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To the Editor of the New York Times Book Review Section:
I was dismayed that a scholar of Fouad Ajami's eminence would state in his review of Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution In Europe, "The question of Islam in Europe has occasioned calls of alarm about 'Eurabia'” (Book Review, August 2, 2009). There is a hint of unmerited dismissiveness in this comment that is disappointing to those of us have been engaged in long-term, serious scholarship on the impact of Islamic immigration on Western Europe. The fundamental issue is whether the newcomers intend to adopt to their host cultures or whether, as so many of their leaders have promised, they intend to transform Europe into a predominantly Muslim realm. We are not alarmists; we are responsible scholars who are seriously concerned about the future of Western civilization.
Professor Ajami also quotes Caldwell as assuring us that Islam "is in no sense Europe’s religion and it is in no sense Europe’s culture.” Few, if any, thoughtful people would dispute that statement, but the real question is not what Europe is but what it is in danger of becoming. Let us not forget that it has happened before. Some of Christianity's greatest teachers-such as St. Augustine-were products of a North African Christianity that disappeared permanently with the Muslim conquests of the seventh century.
Richard L. Rubenstein
University of Bridgeport
Lawton Distinguished Professor of Religion Emeritus
Florida State University
(Richard L. Rubenstein is the author of La Perfidie de 'lHistoire (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf and Éditions Les Provinciales, 2005), a study of the impact of Islam on contemporary Europe, and Jihad and Genocide (forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield and Éditions Les Provinciales), a study of the genocidal potentialities of jihad.