Advocate for “Muslim Rights” in Europe Cries Foul!
Early this year, a
regular contributor to the Arabic-language Al-Sharq
al-Awsat online newspaper was incensed at what he considered the
of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe. So he contributed a vitriolic
article with this extremely provocative headline:
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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
were told: either become Christian,
or face expulsion!
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
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
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.
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.
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?!”
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!
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!