There was a time when I used to bother arguing against the “Eurabia” thesis. I don’t any more. It falls into the same category for me as 9/11 ‘Truth’ and Obama’s birth certificate.
I am drawn back to it, because a friend has just sent me a pretty good Newsweek article which picks Eurabianism apart. Here’s a snippet:
For the number of Muslims to outnumber non-Muslims by midcentury, it would require either breeding on a scale rarely seen in history or for immigration to continue at a pace that’s now politically unacceptable. More likely, new controls will slow Muslim immigration. The birthrate for Muslim immigrants is also likely to continue to decline, as it has tended to do, with greater affluence and better health care. There is no Europewide data available, but one study says fertility rates among Turkish-born women in the Netherlands fell from 3.2 in 1990 to 1.9 in 2005, barely above the figure for native-born Dutch. Over the same period, the equivalent figure for Moroccan-born women in the Netherlands dropped from 4.9 to 2.9. Also, fertility rates are edging upward in some Northern European countries, which would offset some of the Muslim growth. Bottom line: given the number of variables, demographers are loath to make predictions about the number of Muslims in Europe in the years to come. “You would almost have to make it up,” says Carl Haub, the senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington. And the idea of a Muslim majority any time soon? “Absolutely absurd.”
Moreover, the myth of Eurabia implies the existence of a united Islam, a bloc capable of collective and potentially dangerous action. The truth is that there are no powerful Muslim political movements in Europe, either continentwide or at the national level, and the divisions that separate Muslims worldwide, most obviously between Sunnis and Shiites, are apparent in Europe as well. Each major nation in Europe has drawn Muslim immigrants from distinct regions of the Islamic world, often former colonies, with different traditions and outlooks. A British Muslim from Pakistan would struggle to communicate with a French Muslim from Algeria. A second-generation Muslim from Turkey living in Germany will have little in common with a newly arrived Moroccan across the border in Belgium. Sharp differences exist even within national frontiers. In Germany, more than one in 10 Muslims are Alawites, who aren’t even recognized as coreligionists by the more orthodox.
Read the rest. It is all good fun. Feel free to add a few more ideas yourself in the comments below.
The thing is, there are some serious arguments to be had. I’ve focused on four Islamist political parties in Britain, a couple of which are merely a public nuisance, but two of which have had a certain degree of success in bamboozling sections of the liberal Left. I worry about that, but think it can be turned around. Similarly, when people lose friends and family members to an extreme fascist cult, that is a terrible thing. There are a series of small issues which can be thought about and discussed sensibly, as the piece below this one illustrates.
However, the hysterical Eurabian discourse adds absolutely nothing of value to thinking on these issues.
Islamists and Eurabians are like two men standing side by side at a urinal. Both glance at each other’s willies, both think that the other’s is larger than his own. But both have forgotten about the power of perspective and the angle of vision to confuse the brain.
The “Muslim world” is far less united than the West, and the milieu of Islamist groups that operate within it are utterly fractionalised. Iran – which gave Qutb’s vision a Shiite twist and put it into action – has degenerated into a faction fight and revealed a population which is prepared to risk all, in the hope of being able to live an ordinary life in a sensible state.
Meanwhile, in Britain, fears of Eurabia will go the same way as all other panics, right back to the Hugenot weavers in Spitalfields, whose presence caused riots in London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth to the Irish, who were very much the first target of the Gordon Riots two hundred years later.
It didn’t take long after the Good Friday Agreement for people to stop worrying about the Irish Pub on the corner. Although there are, no doubt, some who will never forgive that descendant of Hugenots, Simon Le Bon.