Jacques Ellul on the Impossibility of Integrating Muslims in Western Societies
On Sunday, 2 March, 2014, the French Website Riposte Laïque, published excerpts from the Journal Réforme where the late French Intellectual and academic, Jacques Ellul had commented in 1994, on the presence of large numbers of Muslims in France. He explained, in very clear words, that Muslims do not and cannot integrate into Western societies.
The following is my translation of his comments which remain very pertinent, as we face the global revival of radical Islam, its inability or unwillingness to coexist with the other major world civilizations, and its implication for the Western societies where large numbers of Muslims have settled.
Beginning his reflections on the uniqueness of Islam, Professor Ellul wrote:
“I don’t see any problem [living] with Buddhists, or Hindus, or Animists; however, Islam is an entirely different thing. It’s the only religion that seeks to impose its faith violently, all over the world. Of course, I realize that some would respond, ‘Christianity is no different,’ and go on pointing to the Crusades, the Conquistadors, and Charlemagne. However, here there is a radical difference. When Christians acted violently and sought conversions by force, they were acting against the teachings of the Bible, especially of the Gospels. They acted contrary to the commandments of Jesus.
“On the other hand, when Muslims conquered peoples by war and forced some of them to Islamize, they were acting in accordance with the teachings of Muhammad and of the Qur’an. Jihad is the first obligation of a believer. The entire world must become part of Daru’l-Islam, (the Household of Islam.)
“I can hear someone objecting to my thesis and reminding me that it’s only the radical Muslims who subscribe to Jihad, the duty to spread Islam by force. Unfortunately, throughout the complex history of Islam, it was always the radicals, namely Muslims subscribe to the letter of the Qur’an who have been winning the day, over against the moderates and the mystics.
“And to claim seriously that in France, for example, the spread of radical Islam is a result of an identity crisis, is a disastrous interpretation. One must be living on the moon to believe that it is possible to ‘integrate peaceful and non-conquering Muslims!’ Equally, one must also forget the permanence of the religious sentiment among Muslims, and the obligatory teachings of the Qur’an, in order to imagine that Muslims would actually integrate. A Muslim will never accept a non-religious state, or a secularized society. That remains unthinkable to him.
“The infiltration of Islam into France went through three stages:
“The first stage, small groups of immigrant-workers came from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.
“The second stage began in 1973, when President Giscard d’Estaing allowed workers’ families to join them; that marked the beginning of the Islamic invasion of the public square in France.
“The third stage is what is going on at present: the proliferation of mosques, the demands made by Islamic communities for special privileges, the destruction of churches, and the move of millions of Muslims into Islamic communities in the outskirts of our cities and to villages in our provinces!
“Rather than integrating Muslims into French society, we witness the integration of France into Islam.”
Thus far, is my quotation from the French website, Riposte Laïque, regarding the futility of dreaming that Muslims, now living in the West, would ever assimilate!
Professor Ellul’s concern with Islam’s impact on conquered peoples was clearly and forcefully stated in his “Foreword” to Bat Ye’or’s book,
“The Decline of Eastern Christianity: Under Islam from Jihad to Dhimmitude”:
Referring to the true nature of Jihad, Jacques Ellul wrote:
“I have greatly stressed the characteristics of this war, because there is so much talk nowadays of the tolerance and fundamental pacifism of Islam that is necessary to recall its nature, which is fundamentally warlike! Moreover, the author provides us an enlightening explanation of “Islamization,” a complex process whereby Islamicized populations supplanted peoples, civilizations, and religions in the conquered countries. This comprised two phases: amalgamation processes (massacres, slavery, and so on). The conflictive and amalgamative situations could in fact co-exist. Nevertheless, there are actually two phases: the first is war; the second is the imposition of the dhimmi status.
“[T]he world is still divided between the world of Islam and the world of war. And inside the umma, the only possible existence for the infidel is dhimmitude.
“This leads the author to pose the question which has become so alarming today: “Dhimmitude of the West”? After having thus covered thirteen centuries of history, read in the light of this question, we reach our present situation, actually feeling its ambiguity and instability. We misunderstand this situation, for lack of a clear vision of the alternative which, whether explicit or not, existed throughout the centuries and which the present book has the immense merit to analyze rigorously. The author has the courage to examine (summarily, because this is not the purpose of the book) whether a certain number of events, structures, and situations that we know in the West do not already derive from a sort of “dhimmitude” of the West vis-à-vis an Islamic world that has resumed its war and its expansion. Hostage-taking, terrorism, the destruction of Lebanese Christianity, the weakening of the Eastern Churches (not to mention the wish to destroy Israel), and conversely, Europe’s defensive reaction (antiterrorist infrastructure, the psychological impact of intellectual “terrorism”, political and legal restraints regarding terrorist blackmail): all this recalls precisely the resurgence of the traditional policy of Islam. Indeed many Muslim governments try to combat Islamist trend, but to succeed would require a total recasting of mentalities, a desacralization of jihad, a self-critical awareness of Islamic imperialism, an acceptance of the secular nature of political power and the rejection of certain Koranic dogmas. Of course, after all the changes we have seen taking place in the Soviet Union it is not unthinkable, but what a global change that would imply: a change in a whole historical trend and the reform of a remarkably structured religion! This book thus allows us to take our bearings, so as to understand more easily our present situation, as every genuine historical study should do — without, of course, making artificial comparisons and be remembering that history does not repeat itself.” Bordeaux, July 1991
Biographical Note: Jacques Ellul: 1912 – 1994
“Jacques ELLUL died in 1994 at 82. A jurist, historian, theologian and sociologist, he published more than 600 articles and 48 books, many of which were translated into a dozen languages (more than 20 into English). From 1950-70 he was a member of the National Council of the Protestant Reformed Church of France. Professor at the University of Bordeaux, his oeuvre includes studies on medieval European institutions, the effect of modern technology on contemporary society, and moral theology. In American academic circles, he was widely known for “The Technological Society” written in the 1950’s (English edition, 1964) and recognized as one of the most prominent of contemporary thinkers.”
For further study of the life and works of this French scholar go to the following URL: http://www.victorshepherd.on.ca/Heritage/jacques.htm