Monday, 17 August 2009

A culture of fear | Books | The Guardian - "Europe is at risk of being 'colonised' by its Muslim populations, argue a number of bestselling new books, acclaimed across the political spectrum. How has such hysteria gone unchallenged? Pankaj Mishra on the 'Eurabia-mongers'."

Pupils, some wearing Muslim headscarves, in the playground at Grange School in Oldham

A number of new books are promoting the idea that Europe is at risk of being 'colonised' by its Muslim populations. Photograph: Christopher Thomond

This article in the Guardian this weekend got me thinking - I try not to condem books I've never read, but its hard when you hear about something like Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the 'Revolution in Europe: Can Europe Be the Same With Different People in It?' which apparently states that Muslims are "conquering Europe's cities, street by street", despit statistics clearly showing that that's far from the truth. Mishra picks out one line in particular of Caldwell's that made me feel deeply, deeply uneasy - about how he thinks that "advanced" cultures (ie the 'West') "have a long track record of underestimating their vulnerability to 'primitive' ones". It reminded me of the same outrageous bigotry being promoted about 400 or 500 years ago about the Muslim 'infidel' and all the fears and anxities about ethnicity, race and religion that bubbled under the surface of colonization.

Should I read books like those by Caldwell, Mark Steyn or Bruce Bawer, in order to 'know the enemy' and be able to rip them apart with the benefit of first-hand knowledege? On the other hand, I don't want to buy these books and give the people who wrote them my money...

Posted via web from lauren's posterous