by Kevin Barrett (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 2, Sha'ban, 1442)
In France, President Emmanuel Macron is trying to distract attention from his failed policies, and the Yellow Vest movement that arose in response, by scapegoating Islam and Muslims. Macron has dubbed 50 Islamic charities, including the Collective Against Islamophobia, potential “enemies of the Republic,” and is moving to seize iron-fisted state control over Islam in France.
In Germany, where much of the country has been closed due to COVID-19, Islamophobia is very much open for business. 2020 witnessed more than 900 attacks on Muslims, including countless acts of vandalism and assault. German police, their ranks infested with anti-Muslim bigots, commonly engage in what they call “Turk hunts.”
These are the same police Muslims must turn to for protection from terrorists, including the 12 arrested in November 2020 and charged “with plotting well-funded armed attacks on mosques in which they planned to kill or injure as many Muslims as possible,” according to Reuters. Meanwhile the German government is following the French government in seeking to seize control over Islamic institutions, using the alleged threat of (Zionist/NATO-manufactured) Daesh as a pretext.
In Austria, Reich Chancellor Sebastian Kurz banned niqabs in 2017, headscarves in schools in 2019, and is now proposing to outlaw “political Islam,” meaning political activism by Muslims. If Kurz’s proposed anti-Islam law passes, a government-approved registry of Imams will determine who is allowed to lead prayers, and many if not most of the country’s mosques will be closed.
Kurz recently unleashed Nazi-style stormtroopers in midnight raids designed to terrorize 60 Muslim intellectual and spiritual leaders, including professor Farid Hafez of the University of Salzburg.
The UK, self-styled bastion of politeness and tolerance, is not much better—and the problem isn’t just pub thugs and soccer hooligans. Last year the Muslim Council of Britain formally complained to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission about more than 300 Islamophobic incidents perpetrated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his Conservative Party.
Official government and media discourse on the subject falls within a narrow Overton Window and is constrained by a false dichotomy: There is the official right-wing position (“Islam is foreign and potentially dangerous and needs to be policed and constrained and re-molded to fit our ultra-secular Zionist-dominated society”) and the official left-wing position (“Muslims are just another minority, like LGBTQ only weirder, and should join the other minorities and feminists and progressives to resist Islamophobia and racism and anti-Semitism and transphobia and other offenses against political correctness.”)
Naturally, Muslims are being corralled into the official left-wing sheep-pen by the friendly left-wing sheepdogs. Meanwhile the vicious right-wing sheepdogs snarl and nip and occasionally bite. But just as a good-cop bad-cop interrogation is designed to break you down by forcing you to identify with the good cop, the good-sheepdog bad-sheepdog Muslim-herding operation is rounding up Muslims for self-interested reasons. Even if a right-wing backlash to inane political correctness doesn’t wind up ethnically cleansing Europe’s Muslim population, the destruction of Islam will be accomplished through the kinder and gentler means of luring Muslim leaders into dancing with the likes of LBGTQ.
Muslims need to smash the Overton Window, bust open the false dichotomy, and demand the same rights as other European citizens. Like everyone else, Muslims have the right to dress as they choose. If someone wants to wear a suit and tie or a djellaba or a peasant dress or a T shirt or a hijab, that is their right, and if Macron doesn’t like it, he can lower his gaze. Likewise, citizens including Muslims enjoy the right of freedom of association. If they want to meet other like-minded Muslims in mosques or anywhere else, that is their prerogative. And Muslims, like other citizens, have a right to privacy. Their homes and mosques and gathering places and communications must not be policed and surveilled.
Like other citizens, Muslims have the right to raise their children according to their own values and to promote those values in the political arena. Just as socialists have every right to try to organize a political movement aimed at achieving government control over the means of production, and libertarians have a right to try to roll back and perhaps even one day abolish government, Muslims, like Christians and other religious people, have a right to campaign for public policies, including transformational long-term goals, as they see fit.
Unfortunately, European governments and opinion-shapers disagree with the proposition that Muslims have equal rights. While Western leaders have no problem with socialists working for socialism and libertarians working for libertarianism and Christians working for Christianity, Muslims who seek to establish Islam, however peacefully and gradually and reasonably, are automatically deemed “extremists” and lumped with Zionist-NATO terror militias like Daesh. Meanwhile apolitical Muslims simply trying to faithfully practice their religion are viewed the same way, and subjected to official and unofficial harassment.
The pervasive Islamophobia infesting European society is driven by two overriding factors. The first is Zionist power. (It is no accident that Macron, a Rothschild frontman and stooge of Israel, is the continent’s leading Islamophobe.) The Zionists, who wield grossly disproportionate power in Western banking and media, are terrified by the prospect of Muslim political empowerment, which threatens to limit and perhaps eventually end Western support for the Zionist genocide of Palestine. By casting any form of Muslim political activism as “extremism” and potential “terrorism,” they can delegitimize it in hopes of pre-empting its rise.
The second broader and more nebulous factor driving Islamophobia in Europe is the continent’s identity crisis resulting from the decline of Christianity. European communities are no longer deeply-rooted in a religion that offers people transcendent goals, deeper meanings, and solid metaphysical reasons to make sacrifices on behalf of something larger than the puny, self-aggrandizing, ever-desiring-yet-never-satisfied worldly self.
The West’s new religion of secular materialist progressivist humanism, which denies the hidden spiritual dimension of reality (al-‘alam al-ghaib), is profoundly unsatisfying. Westerners instinctively sense the flimsy shallowness of their half-baked identities and worldviews, making them feel frail and vulnerable—and sometimes leading them to overreact by behaving arrogantly or even hatefully. Islam, the best-preserved traditional religion, feels deeply threatening to deracinated cosmopolitans scrambling to preserve their misguided faith in the false religion of modernity. It can feel equally threatening to those clinging, however weakly, to an increasingly marginalized Christianity. In either case, the Westerner, insecure in his own identity, neurotically rejects Islam as something foreign, not realizing—or pretending not to realize—that Allah is nearer to him than his own jugular vein.
How can European Muslims best defend themselves and the Islamic community? The first lesson, germane in all David-versus-Goliath struggles, is not to play by the other side’s rules, nor to fight on the other side’s preferred battleground. Identity politics, the reductio-ad-absurdem of secular humanism, is our opponents’ home turf. Western Muslims should not try to defend themselves by becoming just another ID politics victim group. If they do, they will find the concept of “Muslim” being reduced to an ethnic designation devoid of religious content. And that ethnic designation, with its foreign connotation, will just invite more antipathy from the nativists.
Instead, Muslims should focus on an Islamic strong point: socially-engaged spirituality. Just as most Islamic activist groups in Muslim-majority countries have been most successful providing spiritual support alongside soup kitchens and social services, and less successful when engaged in hardball politics, so too Western Muslims can successfully “compete in goodness” (fastabiqul khairat) in the overlapping arenas of intellectual debate, charity, and spirituality. This within a context of insisting that Islam is a religion, not an ethnic group, and that it offers satisfying and beautiful answers to the big, eternal questions—answers that are valid for all human beings, including Europeans.
The Western insecurity that breeds Islamophobia is symptomatic of a spiritual void that Islam can help fill. It is not terribly surprising that two leading members of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders’ Islamophobic party, Arnoud Van Doorn and Joran Van Klaveren, have converted to Islam. They probably began following Wilders due to the inner emptiness and insecurity I have described, before stumbling on a better answer in the very religion that they had been misled into scapegoating. Countless other Europeans, consciously or unconsciously aware of the absurdity and meaninglessness of the secular materialist paradigm, could conceivably come to Islam if they encountered the right message at the right time in the right circumstances.
Young people in particular, especially the spiritual elite that is unsatisfied with hedonism and absurdity and in search of deeper meaning, are naturally open to appreciating the beauty and profundity of Islam, as noted in the Supreme Leader of Iran’s letters to Western youth. Likewise, many Western Christians are open to outreach from, and alliances with, Muslims interested in working with them to defend God in a Godless age. By holding fast to the religious and spiritual dimensions of Islam and Islamic activism and reaching out to Europeans, rather than getting lost in the narcissistic labyrinths of race and ethnicity and identity politics, European Muslims will be doing Allah’s work while effectively defending, expanding, and empowering their community.