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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Pipes comments on Middle East

Published: April 27, 2007
Section: News

Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes spoke to a crowd of over eighty on Monday in the Shapiro Theatre. He lectured to a mainly off-campus audience on The Islamization of Europe.

Pipes, commenting on the controversy of the last few months and thanking the Middle East Review for navigating the various straits that got us here, told the audience that the topic of Islam in Europe is the elephant in the room its a deep, profound issue. He added that Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam.

According to Pipes, there were three possible futures for Europe, which he explored over the course of his lecture: Muslim domination of Europe, Europe rejects Islam, or everybody gets along.

For the first hypothesis, Pipes mentioned that an Italian minister was bounced because he is a believing Catholic. He also mentioned that in Europe, a dwindling European birth rate and confidence in Christianity was coming against an increase of Muslim immigrants and birth rate, as well as a stronger confidence in their religion: Europe is being called the new dark continent, he said.

Furthermore, Pipes stated, many immigrants do not see that they are coming to something worthwhile, using Britain as an example: [while] trying to impose Britishness was seen as offensive if you denigrate your own culture, you find your rivals trying to find another one elsewhere. Pipes cited that Europes religious and cultural alienation came from the First World War: Europeans found themselves in the abyss 90-odd years ago, and theyve never really been the same since.

Mentioning Prince Charles subtle shift from Protector of the Faith to Protector of Faithall faith, Pipes also cited that in contrast to the secularizing of Europe, in Brussels, Muhammad is the most popular name for baby boys, adding that Brussels and Rotterdam will soon have Muslim majorities.

Adding that many of these new immigrants focus on pornography, divorce, and homosexuality, Pipes said that the increasingly secular nature of European society would keep new immigrants from wanting to assimilate. The immigrants are coming with a very arrogant sense, he told an audience member. Stating that some critics views that the faith is growing like a canker, Pipes said that one conclusion is there is a dominant secularism on one hand, and Europe will be Islamized because the yin of Europe will meet with the yang of Islamizationthey fit well together.

The other likely prospect, Pipes said, is that Muslims will be rejected. According to some, Pipes said, Europes Muslims are living on borrowed time.

Citing instances of the recent French movement to serve pork soup to the homeless to make sure whos who and to serve wine at important dinners with Muslims, he said there is every reason to think that these parties will get stronger [that] fascist and violent action would reject multiculturalism. According to Pipes, European Muslims are worried about incarceration, brutality [or] Hitler-style gas chambers for Muslims we cannot be sure that a European reassertion would happen voluntarily, or without violence.

Finally, Pipes mentioned the third possibility, which was Europeans and Muslims living together peacefully, in which Muslims do not expect to change the European state, but are expected to adapt to European culture. To create a greater equilibrium in populations, Pipes said, would require more immigration from Latin America and China, which would create an increase of the Christian population.

Still, Pipes said, he did not feel this would be likely: Europeans find it too strenuous to have children, to stop illegal immigration, or to even diversify. While Pipes finally injected his opinion saying that I would personally like to see Islam get Europeanized, he added that while neither Europe nor the immigrant population make the effort to assimilate, Europe marches us all into terra incognita.

Students, despite much of the controversy surrounding Pipes, were fairly positive about his speech. Only two questioners during the event raised some tension: Julia Gordon 07 asked Pipes to explain his eugenics argument, to which he responded where did you hear that? Thats not a place I would ever want to go to. Jacob Korman 08, meanwhile, was interrupted while speaking to Pipes by moderator Jacob Olidort 07, when his statements were not framed as a question.

The biggest problem I had with his argument was that on the one hand he argued that European culture is so weak and undervalued by Europeans that Muslims are rejecting it, yet on the other hand he argued that European culture is so strong to be impenetrable by Muslims, said Adam Schwartzbaum 07. So which is it: is Europe's culture so weak that its unattractive, or so strong that its inaccessible to immigrants? I don't see how you can have both at once.

He was very Islamophobic, him saying that if you want multiculturalism you need Chinese people it shows hes not looking for a solution to this. Its not the idea of a culture clash that bothers him, its an Islam in Europe, said Korman. Hes trying to bring about anger and worry. I think there are solutions, but Pipes was not interested in looking at them Theres a reason he was called a weapon of mass destruction before he came here. I think because of that quote, he moderated his views, because otherwise he would prove what Jehuda said.

Ben Sacks 10 said,I didnt think Pipes was controversial in any way. He mainly listed different possibilities for the future of the relationship between Europe and Islam. He didnt even explain which possibility he supported. I felt more like he was putting an issue on the table than making a stand on it.

Editors Note: Ben Sacks 10 is the Features Editor.