Last fall at the Brussels conference I had the privilege of meeting the Swiss author Bat Ye’or. She is a small woman, but when she speaks about Islam and the imminent Islamization of Europe, she projects a commanding presence that makes her seem the tallest person in the room.
Her book Eurabia has now been translated into Hebrew, and she recently visited Israel. A few days ago The Jerusalem Post published an interview with her. Below are some excerpts:
When you heard about the peace treaty that Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin signed with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1979, how did you feel?
I wasn’t following it that carefully, due to family problems. Nor was I familiar with Israeli politics at the time. But I trusted Begin to do the best thing for Israel. So, I did have hope. Still, what you have to understand is that the problem is much larger than Egypt. The whole Muslim world is becoming more and more radicalized — more rooted in Shari’a, and less open to anything outside the religion. This is due to the policies of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 57 Islamic member states and a permanent delegation to the UN. At its last summit in December 2005, it decided upon a 10-year plan, one of whose resolutions was to root the Islamic uma — the world Muslim community — in the Koran and the [oral tradition of the] Hadith, which, of course, means Wahabbism. They also resolved to make the Palestinian issue the central issue of international politics. This is why we see relentless pressure on Israel from different countries. Because the OIC is an extremely powerful body, demographically, politically and economically.
A similar claim is often made about Muslim-Arab citizens and their governments — that a majority of the former is moderate, while the latter is extremist. Do you agree with this assessment?
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No, I don’t agree with it at all. In fact, the opposite is the case. In the Arab world, it is the governments — as we see so well in Egypt — that are at the mercy of the radicalized, Islamized, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israel masses who are in a dynamic of jihad. Certainly the majority of Muslims follow the ideology of conquest; it is in the Koran and the Hadith! And every time they go to the mosque, they hear it. I mean, the first shura, that is recited five times a day, is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. So they cannot escape from it.
Unfortunately, the Muslims who are against this trend don’t have the courage to make the effort to change it. And those who do have the courage are threatened with losing their jobs and having harm done to them and their families. So Islamism is the natural culture of the Arab-Muslim world. Even in Turkey an Islamist government has taken over. So, how can we deny the reality? And anyway, if the moderates were in the majority, they would be making protests and issuing manifestos against Osama bin Laden, instead of against America and Israel.
The environment is one of jihad on the one hand and of dhimmitude [the state of being a non-Muslim subject living in a country governed by Shari’a law] on the other. European countries are becoming dhimmi countries, and people don’t realize it, because they don’t know what jihad and dhimmitude are, so they don’t recognize what condition they’re in. When you have an illness, but are unfamiliar with its symptoms, you don’t know that you are sick. You feel sick, but you don’t know what you’ve got. You therefore can’t make a diagnosis or embark upon a method of treatment to cure yourself. This is the current condition of Western civilization right now.
Furthermore, unlike President Bush — who recognizes that Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a normal nation in its homeland — the Europeans think that Israel’s legitimacy should be granted by the Palestinians and the Arab states. In other words, Europe is putting Israel into a position of dhimmitude, whereby it will be recognized by Muslims if it abides by certain rules and duties.
This is in keeping with its own mentality. When the European community, in December 1973, published its document on European identity in the Copenhagen Declaration, they themselves were adopting a dhimmi mentality toward the Arab League countries. After World War II, Europeans decided that they didn’t want any more wars. Then, when they suffered aggression, such as the oil boycott and Palestinian terrorism that emerged in Europe in the late 1960s, instead of fighting, they joined their aggressors. This was their concept of multilateralism — thinking that by joining those who attacked them, they would be protected. This is when a tremendous Muslim immigration into Europe began.
Many Israeli academics bemoan a similar situation in Israel. Do you see the mind frame you’re describing infiltrating the Jewish state?
Yes, because the EU is spending a lot of money on Israeli NGOs in order to promote policies which will lead to the destruction of Israel. The EU considers Israel to be an accident of history that has to disappear. It thinks that if Israel disappears, relations between Europe and the Arab world will be much better. Now, the EU doesn’t come out and actually say this, but all its policies, statements and actions are indicative of its aims. These aims could be developed in Israel and in America — especially when there is a new president.
As for the future, it is difficult to say, but we must have hope. We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values, since it is they who will have to continue the efforts to preserve freedom and democracy — and they who will have to fight to defend them.
Read the full interview at The Jerusalem Post.
Hat tip and photo credit: Steen.