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6 octobre 2012 6 06 /10 /octobre /2012 05:57

 

 

EURABIA    EURABIE   

Eurabia is an islamophobic conspiracy theory foretelling an Islamized Europe.

A political neologism, the word is a portmanteau of Europe and Arabia, first coined as a name for the newsletter of a Euro-Arab friendship committee in the 1970s.[1] It was revived as a political term by writer Gisele Littman (Bat Ye'Or). In Littman's use, it denotes a conspiracy theory, where European and Arab powers aim to Islamise and Arabise Europe, undermining previous alignment with the U.S. and Israel.[2][3] Several similar conspiracy theories have been developed from Littman's "Mother conspiracy theory".[4] The term is used by far-right activists[5], by members of the counterjihad movement,[6] by conservative writers.[7]

The premises common to these theories are that Europe is undergoing a rapid demographic transition, induced by "European politicians and civil servants",[8] that will lead to a Muslim majority, and that these Muslims will have an unchanging, hostile attitude toward their national communities.[9] Other premises, such as acquiring the compliance of or control over bureaucracies, intelligentsias and European political leaders are frequent.[10] The conspiracy theories have been explicitly compared to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the Zionist Occupation Government.[11][12] The prospect of a Muslim majority in Europe is regarded by leading demographers as extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future.[13] The Pew Research Center notes that "the data that we have isn't pointing in the direction of 'Eurabia' at all"[14], with the percentage of Muslims rising on the continent to 8% in 2030.[13]

Contents

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Origin of the concept

Eurabia was the title of a newsletter published by the Comité européen de coordination des associations d'amitié avec le monde Arabe.[15] According to Bat Ye'or, who has been perhaps the most influential Eurabia theorist in recent years, it was published collaboratively with France-Pays Arabes (journal of the Association de solidarité franco-arabe or ASFA), Middle East International (London), and the Groupe d'Etudes sur le Moyen-Orient (Geneva).[16]

After the September 11 attacks Muslims and the Arab world emerged as a perceived threat.[12] Muslim minority populations and Muslim immigration gained new political significance. Scholar José Pedro Zúquete notes that

the threat that the Crescent will rise over the continent and the spectre of a Muslim Europe have become basic ideological features and themes of the European extreme right [5]

Eurabia had then re-entered into the vocabulary through Bat Ye’Or’s work, most notably the book published in 2005, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis,[2] although she first used the term in 2002.[16][17] Subsequently, the coining of the term has been attributed to her.[18] In Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Bat Ye'or claims that Eurabia is the result of the French-led European policy originally intended to increase European power against the United States by aligning its interests with those of the Arab countries. During the 1973 oil crisis, the European Economic Community (predecessor of the European Union), had entered into the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) with the Arab League.[19] Ye’or notes it as a primary cause of alleged European hostility to Israel, referring to joint Euro-Arab foreign policies that she characterizes as anti-American and anti-Zionist.[16] Her definition of Eurabia is:

Eurabia is a geo-political reality envisaged in 1973 through a system of informal alliances between, on the one hand, the nine countries of the European Community (EC) which, enlarged, became the European Union (EU) in 1992 and on the other hand, the Mediterranean Arab countries. The alliances and agreements were elaborated at the top political level of each EC country with the representative of the European Commission, and their Arab homologues with the Arab League's delegate. This system was synchronised under the roof of an association called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) created in July 1974 in Paris.[20]

Ye’or established the close connection of the Eurabia conspiracy and the term "dhimmitude", denoting alleged “western subjection to Islam”.[18]

Impact

Academic

The Eurabia theories are dismissed as islamophobic and extremist[3][5] conspiracy theories in the academic community[21] and in the mainstream media.[22] At first academics showed little interest in the Eurabia theories due to their lack of factual basis.[4][12] The theme was treated in studies of rightist extremism[5] and Middle East Politics.[23] This changed after the 2011 Norway attacks, which resulted in the publication of several works specifically treating the Eurabia conspiracy theories.[18][24] However, a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Janne Haaland Matlary has discouraged such analyses, arguing that “it is poor use of time to analyse something so primitive”.[25] The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a project under the Pew Research Center, released a comprehensive report in January 2011, which projected a 2 percentage point growth of the European Muslim population in the period 2010-2030, from 6% to 8% of the total European populace.[13] The Pew Research Center estimates the Muslim share of Europe's population to grow from 6% to 8% or, in absolute numbers, from 44.1 to 58.2 million people between 2010 and 2030.[13] In several Western and Northern European states, the Muslim population will approach double-digit percentages.[13]

European politics

The theories have failed to impact most policy makers and academics.[12] They have, however become a basic theme in the European extremist right. Through political competition with far-right parties with parliamentary representation the main anti-Islamic theme has also penetrated into mainstream European politics,[5] for instance in the case of Geert Wilders:

This government is enthusiastically co-operating with the Islamization of the Netherlands. In all of Europe the elite opens the floodgates wide. In only a little while, one in five people in the European Union will be Muslim. Good news for this multiculti-government that views bowing to the horrors of Allah as its most important task. Good news for the CDA : C-D-A, in the meanwhile stands for Christians Serve Allah.[26]

This has led to the adaption of political positions that were previously considered extreme, but has also led to significant alterations in the asserted positions of the far right, notably when it comes to the rights of women and homosexuals.[5][27][28]

2011 Norway attacks

2083: A European Declaration of Independence, the manifesto of Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks, includes a lengthy discussion of and support for the "Eurabia" theory. It also contains several articles on the Eurabia theme by Bat Ye’Or and Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen (Fjordman). [29] As a result, the theory received widespread mainstream media attention following the attacks.[30] In the verdict against Breivik, the court noted that "many people share Breivik's conspiracy theory, including the Eurabia theory. The court finds that very few people, however, share Breivik's idea that the alleged "Islamization" should be fought with terror."[31]

U.S. politics

In the United States, the theories have found strong proponents in the counterjihad movement, among them the president of Stop Islamization of America, Robert Spencer[32] and right-wing political commentator Daniel Pipes.[33] Eurabia theories have also been espoused by less typical conservatives, for example, Bruce Bawer.[34] In his 2011-2012 run for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum warned that Europe was “creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia”, and that the continent was “losing, because they are not having children.”[35]

Eurabia Literature

Main works

Bat Ye’Or’s ‘’Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis’’ was the first print publication in the Eurabia genre,[18] which has since grown to a number of titles,[36][9] including Melanie Phillips’ ‘’Londonistan’’,[37] Walter Laqueur’s ‘’The Last Days of Europe’’,[38], Oriana Fallaci’s ‘’The Force of Reason’’,[39] and Bruce Bawer’s ‘’While Europe Slept’’.[40] The term is often used by the writers (Fallaci),[41][42] (Steyn)[43][44][45] and several web sites, many of them affiliated with the counterjihad movement.[46] Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen’s ‘’Defeating Eurabia’’[47] earned him a high standing among far-right extremists.[48]

Laqueur has since nuanced his position and written that "the fears that Europe risks becoming a Muslim-dominated Eurabia, adopting Sharia, are a vast distortion of the views of serious students of Europe's present state and future prospects". He notes that Muslim immigrants to Europe come from many different countries, the majority non-Arab, and that they have "common interests... but also great differences, even in their attitudes to religion".[49]

Critical comment

The Economist, acknowledging that integration of immigrants was a difficult process, nevertheless rejected the concept of Eurabia as "scaremongering".[50] Simon Kuper in Financial Times described Ye'or's book as "little-read but influential", and akin to "Protocols of the Elders of Zion in reverse", adding that "though ludicrous, Eurabia became the spiritual mother of a genre".[36] In another article, Kuper wrote that most academics who have analysed the demographics dismiss the predictions that the EU will have Muslim majorities.[51]

According to Marján and Sapir, the very idea of "Eurabia" is "based on an extremist conspiracy theory, according to which Europe and the Arab states would join forces to make life impossible for Israel and Islamize the old continent."[3]

Writing in Race & Class in 2006, author and freelance journalist Matt Carr argued that Eurabia had moved from "an outlandish conspiracy theory" to a "dangerous Islamophobic fantasy". Carr states,

"In order to accept Ye’or’s ridiculous thesis, it is necessary to believe not only in the existence of a concerted Islamic plot to subjugate Europe, involving all Arab governments, whether ‘Islamic’ or not, but also to credit a secret and unelected parliamentary body with the astounding ability to transform all Europe’s major political, economic and cultural institutions into subservient instruments of ‘jihad’ without any of the continent’s press or elected institutions being aware of it. Nowhere in this ideologically driven interpretation of European-Arab relations does Ye’or come close to proving the ‘secret history’ that she professes to reveal."[11]

Arun Kundnani, writing for the International Centre for Counter-terrorism, notes that "Eurabia" fulfills the Counterjihad-movement's "structural need" for a conspiracy theory, and compares "Eurabia" to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[8]

Justin Vaïsse, co-author of Integrating Islam Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France, seeks to discredit what he calls, "four myths of the alarmist school," using Muslims in France as an example. Specifically he has written that the Muslim population growth rate was lower than that predicted by Eurabia, partly because the fertility rate of immigrants declines with integration.[52] He further points out that Muslims are not a monolithic or cohesive group,[53] and that many Muslims do seek to integrate politically and socially. Finally, he wrote that despite their numbers, Muslims have had little influence on French foreign policy.[54]

David Aaronovitch writes that the proponents of Eurabia confuse Islamists with mainstream Muslims. He acknowledges that the threat of "jihadist terror" may be real, but that there was no threat of Eurabia. Aaronovitch concludes that those of study conspiracy theories will recognize Eurabia to be a theory that combines the "Sad Dupes thesis to the Enemy Within idea".[55]

The Eurabia theory has been compared by British columnist Johann Hari to historically antisemitic writing. He calls the two "startlingly similar" and says that "there are intellectuals on the British right who are propagating a conspiracy theory about Muslims that teeters very close to being a 21st century Protocols of the Elders of Mecca."[56]

In his book Wars of Blood and Faith, US military analyst Ralph Peters states that far from being about to take over Europe through demographic change, "Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time" and that in the event of a major terrorist attack in Europe, thanks to the "ineradicable viciousness" of Europeans and what he perceives as a historical tendency to over-react to real or perceived threats, European Muslims "will be lucky if they're only deported."[57]

Eric Kaufmann, author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century (2011), argues that a Muslim majority is extremely unlikely in Europe in the near or long-term.

 

 

 He states "Even if higher Muslim fertility rates do not persist, Islam will make a significant imprint on European life—so saner Eurabian ideas should be publicly discussed.

 

Nonetheless, the overwhelming weight of demographic evidence points towards a decline in Muslim fertility and a more plural Europe."[58]

 

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