From Gatestone Institute
By Denis MacEoin | March 12, 2016 at 5:00 am
- Here is the fulcrum around which so much of the problem turns: the belief that Islamic law has every right to be put into practice in non-Muslim countries, and the insistence that a parallel, if unequal, legal system can function alongside civil and criminal law codes adhered to by a majority of a country’s citizens.
- Salafism is a form of Islam that insists on the application of whatever was said or done by Muhammad or his companions, brooking no adaptation to changing times, no recognition of democracy or man-made laws.
- The greatest expression of this failure to integrate, indeed a determined refusal to do so, may be found in the roughly 750 Muslim-dominated no-go zones in France, which the police, fire brigades, and other representatives of the social order dare not visit for fear of sparking off riots and attacks. Similar zones now exist in other European countries, notably Sweden and Germany. According to the 2011 British census there are over 100 Muslim enclaves in the country.
As millions of Muslims flow into Europe, some from Syria, others from as far away as Afghanistan or sub-Saharan Africa, several countries are already experiencing high levels of social breakdown. Several articles have chronicled the challenges posed in countries such as Sweden and Germany. Such challenges are socio-economic in nature: how to accommodate such a large influx of migrants; the rising costs of providing then with housing, food, and benefits, and the expenses incurred by increased levels of policing in the face of growing lawlessness in some areas. If migrants continue to enter European Union countries at the current rate, these costs are likely to rise steeply; some countries, such as Hungary, have already seen how greatly counterproductive and self-destructive Europe’s reception of almost anyone who reaches its borders has been.
The immediate impact, however, of these new arrivals is not likely to be a simple challenge, something that may be remedied by increasing restrictions on numbers, deportations of illegal migrants, or building fences. During the past several decades, some European countries – notably Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark — have received large numbers of Muslim immigrants, most of them through legal channels. According to a Pew report in 2010, there were over 44 million Muslims in Europe overall, a figure expected to rise to over 58 million by 2030.
The migration wave from Muslims countries that began in 2015 is likely to increase these figures by a large margin. In France, citizens of former French colonies in Morocco, Algeria, and some sub-Saharan states, together with migrants from several other Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia, form a population estimated at several million, but reckoned to be the largest Muslim population in Europe. France is closely followed by Germany – a country now taking in very large numbers of immigrants. There are currently some 5.8 million Muslims in Germany, but this figure is widely expected to rise exponentially over the next five years or more.
The United Kingdom, at around 3 million, has the third largest Muslim population in Europe. Islam today is the second-largest religion in the country. The majority of British Muslims originally came from rural areas in Pakistan (such as Mirpur and Bangladesh’s Sylhet), starting in the 1950s. Over time, many British Muslims have integrated well into the wider population. But in general, integration has proven a serious problem, especially in cities such as Bradford, or parts of London such as Tower Hamlets; and there are signs that, as time passes, assimilation is becoming harder, not easier. A 2007 report by British think tank Policy Exchange, Living Apart Together, revealed that members of the younger generation were more radical and orthodox than their fathers and grandfathers – a reversal almost certainly unprecedented within an immigrant population over three or more generations. The same pattern may be found across Europe and the United States. A visible sign of this desire to stand out from mainstream society is the steady growth in the numbers of young Muslim women wearing niqabs, burqas, and hijabs – formerly merely a tradition, but now apparently seen as an obligatory assertion of Muslim identity.
In Germany, the number of Salafists rose by 25% in the first half of 2015, according to a report from The Clarion Project. Salafism is a form of Islam that insists on the application of whatever was said or done by Muhammad or his companions, brooking no adaptation to changing times, no recognition of democracy or man-made laws. This refusal to adapt has been very well expressed by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini:
“Islam is not constrained by time or space, for it is eternal… what Muhammad permitted is permissible until the Day of Resurrection; what he forbade is forbidden until the Day of Resurrection. It is not permissible that his ordinances be superseded, or that his teachings fall into disuse, or that the punishments [he set] be abandoned, or that the taxes he levied be discontinued, or that the defense of Muslims and their lands cease.”
The greatest expression of this failure to integrate, indeed a determined refusal to do so, may be found in the roughly 750 zones urbaines sensibles in France, Muslim-dominated no-go zones, which the police, fire brigades, and other representatives of the social order dare not visit for fear of sparking off riots and attacks. Similar zones now exist in other European countries, notably Sweden and Germany.
In the UK, matters have not reached the pitch where the police and others dare not enter. But in some Muslim-dominated areas, non-Muslims may not be made welcome, especially women dressed “inappropriately.” According to the 2011 British census there are over 100 Muslim enclaves in the country. “The Muslim population exceeds 85% in some parts of Blackburn,” notes the scholar Soeren Kern, “and 70% in a half-dozen wards in Birmingham and Bradford.” There are similarly high figures for many other British cities.
Maajid Nawaz of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation has spoken of the growing trend for some radical young Muslims to patrol their streets to impose a strict application of Islamic sharia law on Muslims and non-Muslims alike, in direct breach of British legal standards.
In Britain “Muslims Against the Crusaders” have recently declared an Islamic Emirates Project, in which they are seeking to enforce their brand of sharia in 12 British cities. They have named two London boroughs, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets, among their targets. Little surprise then that in these two boroughs hooded “Muslim patrols” have taken to the streets and begun enforcing a strict view of sharia over unsuspecting locals. The “Muslim Patrols” warn that alcohol, “immodest” dress and homosexuality are now banned. To add to these threats, all this is filmed and uploaded onto the internet. Now, in East London, some shops no longer feel free to employ uncovered women or sell alcohol without fear of violent payback.
Nawaz goes on to write: “[T]he Muslim patrols could become a lot more dangerous and, perhaps willing to maim or kill if they are joined by battle-hardened jihadis.” Muslims have been beaten up for smoking during Ramadan; non-Muslims have been forced to leave for carrying alcohol on British streets.
A recent report by Raheem Kassam cites British police officers who admit that they often have to ask permission from Muslim leaders to enter certain areas, and that they are instructed not to travel to work or go into certain places wearing their uniforms.
Here is the fulcrum around which so much of the problem turns: the belief that Islamic law has every right to be put into practice in non-Muslim countries, and the insistence that a parallel, if unequal, legal system can function alongside civil and criminal law codes adhered to by a majority of a country’s citizens. More than one non-Muslim has been ordered to leave “Islamic territory,” and some radicals have attempted to set up “Shariah Controlled Zones,” where only Islamic rules are enforced. Stickers placed on lampposts and other structures declare: “You are entering a Shariah Controlled Zone,” where there can be no alcohol, no gambling, no drugs or smoking, no porn or prostitution, and even no music or concerts.
And that is not all. Soeren Kern wrote in 2011:
A Muslim group in the United Kingdom has launched a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what it calls “Londonistan” – into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence.
The Islamic Emirates Project, launched by the Muslims Against the Crusades group, names the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London as territories to be targeted for blanket Sharia rule.
All of this is, of course, illegal. The illegality could not be clearer. Here we see self-appointed disaffected Muslim entities, who take action to exercise the power of imposing law on the streets of European cities, and in practice the writ of Islamic law runs in many towns and cities. Not long ago, considerable numbers of Muslims from Paris and the surrounding region would enter the city and take over entire streets in order to perform the noon Friday prayer. Traffic was blocked, residents could neither enter or leave their homes, businesses had to close because customers could not reach them; and all the while, the police stood by, watching but not interfering, knowing that, if they acted to preserve the law a riot would ensue. Videos of these incidents are available online. In places where gangs of radicals operate as if they are a mafia, crimes such as honor killings, female genital mutilation (FGM), expulsion or worse of individuals considered apostates, and more, are known to take place. More commonly, many Western states are powerless to prevent forced and underage marriages, compulsory veiling, polygamy, and more.
The police, afraid of charges of racism and “Islamophobia,” are reluctant to take action: In 2014 and 2015, the police and social workers turned a blind eye for years to Muslim gangs grooming, prostituting, and raping young white British teenagers in cities such as Oxford, Birmingham, Rochdale and Rotherham. Professor Alexis Jay’s report on the situation in Rotherham alone showed serious failings on the part of several bodies from the police to social services. The offenses in these cases were, of course, a breach of sharia law, not an enforcement of it. Yet there seems to have been an attitude, too, that Muslims are entitled to behave as they wish, and that British law enforcement is irrelevant. In the trial of nine men in Rochdale, Judge Gerald Clifton states in his sentencing that “All of you treated the victims as though they were worthless and beyond any respect – they were not part of your community or religion.” This statement alone seems to illustrate the heart of this problem.
But the clash between Islamic law and national law in several European countries has focussed more than anything on the establishment of sharia councils or sharia courts. These have provoked a wider debate than even Islamic finance, now well situated within the international banking system even though it is as if Germany under the Third Reich had its own banking system in which all transactions would go exclusively to strengthening the Third Reich. In the UK this year, it has been revealed that, in order to finance extensive repairs to the House of Lords and the House of Commons, a deal has been done to use Islamic bonds. One result of this is that peers and MPs will not be allowed to have bars or to consume alcohol on their own premises.