October 17, 2010

The Threat from Islamic Intimidation on Freedom of Speech

I've been doing a series of posts in which I summarize the findings in Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well.

It may be easy for some to dismiss this report and these types of posts because it's hard for some to see the impact on our daily lives. It's like of like terrorism, some will say that the threat was overblown by the Bush Administration because there was n 9-11 Part II. Never mind that the main reason there have not been more attacks was because we stopped them in their infancy, some will not think or investigate that far.

So it is the with threat of a "creeping shariah" by the Muslim Brotherhood and it's associated front groups like CAIR. It's all very fine and important to talk about captured documents and various statements, but in the end people will ask "so is this just a theoretical threat?" and if so turn back to watching the football game.

Two posts today at National Review's The Corner blog will help dispel the notion that there is no very real threat to our Freedom of Speech:

Some Context on the Wilders Case
October 17, 2010 4:30 P.M.
By Nina Shea

Geert Wilders is the latest in a lengthening roster of Europeans who have been criminally prosecuted for criticizing Islam. Under the slogans of stopping "Islamophobia" and banning "defamation" or "insult" of Islam, for two decades a concerted demand has been made for the West to enforce Islamic blasphemy rules, as is customary in certain member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The Netherlands has been among the many EU states struggling to comply. In the name of liberalism, it has enacted laws criminalizing "hate speech," with grossly illiberal results. A sample of the Dutch cases shows that the desire to protect minorities is a self-deluding piety in these circumstances. What really lies at the root of these vaguely defined and arbitrarily adjudicated cases is fear of Muslim violence.

One of the earliest such Western cases occurred in the Netherlands in 1992, a few years after Iran's fatwa against Salman Rushdie triggered murders of "blasphemers" connected with his book The Satanic Verses. A Muslim cabaret artist of Pakistani background, "Zola F," was found guilty of authoring an unflattering book about Muslim immigration, entitled The Impending Ruin of the Netherlands, Country of Gullible Fools. This created the anomaly of a white court condemning a brown immigrant for "racist hate speech."

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim of African heritage who became a Dutch parliamentarian, was similarly prosecuted. She was charged for criticizing the Islamic teaching on killing homosexuals. Already known for her role in co-directing Submission (the film on abuses against Muslim women that led to the 2004 murder by a Muslim extremist of her co-director, Theo Van Gogh), she announced plans for a sequel on the treatment of homosexuals in Islam. This prompted the Netherlands' main Muslim lobby to register a complaint that her remarks were "blasphemous and have been received with a great deal of pain by the Muslim community." In 2005, after two years of legal proceedings for "incitement" to hatred, during which time she received numerous death threats and had to go into hiding, a court finally decided that although she had "sought the borders of the acceptable," her speech did not warrant prohibition, and she was let off.

Hate-speech arrests occurred in the aftermath of the Van Gogh murder. When an artist in Rotterdam painted a street mural that included the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" next to the date of Van Gogh's murder, a local mosque leader complained to police that the message was "racist." The police, on orders of the mayor, sandblasted the mural and arrested a television reporter at the scene and destroyed his film. Another Dutch man hung in his window a poster for a far-right movement that stated, "Stop the tumor that is Islam. Theo has died for us. Who will be next?" After being convicted by two lower courts, he finally prevailed on appeal.

Widespread Muslim violence and protest over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed has put Dutch officials on high alert for provocative caricaturists. In 2008, after an Internet monitoring group reported him to authorities for cartoons deemed insulting to Muslims, the edgy Dutch cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot was arrested. Police seized his computer's hard drive and cartoon sketches. The cartoons in question opposed Muslim immigration in various tasteless ways. Nekschot remains under suspicion of "insulting people on the basis of their race or belief, and possibly also of inciting hate," and could face two years in prison or a $25,000 fine if prosecuted. During the course of this case, it was revealed that the Dutch government had established an "Interdepartmental Working Group on Cartoons," apparently to apprise officials of any drawings that Muslims could find insulting.

The Wilders case is not unique, but it is important. It demonstrates the continued willingness of authorities in Europe's most liberal countries to regulate the content of speech on Islam in order to placate Muslim blasphemy demands. Few such cases end in conviction, but their chilling effect on free speech within and on Islam continues to widen.

-- Nina Shea directs the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and co-authored the forthcoming book Silenced (Oxford University Press), on contemporary blasphemy rules.

And the second one at NRO:

Dispatches from the Information War
October 16, 2010 12:46 P.M.
By Cliff May

The decisions by Dutch prosecutors to dismiss the charges against parliamentarian Geert Wilders can be seen as a battle won in a war the West is losing - the war for freedom of speech, the freedom without which no other freedoms can be defended.

As I argue in my latest column, influential people are not just avoiding criticism of all things Islamic, they also are legitimizing vile practices -- e.g. gender apartheid -- where these practices are rooted in Islamic practice.

Women's rights groups are silent. Most elite journalists are at least complicit.

The Washington Post recently refused to run a cartoon not of Mohammed but merely containing the words "Where's Mohammed?" (a parody on "Where's Waldo?"). Editors said they were being "prudent." The more accurate word, I think, would be craven. As Andy McCarthy has noted, such political correctness "betrays the core values of a free society" and can only be seen as a form "societal surrender."

Barton Hinkle at the Richmond Times Dispatch observed:

Once upon a time, members of the media could be counted upon to champion free expression even when nobody else would. Where the First Amendment was implicated, newspapers were willing to go to bat for everyone from neo-Nazis to Hustler magazine, and to take on powerful institutions from the Vatican to the Pentagon, often while patting themselves on the back for "speaking truth to power." Yet when it comes to the Islamic question, many in the media will not even stick up for themselves.

Meanwhile, this new development: Norwegian journalist Halvor Tjønn, recently finished a biography of Muhammad only to have his Oslo publisher, decline to publish it. Islamist Watch reports:

"It's an internal matter," said Kagge's director, denying that any threats had been received. Tjønn remarked, "If the publisher had objections to the book's quality, that would have come up much earlier in the process, and not after a year and a half"; he declined to get more specific. Naturally the tight lips bolster suspicion of fear-based self-censorship at work yet again. This case certainly fits the history of books about Islam disappearing as anxiety over violence grows:

And Andy has written about the intellectual surrender in the Fort Hood case. Even the Wall Street Journal, in a news column (the editorial page has not yet waved a white flag), pretends that the massacre has "raised questions" about "mounting stress among soldiers who have been on multiple tours." Really? Oh, is that what this is about? The story contains exactly one mention, near the very end, of Maj. Nidal Hassan's "fervent Islamic beliefs."

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October 6, 2010

Shariah: The Threat to America
An Exercise in Competitive Analysis: The Report of Team B II
Part 1 - Introduction

It has long been a theme of mine that while terrorism is certainly a problem, it is not the problem we have with regard to radical Islam. Terrorist attacks can and have hurt us, but as things stand now will not bring us down. This is quite in contrast to the Cold War, whereby a war with the Soviet Union would have devastated at least Europe, perhaps our country as well.

The similarity with the Cold War is that our current conflict is as much ideological as it is military. Walid Phares calls it a "War of Ideas," and he is certainly onto something.

Many will object that "few people actually believe in radical Islam," and we heat things along the lines of "only 10 percent of Muslims are radicals/sympathetic to the radicals," and that "only a miniscule number of Americans/Westerners buy into radical Islam so the danger is overblown."

But history is not made by taking a vote at every important moment. Only 1/3 of the American colonists wanted independence from Great Britain in 1776. The Jacobins were a minority of Frenchmen in 1789, and the Bolsheviks a minority of Russians in 1917. The quota on imported sugar in America today is not there because it has the broad support of Americans but because of the political influence of a small minority of sugar growers in Louisiana. Less than half of Americans even vote in most elections, and the more local the election is the fewer people vote. History and outcomes are made by determined and well-organized minorities.

So it is with radical Islam. It matters not a whit that most Muslims are not radicals. If the average Muslim moderates are not willing to stand up and demand that Muslim Brotherhood influence be purged from Muslim organizations, then the radicals win, no matter how few their numbers. Consider the fate of Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist who organized the "Everybody Draw Mohammed" day in 2010 as a protest against censorship. After threats she canceled the contest and apologized. No matter, the threats continued until she has changed her name and gone into hiding on the advice of the FBI. There was and is no support from Muslim groups, or hardly anyone outside of a few conservatives, for that matter, for the concept of free speech.

The danger is rather a sort of "creeping sharia" whereby we suffer the death of a thousand cuts rather than the one by the guillotine. Muslim radicals aim to deceive us as to their true intention, which is to spread their sharia(or "shariah") into the West, replacing our values with their own. In short, their objective is to take us over peacefully over a long period of time, not militarily all at once.

It was bad enough that President Bush called our current conflict a "War on Terror," as if terror was the big problem, but at least he seemed to get the danger from radical Islam. President Obama, obsessed like all liberals with political correctness, misses it entirely. The Administration has banned terms like "Islamic extremism" and "jihad" from national security documents. You can't win a war if you can't even properly identify your enemy.

What needs to be made clear is that while Samuel P. Huntington was certainly correct in that we are in a "Cash of Civilizations", I am most certainly not devolving into a "Christianity good - Islam bad." "Islam" is not evil, and ours is not a theological debate but one of values, or ideas.

Identifying the enemy is just what was done in the recently released Shariah: The Threat to America, An Exercise in Competitive Analysis, The Report of Team B II, a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. The purpose of the publication was to present an alternative analysis and set of recommendations to the official position, currently of the Obama Administration, but really of the Bush43 Administration as well.

In this series, I will examine the report. Below the fold is my part one.

From the preface of the report:

This study is the result of months of analysis, discussion and drafting by a group of top security policy experts concerned with the preeminent totalitarian threat of our time: the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as shariah. It is designed to provide a comprehensive and articulate "second opinion" on the official characterizations and assessments of this threat as put forth by the United States government.

The authors, under the sponsorship of the Center for Security Policy, have modeled this work on an earlier "exercise in competitive analysis" which came to be known as the "Team B" Report. That 1976 document challenged the then-prevailing official U.S. government intelligence ("Team A") estimates of the intentions and offensive capabilities of the Soviet Union and the policy known as détente that such estimates ostensibly justified.

As with all such think-tank reports, this study is based entirely from unclassified sources. Authors include such luminaries as former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Frank Gaffney, former Special Agent, Counter-Terrorism Division, Federal Bureau of
Investigation John Guandolo, Admiral (Ret) James Lyons, and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey.

From the Introduction

Today, the United States faces what is, if anything, an even more insidious ideological threat: the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls shariah. Translated as "the path," shariah is a comprehensive legal and political framework. Though it certainly has spiritual elements, it would be a mistake to think of shariah as a "religious" code in the Western sense because it seeks to regulate all manner of behavior in the secular sphere - economic, social, military, legal and political.

Shariah is the crucial fault line of Islam's internecine struggle....

Shariah is not a private matter of personal conscience. It is not a guide to daily living. Nor is is it a matter of debate among Muslims, as far as the radicals or fundamentalists are concerned. All of society and government is to be ordered as per shariah. The U.S. Constitution, and indeed all laws outside of shariah are rendered invalid. Non-Muslims will be allowed to survive if they accept dhimmi status.

As such, Muslims are not to assimilate into the West or adopt our values. There is to be none of the "give and take" of values, language, and culture, that the United States has seen with our successive waves of immigrants. Muslims are to force us to adopt their ways in totality and that is that.

The authors make the point that

...regardless of what percentage of the global Islamic population adheres or otherwise defers to shariah (and some persuasive polling indicates that percentage is high in many Islamic countries1), that segment is punching well above its weight. For that reason, proponents of an expansionist shariah present a serious threat to the United States even if we assume, for argument's sake, that hopeful pundits are correct in claiming that shariah adherent Islam is not the preponderant Muslim ideology.

This said, they also stress the vital necessity of engaging Muslim reformers. We must "do what we can to empower Islam's authentic moderates and reformers." But "that cannot be done by following the failed strategy of fictionalizing the state of Islam in the vain hope that reality will, at some point, catch up to the benign fable."

Indeed. Political correctness is our greatest weakness.

Next: Key Findings

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September 22, 2010

Ban the Burqa?

Burqa - also transliterated burkha, burka or burqua from Arabic: برقع‎ burqu' or burqa') is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of hiding their body when in public. It is worn over the usual daily clothing (often a long dress or a shalwar kameez) and removed when the woman returns home (see purdah), out of the view of men that are not her family. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman's loose body-covering (Arabic: jilbāb), plus the head-covering (Arabic: ḥijāb, taking the most usual meaning), plus the face-veil (Arabic: niqāb).

Burqa

Should the wearing of the burqa and niqab be banned in public?

Some European countries are moving in that direction. Both the French National Assembly (like our House) and Senate approved a ban on burqa-style dress recently, and the issue is before the Belgium parliament as well. It has been considered in the Netherlands but no action has been taken yet. A ban has been proposed in Britain and polls show it would be hugely popular.

In this post we'll let two conservative authors state their cases: Caire Berlinski in favor of a ban and Andy McCarthy against. Both articles have recently appeared in National Review .

Niqab v Burqa

First up is Clair Berlinski. Following are just enough excerpts to get the gist of her case:

Ban the Burqa
To do so is an offense to liberty; not to do so is a greater one
Claire Berlinski
August 16, 2010
Istanbul

I moved here five years ago. In the beginning, I was sympathetic to the argument that Turkey's ban on headscarves in universities and public institutions was grossly discriminatory. I spoke to many women who described veiling themselves as an uncoerced act of faith. One businesswoman in her mid-30s told me that she began veiling in high school, defying her secular family. Her schoolteacher gasped when she saw her: "If Atatürk could see you now, he would weep!" Her pain at the memory of the opprobrium she had suffered was clearly real.

Why had she decided to cover herself? I asked. As a teenager, she told me, she had experienced a religious revelation. She described this in terms anyone familiar with William James would recognize. She began veiling to affirm her connection with the Ineffable. "Every time I look in the mirror," she said, "I see a religious woman looking back. It reminds me that I've chosen to have a particular kind of relationship with God."

Seen thus, the covering of the head is no more radical than many other religious rituals that demand symbolic acts of renunciation or daily inconvenience....

But that was when I could still visit the neighborhood of Balat without being called a whore. ...

Let's be perfectly frank. These bans (the ones in Europe mentioned at top) are outrages against religious freedom and freedom of expression. They stigmatize Muslims. No modern state should be in the business of dictating what women should wear. The security arguments are spurious; there are a million ways to hide a bomb, and one hardly need wear a burqa to do so. It is not necessarily the case that the burqa is imposed upon women against their will; when it is the case, there are already laws on the books against physical coercion.

The argument that the garment is not a religious obligation under Islam is well-founded but irrelevant; millions of Muslims the world around believe that it is, and the state is not qualified to be in the business of Koranic exegesis. The choice to cover one's face is for many women a genuine expression of the most private kind of religious sentiment. To prevent them from doing so is discriminatory, persecutory, and incompatible with the Enlightenment traditions of the West....

All true. And yet the burqa must be banned. All forms of veiling must be, if not banned, strongly discouraged and stigmatized. The arguments against a ban are coherent and principled. They are also shallow and insufficient. They fail to take something crucial into account, and that thing is this: If Europe does not stand up now against veiling -- and the conception of women and their place in society that it represents -- within a generation there will be many cities in Europe where no unveiled woman will walk comfortably or safely....

The cancerous spread of veiling has been seen throughout the Islamic world since the Iranian Revolution. I have watched it in Turkey. Through migration and demographic shift, neighborhoods that once were mixed have become predominantly veiled. The government has sought to lift prohibitions on the wearing of headscarves, legitimizing and emboldening advocates of the practice. Five years ago, the historically Jewish and Greek neighborhood of Balat, on the Golden Horn, was one in which many unveiled women could be seen. It is not anymore. Recently I visited a friend there who reluctantly suggested that I dress more modestly -- while in his apartment. His windows faced the street. He was concerned that his neighbors would call the police and report a prostitute in their midst.

Veiling cannot be disambiguated from the problem of Islam's conception of women, and this conception is directly tied to gender apartheid and the subjugation and abuse of women throughout the Islamic world, the greatest human-rights problem on the planet, bar none. ...

Banning the burqa is without doubt a terrible assault on the ideal of religious liberty. It is the sign of a desperate society. No one wishes for things to have come so far that it is necessary.

But they have, and it is.

As someone once said (the phrase has been attributed to several people) "The Constitution is not a suicide pact." Put bluntly, there are certain situations where you do what you gotta do.

Berlinski states clearly that such a ban violates our concepts of civil liberties, but the situation is so dire that it is necessary. I won't rehash the situation in Europe now, at this point there is so much information out there that you either understand the danger or you don't.

More, she admits freely that many women voluntarily take up the burqa; depending on your definition of "voluntary," and here is where things get tricky. Where is the line between free will and subtle yet pervasive brainwashing? Between doing something out of religious reverence and an unadmitted and almost unconscious fear of being called a whore?

There is no doubt that fundamentalist Islam is spreading. Egyptian-American author Nonie Darwish wrote about how the people of her home country have gotten much more fundamentalist in her book Now They Call Me Infidel, and how shocked she was by the changes she saw there in her latest visit as opposed to what the country was like when she was a child. This series of photographs of the graduating class of Cairo University in 1959, 1978, 1995, and 2004 are absolutely shocking. In 1959 the graduates all wore modern, Western dress. IN 2004 the style was middle-ages Islamic.

So put your scruples about civil liberties aside, she says. Western Civilization itself is in mortal danger, and if we do not stand up to Islamism now, "within a generation there will be many cities in Europe where no unveiled woman will walk comfortably or safely."

A serious argument to be taken seriously.

Just as serious is Andy McCarthy, who makes the case the burqa-style dress should not be banned. As I suppose everyone knows by now, McCarthy was the lead prosecutor in the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, otherwise known as "Blind Sheikh," who along with a half-dozen others were the masterminds behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and additional plots to bomb five New York City landmarks: the United Nations building, an FBI office, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, and the George Washington Bridge. Today McCarthy is a writer and host on many TV and radio shows, speaking mostly on the issue of Islamic radicalism.

Following are enough excerpts from his recent article to make his case:

There Oughtn't Be a Law
The burqa ban won't save France, and preemptive capitulation won't save us September 18, 2010
Andy McCarthy

République française has banned the burqa. Along with the face-covering veil (the niqab), the burqa is the garment with which Muslim women conceal their bodies from head to toe. More accurately, it is the instrument by which their bodies are concealed. In fundamentalist Muslim communities, the burqa is not worn by a woman's free choice. It is imposed, a product of cultural submission that reflects the subordinate status -- in a real sense, the chattel status -- to which women are consigned in Islamist ideology. ...

What about the women who are extorted into cloaking themselves under pressure from a culture characterized by arranged marriages and honor killings? These women are pressured to submit because others have submitted. ...These women and girls are in France, but they are not free. They are "shut out from social life and robbed of any identity," as (French president Nicolas) Sarkozy puts it, and the burqa is their moving prison, enveloping every step. It extends the republic's 750 zones urbaines sensibles, "sensitive urban areas" -- Islamic enclaves over which the French state has effectively ceded sovereignty to sharia authorities.

This is a social problem, not a legal one. Law is the steel by which a body politic reinforces its vibrant, pre-existing mores. It is not a device for creating mores or for bringing to heel those who are at war with the body politic. ...For a dying society, though, a law, like the burqa law, is about as useful as a band-aid.

Islamist ideologues are ascendant because they are moving what they are proud to call their "civilizational jihad" against the West from the battlefield, where they know they cannot win, to our institutions, where the scales tip in the Islamists' favor. They are culturally confident. We, on the other hand, are ambivalent about whether our culture deserves to survive. No law can solve that problem. ...

The ethos of preemptive capitulation is all around us. It ran through last year's refusal by Yale University Press to publish Jytte Klausen's book on Muslim rioting over cartoon depictions of Mohammed until the book was purged of the cartoons. Even such classical representations of the prophet as Gustave Doré's illustration of Dante's Inferno, which portrays Mohammed as a "sower of religious discord," had to be censored out of fear that the religion of peace would go medieval. ... And the ethos is exploited by Imam Feisal Rauf, who now concedes the Ground Zero mosque was a bad idea but insists we must accept it lest "the radicals" explode in murderous rage.

It is the ethos of self-loathing. That is our burqa: our feebleness, our lack of cultural confidence. To shed it, we will have to rediscover why the principles it cloaks are superior and worth fighting for. If we don't, the law won't save us any more than it will save France.

McCarthy is saying bully; you're wasting your time with such a ban. At best it simply won't achieve your objective of stopping the spread of Islamism, at worst it deceives us into thinking that we have achieved something where we have not. We are much better served, he says, by facing the problem head on and telling the Islamists to accept Western values or get out of our countries.

My Take

In this case I think that Berlinksi is right and the European countries are right to ban burqa-style dress. Alone this won't save them, and McCarthy is right in that they still need to get their heads out of the sand and face the problem squarely. The bans might just give them that false sense of security that worries him.

But at the same time the bans might encourage Westerners to resist the spread of Islamism. It might give them hope that yes, we don't have to just sit here and take it from the radicals. And it might give Muslim women the strength to resist their oppression, and to realize that they don't have to take it either.

Further, it may send a signal to the Islamists that no, they may not import their more contemtible and degrading customs into our countries. Our message must be; if you accept Western values you are welcome to stay, otherwise leave.

Even so, of course, McCarthy may prove to be right. His point that the West has a social problem and not a political one is not one to be taken lightly. And most of all, until we realize that they have declared a "civilizational jihad" against us, we shall forever be blind as to the very nature of the enemy.

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August 25, 2010

Reform Muslims, not Moderates, are the Answer

I've long pushed for us to embrace reform-minded Islam over simply "moderate" Islam. As such, those who search the category "Islam" at right will be rewarded with many posts on the subject.

The difference between moderate and reform Islam is pretty straightforward. Moderate Islam sees terror and extremism (as in Hamas) as big problems, but denies that Islam itself has anything to do with it and that the religion has simply been hijacked by a few extremists. Reform Islam says that the problem is that Islam needs the sort of Reformation and Enlightenment that the West experienced several centuries ago.

Unfortunately, far too many in the West do not see this distinction. They are infatuated with moderate Islam and do not see the need for any deeper intellectual or academic debate within the religion. While I understand that this is due to the standard pandering that comes with political correctness, I've always thought it odd coming from people whose way of life was formed by the great reform movements that took place in the West.

In a recent column Andy McCarthy wrote about how moderate Islam is not the answer because it ignores some realities of Islam:

Inventing Moderate Islam
It can't be done without confronting mainstream Islam and its sharia agenda.
August 24, 2010 4:00 A.M.

'Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society." The writer was not one of those sulfurous Islamophobes decried by CAIR and the professional Left. Quite the opposite: It was Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual guide and a favorite of the Saudi royal family. He made this assertion in his book, How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah, an excerpt of which was published by the Saudi Gazette just a couple of months ago.

This was Qaradawi the "progressive" Muslim intellectual, much loved by Georgetown University's burgeoning Islamic-studies programs. Like Harvard, Georgetown has been purchased into submission by tens of millions of Saudi petrodollars. In its resulting ardor to put Americans at ease about Islam, the university somehow manages to look beyond Qaradawi's fatwas calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq and for suicide bombings in Israel. Qaradawi, they tell us, is a "moderate." In fact, as Robert Spencer quips, if you were to say Islam and secularism cannot co-exist, John Esposito, Georgetown's apologist-in-chief, would call you an Islamophobe; but when Qaradawi says it, no problem -- according to Esposito, he's a "reformist."

And he's not just any reformist. Another Qaradawi fan, Feisal Rauf, the similarly "moderate" imam behind the Ground Zero mosque project, tells us Qaradawi is also "the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today."
...

The sad fact, the fact no one wants to deal with but which the Ground Zero mosque debate has forced to the fore, is that Qaradawi is a moderate. So is Feisal Rauf, who endorses the Qaradawi position -- the mainstream Islamic position -- that sharia is a nonnegotiable requirement. Rauf wins the coveted "moderate" designation because he strains, at least when speaking for Western consumption, to paper over the incompatibility between sharia societies and Western societies.

Qaradawi and Rauf are "moderates" because we've abandoned reason. Our opinion elites are happy to paper over the gulf between "reformist" Islam and the "reformist" approval of mass-murder attacks. That's why it matters not a whit to them that Imam Rauf refuses to renounce Hamas: If you're going to give a pass to Qaradawi, the guy who actively promotes Hamas terrorists, how can you complain about a guy who merely refuses to condemn the terrorists?
...

Meanwhile, individual Muslim reformers are branded apostates, meaning not only that they are discredited, but that their lives are threatened as well. The signal to other Muslims is clear: Follow the reformers and experience the same fury. As Qaradawi put it in the 2005 interview, public apostates are "the gravest danger" to Islamic society; therefore, Muslims must snuff them out, lest their reforms "spread like wildfire in a field of thorns."

Today, "moderate Islam" is an illusion. There is hardly a spark, much less a wildfire. Making moderation real will take more than wishing upon a star. It calls for a gut check, a willingness to face down not just al-Qaeda but the Qaradawis and their sharia campaign. It means saying: Not here.

Dick Morris sums up the problem with the Cordoba House/Ground Zero mosque even more bluntly (h/t Conservatism with Heart)

The proposed mosque near to ground zero is not really a religious institution. It would be -- as many mosques throughout the nation are -- a terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and training center. It is not the worship of Islam that is the problem. It is the efforts to advance Sharia Law with its requirement of Jihad and violence that is the nub of the issue.

There is a global effort to advance Sharia Law and make it the legal system of the world. Most major banks and financial institutions offer Sharia Compliant Funds which have their investments vetted by the most fundamentalist and reactionary of clerics to assure that they advance Sharia Law. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the founder of the proposed Mosque, helps to prepare a Sharia Index which rates countries on their degree of compliance with Sharia Law. In the United Kingdom, many courts have recognized Sharia as the governing law on matters between two Muslims.

Not only is Sharia Law a vicious anti-female code which orders death by stoning, promotes child marriage, decriminalizes abuse of women, and gives wives no rights in divorce, but it also explicitly recognizes the duty of all Muslims to wage Jihad against non-believers and promotes violence to achieve its goals. In this respect, violent Jihad is as inherent in Sharia Law as revolution is in Communist doctrine.

But there are non-Sharia mosques where peaceful and spiritual Muslims worship God in their own way without promoting violence. A soon-to-be published study funded by Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, found that 20% of the mosques in the United States have no taint of Sharia and simply promote peaceful worship. But 80% are filled with violent literature, Sharia teachings, and promotion of Jihad and its inevitable concomitant -- terrorism.

Terror is a problem, but only one aspect of it. People such as Imam Rauf want to slowly introduce sharia into the West, one step at a time. They do so under the guise of "diversity" and "tolerance" and "multiculturalism;" which is to say they are using our own policies against us. There is a sort of creeping sharia whereby a totalitarian system of oppression is slowly being introduced into the West, and oddly it is mostly the left which is aiding and abetting the movement.

As the title of one of McCarthy's books says, many have a Willful Blindness about all this. I can explain it a million ways, but in the end you either see the danger or you don't.

UPDATE

This video illustrates the problem perfectly. Imam Dawoud Kringle of the New York State prison system is portrayed as a "moderate," and mouths all the politically correct things about how Islam and terror are incompatible, indeed how Islam forbids terror. Yet when asked a simple question, "Is Hamas a terrorist organization?" he won't give a direct answer. Start watching at 3:00

Pathetic. Andy McCarthy, who is debating Kringle in the clip, commented afterwards that

This is a game that sharia-promoting Islamists like Feisal Rauf have raised to an art form. As I explain in the debate, it is why they can look you in they eye, claim in all apparent earnestness that they condemn "terrorism," and yet excuse Hamas, call for the "one-state solution" for Israel, and support the Iranian theocracy -- the leading terrorist state in the world. They do not consider the killing of non-Muslims whom they portray as opposing Islam to be terrorism -- they call that "resistance." They know if they merely say they deplore "terrorism," the media and the Left will swoon and call them "moderates." But what you think you're hearing, and what they're actually saying, are two very different things.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 15, 2010

Book Review - While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within

I had to remind myself many times while reading this book that Bruce Bawer is not a conservative, let along a "neo-conservative," and most likely voted for Barack Obama. A writer by profession and proponent of gay marriage, and the rest of the gay agenda, he positively despises the Christian right. Indeed, he left the United States to live in Europe precisely because of what he calls "Protestant fundamentalism."

Born in 1956 and raised in New York, he decided that he could know America better if he had something to compare it to, and the only way to get that was to go and live abroad for a number of years. What turned him off about America attracted him to Europe. He saw them as more tolerant, secular, and accepting of his gay lifestyle. He also wanted to learn more languages, and it's clear throughout the book that Bawer is one to whom learning a new language comes fairly easily.

He left America for Amsterdam in 1998 expecting to find a continent that had all of the left-liberal social values that America didn't. What he found instead shocked him into writing this book. Modern liberal Europe, he discovered, is on the verge of being destroyed by radical Islam.

While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer

While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, was published in 2006, so I'm several years behind in reading it. It wasn't that I hadn't heard of it, but rather just that there was just always another book that seemed a bit more important. I'd heard so much about Bawer and his influential book that I always intended to get around to reading it, so last year I put it on my Christmas list, and being only available in paperback it was easy for my relatives to pick up as a cheap extra. The reason it's taken me until August was that there was another half-dozen books on that list too.

Book Summary

Education

Muslim children in Europe do not receive a European eduction. Some are sent abroad for their schooling, some to private Islamic academies, and others simply instructed at home after their day at public school. Either way, the brainwashing is completed and they are taught to hate the West and think that it should be replaced by the Caliphate. They're taught all the other Islamic values; that polygamy is acceptable, that women should be punished for adultery and if they are raped, but the men should mostly get off Scot-free. Homosexuals should be put to death.

The American Christian v the European Muslim "Religious Right"

Bawer recognizes the difference between what he calls Protestant fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism. As much as he hates the religious right in America, he realizes that while they don't want gay marriage, they have no intention of killing anyone. Muslims do. Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson are "unsavory characters," but he sees that they don't want to kill their daughters if they "dishonor" the family and of course don't want gays killed. What gets Bawer is that Europeans don't see that they have a religious right that is quite dangerous.

Because he hates Christianity in the United States, Bawer was at first glad to see that it was on the decline in Europe. But what he came to realize was that Christian faith wasn't replace by something that he could see as better, but with nothing at all. Not having any belief system of their own caused two problems for Europeans. First, they did not at all appreciate the religious fervor of Muslims. Two, they had no moral basis upon which to oppose it.

Why They Don't Get It

Most Europeans simply cannot grasp the ideological dedication of Islamists. They do not believe that Muslim radicals really mean to act on their radical rhetoric, or that any serious number of Muslims would follow them. They dismiss it all for one reason or another.

As stated above, Bawer thinks that the biggest reason for this is that Europeans lost their own religion a long time ago. It has been decades since Christianity was taken seriously by a majority of Europeans. As a result, religion itself is an oddity, an exotic concept. They cannot imagine a life directed by a religion.

Americans, on the other hand, are surrounded by religion. Even those who are not practicing Christians or Jews understand its power. We know full well what religion can do to unstable personalities, those who seek power for its own sake, or those who for whatever reason are susceptible to control by others.

The Media

Americans have an amazingly diverse media compared to Europe, where all outlets pretty much tell the same story the same way. In the United States we have robust liberal and conservative outlets; MSNBC v Fox News, The New York Times v The Wall Street Journal, National Review v The Nation v The New Republic, Rush Limbaugh v ... no one. For that matter we've also got Think Tanks all over the place; The Heritage Foundation v The Institute for Policy Studies v The Cato Institute.

In Europe you've got nothing of the sort. Sure, there are a few vaguely conservative outlets like the London Telegraphy, but the vast majority are best described as "establishment left" (my term, not Bawer's, but based on his writing). But for the most part they all take the same line on any issue; they all bash Israel, attack American-style capitalism and laud the European social-welfare state, and so on. They all pay attention to the same stories, and ignore the same stories. There simply is no journalistic diversity.

And they all pretend that Muslims are not a problem in Europe, and that anyone who does is a fascist.

Integration

We have a strong tradition of integrating immigrants into our society. There's a process of give-and-take, whereby we pick up some new things from them and they learn and adopt our language and customs.

Not so in Europe. The problem is on both sides; the Europeans don't want to integrate the Muslims and the Muslims don't want to be integrated. It's an entirely different psychology than in the States.

Europeans, or at least the elite, will give as their reason for not wanting to integrate newcomers is that they "respect their differences." The real reason, Bawer came to suspect, was "a profound discomfort with the idea of "them" becoming "us."" In other words, while anyone can eventually become an American, no one but a native can really become a German or Swede. For all their liberal piety, Europeans are really quick nativist in their outlook.

More, the European establishment has taken a condescending romantic view of their Muslim immigrants. They are "victims" of Western imperialism or some such, and so any criticism of them is racist or fascist. Any problem within the Muslim community must be due to racism of the white natives.

They view Islamic culture as "exotic" and something to be preserved in its entirety. It is impermissible to talk about any Islamic cultural trait that might be antithetical to Western values. Worse, any Muslim who tries to "break from the pack" and criticize any aspect of Islam or any Muslim leader is seen as a cultural traitor and is him or herself deemed more of a threat than Islam itself. Ayan Hirsi Ali is a pariah.

But as mentioned, integration is a two-way street. Until recently it was assumed that Muslim immigrants would intermarry with natives. However, statistics show that this has not been the case. More, under "family reunification" laws, European Muslims have traveled back to their country their families came from (Pakistan, Turkey, etc), married someone there, and brought him or her back to Europe.

And Narrow-Minded, Too

Although Americans tend to see Europeans as open-minded and sophisticated, and Europeans certainly see themselves that way, the truth is closer to the opposite. If anything, they are a "tribal society. For example, although few Norwegians attend church or think of themselves as Christian, they insist on following Christian rituals such as having their children confirmed. They also follow other national traditions "religiously," although there is absolutely no meaning behind any of it.

The Reaction to Sept 11

It is a favorite of American liberals to claim that George W Bush squandered or lost European sympathy over 9-11 with by invading Iraq or some such. "Everyone agreed on invading Afghanistan" we are told. Bawer shows how this is so much balderdash.

The truth is that Europeans, especially the elites, didn't want us to invade Afghanistan at all. We were supposed to wallow in our misery after the attacks, morn our dead, and possibly apologize to the Arabs for our alleged imperialism, but not much else.

It wasn't a simple disagreement over tactics or strategy, either. A vicious America hatred the likes of which Bawer said he had never seen before and certainly thought impossible took hold. The shift didn't take weeks or months, either, but less than two days. The answer to violence, they said, was not more violence.

To many Europeans, America was the enemy, and Osama bin Laden (and by extension all Muslims) was the victim.

No Idealism

Most Europeans, certainly the ones Bawer ran into, were unable to comprehend a country where people were willing to die for things like freedom and liberty. It was a difficult enough concept for them to grasp that one might die for your country's own freedom, but that one might die for anothers was truly mind-blowing. This the notion that we thought it honorable to die so that Iraqis might be free was dismissed as a cover for wanting to steal their oil or some such.

Even basic talk about freedom and liberty is dismissed as so much emotional, overheated, rhetoric. To most Europeans, all such rhetoric does is provide a cover for the evils of American-style capitalism and imperialism.

It took President Clinton, for example, to do in the former Yugoslav republics what the Europeans should have done themselves. To be sure, part of their problem was their pathetically weak militaries, but mostly it was lack of will. Americans generally want to get rid of the Milosevics of the world, the Europeans don't see the point.

Why the Muslim Rage?

What else should we expect, Bawer says, from young Muslims who have been educated to believe that they are superior and are made to rule over the infidels? They're told that Western women are whores, the West is corrupt and seeks to destroy Islam, and democracy is a joke. They know their rights under Western law perfectly well, and as such know that they will be well treated no matter how badly their behave.

Because the Europeans do not wish to integrate them (and they don't wish to be integrated), they congregate in their own communities, ghettos if you will. In France they're called cites (with the apostrophe above the "e").

The elites say that the causes of Muslim alienation are racism and poverty, but it's not that simple. Yes the natives don't want to integrate them, but that's not racism unless you're reaching. Modern Europe is about as anti-racist in philosophy as you can get. On average their incomes aren't that great, but they all have cell phones and dress fashionably enough. It's certainly not the poverty of the Third World.

These young Muslims present a huge challenge, and it's one that most Europeans want to ignore. Only the older generation remembers a time when manners and good behavior were not only expected but demanded.

Rising Anti-Semitism

Parallel to an increasingly assertive Islam in Europe is the rise, or re-rise, of antisemitism. While Muslims are not the only guilty parties, as a group they are certainly the largest offenders. Muslim adults routinely harass Jewish children, while the reverse never happens. Bawer relates incident after incident, some quite violent and appalling, to drive home the point.

In 2004 the EU ordered an investigation into the matter, and the resulting report was titled "Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union". But the report was never released, "presumably because it points out significant Muslim involvement in European anti-Semitism." Under pressure, the EU did finally issue a report, but spun it to downplay the role of European Muslims.

European elites assume that anti-Semitism by Muslims, while officially deplorable, is "understandable" because of Israeli oppression, poverty, the legacy of colonialism; in other words, the standard liberal-guilt list.

Perhaps Laurence Weinbaum of the World Jewish Conference summed up the European attitude best when he said that "in Western Europe there is sympathy for dead Jews, it's the live ones they cannot tolerate."

Indeed, the situation is such that Bawer wonders whether any Europeans at all would try and save Jews as they did during World War II if another holocaust loomed. As one of his friends put it, "They've been reeducated." If Muslims started rounding up Jews for concentration camps, "It would be racist to resist." Such is the degree to which "racism" has been perverted.

A Few Europeans Who Get It

A few European politicians get it. Unfortunately, most are either dead or in exile.

Pim Fortuyn was an openly gay Dutch politician who spoke openly and plainly about the danger to Western freedoms from an intolerant Islam that he saw holding sway in his country. Thrown out of the Dutch Labor Party party for his views, he formed his own, the Pim Fortuyn List. He was murdered in 2002 by Volkert van der Graaf, who said that he did it because of Fortuyn's views on Islam.

Theo van Gogh, a descendant of artist-painter Vincent van Gogh, was another. Theo was a filmmaker, columnist, actor and author. In 2004 he worked with Somali-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali to produce a 10 minute film calledSubmission, which was critical of how Islam treated women. Theo too was murdered in 2004 by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim immigrant from Morocco, because of his criticism of Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali escaped assassination, but after a contrived controversy about her citizenship status in The Netherlands moved to the United States. She now has a position with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. (Wikipedia says she has temporarily moved to the Netherlands but intends on moving back to the U.S.)

Although many Europeans were deeply shocked by the murders of Fortune and van Gogh, others said the fault was their own for their harsh criticism of Islam. Many presented their murders as "isolated events" and said that it was insulting to think that Islam in Europe could pose any sort of threat.

The Best and the Worst Countries

As of the publication date of 2006, Denmark was making strides toward reforming it's policies so as to mitigate the threat of radical Islam. Queen Margrethe took the lead and set the tone when she said that the West had to take the threat of fundamentalism islam seriously and that "there are certain things of which one should not be too tolerant" i.e. we're not going to be tolerant of a fundamentalist Islam that is antithetical to Wester values.

At the other end of the spectrum was Sweden. Crime rates are (again as of 2006, anyway) going up every year, with most perpetrators being Muslims. Sweden now has a murder rate twice that of the U.S., many of them "honor killings." One of it's biggest cities, Malmo, is now 40 percent Muslim, a city where the number of rapes and robberies had skyrocketed. Anti-Semitism is rampant. Meanwhile, the official position of the Swedish government is that the fault is racism on the part of native Swedes.

"Hate Speech" Laws

Many European countries have taken steps to limit free speech in a way that would violate our First Amendment and would undoubtedly be struck down 9 - 0 by the Supreme Court. For example, in April of 2005 the Norwegian legislature passed a law that prohibited saying anything "discriminatory" or "hateful" about someone's skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religion. Violators could face fines and prison time. What was most remarkable is that there was virtually no public debate on the law. No one seemed to care.

In 2005 British House of Commons passed the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. Fortunately, the House of Lords killed it, but had it taken effect it would have made it a crime to criticize the very radicalism that had killed 56 Britons in the "7/7" bombings.

Just as bad as the wave of anti-free speech legislation is self-censorship. Not only is this practiced in the monolithic media, but among artists and writers. Plays are canceled, movies not shown, "offensive" works of art not included in exhibits, on and on. So much for the idea of the brave artist, unafraid to challenge the establishment.

Moderate Muslims?

For all the talk about "moderate Muslims" they seem amazingly scarce. While surveys showed that most did not approve of violence, they didn't carry that opinion any farther. When it came to opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq they would turn out by the thousands for large demonstrations, but demonstrations against Muslim terror turned out only a few dozen.

The fact is that there is a sizable number of "silent Muslims" who on the one hand deplore the violence committed in their name, yet refuse to speak out against it. Worse, they refuse to accept that Islam might have anything to do with creating terror or violence. And worse than that, they reserve their real vitriol for anyone who would dare to criticize Islam. Religious solidarity keeps their heads low.

Upon examination most "moderate" Muslim leaders aren't so moderate. Bawer goes through several supposedly moderate Muslim leaders whose views turned out to be quite appalling.

Finally, there is a system of intimidation within Islam that the extremists use to keep critics within their ranks silent. The intimidation doesn't just use the threat of violence, but other things such as job loss and exclusion from the community and Mosque.

The Future

Bawer is quite pessimistic about the prospects for Europe. Although a few extremist Imams are deported and a few groups banned, for the most part native Europeans are acting like dhimmis. European Imams still preach hate and get away with little or no criticism, much less legal action. European governments still subsidize Islamic Mosques and schools, and Islamic "councils" and "associations" are given quasi-official status as government advisory bodies. Worse, sharia law courts are being set up as a parallel legal system for some issues.

The Europe of today is philosophically 180 degrees from the Europe of Winston Churchill. His speeches today would be dismissed as the rantings of a warmonger.

European anti-Americanism would not be a danger into itself, but what it breeds is the danger within from Islam. Making the problem worse are those Americans who denigrate their own country while in Europe. Whether they do so because they are anti-Bush/Republican/conservative liberals or just want to ingratiate themselves with their hosts (or some combination of the two) is irrelevant. They are doing damage far beyond their personal situations. Bawer calls them traitors; not to the United States per se, but to the West and all the good things it stands for.

In the "Afterward to the paperback edition," evidently written a year or so after the hardback, Bawer laments that far from awakening, most of Europe is still fast asleep. A few get it, but most are still oblivious to the danger

My Take

While Europe Slept is a depressing and at times maddening book to read. The anti-Americanism is not just on this or that policy, more often than not it is just loony-tunes stuff. The aggressiveness of Muslim leaders and the timidity native Europeans is overwhelming. It is good that we in the U.S. argue and debate over whether things like The Patriot Act is an infringement on our civil liberties; in Europe they give up their liberties at the drop of a hat in order to appease the Islamists.

Because Bawer is a traditional liberal taking what can be called a conservative position on Islam and the situation in Europe, he is in the same genre, or the same type, as Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens is much admired by the American right for his stance on the Iraq war and Islam in general. Bawer is less-well known, but I have heard him interviewed by conservative radio-talk show hosts such as Dennis Miller.

Bawer isn't as clever as Mark Steyn, whose 2006 America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It remains one of the most entertaining and informative books of the decade. On the other hand, his writing holds you much better than Walter Laqueur, whose writing in The Last Days of Europe was rather dry. In short, you will not be bored by Bruce Bawer.

The biggest criticism of While Europe Slept is no doubt that Bawer relies almost exclusively on anecdotal evidence. While much of the book deals with big newsworthy events we have all heard of like the "cartoon jihad," much of it is his personal observations and interactions. The counter to this is that Bawer is well traveled and read himself, is a professional writer who spends all of his time on this sort of thing, speaks several European languages (at least well enough to get along), and lots of anecdotal incidents do add up to something when you add to them the daily news.

As such, this book comes highly recommended, and despite it being several years old, is well worth your time.

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 18, 2009

The Jihad Comes To Chicago

From Fox News yesterday:

A group committed to establishing an international Islamic empire and reportedly linked to Al Qaeda is stepping up its Western recruitment efforts by holding its first official conference in the U.S.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq's onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has operated discreetly in the U.S. for decades.

Now, it is coming out of the shadows and openly hosting a July 19 conference entitled, "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam," at a posh Hilton hotel in a suburb of Chicago.

Hizb ut-Tahrir insists that it does not engage in terrorism, and it is not recognized by the State Department as a known terror group.

That may be true, but it also misses the point.

While terrorism is a danger, it is not the main danger. Worse is a sort of "creeping sharia" in which the Jihadists achieve their goals without resorting to traditional acts of terror. Let their be no mistake; the goal of the Jihad is to install sharia law everywhere. This may not be terrorism as traditionally defined, but the end result is violence and terror against all who would dissent.

Who is Hizb ut-Tahrir?

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation)

Global Security, is, I think, pretty non-partisan. Here's what they have to say:

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) a radical Islamic political movement that seeks 'implementation of pure Islamic doctrine' and the creation of an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia. The group's aim is to resume the Islamic way of life and to convey the Islamic da'wah to the world. The ultimate goal of this secretive sectarian group is to unite the entire ummah, or Islamic world community, into a single caliphate. The aim is to bring the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life in 'Dar al-Islam' [the land where the rules of Islam are being implemented, as opposed to the non-Islamic world] and in an Islamic society such that all life's affairs in society are administered according to the Shariah rules.

Its basic aim was struggle with infidels and the organization of a universal caliphate embracing all Islamic countries. This objective means bringing the Muslims back to living an Islamic way of life in Dar al-Islam and in an Islamic society such that all of life's affairs in society are administered according to the Shari'ah rules, and the viewpoint in it is the halal and the haram under the shade of the Islamic State, which is the Khilafah State...

The group - also known as the Islamic Party of Liberation - believes it can achieve its utopian Islamic state in three steps. The first involves educating Muslims about its philosophies and goals. In the second step, the Muslims would then spread these views among others in their countries, especially members of government, the military and other power centers. In the third and final step, Hizb ut-Tahrir believes its faithful will cause secular governments to crumble because loyalties will then lie solely with Islam - not nationalities, politics or ethnic identifications. At that point the group says a supreme Islamic leader, a Caliph like those of past centuries would rule all Muslims with both political and religious authority.

There's more, but you get the point. They are not bomb throwers, which keeps them off terrorist lists. Yet their end goal is a totalitarian state antithetical to all Western values.

It is just this sort of thing that Walid Phares and others have written so much about. The goal of the Sunni Jihadists is to recreate the caliphate of old and rule the entire world, or at least control it. They view all Arab governments with distain, with the Wahabists only tolerating the Saudi and other gulf state rulers as long as they fund their jihadist efforts.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (sometimes Hizb ut tahrir or Hizb-ut-Tahrir) has it's own website, and it's got both Arabic and English sections. There's also chat forums in both languages, and it all makes for very interesting reading. They make no bones about their opposition to both democracy and capitalism

The fact that the current existing states in the Islamic world are states of Kufr is evident and does not require explanation, for all of their constitutions do not consider the sins as crimes that entail punishment, and they adopt the systems and the rules of the capitalist democratic system and they effectively implement them in economy, education and all the aspects of life. These constitutions deem the sovereignty to belong to the people, not to Allah (swt), they recognise the international treaties that totally contradict Islam and they do not Islam as a intellectual leadership to the world.
Kufr/Kafr literally means "rejecter" or "ingrate," but is more defined as "a person who does not recognize God (Allah) or the prophethood of Muhammad (i.e., any non-Muslim) or who hides, denies, or covers the "truth"." In other words, an infidel or apostate.

The chat room is also quite illuminating, as well as depressing. Islam will take over the world, the United States and West is at war with Islam, Obama is just as bad as Bush and they aren't fooled, capitalism and democracy are evil, and of course armed resistance to the American occupiers of Iraq is good and just. Reform minded Muslims are roundly denounced.

A January 2006 MSNBC article profiles the group and gives us a bit of their background (h/t Always on Watch)

(The fall of the Turkish Caliphate in 1924) is what inspired the group most directly focused on the push for a new caliphate, Hizb ut-Tahrir, or Party of Liberation. The group, which claims to be active in 40 countries, began in 1953 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. But while the Brotherhood, which also favors a caliphate, embraced realpolitik, growing into a potent opposition force in Syria and Egypt, Hizb ut-Tahrir charted a more subversive path....

(Their desired) system includes a caliphate, revived after national governments are subverted by Hizb ut-Tahrir members working in their highest levels, according to the plan. Hizb ut-Tahrir members have been charged with planning such coups in Jordan and Egypt. Zeyno Baran, an analyst at the Washington-based Nixon Center who has written extensively on the group, said it could "usefully be thought of as a conveyor belt for terrorists."

The group has a rigid, cellular, secretive structure and a bookish set of beliefs describing its utopian vision for a future caliphate. Hizb ut-Tahrir insists it has renounced violence, a policy that differentiates it from groups such as Kaplan's motley band or the Chechen guerrillas who carried out the deadly 2004 siege at a primary school in Beslan, in southern Russia -- and who would seat a caliph in the northern Caucasus, according to Chechen guerrilla groups' Web sites.

The question to ask Muslims is not "are you in favor of terrorism," as almost all will say no. The question is "do you favor sharia law in the West" or "should Muslims in the West be allowed to govern themselves by sharia law?" If you get any equivocation at all, they're a problem. If they say "no", they're on the good side and are to be welcomed.

Is Hizb ut-Tahrir a Threat?

No doubt it's tempting to write these people off small potatoes. We on the right are often enough accused of a "War on Islam" or "Islamophobia" by those who wish to ignore the truth.

I think these folks are a problem, and not just because of this one organization. If it was just Hizb ut-Tahrir then no problem, and after all there are kookly Christian groups and all manner of militia groups throughout the U.S..

But with Islam the problem is unfortunately quite widespread. The Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahabists from Saudi Arabia, and for that matter Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), all want to introduce sharia law into the West. The problem is worse in Europe than in the United States, but a threat here to be sure.

As Walid Phares likes to point out, the sad fact is that most Westerners remain woefully uneducated about the Jihad, how widespread it is and who is involved, and it's objectives. Now is not the post for a full dissertation, as details can be found on this blog by scrolling through the Book Reviews, Creeping Sharia, Islam, and Jihadism and the War of Ideas sections under "Categories" at right.

Of course there are good Muslims, who are secular and reject Jihad. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is one, and yesterday they issued a press release denouncing Hizb ut-Tahrir. In the release they also point out that the silence of groups like CAIR and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in not "condemning the ideologies of Hizb ut-Tahrir and their agenda of insurgency in America speaks volumes to their own, albeit, more camouflaged Islamist agenda." The AIFD is one group that gets it, but I've profiled others too.

As for the Hizb ut-Tahrir, look to see who denounces them and who won't. That will tell you everything you need to know about them as well.

Posted by Tom at 8:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 27, 2009

Geert Wilders and the End of Free Speech in Europe

In the wake of World War II it seemed a good idea to a few governments that no one should be able to deny that the holocaust occurred, because they didn't want another one. So, in certain countries, they they banned it. In 2006 British historian David Irving was sentenced to 3 years in an Austrian prison for holocaust denial.

Now we have Muslim groups demanding that anyone who criticizes Islam be punished.

Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders is the latest person under attack. A critic of Islam for many years, Geert Wilders has lived under constant police protection, such is the danger from Muslims.

Now his own government is going after him:

An appeals court on Wednesday overturned a previous decision by prosecutors not to charge Geert Wilders, and ordered that he stand trial....

Prosecutors initially declined last year to charge the right wing politician after he issued his short film, "Fitna," which juxtaposes Koranic verses over footage of violence committed by Islamic terrorists.

But, the Netherlands allows private citizens to petition the courts to compel prosecution. In Wilders' case, eight parties, including a politician from an opposing party, asked the courts to force prosecutors to bring criminal charges.

A three-judge appeals panel on Wednesday ruled that Wilders' insults to Islam were so egregious that the principle of free speech was not sufficient defense.

"The court considers [Wilders' film] so insulting for Muslims that it is in the public interest to prosecute Wilders," a summary of the court's decision said. The court explained that Wilders' claims in "Fitna" and other media statements were "one-sided generalizations ... which can amount to inciting hatred."

Here's Fitna, the short film that started it all:


Fitna the Movie Geert Wilders' film (English)
Uploaded by groepwilders

(Source)

You can also see it and more on his blog, Fitna the Movie.

"Fitna" is Arabic for "strife" or "conflict"

Shortly after they put it up, LiveLeak received so many threats they took the film down. to their credit, they upgraded their security and put it back up, issuing this statement:

On the 28th of March LiveLeak.com was left with no other choice but to remove the film "fitna" from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don't consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted.

From what I can tell Youtube took it down and won't put it back up.

This Was Not the Beginning

You pretty much have to be living in a cave at this point not to realize that Muslim groups and governments have mounted a major assault on free speech. They've been doing it both at the local levels in Europe and at the International level at the UN.

Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders explain:

The Islamic bloc has been on record for two decades as opposing free speech. In 1990, foreign ministers of the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), currently the largest voting bloc in the United Nations, adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. It states clearly that Islamic law--sharia--is the only true source of human rights. Few analysts in 1990 understood that this was tantamount to declaring the legitimacy of institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims, and signing the death warrant of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience as well. And not just in Muslim lands: The OIC and allied organizations have been aggressively pursuing efforts to extend elements of sharia into the West, though few people realize it even today.

Due to the relentless efforts of the OIC, passage of a resolution on combating defamation of religions is now a yearly ritual in the United Nations. First introduced in the General Assembly in 2005, the resolution has been adopted with landslide votes every year since. While this resolution is non-binding, the OIC has declared its intention to seek a binding resolution--one that would require UN member states to criminalize criticism of Islam, as the OIC defines such criticism. This is a clear indication of the progressing Islamization of the United Nations.

On March 28 of last year, the UN hit rock bottom. Its Human Rights Council--whose members include such stalwart defenders of freedom as China, Cuba, Angola, and Saudi Arabia--adopted a resolution that severely modified the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. Instead of simply reporting on cases in which the right to free expression is being violated, the special rapporteur will now also have to report on cases in which that right is being "abused"--including when individuals use their freedom of speech to criticize Islam, or the particular elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence and Islamic supremacism. In essence, this means that the function of the special rapporteur has changed 180 degrees--from safeguarding the rights of individuals who hold unpopular or controversial ideas, to trying to limit the freedom of individuals to express such ideas.

Don't also labor under the belief that it's only a few radicals pushing this stuff. In August of 2006 I reported on polls taken of British Muslims which showed that 30-40% wanted Sharia law introduced into the UK. Sharia, to put it mildly, is antithetical to Western values. Obviously the British educational system is not doing its job.

Unfortunately, the assault on free speech is not limited to those countries across the pond. Canadian writer Mark Steyn was also under assault up north by their so-called Human Rights Commission for offending Islam. Fortunately, they came to their senses and he was cleared.

Another Video

I'm not necessarily a big fan of Pat Condell, as like Ann Coulter at times he goes too far. Like Christopher Hitchens, he hates all religions with equal passion, which perhaps gives him some credibility. Or not. I'll let you decide.

h/t DownEastBlog, the source of much additional information about the Gilders case.

Asleep at the Wheel

The Bush Administration seemed not to recognize the danger, as they remained silent during the various assaults by Muslim groups and countries on our freedoms. I didn't hear a peep from Democrats either.

Yesterday President Obama "reached out" to the Muslim world on on Arab television network Al Arabiya. Read the transcript and judge for yourself, but I'm not encouraged.

What we need to do is tell them plain and simple is something like "here are our values, among them are freedom of speech and tolerance of other religions and lifestyles, and we're not going to compromise on them." We can and must do this in a polite way without being rude or offensive, but talking about "all too often the United States starts by dictating" like the President only sends a message of weakness.

My Position

Fitna is not the issue. Whether you're offended or not is not the issue. I only posted the video so you could see what all the fuss was about.

As a conservative evangelical Christian I do not like to watch or read vicious mean spirited attacks on my religion. I don't like it when Pat Condell attacks us, and I think Christopher Hitchen's book God is Not Great is all wet.

And you don't have to go very far on the Internet to find things much worse.

But we don't have a First Amendment in the United States so we can debate how to fund Social Security. We have it so we can say anything that's not outright slanderous or libelous. We have it so that we can offend each other to our hearts content, even, yes, to the point of "inciting hatred," something that's certainly in the eye of the beholder. We have it so that we can insult each others religion. We should't do many of these things, but that's a different matter.

So I don't want even the most vile attacks on Christianity made illegal. I don't know a single Christian who does. As protestants, our ancestors fled authoritarianism to places like Amsterdam which had a well-deserved reputation for religious tolerance. The irony that they are now persecuting someone for his views is overwhelming.

Maybe Wilders will not be convicted and we can all breath a sigh of relief. This thing could go either way. We might weather this and future storms. Muslims may come to their senses and people in the West may grow backbones. Or not.

Geert Wilders should have absolute freedom to say what he wants (excluding traditional concepts of slander, libel, etc). So should Pat Condell and Christopher Hitchens.

Muslims who think otherwise need to get with the program or get out. They need to adopt traditional Western values or leave our countries. Where they go I do not care.

Posted by Tom at 8:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 7, 2008

Muslim Nations and the UN: The Goal is Censorship

Last week in The Washington Times we learn that Muslim nations are unhappy with the UN. Something we can agree on, perhaps? Unfortunately, no

Muslim-majority nations are yearning for a stronger United Nations, freed from what they regard as a prevailing influence of the United States, a new survey reveals.

The poll conducted in Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Indonesia, Palestinian territories, Azerbaijan and Nigeria by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a global network of research centers, found that people in those countries favor a more dynamic United Nations while simultaneously viewing the international organization as dominated by the U.S. and failing to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"There is a surface negativity about the U.N. in Muslim countries, but if you scratch underneath, there is actually a tremendous enthusiasm for the role that could play a robust U.N. able to stand up to the United States," Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, told The Washington Times.

Nearly every option for giving greater powers to the U.N. received strong support.

A vast majority of Muslims favored the U.N. Security Council having its own standing peacekeeping force (64 percent) and being entitled to authorize military force to stop a country from supporting terrorist groups (76 percent) or to prevent genocide (77 percent).

If I didn't know these areas/countries so well, I'd be encouraged by that last paragraph. Stopping countries from supporting terrorist groups sounds good to me. Then we remember that among those countries surveyed are Iran and the Palestinian territories. I rather doubt they're asking for a force to invade themselves.

No, I think there's another reason for the strong UN support.

The Wall Street Journal has the story everyone who cares about freedom of speech should read:

"Durban II," planned for April in Geneva, promises to be an encore of the same old Israel-bashing. The draft declaration says Israel's policy toward the Palestinians amounts to no less than "a new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity, a form of genocide and a serious threat to international peace and security." We'll spare you the rest of the diatribe.

Israel will be the conference's main object of obsession, but it's not the only target. The draft declaration also goes after the West's freedom of speech and antiterror laws under the guise of protecting religion -- read: Islam -- from "defamation."

The entire West will be in the dock for allegedly persecuting Muslims. "The most serious manifestations of defamation of religions are the increase in Islamophobia and the worsening of the situation of Muslim minorities around the world," the draft reads.

"Islamophobia" is a vague term used to brand any criticism of Islam as a hate crime. The real Islamophobes, though, Islamic terrorists who have killed hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists, get a free pass.

Instead, the draft calls for a media code of conduct and "internationally binding normative standards...that can provide adequate guarantees against defamation of religions." If this sounds like censorship, that's because it is.

The conference is being organized by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which, like its discredited predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, has been taken over by several of the world's main abusers of human rights. The Organization of Islamic Countries, the most powerful voting bloc at the U.N., managed to put Libya in charge of preparing Durban II. Tripoli is being assisted by such other pillars of the international community as Iran and Cuba. Last week a key U.N. General Assembly committee passed a draft resolution, sponsored by Islamic states, that calls for national laws against the "defamation of religions."

If the Durban II drafters have their way, any challenge of Islamic teachings, including teachings used to justify violence, would be taboo. Reprinting the Danish Muhammad cartoons, exploited by Muslim agitators in 2006 to incite riots around the world, would be a criminal offense. Even gross human-rights violations in Islamic countries -- such as the stoning of adulterers in Iran -- could be immune from criticism as these practices are rooted in religion.

This cannot stand. Nothing can be exempt from challenge or criticism.

I don't like it when my religion, Christianity, is mocked. I don't like it when militant atheists such as Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins spout their nonsense about religion being not only wrong but dangerous in and of itself. I don't like it when people draw nasty cartoons about Jesus, or caricature, deride, insult, laugh at, make fun of, parody, show contempt for, or sneer at Christianity of Judaism. I myself criticize conservatives who go overboard in their attacks on Muslims and Islam.

But not for anything in the world would I take away any one's right to do any of the above.

Back To The Survey

While I do think that such nefarious reasons are part of, even much or most of the motive behind support for the UN, there are other reasons too.

Part of it is anger at Israel. It's mostly unjustified, to be sure, but it is a real motive.

A lot of it is also a feeling of impotence. With the exceptions of Iraq and Turkey, Muslims are ruled by autocrats, live in societies notorious for their corruption, and whose econonomies make our current difficulties look like paradise. Of course their frustrated. At school they learned about the glories of the Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Ottoman empires, and realize that those days are long gone with little chance of regaining them.

As a result of this, the colonial period, and more, they believe that Islam is "not respected." Because they also have no tradition of tolerance as we understand it, their reaction is to want laws to prevent criticism of Islam.

Their reaction is understandable, perhaps, but it must be stopped nonetheless. The WSJ article notes that "the decision about whether to send a delegation to Durban II will be an early test of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and the new Obama Administration." Indeed it will be. Let's hope they boycott it.

Posted by Tom at 9:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2008

Creeping Sharia Update

Time for another update on how we're slowly losing our civilization to the jihad.

Losing? To the jihad? Impossible, you say?

Yes, we can lose. Let us not think that what we have will or can last forever. Our bombs and bullets are important, and surely we must win in Iraq and Afghanistan. But let's all be clear that our Muslim extremist enemies aren't simplistic enough to just come at us with their own bombs and bullets. Strykers with cage armor will help us win on foreign battlefields, but here at home we must open our eyes to what is going on around us, be strong enough to withstand the forces of political correctness when they try and denigrate us.

On with it, then.

Bye Bye, First Amendment?

The indomitable Nina Shea reports on two international conferences that were held to promote interfaith dialogue, tolerance, peace, love, understanding... you get the point. One, called the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), was organized by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and held under the auspices of the United Nations. Its 20 member states are without exception Islamic.

Reading the OIC's charter, their objectives all look quite unremarkable and innocuous. But are they?

According to Shea, the

(OIC) has pushed the U.N. to adopt a universal ban on defaming Islam. This measure would aim to curb the freedom not only of Danish cartoonists but also of scholars, writers, dissidents, religious reformers, human rights activists, and anyone at all anywhere in the world who criticizes Islam.

Not it all becomes clear. Their version of tolerance and respect are quite different than ours. Islam must be tolerated and respected; no criticism is allowed. Indeed, Shea says, the good king is trying to strike a bargain with the West; "Suppress criticism of Islam and you will be spared retaliatory violence."

The New York Post (h/t Islamist Watch) has more on what the OIC is up to:

Consider one key draft resolution at the event. Introduced jointly by the Philippines and Pakistan, it openly seeks to limit press freedoms. Sure, as read by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, the language pays lip service to the notion of freedom of expression.

But the document then goes on to emphasize the "special duties and responsibilities necessary for the respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, or of public health and morals."

Translation: Don't even think of publishing those Danish cartoons or anything even close to them. And forget about questioning authorities in places like, say, Riyadh.

Come now, is it really that bad? Yes it is

Consider one key draft resolution at the event. Introduced jointly by the Philippines and Pakistan, it openly seeks to limit press freedoms. Sure, as read by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, the language pays lip service to the notion of freedom of expression.

But the document then goes on to emphasize the "special duties and responsibilities necessary for the respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, or of public health and morals."

Translation: Don't even think of publishing those Danish cartoons or anything even close to them. And forget about questioning authorities in places like, say, Riyadh.

All that "freedom of speech" stuff is, you know, so old fashioned.

The second conference was called A Common Word. This one was a bit more ecumenical, with Christians apparently being represented too, including some from the Vatican.

A Common Word might prove useful, if, as Shea notes, "open discussion of these texts is permitted in Muslim societies." Otherwise, it's all pointless. We are and should be free to examine any religion here in the West, and it must be that way in Muslim countries also.

What the Muslims want is obvious; they want to make it illegal to criticize Islam, even in the West. Shea further notes that this is not as inconceivable as it may seem, for "already Canada, the Netherlands, France, and Italy, without real debate, have taken tentative steps to deploy defamation, hate-speech, and even long-dormant blasphemy laws."

Yup. Just ask Bridget Bardot about the European version of "free speech."

How About A 0% Savings Account?

The most important aspect of "creeping sharia" is the attempt by Muslims to force their culture and laws on us. Let me be clear from the outset: Sharia (or "shariah")is a totalitarian system of laws that is antithetical to everything that we in the West hold dear. And for you leftists, no I don't want the book of Levicitus incorporated into our legal code (and I'm a conservative Christian evangelical), so don't make fools of yourselves by leaving comments about "Christian theocrats."

"Sharia Finance" is that system of banking and economy based on Sharia law. Follow the link and you'll learn all you need to know about it. You'd better, because it's coming to the United States:

The U.S. Treasury Department is submitting to Shariah - the seditious religio-political-legal code authoritative Islam seeks to impose worldwide under a global theocracy.

As reported in this space last week, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmitt set the stage with his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Persian Gulf states. His stated purpose was to promote the recycling of petrodollars in the form of foreign investment here.

Evidently, the price demanded by his hosts is that the U.S. government get with the Islamist financial program. While in Riyadh, Mr. Kimmitt announced: "The U.S. government is currently studying the salient features of Islamic banking to ascertain how far it could be useful in fighting the ongoing world economic crisis."

Yes well if that's what it takes to recycle those petrodollars. Looks like the Wahhabist plan to undermine us is working out nicely. Walid Phares must be smiling... or shaking his head.

What's the big problem, you say? If you weren't good and didn't follow the link to Spencer's site above, take it from Frank Gaffney:

What makes the Shariah-Compliant Finance gambit both a big and troublesome "deal" is that, unlike these other religious traditions, Shariah's adherents are pursuing a global theocracy. They believe they must impose their agenda on everybody else, religious and secular alike, using violence if necessary. And SCF is explicitly described by leading practitioners as a complement to violent holy war: "financial jihad" and "jihad with money."

In other words, there is no such thing as free-standing Shariah-Compliant Finance. According to all of the recognized authorities and institutions of Islam, Shariah is a unified, indivisible program to which all faithful Muslims must adhere comprehensively.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the Saudis & Co. are not simply seeking to insinuate Shariah-Compliant Finance into our capital markets. They are also advancing creation of a parallel Shariah-governed society through various other means.

One of these techniques will be in evidence when the Saudi monarch himself convenes a meeting in New York City in the hope of imposing Shariah blasphemy laws worldwide.

Get it now?

The Illusion of Safety

A recent case makes it clear that you don't have to actually make criticism of Islam outright illegal to get the same end result. Just this past summer, Random House was on it's way to publishing The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones, a book about Aisha, the child bride of Mohammed. Then they suddenly changed their mind. Was it because they thought it wouldn't sell? Unfortunately, no.

Random House deputy publisher Thomas Perry said in a statement the company received "cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment."

"In this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel," Perry said.

Ah yes, safely. Mustn't upset the Muslims, else some of them become, you know, violent.

And in this case although the decision was cowardly, the concern was warranted. In September the eventual publisher in the UK had his house firebombed.

One might take as the lesson here not to publish books critical of Islam, or you will find yourself targeted. Some will say that because of the firebombing, Random House was therefore correct. I would say that the very reason some find themselves targeted is because others refuse to stand firm in the face of threats. By backing down Random House only encouraged the extremists.

Fortunately, stout hearts at Beaufort Books in the United States and by Gibson Square in the United Kingdom published Ms Jones' book.

Parallel Legal Systems, Parallel Countries

Across the pond, they've decided to let the Muslims have their own court system. Only for family cases, they assure us. For now.

Islamic law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims....

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

So what's the problem if they want to have their own court system? Isn't it all voluntary? And don't the Jews have their own courts?

I rather think that we should all know by now that there's not much of anything that's voluntary under Muslim rule. The whole purpose of this is for Islamist community leaders to keep their people, and especially their women, in their place.

Then there's the whole aspect of social cohesion. Diversity yes, but let's draw some limits. At the end of the day we have to all recognize the same laws. Once you head down the path to parallel legal systems you effectively have two different countries.

As for the objection "aren't the Jews allowed their own courts," oh please. The Jewish community is hardly expanding, their culture is not at all based on coercion, and they don't threaten anybody and everyone knows it. More to the point, their system is not parallel to English law but simply complementary. And they're not really legally binding.

Londonistan it is, then.

No Weenies Allowed

Just thinking about this story makes he hungry. Again, from our friends in the British Isles we have this:

Some 300 modern-day Scouts (the word Boy was dropped in the 1960s) settled down to a meal prepared in a 'kitchen marquee' and consisting entirely of vegetarian food - so as not to offend any religious faiths.

Clare Haines, a spokesman for the Scout Association, said: "It was really to do with religion that we were not able to provide sausages and burgers and all that kind of food.

"We have been very careful to make sure food is provided to everybody's tastes and beliefs, so no one feels left out.

"They enjoyed their vegetarian meals, especially vegetable chilli, fresh salads and jacket potatoes."

Oh yes I'm sure they did.

Although the story didn't mention any particular religion, I've never heard of Christians objecting to burgers and weenies.

Not At Your Desks, You Don't!

Glad I don't live in Scotland. I always eat at my desk at work. Of course, we don't really have a lunchroom so it's not much of an option. This time the virus of political correctness strikes Scotland:

The NHS (National Health Service) in Lothian has advised doctors and other health workers not to have working lunches during the 30-day fast, which begins next month.

The health service's Equality and Diversity Officer sent an e-mail to all senior managers, giving guidance on religious tolerance. This includes ensuring Muslim staff are given breaks to pray, and time off to celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan.

It is understood they also advised hospital managers to move food trolleys away from areas where Muslims work.

A Brief Time-Out

Lest you think I'm just picking on merry old England, au contraire. Just scroll down through my "creeping sharia" posts and you'll see I've gone after everything from Muslim footbaths at George Mason University to the Islamic Saudi Academy.

Ok, now back to picking on England

The Polls! The Polls!

Some people have bought into the standard PC line that "the vast majority of Muslims are just like us, it's only a few extremists causing all this trouble."

I wish.

Less than two years ago John Hood reported on a poll in the UK that showed that

...nearly four out of 10 of British Muslims aged 16 to 24 say they would prefer to live under Sharia law than under British law. That's according to a survey commissioned for the independent think tank Policy Exchange. "The emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multicultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasized difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines," said the main author of the report.

Some 13 percent of the young British Muslims expressed admiration for "organizations like al Qaida."

Polls showing this sort of attitude are a dime a dozen, and have been reported on regularly. Either you have your eyes open, or you don't.

Posted by Tom at 10:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 31, 2008

Extremism Among British Muslim Students?

From CNS News

British students are rejecting as biased and unrepresentative a new report that finds large minorities of Muslim students at universities in the country hold extremist views. But a scholar who has been probing radicalism in British universities called the report "extremely significant - and extremely worrying." "Those polled are, by their nature, going to constitute Britain's future Muslim elite," said Prof. Anthony Glees of the Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at London's Brunel University. The report, released at the weekend, has stoked a long-running debate over the broader issue of the extent to which members of Britain's Muslim community hold opinions at odds with Western norms - and what to do about it. Billed as the most comprehensive of its kind, the report by the conservative Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) is based on campus visits, attendance at meetings and face-to-face interviews. It is built around an opinion poll conducted by leading online polling firm YouGov, which in Glees' view "has an outstanding reputation for reliability." In its most startling finding, almost one in three Muslim students polled said it was justifiable to kill in the name of religion. Of that group, most said this was an acceptable action if their religion was under attack, while a small number said it was okay to kill to promote one's religion. Forty percent of respondents supported the incorporation of Islamic law (shari'a) law into British law, while 33 percent backed the introduction of a worldwide caliphate, based on shari'a. The poll surveyed 600 Muslim and 800 non-Muslim students at 12 prominent universities with active Islamic Societies (ISOCs), organizations claiming to represent the country's 90,000 Muslim students.

Wow. Let's go visit the website of the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) and see what we can find out.

You can download the reports directly from their website. Islam on Campus is 6.3 mb and 126 pages, which is a bit to read, but fortunately they've posted an Executive Summary which is only 3 pages.

Here are some of the key findings as taken from the summary:

Killing in the name of religion:


  • Just under a third of Muslim students polled (32%) said killing in the name of religion can be justified - the majority of these said killing could be justified if the religion was under attack, and 4% of all respondents supported killing in order to promote and preserve that religion.

  • 60% of active members of campus Islamic societies said killing in the name of religion can be justified. By contrast, only 2% of non-Muslims agreed.

  • Apostasy:

  • Half (50%) of Muslim students polled said they would be unsupportive of a friend's decision to leave Islam. A quarter (25%) said they would be supportive.

  • Almost half (45%) of Muslim students polled said that apostates should be encouraged to reconsider their decision by Muslim elders and people that care about them.

  • A minority (6%) said that apostates should be "punished in accordance with Sharia."

Views on women:


  • Almost a quarter (24%) of Muslim student respondents do not feel that men and women are fully equal in the eyes of Allah.

  • Female students (38%) were also more likely than males (27%) to perceive inequitable treatment of men and women in their local communities. While 37% of male Muslim students felt men and women were treated equally, only 26% of females felt the same.

  • The majority (89%) of Muslim students polled said that men and women should be treated equally, 5% said they should not and 6% were unsure.

  • Nearly three fifths (59%) of Muslim students polled felt it was important to Islam that Muslim women wear the hijab.

  • Active members of university Islamic societies (51%) were over twice as likely as non-members (25%) to agree that "women should wear the hijab - female modesty is an important part of Islam."

Support for Sharia law in the UK and a worldwide Caliphate:


  • Two fifths (40%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of Sharia into British law for Muslims.

  • A third (33%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of a worldwide Caliphate based on Sharia law. A majority (58%) of active members of campus Islamic Societies supported this idea.

  • Islam as a political project:

  • Over a sixth (15%) of respondents said that Islam as a religion and Islamism as a political ideology were part of the same thing, and that politics is a big part of Islam. A quarter of active members of campus Islamic Societies agreed.

  • Over half of Muslim students polled (54%) were supportive of an Islamic political party to represent the views of Muslims at Parliament. By contrast, over half (61%) of non-Muslims polled were unsupportive.

Compatibility of Islam with secularism and democracy:


  • Over two fifths (43%) of Muslim students polled said Islam was compatible with secularism. Almost three in ten (28%) said they were incompatible and a further 29% were unsure.

  • Over two thirds of Muslim students polled (68%) said Islam and the Western notion of democracy were compatible, with older students (age 35-54) being more likely (78%) than younger students (age 18-35) (67%) to agree. Active members of campus Islamic Societies (84%) were more likely (64%) than non-members to support this idea.

  • Over three quarters of respondents (78%) said that it was possible to be both British and Muslim equally. Female Muslim students (81%) were more likely than males (73%) to say it is possible to be both British and Muslim equally.

Some of these are no big deal: "Half (50%) of Muslim students polled said they would be unsupportive of a friend's decision to leave Islam" is the type of thing you'll get if you survey members of any religion.

Other findings seem to be good news: "The majority (89%) of Muslim students polled said that men and women should be treated equally" is only partially tempered by "Almost a quarter (24%) of Muslim student respondents do not feel that men and women are fully equal in the eyes of Allah." The student's view of women is better than one might imagine. Unfortunately, it does seem at odds with most of what else I've read so it's hard to know what is going on.

"Over two thirds of Muslim students polled (68%) said Islam and the Western notion of democracy were compatible" is also generally good, though one wishes the number was still higher.

Much is bad news: "Two fifths (40%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of Sharia into British law for Muslims," "A third (33%) of Muslim students polled supported the introduction of a worldwide Caliphate based on Sharia law," "Just under a third of Muslim students polled (32%) said killing in the name of religion can be justified - the majority of these said killing could be justified if the religion was under attack", and "Over half of Muslim students polled (54%) were supportive of an Islamic political party to represent the views of Muslims at Parliament" are the most frightening.

The more involved in Muslim organizations, the worse the views: "A majority (58%) of active members of campus Islamic Societies supported (a worldwide Caliphate based on Sharia law)." This is disturbing because it is those who are active in politics who get their ideas put into practice.

There are several reasons to be wary of polls. The first of course are all the problems associated with bad polls; unrepresentative or insufficiently sized sample, poor questions, and biased researchers.

Second, people often don't want to tell the interviewer bad things, things that they know are overly controversial. Few people in the United States, for example, will tell a pollster that they are not going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black.

We also need to be aware that the fate of movements and ideas are not usually determined by poll numbers. Often in history a determined minority has held a majority hostage, or in extreme cases takes over a nation by revolution.

I don't have time to delve into each of these and other than stories in British newspapers announcing the story I can't find much about this poll on the internet, so take it for what it's worth. If I find more I'll post it.

On the other hand, polls showing this sort of attitude are nothing new. In February of 2006 I posted on a poll by the Sunday Telegraph that showed disturbing attitudes held by British Muslims. I've seen others as well. Read just about any article by American expatriate and gay-rights-activist Bruce Bawer on his website and you'll get the same picture.

Posted by Tom at 4:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 8, 2008

A Mosque in Your Backyard?

Many of the good people of Walkersville Maryland have decided that they do not want a mosque in their town. They are, of course, being portrayed as redneck racists by the developer who wants to build it:

Officials of this rural Frederick County town illegally discriminated against a Muslim group by barring it from building a mosque and holding annual conventions on land zoned for farming, the property's owner said in a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

The religious-bias complaint was filed by developer David Moxley, whose family-owned companies had planned to sell the group 224 acres in Walkersville for about $6 million. The group, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, was not part of the suit.

"I believe in the promise of America, and I will not allow a handful of bigots to deny that promise to these good people," Mr. Moxley said.

Walkersville Town Attorney Danny O'Connor denied the allegations....

"I've never seen a worse example of hostility toward a religious group accomplished through the zoning process as by the town of Walkersville," said the Moxleys' lawyer, Roman P. Storzer.

Now why would anyone not want a mosque in their backyard and an influx of Muslims?

Maybe because they've read too many stories like these:

The most senior judge in the UK says that he sees a role for sharia law in Britain

Britain's most senior judge reopened one of the most highly charged debates in Britain last night when he said he was willing to see sharia law operate in the country, so long as it did not conflict with the laws of England and Wales, or lead to the imposition of severe physical punishments....

Phillips insisted last night there was "widespread misunderstanding" of the nature of sharia law, and argued: "There is no reason why sharia principles, or any other religious code, should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution [with the understanding] ... that any sanctions for a failure to comply with the agreed terms of mediation would be drawn from the Laws of England and Wales."

He also suggested sharia principles should be applied to marriage arrangements.

Like wife beating? Anyone who thinks it'll end with "conflict resolution" stand on your head.

British "sniffer dogs" now must wear booties when used in Muslim homes or mosques

Police sniffer dogs will have to wear bootees when searching the homes of Muslims so as not to cause offence....

Where Muslims object, officers will be obliged to use sniffer dogs only in exceptional cases. Where dogs are used, they will have to wear bootees with rubber soles. "We are trying to ensure that police forces are aware of sensitivities that people can have with the dogs to make sure they are not going against any religious or cultural element within people's homes. It is being addressed and forces are working towards doing it," Acpo said.

Yes yes, mustn't offend the Muslims, or they might, you know, get violent.

Oh, and they're also outraged over this ad the British police have been running

Dog in Brit Police Ad.jpg

Muslims have complained over a police advert featuring a puppy sitting in an officer's hat.

A police force has apologised to Islamic leaders for the "offensive" postcard advertising a new non-emergency telephone number, which shows a six-month-old trainee police dog named Rebel.

The German shepherd puppy has proved hugely popular with the public, hundreds of who have logged on to the force's website to read his online training diary.

But some Muslims in the Dundee area have reportedly been upset by the image because they consider dogs to be "ritually unclean", while shopkeepers have refused to display the advert.

More from the Daily Mail

A postcard featuring a cute puppy sitting in a policeman's hat advertising a Scottish police force's new telephone number has sparked outrage from Muslims. Tayside Police's new non-emergency phone number has prompted complaints from members of the Islamic community. The choice of image on the Tayside Police cards - a black dog sitting in a police officer's hat - has now been raised with Chief Constable John Vine. The advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert.

Think this only happens in the UK? If you've got a service dog, don't take it to Minnesota

A St. Cloud State University student in a teacher-training program at Technical High School left the school in late April because he says he feared for the safety of his service dog.

The school district calls it a misunderstanding, and officials there say they hoped Tyler Hurd, a 23-year-old junior from Mahtomedi who aspires to teach special education, would continue his training in the district.

Hurd said a student threatened to kill his service dog named Emmitt. The black lab is trained to protect Hurd when he has seizures.

First they came for the dogs...

Remember that Mormon group got into trouble over allegations of polygamy? They went about it all wrong. If they'd just converted to Islam they'd be fine. If the coppers dared raid them they'd just claim "racism!" and "bigotry!" But nobody listens to such complaints if you're Mormon.

Maybe the good senior judge in Britain mentioned above should think about this before he signs his country up for sharia law:

Although polygamy is illegal in the U.S. and most mosques try to discourage plural marriages, some Muslim men in America have quietly married multiple wives.

No one knows how many Muslims in the U.S. live in polygamous families. But according to academics researching the issue, estimates range from 50,000 to 100,000 people.

Don't think that they're doing this in backwoods areas that are hidden from prying eyes. Try out in the open in New York City.

In Canada the men are taking full advantage of the situation

Hundreds of [greater Toronto area] Muslim men in polygamous marriages -- some with a harem of wives -- are receiving welfare and social benefits for each of their spouses, thanks to the city and province, Muslim leaders say.

In Britain they've even made it legal

Husbands living in a "harem" with multiple wives have been cleared to claim state benefits for all their different partners....

Ministers have decided that, even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, polygamous marriages can be recognised formally by the state - provided they took place overseas, in countries where they are legal.

If those stupid infidels will pay, why not?

Now, let me stop here and say what should be obvious; yes I know that not all Muslims in the West buy into this nonsense. I've profiled some who think otherwise. Unfortunately they're in the minority.

Don't assume that your local school will teach your children anything other than a sanitized history of Islam, either:

History textbooks being used by hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. are blatantly promoting Islam, according to a new report by an independent organization that researches and reviews textbooks....

"Many political and religious groups try to use the textbook process to their advantage, but the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons are uniquely disturbing. History textbooks present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security."

The report finds that the texts present "disputed definitions and claims [regarding Islam] ... as established facts."

Muslim women must have their modesty:

• In Lincoln Park, Mich., Fitness USA relented when Muslim women demanded that the gym wall off a co-ed aerobic center from their women-only section because men could see them working out.

• In Bridgeview, Ill., a Muslim school says it wants its girls' basketball team to play road games against non-Muslim schools provided the public schools ban men and teenage boys from the game.

• In North Seattle, Wash., a public pool set up a swim time for Muslim women in which men, even male lifeguards, are banned.

They can't be around us infidels.

I think the Seattle Muslims get their ideas from their pals in the UK:

A father and his five-year-old son were turned away from their local swimming pool because they were the wrong religion.

David Toube, 39, and his son Harry were told that the Sunday morning session was reserved for Muslim men only.

Hackney Council, which runs the Clissold Leisure Centre in Stoke Newington, north London, claimed staff there had made a mistake.

However, the Muslim-only session was advertised on its website.

Banning infidels from the pool and fitness center has gone mainstream

On February 4, 2008, in an act of segregation disguised as "collaboration," Harvard University set the clock back fifty years by agreeing to ban men from a popular university gym for six hours each week to appease Muslim women. Harvard University spokesman Robert Mitchell stated to me that this was done at the behest of a group of women "whose religion does not allow them to remove their burqas and/or hijab in the presence of men."

The Harvard College Women's Center, which represents on its website that it supports "women that challenge, motivate, and inspire," quickly endorsed the policy of segregation. Its director, Susan Marine, told CNN, "It's just not possible for [the women] to be in a mixed environment."

Orwell would understand.

Harvard's not the only school getting in on the action.

Some public schools and universities are granting Muslim requests for prayer times, prayer rooms and ritual foot baths, prompting a debate on whether Islam is being given preferential treatment over other religions.

The University of Michigan at Dearborn is planning to build foot baths for Muslim students who wash their feet before prayer. An elementary school in San Diego created an extra recess period for Muslim pupils to pray.

At George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Muslim students using a "meditation space" laid out Muslim prayer rugs and separated men and women in accordance with their Islamic beliefs.

Critics see a double standard and an organized attempt to push public conformance with Islamic law.

"Double standard"? Do ya think?

Don't you dare criticize any of this also, at least not in France.

Brigitte Bardot was yesterday found guilty of provoking discrimination and inciting racial hatred with a letter lambasting the influence of Islam on French culture. The 73-year-old former actor was not in the Paris court to hear the ruling and may well have viewed the result as a forgone conclusion. This was her fifth conviction for inciting racial hatred.

The charge arose out of a letter Bardot wrote to the then Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy in December 2006, protesting the slaughter of sheep at the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. In it, the animal rights campaigner claimed that France was "tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying our country by imposing its acts." The letter was also published on Bardot's official website.

French anti-racism laws prevent inciting hatred and discrimination on racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot has been convicted four times for inciting racial hatred.

I really hope no one thinks they have freedom of speech in Europe like they do in the U.S. We can enjoy ours...for the time being, anyway.

Course, there's just about a billion more similar stories tracked at sites like Islamist Watch, Dhimmi Watch and here on Michelle Malkin's site.

So maybe now we know why they don't want the mosque in Walkersville,

Update

I was careless in my post and forgot to state why all these concessions to Muslims matter (I guess since I've said it before I didn't think I should run through it again. But for the sake of clarity I should). After all, one might ask, what difference does it really make whether Muslims get foot baths at our universities?

First, it's not about the foot baths. It's about power, about who shall have power over whom. And what these (not all, just the ones complaining) are doing is showing that they are the ones in control.

Second, it's about the hypocrisy. If Christians demanded a our equivalent of foot baths the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State would be on the case in a heartbeat.

Third, it is about immigration and accepting the values of your new country. No one is saying that immigrants must give up everything. There is a give and take process with any new immigrant group; the natives pick up things and the immigrants adopt new ways. But far too often Muslims are not adopting Western ways but rather insist that we accept their legal system. This cannot be allowed to continue.

On a related point, Stephen Schwartz, writing in The Weekly Standard, explains why sharia law won't work even if it's supposedly only used for "mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution."

At first glance, letting religious courts handle family and business disputes through voluntary mediation might seem harmless, and radical Muslim advocates of using sharia in Western countries often cite the precedent under which a Jewish religious court, or beth din, will settle such disputes between commmunity members who agree to have them so settled. But this assumes a lack of coercion and free recourse to the civil justice system as an alternative, conditions that don't prevail when dealing with some powerful and well-funded radical Islamic clerics.

In Britain, for instance, the problems of Islamic family relations have already spawned a
"Muslim marriage mafia." Because numerous British Muslim women are wed in Pakistan or India in a religious ceremony, and their nuptials left unregistered in Britain, they cannot obtain divorces in British civil courts. They are therefore drawn to notorious sharia courts operating in East London under the domination of adherents of the fundamentalist Deobandi interpretation of Islam, which produced the Taliban. The clerics running the East London divorce racket extort thousands of pounds from poor Muslim women to grant them divorces. Their decisions are guided only by personal whim, so long as money is handed over.

Submitting financial disagreements to sharia tribunals in Britain would probably produce a similar dominance by radical clerics. Worse, it would support a growing sense of segregation between the broader, non-Muslim country and the Muslim minority.

Posted by Tom at 10:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 2, 2008

The Legal Jihad in Canada

Anyone who thinks that other democracies like Canada have freedom of speech "just like us" haven't been following Mark Steyn's travails up there very closely. He and the Macleans (sort of their equivalent of Time or Newsweek) have been hit with a legal jihad designed to silence all criticism of Islam that the usual suspects find objectionable. Background here, if you're not sure what it's all about.

The trial is now underway, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Steyn fills us in with a post over at The Corner

Jonah, re: Omar Sharif saying that, when he has a problem with some guy, he finds it far easier to go to the neighborhood sheikh to sort it out than to have to mess around with all that western legal mumbo-jumbo. He'll be happy to know they've introduced a similar system in British Columbia: The sheikhs sit on a "human rights" tribunal and lay down the smack without any time-wasting rubbish about rules of evidence, presumption of innocence, etc.

Andrew Coyne is live-blogging the first day of the Steyn/Maclean's show trial from the Robson Square courthouse in Vancouver, and from the Omar Sharif perspective it seems to be going swimmingly. The Canadian Islamic Congress lawyer says that freedom of speech is a "red herring". If it were, it would be on the endangered species list. And the New York Times guy says he "can't believe what he's witnessing".

With their usual low cunning, the "human rights" sheikhs chose a courtroom that only seats 40 people so a big crowd (including CBC reporters) were wedged up peering through the glass in the door until the head sheikh (a judge best known for fining the Knights of Columbus for declining to rent their hall for a lesbian wedding) said the pressed faces of the people were distracting her and shooed them away. Typical. A third-rate bureaucracy that tells everyone from McDonald's to Maclean's magazine how to run their affairs can't even organize a show trial with minimal competence.

Maybe the folks who can't get in should file a "human rights" complaint against the "human rights" tribunal for denying them the human right to attend a human rights trial. Say what you like about Saddam's justice system, but at least I'd be dead by now and out of my misery.

This is a big deal. From what I can tell the Canadian Human Rights Commission does have some serious powers. More than outright legal sanctions, though, is the message that will be sent if Steyn and Macleans loses; any serious criticism of Islam and we'll haul you before a tribunal and force you to spend thousands of dollars defending yourself. Still want to publish a book here?

Posted by Tom at 7:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 8, 2008

Sharia Law is OK by the Archbishop of Canterbury

via today's Washington Times I learn that the Archbishop of Canturbury has "called for applying Islamic Shariah law in Britain in certain instances". The Archbiship, a certain Dr Rowan Williams, said this and more as part of a lecture series. Here are a few tidbits that I picked out this morning

Among the manifold anxieties that haunt the discussion of the place of Muslims in British society, one of the strongest, reinforced from time to time by the sensational reporting of opinion polls, is that Muslim communities in this country seek the freedom to live under sharia law.

He may has well as told us that Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and that War is Peace.

But it is important to begin by dispelling one or two myths about sharia; so far from being a monolithic system of detailed enactments, sharia designates primarily – to quote Ramadan again – 'the expression of the universal principles of Islam [and] the framework and the thinking that makes for their actualization in human history'

The "Ramadan" the Archbishop refers to so approvingly is none other than Tariq Ramadan, an apologist for the worst excesses of Islam. Ramadan is the grandson of none other than Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the jihadist groups seeking the restoration of the Caliphate and destruction of the West.

The Archbishop goes on to argue for a "transformative accomodation" of Sharia law into the British legal system, because it seems "unavoidable."

In an interview on BBC Radio 4 the Archbishop repeated many of these themes, if anything even more explicity

It seems unavoidable and indeed as a matter of fact certain provisions of Sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law. So it's not as if we're bringing in an alien and rival system.

In other words, we're not going to ask Muslims to accept Western values, so we'll just accept theirs.

When asked if this would bring stoning to Great Britain, he replied that

There's a lot of internal debate within the Islamic community about the nature of Sharia and its extent; nobody in their right mind I think would want to see in this country a kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states - the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well...

No doubt native Britons don't want these things. But how about some of the Muslims who want the Sharia law? The Archbishop avoids that topic with weasel words, going on about

I think one of the points again that's come up very interestingly in recent discussion between Muslim and other legal theorists is the way in which in the original context of Islamic law, quite often provisions relating to women are more enlightened than others of their day; but you have to translate that into a setting where actually that whole area, the rights and liberties of women has moved on and the principle, the vision, which animates the Islamic legal provision needs broadening because of that.

What jibberish.

Does anyone think that it will end here?

To be sure, as he points out,

We have orthodox Jewish courts operating in this country

Which is something liberal apologists love to bring up. But the last time I checked Western-style civil rights were alive and well in Israel, and yes that includes it's Arab citizens too. No one is afraid of orthadox Jewish law. There is reason to fear Sharia law, and anyone who does not need only look at Islamic countries where it has been implimented, like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states.

In the interview the Archbishop insists that Muslims could appeal Sharia court decisions to the regular British court system, and we are supposed to be reassured by this. But Muslims won't put up with this for long. They don't recognize any higher authority than their law, and as the Muslim population increases they would put what would probably become irresistible pressure on the appeal courts to let their decisions stand.

Liberals often roll their eyes when you tell them about Sharia law coming to Europe. They think it's a conservative scare story, the purpose of which is to take away civil liberties, put us under a permanent war footing, etc etc. I've heard and read many say that oh no, Muslims are integrating into European society perfectly well.

If that's true, then why is the Archbishop so willing to grant them their own legal - limited - system within a European country?

Melanie Phillips has more analysis than I have time to write this morning.

Posted by Tom at 8:16 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 10, 2007

Saudi Influence in Academia

There's a big story in today's Washington Times about something I've been blogging about for some time now; the Wahhabist penetration of academia through use of oil money. Scholar Walid Phares has written extensively about this, most particularly in his books Future Jihad and The War of Ideas. I reviewed both here; see "Book Reviews" under "Categories" at right.

Here are a few excerpts, but you'll want to read the whole thing:

Two years ago this month, a Saudi prince caused a media splash — and raised eyebrows — when he donated $20 million each to Georgetown and Harvard universities to fund Islamic studies. ...

Some call the Saudi gift Arab generosity and gratitude for the years American universities have educated the elite of the Arab world. Others say the sheer size of the donations amounts to buying influence and creating bastions of noncritical pro-Islamic scholarship within academia.

"There's a possibility these campuses aren't getting gifts, they're getting investments," said Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "Departments on Middle Eastern studies tend to be dominated by professors tuned to the concerns of Arab and Muslim rulers. It's very difficult for scholars who don't follow this line to get jobs and tenure on college campuses.

"The relationship between these departments and the money that pours in is hard to establish, but like campaign finance reform, sometimes money is a bribe. Sometimes it's a tip."

As Phares noted in The War of Ideas, it all started after the 1973 oil embargo, when the Saudis realized they had a lot of power at their hands. They did some investigation and discovered that many American universities were eager for their money. As Phares documents, the Saudis also discovered that in return for the money college administrators were eager to believe the Saudi version of Middle East history.

The article is fair, pointing out that "The idea of giving endowed chairs to advance a point of view is not exclusive to wealthy Arabs." Mormons and Israelis have also gotten in on the action.

Influence buying is wrong no matter who does it. We should not, however, fall into moral equivalence. Saudi influence is far greater, and their kingdom is a totalitarian nightmare.

At the end, the article quotes Zuhdi Jasser, an American reform-minded Muslim that I have written about before and who "gets it".

Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix physician and a Muslim who is chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, says Islamic governments are looking for a free pass.

"Islamists such as the radical fundamentalists seen with the Saudi Wahhabis exploit American universal tolerance to provide a vehicle for the dissemination of their propaganda free of critique," he said in an e-mail. "It is important to emphasize — 'free of critique' ... it is the tolerance which permits that.

"But I would hope that we correct our response not by changing our tolerance but by intensely critiquing political Islam and its incompatibility with our pluralistic democracy. America"s laboratory of freedom and liberty should not change."

The Wahhabists are one of the three branches of the jihad that is trying to destroy the West. Dr Jasser is probably correct in that an absolute prohibition on Saudi money would violate our tradition of tolerance. Rather, the best way to deal with the Wahhabists is to expose them for what they are.

Update

If you still think that the problem of Saudi influence in either K-12 or our university system is exaggerated, please see these two articles by Stanley Kurtz:

Saudi in the Classroom: A fundamental front in the war

Taking Sides on Title VI: Middle East Studies reform goes partisan

Posted by Tom at 8:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 8, 2007

"Steynophobia" as part of the War of Ideas

Rather than deal with problems within their religion, some Muslims have decided that the only way to deal with those in the West who criticize them is to shut them down. Some call it "legal tourism", and it is an attempt to use libel and slander laws to silence anyone who dares to speak out about the way Islam is practicied by some Muslims. They don't have to win the suit to succeed, because the credible threat of a suit will serve to intimidate. As such, it's kind of like the case of the Flying Imams.

The latest incident to spur this concern is an attack on the author of America Alone, Mark Steyn. In October of 2006, MacLean's published an excerpt from America Alone; "The Future Belongs to Islam.". Six months later several Muslim law students approached MacLeans and demanded that they be allowed to put a five page response, without any editing, in the magazine. When the editor refused, they filed a "human right s complaint" against Steyn In a post on The Corner, Stanley Kurtz explains:

Late yesterday I stumbled across an article about a "human rights complaint" filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) against Maclean’s, Canada’s most widely-read news magazine, for running a "flagrantly Islamophobic" excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone. At least two Canadian Human Rights Commissions have agreed to hear these complaints. Only then did I find Steyn’s too-easily-missed late-night post from Wednesday on the controversy.

This is a big deal. The blogosphere has so far largely missed it, but this attack on Mark Steyn is very much our business. There may be an impulse to dismiss this assault on Steyn, on the assumption that it will fail, that Steyn is a big boy and can take care of himself, and that in any case this is crazy Canada, where political correctness rules, rather than the land of the free. That would be a mistake. The Canadian Islamic Congress’s war on Mark Steyn and Maclean’s is an attack on all of us. I’ll say more in a moment about how a Canadian case can reach into America, but let’s first take a look at the goings on up north.

The complaints against Maclean’s for publishing an excerpt from America Alone have been filed by several Canadian law students and by Faisal Joseph, a former crown attorney. Maclean’s published a total of 27 letters over two issues in response to Steyn’s piece–more responses than any Maclean’s cover story received over the past year. Yet when the law student’s demanded a longer response, Maclean’s was willing to consider it. The students then insisted that Maclean’s run a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, with no editing by the magazine. They also demanded that the reply to Steyn be a cover story, with art controlled by them, rather than the magazine. At this point, Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Whyte showed them the door, saying he would rather let Maclean’s go bankrupt than permit someone outside of operations dictate the magazine’s content.

The tiff over the excerpt from America Alone is only the tip of the iceberg. The Canadian Islamic Congress has actually accused several Canadian news outlets of Islamophobia. CIC issued a report entitled "Maclean’s Magazine: A Case Study of Media-Propogated Islamophobia," in which at least 18 articles were said to show anti-Muslim bias. Canada’s National Post has been similarly attacked. Here, journalist Andrew Coyne explains how he was accused of endangering Muslims merely for having penned the phrase: "...the massive backlash against innocent Muslims that failed to materialize..."

Although the more liberal Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has criticized CIC and defended Maclean’s, it’s worth noting that CIC has managed to successfully intimidate MCC in the past. Coyne notes that a spokesman for MCC resigned his post last year when the president of the CIC accused him of "smearing Islam." The charge of de facto apostasy left the MCC spokesman fearing for his safety.

What about the article in question–the actual excerpt from America Alone published in Maclean’s? Read it and you’ll see that Steyn is an equal opportunity savager. Enervated Europeans come in for every bit as much criticism as jihadi terrorists–more, really. The closer to home, the tougher Steyn gets. Of all European’s, Steyn is hardest on culturally "dead" Belgians, the country where Steyn’s mother and grandparents came from. The only really vicious insult in the piece is hurled at Steyn himself.

This piece by Ali Eteraz in the Guardian commendably repudiates CIC’s attack on free speech. Even so, none of Eteraz’s points against the actual substance of Steyn’s piece hold water. Steyn does not say that "all" Muslims are radicals. If anything, Steyn goes out of his way to say that matters are not so simple. For example, he notes that the radicalization of South Asian Muslims is recent, and explains that it’s the watery weakness of Europe’s own multicultural ideology that forces Muslim’s back onto radicalism for a sense of cultural coherence. If anything, the anti-free-speech attacks on Steyn and Maclean’s, by Western-trained lawyers, no less, show that Steyn’s concerns about poorly assimilated Western values are more than justified.

Ugly as this affair may be, can we assume that Steyn and Maclean’s will ultimately emerge unscathed–and that America, at least, is safe from this sort of crazy Canadian multiculturalism? No we cannot. However they’re resolved, these high profile cases take a toll on all concerned. More important, they send a chill over smaller fish.

American’s need to recognize the pattern here, and we also need to realize that it has already invaded the United States. American readers depend on international outlets. We often read our Steyn in Canadian publications. So an attack on Steyn in Canada is an attack on America. And recall the ongoing battle over "libel tourism," which resulted in attempts to use British law to pull Alms for Jihad from American library shelves. (Here’s the latest update on the libel tourism battle, and how it threatens free speech in America.) And take a look at this list of Muslim libel cases in America. (Be sure to read the end of that account for an understanding of how enervating and intimidating these cases can be–especially for targets less well-placed than Steyn or Maclean’s.)

Then consider my post from yesterday on the spread of "bias reporting systems" to American college campuses. As in Canada, these systems may begin in response to alleged "homophobia," (see the link to the article on Georgetown in my post), but they also open up opportunities for accusations of "Islamophobia." (The term itself shows the echo effect.) Making use of "bias reporting" to attack Georgetown’s Catholic culture will surely play into the hands of Georgetown’s Saudi-funded programs to promote "Muslim-Christian understanding." These programs are positive connoisseurs of "Islamophobia." Give them a bias reporting system–especially an anonymous one–and they could easily go to town. And for more on the influence of Saudi money on American education, sure to open the field to CIC-like attacks on "Islamophobia," see "Saudi in the Classroom."

Connect the dots and you will see that the attack on Mark Steyn in Canada is part and parcel of a world-wide assault on free speech that has already reached well into America. This is our battle. It is essential that there be widespread public condemnation of the attack on Mark Steyn. Not only does this "human rights" complaint have to fail, it has to fail miserably and with embarrassment. Otherwise, whatever the formal result, the chilling effect will be one more victory for the forces trying to destroy our rights.

Follow the link to Kurtz post for the links to stories about the controversy.

Don't hold your breath waitiing for the usual "civil rights" organizations to rush to Steyn's defense.

As you might imagine, there's been much discussion about this at The Corner, but the best was this link by Steyn him self to a piece by Roger Kimball who describes his own experiences in

As a publisher, I’ve so far had just a little taste of libel tourism. This spring, Encounter Books is publishing Willful Blindness: a Memoir of the Jihad, by Andrew C. McCarthy, who helped prosecute the “blind sheik” Omar Abdul-Rahman and other jihadists responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Just last week I received a message from one of the entities that helps distribute our books in Canada and Britain:
Can you please let us know if there are any references to Saudis and terrorist[s] in the book. We are just concerned that this book, could potentially create libel lawsuits as it could offend Saudis living in England and this has happened with many other US publications and we do not want to be jeopardized in selling this book.

Hello? So books offensive to Saudis are verboten?

They don't need to make it illegal to win, just intimidate publishers and and distributors enough so that they take a "hands off" position toward any book that discusses forbidden matters.

In the end, it's all part of the War of Ideas that Walid Phares so brilliantly describes in his book of the same name. The jihadists want to silence all who oppose them. We - supposedly - value free speech. Which idea will win?

Posted by Tom at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 1, 2007

The New Wonders of the Age

The desire of certain Western intellectuals to justify something that goes on in third-world countries, which to ordinary people seems barbaric, is nothing short of amazing. It's a sort of celebration of the "other", a romanticization of Rousseau's "noble savage". Put another way, it's moral relativism at it's worst.

Normal people, when informed about the African/Muslim practice of "female circumcision", or genital cutting, are horrified. But then you wouldn't be a member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

This very morning, at their annual meeting, they discussed whether this practice was .... I kid you not.

John Tierney in an editorial yesterday in the New York Times (h/t Lisa Schiffren at NRO) explains

Should African women be allowed to engage in the practice sometimes called female circumcision? Are critics of this practice, who call it female genital mutilation, justified in trying to outlaw it, or are they guilty of ignorance and cultural imperialism?

Those questions will be debated Saturday morning in Washington at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting. Representatives of international groups opposed to this procedure will be debating anthropologists with somewhat different views, including African anthropologists who have undergone the procedure themselves.

Unbelievable that this is going to even be debated. If there's still any doubt in your mind that the AAA is infected with the worst sort of cultural relativism, Tierney puts it to rest in a discussion of " critique of the global campaign against female genital mutilation, written by another participant in Saturday’s discussion, Richard Shweder of the University of Chicago."

Dr. Shweder says that many Westerners trying to impose a “zero tolerance” policy don’t realize that these initiation rites are generally controlled not by men but by women who believe it is a cosmetic procedure with aesthetic benefits. He criticizes Americans and Europeans for outlawing it at the same they endorse their own forms of genital modification, like the circumcision of boys or the cosmetic surgery for women called “vaginal rejuvenation.” After surveying studies of female circumcision and comparing the data with the rhetoric about its harmfulness, Dr. Shweder concludes that “‘First World’ feminist issues and political correctness and activism have triumphed over the critical assessment of evidence.”

I rather think Dr Shweder has the political correctness part backward.

To be sure that Tierney's description was right, I downloaded the good doctor's essay, and sure enough, right there on page 5 I found this

In this essay I suggest that in at least one very intimate cultural and family life domain the rules of the game have been imposed by the rich nations of the world in such a way that they invite moral critique. The critique is invited because activist organizations and governments in the rich nations of the world have tried to universalize their own cultural preferences and tastes with little regard for truth in advertising, and with considerable contempt for the democratic voice of majority populations in the particular poor countries most directly affected by the forceful expansion and willful imposition of American and European cultural perspectives. I am going to suggest that these “First World” governments and activist organizations (who, ironically, often frame their campaigns in a discourse of human rights) have actually acted in violation of several human rights, including rights to self-determination and rights to family privacy, among others, which they themselves often invoke in defense of their own cultural preferences and practices.

So opposing female genital mutiliation is rich countries imposing their morals on poor nations. This is bad because Dr Shweder maintains that a majority of the women in these countries support the practice, therefore it is ok.

Lisa Schiffren makes the obvious retort that "when the British forbade sutee, the locals, some women included, wanted to keep burning those widows." Did that then, make the burning of widows ok? According to Dr Shweder, apparently so.

All of this reminds me of nothing so much as the words of Malcolm Muggeridge, as he observed Western liberals as they traveled about the Soviet Union in the 1930s

They are unquestionably one of the wonders of the age, and I shall treasure...the spectacle of the travelling with radiant optimism through a famished countryside, wandering in happy bands about squalid, over-crowded towns, listening with unshakable faith to the fatuous patterr of carefully trained and indoctrinated guides, repeating like school-children a multiplication table, the bogus statistics and mindless slogans endlessly intoned to them.

There were...earnest clergymen who walked reverently through anti-God museums and reverently turned the pages of athiestic literature, earnest pacifists who watched delightenly tanks rattle across the Red Square and bombing planes darken the sky.... The almost unbelievable credulity of these mostly university-educated tourists astonished even Soviet officials used to handling foreign visitors....

From Muggeridge, "Chronicles of Wasted Time", as quoted in Paul Hollander's "Political Pilgrims"

Just as Western intellectuals then justified Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, and Castro's Cuba, today they justify female genital mutilation. They'll justify anything as long as the participants are anti-Western and they don't have to partake themselves.

If the American Anthropological Association had really wanted to learn something, they would have invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to their little conference. It'll never happen, but I can dream.

Update

More on the Western moral confusion front from Mark Steyn:

Just to reassure Jonah, my head did not explode at the BBC's description of the Sudanese mob as "good-natured". In fact, I didn't even roll my eyes or give a mild tsk. Such is the way of the world. Thousands of Sudanese men calling for the execution of a middle-aged schoolma'am over a teddy bear are "good-natured", while Martin Amis is a "racist" and I'm a "flagrantly Islamophobic" hatemonger.

Even so, it's impressive to see the speed with which poor Mrs Gibbons has been consigned to the same camp. As Tammy Bruce reports:

When asked by FOX News for a comment about the situation, a National Organization for Women spokeswoman said they were "not putting out a statement or taking a position."

Fortunately, other members of the sisterhood are. From The View:

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You’d think if you’re going overseas, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to America and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as European and American, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons we’re called the ugly Americans.
What's so "ugly" about a British schoolteacher taking a job teaching Muslim schoolchildren in Khartoum? Never mind, the victim must have been asking for it. And, given that the prohibition against Mohammedan teddy bears was concocted out of whole cloth, even the most abjectly "sensitive" are bound to fall afoul of something or other. As The Belmont Club puts it:
The incitement here is not entirely on the Sudanese side. The supine behavior of the West, abject surrender to every demand, its willingness to shame and degrade itself without limit, is in large part responsible for the provocations now directed toward it.

Which is why there'll be more. In hostage negotiations, tough-talking governments say they won't make "concessions to terrorists". They mean prisoner releases and cash handovers. Yet we make equally critical psychological concessions with nary a thought.

Posted by Tom at 10:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 27, 2007

Some Questions for Muslim Schools

The Islamic Saudi Acadamy, located in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC, should be closed simply because it is operated and funded by the Wahabist government of Saudi Arabia, which is a totalitarian nightmare. But what about Muslim schools where we cannot find a direct link to a jihadist government or organization? How do we determine if the school has a jihadist or Islamist curriculum, or whether it is simply a religious school that happens to be Islamic?

M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim American and former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, answers these questions in an article posted at Family Security Matters. Mr. Jasser is the founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a Phoenix based organization. That Family Security Matters is a pretty conservative outfit vouches for the AIFD by itself, but please visit his website if you'd like to be reassured. These days, it's understandable.

In the article, Mr. Jasser pulls no punches in his description of the Saudis, who's "Wahabism is arguably the primary cancer cell in global militant Islamist ideology." But we shouldn't just stop with the Islamic Saudi Academy, he says, but rather we should use this as a "first step" in bringing accountability to other Islamic schools in the U.S. It's not a small issue, either, for his article cites a 2004 National Center for Education Statistics study which determined that there were 182 Islamic private schools in the United States. This may seem a small number, but these schools can graduate a lot of students. History shows that determined minorites can make a disproportionate impace.

Harboring no illusions, he warns that

The (Islamist) schools around the country are all relatively new and wasting no time in creating a generation of students which are more likely than not to be defenders of Islamism over anti-Islamist systems based in universal liberty. While only a minority of Muslims send their children to these schools, they are a growing and significant minority countered only by a silent majority of Muslims.

What we need to do is "discuss in a comprehensive public manner, the context in which Islamic parochial schools teach Islamic history." This means examining their curriculum. Mr. Jasser has a series of questions that we need answered by Islamic schools:

1. How does the school teach American history and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? What is taught about the struggle of our founding fathers against theocracy? Is European Enlightenment ideology taught? Are students encouraged to learn from non-Muslim philosophers especially those who influenced our founding fathers and taught liberty and freedom?

2. Are students taught that sharia is only personal or that it also specifically guides governmental law? Does their answer change whether Muslims are a minority or a majority?

3. Do they view non-Islamic private and public schools as part of a culture of ‘immorality’ and decadence since they are not Islamicized or can non-Islamic schools be morally and equally virtuous?

4. Do they teach their children that ‘being American’ and being ‘free’ is about moral corruption or is being American and free about loving the nation in which they live and sharing equal status before the law regardless of faith tradition?

5. Is complete religious freedom a central part of faith and the practice of religion? In the Islamic school, how are children treated who refuse to participate in school faith practices?

6. Are the children taught Muslim exclusivism with regards to the attainment of paradise in the Hereafter? From that, are the children also taught that government and public institutions must thus be ‘Islamic’ in order for the community as a whole to be able to enter the gates of Heaven?

7. How are student discussions, debate, and intellectual discourses approached regarding American domestic and foreign policy? Do the teachers have a political agenda? Does that agenda demonstrate a dichotomy between Islamist interests and American interests?

8. Is the historical period of Muslim rule of Spain (Andalusia) taught in the context of the history of the world during the Middle Ages or is it looked upon as superior to current day American ideology even after the advances of the Enlightenment?

9. Is the pledge of allegiance administered every day at the beginning of the school day?

Mr. Jasser gets it. He is a true reformer, not one of those "moderates" we are told about who end up holding views antithetical to Western ideas about liberty.

I've blogged about Muslim reformers before, and how we need to support them. Mr Jasser and others like him should be invited to the White House and Congress should invite them to testify. While I can't prove neither has happened, I rather doubt it.

We are in a worldwide war against the forces of jihadism. While part of it will be fought on the battlefield by military forces, in the final analysis it is a War of Ideas. The way you win a War of Ideas is to prevent older believers from passing their ideas into the next generation. I'm going to post a lot more on this shortly, but an obvious first step is to scrutinize Islamic schools, and to do so boldly but fairly. Those that pass muster are more than welcome to particulate fully in our great nation, but those that don't must change or be sent packing.

Posted by Tom at 7:58 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 26, 2007

More on the Islamic Saudi Academy

One thing that drives me nuts is how so many people, especially on the left but also on the right, tolerate or even give tacit suppor to the Nazi regime of Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Saudi Academy, with two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia, mere miles from our nations capital, is a case in point. Fortunately, some Americans are hard at work to try and close this abomination. Unfortunately, others are working just as hard to keep it open.

From an AP story in today's Washington Times we have an update

Twelve U.S. senators and a federal commission want to shut it down, and its most virulent critics have dubbed it "Terror High." ...

Now the school finds itself on the defensive again. Last month, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a report saying the academy should be closed until it can conduct a review of the curriculum and textbooks.
...

Indeed, many people familiar with the school say the accusations are unfounded. Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald Hyland, whose district includes the academy, has defended the school and arranged for the county to review the textbooks to put questions about the curriculum to rest. That review is ongoing.

Much of the debate is about the content of the textbooks used at the school

Academy officials have acknowledged that some of the original Saudi textbooks use intemperate language, but say they have made significant modifications at the academy to remove offensive passages. They have, for instance, removed from teachers' versions of first-grade textbooks an excerpt instructing teachers to explain "that all religions, other than Islam, are false, including that of the Jews, Christians and all others."

This is absolutely unbelievable. I couldn't care less what is in the textbooks at this school, and here's why:

Imagine that it was the 1980s, and the apartheit government of South Africa had set up a school in northern Virginia. Would anyone care what was in the textbooks? Of course not. The place would be surrounded by people with torches and pitchforks and closed within a week. And rightfully so.

But when it comes to anything having to do with Islam, suddenly everything changes. The Saudi Arabian government is one of the most repressive on this earth. It is totalitarian in nature, and is antithetical to everything we in the West hold dear.

Here are the findings of the USCIRF regarding the academy linked to above:

• It is the only school in the United States that is operated with the direct authority of the Saudi embassy. Twenty such academies are operated by the government of Saudi Arabia in foreign capital cities around the world.

• It operates on two northern Virginia properties owned or leased by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, with the leased property being leased by “the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia d/b/a (doing business as) the Islamic Saudi Academy.”

• The Saudi ambassador to the United States is the chairman of the school’s board of directors, which, according to the Academy’s web site, “oversees the educational and administrative operation” and “provides direction and guidance to every aspect of” the school’s operations.

• The school is funded by the government of Saudi Arabia.

• On numerous occasions, Saudi Embassy officials have spoken to the press on the ISA’s behalf—including in response to inquiries about its curriculum.

• According to the Academy’s brochure, posted on its own web site, the ISA uses Saudi government “curriculum, syllabus, and materials.” It is these ties to the Saudi government and embassy that bring the school within the Commission’s mandate, which is to monitor foreign governments’ compliance with international religious freedom guarantees.

Women are especially targeted for oppression in Saudi Arabia, the details of which are or should be well known. Yet there is no international outcry. Only we dreaded neocons, joined by a few lonely liberals, sound at all outraged. In the AP story, a Democrat, Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald Hyland, defends the academy. He probably considers himself a champion of women's rights.

But it's not just Democrats. The Bush Administration is to blame as well. Our President is far too cozy with the Saudis. It is to his shame that he has ignored the civil rights abuses rampant throughout the Muslim world. No doubt the hope is that our ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq will eventually produce an atmosphere where liberty can take root, but these are long-term undertakings. We need to act now.

Since the left and establishment right seems determined to ignore the women who are virtual slaves in Saudi Arabia, it is up to us evil conservatives to sound the alarm.

Close the Islamic Saudi Academy.

Previous:

Wahabbists in Northern Virginia

Posted by Tom at 9:01 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

November 10, 2007

Wahabbists in Northern Virginia

Last week I wrote about Hate in London Mosques, and in the piece mentioned the Saudi Islamic Academy in northern Virginia. Lo and behold but just the other day Stephen Spriell has an article on the academy over at National Review. Appropriated titled "Virginia is for Radicals? A troubling school", Spriell writes that the "curriculum(of the academy) has been the target of legitimate criticism for its use of textbooks that promote jihad and justify violence against Christians and Jews."

The Saudi Islamic Academy maintains two schools, or campuses, in northern Virginia. Their main campus is at 8333 Richmond Highway Alexandria, VA 22309, just outside of Washington DC, where grades 2-12 are taught. The "West Campus" is at 11121 Pope's Head Rd Fairfax, VA 22030, also only a few miles from the capital, where Kindergarden and first grade classes are held. Their website, as you might imagine, makes them look like just another school, albiet a religous one.

The truth of the matter is that according to a 2006 study by Freedom House and the Institute for Gulf Studies, which studied the textbooks at this and other Saudi schools,

The descriptions of the "other" - Muslim "defiants", "polythiests," and "infidels" - in these Islamic studies textbooks for the current academic year do not comport with the picture of "moderation and tolerance" presented by the Saudi ambassador to Washington and other Saudi officials. These books continue to reflect a curriculum that inculcates religious hatred toward those who do not follow Wahhabi teachings. When the current school year ends, thousands more will graduate from Saudi public schools steeped in the belief that those of differing religious faiths are morally inferior and even evil. Their texts will have taught them that peaceful coexistence with so-called "infidels" is unattainable and that violence to spread Islam is not only permissible, but an obligation.

As the Director of the CIA, James Woolsey, said while testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on November 16, 2005

On all points except allegiance to the Saudi state Wahhabi and al Qaeda beliefs are essentially the same.

Last month the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom(USCIR), described by Spruiell as "a watchdog group created by Congress eight years ago" released a study in which they essentially said that if the Saudis could not clean up their act the State Department ought to close the school.

The USCIR did not actually view material used at the northern Virginia school, but rather those textbooks used in Saudi Arabia. When criticized for this, their response was that to have contacted the school directly would have violated their mandate. Instead, they contacted the Saudi Embassy which was noncooperative.

In a Post article last month school administrators aaid that they had revised their material last summer. They did this by taking textbooks sent from Saudi Arabia and ripping out objectionable pages.

The Post, in turn, criticized the commission, pointing out that Fairfax County Supervisor Gerald Hyland (D) had asked to view material at the school and was "immediately" granted access. He viewed English-language material and found nothing objectionable. Further, they editorialize that it's unfair to ask the school to prove a negative; that they aren't teaching hate. They concluded that the commission "crossed a line".

To an extent the Post has a point. And if it was anyone but a Saudi school I'd be sympathetic to their arguments. But we are talking about Saudi Arabia here, a country not too different than the wost totalitarian nightmares of the twentieth century.

In their defense, Spruiell asks "suppose the school had given the commission a set of books with some pages ripped out: What would that prove?" and that

For now, let’s just accept the premise that a foreign government should not be exposing students in America to a religious curriculum that even a panel of Saudi royal advisers has concluded “encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the ‘other.’” How do we verify that such a curriculum is not being taught in schools operated by that foreign government?

One way to do it would be to ask the foreign government to provide unaltered copies of all its teaching materials for public review or else close down its school. The State Department is the only government agency with the authority to enforce such a policy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem interested in this solution, and the only alternative it’s offering is more assurances that Saudi Arabia will get around to removing the hate from its textbooks — eventually.

Further, how does Supervisor Hyland know that he saw everything? And what about the material in Arabic?

What I Think is Going On

What the Wahabbists of Saudi Arabia are trying to do is infiltrate our societies and pull the wool over our eyes as to their true intentions. As the reedom House and the Institute for Gulf Studies shows, they are teaching their young people that "violence to spread Islam is...an obligation."

Walid Phares summed it up well in his 2005 book Future Jihad. He identified six methods, or tactics, that the Wahabbists use as part of their infiltration strategy

1) Economic jihad: Oil as a weapon - Because we need their oil, we collaborate with them. This give them the opening that they seek.

2) Ideological jihad: Intellectual penetration - The Wahabis have spend much time and money penetrating academia. Many if not most Middle East studies programs are funded by Saudi money. For their money the Saudis want and get a sanitized version of Islamic history.

3) Political jihad: Mollification of the public - One, reassure the public that there is nothing to worry about, and two, promote acceptance of Islam in general and their verison in particular. They want us to turn to their approved sources for information about Islam.

4) Intelligence jihad: Infiltration of the country - The first step is to control the Islamic community in the target country. They do this by trying to gain control of the mosques, Muslim community centers and the like. The next step is to encourage their members and sympathizers to join Western governments, intelligence agencies, police units, and military.

5) Subversive jihad: Behind enemy lines and protected by its laws - As long as they obey the laws of the target government, they are relatively safe. As Phares put it during an interview on NBC after 9-11: "The safest place on Earth to hide from the dragon is inside its belly."

6) Diplomatic jihad: Controlling foreign policy - "Arabists" in the US State Department have been a problem for some time. Because we listened to Saudi advice we became convinced that the Taliban weren't really so bad, we missed al Qaeda because they didn't want us to know the truth about how close OBL's philosophy was to Saudi Wahabism, we let Hezbollah take over Lebanon, and we stalled too long over Sudan and let a genocide develop.

What we have at the Saudi Islamic Academy and the controversy surrounding it are examples of 3, 4, and 5 in action.

Where are the Liberals?

Suppose we were talking about a school set up by apartheit-era South Africa. Can anyone doubt what the reaction of the left would be? Would anyone, right or left, accept assurances that whatever went on in the home country the material in a "South Africa Academy" school didn't teach racial bigotry?

Yet these are the people who lecture us daily on our own shortcomings, real and imagined. They're currently all up in arms over waterboarding, and would have anuerisms if they saw a Christmas scene on public property, yet most are utterly blind to the dangers of jihadism.

The Bush Administration Asleep

The Bush Administration, and traditional conservatives are equally to blame. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is far too cozy.

This is the administration that says it's main foreigh policy goal is to promote democracy, yet also ignores the problem of Saudi Wahabbist infiltration.

What to do?

So let me say it outright: Saudi Arabia is our enemy.

A country can be our enemy and no, we don't have to attack them militarily. We can even trade with them and they can be our enemy.

But what we have to do is stop pretending like the Saudis are our friends. They need to sell us their oil as much as we need to buy it from them.

Here are a few quick policy suggestions:

1) Reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I wrote a long piece on this a few months ago, so won't repeat my arguments or recommendations here.

2) Start a human-rights campaign to expose abuses in Saudi Arabia and other similar Islamic states.

3) Set up a quid-pro-quo system in that if the Saudis want something from us they have to make an advance toward liberalism.

4) Shut down or limit as much as legally possible Saudi influence in the West. This should be done by shutting down the Saudi Islamic Academy and stopping Saudi funding of Middle East studies programs in academia.

5) Stop listening to Saudi advice on anything.

6) Fire or find a way to reduce the influence of "Arabists" and Saudi sympathizers in the State Department. The State Department seems to have it's own aganda much of the time, whereas in reality it is supposed to carry out the will of the president.

7) Fire Condi Rice. While I once, thought she held great promise, I'm done with her. Between our relationship with Saudi Arabia and her nutty insistance on another round of "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinians I've had about enough.

Posted by Tom at 2:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 30, 2007

Hate in London Mosques: A Warning to the U.S.

If we don't keep our guard up we're going to have this here in the U.S. From the Times of London

Lessons In Hate Found At Leading Mosques

Books calling for the beheading of lapsed Muslims, ordering women to remain indoors and forbidding interfaith marriage are being sold inside some of Britain’s leading mosques, according to research seen by The Times.

Some of the fundamentalist works were found at the bookshop in the London Central mosque in Regent’s Park, which is funded by the Saudi regime and is regularly visited by government ministers. Its director, Ahmad al-Dubayan, is also a Saudi diplomat and was among those greeting King Abdullah when he arrived in Britain last night for his official state visit.

Extremist literature, including passages supporting the stoning of adulterers and waging violent jihad, was also found on sale at many other mosques regarded as mainstream institutions.

More than 80 books and pamphlets were collected during a year-long project in which researchers visited 100 mosques across Britain.

Read the whole thing but I think you get the point.

Melanie Phillips warned about this sort of thing in her 2006 book Londonistan, so no one should say they're really surprised.

Meanwhile, close to where I live we have an Saudi funded school, and some are worried about what they're teaching. From The Washington Times

Fairfax County officials are reviewing Arabic-language textbooks at a private Islamic school after a federal panel's recommendation that the school be closed.

The county does not expect to find problems with the textbooks at the Islamic Saudi Academy, in McLean, but wants to study the issue "to put the matter to rest," county spokeswoman Merni Fitzgerald said yesterday.

Earlier this month, a federal human rights panel recommended the academy be shut down until a review was conducted to ensure the school is not espousing radical Islam. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in a report issued Oct. 17 that it had no direct evidence of a problem at the academy but is concerned that the school closely mimics a typical Saudi education, which some critics say promotes intolerance of Christians, Jews and Shi'ite Muslims.

The academy, subsidized by the Saudi government, has nearly 1,000 students in grades K-12 at two campuses, in Alexandria and Fairfax. The Alexandria site is leased from Fairfax County.

So the county "does not expect to find problems with the textbooks". Apparently they missed former Director of the CIA James Woolsey's November 16, 2005 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he said that

On all points except allegiance to the Saudi state Wahhabi and al Qaeda beliefs are essentially the same.

You can't say it any more plainly than that, can you?

Fortunately some people in the U.S. are trying to spread the alarm. One of them is the invaluable David Horowitz. His Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week ran October 22-26, and he's got a complete report on his website FrontPage Magazine.

The week of October 22-26 witnessed the largest, most successful campus demonstrations by students not associated with the anti-American left in the history of campus protests. 114 college and university campuses participated in “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which highlighted the threat from the Islamic jihad, and the oppression of Muslim women. It featured speakers such as former Senator Rick Santorum, Ann Coulter, Robert Spencer, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager and Daniel Pipes, and was organized by the David Horowitz Freedom Center with the help of Young America’s Foundation and the Leadership Institute.

Do I have to tell you to read the whole thing?

We had better listen to people like Horowitz and his list of speakers, or it's going to be Washingtonistan DC before long.

Posted by Tom at 8:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

"Britain's Terrible Problem"

The invaluable Melanie Phillips has moved her blog (or "diary", as she calls it) to The Spectator. If you haven't already, bookmark it and make it part of your regular reading.

Phillips is best known for exposing the radical Islam that has so deeply permeated into Great Britain in her 2006 book Londonistan.

Her recent post Britain's Terrible Problem struck me as particularly important. We're all supposed to believe something along the lines of "the vast majority of Muslims are nice peaceful people and only a tiny minority are terrorists." Once again Phillips demonstrates that the pc emperor has no clothes:

More very alarming evidence indeed of the attitudes of ‘mainstream’ British Muslims. As the Telegraph reports, the Conservative Muslim Forum, a body set up by David Cameron to advise the Conservatives on Muslim issues and which is headed by Lord Sheikh, has condemned the government’s support for Israel on the grounds that this displeases Muslims and says that Iran has ‘legitimate’ reasons for wanting nuclear weapons. It also argues that preachers who advocate a rejection of democracy and its institutions should not be denied entry into Britain.

In the document, the group says:

Regardless of the foreign policies of the United States, hostility to Iran is not in Britain’s national interest. A constructive engagement with Iran offers many possibilities for progress.

But of course, this inverts the facts. Britain is not hostile to Iran; Iran has declared war upon Britain and the west. There can be no ‘constructive engagement’ with a country that is currently blowing up our soldiers in Iraq. For British citizens to state that although they oppose Iran getting nuclear weapons, it has legitimate reasons for wanting them when it is committed to the destruction of Israel and war against the west, is appalling.

Indeed, Iran declared war against the west some 38 years ago, it's just that many people have refused to recognize that fact. But then, many on the left don't believe that Iran is supplying weapons to the insurgents in Iraq at all. They think it's all an invention of the Patriarchal-Imperialist-Bush-Cheney-Halliburton-War-Machine, or however that one goes these days.

No, I am not saying we should bomb Iran now. We might need to at some point in the near future, but right now our efforts should be focused towards replacing the current regime with a truely democratic, pluralistic one.

Lest you think that it's all in Phillips' mind, and that we on the right are all making up this bit about Jihadist Islam being a threat, I'll just cut the the end of her post

...the MCB (Muslim Council of Britain) itself subscribes to the philosophy of Maulana Maududi, who along with Syed Qutb was one of the founding fathers of modern jihadi Islamism. Its spokesman, Inayat Bungalwala, has said he is committed to the Islamisation of Britain. Furthermore, it shelters under its umbrella many groups which are even more extreme.

Shocking as all this is, nothing in the document, alas, is surprising. These extremist attitudes are mainstream among British Muslims. The fact that they are regarded as ‘moderate’ — by a British political and educated class that in no small measure actually shares the animus expressed here towards Israel and America —is why Britain has such a terrible problem.

This document follows the recent pronouncement by the 138 Muslim religious leaders reported here which, although hailed as an olive branch to the Christian church, was actually a demonstrable threat. It is only when other Muslims come out and denounce these attitudes loud and clear for the treacherous, bigoted and lethal opinions that they are that we will have any hope that Britain’s Muslims will join the struggle against the jihad instead of fanning the flames of religious war.

Unfortunately, given the attitude of left-wing political correctness and multicularism that is so pervasive in the UK (where it's even worse than here in the U.S.) I wouldn't count on many people demanding these Muslim groups change their attitudes.

Update

Via LGF, Nile Gardiner at NRO has more on this Conservative Muslim Forum group. Apparently they were created by the British Conservative Party. Head over there and read all the gory details, such as the CMF's support of the current Iranian regime.

Maybe it really is the end of the world as we know it.

Posted by Tom at 8:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2007

Coming to a School Near You...Next

This post by Carol Iannone on the Phi Beta Con blog over at NRO is so good it's worth reprinting here in its entirety

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Post reported that the foot washing basins are coming to New York University.

The Muslims also have to wash their arms, ears, nostrils, faces, necks, and heads, so they may still need the sinks.

Here is a description of the washing before prayer from an Islamic website. (I've lost the link but there are numerous websites giving these instructions.) This is done five times a day every day:
— Before Wudu you make your intention. Then start with washing the hands as far as the wrists. You perform this 3 times.
— Rinse out the mouth with water using the right hand. You perform this 3 times.
— Wash the nostrils by sniffing up water and blowing it out. You perform this 3 times.
— Wash the face 3 times .
— Wash each arm up to the elbow. You perform this 3 times.
— Wipe or rub the head with the inside of the fingers. You perform this once.
— Clean the inside of the ears with the index fingers and the back of the ears with the thumbs. You perform this once.
— Wipe the back of the neck. You perform this once.
— Wash the feet up to the ankles. You perform this 3 times

Read on, it gets worse.

The website also says that there are special rules for situations where water is not readily available, but the example offered is the desert.

CAIR has published guides for employers, schools, prisons, hospitals, etc., on the special needs of Muslims that they say must be accommodated in these places. These pamphlets appear to be the source for a lot of what we're hearing of Muslim demands. For example, they insist that no Muslim should be expected to serve or sell alcohol. They do not say that Muslims should avoid taking jobs where alcohol is part of the work. On the washing business, they recommend using the sinks in restrooms for the ritual washing. In hospitals and nursing homes, aides should help Muslims who cannot perform the ritual washing by themselves. Students in public schools should be allowed to perform the ablutions and the prayers. In schools or the workplace, Muslims performing the prayers cannot be approached for any reason but an emergency and no one may walk in front of them. In public schools, they want qualified Islamic experts to be brought into the classrooms to explain Islam, and they call it an error to say that Allah is the Muslim God. He must be seen as the same God as of Judaism and Christianity, even though Islam calls Abraham a Muslim and says he nearly sacrificed Ishmael not Isaac, and the Muslim "Jesus" cannot be called the Son of God, did not die on the cross, and was not resurrected, all of which completely negates the entire Christian faith.

One wonders how this can be going on in public schools when the Supreme Court has ruled that even voluntary prayer is disallowed, when we have people mounting lawsuits to take "under God" out of the pledge and going into paroxysms of protest at the merest hint of God or Christianity in the public sphere. So much fear is focused on Muslims being violent that this kind of thing is being overlooked. People are grateful that they're just washing their feet instead of becoming suicide bombers. But it is proof that Muslims are not assimilating, that they expect America to accommodate them, and not vice versa, and that it is not just jihad but everyday ordinary Muslim practices that will present problems to America.

One recalls how the supporters of mass immigration always insist that new immigrants are assimilating just as immigrants did in the past, and how they call people racists, nativists, and xeonophobes for the mildest demurral. But it is obvious from reading the guides that Muslims are counting on their growing numbers to make more and more demands on society while the rest of us sputter in protest or sheepishly go along. They are not even willing to modify or adapt an intrusive practice that is inconsiderate and discourteous to the majority of people with whom they work and study who must use the resrooms for ordinary purposes. As for the idea of installing special foot basins, it is obviously an unwarranted public accommodation of religion, but because the Muslims' washing their feet in the sinks is so repellant (leading to "wet floors, dirty conditions," and "uncomfortable moments"), and because political correctness and the principle of non-discrimination has gone so far, and because of the practiced nonchalance of today in which everything is supposed to be accepted, no one protests. Not even those who would grow hot with rage at any public display of Christianity.

The CAIR guides also make plentiful use of the concept of "diversity." And Islamic spokesmen have learned to use the language of rights, pluralism, inclusiveness, in their debased multiculturalist meanings, to further their encroachments, such as demanding halal foods in public school lunchrooms. A spokesman on televison seemed to think that this is what America owes Muslims, that this is the promise of inclusiveness, tolerance, pluralism, etc., that there should be this much accommodation of Muslim demands. And of course no one is telling him otherwise. No one is telling him that if they want this level of religious observance, America allows them to create their own religious schools with their own money, not to renovate the public scools to fit their customs. Likewise, when it comes to serving or selling alcohol, no one is telling them that American freedom and prosperity means that Muslims do not have to take jobs that require dealing with alcohol.

But it's not just the Left to blame for this state of affairs. The Right with its claims of America as a "universal nation" is also to blame. Theodore Dalrymple writes about how Scotland and Italy are succumbing to sharia laws. Dalrymple lives in Europe so he doesn't see that it is also happening here, despite all the happy talk about Muslims in America assimilating better than in Europe.

I believe that Muslims would adapt if they met any resistance, but they see all this diffidence and fatuous servility toward them and so their only thought is to proceed with their sense of entitlement and make more demands. (A Muslim student at NYU did feel uncomfortable, which could be the basis for some kind of change in behavior: "Having other students 'just walking in and seeing us have our feet in the sink - it's awkward,' she added.")

The president has unfortunately led the way in this, albeit out of good intentions. He has gone so far into the "universalism" that he has come to believe that America stands for nothing but openness and inclusiveness, has no culture whatsoever, and exists only to accommodate every group that deigns to gift us with their presence in full multicultural fashion. Thus his annual White House iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan.

According to one article:

"President and Mrs. Bush host an iftar dinner every year because they want people around the world to know how much they respect Islam and the many Muslims living in the U.S. who are free to worship as they want, and are an integral part of our society," said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Actually it sends the opposite message. Not that they are part of us, but that they are separate and require separate homage to their religion at the White House. Also, the dinner is meant to prove that Bush is not an enemy of Islam, but those who believe that are not going to be put off by the annual dinner. The dinner just encourages them to expect more servility and to look for other ways in which Muslims are not being specifically served or accommodated.

It is not really called for that an American president host White House dinners in honor of Islam in order to show Muslims that he respects them. The American Constitution respects them and he is supposed to uphold the Constitution. Actually, believe it or not, time was when we would expect the groups to show that they respect America, not that our president would have to make a display of showing his respect toward them. And of course the WH makes no mention of the fact that Muslims' being "free to worship as they want" is presenting a burden to others and is producing behavior that is entirely out of keeping with American standards of public comportment.

Furthermore, the president has accepted the Muslim view of God. Cal Thomas expresses dismay that Bush has professed on Al Arabiya television that the Muslim God is the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus that we know from the Bible. Bush does this explicitly in the name of "universality," indicating that becoming universal means eventually losing what is most dear.

Ditto to everything Iannone says.

What insanity.

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September 27, 2007

From Muslim Foot-Baths to Muslim Smoking Rooms

This post by Mark Steyn over at The Corner highlights a situation that is sadly becoming all too typical

Okay, Muslim foot-baths in Kansas City airport, gender-segregated swimming sessions at French municipal pools, banning pork from Aussie hospital menus, no eating donuts for Belgian cops during Ramadan, no seeing-eye dogs or alcohol in Minneapolis taxi cabs, fine, fine, fine. Must be sensitive and all that.

But this is an amazing victory. In Vancouver, infidels can't smoke but Muslims can:

Vancouver's hookah-parlour owners are celebrating after winning an exemption Thursday from a proposed new bylaw that will ban smoking on most sidewalks in commercial districts, in bus shelters and even in taxis passing through Vancouver.

In giving the bylaw unanimous approval-in-principle, Vancouver city council members bowed to arguments that hookah lounges provide an important cultural space for the city's Muslims and granted them a temporary exemption...

[Emad Yacoub] said hookah lounges are essential for immigrants from hookah-smoking cultures, because it helps them deal with the depression common for newcomers and gives them places like they have at home.

Where do the rest of us go to deal with depression? As Jay Currie asks, "What about my culture?"
By creating a special exemption for Muslims - who do seem to be the only immigrant group actively demanding these sorts of “cultural accommodations” we are basically declaring our Muslim citizens worthy of special treatment and, at the same time, unworthy of the health concerns which are purported to be the basis of general smoking bans.

The state, in other words, is prepared to treat Muslims as free-born adults who can weigh the "cultural value" (ie, the pleasures) of smoking against the health risks. But not the rest of us.

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July 9, 2007

As Goes Spain...

Aaron Hanscom just got back from visiting relatives in Spain, and his impression of the outward appearance of the country matches what I saw in Britain, France, and Belgium: "The cathedrals were beautiful and the cheese was great."

Ditto that. Anyone who hasn't been to St Pauls, Westminster, or any of the cathedrals in France is seriously missing out. Alas, it's all a facade.

Alas, my prolonged stays in Spain have taught me that the continent’s impressive outward appearances—massive cathedrals, a strong euro, great cheese—obscure a hollowness at its core. The truth is that Europe’s churches are largely empty; its welfare economies are unsustainable; and—most troublingly— its restive Muslim minorities seem unappeasable.

Spain was under Islamic rule for 800 years, and many Muslims blame Spaniards for the loss of Al-Ándalus. Spanish politician and terrorism expert Gustavo de Arístegui has documented how there is already a policy underway to reconquer land and monuments that were once under the domain of Islam. In an interview with me last year, Arístegui said, “Spanish society today is not willing or ready to accept the threat we face.”

My conversations with Spaniards this month gave me reasons for hope and despair. While most people seem to be coming to the reluctant conclusion that radical Islamists pose a threat to their way of life (the first step in defeating radical Islam), they remain unsure how to fight back.

Consider the conversation I had with my wife’s uncle at my brother-in-law’s wedding. I was prepared to be cornered by Miguel, who always finds time at family reunions to bombard me with political commentary. A supporter of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español – PSOE), he has generally agreed with Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero’s policies of appeasement. You can imagine my surprise when he told me that he had recently joined over a million Spaniards in Madrid to protest the government’s early release from prison of ETA terrorist José Ignacio de Juana Chaos. He also agreed with me when I told him that Muslim immigrants to Europe should be expected to assimilate into their new culture, rather than reject a Western lifestyle.

But Miguel wasn’t prepared to call certain Western values superior to radical Islamic values. When I asked him if we could agree to condemn honor killings (a practice spreading across Europe), he said no. Even when I pointed to his three beautiful daughters and reminded him that forced female genital mutilation was regularly practiced in many Muslim countries, he shrugged as if to say “that’s just the way they do things over there.”

Anecdotal, you say. Perhaps, but anyone who doesn't have his head in some left-wing blog all day knows that Hanscom's story rings true. Via Melanie Philips we have this tidbit from the Daily Mail

Up to eight police officers and civilian staff are suspected of links to extremist groups including Al Qaeda. Some are even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Their names feature on a secret list of alleged radicals said to be working in the Metropolitan and other forces. The dossier was drawn up with the help of MI5 amid fears that individuals linked to Islamic extremism are taking advantage of police attempts to increase the proportion of ethnic staff.

Astonishingly, many of the alleged jihadists have not been sacked because - it is claimed - police do not have the "legal power" to dismiss them. We can also reveal that one suspected jihadist officer working in the South East has been allowed to keep his job despite being caught circulating Internet images of beheadings and roadside bombings in Iraq. He is said to have argued that he was trying to "enhance" debate about the war. Classified intelligence reports raising concerns about police staff's background cannot be used to justify their dismissal, sources said.

Instead, the staff who are under suspicion are unofficially barred from working in sensitive posts and are closely monitored. Political correctness is blamed for the decision not to sack them. It is widely feared that "long-term" Al Qaeda sleepers are trying to infiltrate other public sector organisations in the UK.

Wonderful.


Update

I forgot about this last night, but a much better example of how far Europe has it's collective head in the sand comes from none other than the new British PM himself, Gordon Brown.

Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word “Muslim” in ­connection with the ­terrorism crisis.

The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase “war on ­terror” is to be dropped.

The shake-up is part of a fresh attempt to improve community relations and avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more “consensual” tone than existed under Tony Blair.

How exactly does "war on terror" offend Muslims? The fact is that most terrorist acts are committed by groups that claim to act in the name of Islam. Ignoring the problem won't make it go away. The problem is that too many Muslims refuse to recognize or do anything about the extremism in their midst.

If you won't believe me perhaps you'll believe Safraz Mansoor, writing in the left-wing Guardian (h/t Melanie Philips)

As tempting as it is to say ‘not in my name’ when faced with the terrifying facts of Islamic radicalism, the uncomfortable truth is that those who perpetrate and support such extremism do so in the name of Islam. It is no longer enough for British Muslims to pretend it is someone else’s problem or to retreat into the usual ritual of bashing the media. Denial is no longer an option and British Muslims need to accept that the cancer of extremism affects their entire community. They also must utterly and without equivication denounce the use of violence. One might think this would be a relatively straightforward matter but in the past even a simple denunciation has been difficult to extract from the self-appointed community leaders who seek to speak for Muslims.

Read the rest of Philips' post, because she quotes several other Muslims saying essentialy the same thing in other British papers.

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April 2, 2007

The Third Islamic Invasion of Europe

Islam scholar Bernard Lewis gave the Irving Kristol lecture at the American Enterprise Institute March 7 (via Melaine Phillips). Among other things, Lewis talked about "a return among Muslims to what they perceive as the cosmic struggle for world domination between the two main faiths--Christianity and Islam. " He points out that among religions, Christianity and Islam claim to be universal, unlike Hinduism or Judaism. In other words, Christianity and Islam want to spread the word to all people. This perception, he says, led to the centuries long struggle between the two for world domination. He then points out that Christians no longer wish to conquer in the name of their faith, however, while Muslims do.

The Muslim attack on Christendom, he says, has gone through three phases.

The first took place immediately after the death of Muhammed in 632 A.D. when Islam spread throughout Northern Africa, into Spain, and for a brief time, modern France. It challenged Byzantium but was eventually stopped, whereby a stalemate ensued. Through the Crusades Christians managed to temporarily recapture the Holy Lands, but in the end this was reversed.

In phase 2 the Muslim world attacked in Asia and Eastern Europe. This was largely carried out by the Turks, and they defeated the Byzantine Empire and tried, with varying success, to expand their empire. The Europeans were able to eventually reverse much of the gains made by the Ottoman Turks.

This brings us to phase 3, which is ongoing.

Lewis spends some time on Islamic radicalism, but then comes to the issue of Muslims in Europe who have immigrated there

Let me turn to the question of assimilation, which is much discussed nowadays. How far is it possible for Muslim migrants who have settled in Europe, in North America, and elsewhere, to become part of those countries in which they settle, in the way that so many other waves of immigrants have done? I think there are several points which need to be made. ...

I mentioned earlier the important difference in what one means by religion. For Muslims, it covers a whole range of different things--marriage, divorce, and inheritance are the most obvious examples. Since antiquity in the Western world, the Christian world, these have been secular matters. The distinction of church and state, spiritual and temporal, lay and ecclesiastical is a Christian distinction which has no place in Islamic history and therefore is difficult to explain to Muslims, even in the present day. Until very recently they did not even have a vocabulary to express it. They have one now.

Lewis also points the differences between becoming an American citizen and a British or French one. If you get American citizenship you're an American. Gaining the same in Europe does not make you English or French.

But then we get to the heart of the matter

What are the European responses to this situation? In Europe, as in the United States, a frequent response is what is variously known as multiculturalism and political correctness. In the Muslim world there are no such inhibitions. They are very conscious of their identity. They know who they are and what they are and what they want, a quality which we seem to have lost to a very large extent. This is a source of strength in the one, of weakness in the other.


The Islamic radicals have even been able to find some allies in Europe… They have a left-wing appeal to the anti-U.S. elements in Europe, for whom they have so-to-speak replaced the Soviets. They have a right-wing appeal to the anti-Jewish elements in Europe, replacing the Axis. They have been able to win considerable support under both headings. For some in Europe, their hatreds apparently outweigh their loyalties.


Where do we stand now? Is it third time lucky? It is not impossible. They have certain clear advantages. They have fervor and conviction, which in most Western countries are either weak or lacking. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause, whereas we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. They have loyalty and discipline, and perhaps most important of all, they have demography, the combination of natural increase and migration producing major population changes, which could lead within the foreseeable future to significant majorities in at least some European cities or even countries. But we also have some advantages, the most important of which are knowledge and freedom.

Lewis isn't bombastic, and doesn't make his points in the same style as an editorial writer or TV pundit would do. But that doesn't lessen the impact of his words.

We'll see if our advantages overcome theirs. I'm not optimistic, given the plethora of stories like this one that was repoted in a London newspaper on Sunday

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.
...

It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.

Who is assimilating whom?

Posted by Tom at 9:15 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

Waking Up in the UK?

It's just possible that the British are finally getting it. After years of having their capital city lampooned as "Londonistan" for their sheltering of suspected and even known terrorists, some are recognizing the danger in their midst.

Last week Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a speech in which he - finally - seems to recognize that the excesses of multiculturalism have simply got to be reigned in. Here's the money quote

So it is not that we need to dispense with multicultural Britain. On the contrary we should continue celebrating it. But we need - in the face of the challenge to our values - to re-assert also the duty to integrate, to stress what we hold in common and to say: these are the shared boundaries within which we all are obliged to live, precisely in order to preserve our right to our own different faiths, races and creeds.

We must respect both our right to differ and the duty to express any difference in a way fully consistent with the values that bind us together.

So: how do we do this?

Partly we achieve it by talking openly about the problem. The very act of exploring its nature, debating and discussing it doesn't just get people thinking about the type of Britain we want for today's world; but it also eases the anxiety. It dispels any notion that it is forbidden territory. Failure to talk about it is not politically correct; it's just stupid.

Partly the answer lies in precisely defining our common values and making it clear that we expect all our citizens to conform to them. Obedience to the rule of law, to democratic decision-making about who governs us, to freedom from violence and discrimination are not optional for British citizens. They are what being British is about. Being British carries rights. It also carries duties. And those duties take clear precedence over any cultural or religious practice.

Ok, sure, this it tepid stuff. But in fairness, politicians must always tempter their words. If you read between the lines I think you'll agree that this is dynamite.

Of course, it's one thing to give a speech, quite another to put words into actions. We shall see. But it's a start.

There were two events, I believe, that hit Britons hard enough to wake them from their slumber. The first was the subway bombings of almost a year and a half ago. Blair addresses this in his speech

When I decided to make this speech about multiculturalism and integration, some people entirely reasonably said that integration or lack of it was not the problem. The 7/7 bombers were integrated at one level in terms of lifestyle and work. Others in many communities live lives very much separate and set in their own community and own culture, but are no threat to anyone.

But this is, in truth, not what I mean when I talk of integration. Integration, in this context, is not about culture or lifestyle. It is about values. It is about integrating at the point of shared, common unifying British values. It isn't about what defines us as people, but as citizens, the rights and duties that go with being a member of our society.

Bingo.

And what are these "unifying British values"? Blair defines them as "belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage."

Again, so far so good. As for multiculturalism, he says that

The whole point is that multicultural Britain was never supposed to be a celebration of division; but of diversity. The purpose was to allow people to live harmoniously together, despite their difference; not to make their difference an encouragement to discord
.

I don't want to get into a big discussion on the whole business of diversity and multiculturalism, and there is some sillyness on these subjects in his speech, but I'll forgive him if he puts words into action.

Andrew Struttaford, writing at National Review, identifies the other incident that prompted this self-examination; the Muslim veil

It was, I feel certain, the first time that an article in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph ever triggered a national debate. In the article, written in October, its author, Jack Straw, the leader of the House of Commons and a former foreign secretary, disclosed that he asked any visitor who came to his office wearing a full Muslim veil to uncover her face when she spoke to him. Naturally, he only made this request if a female member of his staff was present. He’s a gentleman, you know. ...

If this wretched garment, in at least its more stringent forms, has more to do with misogyny than piety, so the hostility it provokes owes less to outraged feminism than to the mounting unease felt by many Europeans at the presence of the increasingly assertive and increasingly extremist Islam rising within their midst. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that there is something about the very appearance of the veil (and I am here referring to the burka and the only marginally less appalling nikab, a get-up that generously allows a clear view of the wearer’s eyes) that is alien, dehumanizing, and, in the context of Europe’s current troubles, thoroughly ominous. Little more than walking shrouds, these women seem like the harbingers both of future theocracy and the slaughter that comes in its wake.

I was cheered when this debate broke out. The full veil is certainly a tool of oppression, and it is among the wonders of the world why the self-styled "womens rights" types don't go ballistic over it.

To be sure, even if Blair is serious, and follows his fine words with action, it's still an uphill battle. The BBC most certainly does not get it. This BBC story is so unbelieveable it led David Frum to joke that Mark Steyn must have hacked their computers and posted a parody.

Sigh.

Posted by Tom at 8:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 15, 2006

Book Review - "America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It"

Just when I think that the future can't be much darker for us in our war on Islamic Jihadism, Mark Steyn comes along to ruin things for me.

Consider our current situation: Iraq is in the throws of massive sectarian violence and may slide into Rwandan-style slaughter, Afghanistan is not-at-all secure, Musharraf has virtually ceded large parts of his country to the Taliban and their allies, most of Somalia, including it's capital Mogadishu, is controlled by the Supreme Islamic Courts Council, an Islamist militia, and Iran appears to be well on the way towards obtaining nuclear weapons. Did I miss anything?

Actually, as Steyn points out in America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, what I missed was the fact that the United States is now virtually alone in the world. Europe, he explains, is well on the road to being completely lost to the Jihadists.

On the surface, of course, it doesn't seem that way. Their leaders still mouth the traditional pieties, lamenting that "with only proper US leadership" and "less arrogance", why, we would all be together against the terrorists. Traditional institutions such as NATO and a European-dominated Security Council still prevail.

Further, it's tempting to think that of course we can't really lose to the likes of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Isn't Europe the rock of Western Civilization? Surely a continent that survived the Nazis, Communists, and other assorted fascists can take on a bunch of backward Islamic fanatics, right? I mean, maybe they'll get lucky with some terrorist acts, maybe even sneak a nuke into a city, but lose, as in foreign occupation? No way.

"Yes way" is Steyn's response.

Here is Steyn's argument in a nutshell; the populations of native Europeans are headed into steep decline. Not only that, but the radio of young to old people is rapidly declining. Over the past several decades they've set up an enormous welfare state which depends on lots of young people for old-age payments. European leaders, seeing that the young people simply won't be around when needed, have been encouraging massive immigration into their countries. These immigrants are overwhelmingly Muslim, and most have no desire to assimilate into European culture. Not only that, but, most or many of them plan on making Europe a Muslim continent, complete with Sharia law. Native Europeans, infected with leftist multiculturalism and a complete lack of a sense of nationhood, have no will to resist.

America, he says, will be alone in the world before we know it. In many ways we already are.

Combine a powerful argument with his world-famous Mark Steyn wit, and you've got a great book. It is at once deeply sobering and laugh-out-loud funny. Put it on your must-read list.

The Inexorable Power of Demography

In order for a population to maintain its existing numbers, there must be 2.1 live births per woman. More and it's numbers increase, less and they decline. The United States is at almost exactly 2.1. That our numbers are slightly increasing is due, of course, to immigration.

Europe as a whole is 1.38, Western Europe, 1.5 or less. A few country numbers: Germany and Austria 1.3, Italy 1.2, Sweden 1.64, Ireland 1.9, Spain and Greece 1.15. Russia has the lowest at 1.15, and France the highest at 1.89. On the other side of the globe, Japan is at 1.32, and while they'll have a benefits crisis, they don't have to contend with immigrants who want to change the very nature of their society.

All this leads to rapidly declining populations. The populations of Spain, Greece and Russia will start to halve every 35 or 40 years starting sometime mid-century. The population of Yemen will exceed that of Russia.

Besides the fact that the welfare-state will simply come crashing to the ground (it's a mathmatical certainty), no one knows what will happen economically when there are lots and lots of retired people relative to younger workers.

On the other hand, here are the birthrates in Islamic countries: Pakistan 5.03, Saudi Arabia 4.53, Iran 2.33 (though Ahmadinejad is trying to get it up), Afghanistan 6.69 and Yemen at 6.58

Calculators Don't Lie

Into all this come Muslim immigrants. Europeans want(ed?) them because of their labor and ability to fund their welfare states, and Muslims wanted to come because Europe is obviously a better place than, oh, say, Pakistan or Algeria.

Exactly how many Muslims are in Europe now is open to question, and the numbers are probably higher than advertised. However, most sources I checked conclude that about 5% of Western Europe is Muslim, with the total number being at around 23 million.

The Muslim birthrate in Europe is somewhere around 3.5 live births per woman.

The bottom line: Sometime towards the end of this century Western Europe will be majority Muslim. Get the picture?

Islam is Not Just a Religion

This is not the place for a full discussion of Islam, the law, and the nature of society. Suffice it to say that you just haven't been paying attention if you think that the difference between Westerners (whether Christian or not) and Muslims is trivial. We're not talking like the differences between Presbyterians and Mormons, or Jews and Hindus, for that matter.

The reality is that all Westerners, and Hindus too for that matter, live in countries that have been through or deeply influenced by the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. This is why I'm not worried about the impact of Hispanics on American culture or society; fundamentally they're just like us.

Islam is another matter. There has never been an Islamic Martin Luther, much less a St Augustine or St Aquinas. I'd say Islam was stuck in the Middle Ages, but that would be an insult to Medieval Europe. I believe that Islam is reformable, it's just not on that path right now.

Radical Islam has exported itself to Europe. Melanie Phillips documented how bad the situation in the UK, who's capital was been dubbed "Londonistan" by French police officials. Islamism is an imperial project, says Steyn, and it's coming to a town near you.

It's not just the vast potential for terrorism that is the problem. Surveys show that up to 60% of these Muslims want Sharia law implimented in the European countries where they reside. Many or most of them have no wish to conform to Western standards, they want us to conform to them. Steyn, like any number of authors writing on this subject, provides example after example of demands that radical Muslims are making on their new countries; and time after time native Europe surrenders.

The problem is that the Muslim immigrants see the customs and law of Europe, and reject it. They see women who are free, and it offends them. They see that gays are allowed to live without being stoned to death, and it enrages them. They examine our legal system and believe it unjust because it is not based on Islam. They look at our democracy and seek ways to exploit it. They use our tradion of tolerance against us.

All Muslims? No. But enough Muslims? Yes. If there is a large group of "moderate Muslims" in Europe, it is a well-kept secret.

It's the Identity, Stupid

Population decline in and of itself would only be a economic problem; how to pay for all these benefits? A threat from radical Muslims would not be a problem in a culture and country that firmly believed in itself.

Add the two together, however, and you've got a disaster on your hands.

How Europe lost it's way is no great secret; two world wars, coupled with the threat of complete annihilation during the Cold War, prompted many to distrust or hate nationalism and put their faith in integration and international institutions. And it has, in this respect, worked; the idea of two major European countries going to war with each other is more remote than ever.

Sure, if the Islamists somehow cobbled together a traditional army and hit the beaches in Spain or Italy, Europe would rally to their defense. The problem, as Steyn points out, is that "the dragons are no longer on the edge of the map."

The reasons why Europe is not resisting are several. There is the lack of national identity that I mentioned earlier. There is also it's post-Christian state. Most Americans believe in God whether they go to church or synagogue or not. Most Europeans don't even believe in God. This results first of all in a lack of believing in anything, a lack of identity.

On top of that you've got leftist muliculturalism, which seeks to deny that any one culture or society is superior to any other.

All of this has led to a lack of identity. Islam is not only growing in Europe though immigration, but by conversion. Again, numbers are hard to come by, but there are all too-many news articles about the subject.

What Christian churches are left outside of Catholicism are in full-scale retreat. Most are desperate to retain whatever members they can, and believe that the best way to do so is to become like the society around them. This has led to a milquetoast version of their religion that is utterly unable to resist the threat that is all around them.

The funny part about it all is that if you had to invent an ideology that would be complete anathema to the liberal or leftist mindset, you couldn't do better than radical Islam. It's mysogenic, anti-gay, and theocratic. Yet to most leftists and indeed many liberals, the threat's simply not there. They'll tell you that the Islamists are just upset because we haven't solved the Palestinian-Israeli problem.

In the End

"Jihad can win", is Steyn's message. Although it may seem incredible to us to imagine the sort of changes that would forever change Europe, it is stability that is the illusion. Looking at the broad sweep of history, one realizes that not only do countries come and go, but peoples do to. Meet any Visigoths or Byzantines recently?

So yes, Europe as we know it can disappear. Before it does it will likely catch on as to what is happening, and we'll likely see mass riots or outright warfare, coupled with a rise of fascist parties on the right. We'll also see a mass exodus to the United States, which in my opinion would be a good thing. But in the end the tyranny of demography will prevail unless action is taken now.

What Can Be Done

Steyn doesn't spend much time here, prefering to spend most of the book simply laying out the problem. He does, however have some ideas, most of which are good ones.

First, he lays out our options

1. Submit to Islam
2. Destroy Islam
3. Reform Islam

As Steyn puts it, "because most of us don't take number one as a serious possibility, we're equally unserious about being forced to choose between two and three. But submission to Islam is very possible...."

Because "destroying Islam" is both impractical and immoral, our only option is number three. Ultimately, he says, we can't do this; only Muslims can. However, we can create the conditions for reform.

Some of the things he proposes are supporting women's rights in Islamic countries, rolling back Wahhabi "exports", ie Saudi-funded Mosques. In general, supporting liberty and democracy in Muslim countries is necessary, too. We must think more comprehensively about a ideological strategy as well as a military one. Forget the UN and NATO, they're worse than useless. Changing the government in Tehran must be a priority. Military action when necessary is required, though in general this war will not be won with bombs and bullets.

All of this stuff except ending the military parts are the types of things we don't do very well, but it's quite necessary that we learn.

Trends do not necessarily hold. It is possible that native Europeans will see an increase in their birthrates, or will suddenly come to their senses and enact measures to stop or seriously slow down immigration from Muslim countries. They might rediscover a sense of identity, and maybe even their Christianity. But it seems less than likely to me. Steyn's vision is, if anything, more frightening than even the prospects for defeat in Afghanistan or Iraq. The lights may be going out in Europe once more, and this time I'm not sure we can get them back on.

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 7, 2006

Book Review - Londonistan


Londonistan - by Melanie Phillips

The rise of Muslim extremism in Europe is a story that has, thankfully, received more and more attention these past few years. Melanie Phillips makes clear in her book Londonistan that the problem is particularly acute in her home country.

"Londonistan" is the name given to the British capital by French security officials outraged at the British refusal to extradite Algerian terrorist Rachid Ramda, claiming he could not get a fair trial in France(!) It took the French 3 requests and 10 years before they finally got their man. During the 80s and 90s, it became well-known among the security forces of Europe that the UK was becoming a terrorist haven. Time and again the warned the British, who did nothing. The inevitable came about in July of 2005 whem Muslim terrorists bombed the London Underground.

How this state of affairs came about is the subject of Phillip's book. It is a must read for anyone interested in our current war.

How bad is it? According various surveys on British Muslims that Phillips cites in her book
- Up to 16,000 are actively engaged or support terrorist activities
- Up to 3,000 have actually gone though al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan
- Several hundred are "thought to be primed to attack the United Kingdom"
- 61% want to be governed by Sharia law "as long as the penalties did not contravene British law", a clear contradiction.
- 26% say they have no loyalty to Britain
- 13% defended terrorism
- 15% suported the 9/11 attacks on the United States

Given these numbers, it is cold comfort to hear that we shouldn't worry because the majority of Muslims do not want to kill us. Other surveys that I have written about show similar results.

The British people are well aware of the danger of Muslim extremism. The problems, Phillps says, are twofold. One, they blame American, British, and Israeli policy for their problems, and two, they are so indoctrinated by leftist multiculturalism that they are unable to act even when the problem is staring them in the face.

Many casual observers of the news in America, I think, tend to assume that because Tony Blair is such a staunch ally in the War on Terror (or whatever we're going to call it), most Britains are too. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that there are two countries; Tony Blair and everyone else. Even British conservatives are virulently anti-George Bush. No one has the political will to do anything about the extremists in their midst.

And as Phillips makes clear, London is indeed the central hub of European Islamic terror. She reels off name after name of extremist organizations and people, and even outright suspected terrorists, who have taken up residence in London, all with the knowledge and even acquiensence of the British government. Government the world around lodged protest after protest as suspected terrorists that the were after took up refuge in London, and the British government refused to extradite them, each time for one human rights concern or another.

No doubt there are often legitimate concerns over how a suspect will be treated when extradited to a country like Russia. And if that were all there was to it then British concerns would at least sometimes be legitimate.

But refusal to extradite raises the questions of why suspected or even known terrorists were let into Britain in the first place, and why there are being coddled once there.

There were several reasons for this attitude. One, British officials made a de facto "deal" with the extremists; we'll give you all the benefits of our welfare state as long as you don't attack us. That agreement, however, was declared null and void by the Islamists when Britain joined the United States in the invasion of Afghanistan. Second, the British simply do not understand the concept of religious fanatacism or how seriously it is taken by the Islamists. The British are used to dealing with the IRA, which was a secular(even Marxist) group that had specific territorial and political goals. third, from their colonial experience the British believed that appeasement was the best way to deal with extremists. Lastly, the Foreign Office convinced everyone that Muslim extremists were only people upset by various things overseas and that none of it had anything to do with the UK.

The British police have been almost completely paralyzed into inaction by the fear of being called "racist". Phillips cites example after example of political correctness taken to absurd lengths. The police are more concerned with Muslim "sensitivities" than in fighting crime.

Multiculturalism has almost completely destroyed the country's sense of nationhood. It is considered "racist" to teach British history in any manner other than to suggest that the English were the greatest oppressors in world history. The government has given up much of it's sovereignty to the transnational institutions such as theInternational Criminal Court, the European Court of Justice, and the European Union. Patriotism, as we understand it in America (and I stress from either a liberal or conservative viewpoint), is all but dead and buried. The consequence is that Britons have nothing to believe in, and as a result do not have the psychological fortitude to confront the danger posed by the Islamists among them.

British Muslims are deeply alienated from the country that has given them refuge. They see and hear the multiculturalist propaganda that the UK is a racist country with a history of oppression, and, big surprise, they believe it. The surveys cited above provide alarming evidence of this. Further, British Muslims live in cloistered communities, completely separate from other Britons. While other minorities, such as Hindus have had no problem assimilating, Muslims refuse to do so. All of this is exacerbated by the vast amount of hate-filled propaganda brought into Britain from Muslim countries, and disseminated by satellite TV, ethnic newspapers, and preached from Mosques. Any criticism is taken as an assault on Islam itself.

While the American people support Israel by overwheming margins, just the opposite is true in Britain. They have completely bought into the Muslim view that Israel is the evil oppressor of the Palestinians. Because the United States supports Israel, we are supporting an unjust country. Most Britains believe that the Israeli/Palestinian conflice is simply over land that can be negotiated away, much like was done in Northern Ireland. Therefore, it is our fault that Islamic terrorists strike our two countries. All trhis would change, they believe, if only the UK and US would change their Middle East policies.

Just as David Horowitz has documented for the United States, Phillips shows how the hard left in Britain has allied itself with Muslim radicals. The left knows that the Muslims are antithetical to their own views, but the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" it a temptation too strong to resist. Leftists believe that they can exploit the Islamists and keep their own purity as long as they keep their distance.

Exacerbating all this is a media that is prevasively anti-Israel. The BBC is the worst offender, the problem being made more difficult by the fact that it is essentially a state-run monopoly. The diversity of news outlets that we enjoy in the United States is simply not available in the UK.

In the United States, Christian churches help lead the defense of Western values, and evangelicans in particular are among the most staunch supporters of Israel. Not so in Britain. Few people go to church in the UK, or Western Europe at all, for that matter, and not many more profess any serious belief in Christianity. The Church of England has responded by adopting the new religion of multiculturalism and moral relativism. Far from providing the people with guide to moral and ethical thinking, it has become a leader in the appeasement movement. Phillips documents time after time whereby church leaders attempt to de-legitimize Israel and excuse Muslim terror.

Her conclusion is that Britain is in a state of denial about the threat it has allowed to grow within it. Rather than confront the extremists, it prefers to appease them. Muslim extremists see this as weakness and have learned how to manipulate the British. Phillips explains the result

The fervent embrace of "victim culture" means instead that this minority has to be treated on its own assessment as a victim of the majority and its grievances attended to on the grounds that it is these grievances that are the cause of terrorism. At the same time, however, this minority disavows any connection with terrorism and vilifies anyuone who dares suggest the contrary. This Britain is being foced to act on the basis that if it does not do so it will be attacked - by the people who claim that terrorism runs totally counter to the values of their religion, but then demand that the grievances of members of that religion are addressed as the price of averting further attacks.

Does she exaggerate? Consider some recent stories from a variety of news sources

* The Sun reports that a British Muslim policeman was assigned to guard the Israeli Embassy and who refused to do so citing "moral grounds after the Israeli bombing of Lebanon." His request was granted.

* Another story in The Telegraph tells of a British paratrooper, wounded in Afghanistan and recovering in a hospital, who was threatened by a Muslim visitor over his countries involvement in the Afghan war. "You have been killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan," the man said. Far from being an isolated incident, other soldiers at the hospital have complained that they fear for their safety also.

* Returning British soldiers have good reason to be worried for their safety. The Sun tells of how Muslim youths vandalized a house to prevent four veterans of the Afghan war from moving in. The officers were going to stay at the house while they rested from their ordeal in the war.

* Art Museums often cancel or refuse to show works that might cause offense among Muslims. The Guardian reports that an exibition by a Bangladeshi-British photographer was removed because one of the photos was of a semi-naked woman. When queried, the museum admitted that " it had acted on a complaint from a member of the Muslim arts group Artists Circle." A Reuters story describes another incident in which the Whitechapel Art Gallery removed works by surealist artist Hans Bellmer so as not to offend local Muslims.

* When Britons object to Muslim intimidation, they are told that they are "insensitive. The Daily Mail reports that a Muslim taxi driver refused to pick up a blind lady because she had her guide dog with her. Dogs are considered "unclean" by Muslims, explained the driver, and it would be contrary to his religion to let it in his taxi. When the lady complained to the taxi company, she was told that she was being insensitive to Muslims. Although the government has fined the company, the driver " remained defiant and insisted that he would continue refusing passengers accompanied by guide dogs."

* The problems extend beyond the UK. The Telegraph recently printed a bombshell story about "no go zones" for police in France. A French police union official said that they were "in a state of civil war" with the inhabitants of Muslim enclaves, and that the violence had gotten so bad that an average of 14 police officers were being wounded every day, with a total of 2,500 police casualties for the year. In October and November of last year thousands of cars were burned, and hundreds arrested when Muslim youths went on a weeks-long rampage throughout France.

* While a tip line that the FBI has set up in the US has seen much use,
StrategyPage
reports that "German counter-intelligence officials are dismayed at how passive German Moslems have been towards the threat of Islamic terrorism." A tip line set up by German security officials to take calls on suspected terrorist activity has received little use by the country's Muslims.

* And although the situation in the United States is not that of Europe, we shouldn't be complacent. The headline of this Washington Post story is "America's Muslims Aren't as Assimilated as You Think", and goes on to say that "...the real story of American Muslims is one of accelerating alienation from the mainstream of U.S. life, with Muslims in this country choosing their Islamic identity over their American one."

The good news is that there is an increasing sense of outrage among British newspapers about the threat. The bad news is that they blame their own foreign policy for their troubles. As such, they are effectively letting the radical Muslims blackmail them.

Phillips offers a number of things that might be done to amelorate the problem in Britain. Expelling radicals would be a good place to start, she says, but this would require repealing it's Human Rights Act, and withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on Refugees. They would ban extremist organizations and recognize that the problem is radical Islam, not British and American foreign policy . She also admits that virtually none of these ideas stand much chance of being implimented, and unfortunately she is right. Her book is a timely warning that the British face a dangerous future.

Posted by Tom at 4:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Immigration and Culture

Speaking of immigration, let's step across the pond to Europe and see what's going on there.

So I surf around to MSNBC and this headline jumps out:


Integration questions stir passions in Germany
Experiment seems to have failed; government scrambles to find solutions

One could simply file this in the "where have you been?" category of catch-up journalism. Michael over at DowneastBlog has been talking about this since about forever, and scaring the bejesuts out of anyone who hangs around his site for long.

But that won't do, for the piece in MSNBC is about Germany, and so let's just see what's going on there.

Here are some excerpts

Germany, like the Netherlands, France and Belgium, has a large Muslim population which, by and large, clings to the language and traditions of their home countries.

Unemployment is rampant both among immigrants and native-born Germans, and violence in schools with large immigrant student bodies has caused many teachers to be worried for their safety

The Muslims came as "guest workers", and it was all supposed to be temporary, the article explains. But the companies who employed them got used to the cheap labor, and...well, you know the story. First the worker stays, then his immediate family comes, then grandpa and grandma, the cousins....

The immigrants settled together and neighborhoods slowly began to reflect their new inhabitants. Signs were hung in Turkish, supermarkets sold Turkish products and stands selling kebabs — a traditional meal in a sandwich similar to a gyro — popped up in nearly every German city.

“They came in the sexual revolution and they saw the communes — men, women and children living together. It was a shock for these people, so of course, they put up borders,” said Seyran Ates, a lawyer who works with immigrant women. “It was automatic. They felt, they don’t want us here, and on the other side, we don’t want to be like them; they are immoral,” Ates said.

Predictably, there has been no assimilation. Most of these immigrants don't speak German, and their children do poorly in school. Actually, no, that's not right. The children have proven to be a royal pain in the %$#, the article is just too polite to spell it out in such terms.

But if language were all there was too it, there wouldn't be a problem.

“Being integrated means more than speaking German,” said Angenendt, who says that Germany needs to recruit more skilled workers to survive in the future. “There’s no discussion of how to bring people into the labor market.”

Perhaps provoking the already tense relationship between the government and its immigrants, the German parliament is now debating the implementation of citizenship tests. Germany has one of the lowest citizenship application rates in Western Europe and its laws to become a citizen are much stricter than in the United States, for example.

Yet Germany has no choice but to find a solution to better integrate immigrants and their families. Falling birthrates, along with steady immigration mean that in several decades the country will come to rely more and more on immigrant labor.

Hmmm. So "integration" is all there is to it? That sounds simple enough.

History and Culture

But of course that's not all there is to it. For all the problems we're having here in the states with Hispanic immigration (legal and illegal), our newcomers are from a Western culture. Their forefathers experienced the Renaissance, the Reformation and Enlightenment. The scientific method is not an alien concept to them. And as corrupt as Mexico is, they don't run around cutting people's heads off and planting bombs on airliners.

As if this wasn't enough, Germany, like much of the rest of Western Europe, doesn't have as much experience at absorbing newcomers as we do over here.

Complicating all this furter, we're all infected with unholy trio of multiculturalism, diversity and tolerance, which makes the job much more difficult.

The article passes all this by, which is to be expected. But this is why we have the blogosphere, so that we can discuss the issues that might offend the sensibilities of the MSNBC editor.

Posted by Tom at 9:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 28, 2006

What is Going on In Europe II

Yesterday I wrote that it seemed to me that Europeans in general, and Britons in particular, didn't have many freedoms that we in the United States take for granted.

None other than Tony Blair himself has proven me correct. In an editorial in Sunday's The Observer, he writes that

...the 'rules' are becoming harder to enforce. Antisocial behaviour isn't susceptible to normal court process.

"Anti-social behaviour"? This sounds like something out of Soviet Russia. If George Bush used this sort of language to justify legislation he'd be rightfully flayed.

He goes on

In theory, traditional court processes and attitudes to civil liberties could work. But the modern world is different from the world for which these court processes were designed.

...
People should be prevented from glorifying terrorism. You can say it is a breach of the right to free speech but in the real world, people get hurt when organisations encourage hatred

By themselves I might justifiably be accused of taking them out of context. But given everything else I documented in my last post (link at top), I think the meaning is all too clear.

Back to the "Cartoon Jihad"

From the Cayman Compass

The European Union regrets that the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad were "considered offensive" by Muslims around the world, EU foreign ministers said Monday in their first joint statement on the issue.

Freedom of expression, however, "is a fundamental right and an essential element of a democratic discourse," the EU ministers said.

So far, so good. Kudos to the EU ministers.

But then this from Tony Blair's Britain

Britain had called for the EU to show regret over the publication of the 12 cartoons, which were first published in a Danish newspaper last year. However, both the Dutch and Czech governments were opposed to apologizing for the cartoons’ publication, saying that would be detrimental to media freedoms.

Thanks for standing up for freedom, Tony.

Where Holland Goes...

The situation is even worse in Holland, if this account by Douglas Murray in The Sunday Times of London is at all accurate.

Murray went to Holland recently to speak at a conference on Islam in Europe. Just to give an idea as to the situation, he said that the threat to speakers was so high that they were asked by hotel staff if they wanted to register under false names. The police provided a personal security detail for everyone. Murray had a guard outside his hotelroom door.

The event itself was orderly and debate was conducted in scholarly fashion. But Murray talks about the situation in Holland and the rest of Europe

But the story of Holland — which I have been charting for some years — should be noted by her allies. Where Holland has gone, Britain and the rest of Europe are following. The silencing happens bit by bit. A student paper in Britain that ran the Danish cartoons got pulped. A London magazine withdrew the cartoons from its website after the British police informed the editor they could not protect him, his staff, or his offices from attack. This happened only days before the police provided 500 officers to protect a “peaceful” Muslim protest in Trafalgar Square.

It seems the British police — who regularly provide protection for mosques (as they did after the 7/7 bombs) — were unable to send even one policeman to protect an organ of free speech. At the notorious London protests, Islamists were allowed to incite murder and bloodshed on the streets, but a passer-by objecting to these displays was threatened with detention for making trouble.

Holland — with its disproportionately high Muslim population — is the canary in the mine. Its once open society is closing, and Europe is closing slowly behind it. It looks, from Holland, like the twilight of liberalism — not the “liberalism” that is actually libertarianism, but the liberalism that is freedom. Not least freedom of expression.

All across Europe, debate on Islam is being stopped. Italy’s greatest living writer, Oriana Fallaci, soon comes up for trial in her home country, and in Britain the government seems intent on pushing through laws that would make truths about Islam and the conduct of its followers impossible to voice.

...
Since the assassinations of Fortuyn and, in 2004, the film maker Theo van Gogh, numerous public figures in Holland have received death threats and routine intimidation. The heroic Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her equally outspoken colleague Geert Wilders live under constant police protection, often forced to sleep on army bases. Even university professors are under protection.

Europe is shuffling into darkness.

Indeed it may be.

Posted by Tom at 7:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2006

What Is Going on In Europe?

Consider the following events:

1) Ken Livingstone Suspended from Office

London's mayor (Ken Livingstone) has been suspended from office on full pay for four weeks for comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard.

The Adjudication Panel for England ruled Ken Livingstone had brought his office into disrepute when he acted in an "unnecessarily insensitive" manner.

...
The hearing followed a complaint from the Jewish Board of Deputies, which had not called for the mayor to be suspended over the comment he made to the Evening Standard's Oliver Finegold outside a public-funded party.

The chairman of the panel, David Laverick, said it had decided on a ban because Mr Livingstone had failed to realise the seriousness of his outburst.

2)The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill currently before Parliament

Here's the gist of it

The extraordinary Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before the House, gives ministers power to amend, repeal or replace any legislation simply by making an order and without having to bring a Bill before Parliament. The House of Lords Constitution Committee says the Bill is “of first-class constitutional significance” and fears that it could “markedly alter the respective and long standing roles of minister and Parliament in the legislative process”.

There are a few restrictions — orders can’t be used to introduce new taxes, for instance — but most of the limitations on their use are fuzzy and subjective. One of the “safeguards” in the Bill is that an order can impose a burden only “proportionate to the benefit expected to be gained”. And who gets to judge whether it is proportionate? Why, the minister of course. The early signs are not good. Having undertaken initially not to use orders for controversial laws, the Government has already started talking about abstaining from their use when the matter at hand is “highly” controversial.

3) Holocaust Denier Convicted

Right-wing British historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison Monday after admitting to an Austrian court that he denied the Holocaust — a crime in the country where Hitler was born.

Irving, who pleaded guilty and then insisted during his one-day trial that he now acknowledged the Nazis' World War II slaughter of 6 million Jews, had faced up to 10 years behind bars. Before the verdict, Irving conceded he had erred in contending there were no gas chambers at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

4) Lawsuits over "Racism"

In 2002 in Switzerland the Islamic Center and the Somal Association of Geneva, SOS Racisme of Lausanne and a private citizen sued her for the supposedly racist content of The Rage and The Pride. In November 2002 a Swiss judge issued an arrest warrant for violations of article 261 and 261 bis of the Swiss criminal code and requested the Italian government to either try or extradite her. Roberto Castelli, Italian minister of Justice mentioned this fact in an interview broadcasted by Radio Padania affirming that the Italian Constitution protects the Freedom of Speech and thus the extradition request had to be rejected, the episode is mentioned in her book The Force of Reason

I seem to recall that there have been a few more of these suits in the past several years but cannot recall them.

5) Proposed UK Religious Hatred Bill

Controversial plans to make incitement to religious hatred illegal have been unveiled by the government.

The new offence gives equal protection to all faiths. Jews and Sikhs are already covered by race hate laws.

Critics say the reintroduced plans - which cover words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up religious hatred - will stifle free speech.

Ministers insist the new law would not affect "criticism, commentary or ridicule of faiths".

'Preserve tolerance'

The Racial and Religious Hated Bill would create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred and would apply to comments made in public or in the media, as well as through written material.

The aim is to protect people from incitement to hatred against them because of their faith.

(text of bill here)

6) Double Jeopardy Not Absolute

All members of the Council of Europe (which includes nearly all European countries, and all members of the European Union) have signed the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects against double jeopardy. The Seventh Protocol, Article Four, says:

No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again in criminal proceedings under the jurisdiction of the same State for an offence for which he has already been finally acquitted or convicted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of that State.

This specific optional protocol has been ratified by all EU states except six (namely Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom). Those members states may still have the provision in their respective constitutions (if any) providing a prohibition against double jeopardy.

In many European countries the prosecution may appeal an acquittal to a higher court (similar to the provisions of Canadian law) - this is not counted as double jeopardy but as a continuation of the same trial. This is allowed by the European Convention of Human Rights - note the word finally in the above quote.

The Parliament of the United Kingdom passed legislation in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced by then Home Secretary David Blunkett to abolish the previously strict form of prohibition of double jeopardy. Retrials are now allowed if there is 'new and compelling evidence'. All cases must be approved by the Director Of Public Prosecutions and the Court Of Appeal must agree to quash the original acquittal.

7) Gun Rights in Europe

Nonexistent

(not really relevant but I thought I'd throw it in)

Help Me Out

The story about London mayor Ken Livingstone was the genesis for this post and is what got me thinking. I saw it the other day on one of my favorite blogs, and almost could not believe what I was reading. How do you "suspend" an elected official over something he said, no matter how offensive or stupid it was?

In the comments section I asked just this, but haven't received a satisfactory answer.

It is simply inconceivable in the United States for an elected official to be removed by some board. My understanding is that in most all jurisdictions elected officials can only be forced to resign if they are convicted of a crime, and usually a felony at that. Obviously the details will vary from place to place, but I think I have it right as a general rule.

Further, the concept that someone could be charged with a crime for denying the holocaust is also inconceivable. But I understand that this is the case in several European countries. What else is it against the law to say over there? Here freedom of speech is pretty absolute (exceptions of course are libel, slander, shouting "fire" when there is none, but those things are different).

All of the other things listed above simply could not happen in the United States, at least as a matter of federal or local law. Universities have been known to pass "speech codes", but that's not quite the same as Congress passing a law making it illegal to criticize another's religion (which is basically what the British bill would do).

The only exception I can think of is a qualifier to double jeopardy. Here in the US they do have civil rights laws, and in the infamous Rodney King case, some Los Angeles cops were found innocent of using excessive force against him, but were later convicted of violating his civil rights. But even this doesn't really violate double jeopardy.

This got me thinking of other things I've read recently. My general perception is that in general Europeans do not have all the rights that we take for granted here in the United States.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not about to go off and label any part of Europe "not free". They're part of the Free World. We're still allies, still share common values (or should), and are all in this fight against Islamic radicalism together, whether all of us know it or not.

But help me out here. Do I have all this right about Europe? My main question is about freedom of speech, as most of the issues above revolve around that.

Posted by Tom at 9:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 20, 2006

What the "Cartoon Jihad" is Really All About

Sky News last week reported on a poll by the Sunday Telegraph in which 20% of Muslims in Great Britain support the July 7 terrorist who set off the bombs in London.

One in five UK Muslims sympathise with the suicide bombers who killed 52 people in London on July 7, a survey suggests.

The ICM poll also reveals four in 10 want hardline Sharia Law introduced in parts of Britain.

A group of 500 UK Muslims aged 18 and above were quizzed for the Sunday Telegraph.

While 20% said they had sympathy for the July 7 killers' "feelings and motives", 99% condemned the attacks.

Another 75% said they did not sympathise with the bombers.

...
Sharia should be introduced in "predominantly Muslim" areas of Britain, according to 40% of the Muslims polled.

That last one is the most scary of all. It's also exactly why I've been concentrating so much on the "Cartoon Jihad" these past few weeks. Anyone not totally mired in the fever swamps of political correctness knows full well that the protests around the world are not about the cartoons. They are about intimidating the West. Radical Muslims do not want to assimilate into our societies. They want nothing of the traditional give-and-take between the natives and new immigrants that is a hallmark of Western Civilization. They want us to change. They want to bring their odious and hateful Sharia law into our societies.

For all the problems in the US today with regard to Hispanic immigrants, we need to keep in mind that they are fundamentally like us. They come from countries with a Christian heritage. They too are children of the Enlightenment. The Reformation affected their society as well. In short, they think like we do. As such, they are participating in our tradition of give-and-take. We can debate how well it is going, and I think that the leftists with their multiculturalism are harming the process, but that is another debate.

Not so with Muslims, at least in Europe, where there are a lot more of them and they are much less assimilated. We don't have that many in the US, and the ones who are here don't create a whole lot of trouble beyond the usual complaints of discrimination that we've come to expect. Local Muslims didn't participate in the Feb 18 protests outside of the Danish Embassy in Washington DC, as instead we saw the New Black Panther party, a group more based on racialist principles than religion.

The Growing Islamization of Britain

Think all this is exagerated? Check out this article in the Sunday Telegraph from yesterday titled "The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state". Money quote

That is why they(Muslims) do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

They're even worried over at the left-wing British paper The Guardian, calling the above poll "a warning that should not be ignored."

USS Neverdock has all the links you'd ever want on the growing he Islamization of Britain. Check it out. A few tidbits

British theater censors play so as not to upset Muslims

Britain adopts Islamic laws

English flag offensive to Muslims

Make his blog a part of your daily reading.

No Assimilation in Belgium

Last week on Downeastblog, one of my Belgium friends wrote about the situation in his country

One could fill books about the behaviour of Moroccan youngsters in Brussels schools e.g., with teachers driven to the brink of insanity, intimidated, ridiculed, sometimes chased out of the classrooms. Theft, robbery, downright murder. Schools in Antwerp forced to scrap pork meat from the school menu. Rampant "youth" criminality everywhere with the often minor perpetrators getting away with it unpunished. "Youth" gangs cruising the streets during the day (when they ought to be on the school banks), and cruising them at night (when they ought to be doing their homework). Of course, when they enter the job market, they have acquired no skills at all, not to mention raucous behaviour is not exactly inducing patrons to hire them either. Result: unemployment figures for young immigrants of 40% in the Brussels Region.

Doesn't sound like give-and-take to me.

The Demographics in France

Remember those riots in France a few months ago? Maybe they were a sign of things to come.

At the time most msm outlets simply referred to the rioters as "youths", or some other similar euphamism desiged to hide their true identity. In reality, of course, they were Muslim immigrants, mainly from Algeria.

Here are some population statistics you might not have seen:

It is one thing to know in theory that France has undergone major ethnic changes over the past 30 years and another thing altogether to confront a mass ethnic insurgency. The figures are inescapable. There are about 60 million inhabitants in continental France, plus 2 million citizens in the overseas territories (essentially the French West Indies and La Reunion island in the Indian Ocean). About 20 million, most of them white and Christian, are over 50

Out of the remaining 40 million or so, 10 million or so belong to the ethnic minorities: Muslim North Africans, Muslim Turks or Near Easterners, Muslim Black Africans, Christian West Indian, African or Reunionese blacks. When one regards to the youngest age brackets, the proportion is even larger. It is estimated that 35% of all French inhabitants under 20, and 50% of all inhabitants in the major urban centers, belong to the ethnic minorities. Islam alone may claim respectively 30% and 45%. Since war is essentially the business of youths, the combatant ratio in any ethnic war may thus be one to one

In the end it's not so much the numbers as the lack of assimilation. I post these demographics simply to illustrate that it's not a small problem. There are enough Muslims in Europe now that the politicians take notice, and are concerned about getting their vote.

As the survey in Britian shows, many Muslims hold anti-western views, and given their numbers, are going to have great influence in Europe in the years ahead. This problem isn't going away.

Posted by Tom at 2:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 8, 2006

Will Europe Wake Up?

I'm wondering if much of Western Europe will soon wake up from their current slumber. Consider what's happened these past three years:

1. Theo van Gogh murdered by a Muslim terrorist
2. Dutch politicians such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, forced to go into hiding or live under police protection after threats by Muslim extremists
3. The Madrid metro bombed by Al Qaeda
4. The London subways bombed by Al Qaeda
5. Riots in France by Muslim immigrants
6. The current "cartoon infidata"

Europeans have reacted in various ways to each of the above. The Spanish reacted by attempting to appease the terrorists. The French pretended they didn't have a problem. But it seems to me that there is a growing recognition on the other side of the pond that they face a real danger. I believe that the current rioting over the cartoons published six months ago in Danish newspapers might prove to be the last straw.

Why not Appease Them?

The reaction to the current rioting hasn't been completely solid. A few newspapers in France and Germany have republished the caroons to show their committment to freedom of the press. In the United States, the only one to do was is the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of the Washington Times, says that four reasons are usually provided by those who advise against reprinting the cartoons:

1) just because one has the right to speak doesn't mean one must;

2) restraint is often exercised, particularly when being respectful of other religions or cultures;

3) tensions are particularly high among Muslims now;

4) only a madman, or, if there is a difference, those who want to instigate the "clash of civilizations" would pour gasoline on that already raging fire.

This seems to make sense on the surface, but as he points out "That argument would be not only plausible, but persuasive, if the cause of the violent Muslim reaction to the cartoons was merely a transitory phenomenon -- a brief, spontaneous, bizarre overreaction."

Exactly.

It's not a "Double Standard"

Blankley points to a Muslim who sees exactly what the danger is:

Hirsi Ali, the black, Muslim, female co-producer of assassinated Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, talked about Western journalists to Der Spiegel this week, while in hiding: "They probably feel numb. On the one hand, a voice in their heads is encouraging them not to sell out their freedom of speech. At the same time, they're experiencing the shocking sensation of what it's like to lose your own personal freedom. One mustn't forget that they're part of the postwar generation, and that all they've experienced is peace and prosperity. And now they suddenly have to fight for their own human rights once again."

"The [Islamists] call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech... Islamists don't allow their critics the same rights... After the West prostrates itself, the [Islamists] will be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless."

The point is that when people say the Muslims "have a double standard", they are missing the point. To the Muslims it isn't a double standad; they believe that sharia law should rule the world. Christianity, Judaism, and all other religions are to be subjugated to Islam. Everyone but Muslims get second-class status. Western democracy is to be subverted and eventually overthrown.

No not all Muslims think this way. Yes I know that many or even most Muslims are good decent people. But if that's where you end you are missing the boat, because it doesn't take a majority to decide matters, just a determined minority. Just ask Lenin.

The Washington Times agrees, and points out that the Muslims who object to the Danish cartoons stirring up riots are not interested in our "tolerance", but rather

They wanted to create a groundswell of discontent among Muslims in Europe, put pressure on Denmark -- and other nations -- to abide by sharia law and to build a sympathetic base for further terrorist attacks. The placards of British Muslims, demanding more "7/7s," a reference to the London subway bombings on July 7, went straight to the point of the clerics' Middle East tour. This was an exercise in agitprop to further the goals of Islamofascism, and it worked

What We Must Do

What we must not do is blather on about "now is the time for restraint by the press", or "with freedom of the press comes responsibility". Yes yes we know all that. But what we must do is react strongly to reassure newspapers that what they need not fear intimidation by murderous fanatics.

We can't do it alone, we need our European friends to help us out. But we are all in this together, and it is my hope, and cautious prediction, that (most of) the Europeans will finally see the light. The Times points out that

An awakened Europe, after all, is exactly what the United States has been waiting for -- reinforcements in the war against the terrorists
.

Of course, it's not really a desire for "more troops" to help us fight, or at least that's not all of it. As much as we've had policy differences with some Europeans over the years, between the lot of us we are still the best the world has to offer, and we'd best preserve our nations and our cultures.

Posted by Tom at 9:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 12, 2005

Islam and Europe

Just in case you think Tony Blankley has overstated his case about the Islamic threat to Europe in his new book (excerpted below), consider two stories that recently appeared in the British press.

You're not going to believe this stuff, folks. Or maybe you will.

The first story is from the London newspaper The Telegraph(hat tip Andrew Stuttaford of NRO). In it we're told that a "a Muslim barrister" Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks that Jews and Freemasons are secretly in control of the war in Iraq. Blair, you see, came under their "sinister" influence and just couldn't help himself.

Ahmad Thomson, from the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said Mr Blair was the latest in a long line of politicians to have been influenced by the group which saw the attack on Saddam Hussein as a way to control the Middle East.

A Government spokesman confirmed last night that ministers and officials consulted Mr Thomson on issues concerning Muslims but refused to be drawn on his views. "We talk to a lot of people, including many whose views we do not necessarily agree with," she said.

This includes, apparently, complete whackos.

And, big surprise, Thomson thinks that the Holocaust is "a big lie".

The second story is from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1775068,00.html, also a British newspaper:

Advisors appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims.

They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths.

Tony Blair needs new advisors pronto.

And just why is the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day so "offensive" to Muslims?

>A member of one of the committees, made up of Muslims, said it gave the impression that “western lives have more value than non-western lives”. That perception needed to be changed. “One way of doing that is if the government were to sponsor a national Genocide Memorial Day.

“The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It’s a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.”

If you believe this I've got a bridge to sell you.

Let's just call it as it is: The Muslims hate the Jews, and take one of two positions regarding the Holocaust; they either deny that it occured, or believe that it did and was a good thing. The idea of the Holocaust as a day of sorrow is utterly beyond their comprehension.

Which is one reason why the UN can never agree on a definition of terrorism; because the Muslims want a definition that they can use to pin on Israel and the U.S. http://theredhunter.com/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=1&id=482&saved_changes=1#

It's really about that simple.

But while the committees are at it, they have another recomendation for the Prime Minister. Hey, when you're on a roll, go for it all.

The committees are also set to clash with Blair on his proposal to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical Islamic group. Government sources say they will argue that a ban is unjustified because the group, which is proscribed in much of the Middle East, neither advocates nor perpetrates violence in the UK.

Reread that last phrase, "because the group...neither advocates nor perpetrates violence in the UK".

In other words, Blair is hoping that the crocodile eats him last.

Andrew McCarthy spares us the task of researching who this Hizb ut-Tahrir group is. He found a 2003 Heritage Foundation paper about the group. It's conclusion is that

Hizb ut-Tahrir represents a growing medium- and long-term threat to geopolitical stability and the secular regimes of Central Asia and ultimately poses a potential threat to other regions of the world. The party is transnational, secretive, and extremist in its anti-Americanism. It seeks to overthrow and destroy existing regimes and establish a Shari'a-based Caliphate.

Hizb may launch terrorist attacks against U.S. targets and allies, operating either alone or in cooperation with other global terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. A Hizb takeover of any Central Asian state could provide the global radical Islamist movement with a geographic base and access to the expertise and technology to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. and its allies must do everything possible to avoid such an outcome.

The paper also estimates the group's strength at about "5,000-10,000 hard-core members, and many more supporters" throughout south-west asia.

Nope, folks, Tony Blankley wasn't exaggerating one bit. The government of Tony Blair is a willing participant in the suicide of Great Britain.

Posted by Tom at 9:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Islamic Threat, Part I

Tony Blankley is the editorial-page editor of the Washington Times, has a new book out called The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations.

Today's Washington Times
has the first of a three-part series in which they've excerpted sections of the book. Here are a few tidbits:

The threat of the radical Islamists taking over Europe is every bit as great to the United States as was the threat of the Nazis taking over Europe in the 1940s.

It is beginning to dawn on Europeans that the combination of a shrinking ethnic-European population and an expanding, culturally assertive Muslim population might lead to the fall of Western civilization in Europe within a century.

This phenomenon, called Eurabia, is viewed with growing fatalism both in Europe and in America.
...

But that survival instinct is threatened by the multiculturalism and political correctness advocated in media and academe -- and institutionalized in national and European Union laws and regulations for half a century.

Europe's effort at cultural tolerance since World War II slowly morphed into a surprisingly deep self-loathing of Western culture that denied the instinct for cultural and national self-defense.
...

If Europe doesn't rise to the challenge, Eurabia will come to pass. Then Europe will cease to be an American ally and instead become a base of operations (as she already is to a small degree) against us.

Read the whole thing.

This is a book I'm going to have to buy. And soon.

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May 14, 2005

The Islamization of Europe?

"Either Islam gets Europeanized or Europe gets Islamized"

Is the choice really that stark? Perhaps so, if David Pryce-Jones has it right.

Pryce-Jones, also a senior editor for National Review, wrote an article that was published in the Decemmber edition of Commentary provocatively titled "The Islamization of Europe?" (online at another site) While some may find the idea alarmist, from what I've read recently he's hit the nail on the head.


Contemporary Islamism might be summed up as the effort to redress and reverse the long-ago defeat of Muslim power by European (i.e., Christian) civilization. Toward that end, it has followed two separate courses of action: adopting the forms of nationalism that have appeared to many Muslims to contain the secret of Western supremacy, or promoting Islam itself as the one force capable of uniting Muslims everywhere and hence ensuring their renewed power and dominance. In the hands of today's Islamists, and with the complicity of Europe itself, these two approaches have proved mutually reinforcing.
...
In its global reach and in its aggressive intentions, Islamist ideology bears some resemblance to another transnational belief system: namely, Communism. Like today's Islamists, Communists of an earlier age saw themselves as engaged in an apocalyptic struggle in which every member of a Communist party anywhere was expected to comport himself as a frontline soldier, and in which terror was seen as a wholly permissible means toward victory in a war to the finish.
...
Another has been the attempt in Britain to set up a Muslim "parliament" that will recognize only Islamic law (shari'a) as binding, and not the law of the land. Still another has been the insistence, in France, on the wearing of the hijab by girls in public schools, a practice that clearly contradicts the ideals of French republicanism and is in any case not an Islamic requirement. The tactical thinking behind such incitements was well articulated by an al-Qaeda leader who, calling upon British Muslims to "bring the West to its knees," added that they, "the locals, and not foreigners," have the advantage since they understand "the language, culture, area, and common practices of the enemy whom they coexist among."
...
The institutions that have been affected by Islamophile correctness run the gamut. In Britain, a judge has agreed to prohibit Hindus and Jews from sitting on a jury in the trial of a Muslim. The British Commission for Racial Equality has ordained that businesses must provide prayer rooms for Muslims and pay them for their absences on religious holidays.

Read the whole thing.

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