This article and MANY others appear in print in the book The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, edited by Robert Spencer.
See the original of this article on the FrontPageMag.com site at this link.
July 02, 2004
The following presentation by Bat Ye’or was delivered at a seminar in the French Senate in Paris – The Editors
Allow me first to make a preliminary observation about the title of this session: the ‘return of the spirit of Munich’ – a title which I find somewhat optimistic. At Munich, in 1938, France and England, exhausted by the death toll of the Great War, abandoned Czechoslovakia to the Nazi beast, in the hope that by doing so they would avoid another conflict. The “spirit of Munich” thus refers to a policy of states and of peoples who refuse to confront a threat, and attempt to obtain peace and security through conciliation and appeasement, or even, for some, an active collaboration with the criminals.
For my own part, I would say that we have gone beyond the spirit of Munich, and the present situation should be seen not in the context of the Second World War, but in the present jihadist context.
In fact, for the past 30 years France and Europe are living in a situation of passive self-defense against terrorism. This began with Palestinian terrorism, then Islamic terrorism, not to speak of the local European terrorism, including the IRA in Great Britain, ETA in Spain, the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy.
One need only look at our cities, airports, and streets, at the schools with their security guards, even the systems of public transportation, not to mention the embassies, and the synagogues – to see the whole astonishing array of police and security services. The fact that the authorities everywhere refuse to name the evil does not negate that evil. Yet we know perfectly well that we have been under threat for a long time; one has only to open one’s eyes and our authorities know it better than any of us, because it is they who have ordered these very security measures.
In his book, La Vie Quotidienne dans l’Europe Médiévale sous Domination Arabe (Daily Life in Medieval Europe under the Arab Domination), published in 1978, Charles-Emmanuel Dufourq, a French specialist on Andalusia (Islamic Spain) and the Maghreb, described under the subheading “Une grande Peur” (“A great Fear”) the conditions of life for the indigenous non-Muslim peoples in the Andalusian countryside. (1) Today, Europe itself is living with this Great Fear.
At Munich war had not yet been declared. Today the war is everywhere. And yet the European Union and the states which comprise it, have denied that war’s reality, right up to the terrorist attack in Madrid of March 11, 2004. If there is a danger as Europe proclaims urbi et orbi, that danger can only come from America and Israel. What should one understand? For can anyone seriously maintain that it is the American and Israeli forces that threaten us in Europe? No, what must be understood is that American and Israeli policies of resistance to jihadist terror provoke reprisals against a Europe that has long ago ceased to defend itself. So that peace can prevail throughout the world, those two countries, America and Israel, need only adopt the European strategy of constant surrender, based on the denial of aggression. How simple it all is…
This strategy is less worthy than even Munich’s connivance and cowardice. At Munich there was some sort of future contemplated, even if war, or peace, were to determine the future. There was a choice. In the present situation there is no choice, for we deny the reality of the jihad danger. The only danger comes, allegedly, from the United States and Israel. We conduct a propaganda campaign in the media against these two countries, before entering into a yet more aggressive phase; it’s so much easier, so much less dangerous…And we conduct this campaign with the weapons of cowardice: defamation, misinformation, the corruption of venal politicians.
In the time of Munich, one could envisage that there would be battles that might be won. There was at least the Maginot Line for defense. In Europe today, dominated by the spirit of dhimmitude – the condition of submission of Jews and Christians under Muslim domination – there is no conceivable battle. Submission, without a fight, has already taken place. A machinery that has made Europe the new continent of dhimmitude was put into motion more than 30 years ago at the instigation of France.
A wide-ranging policy was then first sketched out, a symbiosis of Europe with the Muslim Arab countries, that would endow Europe – and especially France, the project’s prime mover – with a weight and a prestige to rival that of the United States (2). This policy was undertaken quite discreetly, outside of official treaties, under the innocent-sounding name of the Euro-Arab Dialogue. An association of European parliamentarians from the European Economic Community (EEC) was created in 1974 in Paris: the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation. It was entrusted with managing all of the aspects of Euro-Arab relations – financial, political, economic, cultural, and those pertaining to immigration. This organization functioned under the auspices of the European heads of government and their foreign ministers, working in close association with their Arab counterparts, and with the representatives of the European Commission, and the Arab League.
This strategy, the goal of which was the creation of a pan-Mediterranean Euro-Arab entity, permitting the free circulation both of men and of goods, also determined the immigration policy with regard to Arabs in the European Community (EC). And, for the past 30 years, it also established the relevant cultural policies in the schools and universities of the EC. Since the first Cairo meeting of the Euro-Arab Dialogue in 1975, attended by the ministers and heads of state both from European and Arab countries and by representatives of the EC and the Arab League, agreements have been concluded concerning the diffusion and the promotion in Europe of Islam, of the Arabic language and culture, through the creation of Arab cultural centers in European cities. Other accords soon followed, all intended to ensure a cultural, economic, political Euro-Arab symbiosis. These far ranging efforts involved the universities and the media (both written and audio-visual), and even included the transfer of technologies, including nuclear technology. Finally a Euro-Arab associative diplomacy was promoted in international forums, especially at the United Nations.
The Arabs set the conditions for this association: 1) a European policy that would be independent from, and opposed to that of the United States; 2) the recognition by Europe of a “Palestinian people,” and the creation of a “Palestinian” state; 3) European support for the PLO; 4) the designation of Arafat as the sole and exclusive representative of that “Palestinian people”; 5) the de-legitimizing of the State of Israel, both historically and politically, its shrinking into non viable borders, and the Arabization of Jerusalem. From this sprang the hidden European war against Israel, through economic boycotts, and in some cases academic boycotts as well, through deliberate vilification, and the spreading of both anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.
During the past three decades a considerable number of non-official agreements between the countries of the CEE (subsequently the EU) on the one hand, and the countries of the Arab League on the other, determined the evolution of Europe in its current political and cultural aspects. I will cite here only four of them: 1) it was understood that those Europeans who would be dealing with Arab immigrants would undergo special sensitivity training, in order to better appreciate their customs, their moeurs; 2) the Arab immigrants would remain under the control and the laws of their countries of origin; 3) history textbooks in Europe would be rewritten by joint teams of European and Arab historians – naturally the Battles of Poitiers and Lepanto, or the Spanish Reconquista did not possess the same significance on both Mediterranean littorals; 4) the teaching of the Arabic language and of Arab and Islamic culture were to be taught, in the schools and universities of Europe, by Arab teachers experienced in teaching Europeans.
The Situation Today
On the political front, Europe has tied its destiny to the Arab countries, and thus become involved in the logic of jihad against Israel and the United States. How could Europe denounce the culture of jihadic venom which exudes from its allies, while for so many years it did everything to activate the jihad by hiding and justifying it by claiming that the real danger comes not from the jihadists, themselves, but from those who resist the Arab jihadist, the very allies that Europe serves at every international gathering, and in the European media.
On the cultural front, there has been a complete re-writing of history, which was first undertaken during the 1970s in European universities. This process was ratified by the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe in September 1991, at its meeting devoted to “The Contribution of the Islamic civilization to European culture.” It was reaffirmed by President Jacques Chirac in his address of April 8, 1996 in Cairo, and reinforced by Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, through the creation of a ‘Foundation on the Dialogue of Cultures and Civilizations’ that was to control everything that was said, written and taught on the new continent of Eurabia, which encompass Europe and the Arab countries.
The dhimmitude of Europe began with the subversion of its culture and its values, with the destruction of its history and its replacement by an Islamic vision of that history, supported by the romantic myth of Andalusia. Eurabia adopted the Islamic conception of history, in which Islam is defined as a liberating force, a force for peace, and the jihad is regarded a ‘just war’. Those who resist the jihad, like the Israelis and the Americans, are the guilty ones, rather than those who wage it. It is this policy that has inculcated in us, the Europeans, the spirit of dhimmitude that blinds us, that instills in us a hatred for our own values, and the wish to destroy our own origins and our own history. “The greatest intellectual swindle would be to allow Europe to continue to believe that it derives from a Judeo-Christian tradition. That is a complete lie,” Tariq Ramadan has stated (3). And thus we despise George Bush because he still believes in that tradition. What simpletons those Americans…
The spirit of dhimmitude is not merely that of submission without fighting, not even a surrender. It is also the denial of one’s own humiliation through this process of integrating values that lead to our own destruction; it is the ideological mercenaries offering themselves up for service in the jihad; it is the traditional tribute paid by their own hand, and with humiliation, by the European dhimmis, in order to obtain a false security; it is the betrayal of one’s own people. The non-Muslim protected dhimmi under Islamic rule could obtain an ephemeral and delusive security through services rendered to the Muslim oppressor, and through servility and flattery. And that is precisely the situation in Europe today.
Dhimmitude is not only a set of abstract laws inscribed in the shari’a, it is also a complex set of behaviors developed over time by the dhimmis themselves, as a way both to adapt to, and to survive, oppression, humiliation, insecurity. This has produced a particular mentality as well as social and political behaviors essential to the survival of peoples who, in a certain sense, would always remain hostages to the Islamic system.
The dhimmis are inferior beings who undergo humiliations and aggressions in silence. Their aggressors, meanwhile, enjoy an impunity that only increases their hatred and their feeling of superiority, guaranteed by the protection of the law. The culture of dhimmitude which is expanding throughout Europe is that of hate, of crimes against non-Muslims that go unpunished, a culture which is imported from the Arab countries along with “Palestinianism,” the new European subculture that has been raised to the level of a European Union cult, and its exalted war banner against Israel.
At Munich, in 1938, France had not renounced its own culture, its own history becoming German; it has not proclaimed that the source of her own culture was the German civilization. The spirit of dhimmitude which today blinds Europe springs not from a situation imposed from without, but from a choice made freely, and systematically carried out, in its political dimensions, over the course of the last 30 years.
The well-known scholar of Islam, William Montgomery Watt, described the disappearance of the Christian world from the countries which had been Islamized, in his book The Majesty that was Islam (1974): “There was nothing dramatic about what happened; it was a gentle death, a phasing out.”(4) But Montgomery Watt was wrong; in fact, the long death-throes of Christianity under Islam were extremely painful and tragic, as can be seen even in the 20th century, with the genocide of the Armenians, and the Lebanese Christians’ resistance in the 1970s-1980s, and for the last decades the genocide in the Sudan, and finally the relentless Arab jihad against Israel, which is only one of the examples of the age-old struggle by people devoted to fighting for freedom against dhimmitude, for the dignity of man against the slavery of oppression and hate. But that observation by Montgomery Watt – about the “gentle death, the phasing out” applies perfectly to Europe today.
1) Charles-Emmanuel Dufourq, La Vie Quotidienne dans l’Europe Médiévale sous Domination Arabe, Hachette, Paris, 1978; this book examines the Arab conquest and colonization of Andalusia — see chapter 1, “Les Jours de Razzia et d’Invasion”. I am grateful to Dr Andrew Bostom, for having brought to my attention the works of Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq, some of which will be included in his forthcoming compendium of essays and documents, The Legacy of Jihad, New York, Prometheus Books, 2005.
2) Pierre Lyautey (the nephew of Marshall Lyautey): “) « Le nouveau rôle de la France en Orient », Comptes rendu des séances de l’Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer, 4 mai 1962, p.176, voir aussi Jacques Frémeaux, Le monde arabe et la sécurité de la France depuis 1958, PUF, Paris 1995.
3) Tariq Ramadan, “Critique des (nouveaux) intellectuels communautaires”, Oumma.com, 3 October 2003.
4) William Montgomery Watt, The Majesty that Was Islam. The Islamic World, 66-1100. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1974, p. 257.
* Bat Ye’or has written articles and scholarly studies since 1971 on the situation of Jews and Christians under Islam. Her books in French have been translated into English (www.dhimmi.org / www.dhimmitude.org). This presentation – translated from the French – was given at a seminar organized by the B’nai B’rith (Europe) in the French Senate (Palais du Luxembourg, Paris), on the theme: “La démocratie à l’épreuve de la menace islamiste” (“Democracy faced with the Islamist menace”), in two sessions: “Les Islamistes et leur alliés” (“The Islamists and their allies”); “Vers un retour à l’esprit de Munich” (“Toward a return to the spirit of Munich”). Her next book covers this subject in depth: Eurabia. The Euro-Arab Axis (Cranbury, NJ., Associated University Presses, 2005). This recent presentation, “Beyond Munich – The Spirit of Eurabia,” along with many other pieces by Bat Ye’or and others, will appear in the essay collection, The Myth of Islamic Tolerance (forthcoming from Prometheus Books), edited by Robert Spencer.