Rejecting the Call for Jihad
By: Daniel Bart
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 17, 2004
In this age of Islamic terrorism, many in the West view Muslims as a single voting bloc united against democracy and modernity. The uniformity of the "Muslim electorate" is integral to the political calculus of most political parties in Western Europe. Islamists play on age-old stereotypes, dividing the world into Jews, Muslims and Christians/Europeans who inevitably must clash with one another.
In the United States, Islamists with ties to international terrorism have indeed risen to dominate the Muslim religious scene. In spite of this, many nominally Muslim immigrants to the US continue to assimilate into American society. The problem lies with that small but vocal minority supporting Islamist aggression; these people make up a majority of the religious Muslims in America. Islamist spin-doctors successfully portray these devout Islamists as representing all Americans with Muslim backgrounds.
Europe, thankfully, has experienced less radicalization in its mosque-goers. European Muslims greatly outnumber their American counterparts. Yet Islamists have so far failed to win the support that they garnered in the United States. In fact, a quiet war rages throughout Europe these days -- far from newspaper headlines -- between Islamists and Sufi Muslims. Without the petrodollar income and political sophistication of Islamists, the Sufis have struggled to prevent the further radicalization of Islam in Europe.
Most European Sufis are moderate Muslims who support a pro-democratic foreign policy to promote freedom for all nations. Unlike in the U.S., most religious Muslims in Europe are not Islamists. Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups persist in calling themselves the voices of all Muslims.
In Europe, Muslim communities fall into one of three categories. The Balkan Muslims are mostly secular. Muslims who came to Europe as guest workers tend to be traditional in their beliefs (e.g. most European Turks). The final group consists of political refugees who lean either Islamist or "post-Muslim" -- meaning that they reject any kind of Muslim identity. These assimilated citizens are the rule, not the exception, among Kurdish and Iranian émigrés to Europe. And in all other
Muslim-background communities in Europe, post-Muslims can be found.
The newer generations of post-Muslim Europeans -- and secular Muslim who grow up in Europe --- have neither love for dictatorship nor hatred of Jews. In fact, many see Israel as living proof that freedom and representative government can flourish in the Middle East.
To be sure, the most visible Arab spokesmen in Europe harp on Israel's ills more than ever. But the post-Muslim phenomenon is slowly gaining strength. Opposition to anti-Semitism, identification with Israel, and support for democratic movements unite post-Muslims of all national origins. Whether the forces of Muslim modernity overpower their Islamist opponents remains to be seen. For a sign of hope, look to the post-Muslims in Europe.
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