Just as the US administration seems to be trying to mend relations with Europe, a very unhelpful concept is about become increasingly prominant in informing some American conservatives’ views of Europe’s role in the world.
With the launch of Bat Ye’or’s book of the same name, lots of conservative blogs are getting excited about the concept of the anti-American European-Islamic axis known as “Eurabia”. We will be hearing the term a lot in the coming weeks. As Ye’or explained the concept to the conservative online magazine FrontPageMagazine,
Eurabia represents 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. A working body composed of committees and always presided jointly by a European and an Arab delegate planned the agendas, and organized and monitored the application of the decisions.
Und so weiter. All this supposedly explains European hostility to U.S. and Israeli policy in the Middle East. Not surprisingly, this Spenglerian concept is rarely invoked on this side of the Atlantic.
In November, Peter Hitchens appropriated the term for a predictable column for the Mail on Sunday shortly after the murder of Theo van Gogh:
Are we now witnessing the birth-pangs of the new continent of Eurabia, a demoralised, flabby and anti-American, post-Christian Europe whose old cultures gradually fade and crumble, while a proud, intolerant Islam demands first respect, then power and finally obedience from its peoples and governments?
Prophets of doom and decline have warned for years that such a fate faces Europe if it continues to pretend its growing Muslim population is a matter of no importance.
Europeans, they say, are committing slow suicide by failing to reproduce while encouraging immigration, mainly from Muslim countries, to make up for labour shortages. There may already be as many as 14 million Muslims in Europe. When Turkey joins the EU, there will be many more than that.
What’s more worrying is that that this term is now being linked to fears about demographic trends in Western Europe that allegedly make Europe destined to become increasingly Islamic.
Last spring, the historian Niall Ferguson used the term in a Sunday Times column about falling birthrates in Europe. Ferguson wrote “a youthful Muslim society to the south and east of the Mediterranean is poised to colonize—the term is not too strong—a senescent Europe.” For American audiences, he has repeated the thesis in the New York Times Magazine and the Atlantic Monthly.
Brace yourselves: there will be much more of this stuff in the near future. In the meantime, read the critique by Randy McDonald, the analysis of the rhetoric from the Gene Expression blog and Crooked Timber’s take on it. Expect to be accused of dhimmitude.