Political Concepts

Views on the News – 1 Oct 2009

Is Europe about to be overrun by Muslims?

A number of prominent European, American politicians and journalists seem to think so. The historian Niall Ferguson has predicted that “a youthful Muslim society to the south and east of the Mediterranean is poised to colonize a senescent Europe.” And according to Christopher Caldwell, an American columnist with the Financial Times, Muslims are already “conquering Europe ‘s cities, street by street”.

So what if Muslims account for only 3 percent to 4 percent of the EU’s total population of 493 million? In his book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Can Europe Be the Same With Different People in It? – Caldwell writes: “Of course minorities can shape countries. Another worry is the growing Muslim population in Europe.” Caldwell claims in his book, “have a long track record of underestimating their vulnerability to ‘primitive’ ones”. As the London Daily Telegraph, quoting Caldwell, asserted last weekend, Britain and the EU have simply ignored the “demographic time bomb” in their midst. Caldwell is convinced that “Muslim culture is unusually full of messages laying out the practical advantages of procreation.” Many Western thinkers are advocating radical measures to deal with this problem. Bruce Bawer, whose book While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within suggests that European officials, who are “in a position to deport planeloads of people everyday”, “could start rescuing Europe tomorrow”.

So much for tolerant Europe – the harbinger of freedom and pluralism. Clearly when it comes to Muslims both at home and abroad, their ideals give way to demagoguery and bigotry. How can Europe claim to possess values that are universally applicable?

UK pushing for an attack on Iran

This week MI6 intelligence Chief Sir John Scarlett has been told that Saudi Arabia is ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran ‘s new nuclear site. The head of MI6 discussed the issue in London with Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Saudi officials after British intelligence officers helped to uncover the plant, in the side of a mountain near the ancient city of Qom. The site is seen as a major threat by Tel Aviv and Riyadh . Details of the talks emerged after John Bolton, America ‘s former UN ambassador, told a meeting of intelligence analysts that “Riyadh certainly approves” of Israel ‘s use of Saudi airspace. Foreign Secretary David Miliband acknowledged that the danger of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East was “particularly potent” and refused to rule out military action altogether but he insisted: “We are 100 per cent focused on a diplomatic solution.” Gordon Brown, US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have warned Iran’s leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that he must allow in weapons inspectors or face more sanctions.

Contrary to public perception it is Britain and not the US that is pushing for a strike on Iran. America concessions over the past year or so, and its efforts to resume dialogue with Iran have angered Israel. Britain seeks to exploit this anger and instigate an attack on Iran ‘s nuclear plants.

Saudi praises Obama’s peace overtures towards Muslims

Underscoring the widening reach of interfaith dialogue, a senior Saudi official praised the US president Barack Obama yesterday for infusing discussions among the faithful of various religions with new vigour. On the opening day of a two-day interfaith conference Abdullah al Turki, the secretary general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League, said the US leader had “contributed in creating an atmosphere of more understanding between the followers of religions and cultures through bridges of dialogue”. The tribute to Mr Obama appeared to be a reciprocal gesture, for in his prepared remarks, Mr al Turki noted that the US leader, in his June speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, had singled out Saudi Arabia ‘s King Abdullah for undertaking his interfaith initiative. The conference, notably taking place in the heart of Protestant Christian Europe, is the fourth such meeting sponsored by Saudi Arabia and comes a week after King Abdullah dedicated a sprawling, state-of-the-art university for science and technology in the desert 80km from.

Afghanistan: Tensions between EU and US lead expulsion of UN official

As American troops move deeper into southern A senior United Nations official has been removed from his post after rowing with his superior and the Afghan government about how to deal with the fraud-riddled election. Peter Galbraith, the number two UN official in the country, agreed to temporarily leave Afghanistan earlier this month after a dispute with Kai Eide, the organisation’s senior diplomat in Afghanistan. The American diplomat, who is a close friend of US envoy Richard Holbrooke, had angered the Afghan government by demanding a wholesale recount of votes in a heated meeting with electoral officials. State-owned Afghan newspapers went on to attack Mr Galbraith for interfering in Afghan affairs leaving Mr Ban to decide his position was untenable. The split between the top two in the UN Afghan mission has mirrored deep divisions in between the US and EU on over how to deal with an election mired in fraud.

US threatens to expand its war inside Pakistan

This week the US has told Pakistan that it may start launching drone attacks against the Taliban leadership in the city of Quetta in a major escalation of its operations in the country. The US State department and intelligence officials delivered the ultimatum to Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan ‘s president, last week as he visited the US for the United Nations’ Security Council sessions and the G20 economic summit. US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson has said, amid reports that Washington may start drone attacks on Balochistan’s capital. “In the past, we focused on Al-Qaeda because they were a threat to us. The Quetta Shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region,” Ambassador Patterson was quoted as saying in the course of a dispatch in The Washington Post, which says that Taliban insurgents have a haven in Pakistan. “Now our troops are there on the other side of the border, and the Quetta Shura is high on Washington ‘s list,” she said.