Euro Muslims.

Ten years ago, almost to the day, Ross Douthat made the following observations.[1] Then, about 4 percent of the population of Europe was Muslim.[2] This seemed likely to change. Demographers projected that the low and falling birthrate among Christian Europeans would reduce the European population from 728 million people to about 630 million by 2050. Moreover, it will be an aged population dependent upon young workers from somewhere else to finance their pensions and medical care. Already about 900,000 immigrants entered Europe each year. This was about enough to off-set native European population decline and to keep the population at about the 1995 level. However, in 2000 a UN study projected that the countries of the European Union will require over 13 million immigrant workers EACH YEAR to preserve the 1995 ratio of workers to retirees. Thus Europeans may be compelled to organize a huge increase in immigration over the coming decades. Much of this population growth will come from nearby Muslim countries.   In addition, Muslims in Europe have a younger demographic profile and a birth rate triple that of non-Muslims. As a result of these trends alone, and disregarding immigration, demographers anticipated that the Muslim share of European population would reach eight percent by 2015. Moreover, many Europeans are not so much Christian as non-Muslim. If we suppose that a future renewal of European religious enthusiasm is possible, why would Christianity benefit? Might not wide conversions to Islam take place?

Already in 2005 Europeans were being forced to consider the possibility that Muslims within Europe uphold values that are hard to reconcile with currently prevailing norms: the French expelled an imam who insisted that the Koran authorized wife-beating (and what if the imam is correct?); in 2002 and 2004 Muslim militants assassinated two Dutch politicians who warned against the danger posed by Muslim immigration; and the Madrid (2004) and London (2005) train bombings reminded Europeans of the dangers of Islamic radicalism.

Ten years on, Reuel Marc Gerecht makes a number of important points.[3] First, jihad has become charismatic for some EuroMuslims. ISIS is conquering territory, not just blowing up things. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young men have gone to fight under the black banners. They come from Europe as well as the Arab countries. To my mind, it is their Spanish Civil War.

Second, European Community states are not likely to sit still for selective targeting of their Muslim citizens by American immigration officers. Hence, American security against European radical Islamists depends on the French and British domestic security services. Both governments have robust security services, while the Americans have little human intelligence from among European Muslims. If the British MI-5 and the French DCRI fail in their efforts to track Euro jihadis and thwart their plots, then the United States is in for a bad time.

EuroIslam may succeed where EuroDisney failed. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 the Hagia Sophia cathedral became a mosque. Will we live to see the day when American tourists line up to enter the great mosque on the isle de la Cite, and when the nearby statue of Charlemagne, the grandson of Charles Martel who defeated an Arab army at Tours, seems like a monument to Muslim persistence?[4]

[1] Ross Douthat, “The World in Numbers: A Muslim Europe?” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2005, pp. 58-59.

[2] The admission of Turkey to the European Union would raise the share of Muslims in the population to 15 percent. There is no way that will happen now, given the Islamist tilt of the current Turkish government.

[3] Reuel Marc Gerecht, “France and the New Charismatic Jihad,” WSJ, 8 January 2015, A11.

[4] OK, that’s alarmist. My imagination got the better of me.

Just like imam used to make.

Trying to help foreigners understand America, the Gummint pays for some of them to study in the US as Fulbright scholars. Nasser al-Awlaki and his wife came from Yemen in 1971 on a Fulbright to study agricultural economics. He got an MA from UNM, then a Ph.D. from Nebraska, then taught at Meenasotta for a couple of years. Almost immediately, he and the missus had a child. They named the sprout Anwar al-Awlaki. Having been born in the USA, Anwar was an American citizen. In 1978 the family returned to Yemen.

To be perfectly honest, the goat pizza available in Yemen paled in comparison to what could be had in the States. In 1990, Anwar al-Awlaki started in at Colorado State University. One summer he spent the break fighting in Afghanistan. (Must have made for interesting conversation in the dorm that Fall. “So, Bill, what did you do this summer? I picked lettuce on my uncle’s farm. Hoo-whee, we had some wild times on Saturday night. How ‘bout you Anne-War? Well, I ambushed opposing mujahedeen, then walked around shooting the wounded in the head.”) Anyway, by 1994 he got a B.S. in Civil Engineering and was a part-time imam in a mosque in Denver.

In 1996 he landed a job as an imam in San Diego. Here he got an M.A. in Educational Leadership from SDSU. However, Shaitan (in the form of babes in bikinis) beset him: he got hauled in for soliciting prostitutes a couple of times. In 1999 the EffaBeeEye came around, wanting to know if he had any ties to the “blind sheikh” who had organized the 1993 WTC truck bombing or to the then-munchkin terrorist Osama bin Laden. He said “no” and that was good enough for them. Meanwhile, a couple of the future 9/11 guys were attending services at his mosque. In 2000 he landed a job as an imam at a big mosque in northern Virginia. (We can’t even keep alcoholic child-molesters from becoming school bus drivers, so why blame a mosque for hiring an imam who can’t keep his pants on?)   During 2001 he worked toward a doctorate in Human Resources Development at George Washington University’s Education School. (He actually didn’t have much in the way of Islamic scholarly credentials, so his charismatic appeal to ignorant fanatics seems to arisen from what he picked up in American Ed. Schools.)

Then 9/11 came along. “The US was at war with al-Qaeda, not with Islam.” So, Awlaki got invited to a lunch at what was left of the Pentagon. They probably served pork chops or crab cakes, because the next thing you know (March 2002), he was on a plane to Yemen. From 2002 to 2004 he bounced between Yemen, the US, and the UK as an advocate of jihad.

After a variety of adventures, Awlaki settled down as a long-distance recruiter and inciter of jihadis. His fluent English and knowledge of American society, his charismatic personality, and his ease in using modern media made him a prominent figure despite hiding out in a remote area of one of the most backward places on Earth. The London subway bombers, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and many others all had his sermons on their computers or had exchanged messages with him. Since he has said that “jihad against America is binding upon myself, just as it is binding upon every other able Muslim,” he probably wasn’t trying to calm them down. When the Underwear Bomber said that Awlaki helped train him for his mission, the government got fed up and decided to kill him. On 9/30/11 they did.

Can the United States execute an American citizen without trial, without even producing the evidence upon which the decision to kill him is based? Would you really want to establish the legal precedent? Talk about “death panels”! So, civil libertarians opposed the execution. On the other hand, some of them say the US can’t “execute” anyone anywhere without trial. It will be hard to fight a war on terrorism with those hand-cuffs in place. What to do?