Islamic extremism triggers right turn in Europe
26/07/2011 10:20:24 GIRISH P
Last week Norway saw perhaps its biggest act of violence since the world war when Anders Behring Breivik, a Nordic man with piercing eyes and blonde hair, mowed down 63 people attending a Labor party camp at Utoya. He did this after setting off bombs which killed 7 in Oslo. On his Facebook page, Mr Breivik describes himself as a Christian and a conservative. His ‘manifesto ‘European declaration of Independence’ posted on the net is replete with references to the ‘Knight Templar’. Apparently he believes that he belongs to the modern version of that order. The Templar was founded around 1119 and swore to protect Christian pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land. The knights took part in several major victories against Saladin, the leader of the Muslim forces.
The fact that Norway is ruled by the Labour party which has been liberal in admitting Muslim migrants into the country seems to have fuelled Brevik’s madness.
Brevik’s action, though isolated in its extremism, follows a wave anti immigration sentiment sweeping much of Europe.
Since the end of the Second World War, Western Europe has been known for its liberal attitude. The revulsion to atrocities under Nazism has strongly influenced political discourse in Europe since 1945. There was a widespread feeling among Europeans that the effects of institutionalised Nazi racism had to be reversed. Multiculturalism and immigration thus became tools to roll back the effects of racial discrimination and to overcome the guilt that many Europeans felt.
All this is changing - thanks to Islamist violence in Europe.
The Immigration years and its apostles
In post-war Europe, immigration which undermined racial cohesion was enforced with a vengeance. The liberal left took a lead in implementing this policy.
After the fall of Communism in Europe, the liberals had an ideological vacuum to fill. Multiculturalism - the theory that each nation should be a mosaic of cultures rather than have a singular cultural identity - was chosen as their alternative ideology. With increased immigration, multiculturalism began to yield rich political dividends for the Liberal establishment since the immigrants usually formed cohesive vote banks. The integration of the immigrants into the mainstream of the host county was opposed and the left encouraged immigrants to maintain their 'cultural identity' separate from that of the host country. It was not incidental that this ethnic ‘separateness’ came with a political advantage for the left.
The liberals were not alone in supporting this idea of multiculturalism. The part of 'multiculturalism' which appealed to the big business in Europe was the cheap labour provided by youthful economic immigrants in an aging Europe. As for the intellectual elite, multiculturalism provided one more tool to undermine the nation state for which they had developed an instinctive hatred.
Most of the newcomers in Europe were economic immigrants and were given free housing, social security and other benefits.
Immigrants for integration and those for disintegration
There were two kinds of immigrants across the integration divide.
Broadly speaking, immigrants from Asian countries, especially non Muslim countries wanted to integrate with the mainstream of their host nation. Immigrants from India who were mostly skilled workers - Doctors. Engineers and software professionals took advantage of the opportunities in Europe. Working hard, saving and taking care of their families, they would set an example which many a westerner would later follow.
Hindu immigrants, especially, who had internalised a million forms of worship and customs within their own religion and community, had little difficulty cohabiting in the new state. They would generally enrich themselves and their adopted nation with hard work. The level of integration of immigrants from the erstwhile communist block (leaving aside exceptions like Romania) was seen to be 'satisfactory'.
It was quite a different story with immigrants from Muslim countries like Pakistan and the Arabian Peninsula. These people not only refused to integrate but went overboard with flaunting their separateness. Within their host nation they formed separate enclaves, both geographical and social, and jealously guarded against mainstream influence.
Countries like France would be flooded with immigrants from North Africa. These Muslim immigrants would take over entire neighbourhoods which were made off-limits to even the local Police. Burning of Cars became a regular method of protest in the poor, immigrant-heavy suburbs that ring biggest cities of France. In 2007 during New Year eve, more than 1,000 cars were burnt overnight. When the police tried to take back the streets, they were driven away by protesters demanding that French Police leave the ‘occupied territories’.
Europeans who did not conform to the immigrant’s cultural identity were 'encouraged' to leave 'Muslim areas' by threats and intimidation. In Denmark, Greenlanders were expelled from Gellerup, a 'Muslim area' in the second biggest town Århus. The same stories were repeated across Europe. Nørrebro in Copenhagen and Birmingham became 'Muslim zones with special status' within Denmark and England.
The liberal establishments of Europe bent over backward to accommodate these ‘culture specific events’.
In Brussels during Ramadan Non-Muslim policemen, patrolling the streets of Hollenbeck in their cars, were instructed not to eat or drink for fear of offending the predominantly Muslim local population. In Britain, legislators allowed tax breaks for Muslim men for their second, third and fourth wives. The welfare department of the city of Antwerp announced that 45 welfare recipients have two or more spouses. In Denmark, it is revealed that Muslim immigrants constitute 5 percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending. Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark's 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country's convicted rapists; an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims is non-Muslim.
Some of the schools in Copenhagen introduced mothers-only parent-teacher meetings in order to conform to the Islamic custom of gender segregation. Here, Danish fathers have to stay home when women-only meetings take place.
The rise of Islamist terrorism and the turn to the right
The anti-Soviet Afghan Jihad added a new militancy to Islamist activism all over the world. No longer were threats, aggressive posturing or setting up enclaves within Europe sufficient. Inability of Western nations to confront aggression had further emboldened the Islamists who resorted to more 'Direct actions'.
In November 2, 2004, Dutch film director Van Gogh who had criticised Islam was murdered by a Muslim extremist in Amsterdam. He was shot, his throat was slit, and a five-page note to his body with a knife.
In protest of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, bomb explosions rocked Spain and England killing more than a hundred people. Terror plots were unearthed in France, Spain, and Germany. Most of the culprits caught were Islamic immigrants or children of the same.
This new aggression has caused Europe to re-evaluate immigration and multiculturalism especially in relation to Islam. Politicians like Geet Wilders of Denmark have been openly criticizing Islam and calling for a rollback to the Islamisation of Europe. According to him, Islam should be evaluated with the same critical attitude as was Communism by intellectuals like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Václav Havel. For many like him, the idea of multiculturalism is based on the false assumption that that all cultures are in agreement on some fundamental level on what "freedom," "dignity," "justice," and "human rights" mean. They also believe that Islam is more a political expression of Arab nationalism than a religion and it is this that prevents Muslims from cohabiting peacefully with other peoples.
Chancellor Angela Merkel now says that German attempt to create a multicultural society has “utterly failed”. Other western leaders have echoed this opinion.
The re-look at Islam in Europe has thrown up some frightening figures about a rapid Islamisation of their countries. This alarm is reflected in public discourse as well as in Politics as a whole. Inside Europe, each Islamist atrocity has hardened public opinion in favour of stricter laws against immigration and shifted the political landscape to the right.
Denmark's Minister of Immigration and Integration, Rikke Hvilshoj had her house bombed because she opposed the demand for 'blood money' to be given to a murdered Muslim man's family. The demand came from a radical Imam in Denmark, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban.
In 2001, Denmark elected the most conservative government in some 70 years - one that had some decidedly non-generous ideas about liberal unfettered immigration. Today, Denmark has the strictest immigration policies in Europe.
Denmark is not alone.
The right has made huge gains in the most liberal of countries – Sweden and Netherlands. It has consolidated in France, Italy and Austria.
The Economic factor and the impact of the Internet
One factor which will sustain the rightward trend of Europe is the economic downturn and the accompanying massive job layoffs. With millions of workers loosing their jobs and having to work longer hours with lesser job security, the idea of their own governments spending tax money for the welfare of immigrants will become more untenable.
The biggest advantage the liberal left has in Europe (as well as in America) is their stranglehold over the established media, especially the visual media. To a large extent, this control has served to suppress the impact of immigration and deflect any criticism directed towards Islamist aggression. For example, the BBC's report on the car burning's in France referred to 'disgruntled youth' being responsible for the arson and completely ignored the religious profile and motivation of the culprits.
Today, the credibility of this established media is being seriously challenged by the Right through the new media - the internet. Websites, blogs, bulk email and video streams in sites like YouTube are being used to counter the advantage of the mainstream media. Once the domain of the disenfranchised rebels, this alternative media is today efficiently used to promote views which the mainstream liberal media chooses to ignore.