Alex's Outlook

Monday, February 23, 2004

Islam's ascent continues in the UK 


Our libertarian friends across the Atlantic are worried:

I can think of all manner of intriguing discussions could be sparked off by this report in the UK Sunday Times:
MORE than 14,000 white Britons have converted to Islam after becoming disillusioned with western values, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.
Some of Britain’s top landowners, celebrities and the offspring of senior Establishment figures have embraced the strict tenets of the Muslim faith.

The trend is being encouraged by Muslim leaders who are convinced that the conversion of prominent society figures will help protect a community stigmatised by terrorism and fundamentalism.

I rather hope it is but my ambitions are irrelevant. The question is whether this is just a conversion du jour among people with a God-shaped hole in them or whether this is the start of Islam making serious inroads into native British society. If it is the latter then it certainly has some way to go. Out of a population of some 59 million or so, I don't think a mere 14,200 could be called statistically significant.

The more interesting question for me is not in the number of conversions but the type and class of the converts. Assuming the article is accurate, the overwhelming majority of the converts are among (for want of a better term) the 'rich and famous'. Now why is that, I wonder?

And just how different from the history of Christianity in these Islands which took hold in Roman Britain as very much a working-class movement and which filtered up to the ruling elites.


Islam's rise in Europe certainly does have eerie parallels with Christianity's ascent in the late Roman Empire. Europe today is at least as hedonistic and morally bankrupt as Rome was, and it's not surprising to see a new, radical belief system take root as a reaction to the collapse of the previous one (Christianity).

Unfortunately, whereas Christianity's takeover of Rome was peaceful, I think that Islam's victory in Europe will be anything but, assuming immigration continues at current rates (which is admittedly doubtful). Sunni Islam, which is under the theological control of the extremely violent Wahhabis, lacks paleo-Christianity's convenient nonviolence clause. The overwhelming majority of European immigrants, as well as worldwide Muslims, are Sunnis.

Even if the rest of Europe follows in the Netherlands' footsteps and cuts immigration off, the European "pay-go" pension systems will collapse, along with tax receipts and economic activity. At least we don't have to worry about a nascent European superpower...unless it becomes Muslim-majority, that is...

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