This article by David Pryce-Jones (sorry, registration required) is a brief and useful history of how Muslims came to regard their presence as immigrants in the West as an opportunity to conquer it for Islam. He suggests that the crucial moment was “Ayatollah Khomeini’s seizure of power in 1979,” which shattered the previous live and let live atmosphere:
In his manner, he was confirming that there are a billion Muslims in the world, they have only to make themselves felt as such, and power will then accrue to them, concluding in rightful God-given conquest. More than a challenge, here was an updating of the ancient division of the world into the Dar al-Islam and the Dar al-Harb. What he preached and exemplified has spread rapidly through one Muslim country after another, activating those who agreed with his dogmatic vision, as well as challenging those with alternative political, secular, or nationalist definitions of their societies. In response to Khomeini, the struggle for self-definition within the Dar al-Islam has left behind it a huge trail of sectarian and communal horrors in Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Palestine, and elsewhere.
Including, we can add, Europe and America. If Pryce-Jones is right about the inspirational (to Muslims) character of the Iranian revolution, one is prompted to think that if Khomeini’s heirs succeed in their quest to acquire nuclear weapons, the West will be faced with a much bigger disaster than most people realize. On the other hand, by crushing that quest, the West might go far to reduce the problem of terrorism.
The essay lists some of the signs of the spread of Islam in Europe, as well as many examples of the amazing surrender and abasement of the multicultural European elite to this spread. The reaction of the elites is summed up by the President of the Italian Senate, who sarcastically described the West today as “a land of penitents beating their breast whenever someone strikes them.” (Incidentally, you hardly ever hear about an elite/mass distinction in Europe, one that would parallel our red state/blue state difference: does that exist in Europe?)
Pryce-Jones also makes the useful observation that the decades of Muslim immigration into Europe coincided with the project of the European political elite to centralize and unify Europe. This required citizens of historic nation-states to “acquire a new collective identity replacing their ancient individual nationalities, calling into question all the moral, legal, and cultural features of their heritage.” But, while the old attachments and beliefs have withered, nothing solid has replaced them. In other words, just as the Muslims arrived in large numbers, radicalized by Iran, Europe was profoundly weakened internally. For the author’s pessimistic view of where this will probably end, see his last paragraph.