Firstly before I begin, I would like to state that Iam an ordinary hard working person and have no agenda or political ideology to push/promote. Iam merely stating my opinions from my experience and from the things I have seen in day to day life. Iam not a professor and have never written anything like this before, so i apologise for the unfinished or basic nature of this blog. I have found alot of people agreeing with what I have to say, even more so due to my mixed heritage and background. Without going into too much detail I am mixed European/Muslim, but feel a sense of being completely European, but also feel some affiliation with my Islamic national identity (but not the religion). Many muslims who propagate the Shariah or even sympathise with it fail to realise that national identity is completely wiped out with the Global islamic state.
You are no longer Pakistani muslim , or Libyan muslim, just merely "muslim". All national flags would be banned as would any outward display of nationalism to ones national identity. There would be one generic dress code for men, i.e the Jilbab (long dress type outfit) and a full beard. For the women it would obviously be the burkha. The thing that many who sympathise with the Shariah do not realise is that it will control every aspect of life telling you what to wear, what you can or cannot say and what you cannot or can do. Everything will be controlled and monitored, there will be no aspect of freedom whatsoever. Essentially the shariah state is a fascist police state with a theological dimension. The parallels with other fascist ideologies such as nazism, or communism are indeed quite scary. Not only with regards to freedoms, but also with the way in which it intends to seize power. It starts with gradual implementations, plays upon already existing beliefs or sympathies amongst muslims and either indoctrinates the vulnerable, or merely steamrolls past the silent majority. We must not forget that during Nazi Germany, Hitler did play on existing beliefs of Jews but merely exacerbated them and twisted them further, and not all believed in Nazism, but were effectively part of the "silent majority". I believe it is the inaction of that silent majority that allows extremism to fester, prosper and eventually gain credibility and ultimately a power base. It is up to the silent majority to cast out such evils, whether it be right winged extremism or islamic extremism, or indeed extremism of any kind.
The question is how can the silent majority speak out against such evils and when would it be deemed acceptable. This will obviously be down to each individuals own conscience, and also if they even believe that such evils exist in the first place. What is ironic however, is that since the third reich, there has always been an awarness and distaste amongst the silent majority against extreme right wing politics and views, and that silent majority often speak out very publicly and very quickly against such views. If you are like myself and are thinking "great whats wrong with that", then ideally nothing. Unfortunately however the distrust and distaste most commonly seems focused upon nazi or neo nazi sympathisers/ideologies. Lest we forget that under Stalin millions also died in the pogroms and purges (including many jews). And secondly perhaps through fear of the same happening again, or whether what we are taught from a very young age in Western Europe, there is little or no public outcry against the misdeeds of ethnic minorities or minority religions. It is my personal belief that any misdeeds amongst any ethnic group or religion or if any extremism should rear its ugly head once again that it should be condemed openly and strongly just as I would expect anyone to condemn a neo nazi type group. I think many are in fear of and in alot of cases are directly labelled as racist or some sort of "phobe". To me however it is very simple and any condemnation does not know colour, creed or religion. In essence it is universal, if anything it is racist to only criticise one group yet leave another completely free of condemnation.
With regards to the acceptability of when to speak out and what against, I believe obviously it will be contextual to the incident/event/occurings. Many would say that there should be a clear distinction between foreign affairs and domestic affairs. But for me personally, I believe that a woman being forced into marriage in pakistan, is the same as a woman being forced into marriage in the U.K it should be spoken against wherever it occurs otherwise you are a hypocrite. I do feel that there is however a distinction between foreign affairs and domestic. I believe that difference relates to words and action. For example as in the instance mentioned, one can speak out against something happening in foreign lands, but ultimately it is up to the people of that nation and/or its officials to solve that problem/issue. It is neither our right nor in our best interest to actively interfere, as if for example the situations were reversed and others from outside tried to meddle in our affairs, it would not be appreciated. However if these issues were to occur on home soil I feel we have a moral obligation to speak out against it as it is ultimately we who should decide how our countries are run and operated. And if we see something we do not care for, we should speak out and make sure practices that are not acceptable to our way of life are imported here.
These all leads on to the point that we (the Western democracies) should in no way accept certain cultural practices that are harmful to individuals or wider society, and this should extend not only to muslims but anyone attempting to import barbaric customs. For example if an influx of German or Greeks tried to practice a primitive form of Eugenics, Or if africans started harvesting body parts for voodoo, then surely it would be our responsibility to stop such barbarism and not turn a blind eye or simply regard it as their cultural or religious "right". I guess the question is, what exactly can we determine as acceptable cultural habits and what can be deemed unnaceptable? For example ask one man in the street and he may say the hijab is completely unnaceptable, but halal meat in chain fast food stores is acceptable. Ask another man on the street and he may find the opposite acceptable or both or neither, so surely we are in a bit of a pickle here? Some would suggest to merely ban or disregard all non western practices. But for me this is not acceptable, and would be the beginnings of mob mentality, perhaps even a police state, were everyone has to fall into a nice clean category. As long as the cultural habits do not break the laws of the nation state, then they should be tolerated whether we particularly like them or not. Obviously laws can and should be changed in order to combat new or unidentified practices, and more importantly the law should be completely and utterly be enforced to send a clear message. (would like to add that the laws could theoretically be changed dependent on govt and public mood) and we should be careful again not to let mob mentality rule. The law should be impartial and universal, and more importantly there can only be ONE law within each nation state. Allowing dual legal systems and ultimately dual cultures/societies to exist within one nation state is very very dangerous as it will eventually in my opinion lead to breakaway states within that nation.
I will not go into too much detail about dual legal systems or shariah courts as I will only depress myself as to why this is allowed to happen (in the U.K for example). The point I will expand upon is the idea of the law being universal and impartial and an example of how it can be used in the right way to ban certain cultural habits. I guess the most widely known example that has swept Western Europe is the concept of banning the burkha. As we all know France has banned the burkha in public which if disobeyed will result in a petty fine. Some will say great, well done France we should do it here and I do agree with them in that the burkha should be banned but for the right reasons and under slightly different parameters. I believe that the French example was one of politicians merely succeeding to the will of the people, which I guess is not a bad thing to see politicians serving our interests, but again I feel that when it comes to law there should be impartiality. I feel the French politicians banned the burkha more out of fears of the 2012 election, and also more of a symbolic gesture which could signify the beginning of an all out institutional attack on muslims. It sort of reminds me of when Jews had to wear bright yellow stars when out in public.
It would obviously seem iam condraticting myself, seen as I want the burkha banned so I should really explain myself. I think firstly that the burkha should be banned in certain public buildings as a safety precaution and certain professions were the covering of ones face becomes a hinderance. I believe the difference in my suggestion is that the banning comes due to an issue of 1. safety and 2. the inability to do ones job properly rather than an attack on a religious practice that is not in general harmful. And also I do not think that it should be banned in public space. In banning items of clothing on a public street, surely then should we not ban all types of offensive clothing? I believe we in the west have and should continue to have the freedom to wear what we like publicly, and that is the basis for many muslim womens argument. "I choose to wear the burkha", and under the parameters I suggested, they should be allowed to do so or not, just as I have the right to go out in a marylin manson tshirt, that many may find offense too. There will be many cases were women are forced to wear a burkha by there husbands particularly as women are seen as second class citizens in many islamic societies. However I feel this should relate to domestic abuse laws, rather than a law that regulates clothing, and it is the failures of the system to protect women rather than a piece of fabric that is at fault. There is obviously a very strong argument that would say the burkha is not a religious mandate so whats the problem. I would 100% agree and although its not integral to my argument, seen as my blog is labelled "my experience with Islam" I should really highlight an example of what I have personally seen. I was once in nandos in London, and an islamic family entered, to which the woman was wearing a burkha. I was slightly intrigued as to how the woman would eat with her face covered. They sat down ordered, and when the food arrived I was utterly and completely shocked as the woman took away the cloth part that covers her mouth and nose and began to eat. To me this surely defeated the object of wearing the burkha in the first place, and was the first time I realised that it truly was not a religious mandate.
This leads me onto a point (again from my experiences) that muslims even the more moderate ones, even when picking and choosing which aspects of islam they follow still display outward signs of religious supremacism towards both non believers and other muslims who do not adhere to their particular hybrid style/interpretation. For example an aquaintance of mine does not pray 5 times a day, drinks, has casual sex yet frowns upon people who eat pork, is extremely hostile to those who do not fast during ramadan, and I would hate to think what reaction he would give to someone who insults the prophet mohammed. And again another (this time family member) who drinks, does not pray 5 times a day, yet attends the mosque every friday and has a bit of contempt for those who hold darwinism as a credible theory. I personally do not understand it and to me seems like hypocrisy. Surely you are true to your faith or you arent? And if you knowingly arent then one would think that you would be more open minded than the true islamist. Again in another example I take a man who has been settled in my country since the 60s, is married to a western woman and has mixed race children. When I first met him it seemed refreshing to see a muslim man fully integrated. After spending several hours with him, he began to explain to me his wife had converted to islam, his children were muslims, and telling me the best ways to convert non muslims. I then learned his objective was to try and get me to become more religious, and when asked if I was a practicing muslim he replied "dont worry in time you will learn." I was quite offended as it suggested that somehow I was wrong in how I was living and that his path was the right path. He mentioned that with conversions or muslims that find their faith "all your past discretions are wiped out" . Which again I felt was hypocritical as it means you could live a horrible life, find your faith and it be A Ok, wheras you may be an athiest or agnostic and live a respectful life, yet you are bound to the fires of hell? So as I said im not entirely sure why all of this happens, but I feel it could be either the supremacist nature of Islam itself, or perhaps the insecurity of some muslims, and their interpretation of how they are seen amongst there peers. For us we look within to our own actions and whether we can live with them, whearas some muslims merely look at how there actions are perceived within society. I think this could be one of the reasons there is major sheep mentality amongst muslims, there is very little individualism and free thought.
I guess you may also say how can I criticise Islam, but not really attack muslims. Without going into a geert wilders speech I feel there is a difference between islam the islamist and muslims.The predominant theory that seems to be emerging is that Islam is the problem and the Islamists are the true followers of this faith. For me Islam is a religion with its religious book just like any other religion which encompass good and bad passages just like the old testament. It is merely a book nothing more. There are millions of christians today that call themselves christians, and believe they are actively following their faith, yet their views are a far cry than the teachings of the old testament. Some like Gert wilders has suggested that Christianity evolved in the creation of the new testament, but there are some particularly in deep south USA that still follow some of the more draconian aspects of Christianity. So for me, a book is just a book, and just as some Christians follow a draconian version of Christianity, some muslims follow a draconian form of islam. I would however like to point out that it is my belief that a much higher percentage of the muslim population would adhere to the more extremes of their religion than say christians. I also believe a much greater percentage of muslims who do not adhere to that draconian religious belief, sympathise with the ones that do, more so than christianity (there was a poll in the u.k which highlighted this). I would also say that the very extremes of Islam would appear to be far worse than the very extremes of Christianity (in the modern context). I have yet to see a single terrorist attack carried out by extreme christians since 9/11. Arguably the Norway shooter deemed himself a "cultural christian", but even if you lump him in the "christian", that would only be one terrorist attack in comparison to the several hundred or so from the Islamic extremists.
I do genuinely believe that there are many muslims that embrace their faith of Islam yet are completely and utterly happy with their way of life in the west. I have seen them with my own eyes. My experience of this has been in the USA more so than europe particularly with the younger generations of muslims. They identify with being "muslim american" or "arab american" or "indian american". Whether this is due to an evolution amongst these muslims or due to a succesful integration policy in America is debatable, but it means that a muslim can embrace his/her faith and be fully integrated in society. Some will then say to me well they are not true muslims as they are not following the Quran properly, but at the same time there are many people who call themselves christians that do not follow the Bible properly either. For me this is the example of evolution within religion, in that one can still be part of a religious group, yet not find themselves at odds within a western societal setting. It would appear on the whole that Christianity and Judaism in particular have evolved far more rapidly than Islam. In fact most modern day democracies are mainly based upon a foundation of Judo-Christian culture, whereas nations with an Islamic foundation (up until recently) have been theological police states, or corrupt dictatorships. This compiled with the fact that every non islamic nation that has a large muslim population regardles of their national origin, are having severe and major problems. This by the powers of deduction would suggest there is something either fundamentally wrong with Islam, that is stopping it from reaching the same evolutionary state that Christianity and Judaism has found itself in, which begs the question on whether Islam or the muslim collective can ever reach it?
So again it may appear Iam condraticting myself in saying muslims can evolve, yet largely havent, and that Islam may not even have the abilitity to evolve. I think it all boils down to two things, one potential and two, the reasons for evolution. I believe Islam just as muslims have the potential to evolve if they truly want to. We see glimmers of potential from the youth of Iran and Saudi Arabia, and also in the recent Arab uprisings. As we in the West through the course of our history have learned, is that freedom comes at a price, essentially we have to bleed for it. With regards to the Arab springs, although heavily sceptical about the future, Iam also quietly hopeful that because of the blood shed they will come to see the value of freedom. In terms of potential I feel it has to be within the hearts of the muslim himself, to wish to evolve, it cannot be forced upon him or wished upon him by us. We see time and time again the young people of Iran for example fighting/yearning for freedom, they in a sense are in a state of Islamic evolution. The second point I made was regarding the reasons for evolution. If we look at the animal world, largely adaptation and evolution comes from the need for survival. Arguably Muslims that are "westernised" within the West may either knowingly or unkowingly have adapted for their own survival. I dont necessarilly mean literal survival, seen as in the west, society on a whole has learned not to kill or attack what is different, infact liberal europe has appeared to have embraced what is different. Survival in my terms is the ability to work, engage and live comfortable within the society they live in. So for example an Iraqi Muslim emigrates to say Alabama in the USA. In order to engage, work and "survive" in society, he has to adapt and evolve. I have seen muslims in europe that are "fresh off the boat" so to speak, and seen their progress over time. In the beginning they start off very rigid in their personality and views, which is understanding seen as we can all imagine the kind of society they come from. Over time they become more embursed with Western society, and slowly it penetrates them combined with the fact that they adapt to survive. In many cases 18 months down the line they can become quite open minded and similar to any Westerner.
I think the problem particularly within Western Europe is these "fresh off the boat" muslims and ultimately their descendants, largely have no need to evolve or adapt, because they operate within their own enclaves within society. Within these enclaves their is no need to speak the mother tongue of the country they are in or even adapt to its way of life, as they are minature versions of the countries they have come from. The only difference is it is economically more beneficial, and there is no fear of war/persecution. Basically it becomes a better version of their country of origin. How would western society be able to impact/influence them if these enclaves/bubbles are self sufficient. Again back to the U.K example, they have begun to see the problems with this, in the implementation of Shariah courts, No go zones for non muslims, and now the suggestion of "shariah zones". As the population grows I can imagine the next steps will be calls for seperatist "shariah states." If we also take a look at countries like Norway or Sweden, the police and emergency services are attacked when entering enclaves, as they are seen as foreign invaders. So I guess the difference on my true points is that 1. Potential may relate to the want for evolution wheras point 2. Regarding the reasons for evolution, may infact relate to a forced state of evolution.
I guess we have now touched upon integration. If European society truly wished to open its doors, surely it seems complete and utter madness that there was no official method for integration. I guess in the beginning stages, this may be the reason for varying degrees of success in terms of integration. But as I said, as muslim populations have grown along with these enclaves, I can imagine these sucesses have become far less frequent. In fact if we go back to the U.K poll regarding Shariah law, it was actually the younger generation of muslims that were more extreme in their ideology. Which would appear to be the complete opposite of what the European political elite thought would happen. They imagined 3 and 4 generations down the line, they would have fully integrated young Europeans in their midst. Instead this lack of direction and a solid method of integration has led to home grown terrorits and extremists. In fact most of the older muslims I have met, are genuinely quite normal, those that arrived in the 60s and 70s. I once saw a strange occurance, after meeting a muslim family from the U.K. The older man in his late 60s, could speak perfect english and was quite liberal in his views. His conversation was surrounded around football and other normal things. His son however in his early 30s, although could speak english had a strong South Asian accent, and his conversation (After learning of my mixed heritage) seemed to center along middle eastern politics, and conspiracy theories about the Jews controlling the world. The example of this family also strongly highlighted the demographic nature of muslims too (which I will come to next).
With regards to succesful integration I always cite Americas system as far more superior than the European system (infact there is no system). Each morning the child pledges allegance to the U.S flag. Schools teach the children about its rich heritage, and strongly instills a sense of National identity and patriotism at a very young age, at the age were a childs mind is like a spounge. If we consider USA for a second, in the fact that they are in essence a nation of immigrants. They are a giant melting pot of different nationalities creeds and colours. Yet somehow they hold a deep sense of loyalty, patriotism, universal identity and culture despite all of this. I believe for new arrivals this is because they are immediately plunged into a world of patriotism and "mono-culture" and for the decendents or children of immigrants, they are fed this from a very young age. This could suggest that it is the system that is at fault. How can muslims integrate if there is no system to facilitate it? This again also strongly backs up my own personal belief that the argument that is gaining credibility is that the issue surrounding muslims is not a racial issue but simply a cultural one. I believe it is this growing realisation that thankfully is leaving nazi parties and sympathisers left behind in the dirt.
Now it is all well and good saying that the U.S system is better, but at this late stage even if by some miracle the school apsect was implemented within European society, I doubt it would even have any affect. You cannot revolutionise a nations mentality overnight, and the very creation/history of the USA is so different than European, that it would be impossible to mirror the U.S example. Even if you created a succesful school project those children still have to go back into the real world. It is kind of like pilot projects with Israeli and Palestinian children. They are forced to work together and get along with each other in the school setting, and learn that infact they can actually become friends. As soon as they leave that school setting they are back into a world of hate, and seperate lives/societies. For such a thing to be implemented and become truly successful, i.e a patriotism, mono culture etc, it has to be wanted and demanded from the people. Similar to the example of freedom and the Arab springs, in order to get freedom they had to truly want it and demand it. European nations could start implementing state nationalism in different forms, but I feel the people would simply rebel against it. I believe that the politicians, eventually heed to the will of the people. For example the rise in right wing parties across europe is not being pushed from top down, but from bottom up. It is the opinions and views and will of the people that are forcing mainstream politicians to take notice, or even for new parties to fill the gap that the mainstream parties have left behind. For example 6 or 7 years ago would any of us imagined a single British, German or French prime minister say that multiculturalism has failed, let alone all three of them.
I breifly mentioned demographics before. And for some people this issue in particular will always remain in the "Eurabia" conspiracy theory file. For me there is a demographic timebomb set to explode. Whether or not it adheres to the timescales that the "Eurabia" believers state, is debatable. What isn't debatable is simple mathematics and statistics. They unlike right wing politicians or fearmongerers do not lie to push there own agenda. Theoretically if all immigration was halted within europe, you would still observe the fact that non western women have far more children than western women. Again back to the family I met in the U.K If I compare him to a western family. The muslim man in his late 60s, had 4 children, one of which I met, had 4 children also. On average assuming the old mans other three children had an average of 3 children each, that would amount to around 13 grandchildren. Take the Western example, I have a friend whos grandfather is in his late 70s and had 3 children. Out of those three children only 2 went on to have children. Each having 2 each. That results in 4 grandchildren. So we have one the one hand, a muslim family with 13 Grand children in comparison to a non muslim family with only 4 children. We also have to take account of the fact that muslims in general get married alot earlier on than Western people. If we imagine it like a production line, the muslim business, gets out far bigger numbers, with a greater turnaround than the Western equivilent. In business terms, eventually business number to cannot compete, and eventually goes out of business. Ultimately this is only one example, and I have no statistics to back this up, but the statistics are out there. I could go away and find the statistics, but my intention of this blog, was to write about what I see and feel, rather than just regurgitate facts and figures that have been circulated for a while now.
I would like to add however, that demographics and integration are interlinked. Theoretically, the more westernised and integrated muslims become, the more they behave like westerners. So that would suggest a fully integrated muslim or muslim decendant would eventually begin to have children in the same manner and number as Westerners. Again some would say what has demographics have to do with culture. Surely you are bringing race into it? Well I would respond with not really, as what this demographic timebomb is resulting in is a more divided society, with each generation producing greater numbers of unintegrated Islamic youth. It genuinely would not bother me if several hundred years down the line Europe were nations of coffee coloured people that still adhere to the values and moral principles of Western society. What I would not like to see however is a group of Islamic republics, with still a large portion of what we deem as "white people" living and breathing and the Islamic dream. However ideally I would like things to remain somewhat as they are i.e the kind of europe we all know from our youth. But then again it is easy to wish to turn back time, but at this stage it is way too late. We have to work with what we have got, and succesfully integrate those already here. As we have seen Islam knows no colour, as does people who are westernised. We have brown, black, white, oriental islamists. At the same time we have Brown, black,white, oriental, freedom loving Westerners. Again, the issue is cultural not racial.
Finally all though all my points seem to be all doom and gloom, I will conclude with ways in which I think the West will defeat the increasing islamisation. I will immediately say I do not particularly support any of these scenarios, but they are the ones I can think of.
1. Re Christianising Europe: Throughout history we can see the only thing that was strong enough to stand up to Islam was Christianity. We saw clearly during the crusades or even the repelling of the Ottomans at Vienna, that Christianity had the strength to stand up to Islam. Perhaps it is a case of fighting fire with fire. Christianity particularly during that time, was just as extreme as Islam was. Perhaps this is why it was so succesful. Whether secular has the strength, togetherness and will to repel islam is debatable, but Christianity is a tried method that works. It would also deal with the low birth rate issue, and also some of the moral ills our society has. Whether or not secular Europe would ever re Christianise itself is another issue, in my own opinion I find it very unlikely. I feel the only nations that would ever stand a chance of this happening would be the catholic nations such as Italy or Spain, under the direction of the pope. Under one leader Catholics could be a force to be reckoned with, and could ultimately repel any islamisation attempt. Again this would hopefully be a non violent movement.
2. The Liberal right wing: This would be the voting in of a Liberal right wing party through democratic means. The term "liberal right wing" is something I have coined from some of the new parties that have emerged from the new threat of islamism. I think the perfect example of this would be Gert Wilders party in Holland. It would appear they embrace some right wing ideology, yet at the same time some very liberal ideas also. People call them extreme right wing, but last time I checked the extreme right wing weren't advocating rights for homosexuals, women and a liberal society in general. I believe in most "multicultural" Eu nations, that are largely secular, it is this type of "right wing" politics that is credible and based on humanist ideals rather than fascist ones. I believe they really have a chance of gaining power, again such as in Holland. The fear however will always be that once they gain power, would they shift to a much harder stance than what they are advocating at the moment?
3. The election of a True right wing party: This would be the traditional fascist, Naziesque type party. I feel these kind of parties would have a real chance of getting in particularly in Eastern bloc countries such as Bulgaria, Poland, some have even regarded Austria as the new birthplace of the fourth reich. This would truly be a scary prospect, but something tells me that The Eastern bloc nations in particular, will not be as tolerant to Islam when the numbers begin to swell. I believe this is why it remains the responsibility of the mainstream parties or even the "liberal right wing" to sort the problems out, before one of these parties takes power.
4. Civil war: An even more scary prospect, again very few consider this a possibility, but in some countries it could become a reality. Im thinking the U.K or even Sweden as an example of this. Particularly in the U.K the voting system makes it difficult for non mainstream parties to gain power. It has been either Conservative or Labour since the 50's or so? In Sweden the politicians and in some sense society have their head so far buried in the sand, that I feel it would take a miracle for a party such as the Swedish Democrates to ever gain power. I feel the U.K however you can already see the beginnings of civil unrest. Large "mobs" meet on the streets, such as the EDL vs the UAF and Muslims against Crusades. The U.K have already seen running battles on the streets so many times. Just recently an elected mp was barricaded in a mosque by muslims who called him a "jewish homosexual pig", and vowed that non muslims are not welcome in muslim areas. The possibility of shariah zones, and the already implemented shariah courts, compiled with the unfair voting system, makes civil war a distinct possibility in the future. Particularly more so as the demographic figures shift even further.
That is my blog on my experience with Islam over with. I have nothing against muslims, and as I mentioned I have relatives and friends who are muslims. If there was a movement trying to "christianise" Arabia, I would speak out against it too. The end of the day immigrants and descendants, have to live by the "law of the land". Europe has largely failed to integrate its muslim immigrants, and instead of trying to solve this problem, it merely concedes more and more to the immigrants, in the hope of appeasing them. As we have learned from history fascism can never be appeased, as it will continue to push further and further until the line is ultimately crossed. Let us not get to that stage and lets solve the problems now while we can. Those of us ordinary people want to see European nations unified regardless of colour race or religion. We just want to live in a peaceful society were all adhere to the way of life. I hope whoever reads this takes some comfort that there are muslims, or at least people descended from immigrants that love theWest and love the life and freedom here.
Best regards all