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We still don’t get it: Mark Steyn

He is at it again. Reading the latest article I have one question to ask that seems to stand out in his line of reasoning. Well actually I have a few questions.

Overall, this latest article is about Islam, and Islamo-fascism. He believes that the war on terror is in essence, not a war on a tactic, but a war on, essentially, a people. For instance:

As I’ve said here before, by 2030 Europe will be Eurabia — at least semi-Islamified, with Muslim lobby groups transformed into Muslim political parties, with their own representatives serving in coalitions with bewildered Continental multiculturalists. (The recent by-elections in the Midlands, with the Friends of al-Aqsa Committee summoning the candidates to a tribunal in order to see who could outpander the others, is only an interim phase.) In the last three decades, Europe has taken in (officially) some 20 million Muslims (officially) — or the equivalent of the populations of three EU countries (Ireland, Belgium, Denmark). Once you look at it like that, why should they have less say in the corridors of Euro-power than Ben Bot or Bertie Ahern? Imagine France with a 20 per cent Muslim bloc and then consider the likelihood of French forces fighting alongside the US ever again.

And he is probably right, When Turkey join the European Union we will see a huge increase in the percentage of Muslims in Europe. But what has this got to do with Islamic terrorism exactly? He uses Holland as an example:

Last year a senior Dutch cabinet minister talked me through some very interesting findings apropos his own country’s Islamic population. The grandchildren of Muslims who arrived in Holland in the Seventies are often more militantly Islamist and unassimilated than their grandparents.

So his point seems to be, correct me if I am wrong here, that more Muslims in Europe equals more terrorists? One could also point out that the UK and Germany both seen massive influxes of Muslims into their countries, and this has not really led to any “Ukabia” or “Gerabia”. And why does he mix the words Europe with Arab anyway?

Furthermore he says:

Three years after September 11, the Islamist death cult is the love whose name no one dare speak. And, if you can’t even bring yourself to identify your enemy, are you likely to defeat him? Can you even know him? He seems to know us pretty well.

Islamist death cult? He seems to keep getting mixed up between Muslims, the vast majority of whom are pretty nice people, who happen to believe in a non-Christian viewpoint, and Islamist murderers – who go and kill anyone they want in the name of the more extreme forms of Islamic belief. He attempts to strengthen his point in relation to the new war with this little gem:

Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30 per cent of the world’s population to just over 20 per cent, and the population of Muslim nations increased from about 15 per cent to 20 per cent. 1970 isn’t that long ago.

Mr. Steyn, is the war you talk about a war on Islamist death cults? Or Islam itself? If it’s just the death cults then why quote figures about the increase in numbers of one particular form of religious belief? Why, in the article does one paragraph concern Islamic terrorism, followed by a paragraph about the growth of Islamic populations? Is what you are really saying some kind of Huntington-esque clash of civilizations, and what we really have to do is stop the growth of Islam, and stop them coming into Europe? Just wondering.

4 thoughts on “We still don’t get it: Mark Steyn”

  1. Gavin, you must have missed this passage:

    Not all Muslims are al-Qa’eda supporters, but they don’t have to be. If just 1 per cent is generally sympathetic, that’s enough for a vast global support network.

    Now, you may argue that this number is plucked out of the air, but if he believes this number to be true then obviously as the numbers of Muslims increases – in the UK, Holland, France, Europe overall and the world – then the number of al Qaeda supporters increases with that.

    And, that quote from the Dutch cabinet minister you seem to dismiss does seem to me to indicate that Europe has a big problem. I don’t think it’s necessarily illogical for Steyn to conclude that a growing population of third generation Muslims, who are more militantly Islamist than their immigrant grandparents would mean a larger population of terrorists.

    The argument about cause and a possible solution is valid, but I don’t know you dismiss this problem so lightly.

  2. The problem really is that it is only one sentence in quite a long article, its easy to disregard because it seems to be a non-important factor to Steyn.

    Even if there are say, 100,000, trained Al-Qaeda terrorists – does this represent a significant threat to western civilization? I really dont believe it is, nor do I believe that scaremongering by Steyn, with somewhat veiled references to Islam in general, is helping. Even if what he says is true, he does seem to be lacking a solution to the problem he discusses –

  3. While the problem is obviously far more complex than Steyn makes out – there is great variation in the practice of Islam, for a start – he’s not wrong to be concerned about Muslim integration in Europe. As long as European countries cling to ethno-national concepts of citizenship (see Ireland’s recent referendum, France’s stupid headscarf law, Germany’s antipathy to even third-generation Turks), Muslims will struggle to feel European. This kind of alienation is a precondition for extremism. If Muslims have no path to becoming truly European, they will feel little or no allegiance to the European countries in which they live. I have to confess, that as an American immigrant in Ireland (who is eligible for citizenship) I have often felt a mild form of this alienation. But I’m a white dude from an Anglophone Western democracy, not an Arab from roiling dictatorship.

    And while every Muslim is not a terrorist (or sympathiser), Islam seems to be a key ingredient in most terrorism nowadays. We shouldn’t ignore that. Neither should Muslims.

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