by: Joshua Spurlock, The Mideast Update
One day in October, all of Europe was at risk of Islamic domination. Spurred by successes elsewhere, militant Muslims entered the region of France to continue the ascent of their global Muslim Caliphate, or empire. But Charles Martel and his forces defeated the aggressive Muslim hordes at the Battle of Tours in the year AD 732, saving Europe for centuries.
Almost 1,400 years later, radical Islam has returned, and France is once again a battleground between the West and dreams of a Muslim empire. But this time the Muslim armies don’t need to conquer their way into the heart of Europe—they are already there. As passionate, aggressive Islam has grown in Europe, it is now creating the perfect storm for European anti-Semitism to make a shocking comeback, even as the same Islam threatens European society itself.
Europe is a global melting pot today. Persons from the Middle East, Africa and Asia have all immigrated to build a better life for themselves. But one of those groups is also building an empire of their own. According to the Pew Research Center, in their report on “The Future of the Global Muslim Population,” in 2010 there were an estimated 11.3 million Muslims in Western Europe. By 2030, that number is expected to reach 16.4 million, or 8.6% of the population.
On a national level, the change can be even more dramatic. In 2010, no Western European nation was thought to have more than 7.5% Muslim population. By 2030, six of those nations are expected to have a Muslim population of 8% or more, with France leading the way at 10.3%.
Dr. Jonathan Spyer, an expert on Middle East affairs with a British background, told The Mideast Update that unlike other minority groups, Muslims have not assimilated well into European society. More importantly, there is a Muslim minority in Western Europe that is growing in vociferousness and political strength, helping to lead an anti-Israel charge. Dr. Spyer went on to say that the European host states are “exhausted” and “just kind of want things to be kept quiet.”
As a result, the radicals are winning and the politics of Europe are changing. On the Palestinian statehood issue, the UK and France are showing signs of breaking from the traditional US approach which opposes the creation of a Palestinian state via the United Nations. Other Western European nations have also expanded their support for Palestinian nationhood outside of negotiations with Israel, not to mention the anti-Israel protests and frivolous lawsuits against Israeli soldiers and politicians.
Down the line, there are fears of boycotts or even sanctions of Israeli products in Europe and of a shift away from marking groups like Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organizations. But the impact of radical Islam doesn’t stop there.
Dr. Spyer said that anti-Semitism has long been in the “mainstream” of European society, although it has been taboo for the past couple of generations after World War II. But, he noted that anti-Semitism can “mutate” and wear “the garb, so to speak, of the particular issues of the day.” Considering the growing numbers of radical Islamists, economic and societal uncertainty, he is not surprised that Europe has been “fertile ground” for anti-Semitism to make a comeback.
According to a report by the Israeli government’s Coordination Forum for Countering anti-Semitism, “most of the reported anti-Semitic incidents” in Europe were done by Muslims. While other groups also displayed anti-Semitism, the report highlights multiple occasions of violent protests by Muslim mobs, as well as vicious statements from Muslims inciting death to Jews.
The report noted France was the “most dangerous” European nation for Jews, with anti-Semitic incidents doubling in 2014. Dr. Spyer dismissed the claims that anti-Semitism in Europe is just in response to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He noted that many more people have been killed in the Syrian civil war in the last four years when compared to the last 100 years in the Arab–Israeli conflict, and yet Israel still receives more “public distress” than Syria.
But while Jews have faced a disturbing amount of anti-Semitism from Muslims in Europe, they aren’t the only ones facing violence from the radical Muslim population there.
The assault on a Jewish kosher supermarket in France earlier this year was shocking, but it wasn’t isolated. According to The Guardian, the supermarket shooter linked his attack to the one on the Charlie Hebdo magazine. Even more troubling, the kosher supermarket shooter was a French citizen according to the New York Times. That makes monitoring and catching these terrorists much harder. Israel knows how challenging it is to prevent home-grown terrorism carried out by small groups or “lone wolves.” Now Europe may be faced with the same threat.
Dr. Spyer noted that while there have been reports of Westerners joining terror groups such as ISIS, the “vast majority” of those are second-generation Muslim immigrants. In other words, Europe already has a supply of terror-willing radicals. Furthermore, Dr. Spyer said that ISIS’ success in conquering territory in the historical region of Iraq and Syria and declaring the start of an Islamic Caliphate is something which Al-Qaeda never did. “There’s nothing more exciting than turning theory into practice,” said Dr. Spyer, who notes that ISIS isn’t the only terror group with Western recruits.
Despite the current bleak situation, Dr. Spyer believes there are steps Europe can take to curb the conflict with radical Islam: strip the citizenship of those who join groups such as ISIS, crack down on incendiary clerics and perform greater surveillance of certain Muslims.
Those steps come with political change, public support and prayer. So while there’s no Charles Martel who can save Europe from aggressive Islam today, there’s still hope and there’s still your voice.
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