The crescent and the cross

In the FT, Simon Kuper reviews Bawer’s While Europe Slept, Laquer’s The Last Days of Europe, Phillips’ Londonistan, and Ye’or’s Eurabia (via Crooked Timber):

All these authors start with disclaimers that not all Muslims support terrorist jihad. This is then swiftly forgotten as the plans for jihad in Europe are outlined. Ye’or, for whom Muslims are always the same, describes jihad as a 1,400-year-old strategy. Like Bawer, she explains that “they’’ never got over losing Andalusia in 1492.

Mixed with the hysteria are kernels of truth. Phillips’ Londonistan rightly recalls that in the 1990s the British authorities let many radical jihadists settle in London. Some later plotted terrorism against the UK. Phillips leaps from this to claiming that Britons cannot see the terrorist threat. However, this is rather negated by the fact that almost all her information about British terrorism comes from British newspapers.

About 16 million nominal Muslims live in the European Union, less than 4 per cent of the EU population. A tiny minority are terrorists. Nobody sane denies that. But the “Eurabia’’ theorists – with the partial exception of Walter Laqueur, the most judicious of them – seem to regard the mass of Muslims as the enemy. Phillips sees “a continuum that links peaceful, law-abiding but nevertheless intensely ideological Muslims at one end and murderous jihadists at the other’’.

A favourite rhetorical trick of these writers is the pars pro toto: isolated examples of Islamic extremism come to stand for a vast Muslim movement. It’s true, as Laqueur twice notes, that one group said: “We shall hoist our flags over 10 Downing Street.’’ But this is atypical. European Muslims almost all vote for mainstream parties, mostly of the left. In surveys the great majority profess satisfaction with their lives in Europe.