Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Emil Cioran said that in 50 years' time Notre Dame will be a mosque

I was told at lunch this quotation from the celebrated Romanian aphorist and nihilist Emil Cioran, who made his life in France.
In 50 years' time Notre Dame will be a mosque
Looking on the net I see that he said it in 1987. Of course it won't happen, not by 2037 and I hope never, but a very interesting and characteristically pessimistic remark. 

France does not keep figures but, according to The Economistin 2008 1.7 million Muslims
lived in Paris and its metropolitan area, the Île-de-Francemaking up 10-15% of the population and making Paris/ Île-de-France the largest Muslim metropolitan area in Europe east of Istanbul. 

For comparison, in 1920 the population of Constantinople was somewhere between 800,000 and 1,200,000, of whom at most half were Muslim. 

(A digression. This was, incidentally, not necessarily very much more than Constantinople's population had been in 1600, when it was the largest city in Europe, if we forget that part of the city is in Asia. Constantinople's population in 1600 has been variously estimated at 400,000 and 700,000.)

Neagu Djuvara thinks France and Europe will in time have a Muslim majority. It's very possible but I think we should not be fatalistic about it, but try to prevent this happening. 
France fell in 1940 because she was weak in spirit, had lost the will to conquer. Europe now is in the same case.

Western Europe, at any rate. Not yet Romania. But Eastern Europe resembles the West more each day.

It was the historian Tom Gallagher who first persuaded me that Islam in Europe was problematic. I, years ago, said to him that it seemed that Europe was at the late Third Republic stage. He said no, it's worse that that - we are in Vichy.

I know Frenchmen who indignantly deny that France is an ethnic state. Although France is essentially Christian this too is something the French Republic and the Declaration of the Rights of Man explicitly deny. Oddly enough, of course, France's secularism, like all enlightenment ideas, is the product of her Christian heritage.

When I was in Algeria recently, I saw several mosques that had been built in the late nineteenth century as churches, including Oran Cathedral. Only the lack of crosses and stained glass windows revealed the change of use from the outside. It seems to us natural and inevitable that white minority rule in Algeria came to an end, but in the 1950s it certainly did not. If France one day has an an Arab majority that will seem natural too. 


  1. I have to say that I watched The Agony and the Ecstasy last night.
    It is a sorta fun movie to a history buff such as myself. And, the itnerecation between Heston (Michelangelo) and Harrison (Julias) was keen and believable.

    The point?

    I wondered which would come first? ISIS destruction or occupation and comversion to a mosque for the Sistine chapel? Vatican. This Pope doesnt seem to interested in using it for which it was built. Maybe those folks will make other use of the real estate a la hagia sophia.

  2. France fell because its armies were out-fought and out-manoeuvred by the German armies. At various points the French Army fought very well but it was not prepared to fight a manoeuvre-war.
    Once Panzer Gruppe Guderian broke out from the Sedan bridgehead, the northern half of the French Army was in deep trouble.

  3. 30 years is more realistic