Among my stack of vacation books, which includes Knife of Dreams, the eleventh of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (delightfully, it returns to the smaller print of the earlier books, so it’s longer than the previous three), and 1776 by David McCullough, is Eurabia by Bat Ye’or, the French-speaking Jewish expert on dhimmitude. (See her book of that title.)

Her thesis in this most recent book that Europe has essentially entered the cultural “sphere of influence” of Islam, and been taken over by it, just as Asian and African countries were taken over by the colonial powers. She persuasively argues that jihad is a fundamental part of the Islamic framework; that it existed before the Crusades, and cannot be excused as a response to them; that it has shaped Islam’s relationship to its borders ever since the beginning. According to Bat Ye’or (who is a meticulous scholar, and quotes several Islamic authorities, past and present, for each of her premises), the juridical philosophy of jihad allows for three possible conditions of a nation: 1) Those who are at war with Islam. This is the natural condition of all infidels. In Islamic thought, they  must declare peace when it occurs, but war is assumed. 2) Those who have a truce, and can trade peacefully. Truces are only allowed when the Islamic forces do not have the ability to conquer the territory at this time, and wish to regroup, or if the other country is paying tribute. The truce can only last for ten years, and must be renewed after that. Any actions derogatory to Islam automatically break the truce. (This would be Europe in its current condition. Bin Laden specifically referred to a truce with Europe in some of his messages, and the broken truce can be seen in the recent cartoon furor.) 3) Nations which have surrendered, have accepted dhimmi status. They are protected from outright violence, but are subject to economic and social sanctions. This is where all the formerly Christians civilizations of the Middle East and North Africa have gone, and Europe is rapidly following. 

Bat Ye’or traces the centrality of this vision of the world to Islamic thought, and shows how Europe has been gradually falling into submission to Islam for the past several decades. Moreover, Muslims see themselves under an obligation to fight evil. By definition, anyone not submitting to Mohammed and Allah is evil. Therefore they are morally obligated to fight – and not in the pietistic, self-improving manner so sweetly expounded to PC Americans – to fight infidels.

My own thoughts: The humanism and relativism of the West has made many pundits and thinkers incapable of recognizing the force of absolute moral conviction. True outrage at evil is so foreign to their thought processes that they cannot fathom the dedication which such a conviction produces in Muslims. Much as I hate it, I feel a kinship with Muslims in this area. I also believe that there is absolute evil in this society, and absolute evil in people refusing to worship the true God. I suppose one could say it’s humility which makes the big difference here. I don’t presume to be able to correct all this evil. I don’t think that even with a whole lot of my friends, if I went around shooting and blowing things up, could I fix the problem. God is the only one who can redeem fallen man. No one comes to the Father unless the Father draws him; and whoever he has given to the Son will surely come to him, and by no means be lost. For people who profess belief in fate, and absolute predestination, Muslims seem to have little practical faith in God’s providence.

I’ve only read the first two chapters so far; more to follow.