By Dale Hurd
CBN News Sr. Reporter
There is no exaggerating Arab and Muslim anger and resentment. Most Arab immigrants live in slums, with four to five times the unemployment rate of native Europeans.
CBN.com – (CBN News) – The most common name for baby boys in Brussels is Mohammed. There are as many as 15 million Arabs and Muslims living in Europe. Europe needs babies and immigrants, because its birthrate has imploded, but Europe’s not sure it wants these immigrants, because it fears the rise of Islam.
The political temperature is rising in Europe. Arabs and Muslims already felt like outsiders before France banned the headscarves in schools. The Dutch parliament voted to expel 26,000 asylum seekers, many of them from the Third World. Some are wondering if it is the beginning of an anti-immigrant backlash.
Many Europeans are nervous. They like to think that they are more enlightened and tolerant than the rest of the world, but that tolerance is being tested by a wave of immigration that could change the face of Europe.
Anti-immigrant far-right parties are growing all across the continent. In Austria, The Freedom Party; In Italy, the Northern League; in Switzerland, The People’s Party; In France, The National Front; In Belgium, The Flemish Block; In Denmark, the People’s Party, In Norway, The Progress Party.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, of France’s far-right political party National Front, told CBN News that the cause of most of France’s problems are immigrants from Africa and Asia, and his slogan is “France for the French.”
Frank Vanhecke is leader of the Vlaams Blok, or Flemish Block, in Belgium. The party is strong in Belgium’s Dutch-speaking North, and is poised to take over the Antwerp city government. Vanhecke is worried about the growth of what he says is a radical Islamic sub-culture that refuses to assimilate, and which has begun demanding that Arabic become an official language of Belgium.
Vanhecke said, “This is the kind of people we are dealing with – people who do not come to our country to adapt, to make a new life, to start again, to make a living, to be thankful for the country that accepts them. We are talking about people who, in fact, come to us as rulers, who want to become masters in our country. And I personally think, I fear, that this is a part of the Islamic religion.”
His party’s platform calls for all immigrants who refuse to adapt to the values and language of Belgium to be returned to their home countries.
Gareth Harding, UPI Bureau Chief in Brussels, commented, “I think, incontestably, the far right is on the march.” And those marching with it, he said, are the angry.
Harding added, “I think that they feel, by talking to them there, betrayed by these mainstream parties who have simply refused to deal with common concerns about immigration, and about crime and falling standards of living.”
German policy analyst Mirjam Dittrich thinks the right wing threat is overblown. He said, “I think there is xenophobia in Europe. And, of course, there are right wing parties that are exploiting existing fears and are playing on those fears. But I think at the same time we shouldn’t exaggerate the threat of these right wing parties.”
But there is no exaggerating Arab and Muslim anger and resentment. Most Arab immigrants live in slums, with four to five times the unemployment rate of native Europeans. They feel like outsiders, and many are turning to radical Arab leaders like Diyab Abou JahJah. JahJah’s been called the Belgian Malcolm X. He’s the head of the Arab European League in Antwerp. And he says White Europe doesn’t want to face reality.
JahJah said, “It doesn’t want to adapt to the fact that this society is multicultural now. It still behaves and acts as if we were like 50 years ago, when everybody here was white and Catholic and talking Dutch.”
But JahJah, who leads those who feel like outsiders, doesn’t want Arab and Muslim culture to be assimilated into Europe. And that is exactly what the right wing fears.
“We do not want to debate integration or assimilation, ” says JahJah, “because we don’t believe in that kind of debate. We believe in a debate about how a country should treat its own citizens, because we are not foreigners.”
There may now be as many as seven Arabs for every Jew in Europe, and some believe that is the major reason that anti-Semitism has returned to Europe. A poll last year showed that most Europeans now think Israel is the biggest threat to world peace. Attacks on synagogues, schools, cemeteries and Jews are reminiscent of the 1930’s.
Jewish student Eli Mamane said, “I’ve had people call me dirty jew, stinking jew, smelly jew. They’ve said, ‘You Jews are [the] world’s problem at the moment.’ ”
Michael Whine of the Jewish Community Security Trust, said, “Anti-Semitism now comes from Islamists, from the Middle East, from the Arab media, and there’s an overspill, both of tension in the Middle East and the anti-Semitism that’s being promoted within the Arab states itself.”
But unlike most Arabs in the Middle East, Arabs in Europe can vote. And as their political clout grows, Europe is likely to become more anti-Semitic, more anti-Israel, more anti-American. A clash of civilizations is looming in Europe. France tried to strike a blow to Islamic separatism when it banned headscarves on Muslim schoolgirls. Muslim leaders warn the ban will backfire.
But after the headscarf ban, Dr. Dalil Boubakeur, the leading moderate Muslim spokesman in France, told a newspaper that French Muslims had become social pariahs, and he predicted violence in the streets. Even before the headscarf ban it was not uncommon for Arab demonstrations to end in riots. And as anti-immigrant parties convince more Europeans that Islam is a threat to European civilization, their power will grow.
Vlaams Blok’s Vanhecke said, “The Islamic religion is a religion of force, which despises non-Islamic peoples. I think this may sound hard, but I think it’s the truth.”
With immigrants having babies three times faster than native Europeans, Europe’s future is going to be multi-cultural. But it may not be peaceful.