“In December, European Union (news – web sites) leaders will decide whether to overlook widespread public objections and move ahead with membership talks with Turkey, a Muslim nation of about 70 million people and a galloping birthrate that could push it past Germany’s population in a generation.
European police agencies have sharply boosted cooperation against suspected Islamic terrorist groups following the March train bombings in Spain that killed 191 people. Washington’s European allies in Iraq (news – web sites) are reassessing their levels of military and commercial support following waves of attacks, kidnappings and beheadings blamed on Islamic militants.
EU officials last month signed the text of a proposed EU Constitution that still could face opposition from voters demanding a clear reference to Europe’s Christian history.
But those big issues fade on the streets of many European centers. Here â€” even in places like tolerant Amsterdam â€” it’s often expressed as a gnawing feeling that militant factions in Islamic immigrant communities are gaining ground and chipping away at values such as free speech and secular politics.
“There is a general feeling that a social collision is becoming inevitable,” said Jan Rath, co-director of the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam. “People think it’s been building for years and now finally coming to the surface.”
East Versus West, soon to be in a country near you. Now is the time for moderate Muslims to make their voices heard. If they do not they allow the radicals to co-opt Islam and they allow the fear and concern of non-Muslims to continue unabated.
It is a golden opportunity that may not present itself again, speak now or watch the march to war continue.