Sometimes it seems that European Christian leaders are more concerned with preparing their flocks for dhimmitude than with defending their faith and the civilization built around it. Among other infamies, prominent clerics have maintained that the acceptance of Shari'a law is "unavoidable," urged believers to refer to God as "Allah," suggested that Lent be rebranded as "Christian Ramadan," and insisted that Catholic schools incorporate Muslim prayer rooms.
But not all are content to watch Christianity "go gentle into that good night" — and often they specify secular reasons. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Anglican bishop of Rochester, has argued that many of the freedoms and institutions enjoyed in Europe have Christian roots — and thus are put at risk by sidelining Christianity. Likewise, he has hammered the UK's multicultural policies as unmitigated failures that serve only to undermine societal cohesion, even fostering Islamist-run "no-go areas" in major cities.
Two leading prelates recently have echoed Nazir-Ali. First, in an online interview, retiring Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk asserts that the spiritual vacuum is being filled by Islam — especially its most radical elements — and could result in the "fall of Europe." Second, George Carey, the ex-archbishop of Canterbury, uses an op-ed to contend that "tolerance, fair play, [and] pluralism" are not enough to define a nation, "so we must look also to language, institutions, and our shared history." Unfortunately, "some groups of migrants are ambivalent about or even hostile to such institutions" and prefer to self-segregate in "ghettos" governed by Shari'a.
Stating that "there must be a willingness on their part to integrate with the rest of British society," he continues:
"Is there anything distinctly Christian about such a call? Some will say "no." Our values lie rather with the Enlightenment than with the Church. I believe that history is against them. It is my firm view that our society owes more to our Christian heritage than it realizes and to overlook this inheritance of faith will lead to the watering down of the very values of tolerance, openness, inclusion, and democracy that we claim are central to all we stand for."
What undergirds liberal democracy: the Enlightenment, Christianity, or some other factors? Furthermore, is the Islamic faith by nature compatible or incompatible with such a system? Detailed answers are beyond the scope of this blog, but please note that the Middle East Forum has worked to advance the debate on the latter question. What is absolutely undeniable, however, is that the Christian, Enlightenment-shaped West has produced the freest nations on the planet, while Muslim-majority states now rank among the lowest in terms of social and political rights.
Therefore, is it "Islamophobic" to worry about how Europe will be affected by the decline of Christianity, the ascent of anything-goes multiculturalism, and the expansion of unassimilated Muslim communities originating from oppressive lands? No. For lovers of freedom — believers and non-believers alike — these concerns are both reasonable and necessary.