„Can Europe be the same, with different people in it?“, aks the U.S. journalist Christopher Caldwell. His answer is a resounding and distinct „No“. The Muslim mass immigration during the past 50 years has already changed Europe a lot. By the year 2050, family reunion and the Muslim fertility rate will do the rest. European politicians previously overestimated the necessity of foreign workers and still don’t understand the cultue-shaping power of Islam. As a consequence, the welfare state will soon collapse, and the political changes will be far-reaching.
The end of the welfare state
To prove these statements, Christopher Caldwell introduces in the first part of his book in the history of the (Muslim) Immigration in Europe. He points to the fundamental mistakes of political elites: In the beginning Europe just needed workers. But when they decided to stay, they got their families to join them. This and for example the death of heavy industry meant that although the number of foreigners living in Germany from 3 million in 1971 increased to 7.5 million by the millennium, the number of foreigners working, however, remained stable at 2 million.
Later, Europe’s politicians have argued with the demographic change on immigration. But the United Nations („Replacement Migration“) have even calculated, that more than 701 million immigrants would have come into Europe since 1960, to balance the superannuation of the population. This would be far more people than living here right now. Moreover, as Christopher Caldwell cited a Spanish study found that even a massive influx yields liitle, since most migrants working in low-wage sector, and also are getting old and will claim their pensions.
The understanding of Islam
The other two parts of „Reflections on the Revolution in Europe“, dealing with Islam as a religion, the Muslims and Europe’s weakness, to oppose the political religion. Christopher Caldwell points again and again on Islam itself, and the fact that the Europeans underestimate „the culture-shaping potential of religion.“ He asks the question if Islam itself can be the source of the terrorism practiced in its name or whether its a misuse of the religion. There is little sense speaking of ‘moderate Muslims’ if there are no ‘unmoderates’, be it in a religious or political way. „[W]ithout an underlying belief that there is something especially dangerous about Islam, the term ‘moderate Muslim’ makes no sense.“ At the same time, the author suggested that Western politicians, especially after terrorist attacks, acquit Islam because they know in their bones, that it just happened because of Islam. Why else should Westerners have to explain to Muslims what is their belief or not?
For Christopher Caldwell it is also the Muslim population itself, which prepares European problems. Fundamentalists disrupt the co-existence, although obvious, but in the long run the simple presence of growing Muslim populations will take their toll. Between political Islam (ie the Muslim Brotherhood) and jihadism (by al-Qaeda, etc.) the author does not, however, differentiate, which leads to blur his concept of Islam a bit. Here a differentiation makes sense, like Thomas Tartsch has suggested in the German book „Da’wa and Jihad“.
Europe’s lack of response
The author shatters in his analysis European ideals in a accurate and sustainable way, such as a European Islam that is compatible to democrazy and liberal. Islam had great times, but „it is in no sense Europe’s religion and it is in no sense Europe’s culture.“ Europe is in competition with Islam concerning the loyalty of the immigrants, only that Islam has currently the best cards, at least in terms of demography. If many Muslims migrate to Europe, it means, they prefer life there, but it does not necessarily mean that they want the European culture too.
Measures to integrate showed mainly the weakness of the Europeans, not to ask about other cultures because of the felt guilt for World War II, the Holocaust and colonialism. The dialogue with Islam is often naive, like the Islam-Konferenz (Islamic Conference) initiated by the German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.
The U.S. perspective
Christopher Caldwell writes from the perspective of an American journalist with a lot of European experience. He knows the European literature on Islam and immigration, he read Oriana Fallaci („The Rage and the Pride,“ „The Force of Reason“), as well as studies by the German Ministry of Interior („Muslims in Germany“). His view from the outside seems to be non-dogmatic and distanced enough to light all facets of the immigration phenomena. The author always dicusses possible objections in order to disprove them afterwards thoroughly.
The book addresses very clear an American audience, because the author uses repeatedly comparisons to the developments in the United States to clarify what is happening similar, but above all, what works in Europe otherwise. At the same time, however, the work stands out for the European reader with clarity, even by political incorrectness to venture here, unfortunately, only a few authors. A journalist working up with scientific precision as that of Christopher Caldwell is found rather rare. There remains hope that „Reflections on the Revolution in Europe“, will be translated into German (and other languages) and won’t be limited to the English-speaking world such as Bat Ye’ors „Eurabia“.
This is a translation of the German book review by the author at BuchTest.