Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Norwegians and Tainos

I keep wondering why the older boys/men on the island did not try to tackle the gunman.  But what is probably unbelievable to Americans is that the camp apparently had no weapons: the campers couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to kill them. They were like the Taino Indians of the Caribbean who assumed that Columbus was in good faith.

People who want to ‘take back our country’ to the time of the Founders, (who by the way instituted the idea of citizens with guns), should rather want to take the world back to the idyllic time when weapons were for killing game. Oh, life was short, there was no toilet paper, but without being perfect (nothing is...) Scandinavia seems to have raised several generations of folk who cooperate and welcome the stranger.

But let’s address the Norwegian tragedy from a hard-headed point of view, considering  never-mentioned facts:

As of 1 January 2010, the population of the EU was about 501.26 million people. Worldwide there are two billion Muslims, equal to nearly one-fourth of the total population.

Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity (2000 million to 1600 million). Although Islam is often associated with the Arab world and the Middle East, fewer than 15% of Muslims are Arab.  Over fifty countries have Muslim-majority populations, and there are groups of believers on nearly every continent.

The European right is in a tizzy over a few million Muslim immigrants, but it turns its back on the math: Caucasians are what I call the absolute minority on planet earth.  In 1950, whites were 27.98% of the world population. Now they account for only about 15%, and the number is expected to drop to less than 10% by 2060. Meanwhile, between now and 2060, the population of Black or sub-Sahara Africans, many of whom are Muslims, will grow almost 133% to 2.7 billion, or 25% of world population, up dramatically from 8.97% in 1950.

So, Europeans should not take it personally: they - and we - are largely outnumbered on planet earth by people of various colors.  Europeans can blame those who encouraged immigration when they needed workers, but that is irrelevant. More and more Muslims are destined to migrate to Europe, no matter what policies were or are followed.

This leaves Europeans with two options: turn to the xenophobic right, or remember that culturally, ‘invaders’ are eventually ‘conquered’ by their hosts.  The Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan in 'Western Muslims and the Future of Islam' encourages his co-religionaries to adapt their faith to the world around them while remaining true to its precepts.  Christians and Jews should learn those precepts which, as shown by the examples of Sufis and Shi’as, are closer to the progressive ethos than their own religions, requiring that thought and deed be examined for their repercussions on others.

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