The Eurabia Delusion

Erin S. LaPorte, an MA in European National Security policy, a paralegal and host of Yellow Stars Euroblog has written a very well formulated, sourced and compelling argument about the myth called Eurabia.   Entitled “Delusions of Eurabia: The Islamification myth, European Islamophobic Extremists and a rational picture of European Muslims”, it is available in full on her blog by clicking on the title above.  Elements that are particularly interesting to me and directly related to my own interests (such as context abuse) are reproduced below and with thanks.  I have done so in quoted paragraphs directly and make no comments as none are needed.

The notion is the all Muslims are a part of Team Islam” and unified for dangerous actions in Europe, which include terrorism and riots, like the riots on France in 2005. The notion of “unified Islam.” What makes the Eurabia myth so sinister, but graphically shows how dubious it is, is that it denies the reality that Muslims are not a “united by Islam” Every European Muslim is a carrier of the jihadist germ and a cunning carrier of the sharia project (Johann Hari 2007; Justin Vaisse 2010).

European Political Islam – There are no powerful Islamic movements on the European Continent and, as far as Dutch Muslims are concerned, they simply cannot get together to form a basic political movement to represent their common interests. Part of this is due to the nature of Islam as a decentralized religious faith. According to Sara Silvestri (2007) the decentralization of Islam, similar to that of Protestantism, and the belief in the direct relationship of the Believer to God means that Islam lacks a central leader (170) with a centralized religious view. This aspect of Islam means that there is a fractured and highly diverse European Muslim community, which has been described by many authors (Klausen 2008, Buijs and Rath 2003, 6; Open Society 2010).

The fragmentation aspect of Islam, as well as the idea that European Muslims are highly diverse, could be present in the Dutch Muslim community. A former member of the Green Party and Dutch Parliamentarian, Mohammed Rabbae, lamented that “more unity would be good” and that suffered from “sectarian and personal interests that are common place in Islamic movements.” In 2006, the Islamic Party Netherlands got only 0.2 percent of all the ballot cast. Theo Coskun, a member of the Rotterdam city council who knows the Muslim community well, stated that “a lot of people who call themselves ‘Muslim’ are very secular” and that Dutch Muslims prefer to vote for established political parties. Coskun also stated that “no Turks will vote for a Moroccan. The opposite is even less likely”

Demographics – Why “counting Muslims” is a “bigot’s buzzywork”. Taking firm counts “Muslims” is problematic and only estimates can be arrived at. First of all, several EU Member States do not include the religion repondents for census reporting in Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Spain (Cesari 2006 11; Klausen 2008 13). For example, a third generation Turkish German may be secular and not identify as “Muslim.” Should such a person be counted as “Muslim?” Conversions are often overlooked, as are those from Muslim countries that do not practice or have even renounced the faith (Cesari 2006 11). The Netherlands changed its method from extrapolation from immigrants to a social survey and found that the country had only about 850,000 Muslims (940,000 according to Pew – October 2009), which is 5% of the Netherlands’ population – and not the over one million as claimed in 2006 (Klausen 2008, 13-14).

The fertility rates for Muslims are above that for the European norm, but that is changing for two reasons. The first is that the European birthrate norm is rising, not due to “debates about immigrants,” but efforts by national governments to increase birthrates (Klausen 2008 15). In the 1990s there was an increase of births among immigrant, non-national women and account for 1/5 of all births in several European countries. First generation immigrants from Bangladesh, Morocco, Pakistan and parts of sub-Saharan Africa have fertility rates that far exceed those of native women in many European countries. However, some women from predominately Muslim countries have lower birthrates (Sobotka 2008, 233). The authors also point out that immigrants from Latin America also have high birthrates, including those out of marriage (Sobotka 2008, 236). and with regard to the mixed data of Muslim immigrants fertility that data show that being “Muslim” have, in all likelihood, to do with other factors other than religion:

They also show that the differences in fertility rates between ethnic or national groups cannot be explained by a single factor, such as religion. This is most clearly evident in the case of women coming from predominantly Muslim societies who, according to commonly held opinion, have fertility far above that of native women in European countries. Although some Muslim populations in Europe display the highest fertility and the slowest pace of fertility decline… the contrasting examples of very-high fertility of women from Somalia and Pakistan and low fertility of women from Iran and Indonesia…point out that the pronatalist influence of religion, if any, is strongly modified by other factors, including woman’s socio-economic position (Sobotka 2008, 234).

The second factor why fertility rates are changing among immigrant women is assimilation to the to local fertility patterns. This assimilation to the local patterns of fertility though exposure to the larger society in various forms, such as educational attainment, employment, national welfare policies, have been observed, and the younger a woman arrives in the host country, the closer her childbearing choices are to host country patterns (Sobotka 2008 236, 237). For the Netherlands, Joop Garssen and Han Nicolaas (2008) have observed that fertility rates for both Moroccan and Turkish women are falling and the second generations will play a part in the decrease. Like Dutch women, second generation women of immigrant backgrounds are waiting to have children and this second generation resembles native Dutch women. There is a decline in newly arrived Turkish and Morrocan women compared to those who arrived in the Netherlands a few decades ago. Garssen and Nicolaas believe that this is due to declining fertility rates in Morocco and Turkey, the countries or origin (1276, 1275).

This Swiss People’s Party ran a highly negative political campaign that blamed foreigners for all the problems of Switzerland. There were riots in the streets as the SVP called to throw Muslims out of the country. The Swiss foreign population is about a fourth, with many coming from Muslim nations that will be EU member states someday, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia. (CNN October 22, 2007).The SVP played the Islamification myth like a song, as the Swiss defied all calls by their Church leaders and government officials to vote NO to the ban. The ban was promoted as a form of “integration” and to “stop Islamification of Switzerland,” even as government officials did not favor the ban and warned that the ban could spawn terrorism and a backlash. The posters the promoted the YES vote were glaringly Islamophobic in nature, just as the SVP was accused in 2007 of running an racist election campaign. Even the Swiss President denounced the SVP’s 2007 campaign: (Bremmer, November 30, 2009; Ivereigh, November 30, 2009).

It is a good illustration of the scapegoat mechanism. The smaller the minority, the easier it is to whip up hatred against it. Muslims make up about 6% of Switzerland’s 7.5 million people, many of them refugees from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, and fewer than 13% practise their faith. It’s not as if there was a backlash against muezzins either — Swiss mosques do not broadcast the call to prayer outside their buildings. Switzerland has about as much chance of being ‘Islamified’ as being flat (Ivereigh, November 30, 2009).

As demonstrated above, the Dutch Muslim population, immigrants from Morocco and Turkey, acquire the birthrates of native Dutch, non-Muslims in the second generation, but Wilders seems to think that there is a “tsunami of Islamisation” in his country of less than one million Muslims. As demonstrated, it is possible to be a Dutchman and a Muslim, and the two are not exclusive (2) and the Dutch Muslim population is an integrated and secularized one in Dutch society.

 

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About donny2811
Trots Nederlands, goed gereist en een begerige politieke centrist met een speciale afkeer voor basissen.

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