undemocratic and extreme need to recognize that
European public opinion is reacting to the quick growth of the Muslim
population, their lack of assimilation into European society and
increasingly aggressive activity by terrorists and extremists pushing
for Sharia law. It is this threat, not anti-Muslim bigotry, which is
fueling the support for tough, controversial measures.
“Many Europeans are refusing to talk about Islam on camera, fearing
government punishment for hate speech or reprisals from Muslims. Those
that dare speak express their fear that the entire continent will fall
to Islamization,” Martin Mawyer, President of the Christian Action
Network, told FrontPage. His group is currently filming a documentary
about the possibility of an Islamic Europe.
“There is an incredible degree of hopelessness and resignation that
Europe is headed toward Islamic control. Lacking the free speech rights
and rights to assemble that we enjoy in the United States, Europeans who
are oppose to Islamization are unable to develop a plan to counter
Islamic domination,” Mawyer said.
In the United Kingdom, over half of the population links Islam to
terrorism and only 13 percent believe the religion is based on peace. It
is connected to extremism by 58 percent and 69 percent believes it
encourages the repression of women. The statistics are certainly less
favorable to Islam elsewhere in the continent where measures like the
burqa ban are more supported. The lack of assimilation of the growing
Muslim population is a major factor in Islamic extremism, but it is also
stimulating anti-Islam sentiment. At the same time, some Muslims feel
directly threatened by Islamism. This is causing a surprising amount of
European Muslims to take a stand in favor of integrating their
communities into Europe’s secular democratic society.
In the United Kingdom, a female Muslim took to the papers to declare her
support of a ban, saying it has no connection with Islam and “is a sign
of creeping radicalization.” The country is also home to the Quilliam
Foundation, a moderate Muslim group founded by former members of Hizb
ut-Tahrir. Britain is also home to Dr. Taj Hargey, who is being
condemned and threatened by members of his community for calling for a
“reformation in Islam” that includes rejecting certain hadiths. He says
that multiculturalism is “the biggest disaster to happen to Britain
since World War II” and that Muslims must become part of British
In another incident, a group of Muslims confronted a group of about a
dozen extremists that were protesting British soldiers coming home from
Iraq by holding inflammatory signs. Law enforcement had to keep the two
groups apart as the tension grew.