Robert Spencer: Teaming up with Euro-Supremacists Again

"Under his wing": Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

"Under his wing": Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer, erstwhile ally of neo-Fascists, friend to advocates of genocide, and all around anti-Muslim is once again basking in the light of his own, made up self-importance.

This time it centers around his recent trip to Germany where he gave a speech at a rally in Berlin. Spencer writes,

Today I spoke in Berlin at a rally against antisemitism and Islamization, sponsored by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), the most important German human rights organization, seeking to preserve European values, freedom and democracy (emphasis added).

When ever Robert Spencer makes a claim such as some “organization is the ‘most important’ human rights group” in a particular country it throws up all kinds of red flags for us because such a statement coming from him is usually filled with a load of BS.

Spencer, of course, relies on his American audience’s ignorance about the reality of this “human rights” organization. He gives us a link to a German website that most of his readers will be unable to understand, thereby hoping they will stick to the script he formulates about it being the most important German human rights group.

The truth is that, per his track record, this is just another episode in a long list of episodes where Spencer has teamed up with anti-Muslim, Islam-obsessed haters. Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE) is far from being the premier, let alone “most important human rights organization” in Germany, in fact the claim might go down as one of the greatest oxymoron’s in Islamophobia history (on the other hand a group such as Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Völker is one of the most important and “real” human rights groups in Germany).

Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa

Looking at the BPE site reveals that it is just another organization using the title and badge of human rights to add an air of legitimacy to the real intent behind their work: demonization and marginalization of Europe’s Muslims.

Thanks to one of our German readers, Morakot, we were able to see for ourselves the true nature of this group that Spencer attempts to trump up. It is a group whose aims are undifferentiated from those of neo-Fascists like Geert Wilders and the BNP.

BPE (fake human rights organization)

BPE (fake human rights organization)

In “Der Verein” (The Association) section of their website they claim that they are not “anti-Muslim” but the facts speak otherwise. Similar in substance to neo-Fascists and Euro supremacist groups, they take up the mantle of proclaiming themselves to be the vanguard and champions of “European Culture.” They define this as being “exclusively committed to the preservation of the Christian-Jewish tradition of their European culture” and opposed to the so called “creeping Islamization” of Europe, which is nothing less than the perpetuation of the debunked Eurabia and Muslim Demographics conspiracy theories.

Their solutions to the so called problem of “creeping Islamization” are elucidated in a document they released titled De-Islamization program which states amongst its main points,

– Organizations of islam critics as well as of people who left islam shall be funded by the state and have an adaquate say in the media.

Lets think about this for a second. They want the state to reward critics of Islam (who defines “critics of Islam?” Would anti-Muslim Geert Wilders of “tax-the-hijab-fame” be considered an acceptable “critic?”) and people who leave Islam with funding, essentially lobbying the government to take an official position in opposition to Islam. Does this not cross the boundary of separation of Church and State, and the fundamental tenants of secularism? It seems the “Christian-Jewish values” that this organization wants to protect bears more of a resemblance to a theocratic “Holy Roman Empire” rather than a pluralistic Democracy.

-All islamic organizations following a political instead of a religious agenda and/or on behalf of a foreign governement shall be disbanded.

Who will decide if an “Islamic organization is following a political agenda?” This is really a concealed attempt to disband all Muslim organizations. Everything the BPE represents indicates that they agree with a Geert Wilder-esque concept that  ’Islam is not a 1500 year old religion at all but rather a political movement,’ so no matter what you do as an organization you will be labeled a political organization.

It also highlights the double standards they advocate: on the one hand you have the Christian Democrats (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is “Christian-based, applying the principles of Christian Democracy and emphasizes the “Christian understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.” CDU is a political party which heads the German government, imagine the firestorm that would be created if Muslims even attempted to create a party which “emphasizes the ‘Muslim understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.”

-Persons supporting djihad or installment of sharia in Germany shall undergo a de-islamization training or must suffer severe sanctions.

Who would define what “supporting djihad” or installing “sharia” consists of and what would be the scope of these definitions?As we well know Robert Spencer and the advocates of the conspiracy theories of Eurabia believe that many law abiding Muslims, by the very fact of their increasing presence and visibility in the West, are pushing a “stealth djihad.” For example there are people in Europe who think  wearing a headscarf, or installation of footbaths is an act of “djihad,” would such acts entail implementation of the “severe sanctions” being proposed, and of what would these “severe sanctions” consist?

– Quran-schools are to be forbidden.

They should just go a step further with their fascistic ideas and follow their brethren in Europe who have called for the Quran to be banned. If in some fairyland-Democracy-minus-religious-freedom envisioned by these jokers this is okay, then why are: Bible schools, Torah schools,  Bhagavad Gita schools not similarly forbidden?

– Islamic head cloths are to be banned in kindergardens, schools, campusses, workplaces, public buildings and events.

This was another predictable point, the obsession with hijab for Islamophobes is unending. Not only have laws been proposed such as the above (and passed in places like France) infringing on a woman’s right to wear what they want and follow their conscious, not only have proposals been made to tax it, but it also has led to violence such as murder and assault.

– Parents who submit their children to forced marriage or deny them proper education have to be deprived of child custody.

Everyone can agree that forced marriages are terrible and have to be fought, and many Muslims are leading the fight against the practice. It is curious though that this issue is being painted as springing from Islam, which condemns the practice. It is also a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Muslims but rather affects women and men from Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Gypsy backgrounds and cultures.

As far as the vague idea of “deny them proper education,” what does that mean? Knowing what we know from the above proposals, would a family that taught their children the Quran be considered as “denying a proper education?” Would they then advocate the child be ripped from their family for studying the Quran?

– Mosques are to be built only with approval of the neighbourhood. Minarettes and the call of the muezzin are to be forbidden. Sermons are to be held solely in German.

No Mosques protester

No Mosques protester

It is usually a good policy to have the involvement of a neighborhood when any religious structure is built, as it will become a major landmark bringing in more traffic and people into the area. It goes without saying that religious groups should prioritize good relations with their neighbors, something all religions believe in because they all teach the golden rule.

However, the wording in this proposal is very confrontational and seeks to legislatively limit the construction of the traditional mosque with minarets; it is an attempt to make the Muslim presence in essence invisible. What is the difference between such proposals and what goes on in some of the theocratic Muslim nations that Islamophobes regularly complain about when facts seem to indicate that they are two peas in the same pod?

Spencer then writes regarding the rally that,

Leftists and their jihadist allies marched by twice in a counterdemonstration, shouting “Nazis raus” — Nazis, get out. The people assembled for the BPE rally shouted the same thing right back at them. Of course, there were no Nazis among us, and we were standing against antisemitism and in favor of free speech, legal equality, and democratic government, but the facts never stop the Left from making the charge, as we have all learned recently from stateside libelbloggers (emphasis added).

I wonder what in the world could have made the counter-demonstrators call Robert Spencer and his BPE friends “Nazis?” Hmmmm (hint: all of the above). Of course, Robert Spencer is “never wrong,” and don’t ya know he is a “victim,” the well documented fact that he associates with racists and fascists are just accusations from “libelbloggers.” Also note how he labels some of the (presumably Muslim) counter-demonstrators, “Jihadists,” this just further exposes what Spencer thinks about any Muslim, especially Muslims who oppose his degradation of their faith; they’re all….”jihadists.”

Islamophobia the new anti-Semitism

Groups such as the BPE, claim as a cornerstone of their agenda to be opposed to anti-Semitism, that is what part of the rally Robert Spencer spoke at was supposed to be about. They hope that by doing so they will endear themselves to the public and give themselves an air of credibility while deflecting charges that they are fascists or Euro Supremacists.

In fact, one sees an emerging trend amongst some right-wing and fascist groups proclaiming their unconditional support for the state of Israel. What is likely is that many of these organizations, whose roots are steeped deep in a history of anti-Semitism are recreating themselves; dropping a now unpopular prejudice (anti-Semitism) for one more in vogue–anti-Muslim Islamophobia. Gone are the days when what they claimed to champion were the “Christian values and traditions of Europe” now they have added “Christian-Jewish” values to their slogans.

English Defense League Hooligans holding up Israeli Flag

English Defense League Hooligans waving Israeli Flag

This is evidenced by politicians such as Geert Wilders who evokes Israel quite often, while at the same time also calling for taxes on hijabs, banning the Quran, denying religious freedom to Muslims, deporting Muslim immigrants–and in certain circumstances–second and third generation citizens to their countries of origin.

It also brings to mind the wacky English Defense League (EDL), who have been staging anti-Islam protests in various British cities. The EDL, you may recall, was founded by a football hooligan and is composed primarily of hooligans and individuals who bear close resemblance to skinheads. Placards reading No More Mosques and other anti-Islam signs have been pictured at the same rallies which included hooligans holding up and waving Israeli flags.

Probably the most instructional case of an organization publicly dropping their long held anti-Semitism would be the BNP or British National Party, headed by Nick Griffin. This party has a long history of anti-Semitism. If you can think of an anti-Semitic stereotype,  they have held it. Ever since Nick Griffin has taken the reins of power, the BNP has gotten a face lift and pushed a PR campaign which boils down to, “we aren’t anti-Semitic anymore, we are Islamophobic.”

However, as evidence shows, it turns out that these organizations that claim to have dropped and distanced themselves from anti-Semitism are only doing so for strategic reasons and still secretly hold prejudiced views against minorities, including Jews. Bartholomew notes in a piece titled BNP After Jewish Votes,

The one quote from Nick Griffin which sums up the whole strategy – and which reveals Griffin’s true feelings towards Jews – appeared in 2006 in a report for The Forward concerning an American Renaissance conference:

Nick Griffin has been credited with trying to root out antisemitism from the British National Party, which he leads. But in answer to a question at the recent conference, he said: “The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst. The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”

By swapping open anti-Semitism for Muslim-baiting, the BNP has managed (to) appear more attractive to some – it has also enjoyed some PR assistance from the “libertarian” right.

So the truth is that these groups haven’t changed their spots over night, it isn’t out of some transformation that most of them oppose anti-Semitism. They hide their old prejudices because it is wiser and more expedient. Their strategy is to pick on Muslims, whom Griffin rightly states are an easier target for abuse than Jews because they are the “most easily” defeated in our current time, when anything associated with Islam automatically brings up negative connotations.

Conclusion

What is clear from this  most recent Robert Spencer foray into the abyss of looniness is his readiness to collaborate with supremacist groups to bash minorities based on the Goebbelsesque argument of cultural superiority and cultural preservation. This is exactly the kind of people and logic that slowly made Nazism mainstream in Germany culminating in disaster for the then Jewish targets.

It is also, sadly the height of irony that this resurgence of the déjà vu supremacist hatred of religious and ethnic minorities in the West is this time happening with the supposed emblem of the former victims of this plague plastered all over it.

Shamelessly, Robert Spencer goes out of his way to boast about hugging and hoisting the Israeli flag as if he believes that this is his automatic redemption card out of any accusations of Euro Supremacist tendencies. Spencer writes,

Many people at our rally had Israeli flags, and as you can see from the photo, I had one also. Not long after this picture was taken I got it mounted on a flagpole and waved it around at the beginning and end of my talk…I went out front, close to the counterdemonstrators, waving the big flag, but the German police moved me back. They may also have said to put the flag away, but I have forgotten all my grad-school German, and so the flag stayed.

Robert Spencer: A "Friend" of Israel

Robert Spencer: A "Friend" of Israel

He is in fact announcing an interesting belief he seems to have: that the only thing to worry about with being a pro-Euro supremacist is if you get accused of being anti-Semitic as a result of it; he seems to be telling us in the picture “but look at me, I am clearly not, here’s the Israeli flag. In fact I am actually an Israeli supremacist as bonus.” Two problems with that, first he misses or refuses to acknowledge the fact that being anti-Muslim is a problem no less than anti-Semitism, even if it does not come with the political and publicity backlash–the principle is the same. Second, he fails to indicate why being pro-Israel is redemptive of his racist and bigoted ways in any shape or form or how that absolves him of hurting Jewish moral interests by conniving with Euro-Supremacists (not all Jews put Israel before principle). There are many conscientious Jews in the US, Europe, Israel and around the world who would not be impressed with his misusing and trumpeting a flag in a way that is not necessarily emblematic to them, while trampling on the issues that matter to them most: like “never again” – meaning never again to anyone.

It comes off as sleazy on the part of Spencer, and even insulting, that he thinks he has a chance of fooling anyone. At least now, his true colors are shown for all to see: A small man with a lot of over-compensating to make up for it.

Update: (hat tip: LGF and Elizabeth_Ann) There is more information on the BPE and its direct connection to fascists and Euro-Supremacists. Charles Johnson linked to us and pointed out information that we missed:

[T]he group that sponsored Spencer’s speech, Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), is also affiliated with the Belgian fascist party Vlaams Belang. In 2007, former BPE leader Udo Ulfkotte was one of the main organizers of the “Stop Islamization” protest in Brussels, at which Vlaams Belang leader Filip DeWinter was a featured speaker.

Are “Muslim Hordes” About to Overrun the West?

Conspiracy Theory of Muslim Demographic Take Over

Conspiracy Theory of Muslim Demographic Take Over

You may have recalled recently that LW contributor Danios did an excellent rebuttal exposing the vapid pseudo-scholarship of self-declared “Islamic scholar” Bat Ye’or. Bat Ye’or’s principle contribution has been the propagation of the wild conspiracy theory known as Eurabia. She argues with the fervor of a misguided zealot that “Europe will be vassal [state], a satellite of the Arab world.” Her “Eurabia” conspiracy theory as summed up by Danios:

[T]he theory is that Arab and Muslim immigration (of “stealth jihadists”) will soon overwhelm Europe, destroy Western culture and civilization forever, and replace the democratic governments with Taliban style theocracies.   While that does sound like an interesting plot for a fictional movie, it is pure insanity to take this seriously.

(By “stealth jihadists,” Bat Ye’or and her pet proxies like Robert Spencer intend to capture the notion of a cadre of evil Muslims who are nonetheless non-violent and work through the system. That of course opens a pandora’s box. It gives them the freedom to redefine who is good and who is bad by mere allegation alone, since they have cancelled out any universally acceptable standard for illict behavior, standards such as “illegal” or “violent.” That raises the ironic question: would Bat Ye’or and her minion Robert Spencer characterize their campaign against Muslims by the pen and keyboard as “subversive stealth propaganda”? Could their infatuation with a “stealth Muslim” operation perhaps be little more than classic projection?)

Even more ironically, other Islamophobes have latched onto transforming Bat Ye’or’s paranoid theories of a “stealth Muslim” take over through  “stealth propaganda videos” distributed on unassuming  public social networks.

On YouTube, there is a video production worthy of Goebbels, that has gone viral. The video, titled simply Muslim Demographics, couples inaccurate facts about Muslim immigration and growth in Europe with ominous foreign sounding music meant to keep you on edge. Who created it remains unknown, but as of today it can be found on other video sharing sites and has received close to 11 million hits on Youtube alone, more than some of Michael Jackson’s most famous music videos.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The video can be summed up by the paranoid guy in our logo on the upper left of your screen, screaming “The Mooslims! They’re here!” As you can see the video makes wild (and patently false as will come to see) claims, such as “Muslims are reproducing a staggering 8 babies for every 1 French baby,” that “Europe as we know it will cease to exist” giving way to a “Europe dominated by Mooslims and Islamic Republics. ”

Seriously? Are they going to get rid of Sauerkraut in Germany? Are they going to tear down the Louvre or Big Ben? Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa going to be replaced by the “The Leaning Minaret?” Are books going to be burned in Amsterdam, next to the shops that sell cannibas?

I digress though, the thought that anyone can believe what is in this video should give people pause. What purpose does it serve at all if not to increase paranoia, ignorance and fear of the “other” scary “Mooslims?”

It is altogether depressing that Muslims immigrating to a society should automatically be viewed as a negative. It is the same right-wing tactic that was used to smear Barack Obama as being a “Mooslim.” The thinking went: if you convince enough people he is a Muslim then no one will vote for him because everyone knows being a Muslim is bad. Instead of viewing Muslim immigration to Europe as reason to fill the demands of Europe’s economy, it is automatically assumed to be evil — that my friends is classic text book Islamophobia.

BBC Radio did a pretty decent job in rebutting the arguments made by the video.

Watch it here:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

The most thorough rebuttal of this inaccurate, racist, Islamophobic equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion has come from a site called Tiny Frog, which laid bear all the inaccuracies,

Claim: “Historically, no culture has ever reversed a 1.9 fertility rate.”

They provide no source for this claim. However, birth rates do vary over time, and have increased. For example, here’s an image of France’s population over the past two centuries. As you can see, the population size barely changes between 1890 and 1945. Since 1945, the population has grown by 50%. The current fertility rate in France is about 2 children per person.

Wikipedia states:

After 1947 however, France suddenly underwent a demographic recovery that no one could have foreseen. It is a fact that in the 1930s the French government, alarmed by the decline of France’s population, had passed laws to boost the birth rate, giving state benefits to families with children. Nonetheless, no one can quite satisfactorily explain this sudden and unexpected recovery in the demography of France, which was often portrayed as a “miracle” inside France. This demographic recovery was again atypical in the Western World, in the sense that although the rest of the Western World experienced a baby boom immediately after the war, the baby boom in France was much stronger, and above all it lasted longer than in most other countries of the Western World (the United States being one of the few exceptions). In the 1950s and 1960s France enjoyed a population growth of 1% a year, which is the highest growth in the history of France, not even matched in the best periods of the 18th or 19th centuries.

Claim: “A rate of 1.3: impossible to reverse… There is no economic model that can sustain itself during that time.”

It’s true that declining birth rates cause a lot of problems for nations; it’s difficult for workers to pay enough taxes to support the retired generation. A lot of countries (including east-asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) are very worried about this problem.

muslimdemographics2

These numbers are almost right. It’s true that these nations are declining in population. According to nationmaster (which took it’s numbers from the CIA World Factbook), the actual fertility rates are:

France 1.98
England 1.66
Greece 1.36
Germany 1.41
Italy 1.3
Spain 1.3

It’s also worth noting that the fertility rates of these nations have been rising slightly over the past five years. Here’s a look at the historical data:

Spain, historical fertility rates:

2003 1.26
2004 1.27
2005 1.28
2006 1.28
2007 1.29
2008 1.3

France, historical fertility rates: (*note: France reversed a fertility rate that dropped below 1.9)

2003 1.85
2004 1.85
2005 1.85
2006 1.84
2007 1.98
2008 1.98

Germany, historical fertility rates:

2003 1.37
2004 1.38
2005 1.39
2006 1.39
2007 1.4
2008 1.41

Italy, historical fertility rates:

2003 1.26
2004 1.27
2005 1.28
2006 1.28
2007 1.29
2008 1.3

(According to the nationmaster numbers, the UK’s and Greece’ fertility rate stayed relatively constant across the 2003-2008 time period.)

muslimdemographics3

1.3-1.5 sounds approximately right. The highest fertility rate in Europe is 2.02 (Albania), and eastern Europe has some of the lowest fertility rates (Poland 1.27, Ukraine 1.25, Lithuania 1.22).

muslimdemographics4

Claim: “France: 1.8 Children per family, Muslims: 8.1.”

They list of source for this claim, but it’s too small to read. This claim is almost certainly false. First, there isn’t a country in the whole world that has a fertility rate of 8 children, so I doubt that millions of Muslims in France’s are having that many children.

While it’s true that many Muslim nations have high fertility rates (Yemen 6.41, Gaza Strip 5.19, Saudi Arabia 3.89), not all of them do. While I have no source for Muslim birthrates in France, I do know where most of France’s immigrants come from: they come from France’s former colonies. Here’s a map of French immigration by nation:

You can quickly pick out that France’s Muslim immigration comes mainly from four countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Turkey.

What are the fertility rates in these countries?

Morocco 2.57
Algeria 1.82
Tunisia 1.73
Turkey 1.87

Now, it looks very suspicious when they claim French Muslims are averaging 8.1 children per person. In fact, the birthrates in their original countries are lower than birthrates in France. I have a hard time believing that they suddenly become hyperfertile when they live in France.

I had actually read an article a few years ago (again, by an Christian-Right author). He talked about how he met a Palestinian woman living in Paris who was raising her 6 children. He then implied that all French Muslims were having this many children. Of course, that was a huge generalization. It’s true that Palestinians (on average) have a lot of children, but it’s false to claim that most Muslims living in France (most of them not from Palestine) were having this many children. Yet, he tried to slide this claim past his readers.

muslimdemographics5

Claim: “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”

That same article I read a few years ago claimed that 50% of all newborns within a particular Dutch city were Muslim (which may or may not be accurate). I have to wonder if that claim was generalized to “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”

There are approximately 1 million Muslims in the Netherlands, a nation of 16.6 million people. So Muslims makeup about 6% of the total population. Yet, we’re supposed to believe 50% of the children born in the Netherlands are Muslim? The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.66 children per person. Mathematically, Muslims in the Netherlands would need to have 26 children to makeup 50% of the births in the country.

Further, if we look at the countries of origin of these Muslims, we find that 2/3rds immigrated from Turkey (1.87 fertility rate) or Morocco (2.57 fertility rate).

muslimdemographics6

Claim: “In only 15 years, half of the population of the Netherlands will be Muslim.”

It makes my head hurt to figure out how 1 million Muslims will outnumber 15.6 million non-Muslims in 15 years.

muslimdemographics7

Claim: “In Russia, there are over 23 million Muslims, that’s 1 out of 5 Russians.”

According to Wikipedia:

According to the most recent estimates by the R&F Agency, there are more than 20 million officially self-identified Muslims in Russia, a number that has risen by 40% in the last 15 years, though no more than 6 million are truly orthodox. Roman Silantyev, a Russian Islamologist has estimated that there are only between 7 and 9 million people who practise Islam in Russia, and that the rest are only Muslims by ethnicity.

Also, Russia’s population is 140 million. Even if “23 million muslims” was accurate, that’s 16.4%, not 1 out of 5 (or 20%).

muslimdemographics8

Claim: “Currently in Belgium, 25% of the population and 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”

Wikipedia states:

An 2008 estimation shows that 6% of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim (98% Sunni). Muslims cover 25.5% of the population of Brussels, 4.0% of Wallonia and 3.9% of Flanders.

Maybe they mixed up “Brussels” and “Belgium”. Regardless, they inflated the percentage of Muslims in Belgium from 6% to 25%.

Again, we see the same pattern of immigration as we saw in the Netherlands – 2/3rds are Moroccans and Turkish immigrants – whose home countries have relatively low birthrates (2.57 and 1.87, respectively).

muslimdemographics9

Claim: “1/3rd of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025, just 17 years away.”

That doesn’t seem very likely considering that Muslims currently makeup “4 percent of the European Union’s population” (Source). This particular claim about “1/3rd of all European children” appears to come from the Right-wing Brussel’s Journal.

muslimdemographics10

Claim: “The German Government, the first to talk about this publicly, recently released a public saying, ‘the fall in the German population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible… It will be a Muslim state by 2050.”

Considering that Muslims makeup 4.0% of the German population, that statement seems over the top. More than 90% of them are Turkish (fertility rate in Turkey: 1.87). A quick google search credits Walter Rademacher, vice-president of the German statistics office, with the quote.

So, do you believe that the “German Government” issued that statement? Are you wondering what Walter Rademacher actually said?

BERLIN, Germany, November 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Germany’s downward spiral in population is no longer reversible, the country’s federal statistics office said Tuesday. The birthrate has dropped so low that immigration numbers cannot compensate.

“The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse.

Germany has the lowest birthrate in Europe, with an average of 1.36 children per woman. Despite government incentives to encourage larger families, the population is dropping rapidly and that trend will continue, with an expected loss of as much as 12 million by 2050. That would mean about a 15 percent drop from the country’s current population of 82.4 million, the German news source Deutsche Welle reported today.

Germany has one of the largest populations of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, with a Muslim community of over 3 million. That trend is expected to continue, leading some demographic trend-watchers to warn that the country is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050, Deutsche Welle reported.

The [Right Wing] Brussels Journal reported last month that one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025. There are an estimated 50 million Muslims living in Europe today–that number is expected to double over the next twenty years.

(Source)

Wow. There’s two major distortions here:

(1) They credit the “Germany Federal Statistics Office” with the statement that “[Germany] will be a Muslim state by 2050″, when it was actually a statement made by a vague group identified as “some demographic trend-watchers”. Immediately, in the next paragraph, they mention the right-wing Brussels Journal – leading me to suspect that they are the “demographic trend-watchers”.

(2) The quote was twisted from “is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050″ into “It will be a Muslim state by 2050″.

muslimdemographics11

Claim: “There are currently 52 million Muslims in Europe. The German government said that number is expected to double in the next 20 years to 104 million.”

The EU population is 491 million, 4% (19.6 million) of which are Muslim (Source).

muslimdemographics12

Claim: “In the United States, the current fertility rate of American citizens is 1.6. With the influx of the latino nations, the rate increases to 2.11; the bare minimum needed to sustain a culture.”

Considering that latinos makeup only 13% of the US population, it’s hard to believe they can single-handedly bring-up the fertility rate from 1.6 to 2.11.

Looking up actual data (1, 2) reveals this fertility rate for American women (2004):

White 2.05
Black 2.03
American Indian 1.73
Asian 1.89
Hispanic 2.82
Total 2.04

(I think the “White” category includes “non-hispanic white” and “hispanic white” into the same category. If that’s true, then the non-hispanic white fertility rate would be around 1.8-1.9.)

muslimdemographics13

Claim: “Today, there are over 9 million [muslims in the United States]“.

Reality? No one really knows. Estimates vary between 1.1 million and 8 million.

muslimdemographics14

Not very likely.

This wasn’t specifically argued in the video, but I should also add that the fertility rates among Muslims (in their own countries) is also declining.

For example:

Saudi Arabia, historical fertility rates:

2003 6.15 (* is this accurate?)
2004 4.11
2005 4.05
2006 4
2007 3.94
2008 3.89

And the three largest Muslim countries:

Indonesia, historical fertility rates:

2003 2.5
2004 2.47
2005 2.44
2006 2.4
2007 2.38
2008 2.34

Pakistan, historical fertility rates:

2003 4.1
2004 4.29
2005 4.14
2006 4
2007 3.71
2008 3.73

Bangladesh, historical fertility rates:

2003 3.17
2004 3.15
2005 3.13
2006 3.11
2007 3.09
2008 3.08

And let’s not forget that some Muslim countries have already fallen below the replacement number of 2.11 (and, supposedly, below the mythical 1.9 fertility rate that the video says is very, very bad). When you look at the three most populous countries of the Middle East (Egypt, 79 million; Turkey, 70 million; Iran, 69 million), you find that Turkey and Iran have already dropped below a fertility rate of 2.0. Egypt recently dropped below a fertility rate of 3.0, and the Egyptian government is aiming to get it down to 2.0 within 8 years. All three are experiencing a decline in their fertility rates.

Egypt, historical fertility rates:

2003 3.02
2004 2.95
2005 2.88
2006 2.83
2007 2.77
2008 2.72

Turkey, historical fertility rates:

2003 2.03
2004 1.98
2005 1.94
2006 1.92
2007 1.89
2008 1.87

Iran, historical fertility rates:

2003 1.99
2004 1.93
2005 1.82
2006 1.8
2007 1.71
2008 1.71

As you can see the video is littered with a number of factual errors, inflation and conflation of data on the pretext of furthering the makers’ odious agenda. It seems to be geared towards consumption by an American audience, for all effects and purposes attempting to scare the audience by saying, look what happened to Europe, it is going to happen to us if we don’t stop Muslims from coming here.

These sentiments are expressed by right-wing Christian Brenda Walker who writes in a piece Orwellianly titled, Dead Culture Walking: Muslim Immigration Should Frighten America that,

If there is anything that should make Americans’ blood run cold about immigration, it is the sight of Europe—and Britain, the home of Western civilization—being buried by millions of Muslim colonists. Europe is just hoping against hope that Islam isn’t going to explode into massive rioting (or worse), or impose total cultural Islamification.

Now the triumphs of Tours and Vienna are being trampled by immigrants, entering mostly legally. It’s a wonder the Muslims bother with terrorism at all when demography is working so well for them.

Europe’s swirl down the toilet bowl is little reported in this country largely because the Main Stream Media is not interested in showing it. The top media elites are still stuck on multiculturalism. But the European experience shows what a bogus ideology that is.

This smear against Muslims is nothing new and it really was only a matter of time before right-wingers here tried to employ the Muslim Demographic bogeyman to further their xenophobic nonsense. The truth is that Muslims in both Europe and especially America are largely integrating into their new societies. American Muslims for instance are considered the second most affluent and upwardly mobile community in America, only behind Jews. They also tend to be more educated than other citizens.

In Europe, as Dr. Tariq Ramadan noted there is a silent revolution in which Muslims have already integrated and reconciled their identities as Europeans. He says the important issue now is to move from the “integration dialogue” to a “post integration” dialogue. He also points out a double standard that Muslims are frequently subjected to, “when  you do something good and positive like Zinadine Zidane no one sees that you’re a Muslim, they see you as one of them but when they see something bad from a Muslim all of a sudden they question what you are doing here and say ‘you are not from here.’”

It is important to note that propaganda videos such as these will only increase as the visibility of Muslims in the West increases. Groups that previously saw themselves as part of the elite, such as the right-wing will paint the new multi-cultural societies they live in as oppressive, ghetto and backward. They will, and already have proclaimed victim status, and with that victim status will come a doubling of the efforts to advance one of the last accepted forms of bigotry and hate: Islamophobia.

Bat Ye’or: Anti-Muslim Loon with a Crazy Conspiracy Theory Named “Eurabia”

"The Islamic State of Eurabia"

"The Islamic State of Eurabia"

We all have them: crazy uncles or senile grandparents raving about one conspiracy theory or the other on the dinner table. “Man landing on the moon was a big hoax,” or something about Kennedy’s assassination.  We’d smile and continue eating our leftover mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, then politely ask to be excused on account of work early the next morning, the car ride back home full of mirthful post-dinner analysis of the crazy dinner table conspiracy talk.

So when we first read about Bat Ye’or, a lady with no educational qualifications to speak of, who came up with the crazy conspiracy theory entitled “Eurabia,” we here at LoonWatch barely reacted. If a zany lady comes up with some insane theory, we’re certainly not going to take her seriously, at least not any more than the crazy old McCain lady.

The sad reality, however, is that Bat Ye’or is now being used by leading Islamophobes as a primary source for their research and subsequent analysis.  So who is Bat Ye’or?  Well, first of all, her name is not Bat Ye’or.  That’s just her “screen-name.”  For many years, she kept her real identity a secret, and only wrote under this moniker, which is Hebrew for “daughter of the Nile.”  She also had another screen-name, which was Yahudiya Masriya, Arabic for “Egyptian Jewess.”  Her real name is Gisele Littman, and she’s vitriolically anti-Muslim and anti-Islam.

She has written a handful of articles and books–with the basic theme that Muslims have savagely oppressed Non-Muslims (“dhimmis”) throughout history.  These resources written by her are used as reference sources by famous Islamophobes like Robert Spencer (the face behind the xenophobic websites Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch). Spencer hailed Bat Ye’or as “the pioneering scholar of dhimmitude, of the institutionalized discrimination and harassment of non-Muslims under Islamic law.”  Daniel Pipes, an Islamophobic professor, cites her work numerous times. She has emerged from relative obscurity to fame, her work being the backbone of Islamophobic (mis)characterization of Islamic history.

Pamela Geller, admin of the anti-Muslim site Atlas Shrugs, declares: “Bat Ye’or is the world’s foremost leading scholar on Islam.” Amazing how the “world’s foremost leading scholar on Islam” has no educational background and absolutely no credentials at all from a recognized university; truly amazing that anyone can become the world’s leading scholar on Islam with just a library card, a keyboard and internet connection, and of course the key ingredient of all–an all encompassing hatred of Islam.  Can one imagine the world’s leading scholar on Judaism being an Anti-Semite?  This just in: the world’s foremost leading scholar on Judaism is an Anti-Semitic Hamas member. Absurd!

Bat Ye’or is Not a Scholar

Bat Ye’or is not a scholar; she does not have the credentials of a historian from any recognized university.  She is referred to as an “independent researcher,” a euphemism for a random person who goes to the library, opens up some books, and starts writing. Adi Shwartz, a journalist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, rightfully points out Bat Ye’or’s lack of credentials:

Europe allowed the immigration of millions of Muslims to its territories…and will ultimately…transform Europe into a continent under the thumb of the Arab and Muslim world. Europe is dead, and in its stead “Eurabia” has arisen.

This controversial thesis belongs to Bat Ye’or, the pen name of a self-taught Jewish intellectual who was born in Egypt and who currently lives in Switzerland. She refuses to reveal her real name for security reasons, she says, but her thesis is just the prologue to far-reaching conclusions and extreme statements…While her ideas were once almost completely ignored, nowadays, because of the prevailing consternation in Europe regarding its complex relations with the Muslim world, she is receiving more attention, though she is still quite far from entering the European mainstream…

Bat Ye’or’s opinions have made her a controversial figure, as has the fact that she is not an academic and has never taught at any university. She conducts her research independently.

Professor Robert Wistrich, head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, says of her:

Up until the 1980s, she was not accepted at all. In academic circles they scorned her publications…A real change toward her emerged in the 1990s, and especially in recent years.

In other words, Bat Ye’or was never taken seriously by academics; it was only recently due to the political climate of Islamophobia that her works have become oft-cited by certain elements of society.  Interestingly enough, Bat Ye’or herself admits this:

They didn’t even mention my name in publications. In the United States, I am certain that the September 11 attacks woke people up, including the Jewish community that had previously ignored me…

It truly calls to question the legitimacy of the Islamophobes that they use as their main source a woman who has no credentials and whose work was scorned and ignored by academics and only became popular due to a wave of xenophobia:

[Professor Wistrich said:] “In a survey conducted in Germany recently 83 percent gave the answer ‘fanaticism’ to the question ‘What is Islam?’ Sixty percent said there was a clash of civilizations. This is why Bat Ye’or is getting more attention these days.”

Her opinions on the integration of the Muslims and Europe’s bleak future are acquiring many supporters for her in Europe’s extreme right-wing circles.

Those numbers are staggering, and frightening.  An overwhelming majority (83%) of Germans believe that Islam is fanaticism. (One can imagine what a similar poll conducted in the early 1930’s or 40’s-during the reign of the Nazis-would have shown had it asked what their view of Judaism was.)  It is such a climate that leads to pogroms, and it seems that Bat Ye’or wishes to tap into this potential.  She admits that her works are embraced by “the extreme right and in racist movements.” She gives them the wink and nod, with the usual half-hearted disclaimer that “attacking Muslims, sometimes even physically, is stupid.” Any bigotry short of that, of course, is fine and dandy.  Wistrich, who invited her to speak at a conference in Jerusalem, cracked a crass joke:

At the conference I said half-joking that it was possible to call this [her book] ‘the protocols of the elders of Brussels.’

It is interesting that Wistrich could be so mirthful about such a serious topic, as if it is somehow comical for a person to write a document that would result in ethnic strife.  Again, a frightening idea.  Adi Schwartz, the Israeli journalist who questioned her credentials, aptly titled his article on her “The Protocols of the Elders of Brussels.”

Bat Ye’or: Neutral Academic or Biased Ideologue?

Bat Yeor: a crazy old lady

Bat Ye'or: a crazy old lady

Bat Ye’or has an axe to grind; there could be no one more biased than her.  Her antipathy towards Islam stems from her stormy past: in 1957, she was expelled from Egypt during the Israeli invasion of Sinai.  Although one can and should most definitely sympathize with her plight, it seems that she has–like so many racists before her–reacted to bigotry by becoming a bigot.  She was wronged by Muslims, and now she wants to take vengeance, which has blinded her.  Bat Ye’or said in an interview:

I wrote these books because I had witnessed the destruction, in a few short years, of a vibrant Jewish community living in Egypt for over 2,600 years and which had existed from the time of Jeremiah the Prophet. I saw the disintegration and flight of families, dispossessed and humiliated, the destruction of their synagogues, the bombing of the Jewish quarters and the terrorizing of a peaceful population. I have personally experienced the hardships of exile, the misery of statelessness-and I wanted to get to the root cause of all this. I wanted to understand why the Jews from Arab countries, nearly a million, had shared my experience.

This is not unbiased and dispassionate academic study; for Bat Ye’or, this is personal.  From the above quote alone, one can see the inconsistency in Bat Ye’or’s views.  During the Israeli occupation of Sinai, anti-Semitism surged in Egypt and within “a few short years” an end was brought to “a vibrant Jewish community living in Egypt for over 2,600 years.”  Does she not see the inconsistency here?  Over one thousand of those 2,600 years were during Muslim rule of Egypt, which began in 639 AD.  During that time period, there was a Jewish community which thrived, or as Bat Ye’or words it, was “vibrant.”  Surely then it makes no sense to generalize the “few short years” to all of Islamic history.

Conspiracy Theory: Palestinians Don’t Exist; Europeans Created Them

It is an irony that Bat Ye’or laments about “the hardships of exile, [and the] misery of statelessness,” which is exactly what the Palestinian people have suffered from.  Yet, Bat Ye’or, a fervent supporter of Israel goes even further than some of the most extreme Right-Wing Israelis and even denies the existence of a Palestinian people, arguing that “the Palestinian cause was created mainly in Europe.”   To put her quote into context, she says:

The Kurds, the Berbers, the Basques (Spain) and the Corsicans (France) have nationalist characteristics, but not the Palestinians.  The Palestinian cause was created mainly in Europe…

So Kurds, Berbers, Basques, and Corsicans are all peoples, but not the Palestinians, who are an imaginary peoples invented by Europe.  So why exactly did Europe create the Palestinian people?  She explains:

The Palestinian cause was created mainly in Europe, with the purpose to transfer onto the Palestinians the Jewish history in order to delegitimize Israel and to absolve Europe from the Holocaust by throwing onto Israel its own European history of Nazism, apartheid and colonialism.

Let us allow the reader to properly understand her conspiracy theory: she is arguing that the Palestinian people were created by Europe in order to paint Israel as being guilty of Nazism, apartheid, and colonialism–in order to absolve themselves of blame for the Holocaust which created the state of Israel.  One can imagine the European leaders convening in some secret lair–shoddy lighting and a room full of cigar smoke–contemplating how to absolve themselves of blame for the Holocaust.  “I got it!” exclaims one especially wily European intellectual.  “We’ll invent a people–let’s call them ‘Palestinians’–and say that they existed in the land of Israel!”  They passed it to a vote, and voila!  The Europeans then made a few calls and engineered the Palestinian race.  As Jon Stewart said mockingly about the Obama-being-a-stealth-Jihadist-from-Yemen theory: “It was just too easy.”

Bat Ye’or’s conspiracy theory is creative no doubt, but ludicrous.  This is the woman whom Islamophobes like Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller cite as a primary source for their views on Islam, thus highlighting that they have absolutely no academic integrity or credibility.

Conspiracy Theory: Europe Will Become a Vassal State to the Arab World

Bat Ye’or is a fringe conspiracy theorist who argues that “Europe will become a vassal [state], a satellite of the Arab world.” Such alarmist drivel that no sane person could take her seriously.  The irony is that the reality is the exact opposite: it is the Arab world that plays second fiddle compared to the West.  Tell us, Bat Ye’or, how will the Arabs make a vassal state out of Europe?  Them and which army?  The combined Arab might pales in front of Israel; how can the Arab world then vanquish all of Europe?  Such senseless fear mongering.

Conspiracy Theory: European Universities are Controlled by Palestinians

As part of her global conspiracy theory, Bat Ye’or argues that “[European] universities, for example, are controlled by the Palestinians.” Oh why of course!  In fact, the deans of the European universities are all “stealth Palestinians;” every year they travel to the Gaza Strip for an annual ceremony, where Hamas leaders dictate what the curriculum will be for the year, and indoctrinate them in all things jihad.  It is in fact funding from Palestine that is keeping the European universities afloat.  (deadpan face)

Can one imagine the reaction of Islamophobes if some Moozlim-looking person said that the Western universities were controlled by “the Jews?”  They would call such a person not only a crazy conspiracy theorist but a racist, and rightfully so, but the issue here is the profound double standard.  You want to say something outlandish about Jews or any other minority?  Not acceptable  (Rightfully so).  But say the same thing about Muslims?  Then you get your own show on Fox News, and your books will become best-sellers (of the “What’s Wrong with Islam” or “Why I’m Not a Muslim” variety).

Conspiracy Theory: The Rise of Eurabia

The culmination of Bat Ye’or’s theories is what she coins as “Eurabia,” a (not so) clever combination of the words “Europe” and “Arabia.”  Basically, the theory is that Arab and Muslim immigration (of “stealth jihadists”) will soon overwhelm Europe, destroy Western culture and civilization forever, and replace the democratic governments with Taliban style theocracies.   While that does sound like an interesting plot for a fictional movie, it is pure insanity to take this seriously.  Bat Ye’or is simply delusional.  David Aaronovitch, a journalist for The Times, labels Bat Ye’or as a conspiracy theorist:

Pinch me a third time while we get to grips with “Eurabia”. This is a concept created by a writer called Bat Ye’or who, according to the publicity for her most recent book, “chronicles Arab determination to subdue Europe as a cultural appendage to the Muslim world-and Europe’s willingness to be so subjugated”. This, as students of conspiracy theories will recognise, is the addition of the Sad Dupes thesis to the Enemy Within idea.

Aaronovitch would know; he wrote the book entitled Voodoo Histories: the role of Conspiracy Theory in Modern History.  (Aaronovitch is no “dhimmi” as the Islamophobes would say; he produced a pro-Israeli documentary titled Blaming the Jews.)

Conspiracy Theory: The Churches of Europe are Colluding with Muslims

Bat Ye’or’s lunacy can be ascertained by some of her even more outlandish claims.  For example, she accuses the churches in Europe of being in a state of “collusion with the Muslims,” which she says have of their own volition become “Christian slave militias” that will “spearhead…the Islamic war against Christianity.”  According to her, the churches of Europe “reject…the Bible, which they read with a Koranic understanding.”  She goes on to say that European Christians “are more inclined to follow the Koranic Muslim Jesus, called Isa, than the Jewish Jesus.” Can any sober academic–or even sensible layman–take such drivel seriously?  But perhaps the reader thinks that we have taken her words out of context (after all, who could say something so crazy!), so let us reproduce her entire nonsensical answer verbatim so that her madness can be firmly established in the eyes of the reader:

JW: You’re accusing churches of collusion with the Muslims?

BY [Bat Ye’or]: Yes. Those churches know perfectly well the dire condition of Christians in Muslim lands. But instead of denouncing it, they adopt the militancy of the Janissaries, those Christian slave militias that were the spearhead of the Islamic war against Christianity. They forbid Christians to reveal the iniquities of modern dhimmitude in Arab countries, the enslavement of Christians in Sudan, the abductions and jihadic terror against innocent population. Those churches follow an arcionist theological line which separates the Gospels from the Hebrew Bible. They reject the historical legitimacy of Israel in its own land and, therefore, reject also the Bible, which they read with a Koranic understanding. They are more inclined to follow the Koranic Muslim Jesus, called Isa, than the Jewish Jesus. In my book, I call them the Islamized churches because their rejection of Israel’s history implies their refusal of the Bible and their acceptance of the Koranic version of the Bible that considers Christianity as a deformation of Islam.

This lunacy has been affirmed by another well-known loon–Daniel Pipes–who writes:

The historian Bat Ye’or, the first person to comprehend the gradual process of Europe accepting the dhimmi status, observes that this fundamental shift began with the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, when the continent began moving “into the Arab-Islamic sphere of influence, thus breaking the traditional trans-Atlantic solidarity.”

Translation: not only has Europe fallen under the Arab-Islamic sphere of influence–and not only has it become a subservient “dhimmi” to the Arab world–it is doing so willingly and of its own volition.  Riiiight, riiiight.  So Pipes is not far behind Bat Ye’or in looniness, which explains his reliance on her work.

Voice of Reason

Adam Keller, a well-known Israeli peace activist and cofounder of Gush Shalom, wrote a letter of protest to the Israeli publisher of Bat Ye’or’s book:

In 1886 the French antisemite Edouard Drumont published ‘La France Juive’ (Jewish France), creating the false nightmarish image of a France dominated by Jews, and sowing the poisonous seeds which came to fruit when Vichi French officials collaborated in the mass murder of French Jewry…

Bat Yeor’, [is] a British inflammatory writer who presumes to be a historian and who, I regret to note, is Jewish.  In this book – which, like the other works of this writer, is little more than a rabid anti-Muslim tract – ‘Bat Yeor’ follows in notorious footsteps indeed by creating the false nightmarish image of a Europe dominated by Arabs and Muslims. As Edouard Drumont sought to arouse the French people to persecute and kill their Jewish neighbours, so does Ms. Littman intend to drive Europeans into a continent-wide orgy of hatred and violence against the Muslim immigrants who are now a significant ethnic minority throughout the continent, and the great majority of whom seek nothing but to live useful and fruitful lives in their new homelands.

Ms. Littman’s reasons for writing her racist and inflammatory book are all too obvious. The reasons why you, a respectable publishing house, have chosen to present it to the Israeli public are far more obscure. Whatever these reasons might be, surely – now that you already taken this step – it would be appropriate to complete your task and produce also a companion volume, i.e. a Hebrew translation of ‘La France Juive’? After all, the informed Israeli reading public deserves to be given the chance of comparing the classical work of a master racist demagogue with that of his loyal present-day disciple and successor.

Craigh Smith of The New York Times refers to Bat Ye’or as one “of the most extreme voices” of the right:

A curious thing is happening in Belgium these days: a small but vocal number of Jews are supporting a far-right party whose founders were Nazi collaborators. The xenophobic party, Vlaams Belang, plays on fears of Arab immigrants and, unlike the prewar parties from which it is descended, courts Jewish votes…

Those fears shape some of the most extreme voices on the new Jewish right. Giselle Littman, who was expelled from Egypt in 1957 and now publishes under the pseudonym Bat Yeor, argues in her latest book, ”Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis,” that Europe has consciously allied itself with the Arab world at the expense of Jews and the trans-Atlantic alliance.

Johann Hari of The Independent writes of Bat Ye’or:

There are intellectuals on the British right who are propagating a conspiracy theory about Muslims that teeters very close to being a 21st century Protocols of the Elders of Mecca. Meet Bat Ye’or, a “scholar” who argues that Europe is on the brink of being transformed into a conquered continent called “Eurabia”.

In this new land, Christians and Jews will be reduced by the new Muslim majority to the status of “dhimmis” – second-class citizens forced to “walk in the gutter”. This will not happen by accident. It is part of a deliberate and “occult” plan, concocted between the Arab League and leading European politicians like Jacques Chirac and Mary Robinson, who secretly love Islam and are deliberately flooding the continent with Muslim immigrants. As Orianna Fallacci – one of the best-selling writers in Italy – has summarised the thesis in her hymns of praise to Ye’or, “Muslims have been told to come here and breed like rats.”

Rather than dismissing her preposterous assertions, high-profile writers like Melanie Phillips, Daniel Pipes and Niall Ferguson laud Ye’or as a suppressed hero, silenced by (you guessed it) “political correctness”. Her name is brandished as a gold standard in right-wing Tory circles. It’s interesting that writers so alert to anti-Semitism have lent their names to an ideology that is so startlingly similar. In this theory, the Star of David has simply been replaced by the Islamic crescent. If the term has any meaning, this is authentic Islamophobia, treating virtually all Muslims as verminous sharia-carriers. So why are these people still treated as serious and sane by the BBC and its editors?

Selective and Shoddy “Scholarship”

Bat Ye’or’s idea of history is nothing short of propaganda.  She said in one interview:

The Arab invaders arrived in [Jerusalem in] the 7th century, devastated the country, massacred and enslaved the population and expropriated the Jewish and Christian indigenous populations, as is related by contemporaneous sources.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

As for her actual work on dhimmis (Non-Muslims under Muslim rule) is concerned, it is selective and shoddy “scholarship.”  Professor Robert Brenton Betts, a well-renowned American historian who worked for the Library of Congress and the Department of State, criticizes Bet Ye’or’s book:

The general tone of the book is strident and anti-Muslim. This is coupled with selective scholarship designed to pick out the worst examples of anti-Christian behavior by Muslim governments, usually in time of war and threats to their own destruction (as in the case of the deplorable Armenian genocide of 1915). Add to this the attempt to demonize the so-called Islamic threat to Western civilization and the end-product is generally unedifying and frequently irritating.

(source: Robert Brenton Betts, “The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude” Middle East Policy 5-3 ; September 1997, pp. 200-2003)

Professor Michael Sells of the University of Chicago writes:

By obscuring the existence of pre-Christian and other old, non-Christian communities in Europe as well as the reason for their disappearance in other areas of Europe [due to Christian persecution], Bat Ye’or constructs an invidious comparison between the allegedly humane Europe of Christian and Enlightenment values and the ever present persecution within Islam. Whenever the possibility is raised of actually comparing circumstances of non-Christians in Europe to non-Muslims under Islamic governance in a careful, thoughtful manner, Bat Ye’or forecloses such comparison.

(source: The New Crusades: Construction the Muslim Enemy, by Professor Michael Sells, p.364)

In other words, the comparison that Bat Ye’or–and Islamophobes in general–flee from is the one between the Muslim lands in the pre-modern era with the contemporaneous Christian Europe.  Instead, they choose to compare medieval Islamdom with post-enlightenment and postmodern standards, a most unequal and unusually obtuse comparison.  Jan Platvoet sums it up best with a very nuanced answer (emphasis is mine):

Arab scholars praise the tolerance of Islam towards the ‘protected population’.  The Egyptian Qasim ‘Abduh Qasim, for instance, who has published several works on the dhimmis in Muslim lands in general, and Egypt in particular, emphasizes the positive attitude of Muslims towards non-Muslims, even under the regime of the eleventh-century Fatimid caliph al-Hakim, known for his persecution of minorities, especially the Christians.

The opposite point of view is represented by a number of researchers, notably a writer who [uses] the pseudonym Bat Ye’or, i.e. Daughter of the Nile.  She has managed to select from the body of historiographical evidence, chronicles and documents, only that material which portrays the negative aspects.  Some such materials can occasionally be found, relating to various episodes, periods, and areas; it is therefore no wonder that she has succeeded in filling a complete volume, now published in several languages, on the maltreatment of the dhimmis by Muslims.  Bat Ye’or has recently published a new book dedicated exclusively to the long history of Christians under Muslim rule; this book is characterized by the same spirit as her previous book on the dhimmis.

…It seems that the truth lies somewhere in between [Qasim and Bat Ye’or’s version]…The life of the dhimmis in the shade of Islam was certainly not easy, but at least their physical security (aman) and the safety of their property was assured, almost without exception.

(Pluralism and Identity, by Jan Platvoet, p.169)

Nazi propaganda showing Jewish octopus taking over the world, not unlike image up top of Islamic crescent taking over Europe

Nazi propaganda showing Jewish octopus taking over the world, not unlike image up top of Islamic crescent taking over Europe

In other words, Bat Ye’or scours historical texts to find all the negative points she possibly can, and then she compiles them into a book.  Naturally, the span of Islamic history was over a thousand years, so she can easily fill up hundreds of pages, giving the credulous reader the false impression that Islamic history was incredibly dastardly.  To give a suitable analogy, let’s say Rodney King were to scour all the reports throughout the country for the last fifty years for all acts of police brutality–and then compiled them into a book–he could easily fill hundreds of pages.  A person who relied on his book would get the false impression that the police were–and are–always brutal, or at least more so than not.  One gets a skewed picture from such a selective analysis.

The Islamophobe Robert Spencer argues that Bat Ye’or’s book is convincing because it is “full…[of] almost half primary source documents so that one can see the voracity of what she is saying from very ancient texts.” Yet it is convincing only because it is selective and biased; Bat Ye’or simply sifted throughout Islamic history to selectively find all the instances of anti-Jewish and anti-Christian persecution, ignoring the overwhelming majority of Islamic history which was characterized according to the overwhelming number of scholars by relative tolerance (for the times, and certainly compared to Christendom); if Bat Ye’or could fill a book with her quotes, it would only be a slight exaggeration to say that we could fill an entire anthology with quotes highlighting the relative tolerance of Muslims.  Taken selectively, Bat Ye’or’s choice of quotes seem damning, but diluted within the proper context, they would be less convincing of an argument.  One can easily carry out such a hatchet job on Christian (and even Jewish) history in a similar fashion.

World renowned Jewish-Israeli historian Nissim Rejwan warns:

By way of conclusion, a word of caution is in order…It must be pointed out that the picture has not been uniformly so rosy and that instances of religious intolerance toward and discriminatory treatment of Jews under Islam are by no means difficult to find. This point is of special relevance at a time in which, following a reawakening of interest in the history of Arab-Jewish relations among Jewish writers and intellectuals, certain interested circles have been trying to…[question the] Judeo-Arabic tradition or symbiosis by digging up scattered pieces of evidence to show that Islam is essentially intolerant…and that Muslims’ contempt for Jews was even greater and more deep-seated than that manifested by Christians…

Such caricatures of the history of Jews under Islam continue to be disseminated by scholars as well as by interested publicists and ideologues. Indeed, all discussion of relations between Jews and Muslims…is beset by the most burning emotions and by highly charged sensitivities. In their eagerness to repudiate the generally accepted version of these relations (a version which, it is worthwhile pointing out, originates not in Muslim books of history but with Jewish historians and Orientalists in nineteenth-century Europe), certain partisan students of the Middle East conflict today seem to go out of their way to show that, far from being the record of harmonious coexistence it is often claimed to be, the story of Jewish-Muslim relations since the time of Muhammad was “a sorry array of conquest, massacre, subjection, spoilation in goods and women and children, contempt, expulsion-[and] even the yellow badge…”

Informed by a fervor seldom encountered in scholarly discourse, some of these latter-day historians have gone so far as to question even the motives of those European-Jewish scholars of the past century who virtually founded modern Oriental and Arabic studies and managed to unearth the impressive legacy of Judeo-Arabic culture, a culture that was undeniably an outcome of a long and symbiotic encounter between Muslims and Jews.

…[But] by the standards then prevailing-and they are plainly the only ones by which a historian is entitled to pass judgment-Spanish Islamic tolerance was no myth but a reality of which present-day Muslim Arabs are fully justified in reminding their contemporaries…Tolerance, then, is a highly relative concept, and the only sensible way of gauging the extent of tolerance in a given society or culture in a given age is to compare it with that prevailing in other societies and cultures in the same period…

The only plausible conclusion one could draw from the whole debate is that, while Jewish life in Muslim Spain-and under Islam generally-was not exactly the idyllic paradise some would want us to believe, it was far from the veritable hell that was the Jews’ consistent lot under Christendom.

Bat Ye’or: The Pioneer of “Dhimmitude”

The Usual Suspects: Bat Yeor and Robert Spencer

The Usual Suspects: Bat Ye'or and Robert Spencer

It should be noted that the Islamophobe Robert Spencer refers to Bat Ye’or as “the pioneering scholar of dhimmitude” (emphasis is ours).  The word “pioneer” indicates that she is the first to voice such views.  In other words, the traditional and long-established understanding of academics and historians is at variance with Bat Ye’or’s assessment: Muslim history was characterized by relative lenience and tolerance towards dhimmis.  (Again, all things are relative; while certainly it wouldn’t be considered tolerant to today’s standards and norms, back then it certainly was, evidenced by historical statements from the “dhimmis” themselves.)

The fact that Bat Ye’or is the first to challenge traditional and established opinion is evidenced by what J.G. Jansen, an outspoken Dutch critic of militant Islam, says:

In 1985, Bat Ye’or offered Islamic studies a surprise with her book, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, a convincing demonstration that the notion of a traditional, lenient, liberal, and tolerant Muslim treatment of the Jewish and Christian minorities is more myth than reality.

While Jansen’s view that Bat Ye’or’s book is “convincing” is certainly questionable coming from him, his quote is significant in that it shows that up until Bat Ye’or’s book the traditional and predominant scholarly opinion was that Islamic history was characterized by relative tolerance, certainly in comparison to contemporaneous Christendom. Bat Ye’or is after all the one who coined the term “dhimmitude,” which Islamophobes–including Robert Spencer and Daniel Pipes–make recurrent use of.

The Usual Suspects: Bat Yeor and Pamela Geller

The Usual Suspects: Bat Ye'or and Pamela Geller

The fact that Bat Ye’or is the first to counter traditional opinion does not mean that the predominant view of scholars has changed, as Bat Ye’or “is still quite far from entering the European mainstream,” according to Shwartz.  But–according to Wistrich–”a real change toward her emerged in the 1990s, and especially in recent years,” as she became accepted in “extreme right-wing circles.”  It is this motley group which is trying through sheer force and fear to influence academia, and push pseudo-intellectuals like Bat Ye’or into the arena of historical discourse.  The fact that the leading Islamophobes reference her (including Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller) indicates the weakness of their sources, and calls to question their own credibility.

Spencer argues that it is only “political correctness” that prevents people from taking Bat Ye’or seriously; no, my Islamophobic friend, it is not political correctness, but academic integrity.  When you consider an Islamophobe to be the leading scholar of Islam in the world, then something is profoundly wrong.  Simply substitute the word “Jews” for “Muslims” in the following sentence and the matter becomes clear: “Muslims will take over Europe.”  Anyone who said that about Jews would be branded an Anti-Semite and academically ostracized, yet hey, it’s open season for Muslim-bashing!

The Bottom Line

Even if we were to accept the fallacious argument that Muslim history was characterized by profound and incessant intolerance, then what does that mean for us today?  The Mongols were historically known to be intolerant, at least the Genghis Khan variety; how should that affect our opinion of Mongolians today?  Do we discriminate against them based on their historical record?  What do the present day Mongolians have to do with those of the past?  Do people inherit sins?

The relevance of Islamic history to today’s popular discourse is questionable.  It is in fact designed to demonize Muslims, but the reality is that the question shouldn’t even arise.  Why is it that Muslims of today are on trial for what their ancestors supposedly did?  Should all nations now demand their pound of flesh from all who wronged their people in ancient times?  Maybe we should create a system of reparations…?

Then what is the end goal for Islamophobes like Bat Ye’or?  Why does she spend so much time pontificating about the historical record?  It all boils down to one thing: immigration. She has highlighted the negative aspects of Islamic history in order to push the argument for a tight control (or rather, full cessation) of Arab and Muslim immigration to Europe.  Indeed, Islamophobia is simply another flavor of xenophobia.

In every generation, there have been xenophobes, who have this irrational fear of the other.  In American history, it started with the Irish and Italian immigrants who were both heavily discriminated against due to their religion and skin color.  Then it was against the Chinese who were brought to build railroads, the Japanese in World War II, and so on.  What history has born out consistently however is that the xenophobes always end up with egg on their faces.  They are on the wrong side; tolerance and multiculturalism always win out over intolerance and bigotry.  The question is: which side are you on?

UPDATE: A related article on dhimmitude can be found here.