The internet is full of alarmist cries of "the Muslims are coming! ... the Muslims are coming!" According to a number of best selling alarmists who hide behind a cloak of authorial respectability, Europe is heading toward a Muslim take-over. Although demographics can be useful, stats can also be abused to support shaky hypotheses.
A recent column in the New York Post is worth the read. It addresses the truth that Europe has a long and sinister history when it comes to staging genocide in order to 'cleanse' the unwanted - be they Jewish, Muslim, Anabaptists or suspected witches.
The Mark Steyns of this world go on about how the Europeans are decadent, incapable of standing up for themselves any more and are in the process of keeling over to the will of Islam. This is more of a caricature than a reality. A streak of reactionary intolerance runs deep as witnessed by the populist appeal of far-right demagogues such as Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Europeans harbor all kinds of ethnic and class based prejudices. Muslim immigrants are ghettoized and patronized. If they ever look as though they might become a serious take-over threat, you can be sure the dark side of the European psyche will reveal itself and all bets about "never again" will be off.
Just go to a football game in Europe and see how "soft" the locals are. Football fans in the UK make American-football fans seem like geeks. Some needle games with riled up fans might even be dodgy to attend. To suggest that the agro has gone out of Europeans is a fiction touted by people who have a vested interest in setting off alarms. With incitement and provocation it's not much of a leap to see the same thug culture acting out along ethnic and political lines. This is an idea some BNP sympathizers are keen on. In a post discussing the Ralph Peters New York Post article, a commentator from Free Conservatives Blog offers this insight: "The football hooligans will unleash hell on Muzzies before long, and the ordinary blokes and blokesses will just stay indoors and watch telly."
Pundits who demonize European Muslim minorities are playing a dangerous game. They are helping to create the climate for the types of outrages that have blighted the history of Europe.
By and large the alarmists play down violence-as-a-solution and argue they are calling for a more assertive political stance. However the manner in which they portray Muslims makes their defense disingenuous. Their rhetoric is an incitement, no matter how literate and humorous their writing style happens to be.
Prior to the outrages of the Third Reich, there were authors who wrote in a similar vein about Jews while couching their lofty opinion in the cloth of enlightened commentary. We know what happened when that line of propaganda materialized into action. Kristallnacht wasn't a spontaneous attack on the Jews. The will to commit that and later outrages was cultivated by the writers and orators who worked on providing high minded justifications, even as they demonized the Jewish minority.
To suggest that "soft" Europeans lack the will to act against Muslim minorities is a myth. Not so long ago the world witnessed a regression to Nazi-like behavior in Kosovo. Systematic rape, torture and killing apparently came naturally to a lot of people. Western Europe isn't immune to the type of hatred that drives such atrocities, despite its more progressive culture.
This is precisely why the fuel being added by those who appear interested in fomenting a reaction is so sinister. Muslim families in Europe have dreams and hopes like any other. They aren't just some threatening demographic number, they are citizens with rights under the law. The majority don't see themselves as agents of some take-over in order to birth a fantasy named 'Eurabia.'
The youth riots that broke out in France are viewed by some of the alarmists as early start-up signs of the Muslim uprising. This is a distorted reading of the dynamics behind the rioting. Muslim youth in France has few prospects and suffers stigmatization. The youth weren't rioting with Eurabia in mind, or even with Al Qaida objectives in mind... they were rioting with jobs and an equal shake in mind.