Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
A Losing Crusade?

A Losing Crusade?

Publication: The Pioneer
Date: August 9, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/194551/A-Losing-Crusade.html

Although Islam is today described as Europe's second religion, it is likely in the foreseeable future to become the first. This book, write KR Phanda and Prafull Goradia, is an objective, masterly exposition of a rather worrying demographic revolution taking place in the continent

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Can Europe Be The Same With Different People In It?
Author: Christopher Caldwell
Publisher: Allen Lane
Price: £14.99

Christopher Caldwell is an American journalist who writes in leading newspapers like the Financial Times. In the course of 12 chapters stretching 365 pages in the book under review, he portrays the anxiety and agony which afflicts native Europeans today. The anxiety is that Europe could well cease to be culturally as well as racially what it has been; the agony results from their helplessness in responding to the revolution set off by fast-multiplying immigrants from Africa and Asia. As the author states, native Germans have a fertility rate of 1.36 children per woman, whereas the Turkish immigrants appear to multiply at the rate of 2.4 children per woman. Eighty per cent of young Turks are married whereas in the same state of Westphalia, only 32 per cent of German natives tie the knot. Caldwell sums up the situation: "The closer one gets to European culture, the farther one goes from family and its raison d'etre, children."

A remarkable feature of the continent in its centuries of growth was nationalism and a competition between nation states. The horrors of World War II discredited nationalism as leading to racialism, militarism, chauvinism or patriotism. The institution of marriage appears to have suffered a collapse, replaced by live-in couples who produce very few children. Homosexuality has not only spread, even marriages between gays and lesbians has been legitimatised. To add to these woes came the challenge of migrants.

To make sure that the immigrants' identity is not diluted and the tradition of large families is maintained, a majority of immigrant young men marry women born in their home country. For example, over 60 per cent of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis marry girls born in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Such marriages are evidence of a choice against assimilation into the European mainstream.

The contention of the immigrant young men generally is that girls who grow up in Europe become distant from their own culture or become degenerate. The general impression in Denmark is that immigrants migrate just because they want a better life; they do not necessarily want a European life.

Native Europeans see the veil as a banner of solidarity with a violent international political movement which resorts to terrorism, whereas the Islamists consider such a garment as protecting modesty, chastity and even the virginity of their womenfolk. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali made a case for the liberty of women from Amsterdam, the retort was that Amsterdam is known as a place where young women are allowed to sit naked in windows waiting for men to pay them for sex. Islamists are also aware that Christians, and Roman Catholics in particular, were equally emphatic about chastity as well as pre-marital virginity. They therefore feel that the native European reaction to Islam is motivated by wanting liberation from religion per se; it does not matter whether it is Christianity or Islam.

Another aspect of this problem is that immigrant boys are generally not serious about studies and often end up doing jobs like driving taxis. Whereas Europe-born migrant girls are serious and a number of them get well paid white-collar jobs. Hence also the reluctance of boys to marry locally brought-up girls. Be that as it may, it only accelerates the demographic revolution whereby the number of immigrants rise in the background of the native European population falling.

Going back to history, Christianity provided the basis of a political ideology until the Reformation which began in the 16th century. Then the excesses of the Roman Catholic priesthood were exposed and the political classes started throwing off the yoke of the Church on the state. The two were separated to give birth to secularism which in turn obtained ideological support from the Enlightenment. This celebration of reason led to the blossoming of modern European civilisation. As reason flourished, faith diminished and the proportion of worshipping Christians declined.

Europeans became more intellectual and less religious. Even the faithful appeared to lose some of their collective pride in Christianity. The author quotes Islamologist Hans Jansen as talking of the end of religion. Among current European natives, religion shows signs of being a thing of the past. A poll by the influential paper La Figaro found that 45 per cent of self-described Catholics in France were unable to say what Easter commemorates. In 2003, a Lutheran pastor of Copenhagen had to be suspended for declaring that he did not believe in God the Creator! Compared to this is Islam, brimming with vigour and faith in Allah being the only God. Most Muslims are Muslims first, Muslims second and everything else later.

Pope Benedict XVI gave Islam a grudging compliment: "Islam's strength comes mainly from people's conviction that Islam can provide a valid spiritual foundation to their lives." This is the Pope who provoked a Muslim uproar by stating that in Islam God is absolutely transcendent, not bound even to rationality. Little wonder then that in France, it was found that 85 per cent Muslim students stressed that religious beliefs were very important. Only 35 per cent non-Muslims felt so ardently. In Germany, 81 per cent Turks were religious as against only 23 per cent native Christians.

The European dice is thus loaded against the natives. Although Islam is today described as Europe's second religion, it is likely in the foreseeable future to become the first. Hence Christopher Caldwell, on the cover of his book, asks, "Can Europe be the same with different people in it?" This is the crux of the demographic revolution taking place with fully aware native Europeans watching helplessly.

Every society or civilisation changes with time and circumstance. Perhaps, most native Europeans would be reconciled to the changing demographic profile of their continent provided most or all the immigrants were congenial to the ethos of Europe. Unfortunately Islamists have been found to be determined to stick to their orthodox ways. In fairness to them, it must be said that Muslims are unchanging even when by themselves whether in Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh or India. They are reminded regularly by their imams that Allah is the only God and that Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet who delivered the final message of Allah. The implication is that a final message cannot be altered. Between the Quran, the Hadith and the Sunnah, every answer is given.

What native Europeans find the most abhorrent about Muslims is their attitude towards women. They are not looked upon as equal human beings. Among other things, honour killings appear barbaric to the natives of Europe. They are practised especially by the Kurdish and Pakistani communities. Brothers murder their sisters or fathers their daughters for some trespass against sexual propriety - usually either wearing Western clothing or dating Western men. There were 45 such murders in Germany alone in the first half of the decade according to a 2005 study by the Federal Criminal Investigation Agency. In Berlin, Hatun Surucu "dishonoured" her family by dating a German and raising a child on her own. Her spectacular killing by several of her brothers in broad daylight in early 2005 was one of half-a-dozen honour killings that year in Berlin alone.

In Chapter 4, called 'Fear Masquerading as Tolerance', the thrust of the message is that the native European response to the immigrants is a mixture of liberalism and their fear of Islam. Which is more is difficult to tell, but neither is an effective answer to the immigrant challenge. Incidentally, the problem is substantially confined to Muslims. There is no mention of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and others who have also migrated to Europe.

The Enlightenment as well as the recent horror of war led to an intolerance of intolerance - a mindset that has been praised as anti-racism and anti-fascism, and described as political correctness. Another factor that complicated the situation was the fear of Communism throughout the 20th century. One answer to the Red menace was a declared commitment to individualism, democracy, freedom and human rights - all of which justify the liberal attitude.

An interesting illustration of the fear prevailing in post-war Europe was given by Enoch Powell in his well-known 1968 speech Rivers of Blood, on the subject of immigration. He received thousands of letters of appreciation, but most left out their address presumably because it was dangerous and they would risk either penalties or reprisals if it were found out. As the author puts it, more and more native Europeans are becoming politically correct when they talk about immigration and ethnicity. The question is: Has the European public assented or submitted, is it being convinced or coerced, is it acquiring manners or losing liberties?

This book is a masterly exposition on the low but chronic horror that afflicts Europeans. This volume should be read not only by those interested in the future of Europe but also those concerned with what lies in store for India. Our country also faces a similar dilemma, although it does not feel as much pain due to the immunity developed over eight centuries.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements