Below is an editorial from last week’s Jyllands-Posten, translated into English by our Danish correspondent TB. In a cover note with his translation, TB had this to say:
What I think is most interesting about this editorial is the fact that it is written by a Swedish associate professor from the University of Gothenburg. I think something has finally happened over there. Not much, but everybody has to start somewhere, don’t they?
And now the editorial itself:
Editorial: Islam is religion and politics
by Alf Ronnby, Associate Professor, University of Gothenburg
Europe was been invaded by Muslim armies and Muslim civilians for hundreds of years.
Therefore it is not strange that there exists a great deal of mistrust towards Muslims. Muhammad created the doctrine of holy war, jihad, in 610. His successors succeeded with holy war. Ten years after the death of Muhammad in 632 the Muslim armies lead by Abu Bakr had conquered large parts of the old Roman Empire in North Africa and the Middle east. Islam became a world power.
In 711 the Muslims crossed the strait of Gibraltar and conquered huge parts of the Iberian peninsula. By 732 they had advanced deep into France, but were defeated by Karl Martel’s army at Poitiers. The Muslims established the khalifa al-Andalus (Arabic Spain). It had its best days in the 10th century. In 1100 the Christians began to reconquer what had been lost, and in 1492 the last Muslim bastion in Spain, Granada, fell. A ‘reconquest’ of al-Andalus stands as a wet dream for certain Muslims today. Islamic violence in Spain has to be observed in this light.
In the east, Byzantium was under constant attack from Muslim armies for 800 years until Constantinople fell in 1453 and the whole of southeastern Europe was Islamized. The Islamic expansion continued in Europe, but the Muslim siege of Vienna in 1683 went wrong. It became a turning point, and after that Christian armies forced the Muslim empire in Eastern Europe back.
Even so, however, Islam is dominant in certain regions of the Balkans. Of the whole Ottoman Empire only Spain, Portugal, and Hungary (as well as some Balkan states) are no longer Muslim.
Islam is described as a religion that prohibits violence. But that is either a truth with some modifications, or else pure hypocrisy. The Quran forbids violence, but hails holy war. It is a double standard, as Muhammad showed himself when he defended the violence that benefited his own interests and conquests. Allah is described as the mighty killer of the infidels.
Nowadays there are no Muslim troops forcing their way into Europe. The invasion shows in another way. Europe has been under Muslim pressure for the last twenty to thirty years. A lot of immigrants and refugees have come here from Muslim countries. According to the book The Third Islamic Invasion of Europe there are around thirty million Muslims in Europe today — and they keep coming. In twenty years their numbers will have doubled.
Is that a problem? Not necessarily, but we have seen that some Muslims do not function well in our societies. Yes, sometimes they despise our culture and want to destroy it. Islamic terrorist attacks around Europe are a sign of that. But in the longer run there might be a much larger problem connected to the influx of Muslims. What makes Islam unique as a religion is that Islam, in itself, is clearly political. Islam is not just a religion. Islam does not distinguish between civil society and the state. The Islamic society is also the state and the politics through which it is governed. Islam does not distinguish between the spiritual life and the secular one. All public and private matters fall under the holy law, sharia. To a high degree Islam is a bearer of traditions, and therefore politically conservative, which is obvious in Muslim societies.
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To be a Muslim is not a private matter. The religion and its rules of life saturate the Muslim society and manifest themselves in religiously-based laws. According to these principles no orthodox Muslim can integrate into a non-Muslim country. This is one of the reasons why true Muslims in the UK demand that the sharia should be valid for them, with the stated reason being that all humans are equal and have the same rights. This must be equivalent to Muslims being able to live in their own enclaves and parallel societies. Muslim contempt toward Western democracy is also rooted in this.
One could disagree with this by stating that most Muslims who come to Europe have escaped Islamic oppression and that they are not orthodox. For them it is not difficult to accept our culture. However, it is not always the same with their children. They get disappointed in their expectations of wealth, and seek refuge in fundamentalist Islam, which they think is better. And they want revenge, as we have seen in London and Madrid. It is a serious question about what awaits Europe with Turkey as an EU member with a huge Muslim population.
Since the war in the former Yugoslavia in 1995, Saudi Arabia has intensified its efforts to spread Islam in Europe. In Sarajevo the Saudis built two gigantic mosques which can hold 5,000 individuals at a time. Saudi Arabia has also paid for around 200 hundred mosques, several Quran schools, and Islamic cultural institutions. The Grande Mosque in Paris and many other mosques in France receive support, and in Germany 2,500 mosques have been established with support from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The office for religious matters in Ankara sends its imams to work in Germany to control what is being preached at Friday prayers. Islam is now also a European religion. In the UK the state finances Islamic schools and in Germany Muslim organizations demand to have the opportunity for Islamic education in the country’s schools.
Islam is a rapidly rising religion in the world and it has now outnumbered Catholicism. 50,000 Christians in both France and UK have converted to Islam. Muslims now constitute 19.2% of the world’s population (around 1.3 billion people), Catholics 17.4 (around 1.1 billion). Christianity, however, as a whole (Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, etc.) is still the largest group and constitutes around 33 % of the world’s population.
Seen from a Christian or an atheist point of view the problem with the spreading of Islam in Europe is that Islam is not just a religion. In Islam religion and politics are connected. Islam is a political religion with ambitions of taking over as the dominating force in society and in the world. Another problem is that Islam is a bipartite religion that on the one hand proclaims non-violence and peace, and on the other hand argues for holy war — jihad. Bosnia and Kosovo have, after the war, become a staging ground for the jihad movement in Europe, similar to Algeria and Morocco. The jihad movement is present for certain in Denmark, France, Holland, Spain, the UK, and Germany.
Europe has had a taste of threats from Islamists against our Western culture and lifestyle through the attacks in Madrid and London and several threats against airplanes. The police in the UK have arrested a lot of presumed terrorists with connections to Islamic institutions and Quran schools. Recently arrests were also made in Denmark. Thanks to the European security police and their thorough investigations there have been no further bomb attacks.
In many mosques radical imams preach against our decadent, promiscuous culture and lifestyle and against our infidel way of life. For them the Islamic law, sharia, is the only right thing. It describes proper behavior and attire. From the outside it appears to be about simple things, for example that women should not show their hair or be in the same room as men with whom they are not related. But behind this lies something much more serious which can change our society in radical ways.
As time passes and Europe becomes more and more Islamized we will all be forced to respect what Muslims and their Islamic religion demand about how we live our lives. We will be forced to adapt to a type of society that is less tolerant towards other ‘infidel’ perceptions. That is the unpleasant side of the sneaking Islamization of Europe and it is already here in the form of self-censorship.
The Islamic terror has given us many worries about security considerations, not least in the flight industry where new control systems from time to time lead to chaos. But we have not escaped violence.
In 2004 the Dutch director Theo van Gogh was murdered on the street in Amsterdam. He had his throat slit and was stabbed twice in the chest. The murderer, a Moroccan Islamist, called all Muslims to wage holy war against the enemies of Islam.
In France the writer Robert Redeker had to go into hiding in 2006 because he wrote that the Quran preaches hate and violence.
In Denmark police arrested three Muslim men when it was revealed that they had plans to murder the artist from Jyllands-Posten, Kurt Westergaard.
The artist Lars Vilks in Sweden has also received threats to his life for drawing a dog with a Muhammad-head in a roundabout.
In Holland Geert Wilders received death-threats after making a movie critical of Islam. All of these people wanted to draw attention to Islamic violence, and Muslims have emphatically rejected the charges. At the same time Muslims threaten those who say that Islam is a violent religion.