New Crusade In Europe
The massive financial crisis engulfing Europe has obscured a fundamental change occurring in many Western European nations. Muslims, with their rapidly increasing population, now have a substantial presence and are likely to become a majority in some of the larger cities in Western Europe.
Many Muslims are prepared to live peacefully within the dominant Christian culture. However, some radicals are intent on creating parallel societies with Shariah being the law for the Muslim community. Others are demanding virtual autonomy, political as well as religious, in Muslim enclaves.
The current situation must be viewed against the backdrop of the last twelve hundred years. In the Eighth Century when Abd Al-Rahman had a falling out with the ruling family in Baghdad, then the center of the Muslim world, he moved with an entourage of his followers to Cordoba in Southern Spain with the objective of creating an Arab Islamic empire that wouldn’t merely rival that of Iraq and the Middle East. It would eclipse them.
From this humble beginning, Muslims created a society in which science, arts, and learning prospered. It lasted until the Fifteenth Century when internal dissention and invading Christian armies from the north methodically liberated Muslim dominated towns one by one.[i]
Finally, on January 2, 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand forced the Muslims to surrender in the Alhambra in Granada, their glorious palace, their last redoubt. A cross was planted on Alhambra Hill. Queen Isabella issued an edict: Convert to Christianity or die. Many Muslims fled to North Africa. Their control of Spain had ended.[ii]
During this same period, battles were raging in the Holy Land as Christians from Europe launched repeated crusades to retake Jerusalem from Muslim control. In the most famous, the Third Crusade at the end of the Twelfth Century, Richard the Lion Heart came close, but ultimately failed in his attempt to seize Jerusalem from the Muslims led by their famous General Saladin.[iii]
For the 500 years after the fall of Granada, there were no battles between Christians and Muslims in Western Europe, primarily because there were no Muslims. All of that has changed in the last 20-30 years with the influx of Muslims into Western Europe.
There are four primary causes for this large scale immigration. First, is the residue of colonization. Britain colonized in what is now Pakistan, Egypt, and Iraq, among other places. The French in Algeria, Syria, and Morocco. The Dutch in Indonesia. All of these are Muslim countries. Colonialism is over, but many residents of those countries used their nation’s former status to gain admission to the European colonial power under various laws.
Second, during the economic boom prior to the ’08 recession, some European countries like Germany and Spain, facing labor shortages, welcomed workers from Islamic countries such as Turkey. Third, the liberal democracies gave sanctuary to Muslims from war torn countries in North Africa and the Middle East.
Finally, there are the illegals for whom Western Europe, with its welfare state and promise of high paying jobs, seems to be paradise. They will risk their lives in boats on the Mediterranean or Atlantic; others over land crossing from Turkey into Greece, where the border is fortified with barbed wire and armed guards. Once into an EU country, the immigrants may freely move to all others.
The Western European governments naively expected these new immigrants to assimilate into their place of residence. That has not occurred. Instead, mosques have sprung up. The old language is being spoken, and old customs are being practiced. Not merely veils for woman, but polygamy, wife beating, and ritual circumcision of young girls on the kitchen table.[iv]
Demographics and economics are exacerbating the problem. White Christians aren’t having many babies as young yuppie couples are more concerned with their upward mobility. Muslims, in contrast, are propagating at a prodigious rate. For example, in Brussels, where a fourth of the residents are foreigners, 60% of the children born last year were born to Muslims. In Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Muslims will be a majority by 2020. [v]
At the same time, since the ’08 recession, jobs have dried up for young people. For poorly educated Muslim youth, there is no point even in looking for employment.
These conditions make the Western European cities a virtual time bomb. Already, the violence has started. In France, in October 2005, Muslim suburbs of Paris and other French cities erupted into full scale riots with young people battling with the police, looting and setting fires. Over a two week period, 8,000 cars were burned and 2,900 people arrested.[vi]
In London, trains and buses were bombed by Muslims. In Amsterdam, Muslim violence took an ugly form with the brutal murder of Theo Van Gogh, who made a film about Islam.[vii]
Unfortunately, European leaders have not been able to pinpoint the grievances which led to this violence. Radicalized Muslim groups do not have clearly stated goals. Nor are there spokesmen around whom they have coalesced.
In an effort to deal with this problem, authorities in some Western European cities are de facto ceding control of certain zones to their Muslim inhabitants. Examples are Berlin, Manchester, and some of the Paris suburbs. But with demographics, these zones will grow like a cancer.
It is inevitable that the Muslim groups will demand autonomy in some or all of the country. When it is refused, armed conflict is likely to occur. All of this points toward a bloody period for Europe in the second half of the century. This is the premise for my novel, The Spanish Revenge, which will be published in September 2012.
Just as Christians and Muslims clashed in Spain in the fifteenth century and in the Holy Land throughout the Middle Ages, they are likely to clash again in Western Europe. We are still in the embryonic stage of a new crusade. This time it will be Muslims trying to wrest control of land in Western Europe from Christians.
* Allan Topol’s newest thriller novel, The China Gambit, will be published in January 2012. Visit his website at www.AllanTopol.com.
[i] For a discussion of the Islamic society in Spain see, The Ornament of the World, by Maria Rosa Menocal, Little Brown & Co. (2002).
[ii] For the victory of Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492, see Dogs of God, by James Reston Jr., Anchor Books (2006).
[iii] For an excellent account of the Third Crusade, see, Warriors of God, James Reston Jr., Anchor Books (2006).
[iv] For a discussion of the assimilation issue in the Netherlands, see, Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Free Press (2008).
[v] See, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, by Christopher Caldwell, p. 119, Doubleday (2009).
[vi] Id. at pp. 136-37, Doubleday (2009).
[vii] For a discussion of Theo Van Gogh’s murder, and other attacks by Islamic terrorists, see, The West’s Last Chance, by Tony Blankley, Regenery Publishing (2005).