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July 29, 2005

Europe and political Islam - the unholy alliance - part 1

The mass movement which arose to oppose the "war on terror" launched by George W. Bush following the Islamikaze assault on New York and Washington in September 2001 had two basic components: the British Left and political Islam. The two cohorts allied on the streets of London were, wittingly or not, acting in concert with two major forces in world politics: the European Union for the Left and the Arab League/Organisation of Islamic Conferences for the Muslims.

So what is the basis of this strange alliance? What are each of the forces attempting in fact to achieve? And who is likely in the long run to benefit the most, and in what ways, from the global mobilisation against the United States and Israel?

In an absolutely fascinating book, Eurabia, The Euro-Arab Axis, Bat Ye'or describes and analyses the postwar European project for a Euro-Arab alliance against the USA and Israel. As the world's leading expert on the subject of dhimmitude - the legal and actual status of non-Muslims under Islam and the patterns of behaviour that produces - Bat Ye'or views this alliance as one in which the orthodox Muslims, intent on consolidating their existing territory, regaining what they consider lost ground (in Israel, Lebanon, Spain, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Southern Russia, etc.) and pushing even further into the Christian European heartland, are likely to be the winners. "Old Europe", gripped by imperial delusions of grandeur and anti-American spite, is paying for its own Islamisation.

Well, maybe, but the very logic of Islam and dhimmitude may produce a rather more complex situation. For why did, in fact, the early Muslims decide to spare the lives of Jews and Christians in exchange for acceptance of Muslim rule and payment of regular fees (notably jizya and kharaj - poll and land taxes)? The answer lies in that very sentence: because they needed others to produce wealth for them to sustain their utopian community, the umma (= "nation", derived from the same root as umm, the Arabic word for "mother" - it's cosy, womb-like), which was itself unable or unwilling to engage in the necessary intellectual and productive activities. That is to say, the Islamic umma was and still is parasitic and therefore dependent on the dhimmi. From the orthodox Muslim point of view, we, the dhimmi, exist in order to enable them to pursue a true Islamic way of life. Might this syndrome not have some bearing on the fact that Muslims find themselves at the very bottom of the achievement ladder in Britain?

However, it is difficult permanently to dominate people on whom one is materially dependent. Although Muslims see it as part of the divine plan and, therefore, a state of peace, in reality the dhimmitude relationship is chronically unstable, since efficient and well-educated dhimmi are likely to capitalise on their intellectual and material advantages to attempt to free themselves from Muslim political dominance. The orthodox Muslim response to such challenges to divinely-ordained peace is likely to be extreme terroristic violence.

Moreover, when the non-Muslims on which the umma depends are not under Muslim political control, other possibilities arise. Historically, for example in the British or Russian Empires, non-Muslim rulers could turn the respect for power inculcated in Muslims by their faith (remember, Islam = submission) to their own advantage, as long as they could keep the whip hand.
Nowadays, moderate Muslims often "respect" American military power for the same reasons.

Such subordination, though, is bound to chafe. Offers of assistance in overthrowing the infidel yoke will be gratefully considered and the Muslims, unable to re-establish military superiority from their own resources, will make alliances with non-Muslim political forces. However, the point to grasp is that rejecting the "infidel yoke" is not just, indeed not mainly, a matter of rejecting direct political control of Muslims by non-Muslims. What orthodox Muslims experience as the "infidel yoke" is anything and everything which upsets the peaceful sense of inclusion in the utopian umma community, for which the dhimmi produce the material base. But in reality such disruption is an inevitable product of the umma-dhimmi relation itself, in which, in reality the dhimmi exercise the material and intellectual leadership , whether or not they are politically dominant or even independent.

The goal of Muslim revolts, insofar as they are motivated by Islamic orthodoxy, can never be mere self-determination or political independence; the only truly Islamic political goal is the establishment of peace (= salaam, from the same root as Islam, = submission), that is the secure establishment of the "proper Islamic relationship" between the umma and the dhimmi. But this "proper Islamic relationship" can never be secured, for the reasons already given. Inevitably therefore the struggle for peace/submission takes on a paranoid form, against the satanic forces which ensure that the impossible stays impossible in this world. These satanic forces are, in the orthodox Muslim mentality, embodied in the Jews, and the Muslim alliance with non-Muslim forces has been forged around the struggle against the "Jewish threat" or in the case of the contemporary antiwar movement "Zionism" (follow the link for some suggestions as to why this the Jews are cast in the diabolic role).

Now, if we look down the other end of the telescope, at the umma/dhimmi relationship from the dhimmi point of view, we can see that it offers non-Muslims the prospect - or at least the temptation - of being able to manipulate Muslims through the very logic of their orthodox beliefs. And, indeed, it is an observable fact that modern attempts to create a European superpower have always involved efforts to patronise and mobilise the umma for the cause. And, at least from 1933 onwards, the Euro-Arab/Islamic alliance has always been grounded in antisemitism.

(Part 2 in next post!)

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