Fight War On Terrorism, Religious aggression, and superstition

January 21, 2009

Daniel Pipes:Muslim Autonomous Zones in the West? and etc

Muslim Autonomous Zones in the West?

by Daniel Pipes



In “Europe’s Stark Options,” I considered the future of the Muslim-European encounter and conclude there are three possible futures, “harmonious integration, the expulsion of Muslims, or an Islamic takeover.” I then dismissed the first as unrealistic and stated that it is too early to predict which of the latter two unattractive possibilities will come to pass.

A reader, Chris Slater of Upper Hutt, New Zealand, writes me to predict a fourth outcome as most likely: “larger existing Muslim areas will re-create themselves into independent national entities” and “by the middle of the twenty-first century nearly all western European countries will be riven by the creation of Islamic city states within their borders. For the sake of brevity they will be referred to as ‘microstates,’ that is, autonomous conurbations defined by the Islamic beliefs of their citizens.”

Slater foresees boundaries being formed “around existing Muslim centres of population, initially in France, Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, followed rapidly by Britain, Norway, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Dates for eastern European states, particularly Orthodox, may be more difficult to predict, although Russia, with 15 percent of its 143 million people professing Islam, may well lead many western European countries in having an independent Islamic state. By the end of this century this process will affect every non-Islamic state throughout the world.”

These microstates will enjoy a “monopoly on legitimate violence,” impose their own autonomous legal order, and form alliances among themselves. They will feature such Shar‘i customs as polygyny, no-interest finance, huddud punishments, Islamic ways of dress, family “honor” codes, bans on criticism of Islam, and so on. Arabic and the dominant immigrant vernacular will enjoy more currency than the host country’s language. Street names will be changed, statues removed, churches and synagogues converted to mosques.


Slater sees this outcome this as “the only way to avoid the destruction of both the national cultures and, indeed, European civilization from total domination by the cultures of Muslim immigrants.”

Comments: (1) I prefer “Muslim autonomous zones” to “Muslim microstates.”

(2) It’s a plausible vision but I think the tensions between these microstates and the larger, Christian-origin polities will lead to the same two outcomes I have predicted, the expulsion of Muslims or a Muslim takeover. The microstate option implies a certain statis and stability but I expect things to remain dynamic: the Islamic polities will either grow and dominate or they will shrink and disappear. Perhaps some will dominate and others disappear. I cannot envisage a stable order along the lines Slater sketches out. Indeed, Slater’s point about this arrangement providing the only way to avoid the destruction of European civilization tacitly acknowledges the inherent tensions: either old-stock Europeans will manage to hold their own or they will succumb. A compromise, middle way strikes me as highly unlikely.

(3) That said, this scenario of Muslim autonomous zones has no less likelihood than that of harmonious integration, so if that is listed, so should this one. (January 12, 2009)

Europe‘s Growing Pro-Israel Sentiments


Robert Marquand makes a convincing, if counter-intuitive case in the Christian Science Monitor that “Israel finds more sympathy in Europe: Concerns about Islamist threat have influenced traditionally pro-Arab Europe’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

He begins by observing that leaders from European Union countries recently joined Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni as she announced “We are all opposed to terrorism” and offers this anecdote as a symbol of the “little-noted but ongoing convergence between European and US-Israeli thinking” on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For decades, Marquand writes,

Europe was a Middle East counterbalance – generally sympathetic to Palestinians as the weaker party, critical of an unqualified US backing of Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization had offices in Europe. France’s Navy helped Yasser Arafat escape Tripoli in 1983. Europe backed the Oslo Accords, and saw the Palestinian cause as a fight for territory and statehood.

Yet Europe’s traditional position on the Arab dispute has been quietly changing: It is gravitating closer to a US-Israeli framing of a war on terror, a “clash of civilizations,” with a subtext of concern about the rise of Islam – and away from an emphasis on core grievances of Palestinians, like the ongoing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and “occupation.”

Causes for the shift are complex and manifold, and in no small way associated with the rise of Muslim populations in Europe. But since Sept. 11, the discourse and psychology in Europe has shifted, with pro-Arab support “diluting and weakening,” as Karim Bitar, with the International Institute of Strategic Relations in Paris, puts it – and converging with US-Israeli framing of a fight against terror. “There is convergence on goals [terrorism] between Europe and the US, and a remnant of divergence on means [military logic],” argues the French intellectual Dominique Moisi. “The Europeans are less pro-Islamic Muslims now than before, after 9/11. We also see that even American Jews are not entirely at peace with what Israel is doing. There’s more criticism of Israel than before, in American opinion; and in Europe there is less support of what the Arabs are.”

Public support for Arabs is down due social tensions with Muslim immigrants. “Europe fears an Islamist threat, whether internal or external, and this has begun to change the overall views on the Israel-Palestine conflict,” says Aude Signoles of the University of La Réunion. “There is a general ‘Arab fatigue’ in Europe,” says Denis Bauchard of L’Institut français des relations internationales.

A Pew Global Attitudes poll in 2006 found that French sympathies were evenly divided (38 percent) between those sympathizing with the Palestinians and with Israel, marking a doubling of support for Israel and a 10 percent gain for Palestinians over the previous two years. In Germany, 37 percent sympathized with Israel – an increase of 13 points over 2004 and more than double those who supported the Palestinians.

One sign is that other than José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain, all of the major leaders European leaders today –Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Angela Merkel of Germany, Gordon Brown of Great Britain, and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy – are sympathetic to Israel.

What Marquand calls the “Euro-American convergence” means European diplomats support Palestinians on emotional and humanitarian grounds rather than political ones. “Europe itself is not the Europe of decades past,” he writes, “dominated by French diplomacy, with its Arab ties. There are 27 nations. Eastern and former Soviet states, like Poland and the Czech Republic, often take American positions on foreign affairs.”

Comment: This is another sign that Europe is not “finished,” but as I have argued elsewhere, in deep flux, with its destiny vis-à-vis Islam still very much unknown.






Europe‘s Islamist Imperialists


Deutsche Presse Agentur carries a fascinating story today datelined Cairo, “Egypt to deport German family for Islamic extremism,” worth quoting at length:

Egypt imprisoned and aims to deport a German family that tore up its German identification papers upon arrival, fearing the documents would connect them to an “infidel state,” Egyptian Independent Al-Badeel newspaper reported. Egypt accused the family of Islamic extremism and imprisoned the family, a man, his wife, his two sisters and his mother. According to media reports, the family does not want to return to Germany.

Currently, the German embassy in Cairo is cooperating with Egyptian officials to deport the family. However, it has declined to give them new identification documents for fear that it would also be destroyed. The country responsible for the family’s flight costs is under consideration. .

Eyewitnesses said the female members of the family wore clothing that only allowed their eyes to be seen. None of the family members are fluent in Arabic, which made communication with police authorities difficult. After their arrest, the process of being photographed for a passport was met with a lack of cooperation by the family who considered it an act against Muslim principles.

Comments: (1) If any reader knows the name of this family, please send it in so I can follow their case. (2) While on the surface, it appears that these five are paying homage to Islam and Egypt, closer inspection reveals their arrogance and aggressiveness:

They destroyed their German passports so as to force the Egyptian authorities to accept them.

They practice an Islam at odds to what is commonly found in Egypt.

They do not bother to learn Arabic vernacular.

In brief, they amount to a new-style form of European imperialism, one based not on a sense of cultural-racial-religious-economic superiority but on a purer form of Islamic practice. One wonders how unique this quintet is, how many other Westerners will follow in their footsteps






Asylum Granted to Escape Shari‘a


In a case with large implications, Britain’s highest court has allowed an illegal Lebanese immigrant to remain in the country to avoid facing the Shar‘i-based family code that prevails in her native country. Joshua Rozenberg reports in the Daily Telegraph that

The law lords ruled this morning that it would be a “flagrant breach” of the European Convention on Human Rights for the government to remove a woman to Lebanon where she would automatically lose custody of her 12-year old son under Lebanon’s sharia family law. The woman – referred to only as EM – came to the UK on false documents in 2004 with her son, AF, then aged eight. She has had sole custody of AF since birth but fled from her allegedly violent husband in Lebanon because of laws that automatically award fathers physical custody of their children from the age of seven.

If this approach becomes a general rule, then a good part of the world’s Muslim population could have asylum rights in Britain, for the Shari‘a is precisely most often applied in the realm of family law.

Secondarily, the ruling is of interest because one judge, Lord Hope of Craighead, commented at length and negatively about the Shari‘a:

The appellant came to this country as a fugitive from Shari’a law. Her son had reached the age of seven when, under the system that regulates the custody of a child of that age under Shari’a law in Lebanon, his physical custody would pass by force of law to his father or another male member of his family. Any attempt by her to retain custody of him there would be bound to fail. This is simply because the law dictates that a mother has no right to the custody of her child after that age. She may or may not be allowed what has been described as visitation. That would give her access to her son during supervised visits to a place where she could see him. But under no circumstances would his custody remain with her. The close relationship that exists between mother and child up to the age of custodial transfer cannot survive under that system of law where, as in this case, the parents of the child are no longer living together when the child reaches that age. There is a real risk in all these cases that the very essence of the family life that mother and child have shared together up to that date will be destroyed or nullified.

This system was described by counsel during the argument as arbitrary and discriminatory. So it is, if it is to be measured by the human rights standards that we are obliged to apply by the [European Convention on Human Rights]. The mutual enjoyment by parent and child of each other’s company is a fundamental element of family life. Under our law non-discrimination is a core principle for the protection of human rights. The fact is however that Shari’a law as it is applied in Lebanon was created by and for men in a male dominated society. The place of the mother in the life of a child under that system is quite different under that law from that which is guaranteed in the Contracting States by article 8 of the Convention read in conjunction with article 14. There is no place in it for equal rights between men and women. It is, as Lord Bingham points out, the product of a religious and cultural tradition that is respected and observed throughout much of the world. But by our standards the system is arbitrary because the law permits of no exceptions to its application, however strong the objections may be on the facts of any given case. It is discriminatory too because it denies women custody of their children after they have reached the age of custodial transfer simply because they are women. That is why the appellant removed her child from that system of law and sought protection against its effects in this country.

Lord Hope’s views contrast sharply to the positive view of other leading British figures, such as the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the lord chief justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers.













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