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The Islamist Threat to European Security

Society & Culture  (tags: Europe, Muslims, Islam, culture, ethics, freedoms, religion, safety, society, violence, world )

- 1442 days ago -
Growing Muslim populations in Europe affect European security in a variety of ways from changes in voting patterns and military recruitment; to the proliferation of Islamist groups espousing goals antithetical to Western values and interests; to the de

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Gillian M (218)
Monday June 9, 2014, 4:05 pm
Growing Muslim populations in Europe affect European security in a variety of ways from changes in voting patterns and military recruitment; to the proliferation of Islamist groups espousing goals antithetical to Western values and interests; to the development of no-go zones where traditional Islamic law, or Shari'a, is replacing Western law; to Islamist attempts to influence and exploit European policies toward conflicts in the Muslim world.

Growing Muslim Populations

European attitudes toward Muslims are influenced by the expectation that Muslim populations in Europe, which have grown rapidly in the past several decades, will continue to increase in the future and constitute a greater percentage of the total population.[1]

With that in mind, in 2010, Muslims accounted for an estimated 5 percent of Europe's total population or almost 27 million out of more than 536 million people. While European Muslim fertility has declined, it still exceeds that of the native populations: By 2030, through immigration and natural increase, the total Muslim population is projected to grow by 44 percent to more than 38 million or just under 7 percent of the total population.[2]

While today's overall percentage of European Muslims seems relatively small, their impact is greater than one would expect as they are clustered in certain urban areas and in countries of strategic importance. Western Europe, where the growth in Muslim populations is expected to be the greatest, includes the three foremost NATO countries (Britain, France, and Germany) as well as Belgium, where NATO is headquartered. Belgium and France are projected to have Muslim minorities of greater than 10 percent by 2030.

The actual percentage of Muslims in some urban areas is quite high. In London, they dominate the borough of Tower Hamlets; in Paris, Clichy-sous-Bois; in Brussels, the commune of Molenbeek; and in Berlin, the Kreutzberg neighborhood. In both Malmö, Sweden, in the north and Marseilles in the south, Muslims account for an estimated quarter of the population. In Brussels, an estimated 22 percent of residents are Muslims.[3] In addition, Muslim populations already have a higher proportion of young people than does the surrounding populace. While long-term predictions are risky, no one expects the relative share of Muslims to decrease. It is much more likely to grow significantly, particularly in such major cities as Amsterdam, Brussels, Marseilles, or Stockholm.[4]

In a democracy, interest groups often shape security policy as they increase in size and influence. Muslims have already begun to influence European elections. They were the deciding factor in a significant number of constituencies in the 2010 British elections[5] and may also have decided the recent presidential elections in France where, of some two million French Muslims who voted, an estimated 93 percent, or 1.7 million, chose François Hollande, who received only 1.1 million votes more than former president Nicholas Sarkozy.[6] Belgian academic Felice Dassetto notes that the structure provided by mosques and Islamic associations in Brussels attracts politicians from various parties who are eager to win Muslim votes. So far, parties that clearly identify themselves as Islamic have attracted few votes, but that could change.[7] The Muslim influence will presumably expand as its population increases though it is unclear whether Muslim voting patterns will continue to be as unified.

Military Recruitment and Questions of Loyalty

Changing demographics will also affect the number and type of military recruits available, particularly for the three largest European countries already mentioned. Given the population drop in "ethnic Germans," the Ministry of Defense has already acknowledged, "Demographic developments make recruitment difficult for the Bundeswehr [the German armed forces]."[8] The problem became even more complicated after Germany discontinued the draft in 2011. While some authorities look to Germany's Turkish immigrant population as a new source of recruits,[9] others wonder how this will work in practice. For example, the warm welcome German-based Turks gave Ankara's Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his 2011 visit may be cause for concern if their leadership endorses his call not to assimilate into German society.[10] The call by Bekir Alboga, a German-Turkish leader, at the 2013 annual German Islamic Conference (Deutsche Islamkonferenz) for equal treatment of Islam, more university faculties of Islamic theology, and wider acceptance of head scarves, along with an attack on German "Islamophobia" for causing tension between Muslims and Germans suggests that the prospects for assimilation are poor.[11] The Turkish government also rejected a proposal by German defense minister Thomas De Maizière to lift the requirement for Germans of Turkish origin to serve in the Turkish military if they served at least fifteen months in the Bundeswehr.[12]

The British and French military establishments are already assessing barriers to Muslim enlistment as well as constraints that Muslim soldiers may seek to place on possible military operations but have yet to come up with solutions. In a recent study, British analyst Shiraz Maher contrasted today's attitudes of Muslim soldiers with those in the past, particularly during World War I. Then, British Muslim soldiers remained loyal to the crown despite the fact that they were fighting Turkey, the Muslim empire that was home to the caliphate. Among other things, Muslim leaders of that time were successful in defining the conflict as a political, not religious, war.[13]

Making the case today for various British Muslims to fight other Muslims appears to be much more difficult. Currently, very few Muslims serve in the British armed forces: The percentage rose only slightly from .2 percent in 2008 to .3 percent in 2010.[14] British military authorities appear to be battling accusations of low prestige and racism as well as repeated charges that they are engaged in a war against Islam.

Since France prohibits the collection of personal data on religious identification, no exact data is available on Muslim participation in the French armed forces. A study conducted in 2005, identifying Muslims indirectly via personal contacts, family names, etc., concluded that many Muslim service members were committed to the French military and to French political ideals despite continued discrimination.[15] However, the study reported concerns among more senior Muslim service members regarding the commitment and quality of younger recruits, many drawn from French ghettoes.[16] The French press reported a 2009 incident in which French Muslim soldiers refused to fight in Afghanistan[17] while the 2012 murders of soldiers of Maghreb origin by terrorist Mohamed Merah in Toulouse and a May 2013 attack on a soldier in Paris were presumably intended to discourage Muslims from serving in the French military.

The threat of attacks by Muslim soldiers on other service members is unclear. This question could be particularly sensitive for Germany, which has seen the emergence of a Turkish-based jihadist group, the Islamic Jihad Union, which seeks European members. German intelligence and law enforcement agencies track individuals whom they identify as national security threats, but it is unclear what scrutiny military recruits receive.

Underlying these difficulties is the basic question of loyalty: Do European Muslims consider themselves true citizens of their new country and will they fight for it if necessary? A 2009 Pew survey on the question offers ambiguous results: Large majorities of French, German, and British Muslims consider themselves to be loyal to the state (80 percent, 71 percent, and 82 percent, respectively).[18] The non-Muslim citizen remains suspicious, however, with 44 percent, 39 percent, and 49 percent respectively skeptical of their Islamic neighbors' allegiance. A good part of that doubt is likely the result of the role played in these countries by the Islamists.

For the rest of this please go to the the article.

Lone F (67)
Monday June 9, 2014, 4:23 pm
Thank you Ge for this very interesting ans insightful article.

David F (14)
Monday June 9, 2014, 8:15 pm
The ignorance of and tolerance towards something as sick (insane, totalitarian, intolerant, etc) as koran-fetishism (vulgo: islam(ism)) by large parts of our society doeth remind me of the tolerance towards and (attempts at) "appeasement" of Fascism, some 90 or 80 years ago.

Jennifer Ward (40)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 2:58 pm
The enemy within

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday June 10, 2014, 10:32 pm
Interesting post.

Wolfgang W (235)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 2:03 am
Stand up against racism and religious intolerance!

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 2:18 am
Thank you Ge.

Patrick D (344)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 7:50 am
It's nice to know that C2 members can be as intolerant and arrogant as the rest of the world. Let's go after those nasty Christians who insist that the US base its laws on "Christan values." When do we go back to slavery and sanctioned pillaging?

fly b (26)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 5:56 pm
Agree with you, Patrick - intolerance, racism, fear mongering, hatemongering and bigotry is abundant -

"Billie" -- "The sad irony is, that no matter how much projection is displayed, it does not change the basic insecurity and prejudices, within.

"it's time to push the muslims back again. they prove over and over that they can not live with others. now we know why our forefathers pushed them out. the muslims are our friends lie needs to be stopped.
muslims belong in muslim only countries. they need to be removed from all others."

Double standards and extremism of any kind, won't win the day.

fly b (26)
Wednesday June 11, 2014, 6:28 pm
Jews Against Islamophobia Coalition

Gillian M (218)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 5:39 am
It's interesting that people like Wolfgang and jess are happy to accept anti-Semitism in any and all forms yet complain should someone point out that things are changing in Europe. People like they are always seem to missing on the numerous news items where, predominantly, Muslims attack Jews or non-Jews. Nor have they ever spoken out against these forms of racism. It is now acceptable for Jewish people to be advised to leave European countries because of the danger to them by Muslims. Yes, these people are so against racism in any form - not!

Gillian M (218)
Thursday June 12, 2014, 5:49 am
Especially for Wolfgang and jess

Jews of Marseille ‘Bunkerize’ after Brussels Museum Shootings

I would also point out that all synagogues, Jewish schools and charities in the UK have to have guards on the gates to protect them from terrorists as well as hate crimes and have done for as long as I can remember.

bob m (32)
Friday June 13, 2014, 4:01 pm

Appears a whole new springtime crop of useful idiots here bent over backwards tip toeing around the building threat of islam but sure enough .... here they are!.. Absolutey nobody wants to harm the mass of islam ; but it is constitutionally bound to harm or behead or enslave . the people of Europe are just now beginning to realize the degree of contempt they are seen with by people they have given and given and given to... using the 39 Jewish treatment as a comparison is ridiculous; the Nazis and islam were allied in their hatred . ... this is indeed a terrible time we face... .. look up; narrow is the gate... great though is the Love of God in Christ.. The Lamb scorned by islam.

Jessica C (3)
Saturday June 14, 2014, 2:33 pm
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