Europe Confronts Its Clash of Civilizations

Suddenly—and belatedly—leaders are willing to admit that extreme interpretations of Islam are a problem.

“…Hans-Georg Maassen, who heads the German internal-security agency, in recent weeks has warned reporters of the current “virulent” danger of terrorist attacks on the country. He put the number of Salafists in Germany at 8,650 and growing “almost daily.” And he said young Muslim refugees, embodying an “immense potential for radicalization,” were a specific target of Salafist recruiters. Germany, unlike France and Britain, has escaped Islamist terrorist attacks so far.

The Salafists? Gilles Kepel, a prominent French Arabist, described them this way: “Not every Salafist is a jihadi (holy warrior), but every jihadi is a Salafist.” For Mr. Valls, active Salafist groups “are in the process of winning the ideological and cultural battle within French Islam.” And, he has said, “The battle for the Republic and secularity has been abandoned.”

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  • Across the border, beatific assumptions, and the branding of those who challenge them as Islamophobes, are also being seen in Germany as inadequate routes to calm. Chancellor Angela Merkel miscalculated that the country could take in more than a million refugees from the Middle East last year, yet escape a proportionate potential for barbarity from Islam’s Salafist strain.

    Hans-Georg Maassen, who heads the German internal-security agency, in recent weeks has warned reporters of the current “virulent” danger of terrorist attacks on the country. He put the number of Salafists in Germany at 8,650 and growing “almost daily.” And he said young Muslim refugees, embodying an “immense potential for radicalization,” were a specific target of Salafist recruiters. Germany, unlike France and Britain, has escaped Islamist terrorist attacks so far.

    The Salafists? Gilles Kepel, a prominent French Arabist, described them this way: “Not every Salafist is a jihadi (holy warrior), but every jihadi is a Salafist.” For Mr. Valls, active Salafist groups “are in the process of winning the ideological and cultural battle within French Islam.” And, he has said, “The battle for the Republic and secularity has been abandoned.”

    In France, where this debate is now further advanced than in Germany, the Republic’s glories and its constitutional distance from religion are modern France’s supposedly winning offer against the intrusion of any kind of aggressive faith and scripture. Mr. Valls is admitting that the republican proposition has become inadequate against a terrorist movement whose base of attraction includes religion.

    In the process, Mr. Valls has sought to demonstrate that much of the French political and intellectual class—particularly the left of his own Socialist Party in its denials that Islam lies at the heart of the issue—is being ridiculed by the pulling power of the Islamist doctrine of doing God’s work by murdering the West.

    Mr. Valls says the Republic’s “‘reconquest’ has to be undertaken.” In explaining that phrase—suggesting he might run for the presidency in 2017 if his unpopular boss, François Hollande, doesn’t seek a second term—the prime minister portrayed his view of the election this way: “Of course, there’s the economy and unemployment, but the essential thing is the battle over culture and identity.”

    Very likely, Mr. Valls wants to bring Islam in France under close supervision, creating a special statute for it that would require the community to accept French law as superseding the Quran. He has called on the Muslim community’s representatives to promote an Islam that is “French, organized and professional.” Muslim leaders, in response, labeled his remarks “divisive.”

    The truth is that a French Republic that promises neither sanctity nor paradise can’t compete very well these days with hard-line Islam’s recruiting sergeants.
    Oh my, the entire article.

    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has abruptly raised the question of whether Islam is compatible with French democracy and “our values.” Britain last week confronted a new poll exposing deep divisions between the secular society and the beliefs of a significant number of its Muslim community. In Germany, security officials are openly expressing great concern about the recruiting success there of strains of Islam linked to terrorism.

    In Europe, notions of a clash of civilizations, a topic long viewed as off limits, have become current. As a chief of government of a country with a historically intense relationship with Muslims, Mr. Valls, in a series of public meetings and interviews over recent weeks, has left the safe turf of we’re-all-in-this-together declarations.

    The prime minister still claims to believe France and Islam are compatible. But he also acknowledged that “a majority” of the French have doubts, and hardly sought to challenge them. He asserted that even if the Salafists represent only 1% of France’s estimated five million Muslims, “their message, their messages on social media are the only ones heard by” Muslim youth.

    The prime minister has no real quid pro quo to offer to achieve the compatibility he insists he believes in.

    The infinite smallness of French domestic politics squandered that currency almost 10 years ago when President Nicolas Sarkozy tested the water and then abandoned without a Socialist peep a notional affirmative-action program. It would have opened vast opportunities to Muslims in exchange for an agreement setting out their accommodations to French society—an impossible notion in 2016 with Marine Le Pen on hand to howl about whites being disadvantaged.

    Mr. Valls’s concern about getting a hold on Islam in his country comes in lieu of the West winning on the ground against Islamic State in the Middle East and stifling the current perception among young French Muslims that signing up with the Salafists puts them on a championship team.

    In a world of terrorism and palpable instability, Mr. Valls, who has spoken of France facing a “war of civilization,” won’t be the first politician certain to find that speaking frankly, however honorably and accurately, brings no automatic reward.

    • infedel

      There is no such thing as islamophobia–non-muslemophobia, sure…and islam has been fighting Western civilization from its get-go…time to ban it as too much money and human resources are spent on this savage dotrine.

    • John

      …Lost the battle for a french Islam…

      This fucking twit got the only ‘french Islam’ its possible to have, and that’s Islam’s Islam.

      …He asserted that even if the Salafists represent only 1% of France’s estimated five million Muslims….

      There are between 7 and 8 million of them and far, FAR more than just 1% are slafaists. Try 50%.

      ….Mr. Valls says the Republic’s “‘reconquest’ has to be undertaken.”

      Bonne chance! Were he to attempt that they’ll do what Hitler never could; burn Paris

      The problem with France’s elite is this; in their gallic arrogance they still think they have the upper hand, they still think they’re in control and therefore still think they can turn things around.

      They don’t, they aren’t and they can’t

  • Hard Little Machine

    “The avalanche has already started, it’s too late for the pebbles to vote.”