The following grim assessment of the Islamization of Europe by Michael Ley was published in the Austrian daily Die Presse. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:
The Islamization of Europe: No, I Do Not Have Visions
by Michael Ley
June 19, 2015
Orthodox and radical forms of Islam are a scourge of humanity. The historian Egon Flaig calls sharia Islam “the greatest danger to democracy and human rights in the 21st century.” Only an Islam without sharia is compatible with human rights. But this vision is pie-in-the-sky. Reality looks different.
The Islamization of Europe is the most visible change in most European societies. There is a parting of the ways concerning this development. Liberal and educated citizens harbor great misgivings at the increasing influence of conservative and radical Islam, and regard the future of the continent with pessimism. Their so-called progressive opponents interpret Islamization as a cultural enrichment and the conquering of the obsolete national state. The battle of the leading thinkers of a radical, post-national Europe is applicable to every national identity. Autochthon Europeans are apparently expected to forgo every national, cultural and religious identity, as well as any traditional sexual identity.
Well-intentioned compatriots try to find a mediating position, by judiciously weighing the arguments from contending cultural warriors and regretfully taking notice of the non-integration of many Muslim immigrants, but simultaneously pointing out the presumptive traditions of an Islam that is open to the world, and is expected to undergo a post-modern renaissance. Christians offer a dialogue of religions, setting pre-judgments aside and admitting their shame at the crusades of an imperial Christianity. Greenies praise their Muslim greengrocers as icons of successful integration. Feminists do not want to talk about the machismo of young, immigrant, Arab males. Purchased brides and honor killings are not among the favored subjects in their critique of society. Educational researchers brag that the number of Muslim graduates is increasing, while their critics point to the rising number of crimes committed by Islamic immigrants.
Defenders of Islam relativize many Muslims’ excessive hatred of Jews and their contempt for Christianity with the ritualistic complaint of an anti-Islamic racism in the indigenous population. The political and intellectual elites are helpless in the face of integration problems, and would prefer not to talk about the shambles they have made of it. Insofar as possible, they want to avoid a public debate about the future of European “immigration countries.” A look at the real world of Islam could open these dreamers’ eyes.
Europe did not simply spring from the Middle Ages into the modern age. It required mediating instances and fortuitous happenstances. Absent the acquisition of our classical heritage, the emergence of the Renaissance, the Reformation, Humanism and, above all, the Enlightenment, in their diverse facets, no European modern age would have occurred. The religious, intellectual, cultural, social and economic developments in Europe were exceedingly diverse and in no way trending in the same direction. The crises and catastrophes of the European modern age in the 20th century almost led to self-destruction.
An Islamic modern age could not arise, because by the10th century — that is, with the implementation of Islamic theology — the gateway to interpretation of the Koran was completely closed. As late as the 9th century, theological representatives of Mu’taziliten — which was influenced by Greek philosophy — were discussing free will and personal responsibility. After that, and until the present day, Islam largely closed itself off from the outside world. This development closed Islam to European rationalism and sealed its potential spiritual and intellectual development. That is why Islam knows only a theologically-based sacred history, and no secular history. Since Augustine, Christianity has distinguished between a divine history and a secular history, made by people. Accordingly, human beings are required to shape their own social and political future. In modern terms: God gives no specific directions for political structure.
By comparison, the God of Islam controls everything mundane. He intervenes in political events, personally kills the enemies of the true belief and punishes sinful Muslims. Muslims must fulfill the goals of Islam: the battle against the infidels. Coexistence is only allowed for a time. Rejection of secular law means rejection of the democratic rule of law and of human rights. Thus, Islam does not fulfill even the least requirement of a modern, democratic society. Islam knows no religious and political pluralism.
We are experiencing the grotesque revival of the Thirty Years’ War, which raged in Europe from 1618 to 1648, but this time under Islamic auspices. Islam, however, lacks those reforming personalities that make the Thirty Years’ War comprehensible. Islam has no historic Martin Luther, no Ulrich Zwingli or John Calvin — theological and political reformers who in varying ways fought the power of the Catholic Church and the Popes, and reformed Christian theology. The end of the Thirty Years’ War not only created a fragile religious peace, but ushered in the modernization of Europe.
The destruction of Islamic civilization cannot be traced to post-modern crusades, neocolonial or latter-day imperialistic efforts of the West. The causes must be sought in the religion and the civilization of Islamic societies themselves. The warlike confrontations in the Near East and in North Africa document the disintegration of a political order artificially established after WWI.
The contemporary Thirty Years’ War is taking place in the Islamic world, between Sunnis and Shi’ites, urban modernists and a corrupt semi-secular power elite, among various radical Islamists, as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims on a global scale. The puppet-masters in the background in the Near East are the regional powers, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, each pursuing hegemony and hatching its own plots. The Islamic agony is predetermined, because no one has a religious-political exit strategy in the form of an Islamic reform.
The lack of any political perspective is the greatest impetus for radical Islam. The more incapable reactionary Islam is of finding its own political and social solutions, so much stronger does the hatred of the West become. This political strategy is promising. Islam can only triumph if it plunders old Europe. By colonizing Europe, it gains an economic future. It is looming civil collapse that is forcing the conquest of the infidels.
Against this background of its own cultural and social self-destruction, Islam poses the greatest danger. The demographic displacements between the indigenous population and Muslim immigrants will lead to most European societies being unable to correct these developments. Collective aberrations like Communism, Fascism or National Socialism were reversible. After their failure, Europe’s cultural and religious heritage could be re-acquired, and new, civilized, democratic communities arose. Once the indigenous populations become minorities, this path to civilizational regeneration will be closed.
Orthodox Islam is compatible neither with democracy nor with European civilization. Sharia and the democratic constitutional state, individualism and collectivism are mutually exclusive. The oft-uttered objection that many Muslims are well-integrated and value the advantages of an open society is an unconvincing political argument. The most important Islamic institutions are orthodox and largely infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical groups. Institutionally, liberal Muslims constitute a tiny minority within Islamic societies, and are ignored by the ruling elites.
The Islamization of Europe has many faces. For one thing, nations are not affected in equal measure by Muslim immigration. For another, the regional distribution of Muslim communities is quite diverse. Mark Steyn aptly describes this development: “Much of what we vaguely call the Western world will not survive this century. Perhaps there will still be a region designated on maps as Italy or Germany, just as there is a structure in Istanbul called St. Sophia Cathedral. But it is no longer a cathedral — just a property. Likewise, Italy and Germany will be the names of properties.”
Italy and Germany will continue to exist as divided nations. Alongside the indigenous population will be a large Muslim contingent, which will of course be neither ethnically nor religiously homogeneous. This means that many regions will have no purely secular legal system, but a mixture. Where there is a preponderance of Muslim citizens, parts of sharia law may gain entry into the constitution and the legal system.
Modern Islamists such as Tariq Ramadan demand a European sharia law that takes European conditions into consideration. In other words: Islamization is advanced by means of a “reform Islam,” which will step-by-step replace secular law with divine law. The Islamization of the legal system can vary in extent. These developments, however, will be irreversible, since, as noted, they cannot be undone, due to demographic changes.
In all probability, the multicultural utopia will become a religious-political nightmare. Homosexuals, transsexuals, genderists will disappear and flee to regions that will protect them from a threatening Caliphate. Many south-, west- and north-European societies will suffer this fate. Bi-national states will arise, consisting of Muslim and non-Muslim parts.
National governments will be very weak, so shifts in governments and in coalitions will be the rule. The acceleration and intensification of various conflicts will be accompanied by the risk of failing states. Examples of this process are Lebanon, the erstwhile Yugoslavia, the present states of the Near East and parts of Africa. These societies were not and are not capable of living together in multi-religious, democratic cultures. Consequently, civil war becomes a lasting, latent phenomenon. Over time, these multi-religious societies cannot exist and will descend into a lingering demise.
In Muslim-majority regions, there will be a demand for political and cultural autonomy. These Muslim-ruled territories, however, will almost certainly hang on to a national state, because they will be economically inferior. Many indigenous Europeans will have the experience of being minorities on their own soil.
Divisions of nations, i.e., territorial splitting off of entire regions and the emergence of new national states along religious-ethnic lines, are conceivable. These aspirations will more likely come from the indigenous populace, to preserve their own culture and living standard. Should these developments take place in great measure, the Europe of nations could devolve into a Europe of regionalism. This would be the consequence of a European balkanization — of a politically disintegrating continent, which would not only lose its inner cohesion, but would also become a political football. European cultures would be determined by set borders and would be under threat from advancing Islamization.
The answer to this crash of civilization, therefore, must lie in the recollection of the basic elements of European culture: its national, ethnic, religious and cultural variety, and the European values of humanism and the Enlightenment. The future may seem gloomy. Europe finds itself facing a choice between a “reconquista,” a re-conquest of its civilization — or suicide.
(Photo: Well-intentioned Christians praise the “dialogue,” well-intentioned Greens praise their greengrocer. Only the Feminists prefer to say nothing. The Islamization of Europe. A grotesque.)