Garth George: Muslim strategy aims for rule of Islam in Europe

I came across an article the other day which, in the light of the London bombings and other acts of Muslim terrorism in Western Europe, gave me cause to reflect afresh on the growing population of Muslims here in New Zealand.

I offer no opinion on what follows; I record it merely for those who have an interest in such matters, and because there seems to be a dearth of this sort of analytical writing down this end of the world.

The article, headed "The Islamisation of Europe", was written by Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, who is director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, the research arm of the Christian aid agency Barnabas Fund based in Pewsey, Wiltshire.

According to Dr Sookhdeo, Europe is undergoing a rapid process of change as Muslims make their presence felt in politics, economics, law, education and the media.

Europe, he says, is being transformed into a society in which Islam takes its place not just as an equal with the many other faith communities but often as the dominant player.

It is, says Dr Sookhdeo, not happening by chance but is the result of a careful and deliberate strategy by certain Muslim leaders which was planned in 1980 when the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States, which clearly explained the Islamic agenda in Europe.

The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organise themselves into viable Muslim communities based on Islamic principles. This was the duty of every individual Muslim living in a non-Muslim country.

They should set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority, and to resist assimilation must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration within the population as a whole.

Yet they must also interact with non-Muslims so as to share the message of Islam with them.

The ultimate goal was for Muslims to become the majority and the entire nation be governed according to Islam.

Dr Sookhdeo admits that not all Muslims support that action plan and many are happy to become integrated within the majority society.

Even among those who agree on the ultimate goal of creating an Islamic state, there are differences over whether it should be a slow and peaceful transition or hastened by means of political dominance or even by violence.

But, he says, it is not hard to recognise the different stages of the Islamic Council of Europe's strategy being put into practice in Europe.

Muslims did tend to live in tightly concentrated areas, and showed little sign of integrating into wider society.

Saudi Arabian funding was paying to build large and beautiful mosques, staffed by imams brought to Europe from the "home countries".

Dr Sookhdeo says that in Britain, where Islam was making its most rapid advance, Islamic law (sharia) was practised unofficially, with sharia councils and sharia courts giving judgments on Muslim family matters.

Halal meat was now routinely served in many British prisons, schools and hospitals, sometimes to Muslim and non-Muslim alike and the hijab [Islamic headscarf] was worn in British schools, where numerous concessions were being made to British Muslims.

Islam was often given more prominence and respect than other faiths at state schools.

And Muslims in the London borough of Tower Hamlets had forced name changes for districts and local amenities if the existing name sounded too Christian for their liking.

The ultimate goal of taking control of society, as depicted by the Islamic Council of Europe in 1980, was clearly in the minds of at least some Muslim leaders.

London - or "Londonistan" as it was becoming known - was one of the most important bases for Islamic terrorism worldwide, which was illustrated by last month's bombings in London itself.

Yet despite all these advances, Muslims still tended to portray themselves as victims in European society, while the majority society in turn struggled to affirm them and to avoid giving any accidental offence.

Dr Sookhdeo says that at a political level, European countries were responding in different ways to the challenge of Islam.

France was determinedly protecting its secularism and had banned the hijab in school.

The Netherlands had lately swung from one extreme to the other, following the ritualised killing of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh by a young Muslim in November last year. The Dutch were turning against multiculturalism and becoming concerned to control immigration.

Britain seemed to be trying to replicate the segregation and communalism of the British Raj in India, whereby the various religious communities were each given their own laws, a policy that would certainly mesh well with some Muslim leaders' plans for Britain.

Muslims, even with an estimated 20 million living in the European Union, were still a minority in numerical terms, writes Dr Sookhdeo. No country apart from Albania had a Muslim community amounting to more than about 10 per cent of the population.

However, demographic studies indicated that Muslim populations were growing far faster than the non-Muslim populations, partly through continued immigration and conversion, but mainly because of the larger number of children that Muslim families typically had.

There is much more to what Dr Sookhdeo has to say, but that's the guts of it - and I leave it at that.

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