For Muslim voters in Europe, the attractions of the Socialists are several. Socialists have traditionally taken a more accommodating approach to immigrants and asylum-seekers than their conservative rivals. They have championed the welfare state and the benefits it offers poor newcomers. They have promoted a multiculturalist ethos, which in practice has meant respecting Muslim traditions even when they conflict with Western values. In foreign policy, Socialists have often been anti-American and, by extension, hostile to Israel. That hostility has only increased as Muslim candidates have joined the Socialists' electoral slates and as the Muslim vote has become ever more crucial to the Socialists' electoral margin.
More mysterious, however, at least as a matter of ideology, has been the dalliance of the progressive left with the (Islamic) political right. Self-styled progressives, after all, have spent the past four decades championing the very freedoms that Islam most opposes: sexual and reproductive freedoms, gay rights, freedom from religion, pornography and various forms of artistic transgression, pacifism and so on. For those who hold this form of politics dear, any long-term alliance with Islamic politics ultimately becomes an ideological, if not a political, suicide pact. One cannot, after all, champion the cause of universal liberation in alliance with a movement that at its core stands for submission.
This is not, of course, the first time such a thing has happened in the history of the progressive movement, or in European history. On the contrary, it is the recurring theme. In the early 20th century, the apostles of Fabianism – George Bernard Shaw among them – looked to the Soviet Union for inspiration; in the 1960s the model was Mao; in the late 1970s, the great French philosopher Michel Foucault went to Iran to write a paean to Khomeini's revolution. In nearly every case, the progressives were, by later admission, deceived, but not before they had performed their service as "useful idiots" to a totalitarian cause.
But the stakes today are different. At question for Europeans is not the prevailing view of a distant country. The question is the shaping of their own. Europe's liberal democrats were able, sometimes with outside help, to preserve their values in the face of an outside threat. Whether they can resist the temptations of Islamosocialism remains to be seen.