Conversions to Islam will reshape the West

Summary: Today’s post gives something different – a wild guess about the future of Islam in the West. It might have a big future as conversions swell their numbers. This will surprise us, as such things always do.

“The health of a people comes only from its inner life – from the life of its soul and its spirit.”
— Words on a granite memorial stone in Berlin for Walther Rathenau.

Masjid (Arabic for mosque).

 

Demography almost guarantees a big future for Islam. Pew Research shows that Muslims are younger than average and have higher fertility.

“{i}n the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group. While the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060. In 2015, Muslims made up 24.1% of the global population. Forty-five years later, they are expected to make up more than three-in-ten of the world’s people (31.1%).”

Pew Research shows that the same is happening in Europe. The Islamic population of Germany was 4.1% in 2010 and 6.1% in 2016 (the report shows the number in each nation). Depending on the rate of immigration, they predict by 2050 it will be 8.7% to 19.7%.

Pew Research shows that today 1.1% of Americans are Muslim.

“By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-largest religious group after Christians. And by 2050, the U.S. Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the nation’s total population. …the Muslim population has continued to grow at a rate of roughly 100,000 per year, driven both by higher fertility rates among Muslim Americans as well as the continued migration of Muslims to the U.S.

“Religious conversions haven’t had a large impact on the size of the U.S. Muslim population, largely because about as many Americans convert to Islam as leave the faith. Indeed, while about one-in-five American Muslim adults were raised in a different faith tradition and converted to Islam, a similar share of Americans who were raised Muslim now no longer identify with the faith.

 

"No democracy we want just islam."

Underestimating the growth of Islam

The history of the West for century has been a series of surprises, with every decade’s key events confounding predictions made at the beginning. Each generation lived lives astonishing to those of their parents.

My guess — a wild guess — is that large-scale conversions to Islam will be the surprise from the Generation Z (born after ~1995). Especially in western and northern Europe. There will be two drivers.

First, people without beliefs are vulnerable to those with firm beliefs. Vacuums in the soul left by the death of old religions are filled by new faiths. That’s the story of the Roman Empire and Christianity – the Roman Catholic Church (exhausted after the Middle Ages) and the Protestant Reformation – and the Byzantine Empire and Islam.

Technology and social trends have eroded away the spiritual foundations of the West.

“I have seen young people, and older people too, who are good democratic liberals, lovers of peace and gentleness, struck dumb with admiration for individuals threatening or using the most terrible violence for the slightest and tawdriest reasons. They have a sneaking suspicion that they are face to face with men of real commitment, which they themselves lack. …

“Persons deeply committed to values are admired. Their intense belief, their caring or concern, their believing in something, is the proof of autonomy, freedom and creativity. Such persons are the contrary of easygoing, and they have standards, all the more worthy because they are …not based on a reality all can see, or derived from thin rationalizing confined to calculation about material interests.”

We see this at work in those European nations that have allowed in massive numbers of Muslim immigrants. These people have different highest values. Conflict has been avoided in most cases by the natives giving way to their new citizens. Those who believe nothing give way to those who have strong beliefs. It is the story of history.

The next stage is that a new generation will find those who believe more attractive than those with empty souls – and defect.

Second, people join religions for benefits. The West offers young men re-education to overcome their masculinity and marriage with high odds of divorce. The Left assume that men have no alternative. Islam might prove them wrong, especially if it changes to better fit the West’s culture and needs. It offers to men of the West things no longer easily available: patriarchy, pride, and status.

What does Islam offer to women of the West? Security and strong men (fortified by patriarchy). Some women in Europe already find this attractive, and are converting to Islam.

Islam will conquer Europe
Source of photo unknown.

Conclusions

A strong base of Western Islam in Europe might (guessing) help those nations absorb the millions of Islamic migrants (past and future, and their descendents). It would give them a cultural “bridge” to the West. It would provide a social form to which they could honorably integrate: a western authority to which they could honorably submit, and one willing to discipline them.

A strong Islamic minority in Europe or America might put Western civilization on a new path to the future. They would be be a vibrant opposition to the Leftist cultural evolution now reshaping the West (ironic, since the Left’s support for open borders makes Islam’s rise possible). It might reduce cultural conflict – or greatly increase it. We cannot begin to guess at the larger effects on the West. Time will tell.

A novel about one future of Europe

See the French best-seller Submission – a novel by Michel Houellebecq, a French writer (2015). From the publisher …

“As the 2022 French Presidential election looms, two candidates emerge as favourites: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, and the charismatic Muhammed Ben Abbes of the growing Muslim Fraternity. Forming a controversial alliance with the political left to block the Front National’s alarming ascendency, Ben Abbes sweeps to power, and overnight the country is transformed. This proves to be the death knell of French secularism, as Islamic law comes into force: women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged and, for our narrator François – misanthropic, middle-aged and alienated – life is set on a new course.”

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Islam, about the clash of civilizations, and especially these…

  1. The Fight for Islamic Hearts and Minds.
  2. Business 101 tells us what to expect next from jihadists: good news for them, bad for us.
  3. We are the attackers in the Clash of Civilizations. We’re winning.
  4. Handicapping the clash of civilizations: bet on the West to win big.
  5. Omar Ali: Islam vs. Western liberalism; only one can win.
  6. Martin van Creveld calls out the cowards in Europe.
  7. Warning of the “Strange Death of Europe.”
  8. Strange perspectives on the challenges facing Europe.

52 thoughts on “Conversions to Islam will reshape the West

    1. American Muse,

      If so, it will be our own fault. Slow and stupid are the two sins that Nature’s God always punishes.

  1. Preaching to the choir, Mr Kummer. I find nothing attractive or impressive about Islam, to put it mildly, save for the admittedly remarkable, rabid destructiveness and ignorance it seems to encourage.

    But having experienced first hand the off-putting – I can’t think of a single word to encompass this so I’ll digress: Pallid, lukewarm, nobody can judge me but God, anything goes, unimpressive spiritual oatmeal that is modern Christianity, I too hunger for more spineful and meaningful direction.

    Like many my age I’ve struggled with finding purpose when everything praises “just be yourself”. (But how am I supposed to know who I am?? Try and fail at one thing after another?) But what is there to inspire from a pastor who wants his men to be dutiful sheep to shrieking harridans, or a pope who says that there is no Hell, or professors who teach that my very existence is a sin that must be purged?

    Our history and culture and great works give inspiration that what we’ve done is worth remembering and saving, but who we are seems to be a question that one must answer for himself nowadays, and I think it is evident that, american individualism aside, we are not meant to answer that question alone. I think Tribalism and the need for group identity is built into our BIOS, and if Christianity and liberalism (not left leaning but the historical sense of liberalism as such) will not provide an identity that can defend all that our forefathers have built, then new tribes must be formed.

    1. The American Muse,

      “to put it mildly, save for the admittedly remarkable, rabid destructiveness and ignorance it seems to encourage.”

      I suspect that your experience with Islam is limited. Like Christianity and Judaism, it has many forms – and constantly changes. One of those variants might fit the West, and “go viral.” It’s a common phenomenon in history.

  2. “Islam might prove them wrong, especially if it changes to better fit the West’s culture and needs.”

    I think this is going to be the rub; if there is a mass shift towards Islam in the West, among native Europeans/whites/whatever you want to class ’em as, it will probably not just be the copy-pasting of the Sunni Islam that the refugee population flows have brought. Indeed, Islam’s casting in quasi-ethnic terms is probably going to interfere with any hypothetical conversion efforts (on both sides.)

    If the Iranians were clever they’d start marketing Shia Islam in Europe. Based on my jaundiced view in the Buddhist community, Westerners love to feel like they’re adopting a religion and doing it better than the native practicioners… and they’d have Hassan-e Sabbah and the Assassins as a heroic example, too.

    1. SF,

      “Islam’s casting in quasi-ethnic terms is probably going to interfere with any hypothetical conversion efforts (on both sides.)”

      That’s not part of Islam. It’s just a western prejudice.

      More likely (guessing) is the opposite: a strong base of Western Islam in Europe might facilitate absorbing of Islamic migrants. It would give them a cultural “bridge” to the West, providing a social form to which they could honorably integrate – a western authority to which they could honorably submit (and one willing to discipline them, in return).

    1. dashui,

      “There’s no shame in being a Chechen.”

      To what are you referring?

  3. You should really read Submission by Michel Houellebecq {see Wikipedia}. He wrote a satire about this, as yet hypothetical, scenario, echoing the very reason you pointed out:

    “people without beliefs are vulnerable to those with firm beliefs. Vacuums in the soul left by the death of old religions are filled by new faiths.”

    There is a moment when the secular protagonist visits the Black Madonna, looking around he sees only the very old, a dying religion, and experiences a religious revelation, if at that moment Catholicism had have been available he probably would have turned to it, as it turns out Islam fill that void. It is an oddly moving scene.

    I don’t know if you or Houellebecq are correct that Islam is what will fill the void, but there is a powerful yearning abroad, look at the popularity of Jordan Peterson, to my mind his appeal is built on his absolute sincerity and his father like advise to the young, something they obviously are not getting at the moment.

    There is a line in the film Fight Club: “We’re a generation of men raised by women. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.”

    There is a point where men will turn to what is viable, if Islam offers a way out from a form of feminist emasculation, perhaps this is a good alternative? Islam may change Europe, but the converse is also true, Europe will change Islam, a European Islam would be a very different beast from the middle eastern verity. Would it be so bad? Multiple wives, Father again as the head of the household, single earner households would mean men would see there wages rise, women would leave the work force, modesty would again be the rule, not this soft core porn that passes as popular culture.

    Lots of Muslims drink and smoke (from what i saw in England), I can’t see a European Muslim being any different. It’s not a hard religion to follow, prayers on Friday, fast for Ramadan, compared to the bewildering array of religious holidays and obligations a observant Catholic had to remember it hardly seems like any effort at all.

    The trick would be getting women to convert, if you managed that for sure the men would only be too happy to follow suit (considering the obvious benefits from a mans point of view)

    Obviously if Europe turned into some kind of outpost of Isis, well that wouldn’t be great, but it’s hard to see how that would happen. It would be a moderate Islam, a European version of Islam that would have popular appeal if the massive conversion were to take place. The same way Islam is very different in Malaysia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Africa.

    Islam would be absorbed by the local European cultures, travel through German, France, Italy, Spain, and you’ll see how different they each are, and how vibrant the local customs are. Although there are difference between east and west, North and South in the USA, it is nothing like how different Europe is. Europe is very resistant to change, what works in one place wont work down the street. If Islam was to seek to convert the native population (or keeps its own young people) it would need to rapidly change from its middle eastern and north African roots, in essence it would need to become European. I would imagine alcohol, and pork would be back on the menu, especially in the Latin counties.

    One interesting side effect would be Europe would instantly become the most influential Muslim culture in the world. Europe would lead the Muslim world. The center of gravity would shift from the middle east.

    In the same way Protestantism used to be a middle eastern religion, and is now a American religion, very different from its roots in the 1st century in Palestine. Islam would change from its roots as a religion rooted in the in the tribalism of the middle east, and all its obligations to maintain that social system, to a religion that would have to lay itself over the local European cultures and adapt to them.

    When the Roman world became Christianised, it still remained the Roman world. Truly this would be an undertaking for the ages.

    1. Gerard,

      Thank you for that brilliant comment. I edited the format to make it easier to read. I’m adding the quote from Submission to this post.

    2. About Submission – a novel by Michel Houellebecq, a French writer (2015). From the publisher:

      “As the 2022 French Presidential election looms, two candidates emerge as favourites: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, and the charismatic Muhammed Ben Abbes of the growing Muslim Fraternity. Forming a controversial alliance with the political left to block the Front National’s alarming ascendency, Ben Abbes sweeps to power, and overnight the country is transformed. This proves to be the death knell of French secularism, as Islamic law comes into force: women are veiled, polygamy is encouraged and, for our narrator François – misanthropic, middle-aged and alienated – life is set on a new course.”

      This describes a future in which the Left continues its program of supporting groups totally inimical to them. As the ancient adage says –

      “Give a man enough rope and he will hang himself.” {See the Quote Investigator entry.}

      For more about this novel see the Wikipedia entry. Also see these reviews.

      • London Review of Books — “a melancholy tribute to the pleasure of surrender.”
      • New York Times — “…I agreed to review Houellebecq’s latest novel, “Submission,” since then …I’d have to force myself to read him.”
      • The Guardian — “His target here is not Islamism but suggestible modern men.”
      • The New Yorker — a “Francophobic satire.”

      Lastly, see the predictable missing the point review from the gals at Slate: “The Elegant Bigotry of Michel Houellebecq” by Lydia Kiesling — “His new novel treats Islam, and women, so badly that it’s hard not to wonder where the character’s views end and the author’s begin.”

    3. “There is a point where men will turn to what is viable, if Islam offers a way out from a form of feminist emasculation, perhaps this is a good alternative? ”

      For some reason this reminds me of something my Roman history prof said when I was a much younger man. He predicted that one day our civilization would produce a new Augustine who would tell us what was still living and what was dead.. For some reason, that has stayed with me down through the decades. Maybe the day comes soon. Maybe the new Augustine will be a Muslim.

  4. “A strong Islamic minority in Europe or America might put Western civilization on a new path to the future. They would be be a vibrant opposition to the Leftist cultural evolution now reshaping the West (ironic, since the Left’s support for open borders makes Islam’s rise possible). It might reduce cultural conflict – or greatly increase it. We cannot begin to guess at the larger effects on the West. Time will tell.”

    One reason why this could be true is that Islam, because many of its adherents are nonwhite and the religion is non-Western, gets kind of a PC pass. It won’t come under surveillance and attack from the people in charge quite the way a secular opposition movement would.

    Secular alternatives to the Left mostly haven’t produced capable leaders. (Witness the Alt Right). Even if they did, a secular movement that really showed signs of going somewhere would be infiltrated and attacked by the security agencies pretty quickly. Its internet and social media access would be terminated by Big Data (Which is politically and culturally allied with the Left.) Islam can stay below the radar for a longer period of time. By the time the Left figures out that Muslims aren’t big on Leftist gender theory, and aren’t really interested in being governed by the kind of people being churned out by the Liberal Arts departments of Western universities, it can build up quite a bit of momentum.

    1. “A strong Islamic minority in Europe or America might put Western civilization on a new path to the future. They would be be a vibrant opposition to the Leftist cultural evolution now reshaping the West” — but.. isn’t it Oroboros Globalist Lefties being manipulated BY Islamists to rapidly deplete our resources?

    2. Majin,

      “isn’t it Oroboros Globalist Lefties being manipulated BY Islamists to rapidly deplete our resources?”

      No, it isn’t.

  5. Ah well, the Slate. God bless em. Just to point out, I was quoting you not Submission!

    The book is a satire, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. It touches on many themes of modern life, religion and secularism, belonging and atomisation, the fragmention of the political consensus and the machinations of the deep state.

    Most of his books deal with the deep sense of lack in modern mans soul, some of his characters (always men) turn to sex, other to love, others to art, other to technology in an attempt to fill the void. He is as much hated by progressive critics, although he is not a conservative.

    He wrote a critical analysis of HP Lovecrafts work (which I’ve always loved) which made me stand up and cry out with happiness as I read it: H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life. If your readers like Lovecraft, I couldn’t recommend this more. He is a great man, a great artist.

  6. Not that I necessarily disagree with the reasoning here, but it seems to me much more likely that the influence of all faiths, including Islam, will continue to diminish just as it has been doing, with secularization being a natural product as things like globalization and access to internet media gradually finish linking up those last few corners of the world where the average people still have a narrow perspective on the possibilities in life.

    1. Todd,

      I agree, that’s quite likely. These things are beyond our ability to predict!

  7. Islam isn’t what we are used to thinking of as a religion. Its more a blueprint for the organization of scoiety. If you read and compare, you’ll look in vain in the Koran for the Sermon on the Mount, for Paul’s remarks on Charity, for the Song of Solomon or the Book of Ruth. What you will find is a lot of quite minute regulation of how people should behave on a day to day basis. And much smiting of the unbelievers hip and thigh of course.

    The consequence of this is that Islamic societies give a very different role to the family and to the clergy. In the last respect, its a bit like Christendom prior to the wars of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, where the clergy and Church had a large voice in the structure of civil society.

    They have had a kind of Reformation, return to the real or imagined pure form of the religion, but have not yet got to the next stage which Christendom arrived at so painfully, where religion becomes a purely private matter.

    And its very hard to see, given the nature of Islam, that they can in fact get there.

    I doubt if its compatible in its present form with a modern industrial society of the form practised in the West, and still more seriously doubt if the dysfunction of gender relations in the US is going to lead to large numbers of young men converting. But if they did? It will be to a very etiolated form, lacking the larger social structures that make Islamic societies Islamic in nature.

    Maxime du Camp said of the Koran something like, Ah yes, that enormous book the Muslims have written, all about women. That was smartass and unfair, but the underlying point, a book about organising social relations, that is valid.

    In the Shadow of the Sword, by Tom Holland, is esential reading on the early history and development of Islam. There are also some very interesting revisionist polemics by Western Muslims about the dysfunctions of political Islam. I can look them up and cite if anyone is interested.

    1. George,

      “Islam isn’t what we are used to thinking of as a religion.”

      Perhaps you should say “it is not what I am used to thinking …”

      “Its more a blueprint for the organization of society.”

      That’s what most religions do. See the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. The New Testiment does the same, but in a far less comprehensive manner.

      “What you will find is a lot of quite minute regulation of how people should behave on a day to day basis.”

      Just like Leviticus.

    2. George,
      I’ve enjoyed your comments, and I agree with many of them. About FGM, though, while it is only highly recommended in all but one of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, in the Sha’fi school, the main one in Egypt and Indonesia, it is mandatory, and that’s why nearly 100% of Muslim girls in those countries are circumcised. Every year many thousands of girls are taken to the ER with complications from the illegal surgery, performed either in the UK or in their native countries during vacation. In the US several doctors in Detroit are about to be tried for doing it to a number of seven year olds, and Maine just passed a law making the operation unpunishable.

    3. Celia,

      “Maine just passed a law making the operation unpunishable”

      This is an example of why your comments are no longer being posted here. They’re filled with lies — because you rely on information sources that lie to you.

      Here’s a debunking of that story, with links to the hard info.

      That you would believe such a crazy story is sad.

  8. Remember when your blog used to get linked by actual sites like NC? It must be cool screeching in the nether regions of the internet though…

    1. SoMaHiHoo,

      You should visit the world outside your leftist bubble. Closing your eyes to it does not help you see more clearly. Also, insults are not a form of rebuttal.

      That this is the best you can do is a confirmation of the post. Thank you for trying, however. Even failure is revealing.

    2. SoMaHiHoo,

      A follow-up response, since your comment has many interesting layers.

      (1) “It must be cool screeching in the nether regions of the internet though…”

      So you believe that Islam will not get converts in the West? Many Muslim leaders disagree with you (as I said, visit outside your bubble). Are you an Islamophobic bigot, believing that we are too good for Islam, or that there is something wrong with Islam?

      (2) “Remember when your blog used to get linked by actual sites like NC?”

      That misunderstands the point of the FM website. Websites like National Review and Naked Capitalism produce consensus content for their tribe. Material already known, more or less, plus lots of cheers for the good folks and boos of the bad folks. They are useful. I read them both.

      The FM website looks outside that consensus wisdom. In 2003 that meant saying we were losing in Af and Iraq — contradicting the consensus, represented by President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech in May. In 2007 that was warning about the possibility of an economic bust and rising inequality. In 2010 that meant warning that the IPCC and major climate agencies were losing the support of both Left and Right, as both politicized climate change for their own ends.

      The people and sources posted here — and others like them — try to be ahead of the news. When topics hit the mainstream news, becoming discussed on NR and NC, we usually drop them. Pouring more water on a rock doesn’t make it wetter.

      This is not a mass market website. We don’t try to be. If that’s what you want, stick to NC.

  9. Its not going to be peaceful at all. Terrorist attacks and crimes like rapes will increase. Since they cant help themselves. There will be bloody civil war in europe soon as the violence against the population reaches breaking point.

    Nationalism is rising to confront the threat. Hungary has already sealed off its border to muslims and migrants as well as Poles and czechs have grown more intolerant of them.

    1. Remember that the Spanish were reduced to a small portion of Spain by the Muslim conquest. But managed over 700 years to reconquer Spain. I see no reason why the west cannot do the same.

    2. Info,

      “Remember that the Spanish were reduced to a small portion of Spain by the Muslim conquest.”

      I doubt that is correct. Can you cite any evidence that there was either genocide against the natives or massive immigration? Both were rare in pre-modern times (i.e., the period of Moors in Iberia: 711 to 1492).

    3. Info,

      “Its not going to be peaceful at all. Terrorist attacks and crimes like rapes will increase.”

      I suspect you refer to the effects of open borders. That’s a different subject. Conversions might happen in large numbers even if the borders are closed today.

      “There will be bloody civil war in europe soon as the violence against the population reaches breaking point.”

      Beware of linear extrapolations. They are usually wrong.

    4. ”I doubt that is correct. Can you cite any evidence that there was either genocide against the natives or massive immigration? Both were rare in pre-modern times (i.e., the period of Moors in Iberia: 711 to 1492).”

      True. Do you think the reconquest of Spain would have turned out differently with mass immigration from loyal populations hence allowing for a greater pool of recruits for the conquerers?

    5. info,

      I think the reconquest began almost immediately because the Moors did not follow their conquest with massive immigration – or interbreeding with the natives.

  10. I’m not a fan of Islam myself, but I do agree that the West (particularly Europe) is likely to see swelling numbers of converts to the religion. I agree with your statement that “Vacuums in the soul left by the death of old religions are filled by new faiths.” It actually goes beyond religion to ideologies more generally. Roger Garaudy and several other former European Communists converted to Islam precisely because as persons “deeply committed to values,” Islam gave them an alternative to their disillusionment over their former ideology when it was becoming unfashionable in the 1980 and 90s. It’s not a stretch to say that Islam (and Islamist ideology) is increasingly attracting young Western minds seeking radical political and social change in the same way that Communism did for much of the 20th century. Although Communism and Islam are very different ideologies, they both vigorously challenge the prevailing liberal capitalist Western paradigm and offer a clear alternative vision – and that is their most important feature in the eyes of some people.

    There are two other important factors supporting increased numbers of converts. The mere fact that increasing numbers of Muslims are living alongside non-Muslims in the West increases opportunities for social interactions, friendships and marriages between the two groups. Probably the majority of people who convert to another religion do so in large part due to the influence of a close friend or romantic partner. Some people convert to Islam for marriage, and even if their conversion was only nominal (or a Muslim man marries a Christian woman who doesn’t convert), the Islamic religion requires that the children of such a mixed faith marriage be raised Muslim. I recently came across a statistic (which I unfortunately cannot locate at the moment) that the numbers of mixed faith marriages in France involving a Muslim partner increased threefold within the span of a few years. That has obvious long term demographic implications.

    The large Muslim youth population is inevitably affecting youth culture more generally. Islamic expressions and criticisms of predominant Western ideologies have already had a significant impact on hip hop music. But it goes beyond that, as an article about Islamic influenced youth culture in Austrian schools entitled “Generation Haram” which was published by the Austrian news website Biber discusses. If Islam and its expressions and symbols become “trendy” and a non-Muslim young person has Muslim school mates, then there is a peer pressure incentive to convert.

    Only time will tell what the long term consequences of these trends will be.

  11. I don’t think there are many different Islams.

    Before the Internet, there were many Muslims who couldn’t read the foundational texts of Islam in the Qur’an, the hadith, and the sira, and they tended to go with the cultural practices of Islam practiced in their locality and trusted what the authority in their mosque preached. But now nearly everyone has access to the Internet and translations of the foundational texts into every language are easy to access and widely available.

    There are four schools of jurisprudence in Islam, plus one for Shi’a Islam. They differ on some points, but since they all draw from the foundational texts, they are largely the same, the literal word of the deity. And that means uncompromising belief in the imperative to force every land to submit to Islamic law, by violent jihad if necessary. And the violence is mandated for every able-bodied young male to the extent possible, and everyone else must support the jihadi materially and morally. A set portion of the mandated zakat must go to support them. And Islamic law means the sharia, which polls have shown the majority of Muslims to promote and desire to live under. And that means what Westerners (and I) consider to be violations of human rights: the subjugation of women, forced hijab, female gential mutilation, child marriages, marital rape, wife beating, inferior legal status, stoning to death for charges of sexual impropriety, etc. The execution of gays and of apostates who no longer wish to be Muslim. The prohibition of free expression if it’s critical of Islam or any of its important figures and rules. The hatred of Jews. Often hatred of every other group of non-Muslims: Christians, HIndus, Buddhists, animists, atheists, etc.

    This set of beliefs is not compatible with Western civilization. I don’t think there will be large numbers of Westerners (or other non-Muslims) converting to Islam, especially when they find out it’s a one-way process and their lives will be in danger if they change their minds and no longer wish to be Muslim.

    1. Celia,

      I don’t know where you are getting your info, but somebody is lying to you.

      “I don’t think there are many different Islams.”

      That’s just factually wrong. To state the obvious, Islam as practiced in the nation with the largest Islamic population — Indonesia — is radically different than that in Saudi Arabia.

      “especially when they find out it’s a one-way process and their lives will be in danger if they change their minds and no longer wish to be Muslim.”

      That’s factually wrong. Many Muslims in America leave the faith (see the Pew report cited in this post). They’re not murdered. Ditto in Europe.

    2. Larry,

      While there are local cultural differences in the practice of Islam, their bedrock foundations in the texts of Islam are the same, and, since the Iranian Revolution in ’79, all over the world there has been a very powerful return to the seventh-century fundamentalist practice of Islam. Indonesia practices female genital mutilation and has revived public caning and worse to punish young people of the opposite sex found talking together, or, recently, an elderly Christian woman was caned for selling alcohol. The killing of apostates is common there. Saudi Arabia has its entire political system based on the sharia and the strict Wahhabi ideology. It has spent billions on dawa, building mosques and Islamic centers everywhere to propagate their faith. They also kill apostates and those who insult Islam. No church is permitted to be built there and no Jew is permitted to enter the country.

      While apostates are not always killed, their lives are fair game and the law of Islam demands that they be killed, if they are sane and past the age of reason. Women may be locked up for life, or killed if they refuse to go back to Islam. Men must be killed. That’s what Islamic law dictates, although the sentence is not always carried out, especially in Western countries. Although it often is here as well. I said your life would be in danger, not that it would always occur, and that is true.

      “There is also a consensus by all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (i.e., Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Shafii), as well as classical Shiite jurists, that apostates from Islam must be put to death. The process of declaring a person to be an apostate is known as takfir and the disbeliever is called a murtad.

      Averroes (d. 1198), the renowned philosopher and scholar of the natural sciences, who was also an important Maliki jurist, provided this typical Muslim legal opinion on the punishment for apostasy: “An apostate…is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet, ‘Slay those who change their din [religion]’…Asking the apostate to repent was stipulated as a condition…prior to his execution.”

      The contemporary (i.e., 1991) Al-Azhar (Cairo) Islamic Research Academy endorsed manual of Islamic Law, Umdat al-Salik (pp. 595-96) states: “Leaving Islam is the ugliest form of unbelief (kufr) and the worst…. When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostasizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed. In such a case, it is obligatory…to ask him to repent and return to Islam. If he does it is accepted from him, but if he refuses, he is immediately killed.”:

      I read Michel Houellebecq’s Submission three years ago, and it was chilling. I thought then that it was just fantasy, but now it seems as though he were prescient, and it’s already happening just as he described it.

      I agree that we need religion and that there is a God-shaped hollow in us which can only be filled by God. The Christian God is loving as well as all-powerful and all-knowing. The deity of Islam is all-powerful and voluntaristic, but is nowhere described as loving, but only pleased by his obedient slaves. Goodness is defined by what he ordains, rather than by any objective or moral yardstick. A Muslim might personally hate the idea of killing an unbeliever who had done him no harm, but it is said that Muslims may dislike what is good for them and want what is bad for them, meaning that it is mandatory to kill unbelievers in jihad no matter how distasteful many might find it. It is good and holy because it is what the Muslim deity ordains, and whatever he ordains is good and holy. Few Westerners could act on such a principle. The personal Christian God voluntarily adheres to what all of us can recognize as good and loving, because it is His nature. I believe that large numbers of people will turn back to Christianity, as it is true that religion gives meaning to life and the promise of life eternal, and nothing else does or can. I can’t see large numbers of Westerners turning to Islam. It would mean betraying our millennia-old heritage of human rights and justice, and faith, hope, and love as our cardinal virtues. I have read that despite the dangers, thousands of Muslims a day are converting to Christianity. I believe that that is how this religious struggle will be resolved.

    3. Celia,

      “While apostates are not always killed, their lives are fair game and the law of Islam demands that they be killed”

      You are quoting a book. I’m looking at reality in the US. That you believe the former overrides the latter is odd. But typical of people talking about Islam these days.

    4. Yes, Larry, the US it may not happen, though it is prescribed. That is a variation of practice, however, not of doctrine, and its an exception.

      In Europe apostates really are frequently in danger. Celia is right about what Islamic doctrine prescribes, and she is also right about the state of affairs in Islamic states, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh, where the mere accusation of any form of apostasy brings the accused into very serious danger.

      I think Celia is wrong about FGM. It is not endorsed in the classic texts, and it is practised in non-Islamic countries, as well as not being practised at all in many, maybe most, Islamic ones. It is true that some Islamic authorities have declined to condemn it, but that is not at all the same thing as prescribing it or endorsing it. Its a very ugly practice, but it should not be blamed on Islam. The most one can say is that Islam has tolerated it. Which is pretty bad, but different from it being a central doctrine of the faith.

    5. George,

      “That is a variation of practice, however, not of doctrine, and its an exception.” Emphasis added.

      I assume you are just making that up, and you have no data showing that execution of apostates is the norm in most Islamic nations.

    6. Larry,

      Islam prides itself on being a religion of the Book, although it is a book far different in every way from the Bible or the Torah. It is founded on Islamic law, based on ayat from the Qur’an or the verified traditions of the example of Muhammad (sahih hadith), interpreted through authorities trained in fourteen hundred years of reasoned Islamic jurisprudence, and encoded in thousands of books of the textual foundations for thousands of decisions in cases which establish the guidelines for permissible behavior. The US does not have an Islam different from that of other countries: it is the same religio-political ideology with the same texts, with some minor regional variations. Jihad and the sharia are universal Islamic institutions, for the same ummah, or people of Islam. At this time, Islam in the US is relatively weak and would not be permitted to fully implement the demands of Islamic law, including the cruel hudud punishments for infringements of the sharia. If it were to become strong here, even majoritarian, it would.

      And so we find the textual foundations for prescribing behavior against which most human beings would rebel, such as violent jihad. I found the source of what I mentioned yesterday: Qur’an 2:216: “Jihad (holy fighting in Allah’s cause) is ordained for you Muslims, though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know…And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be dwellers in the Fire (Hell).”

      From perhaps the most respected text regarding the practical implementation of Sunni Islamic beliefs, the Reliance of the Traveler (08.4),:There is no indemnity for killing an apostate since it is killing someone who deserves to die. Acts which define leaving Islam and being subject to execution are listed in 08.7. Such as intent to commit disbelief, even in the future, to deny the existence of Allah or any of his attributes, to be sarcastic about Allah’s name, his command, his prohibitions, or his threats, to deny any verse of the Qur’an, to mockingly say ‘I don’t know what faith is,’ or to believe that things in themselves or by their own nature have any causal influence independent of the will of Allah.

    7. Celia,

      “Islam prides itself on being a religion of the Book”

      (1) That’s a category error. Islam is a religion, not a unitary entity with opinions. People have pride, not ideologies or religions. Islam, like Christianity, has evolved over time and space into many different forms.

      (2) You cite texts as if they are an accurate guide to reality. That is daft. As daft as citing Christian writings, believing they describe Christian practice.

    8. Thirteen countries, all of a Muslim majority, punish apostasy (the renunciation of a particular religion), or blasphemy with death.

      The annual Freedom of Thought report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, found that 13 countries impose capital punishment upon people simply for their beliefs, or lack of them.

      Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen are the relevant countries.

      All of these countries, except Pakistan, allow for capital punishment against apostasy, while Pakistan imposes the death penalty for blasphemy – including a disbelief in God.

      https://www.indy100.com/article/the-countries-where-apostasy-is-punishable-by-death–Z110j2Uwxb

      They don’t have to execute a lot of people in order to stop apostasy. Just a few to set examples. Are you doubting that the laws are enforced? Its not how many break them and are executed, its what the law is, and is it enforced. Of course it has the desired effect, it limits or eliminates apostasy. Why would you do it, when you have a good chance of being denounced and killed? Any sensible person would keep quiet and go to prayer. So you do not need statistics of executions to prove its a fact.

    1. Astaka,

      “It suffices for an intransigent minority – a certain type of intransigent minorities – to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences. ”

      This is classic Taleb: he makes up something, about which he is dogmatically certain. Cites no supporting evidence, since he just “knows.” And erects a structure of guesses on it.

      Since he making stuff up and citing no logic, sensible people don’t bother attempting to discuss it with him. Esp since his favorite defense for his speculation is to declare others “an idiot.”

    2. @Larry: Black people in America have been significantly more than 3-4% of the population, yet strangely enough I don’t think even maximalist conservatives could claim the ENTIRE population is submitting to their preferences.

    3. SF,

      We have an easy winner for Best of Thread! If Taleb was here he’d reply to you with his customary erudite logic: “Idiot!

    4. Simple. If you have a subset of the population in a democratic society that votes as a bloc, they will get their way, even if the result is anti-democratic Vide Turkey.

      Surely it is intuitively obvious that numerically equivalent antagonistic cultures cannot co-exist in a peaceful society.

    5. Damon,

      “If you have a subset of the population in a democratic society that votes as a bloc, they will get their way, even if the result is anti-democratic”

      Not really. If the “subset” is a majority, they can get their way until they bump against constitutional limits. Beyond that depends on many factors. Strength of the institutions, size of the majority (51% or 91%), the willingness of the minority to push back. Threat of regime failure and civil war usually — not always — deters rash action.

      These things are complex. For example, a minority’s power in a democratic regime often decreases with size. Such as the elderly in the US. They can trade their support to get substantial benefits because the gain for them is large but the cost is spread out over the much larger population. But as they grow in numbers, the cost of benefits to them increases — becoming obvious to the majority, and eventually too large to bear.

  12. I suggest reading:

    Fatah, Tarek, “Chasing a mirage : the tragic illusion of an Islamic state” to understand the reality of political Islam today.

    And read Tom Holland’s “In the shadow of the sword” to understand the history and how we got there. Its not by a scholar, but it is a good summary of the work of revisionist scholars. Its basically the application of the methods of the Higher Criticism to Islam.

    For light reading, try Pressburg, What the Modern Martyr Should Know.

  13. Also read

    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/04/dueling-ayatollahs-sistani-khamenei-shiite-iran-iraq.html

    Islam may change. It arguably already has its form of Protestantism, just as Christendom before the Reformation had the Hussites and other splinter movements. After the Reformation, and the Catholic Church was obliged to accept mult-culturalism, eventually the split between church and state became universal. Well, except in Ireland.

    Something similar may happen here. The worst possible outcome for a radical revolutionary movement is to come to power. At that point it is held accountable for its success or failure in civil administration and governing the country, and in the end, it crashes in flames.

    If they avoid power, and manage to avoid having their demands for change implemented, they can remain a powerful influence indefinitely

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