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Dhimmitude and the future of the EU

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Submitted by J. Keen Holland (United States), Sep 15, 2004 at 00:10

This article dovetails nicely with a recent report in The Telegraph about the exhibition of an artistic rendering of the EU's future: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/14/weu14.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/09/14/ixworld.html

In an apparent effort to get a handle on what a former US president famously called "the vision thing," the exhibit projects that the EU will expand over the coming years to a membership of 50 states (most of the new members being Arab states) and becoming a new incarnation of the Roman Empire in its prime.

If the EU does in fact see its future as expanding south and southeast to include the Arab states of North Africa and SW Asia, they will have to confront seriously not only the issue of dhimmitude, but of the khilafa to which that service is due. The EU is rapidly evolving a unitary judicial structure, and has already elaborated a very large and activist permanent bureaucracy. As it progresses to a unified foreign policy and defense establishment it will require an executive with real power to give direction to this increasingly complex mechanism. In short, the EU will be the real government and the constituent states glorified provinces. This has profound implications for the incorporation of the Arab states.

One cannot assume that the Arabs will line up to join the EU as secular liberal political communities. It has been all the army could do since Attaturk's day to keep Turkey a secular, and usually parliamentary governed, state and not permit an excess of democracy recreating the old model of unified religious and political leadership. The Arabs have an even less encouraging history. If the EU expect 13 centuries of tradition to suddenly unravel and have the ummah demand secular liberal democracy, they are betting a lot on a very uncertain proposition.

But, if the European leadership (i.e., France and Germany) really see their future in a liberal democratic polis incorporating many of the Arab states, they should have a very different attitude toward the current efforts of the US and its coalition partners (including, for the present at least, such EU members as Britain, Italy and Poland) to build a secular liberal democracy in Iraq. The sort of Iraq that the coalition is trying to mold is the sort of state that might conceivably be an asset to the EU. The usual Arab models of governance are absolute monarchies and military dictatorships. The didtatorships have, from the EU leadership's perspective, the virtue of being more reliably socialist than the monarchies, but neither sort is going to fit in well with the other EU states. How can the EU take to its bosom a region whose dominant political yearning is to re-establish the caliphate uniting all Muslims under a single regime where there are no distinctions between the political and religious spheres?

What is left? A new model for the EU comprising two distinct judicial systems, one for the West and another in the East? Or do they simply agree that the whole Union will live under traditional Islamic law? If the only thing that matters is the projection of geopolitical influence and an economy large enough to support the world's leading military power, then perhaps giving up what little of genuine principle motivated the founding of the European project all those decades ago. But, if the EU enterprise was in any way intended to secure the blessings of liberty for inhabitants of Europe where that notion first blossomed, then the price to be paid for the vision of a New Rome is too great. The Middle East is a region known for its prophets, and as one of them said nearly 2,000 years ago, "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?"
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