Eurabia

Eurabia

Eurabia is a political neologism used to refer to a Europe which allies itself to and becomes subsumed by the Arab World. The term was publicized by the writer Bat Ye'or, especially in her 2005 book Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, and imbued it with a negative meaning. Arguing that Eurabia is a geo-political reality in today's Europe, Ye'or claim as comprehensive European and Arab collaboration in domestic and foreign policy issues, ranging from economic matters to immigration and describes a joint Euro-Arab foreign policy which she characterizes as anti-American and anti-Zionist, with efforts towards delegitimation of Israel, and promotion of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization.

The meaning of Eurabia has since expanded and shifted. It is now primarily used to describe the projected transformation of the European countries, as Islamic religion, Islamic ethics and Islamic law (called Sharia) become dominant. The premise of Eurabia is based on the projection that the muslim population in Europe will become a majority within a few generations due to continued immigration and high birth rates. The term is generally used in combination with dhimmitude, another term introduced by Ye'or, denoting an attitude of concession, surrender and appeasement towards Islamic demands. Many supporters of the theory view European political and cultural elite, especially the European Union, as implementing the strategy. Critics of the theory view it as alarmist and inaccurate, comparing it to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that proliferated in Europe in the lead up to World War II.

Origin of the term

Eurabia was originally the title of a newsletter published by the Comité européen de coordination des associations d'amitié avec le monde Arabe. According to Bat Ye'or, it was published collaboratively with France-Pays Arabes (journal of the Association de solidarité franco-arabe or ASFA), Middle East International (London), and the Groupe d'Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient (Geneva). There is no group of this name at the University of Geneva, but there is a Groupe de recherche et d'études sur la Méditerranée et le Moyen Orient (GREMMO) at the University of Lyon, and one of its members is the Institut universitaire d'études du développement (IUED) at the University of Geneva.

During the 1973 oil crisis, the European Economic Community (predecessor of the European Union), had entered into the dialogue euro-arabe (EAD) with the Arab League. Bat Ye'or later used the Eurabia to describe the associated political developments. The term originally had no pejorative intent, and no connotation similar to its present usage (in Germany, 'Eurabia' is used in the names of several businesses, such as the Eurabia Schifffahrts-Agentur GmbH and Eurabia Tours), Bat Ye'or was the first to use it in that way.

Bat Ye'or on Eurabia

Bat Ye'or sees Eurabia (the political process) as the result of a French-led European policy originally intended to increase European power against the United States by aligning its interests with those of the Arab countries, and regards it as a primary cause of European hostility to Israel. She describes it as follows:

A machinery that has made Europe the new continent of dhimmitude was put into motion more than 30 years ago at the instigation of France. A wide-ranging policy was then first sketched out, a symbiosis of Europe with the Muslim Arab countries, that would endow Europe - and especially France, the project's prime mover - with a weight and a prestige to rival that of the United States. This policy was undertaken quite discreetly, outside of official treaties, under the innocent-sounding name of the Euro-Arab Dialogue [...] This strategy, the goal of which was the creation of a pan-Mediterranean Euro-Arab entity, permitting the free circulation both of men and of goods, also determined the immigration policy with regard to Arabs in the European Community (EC). And, for the past 30 years, it also established the relevant cultural policies in the schools and universities of the EC [...] The Arabs set the conditions for this association:

  1. a European policy that would be independent from, and opposed to that of the United States
  2. the recognition by Europe of a "Palestinian people", and the creation of a "Palestinian state"
  3. European support for the PLO
  4. the designation of Arafat as the sole and exclusive representative of that "Palestinian people"
  5. the delegitimizing of the State of Israel, both historically and politically, its shrinking into non viable borders, and the Arabization of Jerusalem.

From this sprang the hidden European war against Israel, through economic boycotts, and in some cases academic boycotts as well, through deliberate vilification, and the spreading of both anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

She also summarizes this process as:

Europe's economic greed was instrumentalized by Arab League policy in a long-term political strategy targeting Israel, Europe, and America [...] Through the labyrinth of the EAD system, a policy of Israel's delegitimization was planned at both the EC's national and international levels [...] Strategically, the Euro-Arab Cooperation was a political instrument for anti-Americanism in Europe, whose aim was to separate and weaken the two continents by an incitement to hostility and the permanent denigration of American policy in the Middle East.

Current usage

Current usage of the term is wider than the version given by Bat Ye'or, with less attention for Franco-Arab relations, and more for immigration and Muslim demographics. The skeptical Matt Carr, writing in the academic journal Race & Class, describes this imagined scenario as follows:

According to the worst-case Eurabian predictions, by the end of the twenty-first century, most of Europe’s cities will be overrun with Arabic-speaking foreign immigrants, much of the continent will be living under Islamic Sharia law and Christianity will have ceased to exist or be reduced to a state of ‘dhimmitude’ [...] In the nightmare world of Eurabia, the future will become the past once again and Christians and Jews will become oppressed minorities in a sea of Islam; churches and cathedrals will be replaced by mosques and minarets, the call to prayer will echo from Paris to Rotterdam and London and the remnants of ‘Judeo-Christian’ Europe will have been reduced to small enclaves in a world of bearded Arabic-speakers and burka-clad women.

The term Eurabia has been popularized by writers such Oriana Fallaci, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Melanie Phillips, Mark Steyn (and several web sites). Others, such as Bernard Lewis and Bruce Bawer have presented comparable scenarios. The term has become more common partly because it reflects a more general political tendency, which sees Islam as a major threat to Europe and its values. Justin Vaisse, who is sceptical of the claimed transformation into Eurabia, spoke of this mood at the Brookings Institution (spelling corrected):.

[...] I toured the bookshops and I was looking for books on Islam in Europe. And the only titles I could find, the only books I could find, bore titles like While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, by Bruce Bawer; The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?, by Tony Blankley; Eurabia, The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or; or Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too, by Claire Berlinski [...] And more generally, even more serious authors like Bernard Lewis or Niall Ferguson write things or give interviews speaking of the Islamization of Europe, the reverse colonization, the demographic time bomb that is threatening Europe, et cetera, with the suggestion that the sky is falling.

In an article in the Melbourne Age discussing Raphael Israeli's call for controls on Muslim immigration to Australia lest a "critical mass" develop, Waleed Aly says that "Israeli's comments matter because they are not as marginal as they are mad". Aly mentions that Israeli's latest book "is an unoriginal appropriation of the 'Eurabia' conspiracy thesis of Jewish writer Bat Ye'or: that Europe is evolving into a post-Judeo-Christian civilisation increasingly subjugated to the jihadi ideology of Muslim migrants" and that the theory has received "enthusiastic support" from intellectuals in Europe and activists in the USA.

Implications and response

Not all supporters of the theory see 'Eurabia' as inevitable. Some advocate the prohibition of Islam, and some advocate a direct confrontation. In an article entitled Confrontation, not appeasement, Ayaan Hirsi Ali demands a confrontational policy at European level, to meet the threat of radical Islam, and compares non-confrontational policies with Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler. Specifically, she proposes:

  • careful monitoring of the demographic growth of the Muslim population in Europe (EU)
  • registration of all violent incidents against women, Jews and homosexuals, including the (religious) identity of the perpetrator
  • Europe must recognise the United States and Israel as allies in the struggle against radical Islam
  • development of alternative energy sources, to reduce dépendance au pétrole on oil
  • a European immigration policy, which makes entry conditional on allegiance to the national constitution: Immigrants should sign a contract to obey the Constitution, and should be deported if they break it.
  • ideological confrontation with the generation "infected by radical Islam": all Muslims must explicitly renounce radical Islam.
  • "offer good education, close all Islamic schools, and prohibit the opening of new ones."

During the conference The collapse of Europe at Pepperdine University, Ayaan Hirsi Ali asked for "economic reform, meaning, to reduce government, where government is unnecessary, and especially the welfare state.

Critique of the Eurabia theory

The first academic work to address the Eurabia thesis is Integrating Islam Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France, by Brookings scholars Justin Vaïsse and Jonathan Laurence. Professor Laurence begins:

Those who utter the term 'Eurabia' conjure up a mutant European continent under pressure from oil-producing states that has all but abandoned its values and policies to a horde of Arab immigrants. Our book attempts to dismantle that position by exploring the actual evolution of French policies towards Muslims and organized Islam since the 1970s. We try to do away with one of the false premises of 'Eurabia', namely, that French and European governments - fuelled by self-loathing multiculturalist policies- have capitulated to Muslims’ cultural and religious demands.

Justin Vaisse says the book intends to debunk "four myths of the alarmist school." Using Muslims in France as an example, he says:

  • The Muslim population is not growing as fast as the scenario claims, since the fertility rate of immigrants declines
  • Muslims are not a monolithic or cohesive group
  • Muslims do seek to integrate politically and socially
  • Despite their numbers, Muslims have little influence on foreign policy (e.g. policy toward Israel)

According to David Aaronovitch:

[Eurabia] is a concept created by a writer called Bat Ye’or who, according to the publicity for her most recent book, "chronicles Arab determination to subdue Europe as a cultural appendage to the Muslim world — and Europe's willingness to be so subjugated". This, as students of conspiracy theories will recognise, is the addition of the Sad Dupes thesis to the Enemy Within idea.

Many partisans of the Eurabia theory claim that there is already 12% Muslims in France, although 2007 polls showed only 3% muslim. According to The Economist, "[Bruce Bawer] uses wildly exaggerated statistics to give warning that Muslim birth rates will soon turn Europe into 'Eurabia'. The Muslim share of Switzerland's population is not an 'astonishing 20%', as Mr Bawer claims, but 4.3%, at least according to the 2000 Swiss census." According to the CIA World Factbook and several other source, there were 14 to 16 million Muslims in European Union in 2007, that is 3% of total population (495 M). According to Matt Carr, an "expansion from 3 per cent to 40 per cent within twenty years would be nothing short of miraculous".

Writer Ralph Peters concedes that Muslim assimilation is an issue and sees clashes between Muslim immigrants and Europeans as likely, but argues that the Eurabia thesis is the reverse of the real situation. "The endangered species isn't the 'peace loving' European lolling in his or her welfare state," he writes, "but the continent's Muslim immigrants." Citing Europe's violent and intolerant history, Peters predicts that once Europeans feel significantly threatened by Muslims, whether or not those feelings are justified, they will "over-react with stunning ferocity," ending in the ethnic cleansing of Muslims..

Comparisons to antisemitism

Due to its purported harsh, ethnically charged language and conspiratorical tone, the theory of Eurabia has been compared to antisemitic writings by some writers.

Journalist Johann Hari calls the two "startlingly similar" and says that "there are intellectuals on the British right who are propagating a conspiracy theory about Muslims that teeters very close to being a 21st century Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.

In Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, journalist Andreas Malm quotes Mark Steyn predicting genocide and highlights the conspiratorical claims against Islam as a whole made by the Eurabia writers. In a follow-up article, journalist Eva Ekselius claims "Like the Jews were depicted as the foreign, the other, onto which one could project all the traits the culture wants to deny in themselves, so the 'muslims' now get to take over the second-hand props of anti-semitism" and makes a direct comparison to pre-war Europe.

Israeli peace activist Adam Keller, in a letter of protest sent on June 2, 2008 to the Israeli publisher of Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, wrote:

In 1886 the French antisemite Edouard Drumont published 'La France Juive' (Jewish France), creating the false nightmarish image of a France dominated by Jews, and sowing the poisonous seeds which came to fruit when Vichy French officials collaborated in the mass muder of French Jewry. [...] Bat Ye'or follows in notorious footsteps indeed by creating the false nightmarish image of a Europe dominated by Arabs and Muslims.

See also

Notes

Further reading

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