Leaving Islam




An Advocate for “Muslim Rights” in Europe Cries Foul!

By Jacob Thomas


Early this year, a regular contributor to the Arabic-language Al-Sharq al-Awsat online newspaper was incensed at what he considered the growing “maltreatment” of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe. So he contributed a vitriolic article with this extremely provocative headline:

A New Year’s Slap in the Face: European Muslims are Facing a “Loyalty Test”! 

Here are some excerpts, which I will follow with my analysis and comments. 

“A “Loyalty Test” is the latest expression of the insults hurled at Muslims living in Europe. On New Year’s Day, I learned that the German State of Württemberg has decided to require Muslims living within its territory, to submit to a “Loyalty Test” when applying for German citizenship.  

“Now to require applicants for citizenship to go through eligibility tests, such as their educational and linguistic abilities, is a normal procedure everywhere. However, the German state has added an oral examination consisting of thirty questions to be convinced of the “loyalty” of a Muslim applicant. According to the British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, some of these questions included the applicant’s views about polygamy, women’s dress, wife-beating, and sex. 

“It is quite evident that the standards used in this examination of Muslims for citizenship are intended to make the applicant willing to accept Western values. In other words, a Muslim would not be eligible for citizenship unless he forsakes his religious values, and is ready to melt within German society. Furthermore, asking the Muslim applicant to submit to this specific citizenship test implies that he belongs to a special race well-known for its extremism, violence, and unwillingness to accept the ‘Other.’ While this new set of requirements for citizenship eligibility is limited to one German state, it is quite likely that this test would become universalized within Germany.  

“Muslims are being placed before a choice: you either become like us or you have to leave. This is exactly what happened to Muslims after the fall of Andalusia --- about 500 years ago ---

They were told: either become Christian, or face expulsion! 

“This Islamophobic phenomenon should not be isolated from a serious mental condition that has afflicted European security agencies after the bombings in Spain and England. These crimes inflicted limitless damages to Islam’s reputation as well as on the immigrant Muslim communities. But we had hoped that those terrorist acts should not have been blown out of proportion; however that was not the case. Two factors have contributed to the increase in the intensity of this Islamophobia. One is related to the European sensitivity vis-à-vis Islam that lies underneath the surface of the European mind ever since the Crusades. The second factor is to be located in those attempts by some in the informational media to agitate against Islam.  

“Now, several influential voices are being heard warning of the coming Islamic menace, emanating from the forty-one million Muslims living in Europe. They warn of the continuing influx of Muslim immigrants, and point to the fact that the demographic growth among Muslim immigrants is three times higher than that of the Europeans. This has led some to claim that by the end of this century, Muslims would have become a numerical majority. As an example of this thinking, we may refer to one of the chief Western enemies of Islam, the British Bernard Lewis.

“Another voice is that of Tony Blankley, one of the most conservative intellectuals and editor of the Opinion Page of the Washington Times who expressed a similar opinion about the so-called Islamic menace that is threatening Europe.  

“Actually, it is the Western countries, under the leadership of the USA and Britain, that are putting forth great efforts to blockade and weaken the Arab and Islamic countries; as it is already happening in the ‘new’ Iraq and the ‘new’ Sudan, and with varying degrees in some other Arab countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Palestine. It is reported that the Neoconservatives had prepared a secret report for the American officials immediately after the Iraqi invasion, dealing with this question: “Should Islam be the religion of the New Iraq?” They wanted the Constitution to be secular, and with no role for Islam in the drafting of its articles. This would lead other Arab countries to follow the Iraqi example. 

“The West is doing its utmost to weaken Islam. Do we need a more concrete example? Listen to their threats to cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority should Hamas win the elections. They are very busy doing all that, while issuing warnings about the Islamic menace to the West! Really now, who is threatening whom?!” 

The analysis 

I had to work very hard to lower, and abbreviate the “voltage” of this ultra-critical article that greeted me early this year. I trust the readers will understand that I am not exaggerating the intensity of his feigned outrage against the West. Thanks to the archives section of the daily, I looked at the titles of our author’s other contributions during 2005. A good number dealt with similar issues. He must have a special propensity for bemoaning the “maltreatment” of his fellow Arabs and Muslims who have settled since the 1950s in Western Europe. 

His first violent reaction dealt with the decision of the State of Württemberg to have Muslim applicants for citizenship answer some specific questions about their readiness to become German citizens. For him, that was tantamount to requiring them to forsake Islam. This request, according to him, is discriminatory, since all other applicants for citizenship, such as Chinese and Indian immigrants, are not required to submit to similar tests. Another claim was that the impact of the Islamists’ bombings in Madrid and London has been blown out of proportion!  

Still another preposterous claim was that Europeans suffer from an inherited historical sensitivity latent in their consciousness since the days of the Crusades. Another example of his vituperation was the way he dismissed the claim of Western writers about the existence of “a Muslim Menace” threatening Europe. He singled out with vehemence Bernard Lewis, conferring on him the pejorative Arabic title of “ahad min shyoukh al-‘ida’a lil-Islam” (one of the sheikhs [leaders] of enmity to Islam!) 

Not to leave Americans without “honorable” mention, he referred to Tony Blankley, and the Neoconservative cabal in Washington, and their attempt to re-shape the cultural and political map of the Arab and Muslim worlds!


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