Not long ago I watched a British documentary film that alleged German neo-Nazis and young militant Muslims had struck up an alliance against their common enemies: Jews and gays. If true, this would not be the first time Nazis and Muslims have joined forces to destroy Jews — even gay Jews. In 1941, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini and Nazi leaders hatched a plot for a Middle Eastern version of the Holocaust — one that happily did not come to fruition.
The filmmakers say that in 1990 there were only 23,000 Jews living in Germany. With so few Jews to pick on, Germany’s neo-Nazis directed their hate toward the local Turkish population. Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, however, Germany received an influx of 200,000 Russian-speaking Jews. Not long after the new immigrants arrived — the filmmakers alleged — militant Muslims and skinheads cemented their alliance, one as notorious as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
This back-and-forth continued the other week as several far right, anti-immigration parties, including the Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang, Alsace First, the Austrian FPOE, and Germany’s Pro Koln joined to form a group called Cities Against Islamification.
CAI’s purpose is ostensibly to resist the “Islamification of European cities.” For obvious reasons, these far right parties do not use the term “Islamofascism,” preferring “Islamosocialism.”
So what is the CAI’s agenda? Apparently it consists in telling Muslim schoolgirls that they cannot wear head scarves to school, banning forced marriages and the ritual slaughter of animals and slapping a moratorium on the building of new mosques.
“We already have more than 6,000 mosques in Europe, which are not only a place to worship but also a symbol of radicalization,” Vlaams Belang’s Filip Dewinter whined to a Dutch radio station, citing a large new mosque being built in Rotterdam. “Its minarets are six floors high, higher than the [lights] of the soccer stadium!”
Amazing. In Holland, soccer really is above God.
Like an increasing number of European (and Canadian) governments, Cities Against Islamification wants to save European cities from becoming the boreal equivalent of Tehran by curtailing freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Already France has banned the wearing of crucifixes and headscarves in its schools and public places. Britain recently passed a law making harsh criticism of religion a crime. In Canada authors and editors are being prosecuted for publishing books and magazine articles critical of Islam.
These are the kind of laws one might expect to find on the books in Saudi Arabia, where new Christian churches and Jewish synagogues are banned, but certainly not in Western Europe. At least not since the Enlightenment.
THIS IS NOT TO SAY that Europe doesn’t have a problem with its Islamic populations. That is self-evident. Since 9/11 once moderate Muslims have reacted to a perceived increased hostility toward themselves and their religion not by denouncing terror or radical Islam, but by embracing their religious ideology, often in its most fundamentalist forms.
This reaction increased tenfold after the invasion of Iraq and the London subway bombings. Thus you now find young, educated, professional Muslim women defiantly wearing the niqab, demanding sharia law, voluntarily adopting the segregation of the sexes, and equating the immorality of the Muslim terror attacks with everyday street crime.
Philosophers have known for millennia that the excessive increase of anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction, so we now see far right parties reacting against the Muslim reaction against the Iraq War, or support for Israel, or Islamophobia, or whatever, and on and on ad infinitum. New laws against critical religious speech have not diminished the swelling us-versus-them mentality.
Muslim enclaves grow in number and size, and even moderates in their midst loudly demand Islamic law and Islamic values in place of Western ones. Can calls for separate, independent Islamic city-states be far off?
Before this century is out Europe could be faced with any number of Islamic separatist-terrorist groups (like those raising hell in southern Thailand, most notably the Mujahideen Islam Pattani and the Pattani United Liberation Organization, and in the southern Philippines, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group) battling ultra-nationalist, pro-indigenous militias.
Not likely, you say? In France Muslims will be the majority in a quarter century if the current birth rate continues. In a few years Muslims will be the voting majority in several European cities.
European leaders will have to find a way to forestall this scenario, to neutralize the far right and the Islamic reactionaries, and bring two clashing civilizations together. Right now they seem to have concluded that the way forward is by limiting dissent. This should make the fundamentalists feel right at home.