How Bosniaks Reveal the Liberal West’s Hypocrisy

Viktor Orbán, the PM of Hungary, is getting controversial again, this time for his comments on Bosniaks, in the context of Bosnia’s integration into the European Union.

The Independent quotes him :

I am doing my best to convince Europe’s great leaders that the Balkans may be further away from them than from Hungary, but how we manage the security of a state in which 2 million Muslims live is a key issue for their security too.

Implying Muslims are a threat to European security. This undoubtedly generated anger, as he openly implies that Europe is unwilling or perhaps even unable of “assimilating” its Muslims, even the indigenous ones.

RELATED: The Danger of Fighting Islamophobia

But isn’t Orbán just being honest… unlike the EU?

The EU As a “Christianist Club”

A long-standing complaint in Turkey, which has tried to join the EU, is that the entity is a sort of “Christian club.”

Likewise, Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, a Bosniak politician and academic who featured in The Muslim 500, a report about the most “influential” contemporary Muslims, writes:

The unification of Europe is for the most part perceived today as based on the following three elements: (1) the unity of the geopolitical area, (2) Christian history, and (3) the power and potential of liberal democracy. These postulates of European unity exclude numerous elements of the European totality, assigning to them the position of the Other and rendering them incapable of finding their place in the region through the relationship with its supposed center.[1]

It is because of this identification with “Christian history” that Europe was so slow to act against the Bosniak genocide, as one analyst puts it:

So, when we look at this sort of evidence and we take a look back we can almost see that with their inaction and with their attitudes, they were very much ready for the Bosnian Muslims to be massacred. They let it happen. As I said in their words, ‘Bosnia did not belong. A Muslim majority country in Europe was just foreign’ and they didn’t want to really have it happen in a Christian Europe.

But what about the reference to “liberal democracy”?

Can you promote both liberal democracy and Christianity at the same time ?

Apparently, yes, they can.

Roger Brubaker, an American sociologist mainly specialized in the question of nationalism, talks of “Christianist secularism” to describe this odd (some would say contradictory) mixture of Christianity and liberalism the EU promotes and which, obviously, mainly targets Islam:

The preoccupation with Islam calls forth, implicitly and sometimes explicitly, a concern with Christianity. If “they” are Muslim, then in some sense “we” must be Christian (or Judeo-Christian).

In Northern and Western Europe today, this reactive Christianity (or “Christianism,” to use a term coined by Andrew Sullivan to designate a counterpart to Islamism) presents itself as closely linked with secularity and liberalism. Once understood as antithetical to liberalism, secularism, and modernity, Christianity is increasingly seen as their civilizational matrix, and as the matrix of a whole series of more specific ideas, attitudes, and practices, including human rights, tolerance, gender equality, and support for gay rights.

So, it’s a sort of identity politics, where Christianity loses all its religious significance and becomes a civilizational marker in order to see itself opposing Islam on issues related to secularism, liberalism, LGBTQ+ rights, etc.

While Turks talk of the “Christian club,” we can now call this more of a “Christianist club,” an entity which defines itself totally in reaction to Islam.

Belgian historian Henri Pirenne, many decades before the formation of the EU, already wrote that the idea of Europe was not something built of its own, one could say positively, but negatively or as a conscious contradiction to Islam and its civilization.

In sum, Europe as a civilizational project, which the EU wants to concretize as a political entity, has no coherent definition apart from being anti-Islam.

RELATED: Can a Muslim Ever Be a Full Citizen in the West?

Did “Assimilation” Help the Bosniaks?

Michael Sells, an American Orientalist, wrote a book, The Bridge Betrayed, where he theorized the idea of “Christoslavism,” or how, during the Bosniak genocide, both the Serb-Orthodox and the Croat-Catholic clergymen used Christianity to annihilate the Bosniak-Muslims.

But let us consider the “assimilated” Bosniaks.

Bosniaks have long been praised by non-Muslim Europeans as some sort of model Muslims, as they’re apparently “moderate,” which is to say to a large extent liberal and secular… but did this save them?

Did the Christoslavists distinguish between the practicing and the assimilated Bosniaks?

After explaining how Bosniaks don’t differ ethnically from their neighbors, Sells writes the following about how it is religion which shaped the fate of the Bosniak victims, even those who were not particularly religious:

Muslim religious identity was determined by strictly extrinsic criteria. A Bosnian Muslim in a Serb or Croat camp was there not because of any particular act, expression, or thought. Some in the targeted population defined themselves as Muslims according to the Islamic testimony of belief in one deity and in Muhammad as the messenger of the one deity. Some were observant, for example, keeping the required fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan or the prohibition against pork and alcohol. Some were unobservant. Many Bosnian Muslims were atheists. Many were observant of some of the Islamic practices such as the Ramadan fast but considered themselves religious skeptics and their observances cultural. Some supported the political leaders of the Bosnian government; some did not. Some were indifferent to politics.[2]

Thus, the historical experience in liberal Europe of Bosniaks, who are natives and not immigrants, who were considered moderates and not radicals, should definitely be a lesson for those Muslims seeking assimilation today.

Notes

[1] Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, Sarajevo Essays: Politics, Ideology, and Tradition, SUNY Press, 2003, p. 53.

[2] Michael A. Sells, The Bridge Betrayed: Religion and Genocide in Bosnia, University of California Press, 1998, p. 14.

MuslimSkeptic Needs Your Support!
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
8 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ummer Farooq

The modern etymology of the word Christian from grit or gristle. Call it the crusty club.

Baz

How did Bosnia and its neighbours Albania and Kosovo become the only Muslim countries in Europe? Because of the Islamic (Ottoman) Caliphate. Instead of an independent Muslim-majority independent country called Bosnia, there should be “Islamsnia”. Instead of a Muslim-majority independent country called Albania, there should be “Islambania”. Instead of a Muslim-majority independent country called Kosovo, there should be “Islamosovo”. Instead of dreaming of joining the European Union and NATO, they should be dreaming of joining a future Muslim/Islamic Union and the “MATO” (“Мuslims Are Tough Overall”), AKA a future Islam Caliphate or “United States of Islam” or “Islamistan”.

Baz

You are using the prejudice and discrimination against liberal Bosniak “Muslims” by “Christianist” Europe, as an excuse to promote the idea that Bosnians being “moderate” Muslims is a bad thing which implies that they must become ultra-orthodox hardliners like the Taliban or old previous generation Saudi Mutowa. This is where me and the vast majority of even practicing Muslims in the Balkans (and the major cities of the Muslim world) strongly sharply disagree with you.
Hardly anyone in the Balkans and major cities of the Muslim world want any Talibanization and a harsh cruel draconian version of sharia forcibly imposed down their throats where almost everything is declared haram and criminalized, including many smaller haram things for which Quran and hadeeth don’t specify any punishment, because for “Amr Bill Maaroof wa Nehia Anill Munker” it is more than enough to officially discourage those things without criminalizing them, like how most governments treat smoking cigarettes.

We don’t want to live under a system where people get beaten up or jailed or executed just for women going out alone or working in many jobs or not covering head, or men getting beaten up or jailed or executed just for being clean shaven or not going to mosque 5x daily, or people getting beaten up and jailed just for making or performing non-vulgar non-blasphemous music or movies. Please keep this kind of harsh cruel draconian system be confined to only a few limited ultra-orthodox areas such as Afghanistan and a few rural tribal areas like FATA. Don’t try to forcibly import this system into Bosnia or the rest of the Balkans or the major cities of the Muslim world, because we don’t want it here. Talibanization is not necessary for Islamization everywhere, including in Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo where no one wants it.

Suhuyini Mohammed Amin Imoro

Does Allah SWT want it?

Baz

Allah SWT tells us in Quran and hadeeth what he wants for us. It doesn’t say that we have to become as harsh and cruel and draconian as Taliban. It is perfectly possible to follow everything in Quran and hadeeth to have a mild tolerant “soft sharia” that the urban cosmopolitan (moderate) Muslims and nonMuslims are highly comfortable with, without being anywhere near as conservative or strict or harsh or draconian as taliban.

Baz

Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo became Muslim in the first place because of the Ottomans who were very much a socially “moderate” Muslim empire just like Abbasid Baghdad and Al-Andalus/Spain in their heyday (for example not haramizing and criminalizing all entertainment such as music and theater, and not forcing all men and women to wear hijab or beard under threat of punishment, and not banning Christian Zimmies building new churches). They were far removed from the “nearly everything is haram and crime” Talibanization throughout most of their history and that’s a major part of the reason why they flourished in an “Islamic golden age”.

Likewise if only we can have a modern “moderate” caliphate run by socially “moderate” Muslims today (a “United States of Islam” or “Islamian Union”) which promotes conservative Islamic lifestyle without brutally forcibly imposing it on everyone, then I’m sure that the people in highly secularized Muslim societies like Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo (where many people are “nonpracticing cultural Muslims”, and the most conservative practicing Muslims are still the pro-music “moderate” type who are still too relatively “liberal” by Talibani standards since they don’t haramize everything) will be willing to join their local state to that “moderate” caliphate or “Islamian Union” Instead of European Union. They will NEVER accept joining their state to a hardline draconian version of caliphate which is effectively ISIS 2.0 or a bigger version of Taliban’s Afghanistan. They will fiercely resist joining such an oppressive empire.

Abdullah

“Moderate Islam” was invented by the colonizers. If you have even any basic knowledge of Ottoman history, you’ll know that they weren’t “moderate” Muslims. They were quite devoted to Jihad which is not really a characteristic of “moderate” Muslims. They waged much more Jihad than the Abbasids who were before them.

Baz

When I say “moderate” I’m not talking about the definition of the cuffarts and traitors who have hijacked the word for their own agenda to create their own false religion. But rather I’m talking about their domestic and social policies like the examples I mentioned above. Compare the ottomans domestic and social policies to IS or IEA and you see huge difference, the ottomans were clearly less conservative less strict in comparison, and therefore “moderate” compared to muslim skeptic’s beloved IEA and the IS whom he is hardly any different from in terms of his preferred domestic social policies.