Monday, August 30, 2004

An Islamic Europe

“Bernard Lewis, the world-famous historian and expert on Islam, predicted that Europe will become Islamic by the end of the century as a result of emigration patterns and birth rates.” Al-Sharq, Qatar, 8/20/04

Such a remark made by a distinguished historian and expert on Islamic countries like Bernard Lewis is extremely worrying. However, if we look closely into the social problems regarding mass emigration of Moslem's to European countries, one can understand that most of these immigrants are economic refugees.

Of course, such a transition from a Christian continent to an Islamic one in the near future is not a hypothesis. The Netherlands, one of the smaller European countries but with one of the largest Islamic communities in Europe has been predicted to have - in less than 30 years, a majority Muslim population. One can fear the day when by majority votes the Dutch queen is forced to wear the Islamic hejab in her public appearances!!

Spain, a much larger European country but with a negative birth rate among its indigenous people will also have a majority Muslim population in the future.

Such trend will follow in other European states with large Islamic communities, such as France, Germany and Switzerland.

But it seems to me that people are unfortunately very shortsighted as well as forgetful. All problems, issues and international threats regarding Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism etc. commenced with the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran in 1979.

The West should allow as well as aid the Islamic countries to progress and prosper through secular and democratically elected governments. Even though such developments may result in a more expensive economical life for Europeans and Americans due to eventual industrialization of these countries; but its long-term advantages are that desperate citizens of these countries will not head westward in search of a better life for themselves and their family.

Democracy and secularism in third world as well as Middle Eastern countries will result in prosperity of these countries, if the Western world – and in particular the giant oil cartels, allow it to happen!

Such developments will reabsorb many immigrants back to their homeland and therefore, create a more balanced world where a Middle Eastern or a third world countries' citizen's standards of life will not be so far behind from those in the Western societies.

But unfortunately all the West seems to be aiming for are:
The constant flow of cheap oil for the Western industry
The prevention of the M.E. countries from becoming industrialized

The West needs the cheap oil and if the Middle Eastern countries - like Iran of the 70s become industrialized nations, who also have the advantage of immense oil and gas reserves; they will easily take over the world consumer markets.

Can you imagine if Iran as it was predicted in the late 70s had become the "Japan of Western Asia" by mid-80s? Naturally the West made sure that such path would be closed and avoided with the advent of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

The West needs to rethink its values and long-term prospects before it's too late.

A TRULY secular and democratic government in Iran can change the pattern on an international scale. With no further support to any foreign or internal terrorist organizations or Islamic fundamentalist groups, supporting a peaceful negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians and corporation with regional governments, once again Iran can play a constructive role on the international political scenes.

A democratic Iran, whether under a republican system or a constitutional monarchy can guarantee peace, development and hence, prosperity in the region. But are these the attributes that the West would like to associate with the Middle East?

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