UK waterpark bans bikinis and orders visitors to wear 'Islamically appropriate' clothes
A BRITISH waterpark has sparked fury by banning bikinis and ordering visitors to cover up in "Islamically appropriate" clothing.
By SCOTT CAMPBELL
PUBLISHED: 05:25, Sun, Jun 14, 2015
WaterWorld in Stoke-on-Trent plans to black out windows and provide a prayer room during a women-only night aimed at Muslims.
Only female lifeguards will patrol the park during the event, which has triggered a flood of complaints.
Staff will also "guard" the front entrance to "make sure that no males enter the facility".
In a statement on its Facebook page, a spokesman for WaterWorld said the Sisters Only event would “attract ladies of all religions/beliefs as we invite you to visit our facility and enjoy its features whilst having the option of wearing attire that our normal operating procedures prevent”.
Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said: "I imagine there would be a lot of outrage if the boot was on the other foot and swimmers were told they had to dress appropriately in respect of Christians. I don’t see how this is different."
One invitation to the "Sisters Only Funday" advises attendees to cover their "awrah" (nudity) by wearing full-length jogging bottoms and a dark-coloured t-shirt.
Protesters are now planning to demonstrate outside the event.
WaterWorld owner Mo Chaudry said: "I'm astonished that we have been targeted. We feel we've been victimised for offering something that we feel there is a demand for."
A WaterWorld spokesman told Breitbart London: "We pride ourselves in having the adaptability and diversity to cater to demands of our guests.
"This is a female-only event and is not specific to any ethnic or religious group."
session is scheduled to take place outside the centre’s normal opening
hours, meaning it would not restrict access to the facilities for those
who did not want to comply with the additional dress requirements, the
Abu Hamza is gone, but Britain remains the world's leading recruiting ground for al-Qaeda
By Con Coughlin
May 20th, 2014
When will we ever learn? While David Cameron and Theresa May rightly rejoice over the conviction in New York yesterday of Abu Hamza on a range of terrorism charges, they still have not come to grips with the fact that London and other parts of the UK remain a major operational base for Islamist terror cells.
During the 1990s I wrote a series of articles for The Telegraph pointing out how Britain had become the favoured haunt of leading Islamist terror groups, from as far afield as Saudi Arabia to Algeria. But these warnings went completely unheeded by the security services, who kept insisting that the likes of Abu Hamza posed no threat to Britain or British interests.
And yet, more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, and as the tenth anniversary of our own terrible 7 July attacks on London's transport system approaches, anti-Western Islamist groups continue to flourish in Britain, busily recruiting naive young British Muslims to fight in Syria, and using Britain as a base from which to launch terror attacks against our long-standing allies in the Arab world – countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.
Last year's murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in south London should have served as a wake up call to our security services that Islamist cells based in Britain are not only concerned with targeting foreign governments. More recently the estimated 450 British jihadists who have travelled to Syria – and in all likelihood been radicalised by al-Qaeda and other related groups – should have got the alarm bells ringing.
yet, just as happened during Abu Hamza's heyday at the Finsburty Park
Mosque in North London in the 1990s, I get the sense that British
ministers and security officials still do not grasp the enormity of the
Islamist terror threat Britain continues to face today. Frankly, the
fact that the Americans can bring Abu Hamza to justice, and Britain did
nothing even though most of his crimes were committed on British soil,
is a damning indictment or our approach to this growing menace.
No-Go Zones for Non-Muslims Multiplying All Over Europe
Author: Claire Reitz
Published: September 20, 2011
'No-go' zones are for everyone that is not Muslim are springing up all over Europe at alarming rates. Many neighborhoods in London are now unsafe for non-Muslims to inhabit. These areas have been formed with 'ethnic cleansing' harassment tactics; forcing existing residents out of their homes by Muslim harassment. Not only are these places unsafe to live in, they're hazardous to walk into. Many women have been threatened with violence and even death for not wearing Islamic veils when simply walking in a London neighborhood. Gays have also had death threats shouted at them by Muslim preachers.
Many neighborhoods hang signs that say "You are entering a Sharia controlled zone: Islamic rules enforced." Christian preachers have also been accused of hate crimes for handing out Christian reading in Muslim neighborhoods. Police told these pastors to stop or they would be arrested. Several Islamic groups including Muslims against the Crusade leading the Islamic Emirates Project are openly on a mission to turn several areas of London and the UK into independent Islamic republics ruled by Sharia law.
In France, there are approximately 750 'no-go' zones for French police. In some neighborhoods, Muslim citizens close off streets and sidewalks on their own authority for Friday prayers, which prevents residents who are not Muslim from entering or leaving the area. Some mosques also broadcast preaching and prayers over loudspeakers. Many French citizens have deemed this as 'occupation without tanks or soldiers' but French police have refused to intervene in fear of riots.
In Brussels, Belgium, police patrol areas in two squad cars: the first to patrol and the second to protect the patrol car. Police have been targets for aggression and are afraid to go on regular patrols. They have also been told not to eat or drink in public during Ramadan, in order to not cause a public disturbance and further target themselves.
Germany also reports the growth of 'no-go' zones at an alarming rate. Police are also afraid to patrol in many neighborhoods in pairs, because of the violence they face. Dude to this, they are timid to act as police officers curbing crime, therefore many neighborhoods are left to their own rule, which is their goal.
The Netherlands government has been forced by the courts to issue a list of 'no-go' zones to the public. Also in Italy, Piazza Venezia in Rome has been claimed by Muslims for prayer and the Church of San Petronio in Bologna has staved off terrorist attack attempts and even more threats due to the depiction of Mohammed in hell as adapted from Dante's Inferno.
In Europe's most immigration-friendly country, Sweden, 'no-go' zones are surging. Firefighters have been attacked while putting out a mosque fire and emergency workers now refuse to enter the areas without police escort. Police are attacked as well having rocks thrown at them and molotov cocktails hurled at their cars. In one district of the city Gothenburg, over 15 police cars have been destroyed.
Clashing worlds - Europe and Islam
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Europe and the Islamic world are at war. It's a proxy conflict, fought in European capitals and on the Arab streets. But people are being killed.
Earlier this month, Islamic gunmen slaughtered six Christians as they left church in southern Egypt on Coptic Christmas Eve, setting off a week of retributive violence. This was just the latest incident in a cascading series of repressive and violent acts against Christians living in numerous Arab states, including the Palestinian territories, Iraq and Morocco, among other places.
Meantime, across Europe, government leaders are contemplating or enacting ever-more repressive rules on Muslim residents and citizens, who are carrying their lifestyles and grievances into unforgiving societies.
The most famous example: The Swiss electorate voted last month to ban the construction of new minarets. Then, early this month, a fiery Islamic cleric in England announced that he would organize a large protest march through the streets of a town near London that regularly honors passing hearses carrying British soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "personally appalled," and then on Tuesday Britain banned the group.
In both worlds, the conflicts result from misunderstanding and outright intolerance, fanned oftentimes by extremists, like Geert Wilders, a Dutch member of parliament. He travels the Western world preaching an anti-Islamic screed. Wilders has hit a chord, and the transcript of one speech he gave in New York last year has gone viral, landing in millions of e-mail in-boxes and watched on YouTube nearly 1 million times.
Wilders likes to note that "it is not a coincidence that every terrorist act is based on this fascist book the Quran, this wrong ideology, and unfortunately has been done by people from the Islamic world. I don't believe that cultures are equal. I believe that our culture is much better than the retarded Islamic culture."
In England, meanwhile, Anjem Choudary, leader of the banned Islamic group, posted his view on his organization's Web site recently, saying the march (now canceled) would be in honor of "the real war dead who have been shunned by the Western media and general public as they were, and continue to be, horrifically murdered in the name of democracy and freedom: the innocent Muslim man, women and children."
An estimated 20 million Muslims now live in Europe. Many emigrated to take menial jobs that Europeans were no longer willing to do. The problem for Europeans is that these immigrants tend not to assimilate. They live in their own communities where some of their leaders enforce elements of Shariah law.
In some major cities, including Amsterdam and Marseille, France, they now comprise 25 percent of the population, and the anti-Islamists decry an alarmingly high birthrate among the Muslim residents, though the statistics are questionable at best. But all of that is engendering panicked talk about the possible death of European civilization.
So Switzerland banned minarets, France forbade women to wear head scarves and, across Europe, newspapers are constantly reporting controversies and court cases over honor killings, forced marriages, female circumcision and terrorist threats. Europeans, put simply, are afraid - for themselves and for the future.
No one can say with any certainty what drives the rash of assaults and murders of Arab Christians in Islamic states. But for many Muslims, Christianity is a Western religion, though it was born in the Middle East. I am guessing that some Arabs see their Christian neighbors as proxies for their grievances with the West - including the way Muslims are treated in Europe and the United States.
Thousands of Christian families have lived in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, since the faith was born. In the mid-20th century, 80 percent of the town's population was Christian. But in recent years, murders, fire bombings and constant, brutal intimidation has driven away most of the Christians. Now they represent just 20 percent of the population.
Mosul, Iraq, has among the oldest Christian populations in the world. The Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Thomas, built in 770, was damaged in a bombing last month. That was the sixth attack on Christians there in less than a month, the New York Times reported.
"Christian leaders inside and outside the country reported that members of their communities" in Iraq "received threatening letters demanding that Christians leave or be killed," the State Department said in its 2009 report on religious freedom.
On both continents, anger is rising; the conflicts are growing more frequent and violent. Thanks to extremists on both sides, I don't see a good end.
Joel Brinkley, a professor of
journalism at Stanford University, is a former foreign correspondent for the New
French leaders push for ban of Muslim dress in public places
By Edward Cody
Washington Post foreign Service
Saturday, January 16, 2010
FRANCE -- France, which regards itself as the cradle of human rights,
is moving to impose legal restrictions on Muslim women who wear
Afghan-style burqas or other full-face veils.
The restrictions, likely to apply to many public places, come in response to resentment in France and other European countries over the growing visibility of Muslims -- immigrants or locally born -- on a continent with ancient Christian roots. The tensions have long run through European societies but increasingly are coming to the surface as the number of Muslims grows and symbols of their faith, including mosques, are seen as a challenge to European traditions.
Andre Gerin, a member of Parliament who recently completed six months of hearings on the burqa controversy, said that he has nothing against the more than 5 million Muslims in France but that full-face veils are the visible tip of an Islamist underground that threatens the French way of life.
Although veiled women are estimated to number no more than several thousand in this country of 64 million, Gerin said, behind them are what he called "gurus" who are trying to impose Islamic law on French society.
For instance, Gerin said, doctors at the Mother and Child Hospital in Lyon told him during a visit Thursday that they are threatened several times a week by angry Muslim men who refuse to allow their pregnant wives or daughters to be treated by male doctors, even for emergency births when nobody else is available. "The scope of the problem is a lot broader than I thought," he said at a news conference here summing up his findings. "It is insidious."
Gerin said representatives of several other European countries, as well as Canada, have expressed interest in his hearings, which included testimony from women's advocacy figures, Muslim leaders and sociologists.
Gerin, who also is mayor in the working-class Lyon suburb of Venissieux, said his parliamentary commission will present formal recommendations for legislation Jan. 26. They will probably urge a nonpartisan parliamentary resolution condemning full-face veils in principle, he said, to be followed by targeted decrees or laws banning veils in public facilities such as town halls, and then a general law prohibiting full veils in as many places as possible under the French constitution. As Gerin described it, that law would bar fully veiled women from, for instance, walking down the Champs Elysees.
"Our objective is not to stigmatize these women, but to be clean, clear-cut and precise -- the full-face veil has no place in France," he declared.
Women's advocacy groups, some of which include Muslim women, have strongly endorsed the proposed legislation to ban the full-face veil on grounds it offends women's dignity and symbolizes oppression by men. But several young Muslim women interviewed by French journalists have responded that they wear the veil of their own accord because they want to affirm adherence to a fundamentalist version of Islam.
Getting a jump on Gerin's commission, the leader of President Nicolas Sarkozy's parliamentary majority, Jean-Francois Cope, formally proposed this week a law banning full-face veils in any public place, including the streets. More than 200 members of Parliament backed his suggested legislation, he said.
Defense Minister Herve Morin, a centrist allied with Sarkozy, predicted such broad legislation would be unconstitutional. Moreover, he added, it could lead to embarrassing situations with foreigners, such as Persian Gulf billionaires who arrive in Paris with their fully veiled wives.
Sarkozy and his prime minister, Francois Fillon, responded to the clamor by saying they want Parliament first to approve a unanimous resolution declaring that the full-face veil is unacceptable in France. Then, they added in apparently coordinated statements, they will push for laws calibrated to ban the burqa as much as possible in public places without earning a rebuke from the Constitutional Council, the body that rules on constitutional issues.
The legislation should be debated only after regional elections scheduled in March, they added, to keep it from being caught up in party politics. Critics, particularly in the opposition Socialist Party, have charged that much of Sarkozy's concern over the issue, including his organization of a "national identity debate," is designed to curry favor with right-wing voters.
France's Muslim establishment, including the government-encouraged Muslim Religion Council, has declared that nothing in Islam requires women to wear full-face veils. At the same time, the council leader, Mohammed Moussaoui, has been reluctant to criticize women who wear a full veil and voiced fears that a legal ban would "stigmatize" Muslims in the same way he said they were stigmatized by a 2004 law banning headscarves in public schools.
In addition to the restrictions on full veils, Gerin said, his commission will urge the government to hand down new guidance for doctors, teachers and mayors who have to deal with what he called "threats and violence" from fundamentalist Muslims. History or biology teachers frequently are challenged by fundamentalist adolescents whose religious beliefs are contradicted by what they hear in school, he said, and in some communities half the girls in junior high physical education classes refuse to participate on religious grounds.
"Their ideas are not in conformity with our society," he added.
Tragedy in Britain
Assyrian International News Agency
By Melanie Phillips
National Review Online
September 11, 2008
London -- Earlier this week, a British jury convicted three British Islamists of conspiracy to murder, acquitted one, and failed to convict four more. This resulted from the investigation of the 2006 summer plot to blow up seven transatlantic airliners between Britain and the U.S. by detonating explosives packed in soft-drink bottles.
The discovery of this plot changed the way we all fly, with restrictions imposed on what we can take on board a plane. It was the biggest counter-terrorism case in British history. Yet it ended in a near-debacle. The essence of the case remains unproven, because the jury failed to agree that the aim of the conspiracy was to blow up transatlantic planes.
Prosecutors cannot understand how a jury could have failed to grasp this, given the overwhelming evidence presented to the court. At the time of this writing, it is not clear what caused this mess. Was it the fact that American nervousness at the discovery of the plot forced the Pakistani police to arrest a key conspirator, thus bringing the British investigation to an abrupt halt before all necessary evidence could be collected? Was it incompetence in the way the trial was conducted? Or was it a rogue jury?
While the first two factors may well have played a role, the last is most disturbing. For it is certainly possible that this jury contained some individuals who don't take the terrorism threat seriously. Indeed, the verdict encapsulates Britain's mood on this seventh anniversary of 9/11, three years after terrorists attacked London's own transport system.
A significant constituency still believes that "Blair/Bush lied, people died" by using false and politicised intelligence. They believe, therefore, that the terror threat has been exaggerated to justify the Iraq War -- and so they refuse to believe anything the intelligence world tells them, unless it is that America's War on Terror has made the world a more dangerous place.
So when MI5 say there are at least 2,000 known Islamic terrorism supporters in Britain -- and maybe double that number -- and that a dirty bomb in Britain is not a matter of "if" but "when," a lot of people just suck their teeth.
Now prosecutors are talking of a retrial in the airline case -- precisely because the security establishment has to rely on guilty verdicts in terrorist trials to prove to the disbelieving British the true seriousness of the terror threat facing their country.
More than 20 Islamist terror plots in Britain have now been thwarted; more than 1,000 people have been arrested under terrorism laws, and more than 200 of them convicted. These figures certainly suggest that the British security world has raised its game. But they also demonstrate the enormous scale of Britain's home-grown problem with Islamic radicalism -- a problem that the security and political establishment is actually deepening through its refusal to correctly identify the threat it is fighting.
It refuses to acknowledge that a war of Islamic conquest is being waged against the West and all "infidels" (including "backsliding" Muslims). Instead, it defines the issue as a severe terrorist threat posed by individuals who are promoting a "false" version of Islam. Indeed, British intelligence circles say that the terrorists are motivated by an "ideology" in which religion plays no part.
It is surely quite terrifying that, at this most dangerous juncture for our society, British intelligence can be, well, so lacking in intelligence. The undeniable fact is that Islamic jihadism is solidly rooted in Muslim theology and history. For sure, many Muslims reject this interpretation of their religion and live by different spiritual and peaceful lights. But it is as fatuous to say that jihadi terror is based on a false interpretation of Islam as it would have been to say that the Inquisition was based on a false interpretation of Christianity.
It is also extraordinary that such officials ignore how these admittedly confused and inconsistent terrorist youths actually define themselves as holy warriors. The "martyrdom" videos recorded by those involved in the airline plot spoke of causing violence and death in the same breath as having been chosen by Allah, of scattering the body parts of non-believers, and of their disgust at the decadence of British society. To ignore the fact that such utterances are straight out of the lexicon of imams and sheikhs throughout the Muslim world who have declared holy war against unbelievers everywhere is beyond perverse.
This is hardly surprising, given that the security world courts a steady procession of slippery Islamists and their apologists, who serve up a carefully sanitized version of Islam. It fails to realise that the jihad consists not only of terrorism but the "soft jihad" of cultural infiltration, intimidation, and takeover. It is simply blind to the ruthless way in which the Islamists are exploiting Britain's chronic muddle of well-meaning tolerance and political correctness (backed up by the threat of more violence) to put Islam on a special -- indeed, unique -- footing within Britain.
As a result, the steady Islamization of British public space is either ignored or tacitly encouraged by a political, security, and judicial establishment that is failing to identify the stealthy and mind-bending game being played. It will not acknowledge the extremism within mainstream Islam. Defining "extremism" narrowly as supporting violence against Britain, it makes the catastrophic mistake of treating the aim of Islamizing Britain as an eccentric but unthreatening position, and not one to be taken seriously.
Thinking that the problem is terrorism rather than the religious fanaticism that fuels it, the government actually employs such fanatics as counterterrorism agents. So it treats the Muslim Brotherhood -- despite its commitment to Islamize the Western world through "soft" jihad as well as terror -- as a useful ally against al-Qaeda.
Worse still, Britain has caved in to the key Islamist demand that no one should suggest that Islamic terrorism has anything to do with Islam. In a speech on counter-terrorism last month, Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, even declared violent extremism to be "anti-Islamic."
The Research, Information and Communication Unit, a "hearts and minds" outfit based in the Home Office set up to counter al-Qaeda's efforts to manipulate individuals and groups, has told civil servants not to use terms such as "Islamist extremism" or "jihadi-fundamentalist." Instead, they should refer to "violent extremism" or "criminal murderers" or "thugs" to avoid any implication that there is an explicit link between Islam and terrorism. It warns those engaged in counterterrorist work that any talk of a struggle for values or a battle of ideas is often heard as a "confrontation/clash between civilizations/cultures." Perish the thought.
The government does nothing to stop the steadily rising number of Muslims coming to settle in Britain who, refusing to assimilate, are steadily changing its demographic, cultural, and political identities. It turns a blind eye to the development of parallel Sharia enclaves practicing polygamy and forced marriage. Indeed, the British state has effectively condoned polygamy by providing welfare benefits for the multiple wives of British Muslim men. But we don't have to worry, apparently, for no lesser luminaries than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and Lord Phillips, the senior Law Lord, have said the application of Sharia family law poses no problems for Britain. Thus British Muslim women are being institutionalised as second-class citizens -- with official approval.
Banks and other financial institutions are falling over themselves to develop Sharia finance, despite the fact that this provides a cover for terrorist financing and is a prime instrument for forcing the ever-wider spread of Islamic practices among Muslims.
There are signs that Islamist thinking is infiltrating the police. Up to eight police officers and civilian staff working in the Metropolitan Police and other forces have been reported as having links to extremist groups, including al-Qaeda. Within the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism department, its Muslim Contact Unit employs two Salafist officers in the belief that they can help counter Islamist radicalism. Given that Salafists are committed to the overthrow of the West and its replacement by an Islamic society, this beggars belief.
Even thought itself is being Islamized, with academic objectivity in the teaching of Islam and Middle East studies set aside in favour of indoctrination and propaganda. An as-yet-unpublished report by Prof. Anthony Glees says that extremist ideas are being spread by Islamic study centers linked to British universities and backed by multi-million-pound donations from Saudi Arabia and Muslim organizations. Professor Glees says, "Britain's universities will have to generate two national cultures: one non-Muslim and largely secular, the other Muslim. We will have two identities, two sets of allegiance and two legal and political systems. This must, by the Government's own logic, hugely increase the risk of terrorism."
Yet Britain's government appears paralyzed as it allows this second culture to develop apace -- and with it attitudes that threaten the integrity of British society. A recent report by the Centre for Social Cohesion revealed that, among young Muslims, almost one in three says that killing in the name of religion is justified; four out of ten say they support the introduction of sharia into U.K. law; nearly a quarter do not think that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah; one in three doesn't think or doesn't know whether Islam is compatible with the Western notion of democracy; one third say they are in favor of a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on Sharia.
A recent Dispatches TV program sent a female reporter undercover into Britain's flagship and supposedly ultra-moderate Regent's Park mosque, and revealed that in its back rooms hatred and separation were preached against non-Muslims, homosexuals, and adulterers. When a previous Dispatches revealed similarly vile preaching in many other supposedly moderate mosques, the result had been an outrageous police attempt to get the program disciplined for distorted reporting -- a false claim that ended in a libel action against the police, who were forced to apologize.
When the bishop of Rochester, Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Britain was developing Muslim no-go areas, he was denounced as Islamophobic. The establishment queued up to say they didn't recognise the Britain he was describing. The British political and security class is doing everything it can to deny such truths -- and its deadly culture of groveling appeasement and ignorance is now spreading among American security circles, too. This is simply cultural suicide.
What's happening in Britain is a tragedy -- but it's one that the rest of the free world, fighting to defend itself against the global jihad, can ill afford to ignore.
Europe is learning a hard lesson from Muslim immigrant experience
Ronan Mullen YOU might have thought the
ability to drink alcohol and shake hands was essential for the smooth running of
the EU, but you’d be wrong.
Last week, female European diplomats did not shake hands at a meeting with Iranian parliamentary delegates. And EU head of foreign affairs Javier Solana served up only coffee, fruit juice and water.
"The Iranians do not shake hands with women. It's their personal decision and they are our guests," a spokeswoman for Solana said.
The Belgians were not so happy. Anne-Marie Lizin, the president of the Belgian upper house, cancelled her meeting with the Iranian delegates over the hand-shaking issue. And the speaker of the lower house, Herman de Croo, cancelled a lunch when the Iranians insisted that there should be no alcohol.
But while it is one thing to have cultural difficulties with visitors from outside your country, it is quite another to have them within your borders.
The EU has difficulties over immigration that go far beyond the issue of hand-shaking.
Holland, which for long prided itself on its liberal, tolerant society, is perhaps the country in most turmoil. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament, is demanding that the Dutch intelligence service investigate the 'honour killings' of Muslim girls, and that the health authorities examine schoolgirls for evidence of genital mutilation.
Hirsi Ali has reason to feel aggrieved. As a six-year-old in Somalia, her mother and grandmother forced her to undergo female genital mutilation.
After her father was forced to flee Somalia, the family went to Saudi Arabia, where she and her sister were veiled and kept indoors. Her chance for freedom came when travelling overland to Canada to an arranged marriage with her cousin. She fled her relatives in Germany, and caught a train to Amsterdam. After completing a degree in politics, she began to work for the Dutch social services.
She met women who had been locked inside their homes for years and she interviewed others who had been raped and beaten. She heard about girls who had been killed for holding hands with non-Muslim boys and she was outraged to find that the Dutch authorities chose not to interfere in such family conflicts. She says that multiculturalist policies aimed at protecting 'culture' often end up repressing women and children.
She opposes the Dutch policy of subsidising more than 700 Islamic mosques, schools and clubs and argues that these are used to perpetuate negative ideas about gender and sexuality.
Hirsi Ali is not the first liberal in Holland to take a harsh view of Islam.
Three years ago, in May 2002, the country had its first political murder in 300 years with the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a homosexual sociology professor who won elected office in Rotterdam on a platform of opposition to Muslim immigration. Fortuyn's labelling of Islam as a 'backward' religion and his anti-Muslim rants led to his own murder. But his comments also triggered a series of attacks on mosques and caused other Dutch parties to adopt more right-wing views on immigration. Hirsi Ali was not deterred by Fortuyn's assassination but instead stepped up her offensive, controversially attacking the Prophet Mohammed. And as in Fortuyn's case, her outspoken campaigning has had shocking consequences.
Eight months ago, a Muslim fanatic ritually slaughtered Theo van Gogh, a Dutch film-maker who collaborated with Hirsi Ali in the making of the film, Submission, which criticises Islam's treatment of women. The murderer used his knife to stick a five-page letter to the corpse promising the same treatment for Hirsi Ali and another Dutch politician.
The murder sparked dozens of attacks on mosques and schools. But is Islam to blame? "I don't think male violence against women, a phenomenon known to every society in history, can be explained by a few Koranic verses," says Annelies Moors, an anthropologist in the University of Amsterdam.
Karima Belhaj, director of the largest women's shelter in Amsterdam, says Hirsi Ali plays into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists by saying that Muslim women must give up faith and family if they want to be liberated. Belhaj also stresses the problem of hatred towards Arabs and Muslims in Dutch society.
But Hirsi Ali is partly right about the problem. Many Dutch women live in segregated 'parallel societies' where Islamic social codes are enforced.
Muslims make up 5.5% of the Dutch population, but more than half the women in battered women's shelters are Muslims. Muslim women have far higher suicide rates than their non-Muslim counterparts. And some Muslim women from African backgrounds are being genitally mutilated.
Germany has similar problems. Parts of east Berlin are made up entirely of Turkish immigrants who are neither integrated into the host community nor able to speak German. One solution is to make pre-schooling compulsory. And the German state of Hessen has become the first to require that children pass a language test before getting into primary school.
Is this the Europe of the future? Erstwhile liberals joining with right-wingers in opposing immigration? Attacks on mosques and Muslim schools? Retaliatory strikes and murders by extremists within the Muslim community? And what happens as the host population declines, and the proportion of Muslim immigrants rises? For example, in Germany, where the population is expected to drop from 80 million now to just 55 million in 2050?
According to Norwegian journalist and human rights activist Hege Storhaug, women are the key. Some Muslim communities oppose integration by controlling marriage, she says. "Families are under tremendous pressure to bring relatives from the home country to Europe. Relatives are willing to pay a lot for those residency visas. Especially with young immigrant brides, they become completely dependent on their husbands and in-laws."
Denmark solved this problem by bringing in new rules for those bringing spouses into the country from overseas. Both parties must be at least 24 years old and they must demonstrate that the marriage is voluntary. Muslim groups opposed the measure, but Storhaug argues that it has freed immigrant parents from family pressures to use their children as 'human visas.' Young Muslims, she says, can continue their education without fear of being married off.
One thing is certain: these challenges are going to give many European governments second thoughts about the admission of Turkey into the EU. Last November, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that Turkish integration would be "a historic opportunity to build a bridge to the Islamic world."
But now Schroeder is heading for defeat in the German elections and the person likely to replace him as chancellor, Angela Merkel, takes a different view. She wants 'privileged partnership' status for Turkey which probably means free trade but no open borders. Some might call this policy racist or right-wing. But given the problem which European countries are already experiencing, does it really make sense to admit a country like Turkey which has 90 million people and a democratic and human rights culture that is, at best, a work in progress?
Will Europe save itself?
THE JERUSALEM POST
The London bombings were the warning shots of a looming European civil war. Unless Europeans face the challenge of integrating Muslim communities without renouncing Western values in the process, unless Muslim leaders forcefully pursue a policy of integration that isolates not only the extremists but also the world view on which they thrive, Europe is doomed to interethnic violence.
Just like after the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands last November, the attacks engendered three popular responses: fear, anger, and doubt about the viability of Europe's multicultural society.
Let's start with fear. According to data released last week, since the London bombings the number of Tube travelers is down by 15% during the week and 30% during weekends. People are afraid, and it is doubtful that even the heavy and visible police presence is having a reassuring effect: If anything, the mistaken killing by plainclothes policemen of a Brazilian immigrant the day after the second spate of terror attacks only reinforced the public's fear.
Then there is the anger. Sadly but predictably, hate crimes have soared since July 7. Most targets of violence are Asians, not necessarily Muslims, although one in six of those who reported abuse and racist assaults were Muslims. In London alone, the police reported a 600% increase in faith-hate crimes compared with last year. Police forces across the British Isles report similar trends. Hate is on the rise.
And then there is the doubt. Can it be that years of lenient immigration and asylum policies contributed to the rise of a home-grown terror threat?
Multiculturalism preaches respect for different value systems, thus creating an impossible dilemma for liberal societies: Should illiberal value systems and cultures be treated equally? Should immigrants who embrace illiberal value systems be allowed to retain them once they move to Europe?
This dilemma is not just about whether women can wear the hijab, but whether we can accept honor killings and gender segregation in the name of tolerance.
Liberalism preaches tolerance as a universal precondition for social cohesion among diverse beliefs; it thus excludes the intolerant from those entitled to the benefits of tolerance. Multiculturalism goes one step further and tolerates the intolerant. It thus contains the seeds of self-destruction.
Europe must face the prospect that multiculturalism has undermined the moral and normative pillars of Western societies - such as gender equality and emancipation of women, sexual freedom, and respect for religious pluralism. Can it be that the general European trend actively discouraging the fostering of strong national identity has created an identity vacuum for immigrant communities that radical preachers have exploited to spread their message of hatred?
IN THE wake of the London bombings hatred's apologists have lined up to blame Tony Blair's support for the war in Iraq. The argument about despair and humiliation over Palestine, Iraq and Western imperialism is a useful refuge for those who resort to rhetoric instead of clear thinking to skirt the real issue: All the bombers were born here, came from relatively affluent backgrounds, had access to education and jobs and enjoyed the benefits of living in an open society.
The anger and fear triggered by the bombings show that British society has no patience for murderers and their apologists. Meanwhile, as Muslims walk the streets of London in fear, surveys show a volatile and explosive situation: In a recent YouGov poll, 6% of British Muslims thought the bombings were "on balance" justified.
Though a tiny minority, that is still roughly 100,000 people. Regardless of justification, 24% express varying degrees of sympathy for "the feelings and motives" of the bombers. And regardless of sympathy, 56% state that "they can understand them."
Those who are ready to kill are few, but history shows that terror raises its ugly head when a few extremists are surrounded by a sympathetic and supportive milieu where those who would not take the gun are still ready to acquiesce to those who will.
The YouGov survey shows that worrying numbers of British Muslims feel no loyalty to Britain. As many as 32% view Western society as immoral and decadent, but only one percent approve of violent means to bring an end to it - the rest are content with pursuing the peaceful overthrow of Western civilization.
Urgent action is therefore needed: British Muslims must embrace a Britishness unconditionally founded on Western liberal values as much as Britishness must show readiness to welcome them. Otherwise, prepare for the worst.
The wave of violence after the bombings shows that European societies are close to a tipping point. Tensions have been brewing for far too long, with a change of direction endorsed only by a few and the acceptance of an increasingly untenable status quo supported by the politically correct multiculturalists.
How many more terror attacks will it take to offset this fragile balance? The time for uncritical endorsement of the "dignity of difference" is over. Immigrants must be welcome to work and to stay. But they, and their offspring, must be expected to embrace the values of 21st-century liberal democracy, not of 7th-century Arabia.
If that is the code they wish to abide by, Europeans should not be shy about defending the ways of liberty and democracy, whatever it takes.
The writer teaches Israel Studies at Oxford University.
THE ISLAMIZATION OF
by Patrick Sookhdeo
11 August 2005
On Friday 20th May 2005 a crowd of some 300 Muslims burned a wooden cross outside the American embassy in London. This was part of a protest against the rumoured desecration of a Qur'an by American soldiers in Guantanamo Bay, during which British and American flags were also burned. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this event was that it was not deemed to be newsworthy, receiving little attention in the national press.
The whole scenario is reminiscent of what happens in so many Muslim-majority countries: a rumour of an insult to Islam, a violent and blasphemous anti-Christian reaction, police watching idly, and a complete lack of public interest let alone outrage. It could have been Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia or Northern Nigeria. But it was the UK.
Europe is undergoing a rapid process of change as Muslims make their presence felt in politics, economics, law, education and the media. While there is a wide range of attitudes amongst Muslims in Europe, with many who are broadly content with the status quo and just want to live their lives peacefully, others are striving deliberately to drive forward the changes.
As a result of the efforts of the latter, Europe is gradually being transformed into a society in which Islam takes its place, not just as an equal alongside the many other faith communities, but often as the dominant player. This is not purely, or even primarily, a matter of numbers, but is more a matter of control of the structures of society. It is not happening by chance but is the result of a careful and deliberate strategy by certain Muslim leaders.
Though the effects are only now becoming noticeable, the planning was done decades ago. In 1980 the Islamic Council of Europe published a book called Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States which clearly explained the Islamic agenda in Europe. When Muslims live as a minority they face theological problems, because classical Islamic teaching always presupposed a context of Islamic dominance; hence the need for guidance on how to live in non-Muslim states. The instructions given in the book told Muslims to get together and organise themselves with the aim of establishing a viable Muslim community based on Islamic principles. This is the duty of every individual Muslim living within a non-Muslim political entity. They should set up mosques, community centres and Islamic schools. At all costs they must avoid being assimilated by the majority. In order to resist assimilation, they must group themselves geographically, forming areas of high Muslim concentration within the population as a whole. Yet they must also interact with non-Muslims so as to share the message of Islam with them. Every Muslim individual is required to participate in the plan; it is not allowed for anyone simply to live as a "good Muslim" without assisting the overall strategy. The ultimate goal of this strategy is that the Muslims should become a majority and the entire nation be governed according to Islam. (M. Ali Kettani "The Problems of Muslim Minorities and their Solutions" in Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States (London: Islamic Council of Europe, 1980) pp.96-105) Not all Muslims would support this action plan. The more secularized are happy to become integrated within the majority society. Even amongst those who agree on the ultimate goal of creating an Islamic state, there are differences about methodology i.e. whether this should be a slow and peaceful transition, or whether it should be hastened by means of political dominance or even - say some - by violence.
Despite the variety of opinion amongst Muslims, it is not hard to recognize the different stages of the Islamic Council of Europe's strategy being put into practice within today's Europe. Muslims do tend to live in tightly concentrated areas, and show little sign of integrating into wider society. Saudi funding is paying for the erection of large and beautiful mosques, staffed by imams brought over to Europe from the "home countries". Sweden's third largest city, Malmø, is effectively ruled by violent gangs of Muslims, and some of the Muslim residents of the city still cannot read or write Swedish though they have lived there for 20 years. Denmark has recently seen the Nordgårdsskolen in Aarhus become the first school in the country to have 100% Muslim pupils. Britain's Muslim population (variously estimated at between 1.6 and 3 million) is concentrated in three areas: north-west England, the midlands and London. In some of these areas Muslims are now targeting the remaining Christian presence, arsoning churches, physically attacking church leaders and their property; the aim seems to be to "cleanse" these areas of non-Muslims.
European Muslims are Islamizing many aspects of life that also affect non-Muslims. Spanish Muslims have expressed their desire to "regain" the mosque of Cordoba. This building was originally a church, then turned into a mosque, and then turned back into a place of Christian worship. Halal meat is now routinely served in many British prisons, schools and hospitals, sometimes to Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and the hijab [Islamic headscarf] is worn in British schools. Muslims in the London borough of Tower Hamlets have forced name-changes for districts and local amenities if the existing name sounds too Christian for their liking.
In the UK, where Islam is making its most rapid advance, Islamic law (shari'a) is already practised unofficially, with shari'a councils and shari'a courts giving judgments on Muslim family matters. In education numerous concessions are being made to British Muslims, Islam often being given more prominence and respect than other faiths at state schools. An increasing number of university posts are being funded from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries on condition that a certain line of thinking is promoted.
The ultimate goal of taking control of society, as depicted by the Islamic Council of Europe in 1980, is clearly in the minds of at least some Muslim leaders. A Dutch Imam has stated that Islamic law is superior to other forms of legislation so there is no need to obey other laws. Some Finnish imams preach on the Islamic duty to kill a Muslim who converts to another faith, adding that it is difficult to carry this out in Finland at present because Muslims do not yet "own the state". Furthermore, the freedoms of European society are being exploited by Islamic militants and their supporters to plan terrorist activities around the world. London - or "Londonistan" as it is becoming known - is one of the most important bases for Islamic terrorism worldwide. This has been illustrated by the July bombings in London itself.
Despite all these advances, Muslims still tend to portray themselves as victims in European society, while the majority society in turn struggles to affirm them and to avoid giving any accidental offence.
But this kind of reaction by non-Muslims can be seen as the typical behaviour of dhimmi. In classical Islam, Christian and Jewish minorities within an Islamic state were called dhimmi. They were free to worship and live out their faith, but had to submit to a raft of discriminatory and humiliating laws. They learned to be subservient, and to consider the dominance of Muslims as normal as the Muslims themselves did.
It is typical of dhimmi not to protest if a Christian cross is burned by an angry crowd, nor even to feel that anything outrageous has occurred. Likewise the Muslim scheme to turn the cathedral of Cordoba back into a mosque has the backing of some Spanish government leaders in the city.
At a political level, European countries are responding in different ways to the challenge of Islam. France is determinedly protecting its secularism, and has banned the hijab in school. The Netherlands have recently swung from one extreme to the other, following the ritualized killing of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh by a young Muslim in November 2004; they are turning against multiculturalism and becoming concerned to control immigration. The UK seems to be seeking to replicate the segregation and communalism of the British Raj in India, whereby the various religious communities were each given their own laws. This policy would certainly mesh well with some Muslim leaders' own plans for Britain. If Britain is to be sub-divided in this way, perhaps geographically as well as legally, it raises the question of how the Church would survive in areas of Islamic rule. What form would Christian ministry be able to take in these areas?
Muslims are still a minority in numerical terms in Europe, with an estimated 20 million living in the European Union. No country apart from Albania has a Muslim community amounting to more than about 10% of the population. However, demographic studies indicate that Muslim populations are growing far faster than the non-Muslim populations. This is due partly to continued immigration, partly to conversion, but mainly to the larger number of children which Muslim families typically have. The growing Muslim community is a mosaic of different ethnic, linguistic, cultural, sectarian and geographical backgrounds, and characterized by increasing internal tensions particularly over how to relate to the host society.
Some Christians have decried as faithless pessimism those who predict the Islamization of Europe before the end of the century. But it must be remembered that the region which is now Pakistan and Afghanistan was once Christian, as was North Africa. The Church was completely eradicated from these areas by the advance of Islam. It would surely be arrogant to think that this could never happen to the Church in Europe.
As individual Christians we must love our Muslim neighbours and forgive any wrongs done to us. But as a community the Church must defend herself, as well as the Judaeo-Christian heritage with which Europe is blessed. For this her leaders need great wisdom and courage.
--Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of the Barnabas Fund and the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University and was awarded a Doctor of Divinity by Western Seminary, Portland, Oregon for his work in the field of pluralism. He has written and lectures widely in the field of other faiths. Both Patrick and his wife Rosemary hold dual New Zealand and British citizenship.
The Barnabas Fund seeks to support suffering Christian minorities by making known their need to other Christians, facilitating prayer on their behalf, and channelling funds to small-scale projects run by national Christians in the countries concerned. It has supported projects in 39 different countries. The Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity does research on the status of the church in the Muslim world.
Goodbye Europe, Hello Eurabia
Europe's botched civilization, perverted by socialism and lost faith, seems to have lost the will, the passion to sustain itself. If it continues to practice today's multiculturalist leftism, Europe's demographic doom will be sealed. Some harbingers:
In Brussels, Belgium, the most popular name for baby boys is now Mohammad. Sustaining the population of a nation requires that on average each couple gives birth to 2.1 children. The average European couple now has fewer than 1.4 babies, compared to 3.6 babies born to the average Muslim immigrant couple in Europe. Across Western Europe 16 to 20 percent of babies are being born into Muslim families.
In France at least 12 percent of the population is already Muslim, the fruits mostly of immigrants from former French colonies in North Africa. If present birth trends continue, by 2030 a quarter of France's people will be Muslim, more than enough to determine who controls the national parliament and executive. As this columnist recently noted, the nuclear-armed French military is already 15 percent Muslim. Adjacent Switzerland is now 20 percent Muslim.
The German newspaper Deutsche Welle days ago reported that Germany's birth rate in 2005 fell to a level lower than at the end of World War II, to a "historic low," more than fifty percent lower than those of France and Great Britain. But at a meeting this week in Berlin that brought together the interior ministers of six European nations, Germany's leftwing Social Democrats continued to oppose the application of any test or standard that would restrict who could migrate into Germany.
The burgeoning Muslim population within Europe is not evenly spread. It is largely concentrated in and around big cities, whose local politicians feel its pressure acutely and often bend to that pressure. In the Netherlands the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam nearly have Muslim majorities now.
These Islamic enclaves are already taking on the character of conquered provinces that no longer belong to the European countries around them. As FrontPage Magazine recently quoted from the new book While Europe Slept by liberal American expatriate Bruce Bawer:
In France, a public official met with an imam at the edge of Roubaix's Muslim district out of respect for his declaration of the neighborhood as Islamic territory to which she had no right of access. In Britain, imams have pressed the government to officially designate certain areas of Bradford as being under Muslim, not British, law. In Denmark, Muslim leaders have sought the same kind of control over parts of Copenhagen. And in Belgium, Muslims living in the Brussels neighborhood of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek already view it not as part of Belgium but as an area under Islamic jurisdiction in which Belgians are not welcome.
Europe has several potential choices in the face of a flood of immigrants and families within its borders who refuse to assimilate European values of mutual toleration and liberal social policies.
Europe's cultural polarization vis-à-vis its Muslim underclass is being exacerbated by socialist policies that are producing stagnant economies and high unemployment. These fruits of Euro-socialism have also created a political tinderbox of Muslim frustration and, as we saw in recent days of protests in Paris, an angry refusal by many traditional Europeans to reform or relinquish their welfare state and job security benefits. This climate discourages investors and pits new and traditional Europeans against one another.
If Europe continues as it is now, the rising Muslim tide will, one at a time, transform the members of the European Union into Islamic Republics under Islamic Shari'a law as Muslims become the majority population.
Already the wealth of traditional Europeans is being bled away and transferred to new Muslim immigrants and their children. One mechanism for this is the European welfare state. In Denmark, observed Bawer, only five percent of the population is Muslim, but this minority demands and receives 40 percent of the Danish government's total welfare payments and other taxpayer-subsidized social benefits. Even the liberal New York Times Magazine in February reported on the social impact of this growing Islamic drain on the resources of European welfare states such as Sweden and Denmark.
Another method used to transfer wealth from Europeans to Eurabian Muslims is theft. Some radical Mullahs have told their European congregations that Islamic Shari'a law justifies shoplifting and other forms of stealing from European merchants and companies as a way to make non-Muslims pay the discriminatory jizya tax that is extracted from non-Muslim citizens in Muslim countries.
And in Europe's growing Islamic neighborhoods, where police are often afraid to go, European law is being supplanted by Shari'a. European women venturing into or near such enclaves have been assaulted and, in some cases, raped by gangs of macho Islamic males for violating Muslim dress codes and failing to exhibit the subservient status some Islamic subcultures require of females.
Forty percent of Muslims living in Great Britain want Islamic Shari'a law introduced into parts of that country, according to a poll reported last month by the London Sunday Telegraph.
Shari'a differs dramatically from modern Western notions of law and society. Shari'a has no separation of church and state; to the contrary, under Shari'a the Koran is the ultimate law book and constitution, and the Islamic Mullah is the magistrate who punishes violators of this law. Under Shari'a, as practiced in much of the Islamic world, equality exists only among Muslim men; women are inferior to men, and Jews and Christians are inferior to all Muslims. Risk-taking and usury, i.e., money-lending for profit, are forbidden, so we would kiss capitalism goodbye.
Religious freedom is non-existent under Shari'a. A Christian or a Jew is permitted to convert to Islam, but the penalty for any Muslim converting to a different faith is death. In American-liberated Afghanistan a 41-year-old former Muslim, Abdul Rahman, is on trial in Kabul for the crime of converting to Christianity. The prosecutor in the case, Abdul Wasi, has asked for a death penalty, as Shari'a requires. Wasi, reported Associated Press, said that he "had offered to drop the charges if Rahman changed his religion back to Islam, but the defendant refused." The Muslim judge's ruling is expected by mid-May.
It seems worth asking American authorities whether the U.S. would intervene to prevent the execution of an Afghan whose only crime was converting to Christianity.
European Muslims demand toleration and respect and accommodation for their laws, garb, Halal (Islamic "Kosher") dietary rules, customs, and faith. But as the world has seen in recent months, radical Muslims have no respect for Western traditions such as press freedom. Cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad set off riots, killings and death threats against European journalists.
(Oddly, as this columnist uniquely noted, the tradition prohibiting depictions of the Prophet began with Muhammad himself, who gave such guidance to avoid becoming an object of idolatry by misguided Muslims tempted to worship him instead of Allah. Logically, therefore, a devout Muslim should object to any positive depiction of Mohammad, but negative depictions of Mohammad, as in the European cartoons, pose no such danger of causing idol worship. It was the Islamists who fanatically objected to negative European cartoons of the Prophet who were practicing idolatry by turning Mohammad into an image too sacred to depict in any way.)
Islamic Shari'a is incompatible with Western traditions of tolerance. Too much of today's Islam preaches "an eye for an eye" but not "live and let live."
No wonder, then, that earlier this month the chairman of Britain's Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, responded to the Telegraph poll by urging the 40 percent of his nation's Muslims who want part of the country ruled by Shari'a law to move elsewhere. "We have one set of laws" in Britain, said Phillips. "They are decided by one group of people, members of Parliament, and that's the end of the story." (In February Australia's Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, said much the same, suggesting in a public speech that Shari'a advocates would feel more comfortable living in Saudi Arabia or Iran.)
Immigrant to Norway Iraqi Mullah Krekar, a former leader of the Kurdish guerrilla group Ansar-al-Islam, has told Norwegians that "our way of thinking…will prove more powerful than yours" and described Al Qaeda terror mastermind Osama bin Laden as "a good person." This prompted Norway's Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Bjarne Hakon Hanssen to say he intended to deport Mullah Krekar back to Iraq in the near future. Selective deportation of such radical Islamist firebrands (such as those who inspired recent Muslim terrorism in London) across Europe could reduce immediate social tensions.
What Europe is doing in the meanwhile is preaching the need for press freedom and tolerance while preparing this June to prosecute, in Paris, famed Italian journalist Orianna Fallaci for daring to write a book, The Force of Reason, critical of the Muslim immigrant inundation of Europe. In today's Europe free speech is stifled by laws that prohibit Political Incorrectness in a wide and arbitrary variety of ways.
And France, at the heart of Europe, is promoting trade barriers with a dogmatic zeal not seen since the frenzy of stone castle building in the dark ages. In the name of preserving national security, as Daniel Schwammenthal reported in the March 13 Wall Street Journal, France last winter declared 11 of its industrial sectors off limits to purchase by investors from other European nations; these sectors, noted Schwammenthal, range "from data security to (bizarrely) casinos." What might become of France if its dice and roulette wheels became Dutch…or Russian?
France is also dragging its feet on agreements to allow European Union workers to move freely from one EU country to another. The French have phobias not only about Muslim peasant immigrants but also about what they call the "Polish plumber," the skilled European workers who would move to Paris and undercut the high pay now pocketed by scarce French workers. The French incentive to work is dulled by an easy, lazy alternative: a fat welfare check.
If Europe can somehow buy time, then in theory it might be able to make a comeback. What it needs is cloning and fertility technology, moxie, imports of its old sturdier, healthier genetic material from the United States and Australia to restore its seminal vigor, and a renewal of faith. Europe was able to restore its lost population rather quickly after the Black Plague and spawned Baby Booms after two World Wars.
Political policies could facilitate this. When France was unable to recruit many settlers to its colony called New France, now known as Canada, it offered fat pensions to any married couple there that had six children. Quebec to this day retains the spirit of fecundity those pensions bred.
Last September French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin proposed accelerating cash benefits to encourage women to have a third child. This is yet another kind of slacker welfare, but at least it encourages the lazy to spend more time breeding and less watching television. De Villepin did not propose restricting these or other government breeder benefits to non-Muslims, although he could have made the argument that non-Muslim French are an endangered species meriting special help.
Europe has stopped rising Islamic tides before, in battle in southern France in 732 by the knights of Charles Martel, "The Hammer," and twice at the gates of Vienna in 1529 and 1683 by holding off the Ottoman Turks. Spain even rolled back its Muslim occupiers with the Reconquista of 1492, and Greece, the cradle of Western democracy, won back its independence from Muslim rule in 1829.
In time Islam could collapse, as Communism did. More likely, this religion now living through its own dark 14th Century might flower into a Renaissance and follow the enlightened model of Ataturk's Turkey. Modern Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a friend of Israel, and a candidate for European Union membership. Women had the right to vote in Ataturk's Turkey before they did in England. Turkey could become the model for the future Islamic world, besting the medieval ideology of Islamism, narrow-mindedness, hate and violence preached by Osama bin Laden and his ilk.
A courageous European stand against that nest of Islamist vipers and their atomic eggs in Teheran would be a good place for Europe to demonstrate to itself and to the world that it has the will and skill to survive.
By Lowell Ponte
Mr. Ponte co-hosts a national radio talk show Monday through Friday 6-8 PM Eastern Time (3-5 PM Pacific Time) on the Genesis Communications Network. Internet Audio worldwide is at GCNlive .com. The show's live call-in number is 1-800-259-9231. A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.
Is Islam Dying? Europe Certainly Is
From the desk of Paul Belien on Wed, 2006-09-20
Dr Koenraad Elst,
one of Belgium’s best orientalists and an
occasional contributor to this website (if I had time I would translate more
of his Dutch-language contributions into English), told me last week that he
thinks “Islam is in decline, despite its impressive demographic and military
surge” – which according to Dr Elst is merely a “last
upheaval.” He acknowledges, however, that this decline can take some time (at least in terms of the individual human life span) and that it is possible that Islam will succeed in becoming the majority religion in Europe before collapsing.
I am not a specialist of Islam. Hence, I do not know what to think of this analysis. Perhaps it can be argued that Islam is in agony, and that this is precisely the reason why Muslims reacted so sensitively to twelve, mostly inoffensive, Danish cartoons earlier this year and why they respond in a fury beyond all reason to the words of a 14th century Byzantine Emperor quoted last week by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope emphasized that he did not approve of the quote, but the reactions of Muslims to the Emperor’s words “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman,” only lends credibility to what the Emperor said.
If a person is incapable of tolerating criticism, including mild criticism, and especially if he perceives criticism where there is none, this is often a sign of this person’s deep psychological insecurity. Rude aggression and wild rage, too, are usually not the normal behaviour of a self-confident person, but rather of someone who knows that he will lose an argument unless he can bully others into silence. Last Sunday, Catholics going to Holy Mass in London’s Westminster Cathedral were confronted by Christophobic Muslims, carrying hate posters such as “Pope go to hell,” “Benedict watch your back,” “May Allah curse the Pope,” “Jesus is the slave of Allah, “Islam will conquer Rome,” and the like. An English blogger has some photos here. What must one make of these Muslim protestors? Do they look like self-assured people?
It looks as if Muslims cannot cope with an open society and the modern globalized world. Should we interpret their aggression – the result of their inability to cope with the world – as a token of strenght, or rather as a sign of inherent weakness – a sign, as Dr Elst says, that the decline of Islam has visibly begun?
Last weekend a 24-year old Moroccan woman was assaulted in Antwerp by a group of male Moroccan youths. They began by reproaching her for not wearing a headscarf. When she answered back, they beat her up. When the police intervened to protect the woman the officers were attacked by about thirty youths hurling stones. Fortunately, the officers were able to relieve the brave woman and escort her to hospital. She has meanwhile been discharged from hospital, though one dreads to think what may await her when she returns to her own community.
“We have no figures, but we notice that there are more and more incidents of verbal abuse towards Muslim women by male immigrants who cannot stomach that they do not wear the veil,” says Sven Lommaert of the Antwerp police, in one of today’s papers: “Often the abuse is limited to insults, but sometimes the women are attacked.”
However, Dominique Reyniers, the spokeswoman of the Antwerp judiciary said: “If violence is used a complaint is sometimes lodged. Verbal abuse, however, is obviously not a crime. Hence, we cannot say that there is a rise in this kind of incidents.” Ms Reyniers is saying that intimidating and bullying people is not a crime, unless one beats them up. If Dr Elst is right, and the intimidation of adversaries by the islamists is a proof of Islam’s inherent weakness, the refusal of the West to stand up to the bullies and to defend and protect their victims is proof of an even greater weakness.
I am inclined to suspect that the intolerance of radical Muslims, even if directed against the ‘enemy’ in the West, such as Danish cartoonists and the Pope, is primarily intended to intimidate and terrorize people who grew up in Muslim societies and families, in order to prevent their apostasy. It is intended to show the latter that they need not hope for any support from the West, i.e. from authorities such as those represented by Ms Reyniers.
Perhaps, as Dr Elst fears, Islam in its stage of decline might, by the mid-21st century, succeed in conquering Europe and becoming the old continent’s dominant religion. In this knowledge one slogan of last Sunday’s Islamic hatemongerers in London may be more than just hate speech: “Islam will conquer Rome” may be prophetic. Here, however, we ourselves are to blame, because Islamists will not find it difficult to conquer Europe. Christianity in Western Europe has virtually ceased to exist. The spirit of secular relativism that originated from the French Enlightenment has persuaded Europe (including Europe’s churches) to commit a protracted, two centuries long suicide, the symptoms of which were visible in Communism, National-Socialism and moral relativism in general.
Man is a religious being and needs religious faith. If European Christianity had still been healthy today it would have proselytized, it would have reached out with missionary zeal to the millions of Muslims who migrated to Western Europe since the 1970s, it would have offered them Christ. Instead, it’s churches became bastions of religious relativism. Europe offered the newcomers only cultural decadence, from which decent people want to shield their children, and spiritual emptiness, which one can only despise.
The Europeans, who lost the missionary zeal to reach out to the immigrants, also lacked the zeal to pass on their own civilization to their offspring. Worse still, they lacked the zeal to have offspring. Since demographics is the mother of all politics, it is, barring a miracle, certain that Islam will become the old continent’s dominant religion.
Unless Europe rediscovers its will to survive – and it may already be too late (though as a Christian I do not exclude miracles) – soon furious Islamists may be holding sway over Europe in much the same way as the Taliban did over Afghanistan, removing all visible remnants of pre-Islamic culture. The Cathedrals of Europe may share the fate of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Christian works of art may be destroyed. Surely, a faith that forbids the depiction of human figures will be offended by the Christian art of medieval Europe and the nudes of the Renaissance. Perhaps it is wise to seriously consider salvaging as many European cultural treasures as one already can, before it is too late, and bringing them to safety elsewhere.
Robert S. Leiken
From Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005
Summary: Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West. They are dangerous and committed -- and can enter the United States without a visa.
Robert S. Leiken is Director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center and a nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of Bearers of Jihad? Immigration and National Security After 9/11.
AN AMERICAN CONCERN
Fox News and CNN's Lou Dobbs worry about terrorists stealing across the United States' border with Mexico concealed among illegal immigrants. The Pentagon wages war in the Middle East to stop terrorist attacks on the United States. But the growing nightmare of officials at the Department of Homeland Security is passport-carrying, visa-exempt mujahideen coming from the United States' western European allies.
Jihadist networks span Europe from Poland to Portugal, thanks to the spread of radical Islam among the descendants of guest workers once recruited to shore up Europe's postwar economic miracle. In smoky coffeehouses in Rotterdam and Copenhagen, makeshift prayer halls in Hamburg and Brussels, Islamic bookstalls in Birmingham and "Londonistan," and the prisons of Madrid, Milan, and Marseilles, immigrants or their descendants are volunteering for jihad against the West. It was a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent, born and socialized in Europe, who murdered the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam last November. A Nixon Center study of 373 mujahideen in western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals -- eligible to travel visa-free to the United States.
The emergence of homegrown mujahideen in Europe threatens the United States as well as Europe. Yet it was the dog that never barked at last winter's Euro-American rapprochement meeting. Neither President George W. Bush nor Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice drew attention to this mutual peril, even though it should focus minds and could buttress solidarity in the West.
YOUR LAND IS MY LAND
The mass immigration of Muslims to Europe was an unintended consequence of post-World War II guest-worker programs. Backed by friendly politicians and sympathetic judges, foreign workers, who were supposed to stay temporarily, benefited from family reunification programs and became permanent. Successive waves of immigrants formed a sea of descendants. Today, Muslims constitute the majority of immigrants in most western European countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and the largest single component of the immigrant population in the United Kingdom. Exact numbers are hard to come by because Western censuses rarely ask respondents about their faith. But it is estimated that between 15 and 20 million Muslims now call Europe home and make up four to five percent of its total population. (Muslims in the United States probably do not exceed 3 million, accounting for less than two percent of the total population.) France has the largest proportion of Muslims (seven to ten percent of its total population), followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Given continued immigration and high Muslim fertility rates, the National Intelligence Council projects that Europe's Muslim population will double by 2025.
Unlike their U.S. counterparts, who entered a gigantic country built on immigration, most Muslim newcomers to western Europe started arriving only after World War II, crowding into small, culturally homogenous nations. Their influx was a new phenomenon for many host states and often unwelcome. Meanwhile, North African immigrants retained powerful attachments to their native cultures. So unlike American Muslims, who are geographically diffuse, ethnically fragmented, and generally well off, Europe's Muslims gather in bleak enclaves with their compatriots: Algerians in France, Moroccans in Spain, Turks in Germany, and Pakistanis in the United Kingdom.
The footprint of Muslim immigrants in Europe is already more visible than that of the Hispanic population in the United States. Unlike the jumble of nationalities that make up the American Latino community, the Muslims of western Europe are likely to be distinct, cohesive, and bitter. In Europe, host countries that never learned to integrate newcomers collide with immigrants exceptionally retentive of their ways, producing a variant of what the French scholar Olivier Roy calls "globalized Islam": militant Islamic resentment at Western dominance, anti-imperialism exalted by revivalism.
As the French academic Gilles Kepel acknowledges, "neither the blood spilled by Muslims from North Africa fighting in French uniforms during both world wars nor the sweat of migrant laborers, living under deplorable living conditions, who rebuilt France (and Europe) for a pittance after 1945, has made their children ... full fellow citizens." Small wonder, then, that a radical leader of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, a group associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, curses his new homeland: "Oh sweet France! Are you astonished that so many of your children commune in a stinging naal bou la France [fuck France], and damn your Fathers?"
As a consequence of demography, history, ideology, and policy, western Europe now plays host to often disconsolate Muslim offspring, who are its citizens in name but not culturally or socially. In a fit of absentmindedness, during which its academics discoursed on the obsolescence of the nation-state, western Europe acquired not a colonial empire but something of an internal colony, whose numbers are roughly equivalent to the population of Syria. Many of its members are willing to integrate and try to climb Europe's steep social ladder. But many younger Muslims reject the minority status to which their parents acquiesced. A volatile mix of European nativism and immigrant dissidence challenges what the Danish sociologist Ole Waever calls "societal security," or national cohesion. To make matters worse, the very isolation of these diaspora communities obscures their inner workings, allowing mujahideen to fundraise, prepare, and recruit for jihad with a freedom available in few Muslim countries.
As these conditions developed in the late 1990s, even liberal segments of the European public began to have second thoughts about immigration. Many were galled by their governments' failure to reduce or even identify the sources of insécurité (a French code word for the combination of vandalism, delinquency, and hate crimes stemming from Muslim immigrant enclaves). The state appeared unable to regulate the entry of immigrants, and society seemed unwilling to integrate them. In some cases, the backlash was xenophobic and racist; in others, it was a reaction against policymakers captivated by a multiculturalist dream of diverse communities living in harmony, offering oppressed nationalities marked compassion and remedial benefits. By 2002, electoral rebellion over the issue of immigration was threatening the party systems of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands. The Dutch were so incensed by the 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a gay anti-immigration politician, that mainstream parties adopted much of the victim's program. In the United Kingdom this spring, the Tories not only joined the ruling Labour Party in embracing sweeping immigration restrictions, such as tightened procedures for asylum and family reunification (both regularly abused throughout Europe) and a computerized exit-entry system like the new U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology program; they also campaigned for numerical caps on immigrants. With the Muslim headscarf controversy raging in France, talk about the connection between asylum abuse and terrorism rising in the United Kingdom, an immigration dispute threatening to tear Belgium apart, and the Dutch outrage over the van Gogh killing, western Europe may now be reaching a tipping point.
The uncomfortable truth is that disenfranchisement and radicalization are happening even in countries, such as the Netherlands, that have done much to accommodate Muslim immigrants. Proud of a legendary tolerance of minorities, the Netherlands welcomed tens of thousands of Muslim asylum seekers allegedly escaping persecution. Immigrants availed themselves of generous welfare and housing benefits, an affirmative-action hiring policy, and free language courses. Dutch taxpayers funded Muslim religious schools and mosques, and public television broadcast programs in Moroccan Arabic. Mohammed Bouyeri was collecting unemployment benefits when he murdered van Gogh.
The van Gogh slaying rocked the Netherlands and neighboring countries not only because the victim, a provocative filmmaker, was a descendant of the painter Vincent, the Dutch's most cherished icon, but also because Bouyeri was "an average second-generation immigrant," according to Stef Blok, the chairman of the parliamentary commission reviewing Bouyeri's immigration record. European counterterrorism authorities saw the killing as a new phase in the terrorist threat. It raised the specter of Middle East-style political assassinations as part of the European jihadist arsenal and it disclosed a new source of danger: unknown individuals among Europe's own Muslims. The cell in Hamburg that was connected to the attacks of September 11, 2001, was composed of student visitors, and the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 were committed by Moroccan immigrants. But van Gogh's killer and his associates were born and raised in Europe.
Bouyeri was the child of Moroccan immigrant workers. He grew up in a proletarian area of Amsterdam sometimes known as Satellite City because of the many reception dishes that sit on its balconies, tuned to al Jazeera and Moroccan television. Bouyeri's parents arrived in a wave of immigration in the 1970s and never learned Dutch. But Bouyeri graduated from the area's best high school. His transformation from promising student to jihadist follows a pattern in which groups of thriving, young European Muslims enlist in jihad to slaughter Westerners.
After graduating from a local college and then taking advanced courses in accounting and information technology, Bouyeri, who had an unruly temper, was jailed for seven months on a violence-related crime. He emerged from jail an Islamist, angry over Palestine and sympathetic to Hamas. He studied social work and became a community organizer. He wrote in a community newsletter that "the Netherlands is now our enemy because they participate in the occupation of Iraq." After he failed to get funding for a youth center in Satellite City and was unable to ban the sale of beer or the presence of women at the events he organized, he moved to downtown Amsterdam. There, he was recruited into the Hofstad Group, a cell of second-generation Islamic militants.
The cell started meeting every two weeks in Bouyeri's apartment to hear the sermons of a Syrian preacher known as Abu Khatib. Hofstad was connected to networks in Spain, Morocco, Italy, and Belgium, and it was planning a string of assassinations of Dutch politicians, an attack on the Netherlands' sole nuclear reactor, and other actions around Europe. European intelligence services have linked the cell to the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group, which is associated with the Madrid bombings and a series of attacks in Casablanca in 2003. Its Syrian imam was involved with mujahideen in Iraq and with an operational chief of al Qaeda. "Judging by Bouyeri's and the Hofstad network's international contacts," an analyst for the Norwegian government says, "it seems safe to conclude that they were part of the numerous terrorist plots that have been unraveled over the past years in western Europe."
The Hofstad Group should not be compared with marginal European terrorist groups of the past, such as the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany, Action Directe in France, or the Red Brigades in Italy. Like other jihadist groups today, it enjoys what Marxist terrorists long sought but always lacked: a social base. And its base is growing rapidly, thanks in part to the war in Iraq.
The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) says that radical Islam in the Netherlands encompasses "a multitude of movements, organizations and groups." Some are nonviolent and share only religious dogma and a loathing for the West. But AIVD stresses that others, including al Qaeda, are also "stealthily taking root in Dutch society" by recruiting estranged Dutch-born Muslim youths. An AIVD report portrays such recruits watching jihadist videos, discussing martyrdom in Internet chat rooms, and attending Islamist readings, congresses, and summer camps. Radical Islam has become "an autonomous phenomenon," the AIVD affirms, so that even without direct influence from abroad, Dutch youth are now embracing the fundamentalist line. Much the same can be said about angry young Muslims in Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid, and Milan.
THE RANK AND FILE
Broadly speaking, there are two types of jihadists in western Europe: call them "outsiders" and "insiders." The outsiders are aliens, typically asylum seekers or students, who gained refuge in liberal Europe from crackdowns against Islamists in the Middle East. Among them are radical imams, often on stipends from Saudi Arabia, who open their mosques to terrorist recruiters and serve as messengers for or spiritual fathers to jihadist networks. Once these aliens secure entry into one EU country, they have the run of them all. They may be assisted by legal or illegal residents, such as the storekeepers, merchants, and petty criminals who carried out the Madrid bombings.
Many of these first-generation outsiders have migrated to Europe expressly to carry out jihad. In Islamist mythology, migration is archetypically linked to conquest. Facing persecution in idolatrous Mecca, in AD 622 the Prophet Muhammad pronounced an anathema on the city's leaders and took his followers to Medina. From there, he built an army that conquered Mecca in AD 630, establishing Muslim rule. Today, in the minds of mujahideen in Europe, it is the Middle East at large that figures as an idolatrous Mecca because several governments in the region suppressed Islamist takeovers in the 1990s. Europe could even be viewed as a kind of Medina, where troops are recruited for the reconquest of the holy land, starting with Iraq.
The insiders, on the other hand, are a group of alienated citizens, second- or third-generation children of immigrants, like Bouyeri, who were born and bred under European liberalism. Some are unemployed youth from hardscrabble suburbs of Marseilles, Lyon, and Paris or former mill towns such as Bradford and Leicester. They are the latest, most dangerous incarnation of that staple of immigration literature, the revolt of the second generation. They are also dramatic instances of what could be called adversarial assimilation -- integration into the host country's adversarial culture. But this sort of anti-West westernization is illustrated more typically by another paradigmatic second-generation recruit: the upwardly mobile young adult, such as the university-educated Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, or Omar Khyam, the computer student and soccer captain from Sussex, England, who dreamed of playing for his country but was detained in April 2004 for holding, with eight accomplices, half a ton of explosives aimed at London.
These downwardly mobile slum dwellers and upwardly mobile achievers replicate in western Europe the two social types that formed the base of Islamist movements in developing countries such as Algeria, Egypt, and Malaysia: the residents of shantytowns and the devout bourgeoisie. As in the September 11 attacks, the educated tend to form the leadership cadre, with the plebeians providing the muscle. No Chinese wall separates first-generation outsiders from second-generation insiders; indeed, the former typically find their recruits among the latter. Hofstad's Syrian imam mentored Bouyeri; the notorious one-eyed imam Abu Hamza al-Masri coached Moussaoui in London. A decade ago in France, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group proselytized beurs (the French-born children of North African immigrants) and turned them into the jihadists who terrorized train passengers during the 1990s. But post-September 11 recruitment appears more systematic and strategic. Al Qaeda's drives focus on the second generation. And if jihad recruiters sometimes find sympathetic ears underground, among gangs or in jails, today they are more likely to score at university campuses, prep schools, and even junior high schools.
THE IRAQ EFFECT
According to senior counterintelligence officials, classified intelligence briefings, and wiretaps, jihadists extended their European operations after the roundups that followed September 11 and then again, with fresh energy, after the invasion of Iraq. Osama bin Laden now provides encouragement and strategic orientation to scores of relatively autonomous European jihadist networks that assemble for specific missions, draw operatives from a pool of professionals and apprentices, strike, and then dissolve, only to regroup later.
Typically these groups target European countries allied with the United States in Iraq, as was proved by the Madrid bombings, the November 2003 attacks on British targets in Istanbul, as well as the lion's share of some 30 spectacular terrorist plots that have failed since September 11. In March 2004, within days of the London police chief's pronouncement that a local terrorist attack was "inevitable," his officers uncovered a plot involving nine British nationals of Pakistani origin and seized the largest cache of potential bomb-making material since the heyday of the Irish Republican Army. A few months later, Scotland Yard charged eight second-generation South Asian immigrants, reportedly trained in al Qaeda camps, with assembling a dirty bomb. Three of them had reconnaissance plans showing the layout of financial institutions in three U.S. cities.
Several hundred European militants -- including dozens of second-generation Dutch immigrants "wrestling with their identity," according to the Dutch intelligence service -- have also struck out for Iraq's Sunni Triangle. In turn, western Europe serves as a way station for mujahideen wounded in Iraq. The Iraq network belongs to an extensive structure developed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, now formally bin Laden's sworn ally and the "emir" of al Qaeda in Iraq. Recently unsealed Spanish court documents suggest that at a meeting in Istanbul in February 2002, Zarqawi, anticipating a protracted war in Iraq, began to lay plans for a two-way underground railway to send European recruits to Iraq and Middle Eastern recruiters, as well as illegal aliens, to Europe. Zarqawi also activated sleeper cells established in European cities during the Bosnian conflict.
A chief terrorism investigator in Milan, Armando Spataro, says that "almost all European countries have been touched by [Iraq] recruiting," including, improbably, Norway, Switzerland, Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. The recruitment methods of the Iraq network, which procures weapons in Germany from Balkan gangs, parallels those for the conflicts in Chechnya and Kashmir. Thanks to its state-of-the-art document-forging industry, Italy has become a base for dispatching volunteers. And Spain forms a trunk line with North Africa as well as a staging area for attacks in "al Andalus," the erstwhile Muslim Spanish caliphate.
Although for some Europeans the Madrid bombings were a watershed event comparable to the September 11 attacks in the United States, these Europeans form a minority, especially among politicians. Yet what Americans perceive as European complacency is easy to fathom. The September 11 attacks did not happen in Europe, and for a long time the continent's experience with terrorism mainly took the form of car bombs and booby-trapped trash cans. Terrorism is still seen as a crime problem, not an occasion for war. Moreover, some European officials believe that acquiescent policies toward the Middle East can offer protection. In fact, while bin Laden has selectively attacked the United States' allies in the Iraq war, he has offered a truce to those European states that have stayed out of the conflict.
With a few exceptions, European authorities shrink from the relatively stout legislative and security measures adopted in the United States. They prefer criminal surveillance and traditional prosecutions to launching a U.S.-style "war on terrorism" and mobilizing the military, establishing detention centers, enhancing border security, requiring machine-readable passports, expelling hate preachers, and lengthening notoriously light sentences for convicted terrorists. Germany's failure to convict conspirators in the September 11 attacks suggests that the European public, outside of France and now perhaps the Netherlands, is not ready for a war on terrorism.
Contrary to what many Americans concluded during Washington's dispute with Paris in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, France is the exception to general European complacency. Well before September 11, France had deployed the most robust counterterrorism regime of any Western country. Irish terrorism may have diverted British attention from jihad, as has Basque terrorism in Spain, but Algerian terrorism worked the opposite effect in France.
To prevent proselytizing among its mostly North African Muslim community, during the 1990s the energetic French state denied asylum to radical Islamists even while they were being welcomed by its neighbors. Fearing, as Kepel puts it, that contagion would turn "the social malaise felt by Muslims in the suburbs of major cities" into extremism and terrorism, the French government cracked down on jihadists, detaining suspects for as long as four days without charging them or allowing them access to a lawyer. Today no place of worship is off limits to the police in secular France. Hate speech is rewarded with a visit from the police, blacklisting, and the prospect of deportation. These practices are consistent with the strict Gallic assimilationist model that bars religion from the public sphere (hence the headscarf dispute).
Contrast the French approach to the United Kingdom's separatist form of multiculturalism, which offered radical Arab Islamists refuge and the opportunity to preach openly, while stepping up surveillance of them. French youth could still tune into jihadist messages on satellite television and the Internet, but in the United Kingdom open radical preaching spawned terrorist cells. Most of the rest of Europe adopted the relaxed British approach, but with less surveillance.
Now, the Madrid bombings and the van Gogh killing have strengthened the hand of engaged politicians, such as Germany's Social Democratic interior minister, Otto Schily, and the former French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who leads the governing Union for a Popular Movement. They have also prompted Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris, and The Hague to increase resources and personnel devoted to terrorism.
In general, European politicians with security responsibilities, not to mention intelligence and security officials who get daily intelligence reports, take the harder U.S. line. Schily has called for Europe-wide "computer-aided profiling" to identify mujahideen. The emergence of holy warriors in Europe and the meiosis of radical groups once connected to al Qaeda have prompted several European capitals to increase cooperation on counterterrorism as well as their counterterrorism resources and personnel.
Yet a jihadist can cross Europe with little scrutiny. Even if noticed, he can change his name or glide across a border, relying on long-standing bureaucratic and legal stovepipes. After the Madrid bombings, a midlevel European official was appointed to coordinate European counterterrorist statutes and harmonize EU security arrangements. But he often serves simply as a broker amid the gallimaufry of the 25 member states' legal codes.
Since the Madrid bombings, the Spanish Interior Ministry has tripled to 450 the number of full-time antiterrorism operatives, and the Spanish national police are assigning a similar number of additional agents to mujahideen intelligence. Spanish law enforcement established a task force combining police and intelligence specialists to keep tabs on Muslim neighborhoods and prison mosques. Similarly, special police cells are being organized in each of France's 22 regions, stepping up the surveillance of mosques, Islamic bookshops, long-distance phone facilities, and halal butchers and restaurants.
The 25 EU members have also put into effect a European arrest warrant allowing police to avoid lengthy extradition procedures. Despite widespread concerns about possible privacy abuses, several EU countries have lowered barriers between intelligence and police agencies since the van Gogh murder. Germany aims to place its 16 police forces under one umbrella. In France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, intelligence and police officers meet with officials in state-of-the-art communications centers, or "war rooms," to share information about interrogations, informant reports, live wiretaps, and video or satellite pictures.
Still, counterterrorism agencies remain reluctant to share sensitive information or cooperate on prosecutions. Measures proposed in the wake of the Madrid attacks, such as a Europe-wide fingerprint and DNA database and biometric passports, remain only that -- proposals. Fragmentation and rivalry among Europe's security systems and other institutions continue to hamper counterterrorism efforts. For nearly a decade, France has sought the extradition of the organizer of several bombings in the Paris metro in the 1990s, but his case languishes in the British courts to the anguish of the Home Office as well as Paris.
The new mujahideen are not only testing traditional counterterrorist practices; their emergence is also challenging the mentality prevailing in western Europe since the end of World War II. Revulsion against Nazism and colonialism translated into compassion toward religious minorities, of whatever stripe. At first, Muslim guest workers were welcomed in Europe by a liberal orthodoxy that generally regarded them as victims lacking rights. In some countries, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, that perspective spawned a comprehensive form of multiculturalism. London's version verged on separatism. While stepping up surveillance, the British authorities allowed Islamists refuge and an opportunity to preach openly and disseminate rabid propaganda. Multiculturalism had a dual appeal: it allowed these states to seem tolerant by showering minorities with rights while segregating them from, rather than absorbing them into, the rest of society. Multiculturalism dovetailed with a diminished Western ethos that suited libertarians as well as liberals.
But now many Europeans have come to see that permissiveness as excessive, even dangerous. A version of religious tolerance allowed the Hamburg cell to flourish and rendered German universities hospitable to radical Islam. Now Europeans are asking Muslims to practice religious tolerance themselves and adjust to the values of their host countries. Tony Blair's government requires that would-be citizens master "Britishness." Likewise, "Dutch values" are central to The Hague's new approach, and similar proposals are being put forward in Berlin, Brussels, and Copenhagen. Patrick Weil, the immigration guru of the French Socialist Party, sees a continental trend in which immigrant "responsibilities" balance immigrant "rights."
The Dutch reaction to van Gogh's assassination, the British reaction to jihadist abuse of political asylum, and the French reaction to the wearing of the headscarf suggest that Europe's multiculturalism has begun to collide with its liberalism, privacy rights with national security. Multiculturalism was once a hallmark of Europe's cultural liberalism, which the British columnist John O'Sullivan defined as "free[dom] from irksome traditional moral customs and cultural restraints." But when multiculturalism is perceived to coddle terrorism, liberalism parts company. The gap between the two is opening in France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and to some extent even in Germany, where liberalism stretched a form of religious tolerance so much so that it allowed the Hamburg cell to turn prayer rooms into war rooms with cocky immunity from the German police.
Yet it is far from clear whether top-down policies will work without bottom-up adjustments in social attitudes. Can Muslims become Europeans without Europe opening its social and political circles to them? So far, it appears that absolute assimilationism has failed in France, but so has segregation in Germany and multiculturalism in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Could there be another way? The French ban the headscarf in public schools; the Germans ban it among public employees. The British celebrate it. The Americans tolerate it. Given the United States' comparatively happier record of integrating immigrants, one may wonder whether the mixed U.S. approach -- separating religion from politics without placing a wall between them, helping immigrants slowly adapt but allowing them relative cultural autonomy -- could inspire Europeans to chart a new course between an increasingly hazardous multiculturalism and a naked secularism that estranges Muslims and other believers. One thing is certain: if only for the sake of counterterrorism, Europe needs to develop an integration policy that works. But that will not happen overnight.
Indeed, the fissure between liberalism and multiculturalism is opening just as the continent undergoes its most momentous population shift since Asian tribes pushed westward in the first Christian millennium. Immigration obviously hits a national security nerve, but it also raises economic and demographic questions: how to cope with a demonstrably aging population; how to maintain social cohesion as Christianity declines and both secularism and Islam climb; whether the EU should exercise sovereignty over borders and citizenship; and what the accession of Turkey, with its 70 million Muslims, would mean for the EU. Moreover, European mujahideen do not threaten only the Old World; they also pose an immediate danger to the United States.
A FINER SIEVE
The United States' relative success in assimilating its own Muslim immigrants means that its border security must be more vigilant. To strike at the United States, al Qaeda counts less on domestic sleeper cells than on foreign infiltration. As a 9/11 Commission staff report put it, al Qaeda faces "a travel problem": How can it move its mujahideen from hatchery to target? Europe's mujahideen may represent a solution.
The New York Times has reported that bin Laden has outsourced planning for the next spectacular attack on the United States to an "external planning node." Chances are it is based in Europe and will deploy European citizens. European countries generally accord citizenship to immigrants born on their soil, and so potential European jihadists are entitled to European passports, allowing them visa-free travel to the United States and entry without an interview. The members of the Hamburg cell that captained the September 11 attacks came by air from Europe and were treated by the State Department as travelers on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), just like Moussaoui and Richard Reid, the shoe bomber.
Does that mean the VWP should be scrapped altogether, as some members of Congress are asking? By no means. The State Department is already straining to enforce stricter post-September 11 visa-screening measures, which involve longer interviews, more staff, and more delays. Terminating the VWP would exact steep bureaucratic and diplomatic costs, and rile the United States' remaining European friends. Instead, the United States should update the criteria used in the periodic reviews of VWP countries, taking into account terrorist recruiting and evaluating passport procedures. These reviews could utilize task forces set up in collaboration with the Europeans. Together, U.S. and European authorities should insist that the airlines require U.S.-bound transatlantic travelers to submit passport information when purchasing tickets. Such a measure would give the new U.S. National Targeting Center time to check potential entrants without delaying flight departures. And officers should be stationed at check-in counters to weed out suspects.
Europe's emerging mujahideen endanger the entire Western world. Collaboration in taming Muslim rancor or at least in keeping European jihadists off U.S.-bound airplanes could help reconcile estranged allies. A shared threat and a mutual interest should engage media, policymakers, and the public on both sides of the Atlantic. To concentrate their minds on common dangers and solutions might come as a bittersweet relief to Europeans and Americans after their recent disagreements.
Thursday July 19, 2007
By John Twomey
THIS was the extraordinary scene on the streets of Britain yesterday as burka-clad protesters demanded the release of four extremists.
Swarming outside the OId Bailey, the Muslim hate mob poured scorn on the nation that guarantees their freedoms.
The woman - mostly young and dressed from head to toe in black - held placards accusing the British Government of terrorism and telling our police to "go to hell".
In their midst a WPC ignored their insults while standing ready to protect them from any counter-demonstration.
The disgraceful scenes came as four men were jailed for offences including soliciting murder and stirring up racial hatred at a demo against a cartoon of Mohammed.
Mizanur Rahman, 24, Umran Javed, 27, and Abdul Muhid, 25, were convicted during separate Old Bailey trials.
The court was told their words had been designed to encourage murder and terrorism.
The three men were each jailed for six years for soliciting murder and three years concurrently for stirring up race hate.
A fourth man, Abdul Saleem, 32, was cleared of soliciting murder but convicted of inciting race hate. He was jailed for four years.
As they were jailed, a group of burka-clad demonstrators chanted outside the court.
The 40-strong mob held placards with slogans like “British Police Go To Hell” and “British Government Terrorist Government”.
The four men were arrested after 300 protesters marched to the Danish embassy in central London in February last year.
The illegal demo was organised against a cartoon – first published in Denmark – which depicted the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist, prompting outrage across the Islamic world. Muhid had led the crowd during the demo, chanting: “Bomb, Bomb the UK.” He also had placards –calling for the annihilation of the enemies of Islam.
Javed was filmed by police officers as he yelled: “Bomb, bomb Den–mark. Bomb, bomb the UK.”
He had extremist pamphlets at his home, one of which was entitled Kill Them By The Sword.
It read: “My name is terrorist, my aim is terrorism.”
Rahman had stood among the crowd calling for soldiers to be brought back from Iraq in body bags. He said: “We want to see their blood running in the streets of Baghdad.”
Saleem was heard to call for a repeat of the July 7 bombings in London by chanting, “7/7 on its way” and “Europe you will pay with your blood”.
During the cartoon demo, the July 7 suicide bombers were described as the “Fantastic Four”.
Muhid, of Whitechapel, east London, Javed, of Birmingham, Rahman, of Palmers Green, north London, and Saleem, of Poplar, east London, had insisted that they were not prime movers in the demo.
The men, who are all British, even denied having extremist views, des–pite their chanting.
But Adina Ezekiel, prosecuting, said they all had links to the banned Al Mujaharoun and Al Ghurabaa organisations.
Sentencing the four men, Com–mon Serjeant of London Brian Barker said they intended their words to encourage murder and terrorism.
He said: “Freedoms of speech and assembly have long been jealously guarded by our laws.
“With freedom comes respect and responsibility – none of which was demonstrated by you. What you were part of was the complete opposite of peaceful protest.”
He said the four men had subjected London’s multi-national citizens to a “barrage of hatred and intolerance”, only a few months after the July 7 outrage.
The judge added: “Your words were meant to foment hatred and encourage killing.
His comments were echoed by Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Ken Macdonald. He said: “Freedom of speech is the right of any individuals in our democracy.
“The law says you can express your opinions robustly without the fear of being brought before a criminal court.
“But if you march down the streets of London calling for people to be beheaded and for European cities to be bombed, you have crossed a line.
“Describing the London Tube murderers as the Fantastic Four and calling for more of the same undermines everyone else’s freedom by stirring up bigotry, racial hatred and violence. Terrorism attacks our way of life and incitement can make a very real contribution to it.
“We shall continue to take incitement very seriously and prosecute it robustly where there is enough evidence for us to do so.”
After the case, the judge defended Scotland Yard’s decision to film the cartoon protest and only to make arrests afterwards.
He said it was “sensible” and had avoided violence.
The demonstration had been staged without permission and org–aniser Anjem Choudary was later fined for staging it.
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