First, an admission of ignorance: I had never heard of the French writer Renaud Camus before reading about his (suspended) prison sentence. Albert, yes. Renaud, no.
It follows that I haven’t read his book Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement). According to the newspaper reports Mr Camus’s central argument is that massive Islamic immigration to Europe represents a demographic invasion.
The author is quoted as saying in a later speech that: “The irreversible colonisation is demographic colonisation, by the replacement of the population… if the story continues, it will not be that of France.”
I don’t know what kind of royalties Mr Camus received for that book, but his oral pronouncement earned him a suspended prison sentence in a French court. The charge was “public incitement to hate or violence on the basis of origin, ethnicity, nationality, race or religion.”
Having already owned up to my ignorance of Mr Camus and his work, I have to go by the newspaper reports only. These abound in references to ‘conspiracy theories’ adorned by assorted epithets, branding Mr Camus as a white supremacist, racist and the devil incarnate.
For all I know, he may indeed be all those things. However, by some unfortunate oversight the newspapers omit any substantive response to the face value of Mr Camus’s argument, presumably because it’s deemed too ludicrous for comment.
But, being a pernickety sort, I tend to look at arguments first and arguers a distant second. Hence, considering Mr Camus’s pronouncement in a dispassionate manner, I find it rings true on various levels.
One level is the kind of maths I studied in elementary school. I vaguely recall those baffling problems about a swimming pool with two pipes, one filling, the other draining.
Whether the pool will drain, overfill or remain roughly the same depends on the flow rates in the two pipes. That’s all I remember, so please don’t test me on further knowledge.
From that mathematical premise, Mr Camus’s comment seems unassailable. Or it would be if he could show that the current level of Islamic immigration to France, coupled with the reproduction rates of the Muslims already there, exceeds any increase in the indigenous population.
Here one doesn’t have to have a wad of actuarial tables close at hand to see that Mr Camus, an objectionable person though he may be, has a point.
Europe in general and France in particular have been accepting Muslim immigrants in their millions, defending that policy on humanitarian grounds. Far be it from me to argue against charity, but here it clashes with maths.
The world has some 1.6 billion Muslims. It wouldn’t be a gross exaggeration to suppose that at least a billion of them (and probably more) would rather live in Western Europe than in the places they tend to inhabit.
Most of them can credibly claim some kind of oppression because, alas, such is the nature of most Islamic states, where human rights campaigners are mostly used for target practice.
Considering that the population of Western Europe is under 200 million, it’s clear that the high-rent part of the continent can’t accept a billion newcomers. And even admitting a sizeable proportion of them would indeed amount to the remplacement that so upsets Mr Camus.
Yet he goes further than ascribing the influx of Muslims to the good nature of Western governments. He talks about Islamisation as a strategy adopted by Muslim leaders and carried out with the help of enthusiastic acquiescence on the part of some European leaders.
Hence the accusation of spreading conspiracy theories, levelled by the French court. Now I hate conspiracy theories, as I’m sure do you. All God’s children hate them and with good reason.
However, if said children are blessed with a rudimentary knowledge of history, they’ll know that there have always existed actual, non-theoretical conspiracies. Some of them, such as Bolshevism, pursued the goal of world domination.
Can Mr Camus argue that Islam falls into that category? Modern Islamic ideologues give him ample grounds for that. “Our victory,” the president of Algeria once said, “will come from the womb of every Muslim woman.”
And the guiding lights of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood clarified what he meant by victory. Thus Mohamed Akram: the Muslims’ task “is a kind of grand Jihad eliminating and destroying the Western civilisation from within… so that God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” And thus Kamal El-Helbawi: “Our ideal is a global Islamic state”.
Such tirades can’t be dismissed as extremist rants: they are wholly consistent with Islamic scriptural sources, including the Koran (9:33, among many other verses). One may doubt that Muslim leaders deliberately engineer massive emigration to Western Europe – but not that they see it as a demographic shift in their favour.
What about acquiescence (I dare not say collusion) on the part of Western leaders? Mr Camus finds it hard to believe that immigration of millions could have just happened spontaneously. In my weak moments, so do I.
Moreover, in Britain at least, we have a frank confession by Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair’s right hand. With honesty some would describe as cynicism, he once admitted that Blair’s government actively promoted Islamic immigration as a way of stacking the electoral pack in favour of Labour.
Not all European leaders display the same honesty, but, as that notorious white supremacist book says, “ye shall know them by their fruits”.
For example, Britain already has 3,000,000 Muslims (those we know about), not many of whom have become culturally British or ever intend to do so. And that number is growing rapidly, threatening to outdo France’s 5,000,000-plus, although the French are doing their level best to stay ahead.
At such levels, it isn’t immigration any longer. It’s indeed colonisation or perhaps even occupation. No country, and certainly none within the core European civilisation, can afford such a situation culturally even if she can afford it economically.
Bringing that swimming pool back into the discussion, if the present tendency continues at the same pace or even at all, Mr Camus will be richly vindicated. It’s just the arithmetic, m’lord. Or whatever they call French judges.