Monday, May 18, 2009

The Spanish and the Portuguese — Once and Future Dhimmis? (1)

Portuguese people are ready again to fight muslims
This essay was first published at the Gates of Vienna blog in June 2008. It is republished here with some additions.

In May 2008, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, stated that Islam is part and parcel of Europe and condemned the concept of a clash of civilizations. “Islam today is part of Europe. It is important to understand this. One should not see Islam as outside Europe. We already have an important presence of Islam and Muslims among our citizens,” Barroso told a press conference after a dialogue between EU leaders and twenty high-level representatives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in Europe. The Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr. Mustafa Ceric, responded that Islam is indeed part of Europe but unfortunately Turkey is not yet part of Europe. “Following this logic Europe has to prove that Islam is part of Europe by not delaying the acceptance of Turkey to the EU,” he said.I find this especially sad since Mr. Barroso, prior to becoming the unelected leader of the EU, was Prime Minister of Portugal, a country that was for centuries under the Islamic yoke. Do the Portuguese miss their past status as dhimmis? The reaction of the Nordic countries to mass immigration and Muslim intimidation, with the exception of Denmark, has been pathetic. I’m certainly not proud of it, but at the very least countries such as Norway, Finland and the Baltic nations have had little historical exposure to Muslims. The Portuguese and the Spanish do not have this excuse, after centuries of Islamic occupation and hard struggles to regain control over their lands, which makes their current actions all the more difficult to understand.Some Portuguese readers assured me that the situation was worse in other Western European countries than in Portugal, partly because other nations have more developed welfare states and are thus more attractive for those seeking welfare payments. I admit I know less about the situation in Portugal than in Spain, which is why I will concentrate mainly on Spain here. I do of course not believe that all Portuguese are like Barroso, just like not all Spaniards are like Zapatero (thank God). If all Europeans were like are so-called leaders, we would already be lost. But on the other hand, I haven’t seen anything indicating that Portugal is immune from the problems of the rest of Western Europe.

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