|Muslim Europe in the Making|
|By Prof. Moshe Sharon|
In 1683 the armies of Islam besieged Vienna for the second time. The first occasion had been a century and a half earlier. The great Islamic Empire of the time the Ottoman Empire under the long reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) was then at its Zenith. It had extended its borders on the Danube far to the west of Budapest always poising to capture Vienna that stood between its armies and Western Europe. Suleiman regarded himself then as the ruler of the world, and treated the great kings of Europe as his subjects. The actual subjugation of the rest of Europe was, as far as he was concerned only a matter of time. Fortunately for the world of Christianity, when the Moslem armies attempted to besiege Vienna, for the second time, some 117 years after his death, the Ottoman Empire was already on the decline, its expansion westwards had been checked, and the bastions of European Christianity could then begin threatening the Muslim Empire rather than be threatened by it.
Yet for the Ottomans, the Christian countries of Europe remained Dar al-Harb – “the Land of War” – the term always used by the Muslims for all the territories not yet under Islamic rule. The term is both legal and political, and is charged with religious belief and emotional fervor.
Legally speaking, it defines the relations between the Lands of Islam and the lands of the infidels. Infidels – in Arabic Kuffar (singular: kafir) – are all those who are not Muslims, mainly Jews and Christians. They are, therefore, regarded to be, both theoretically and actually, in a state of war with the Muslims. This war does not have to be declared, since in Muslim view, it is the only possible state of affairs between the two parties. Moreover, it is part of the divine plan. For after Allah sent Muhammad “with the guidance and the religion of truth” there was no other way but that “he may uplift it above every religion.” (Koran, surah 9 verse 33) In other words, Allah made it incumbent on the Muslims, the Community of the Faithful, to subjugate the whole world and bring it under the rule of Allah. The fire of jihad, Holy War, must burn in the chest of every Muslim. It is a collective and personal duty; it is the duty of every Muslim leader, particularly the head of the Muslim Empire, to pursue this duty and never end it. Legally therefore the appellation of “The Land of War” to Europe is understandable. Every Christian who came from the Land of War – dar al harb – had the status of harbi. This was different than to be a dhimmi, the status imposed on Christian and Jews tolerated to live under the Islamic rule as a third class subjects. The harbi was simply an alien, enemy of Islam, even when no acts of war were in process between the two sides.
This legal outlook reflected the religious obligation to keep the Jihad, the Holy War always alive. Since no one can abolish such a duty which is enshrined in the words of God in the Koran, it remains an open ended condition. Similarly the Land of War cannot change its status until it is conquered by the Muslims and becomes part of the Land of Islam.
The emotional aspect of this religious obligation is an integral part of the way by which the relations between the Muslims and the kafirs where defined. The Koran and Islamic tradition taught the Muslims that their Community of Faithful is “the best nation ever brought forth to men,” (Koran, surah 3 verse 110) and that the truth of their religion is the only perfect truth, and that they, as believers, are always on the right side, and the infidels are always wrong.
Europe, more than any other part of the world, personified the land of war. It was the natural place against which the Jihad was to be waged. It was after all the major enemy of Islam from its very inception.
But Europe proved to be a difficult enemy. It was an enemy that fought back successfully. In the Middle Ages the Crusades brought the Europeans, for the first time, into the heart of the Islamic lands, but Islam somehow recovered from this success of the infidels, which put the Muslims for the first time in a defensive position, and tormented them with doubts about the Allah’s support.
But Islam did not recover, from the loss of Spain (“the Jewel in the Islamic Crown”). Once Islam conquered Spain, it became an Islamic land. Its re-conquest by the infidels seemed to be a reverse of history for it negated the rule which says that once Islamic land is always Islamic Land. To this very day, Spain, which the Arabs insist calling Andalus, is regarded as a lost Islamic territory, the recovery of which is a religious and political objective and duty, more than a dream.
The offensive of the Ottomans against Europe in the 16th century, after destroying the last symbol of Roman Christianity in the east with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, was the natural course of the Islamic jihadi idea. However, the Ottoman Empire failed, retreated, deteriorated, and was finally destroyed in the Great War in 1918. Moreover Christian civilization and the modern way of life of Europe were victorious also in another way. The national regime in 20th century Turkey dramatically changed the nature of the state and society by importing from Europe every thing that western civilization could offer, from script to technology and from system of government to fashion, with the declared aim of building a modern secular Turkey, and expelling Islam from the life of the state and the society.
Another political development that appeared like another major setback to Islam was the establishment of the state of Israel. More than the loss in the 15th century of the Islamic land of Spain, the establishment of the State of Israel on Islamic land is regarded a double reverse of history because it does not involve only the loss of land but also the unacceptable situation where Jews, who are dhimmis rule over Muslims. This is already against the divine law itself. It cannot be tolerated and it must be changed.
The other setback is the fact that Europe ceased to be the only land of the infidels. America joined this category, and America proved itself even a tougher opponent than Europe, both militarily and ideologically.
However, modern Muslim activists detected that Europe after World War 2, began to show signs of old age frailty and weakness, and the mighty West in general proved to be surprisingly vulnerable. Islam emerged merged as a strong power waiting to be used. This notion was summed up by the Malaysian premier Dr. Mahatir Muhammad on October 16 2003, opening of the Islamic summit: the 1.3 billion strong Muslims possess both natural richness and human resources, and it was inconceivable that they could not achieve their goals or be defeated by a few million Jews. However, the availability of resources, that can be turned into weapons proved to be less effective than Mahatir and his like thought.
It should be noted again that Islam is a warring religion and a fighting civilization. The Muslims left their mark on world history first and foremost in this military capacity. They can do the same in this age, changing strategy and tactics, but remaining on the same course. The revivalist Muslim movements – the Iranian revolutionaries, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaedah, the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, to mention only a few, looked for, and discovered, the weak links in the Western defense. On the one hand they proved that terror, similar to that practiced by the Muslim assassins in the Middle Ages, can be devastating much more than its actual physical damage and bloodshed. In one act of terror they succeeded in changing the government in Spain. On the other hand, like the Soviets, they soon discovered the ease with which they can use the European democratic system, the liberal ideologies, leftist intellectuals, the media, and even the governments, to achieve their objectives.
The Muslim jihad for the conquest of Europe already started a few decades ago, and the Europeans are taking part in it, not on the enemy side but on the Islamic side as full collaborators. The establishment of the European Union has done away with national borders, obliterated defined national entities, weakened national feelings, ancient values and the sense of national pride and national defense; and on the other hand has created a wonderful infrastructure for the infiltration of Islam into Western Europe by millions of Muslims who keep their Muslim identity, hold on to their Muslim values and regard the whole of Europe as their own land like any other part of the world. Bin laden, Qaradawi, the Ayatollahs of Iran, and many other teachers of Islam tell them that they arrive in Europe as masters not as immigrants. These Muslims, using the European laws and exploiting the leftist intellectuals, the “Useful Fools” (to use Lenin immortal definition) actually behave like the masters in the host countries rather than guests. Thousands of mosques have been established in every country from Finland to France. The Muslim way of life is even imposed on economic institutions, and the Islamic version of history and thought is creeping into all the echelons of political and intellectual life, affecting the educational system on all levels.
Official Europe convened the Hamburg Symposium already in 1983 to humbly acknowledge the importance of the Islamic contribution to the creation of European civilization, and to encourage the study of the Arabic language and Islamic civilization in Europe, free from the (sound, and scientific) “orienalist method” of research, namely in accordance with the Muslim traditional methods; concurrently encouraging the departure from the Judeo-Christian heritage and minimizing its contribution to Western Civilization.
This pathetic attempt to drive mod
Instead of paying attention to its steady conquest by Islam and the loss of its Western character, Europe has again found the usual, ancient solution to all its problems – the Jews, and now also, very conveniently, their state. There is a great possibility that Europe will finally become Islamic in less than half a century and it will be its own making.