Eurabia  

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"Reading the proceedings of the numerous EAD symposia, one is struck by the difference in the discourse of the two parties. The Europeans are cautious and emphasize their respectful admiration for Islam. They pay excessive tribute to the great Islamic civilization from which the civilization of Europe has allegedly drawn inspiration (cf. the speech of German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, at the Hamburg Symposium). They formulate platitudinous, humble excuses for colonization and Europe’s anti-Arab prejudices. The Arab side’s representatives, on the other hand, adopt the tone of a schoolteacher wielding the stick. Convinced of the tolerance, humanism, and greatness of Islamic civilization, they emphasize its position as the spiritual and scientific fountainhead of Europe." --Eurabia (book) p.98


"Nowhere is Euro-Arab foreign policy fusion more seamless than in the EU’s total acceptance of ‘‘Palestine.’’ To this cause, the EU devotes all the passionate fervor of a senile lover who sacrifices to his lust the ultimate shadow of an illusory dignity. The PLO/PA is totally dependent on EU money, which it has received in enough abundance to facilitate its status as a powerful global organization of murder, crime, and hatred directed against Israel and Jews." --Eurabia (book) p.123

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Eurabia is a political neologism, a portmanteau of Europe and Arabia. It was first used as a name for the newsletter of a Euro-Arab friendship committee in the 1970s. The concept was coined by Bat Ye'or in the early 2000s. Bat Ye'or (pen name of Gisele Littman) claims a conspiracy of globalist elements, allegedly led by French and Arab powers, to Islamise and Arabise Europe, thereby weakening its existing culture and undermining a previous alignment with the U.S. and Israel.

The term has gained some public interest and has been used and discussed across a wide range of the political spectrum, including right-wing activists, counter-jihadis and different sorts of antiislamist and conservative activists. Bat Ye'or’s “Mother conspiracy theory” has been used for further subtheories. The narrative grew important in expressing anti-Islamic sentiments and was used by movements like Pegida. It gained renewed interest after the 9/11 events and the use of the term by 2011 Norway attacker, Anders Behring Breivik.

Eurabia is also discussed in classical anti-Europeanism, a strong influence in the culture of the United States and in the notion of American exceptionalism, which sometimes sees Europe on the decline or as a rising rival power, or, as is the case here, both.

Contents

Basic narrative

In Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Bat Ye'or claims that Eurabia is the result of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, based on an allegedly French-led European policy intended to increase European power against the United States by aligning its interests with those of the Arab countries. During the 1973 oil crisis, the European Economic Community (predecessor of the European Union), had entered into the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) with the Arab League. Ye'or claims it as a primary cause of alleged European hostility to Israel, referring to joint Euro-Arab foreign policies that she characterises as anti-American and anti-Zionist. Ye'or purported a close connection of a Eurabia conspiracy and used the term "dhimmitude", denoting alleged "western subjection to Islam". The term itself is based on a newsletter published in the 1970s by the Comité européen de coordination des associations d'amitié avec le monde Arabe, a Euro-Arab friendship committee.

Bat Ye'or's Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis was the first print publication in the Eurabia genre, which has since grown to a number of titles, including Melanie Phillips' Londonistan, Oriana Fallaci's The Force of Reason, and Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept. The term is often used by the writers Oriana Fallaci and several web sites, many of them affiliated with the counterjihad movement. Defeating Eurabia by Fjordman (the pen name of Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen) earned him a high standing among far-right extremists.

An important part of the narrative is the idea of a demographic threat, the fear that, at some time in the future, Islam will take over Europe. or as Bernard Lewis put it, "Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century." Walter Laqueur's The Last Days of Europe is quoted often among the Eurabia literature; however, he modified his statements later.

Impact

The slogan has become a basic theme in the European extremist and populist right and expresses as well a significant strategy change. This has led to the adoption of political positions that were previously considered fringe or third rail on either side. The main anti-Islamic theme has also penetrated into mainstream European politics, for instance in the case of Dutch populist Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders:

This government is enthusiastically co-operating with the Islamisation of the Netherlands. In all of Europe the elite opens the floodgates wide. In only a little while, one in five people in the European Union will be Muslim. Good news for this multiculti-government that views bowing to the horrors of Allah as its most important task. Good news for the CDA : C-D-A, in the meanwhile stands for Christians Serve Allah (Christenen Dienen Allah).

Significant alterations in the asserted positions of the political (far) right include a sudden focus on the rights of women and homosexuals. The conservative historian Nigel Ferguson referred to the concept, taken as the potential future Islamisation of Europe based on mere demographic facts and a supposed ideational lack of the continent.

While immigrants are being deemed a threat, in the postwar 1940s period, the British extreme right – in particular, fascist politician Oswald Mosley– were rather outspoken (see the Union Movement and the Europe a Nation slogan) in favour of a stronger integration of Britain with Europe and, using their own interpretation of the Eurafrica concept, Africa.

Issues

Some academics have described the Eurabia concept as an Islamophobic conspiracy theory. Eurabia shortcuts the complex interaction between the USA, France, Israel, the Arabic and Muslim countries on an "us against them" basis. The Eurabia theories are dismissed as Islamophobic, extremist and conspiracy theories in the academic community. Janne Haaland Matláry went as far as to say that "it is poor use of time to analyse something so primitive".

Eurafrica

A vision of a stronger cooperation of Europe and African or Mediterranean countries has existed since before World War II. The elder concepts of Eurafrica, a portmanteau of Europe and Africa, referred to the much elder idea of strategic partnership between Africa and Europe. Already in the 1920s Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, founder of the first popular movement for a united Europe, believed in a Eurafrica alliance using the European colonies as "dowry" to allow Europe to compete against the Americas and Asia. Largely forgotten in the present, in the 1920s Europe's future survival and continued role in history was seen in close connection with a successful merger with Africa. As a genuine political project, it played a crucial role in the early development of the European Union.

France was one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in the 1950s and shared till the 1960s a strategic interest, due to its Algerian territories, against radical Arab nationalism with its heyday in the Suez Crisis. The scientific literature sees the military and diplomatic blunders of the strongest European colonial powers, Great Britain and France, in the Suez Crisis and with respect to France, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu and the start of the Algerian War, as markers of failed ambitions. The Eurafrica narrative cuts that short and starts after the USA assumed its current role as ally of Israel with the Six-Day War in 1967 and France started taking sides with the Arab world to improve its relations after the independence of Algeria.

The rather bleak Eurabia narrative lacks any positive vision of Europe. It ignores as well differences within Europe (compare Olim L'Berlin) with regard to welcoming Jewish or Israeli immigrants. Actual Muslim elites in Europe have completely different, rather differentiated and overall much more positive impressions of Europe and are rather outspoken against religious fundamentalism.

Demography

The Pew Research Center noted in 2011 that "the data that we have isn't pointing in the direction of 'Eurabia' at all", and predicts that the percentage of Muslims is estimated to rise to 8% in 2030. In 2007 academics who analysed the demographics dismissed the predictions that the EU would have Muslim majorities. It is completely reasonable to assume that the overall Muslim population in Europe will increase, and Muslim citizens have and will have a significant imprint on European life. The prospect of a homogenous Muslim community per se, or a Muslim majority in Europe is however out of the question.

Justin Vaïsse seeks to discredit what he calls, "four myths of the alarmist school", using Muslims in France as an example. Specifically he has written that the Muslim population growth rate was lower than that predicted by Eurabia, partly because the fertility rate of immigrants declines with integration.

Furthermore, leading European Muslims are rather outspoken against religious fundamentalism and are far from acknowledging Arab countries as a role model at all.

David Aaronovitch acknowledges that the threat of "jihadist terror" may be real, but that there is no threat of Eurabia. Aaronovitch concludes that those who study conspiracy theories will recognize Eurabia to be a theory that adds the "Sad Dupes thesis to the Enemy Within idea".

Spread of conspiracies and further influences

The Economist rejected the concept of Eurabia as "scaremongering". Simon Kuper in Financial Times described Ye'or's book as "little-read but influential", and akin to "Protocols of the Elders of Zion in reverse", adding that "though ludicrous, Eurabia became the spiritual mother of a genre".

In his book Wars of Blood and Faith, conservative US military analyst Ralph Peters states that far from being about to take over Europe through demographic change, "Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time" and that in the event of a major terrorist attack in Europe, thanks to the "ineradicable viciousness" of Europeans and what he perceives as a historical tendency to over-react to real or perceived threats, European Muslims "will be lucky if they're only deported."

According to Marján and Sapir, the very idea of "Eurabia" is "based on an extremist conspiracy theory, according to which Europe and the Arab states would join forces to make life impossible for Israel and Islamize the old continent."

Writing in Race & Class in 2006, author and freelance journalist Matt Carr argued that Eurabia had moved from "an outlandish conspiracy theory" to a "dangerous Islamophobic fantasy". Carr states,

"In order to accept Ye'or's ridiculous thesis, it is necessary to believe not only in the existence of a concerted Islamic plot to subjugate Europe, involving all Arab governments, whether 'Islamic' or not, but also to credit a secret and unelected parliamentary body with the astounding ability to transform all Europe's major political, economic and cultural institutions into subservient instruments of 'jihad' without any of the continent's press or elected institutions being aware of it. Nowhere in this ideologically driven interpretation of European-Arab relations does Ye'or come close to proving the 'secret history' that she professes to reveal."

Arun Kundnani, writing for the International Centre for Counter-terrorism, notes that "Eurabia" fulfills the counter-jihad movement's "structural need" for a conspiracy theory, and compares "Eurabia" to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, while Carr compares it to the Zionist Occupation Government conspiracy theory.

Post-9/11 significance

After the September 11 attacks, Muslims and the Arab world emerged as a perceived threat. Muslim minority populations and Muslim immigration gained new political significance. Scholar José Pedro Zúquete notes that

the threat that the Crescent will rise over the continent and the spectre of a Muslim Europe have become basic ideological features and themes of the European extreme right although she first used the term in 2002.

2011 Norway attacks

2083: A European Declaration of Independence, the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, includes a lengthy discussion of and support for the "Eurabia" theory. It also contains several articles on the Eurabia theme by Bat Ye'or and Fjordman.

As a result, the theory received widespread mainstream media attention following the attacks. In the verdict against Breivik, the court noted that "many people share Breivik's conspiracy theory, including the Eurabia theory. The court finds that very few people, however, share Breivik's idea that the alleged "Islamization" should be fought with terror."

Breivik has later identified himself as a fascist and voiced support for neo-Nazis, stating that he previously had exploited "counterjihad" rhetoric in order to protect "ethno-nationalists", thereby instead launching a media drive against what he deemed "anti-nationalist counterjihad"-supporters.

U.S. politics

In the United States, the theories have found strong proponents in the counter-jihad movement, among them the president of Stop Islamization of America, Robert Spencer and Mark Steyn. In his 2011–2012 run for the Republican presidential nomination, senator Rick Santorum warned that Europe was "creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia", and that the continent was "losing, because they are not having children."

Eurabia theories have also been espoused by less typical conservatives, for example, Bruce Bawer, an American expatriate who has lived in Europe since the 1990s, and supported Ye'or's allegations that there was a deliberate, coordinated effort to create Eurabia. He offered guarded approval of some of Ye'or's ideas, but also wrote: "I’d strongly question the implication that the entire European political establishment has been in on the effort to unite Europe and the Arab world, and to this end has labored to encourage immigration and discourage integration." Bawer argued that many European politicians and policy makers, in efforts to gain approval of Muslim voters or to appeal to multiculturalism, were effectively allowing the creation of Muslim-only enclaves where basic human rights were ignored and events like honor killings had become commonplace.

A 2007 film outline by Steve Bannon, who would later become the chief strategist for President Donald Trump and a member of the U.S. National Security Council, proposed that Muslims were trying to turn the United States into the "Islamic States of America".

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Eurabia" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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