Tony Blankley, editorial-page editor of The Washington Times, describes the present danger posed by militant Islam and what must be done to counter it in his new book, “The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?” (Regnery Publishing)
First of three parts
The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s.
We cannot afford to lose Europe. We cannot afford to see Europe transformed into a launching pad for Islamist jihad.
While we in the United States and Europe have vast resources for protecting ourselves, we have thought ourselves into a position of near impotence.
Beyond the growing number of Muslims committed to terrorism is the threat from the Islamic diaspora’s growing cultural and religious assertiveness — particularly in largely secular Europe, where Muslim cultural assimilation has not occurred.
It is beginning to dawn on Europeans that the combination of a shrinking ethnic-European population and an expanding, culturally assertive Muslim population might lead to the fall of Western civilization in Europe within a century.
This phenomenon, called Eurabia, is viewed with growing fatalism both in Europe and in America. Such fatalism, however, is premature.
Last November, an Islamist terrorist’s butchering of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had made a movie revealing abuse of Muslim women, aroused deep fears in Holland and across the Continent.
The public anger, which included the burning of mosques in traditionally tolerant Holland, is evidence that the European instinct for survival has not been fully extinguished.
But that survival instinct is threatened by the multiculturalism and political correctness advocated in media and academe — and institutionalized in national and European Union laws and regulations for half a century.
Europe’s effort at cultural tolerance since World War II slowly morphed into a surprisingly deep self-loathing of Western culture that denied the instinct for cultural and national self-defense.
If Europe doesn’t rise to the challenge, Eurabia will come to pass. Then Europe will cease to be an American ally and instead become a base of operations (as she already is to a small degree) against us.
Prepared to murder
What Muslims say and do now is the measure of the political, cultural and military danger facing the West.
Most other religious developments around the world, such as the spread of Christianity in the Southern Hemisphere, have benign or nonviolent consequences.
However, the overwhelming political fact deriving from the ferment in Islam is that, to some degree, some percentage of Muslims are prepared to murder — and are murdering — great numbers in what they feel is their religious duty.
Many more Muslims are, to some degree, supportive or protective of these killers. Even more Muslims, while not supportive of such tactics, share many of the terrorists’ religious convictions and perceptions.
Radical currents within Islam drive some Muslims to terrorism and push others at least to a more adversarial view of their relationship to non-Muslim nations and cultures in which they live — whether in Paris, London, Hamburg, Rotterdam, or any American city.
The resurgence of a militant Islam drove the United States to fight two wars in Muslim countries in two years, disrupted America’s alliance with Europe, caused the largest reorganization of the U.S. government in half a century (with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security), changed election results in Europe and threatened the stability of most governments in the Middle East.
This resurgence of militant Islam also drove America to pressure Saudi Arabia to change the way it teaches religion to its children and others (through madrasses) around the world. It forced America to pressure Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan and Somalia, among others, to change domestic security policies. It prompted America to build a ring of bases in Central Asia across what used to be the Muslim part of the Soviet Union.
And we are only four years removed from the September 11 attacks.
Radical Islamists like Osama bin Laden are not traditionalists. The idea of individual jihad — separating jihadist decisions from the Muslim community — is a radical departure. But it is important for recruiting potential terrorists.
Over the past 30 years, the Muslim population in Europe expanded rapidly from a few hundred thousand to more than 20 million. Muslims there and in the United States are arguing over their role in Western societies: Should they integrate, seclude themselves, or convert the West to Islam?
Many Muslims in Europe are content to be law-abiding, culturally integrated citizens. But an increasing number feel some degree of alienation. Many are beginning to believe that they have a religious duty not to integrate.
Radical Islam, sometimes accurately called Islamo-fascism, has all the “advantages” the Nazis had in Germany in the 1930s. The Islamo-fascists find a Muslim population adrift, confused and humiliated by the dominance of foreign nations and cultures. They find a large, youthful population increasingly disdainful of their parents’ passive habits.
Just as the Nazis reached back to German mythology and the supposed Aryan origins of the German people, the radical Islamists reach back to the founding ideas and myths of their religious culture. And just like the Nazis, they claim to speak for authentic traditions while actually advancing expedient and radical innovations.
The Islamo-fascist mullahs encourage young Muslims not to turn to their parents for guidance on choosing a wife (or wives). Nor are young Muslims to be guided by parental or community disapproval of making an individual commitment to jihad. They are allowed to drink alcohol, shave their beards and commit what otherwise would be judged immorality in a Muslim — in order to advance jihad.
In many ways, these radical Muslim fundamentalists are postmodern, not pre-modern. They are designing a distinctly Western, fascistic version of Islam that is less and less connected to the Islam of their Middle Eastern homeland.
Radical Western Islam brings the combative strength and deep faith of authentic traditions while constantly modifying itself to best attack liberal, secular European and American institutions.
The radical Islamists are able to rationalize concessions to modernity with ancient-sounding mumbo jumbo while still sounding like authentic fundamentalists, the only true voice of Islam.
The Nazis overwhelmed German society with these methods 70 years ago. There is building evidence that the radical Islamists are moving ever more successfully down the same path — particularly within the younger generations in Europe and, to a lesser extent, in the United States.
Many young Muslims in Europe, and some in America, particularly second- and third-generation Muslims, cannot be considered part of a diaspora. They no longer are strongly connected to their family’s country of origin, nor do they intend to return.
Instead, they are forming their own Muslim consciousness from the Internet, books, videotapes and audiotapes.
The Internet offers many radical Islamic “experts” and mullahs who function like Dear Abby. European Muslims pose questions on everything from whether to be polite to infidels to how to prepare for jihad. The immediate answer often is a hodgepodge of Koranic citations, quotes from ancient scholars and personal advice.
Within this constantly morphing digital environment, an increasingly radical Islam is emerging in Europe. Disconnected from their homelands, isolated from their non-Muslim neighbors and fellow workers, alienated from their elders, Europe’s young Muslims find a weird, disembodied, globalized radical Islam appealing.
Struggle for survival
Muslim sections of Paris, Rotterdam and other European cities already are labeled “no-go zones” for ethnic Europeans, including armed policemen.
As the Muslim populations — and their level of cultural and religious assertiveness — expand, European geography will be “reclaimed” for Islam. Europe will become pockmarked with “little Fallujahs” that effectively will be impenetrable by anything much short of a U.S. Marine division.
Not only will Islamic cultural aggression against a seemingly passive and apologetic indigenous population increase, but the zone of safety and support for the actual terrorists will expand as well.
If the current leaders of Europe do not respond to the Islamist threat boldly and effectively, the common European people might decide to defend their culture as vigilantes. In that case, Europe again will become a bloody urban battleground.
This would be a temporary tragedy for liberal principles of governance, but at least would secure Europe from Muslim domination over the next half-century.
The harm of a vigilante effort against the radical Islamists can be mitigated, if not avoided, if the governments themselves will lead the struggle for European cultural survival.
It should be a prime objective of American policy to encourage European governments and the European Union to lead their people in this struggle, rather than follow them.
Part II: Needed: Old war spirit in a new war
Copyright (c) 2005 by Tony Blankley. Published by arrangement with Regnery Publishing Inc.