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Author Topic: Islam in Europe  (Read 98742 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: October 14, 2006, 11:10:59 AM »

All:

Posts on the good, not just the bad and the ugly belong here.

Marc
=====================



http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006460631,00.html

RELATED STORIES
By JULIE MOULT,
JAMIE PYATT
and TOM REILLY
October 07, 2006

MUSLIM yobs who wrecked a house to stop four brave soldiers moving in after returning from Afghanistan sparked outrage last night.
The house in a village near riot-torn Windsor had BRICKS thrown through windows and was DAUBED with messages of hate.
Four young Household Cavalry officers who had planned to rent it were also the target of phone THREATS.
They were yesterday forced to look elsewhere to live ? after top brass warned them against inflaming racial violence near the Queen?s Windsor Castle home.
Last night furious Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: ?This is a shocking development.?

Colleagues of the officers branded the vandalism a ?disgrace?. A source at the regiment said: ?These guys have done nothing but bravely serve their country ? yet they can?t even live where they want in their own country.? The ?3,000-a-month detached home in picturesque Datchet, Berks, is less than a mile from Windsor Castle. It was attacked as extra police were drafted into Windsor ? where battles have raged for days between Asian and white gangs.
On Wednesday a Muslim-run dairy was firebombed.
The young officers ? from the same regiment as Prince Harry ? had planned to use the four-bed house for rest and recuperation after months risking their lives on the frontline.
Louts struck two days after the four arrived in uniform in an Army Land Rover to view it.
The source said: ?A gang of local Muslims set about keeping them away. They hurled bricks through the windows and then wrote offensive graffiti across the front of the house.? The vile messages included one in 4ft letters on the drive ? warning: ?F*** off?.
Sources inside Windsor?s Combermere Barracks ? where the officers are based ? confirmed Muslims had made calls threatening the men.
NI_MPU('middle');NI_MPU('Embedded for DHTML');The scandal comes as Tony Blair today pledges the Army in Afghanistan can have ANYTHING it needs to hammer the Taliban. Writing exclusively in The Sun he declares that Our Boys are ?the best in the world?.
A Household Cavalry insider said of the Muslims? insult to Britain?s heroes: ?Everyone in the regiment is really upset. It?s one thing coming under attack in Helmand in Afghanistan but quite another getting this abuse in England. The officers were determined to face down the yobs and still move in ? but didn?t want a race riot on their hands.?
Police hunting the vandals confirmed: ?One line of inquiry is that it is racially aggravated.?
The house?s owner Johanna Ledwidge refused to comment beyond saying she was very upset. A shocked neighbour in the quiet street said: ?We pride ourselves in this neighbourhood that we welcome all cultures.?
Tory MP Philip Davies said of the attack: ?This is outrageous.
?If there?s anybody who should f*** off it?s the Muslims who are doing this kind of thing. Police should pull out the stops to track down these vile thugs.?
Sir Andrew Green, director of the think-tank Migrationwatch UK, said: ?Incidents like this are absolutely inexcusable and seriously undermine efforts by all sides to achieve integration. Those who choose to live in this country owe a loyalty to Britain.?
A spokesman for letting agency Kings, who are marketing the property, said: ?It was an isolated case of vandalism. We do not know the reasons behind it.?

===============

« Last Edit: November 20, 2006, 05:48:09 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 06:17:09 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2006/10/15/londonistan-calling-uk-headline-round-up/
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2006, 07:34:15 AM »

http://www.nisnews.nl/public/141006_2.htm

Union Federation Wants National Muslim Holiday
 
UTRECHT, 14/10/06 - The CNV trade union federation feels that a Muslim feast should be introduced as a bank holiday in the Netherlands. The Christian trade union federation is willing to sacrifice a Christian holiday.

CNV vice chairman Rienk van Splunder wishes "to offer Muslims the freedom to practice their faith". The federation is prepared to sacrifice Whit Monday or Easter Monday for a free day during the Sugar Festival. This is the feast day held to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.

Van Splunder feels the feast days of other religions are insufficiently honoured in the Netherlands. By introducing official holidays on such feast days, he hopes to create "freedom and respect for one another".

Last year, CNV reported it was not yet prepared to sacrifice Whit Monday for a free day during the Sugar Festival. "But his can no longer be sustained in 2006," as Van Splunder stated Friday.

According to Van Splunder, Whit Monday and Easter Monday originate from the Christian tradition but the holidays have long lost their Christian meaning. "For most Dutch people, these two holidays have turned into extra shopping days". The CNV vice chairman denies that he is calling into question the Christian tradition of The Netherlands.
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2006, 10:26:10 AM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

16 October 2006
IF A MUSLIM CAN WEAR HER VEIL TO WORK WHY IS MY CROSS FORBIDDEN?
EXCLUSIVE: BA ROW WOMAN SPEAKS OUT..
By Julie Mccaffrey

IT is smaller than a 10 pence piece and all but invisible to people standing just inches away.
Yet Nadia Eweida's tiny white gold cross is at the centre of a huge legal row that has engulfed Britain's biggest airline and infuriated religious groups.
Check-in worker Nadia, 55, was forced to take unpaid leave by British Airways after refusing to remove the Christian emblem. But she claims it is a clear display of double standards as Muslims can wear head scarves and Sikh males their turbans.

"It seems that only Christians are forbidden to express their faith," she told the Mirror. "I am not ashamed to be Christian and shouldn't be made to feel that way. I want people to know I am a Christian when they meet me. Just like people know when they meet a Muslim."

The case echoes that of Fiona Bruce, the newsreader who has not worn her cross necklace on television since BBC governors debated whether it would cause offence to other religions. And it bears striking similarities to the Muslim teacher Aishah Azmi, from Dewsbury, Yorkshire, who is taking legal action after being suspended for wearing a veil in lessons.

It will only add to the row over religious clothing after Jack Straw asked Muslim women to ditch their veils.

Hundreds of Nadia's colleagues have demanded she be reinstated and yesterday Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain insisted:

"Frankly, I think the British Airways order for her not to wear a cross was loopy."

As backing for Nadia grows, BA is faced with rumours of staff strikes, Christian boycotts and a slump in ticket sales.

JOHN Andrews, communications officer for the diocese of Bath and Wells, said: "I think BA is being extremely offensive to members of the Christian faith.

"It is rather more than an ornament. It is more than an item of jewellery."

Meanwhile Nadia, from Twickenham, West London, is set to sue for religious discrimination.

She said: "My case shows a company so scared of upsetting a minority that it has swung too far to the other side and upset the majority.

"It is clearly not fair that I am prohibited from wearing my cross, when Muslim ladies are allowed to wear a hijab and Sikhs freely wear turbans.

"They immediately identify that person's religion. I imagine that's why the teacher in Dewsbury is fighting to wear her veil.

She should be allowed to wear it in the classroom. I respect her views but what I don't respect is one rule for some and another for others."

Ironically, the row started the day after Nadia, who has an exemplary seven-year record with British Airways and is based at Heathrow's Terminal Four, attended a training course on diversity and dignity at work.

"We spent the day learning how to integrate and understand different cultures, religions, sexual orientations and political allegiances," she recalled.

"The next day my duty manager asked me to take off my cross. I said it was an expression of my faith. But she refused to accept that.

"I'd worn it many times, but all of a sudden it was an issue. "I was sent to see the customer services manager, who then sent me home."

NADIA, who is single and looks after her elderly mother, was born in Egypt to an Egyptian father and English mother.

She believes that, instead of constantly trying not to offend a minority faith, employers should demonstrate equal consideration towards people of all faiths.

"As a Christian in a Muslim country, I was in the minority and held tightly to my faith," she explained. "I wear a cross because it reminds me what Jesus Christ did for mankind. I think I am within my rights to wear it."

Nadia, who attends church up to seven times a week, has the backing of her local MP Vincent Cable, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, who called BA "disgraceful and petty". And she also has the backing of her union, the TGWU.

However Nadia, whose great grandfather Thomas Paine helped found the Salvation Army, claims to be overwhelmed by all the attention.

She said: "I didn't expect this to escalate. And it seems that the more people who know about my case, the angrier they become.

"But I am not getting angrier, I am growing more determined.

"My ultimate aim is firstly to win an apology from British Airways, saying sorry to me for their behaviour and sorry to all their Christian workers who wish to express their faith.

"Secondly, I want to return to the job I loved. I'm not ashamed of what has happened, and if I go back I won't have my tail between my legs.

"Sometimes it takes one person to make a change by putting their head above the parapet. And if that has to be me, then so be it. I am a loyal and conscientious employee of British Airways but I feel I must stand up for the rights of all Christians, and all citizens."

A BA spokeswoman emphasised that Miss Eweida has not been suspended and said an appeal was due to be heard some time next week.

She said BA recognised that employees may wish to wear jewellery including religious symbols. "Our policy states these items can be worn, underneath the uniform. There is no ban.

"This rule applies for all jewellery and religious symbols on chains and is not specific to the Christian cross."


julie.mccaffrey@mirror.co.uk
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2006, 06:44:38 PM »

 Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Socialist Canada
Posts: 2,713 
 
 School bans Christian chastity ring but allows Muslim and Sikh symbols

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A secondary school has come under fire for banning Christian pupils from wearing rings symbolising a belief in chastity until marriage.
Millais School in West Sussex has banned the silver 'purity rings', arguing that they fall foul of the school's no-jewellery policy, which only allows pupils to wear simple single stud earrings.
But the school has been accused of double standards as it allows Muslim pupils to wear headscarves and Sikh pupils kara bracelets as a means of religious expression.
The ban is the latest in a series of episodes where organisations ban Christian jewellery. Earlier this week British Airways banned an employee from wearing a cross necklace. The Rev John Brown of Middleton-on-Sea argues that the ban should be lifted as it is 'discriminatory' against Christians.
Rev Brown, 78, a retired Church of England vicar said: 'The ban is totally discriminatory, compared with the way Muslim girls in that school are treated, they are allowed to wear head scarves, symbolising their faith.
'The girls are wearing rings to show their religious belief in abstaining from sex until marraige, it means a great deal to them, so I think it's quite wrong it should be banned.'
Heather and Philip Playfoot have been in dispute with the school in Horsham over the issue for two years.
Their 15-year-old daughter Lydia began wearing her ring - which is inscribed with a biblical verse - in June 2004.
The Playfoots claim Lydia and up to a dozen pupils have been punished for breaking the rules.
Lydia, who no longer wears the ring to school said she feels 'betrayed' by the school.
'My ring is a symbol of my religious faith. I think, as a Christian, it says we should keep ourselves pure from sexual sinfulness and wearing the ring is a good way of making a stand.''
Her parents Heather, 47, a housewife and Phil, 49, a minister in a nondenominational church, are considering taking legal action.
Mr Playfoot said yesterday: 'We hope the school will recognise the ring as a legitimate expression of the childrens' Christian beliefs.'
Mrs Playfoot added: 'The ring is a reminder to them of the promise they have made, much the same as a wedding ring is an outward sign of an inward promise.
'It's a discriminatory policy. We don't want her education to be disrupted because of it but we do want her to feel free to wear something that is very significant.'
Lydia's ring comes from Silver Ring Thing, an evangelical American Christian movement. It has encouraged a growing number of teenagers to make a 'pledge of chastity'. The silver ring demonstrates commitment to this pledge.
The movement was founded by father- of-three Denny Pattyn in Yuma, Arizona, in 1995. He launched it after discovering Yuma had the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Arizona.
Silver Ring Thing launched in Britain in 2004, promoting abstinence before marriage. More than 20,000 members have signed up at roadshows in the U.S. and Britain.
Leon Nettley, headmaster of Millais, said in a statement that the school's own sex education programme already stressed that underage sex is illegal, and encouraged pupils to discuss the issues.
He added: 'The school is not convinced that pupils' rights have been interfered with by the application of the school's uniform policy. 'The school has a clearly published uniform policy and sets high standards in this respect.' http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1770
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2006, 10:45:19 PM »


Remember Oriana Fallaci? She had a hard time with the "politically correct" crowd with her last book, because it didn't toe the liberal line. Here's an excerpt from an interview with her on the occasion of her new book "The Force of Reason" (from http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/vidino200405040834.asp ).

In 1974, former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne said in a speech at the U.N.: "One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere to go to the northern hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory." In other words, says Fallaci, what Islamic armies have not been able to do with force in more than 1,000 years can be achieved in less than a century through high birth rates. She cites as evidence a 1975 meeting of Islamic countries in Lahore, in which they announced their project to transform the flow of Muslim immigrants in Europe in "demographic preponderance."

The "sons of Allah," as Fallaci calls them, do not make a secret of their plans."A respected Muslim cleric told the crowd: "Thanks to your democratic laws we will invade you. Thanks to our Islamic laws we will conquer you." The full interview follows: May 04, 2004, 8:34 a.m.

Forceful Reason

Fallaci issues a wake-up call to Europe.

By Lorenzo Vidino

"Oriana Fallaci" is not a household name in the United States, but it cannot be uttered in Europe without generating a heated reaction. Even though her 2002 book, The Rage and the Pride, was translated into English (by Fallaci herself) and sold many copies in the U.S., it was on the other side of the ocean that intellectuals, politicians, and ordinary citizens passionately debated the views of the celebrated Italian journalist.

The Rage and the Pride is either loved or hated; the positions Fallaci takes in it leave no middle ground. Outraged by the events of 9/11, Fallaci criticizes both Muslims (bent, according to her, on conquering the West and annihilating its culture) and Europeans (described as spoiled, hypocritical, and blind to the mortal threat represented by Islamic expansionism). Fallaci's views as expressed in the Rage and the Pride caused an uproar in politically correct Europe, death threats and lawsuits included. Now, two years later, Fallaci has published a new book, entitled La Forza della Ragione (The Force of Reason), which continues the discourse she began in The Rage and the Pride.

As its title suggests, The Force of Reason is not dictated by the (sometimes excessive) fury that inspired The Rage and the Pride, but it gives a more accurate explanation of why Europe has decided not to defend its identity and to surrender to what she calls the "Islamic invasion." With the sarcasm and uniquely direct style that characterizes her work, Fallaci carefully examines the historic and political reasons that have led Europeans to vilify their own culture, consistently embrace anti-Americanism, and pander to every request from the increasingly powerful Muslim communities that populate the dying Old
Continent. Her analysis does not leave much hope for the future of Europe, although she takes a far more optimistic position on her adoptive country, the United States (Fallaci currently lives in New York).

The long introduction to The Force of Reason recounts the intellectual lynching to which Fallaci was subjected following the publication of The Rage and the Pride. The PC establishment, which she refers to as the "Modern Inquisition," crucified her, submerging her with lawsuits and accusations of being racist and fomenting a religious war. But all of this publicity just played into Fallaci's hands, as sales of The Rage and the Pride soared into the millions. But what has really struck Fallaci in the wake of The Rage and the Pride are the letters she has received from readers throughout the world.

One of the most significant was written by an Italian, who thanked her for "helping me to understand the things I thought without realizing I was thinking them." And this is Fallaci's goal: provoking Europeans into realizing what is going on right under their noses and getting rid of their fear to say something that goes against the PC dogma. According to Fallaci, the "Modern
Inquisition" has managed to keep individuals in fear of expressing what they believe: "If you are a Westerner and you say that your civilization is superior, the most developed that this planet has ever seen, you go to the stake. But if you are a son of Allah or one of their collaborationists and you say that Islam has always been a superior civilization, a ray of light...nobody touches you. Nobody sues you. Nobody condemns you."

Fallaci has her own interpretation of the massive Islamic immigration that is rapidly changing the face of European cities. She sees it as part of the expansionism that has characterized Islam since its birth. After reminding the reader how Islamic armies have aimed for centuries at the heart of Europe (a part of history that is not taught anymore in Europe, since it would offend
the sensitivity of Muslim pupils), reaching France, Poland, and Vienna, she lays out her case, claiming that the current flood of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa is part of a carefully planned strategy. Fallaci uses the words of Muslim leaders to support this thesis.

In 1974, former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne said in a speech at the U.N.: "One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere to go to the northern hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory." In other words, says Fallaci, what Islamic armies have not been able to do with force in more than 1,000 years can be achieved in less than a century through high birth rates. She cites as evidence a 1975 meeting of Islamic countries in Lahore, in which they announced their project to transform the flow of Muslim immigrants in Europe in "demographic preponderance."

The "sons of Allah," as Fallaci calls them, do not make a secret of their plans. A Catholic bishop recounted that, during an interfaith meeting in Turkey, a respected Muslim cleric told the crowd: "Thanks to your democratic laws we will invade you. Thanks to our Islamic laws we will conquer you." But what really makes Fallaci's blood boil is the West's inability to even
acknowledge this aggression. A large part of her book is dedicated to analyzing how the main European countries pander to the arrogant demands of radical Muslim organizations, how they are unable to defend their Jewish citizens from acts of Islamic militant violence (often blamed on neo-Nazis and almost never on the Muslim perpetrators, even when the evidence clearly proves otherwise), and said countries' unwillingness to be proud of their cultures and identities.


Amid Fallaci's bleak vision for Europe, however, a ray of hope comes from America. In a very emotional last chapter, Fallaci describes her admiration in witnessing the 2004 New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square. In a sharp contrast with the fear-constrained Europeans, thousands of New Yorkers decided to defy the Code Orange terror alert and party hard in the face of the terrorists. Proud to honor itself, young and determined, America is perceived by Fallaci as the only hope for the West. In this unprovoked cultural war that has been waged on the West, America should lead the way, but it cannot do it alone. According to Fallaci, the West has not realized that it is under attack, and that this war "wants to hit our soul rather than our body. Our way of life, our philosophy of life. Our way of thinking, acting and loving. Our freedom. Do not be fooled by their explosives. That is just a strategy. The terrorists, the kamikazes, do not kill us just for the sake of killing us. They kill us to
bend us. To intimidate us, tire us, demoralize us, blackmail us."

Movingly passionate, The Force of Reason is a desperate wake-up call for the West and for Europe in particular. In Italy, despite a complete silence from the media (who have decided not to make the same mistake they made with The Rage and the Pride, when their criticism made the book's sales skyrocket) the book has sold a half million copies in just two weeks. A translation into English is imminent, making The Force of Reason readily accessible for those in the U.S. who want to learn more about the dire situation Europe faces.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2006, 06:10:32 AM »

Hat tip to GM for this one too:
======================

The West's Self-Imposed Censorship
By Amir Taheri
Gulf News | October 13, 2006


In Communist-ruled East Germany, they had a term for it: pre-emptive obedience. This meant guessing the future orders of the politburo and obeying them before they were issued. East Germany was thrown into the dustbin of history a long time ago. However, "pre-emptive obedience" is making a comeback in re-unified Germany and several other European countries.

It was based on "pre-emptive obedience" that the German Opera in Berlin decided to cancel its production of Mozart's Idomeneo after the managers decided that it might anger Muslims. The opera had already been shown in 2003 without incident and no Muslim group had called for it to be withdrawn. Thus, the managers were obeying orders that had not been issued.

A few days after the Idomeneo scandal it was the turn of French philosopher Robert Redecker to do a bit of "pre-emptive obedience" by going into hiding after publishing a newspaper column that some of his friends feared might anger Muslims. The fact is that quite a few Muslim writers have published essays more daring than Redecker's without going into hiding under police protection, thus resisting "pre-emptive obedience" of orders that might come from "Islamofascist" groups.

"Pre-emptive obedience" was also at work when the Whitechapel Art Gallery, one of London's major art exhibition venues, decided to withdraw a number of paintings by the surrealist Hans Bellmer. The reason? The management decided that the erotic paintings might "hurt the sensibilities of the Muslim community" which is strongly present in London's East End of which Whitechapel is a part. Again, no Muslim had seen the paintings or would have been able to interpret them as "an erotic assault on the Quran", let alone demand that they be withdrawn.

Thanks to "pre-emptive obedience", a wave of self-censorship has also hit the traditionally bawdy world of German carnivals. The Dusseldorf carnival, for example, has banned any gear that might appear "Islamic" and thus designed to "hurt Muslim sensibilities". A work by the Swiss sculptor Fleur Boecklin was also withdrawn from public view in Dusseldorf after it was branded "a misrepresentation of Islam as an aggressive faith".

Self-censorship for alleged fear of Islamic revenge has hit other areas of life in Europe.

In Spain, folkloric ceremonies and carnivals marking the expulsion of the Moors from Andalusia have been cancelled in all but a handful of villages, ending a 400-year old tradition.

In Germany, France and Britain numerous illuminated manuscripts of Persian poetry and prose have been withdrawn because they contained images of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and other historic figures of Islam.

In most European countries, an official black of list of books has emerged, containing works deemed to be "hurtful to Muslim sentiments". The list includes the names not only of such major European authors as Voltaire and Thomas Carlyle but also of Muslim writers whose work has been translated into European languages. For example, the novel Haji Agha by Sadeq Hedayat, translated into French and published in the 1940s, is no longer available. The novel Four Pains by Cyrus Farzaneh has also disappeared from French bookshops and libraries along with The Master by Darvish.

Last month a British publisher, acting on "pre-emptive obedience", cancelled plans to publish the translation of Twenty Three Years, a controversial biography of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by the late Iranian author Ali Dashti. Literary agents and book publishers have no qualms about admitting that they would not touch any manuscript that "smells like stirring the Muslims into a rage". One editor tells me that he has rejected at least 10 manuscripts in the past year alone because he did not wish to "risk controversy or worse" with Muslims. "I don't want to live under police escort," he says.

The American author and feminist Phyllis Chesler is still trying to find a British publisher, while her colleague Nancy Korbin has just lost her American publisher. In both cases, fear of angering Muslims is cited as the excuse for what is, in fact, "pre-emptive obedience".

The practitioners of "pre-emptive obedience" often claim they are acting in accordance with the best principles of multiculturalism.

"We wish to show respect for our Muslim neighbours," says a spokesperson for the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

While museums in Germany and Britain are hiding works that show images of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Turkish and Iranian museums continue to display their tableaux containing his images.

Sometimes the imagined threat of "Islamic anger" is used for settling of scores that have nothing to do with Islam. In the Russian city of Volgograd (former Stalingrad), for example, there are no more than a few hundred Muslims. And yet the Russian government has just closed down the local newspaper based on the claim that it had hurt "Muslim sensibilities" by publishing a cartoon that shows Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) along with Moses and Jesus, watching some people fighting on television. The truth is that the local branch of the United Russia Party, the political mouth piece of President Vladimir Putin, had been trying to shut the newspaper for years. The supposed feeling of "Muslim sensibilities" is nothing but an excuse for an attack on media freedom.

Ugliest evils

The truth, however, is that blaming Muslims for censorship, one of the ugliest evils in any civilised society, is an insult to a majority of Muslims. The adepts of "pre-emptive obedience" see Muslims as childish, irrational and incapable of responding to works of literature and art in terms other than passion and violence.

The party of "pre-emptive obedience" violates one of the basic principles of the western societies, that is to say freedom of expression. And, that makes it harder for Muslim democrats to persuade their co-religionists that, rather than fear freedom, they should learn to benefit from it.

The party of "pre-emptive obedience" hurts Muslim interests in another way. By presenting Muslims as agents of censorship and intolerance, it incites the non-Muslim majority against them while presenting the most reactionary fundamentalists as the sole legitimate representatives of Islam.

Self-censorship in Europe also provides the despotic regimes in Muslim countries with an excuse for their systematic violation of the right to free expression. While Muslim writers and artists are fighting and, in some cases, even dying to defend their freedom of creation it would be a sad irony to see that same freedom undermined by the party of "pre-emptive obedience" in the West.
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2006, 05:47:58 AM »

Fiddling While Europe Burns
By Aaron Hanscom
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 23, 2006


"It has become politically correct to attack Islam, and this is making it hard for moderates on both sides to remain reasonable.?

That?s the opinion of Imam Wahid Pedersen, a Danish convert to Islam, quoted this month in a New York Times article. 


Where has Pedersen been these past few years? The truth is that today any criticism of certain aspects of Islam -- whether coming from a documentary film, Danish cartoons, the Pope, or the former British foreign secretary -- results in seething Muslim rage and feeble Western obsequiousness. Indeed, contrary to the laments of sensitive Muslims, recent events have shown that it has actually become politically correct to celebrate Islam at every opportunity. 



There is no better time to celebrate than a holiday, which is why the CNV trade union federation in the Netherlands wants a Muslim feast to be introduced as a bank holiday.  The free day would allow Muslims to celebrate the end of Ramadan during the Sugar Festival. By ?offer[ing] Muslims the freedom to practice their faith,? CNV vice chairman Rienk van Splunder wishes to ?create freedom and respect for one another.? Van Splunder seems to be unaware that the Dutch government already funds schools, mosques, and community centers where Muslims are able to practice their religion. The main barrier to the harmony Van Splunder seeks comes from the fact that a great many of the one million Muslims in the Netherlands desire the freedom to live under Shari?a law.

 

Taking a cue from Dutch politicians like Piet Hein Donner, who has said that he sees no objection to undemocratic Shari?a law in the Netherlands provided it is imposed by ?democratic means," the CNV apparently wants to speed up the process by creating a national Muslim holiday in the Christian nation. To make room for the Sugar Festival, the federation is willing to sacrifice Whit Monday or Easter Monday. Van Splunder may in fact have been correct when he said that these Christian holidays have lost their meaning in an increasingly secularized nation. But replacing them with the celebration of the Islamic month of fasting would be viewed by Muslims as nothing less than a complete rejection by the Dutch of their own traditions.

 

Spain is one county that knows a thing or two about sacrificing their traditions for the benefit of Muslims. The Spanish newspaper El Pais recently reported that several towns in the Valencia region have made some curious changes to their traditional festivals commemorating the liberation of Spain from more than 700 years of Muslim domination.  Apparently, last year?s angry response by Muslims to the publication of the Danish cartoons spooked some Spaniards so much that certain customs practiced during the celebration of the Reconquista have been abandoned.  Exploding Mohammeds -- made by packing the head of a wood-and-cardboard Mohammed dummy with fireworks -- will no longer be seen in the village of Bocairent. The mayor of Bocairent, Antonio Valdes, explained his reasoning: ?It just wasn?t necessary, and as it could hurt some people?s feelings, we decided not to do it.?

 

The mayor?s sentiments are not uncommon.  Mayor Alfredo Sanchez Monteseirin of Seville has suppressed the festive character of the ?Feast of San Fernando? because a joyful celebration of the reconquest of the city in 1248 by King Ferdinand III of Castille might upset Muslims.  Meanwhile, there has been opposition to the ?Toma de Granada,? which celebrates the arrival of the Catholic Kings to the last Muslim holdout on the Iberian Peninsula.

 

The Spanish town of Badajoz has figured out a politically correct way for festivals to be a blast without actually blasting Mohammed dolls: celebrating its founding by Arab invaders.  At this year?s Al-Mossassa festival there was no suppression of traditions, perhaps because it featured veil dancing and not flamenco.

 

Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar talked about the newest double standard in a speech last month at the Hudson Institute: ?It is interesting to note that while a lot of people in the world are asking the pope to apologize for his speech, I have never heard a Muslim say sorry for having conquered Spain and occupying it for eight centuries.?

 

Aznar might have added that the only apologies are coming from guilt-stricken individuals who believe that "Islamophobia" is the biggest threat to world peace. Explaining the genesis of the ?Venise et l?Orient? festival now running in Venice, organizer Marie George Nida told Islam.net: ?The exhibition highlights cross-fertilization between the West and Islam to counter war mongering clich?s that now make international headlines.? Nida?s premise is flawed: International headlines tell of countries like Italy continuing to arrest Islamic terrorists intent on attacking the West.  An Italian city deciding to host an exhibition celebrating Islamic contributions to Western civilization and arts isn?t likely to change any holy warrior?s mind.

 

The real malleable minds are those of young children, which makes a story out of Nyssa, Oregon, so disturbing. A local school district has been teaching the ?five pillars? of Islam and having students learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims. Concerned parent Kendalee Garner told WorldNetDaily.com that her 13-year-old-son is being ?indoctrinated that Islam is a religion of peace, and being dressed up as a Muslim, being taught prayers, and scriptures out of the Quran.?  Superintendent Don Grotting assured parents that students were learning about the ?contributions to math, science, medicine, and the arts by the Muslim population."

 

But it is the automatic celebration of all aspects of Islam that is so disturbing. Honest assessments of Islam, especially from Muslims and their Western apologists, are what will bring about a much-needed reformation in Islam.  Until that day, the gulf between the West and the Muslim world will only widen. 

 

Nowhere is this more evident than in Britain. The British government has long tried to win favor with Muslim minorities by celebrating their differences.  According to the London Telegraph, multicultural favors like using tax dollars to fly Muslim scholars to Britain and encouraging financial institutions to comply with Islamic requirements are only deepening the rift.  A document released by the Church of England revealed the effects of such policies:

Indeed, one might argue that disaffection and separation is now greater than ever, with Muslim communities withdrawing further into a sense of victimhood, and other faith communities seriously concerned that the Government has given signals that appear to encourage the notion of a privileged relationship with sections of the Muslim community.

Here is the uncomfortable truth facing Islam?s Western apologists: Politically correct concessions to the Islamic community, instead of encouraging moderates, have only empowered the extremists.

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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2006, 06:03:12 AM »

It's Not Just Osama
By Carol Gould
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 23, 2006


It is admirable that British police foiled a spectacular terror attack this past summer, and equally noble that the United States has been so supportive to Britain in the war on terror.

But what is of concern is the hour-by-hour, obsessive rhetoric about al Qaeda, al Qaeda and al Qaeda.

We have an appalling situation in Great Britain, where the BBC and BAFTA-winning filmmakers like Adam Curtis use Dr Azzam Tammimi, an avowed enemy of Israel, as ?spokesman? on television programmes. I tell my stunned American colleagues about the proliferation of Muslim ?spokespeople? who pepper the airwaves from dawn until dusk, pontificating about every subject under the sun. In the past eighteen months these experts, ranging from Shami Chakrabarti, Faisal ?Israel Has No Right to Exist? Bodi, Sir Iqbal ?I boycott Holocaust Memorial Day? Sacranie, Mohammed Abdul-Bari, Ghada Karmi, Ahdaf Soueif, Abdul Bari-Atwan and many others have been particularly ubiquitous since July 7, 2005. This is because those in authority in Britain felt that ?reaching out to the Muslim community? would prevent further terror attacks.

To add to this, various liberal and left-wing activists, as well as mainstream politicians, have enjoyed unprecedented access to the media in their campaigns to blame George Bush and his Zionist neoconservative cabal for the ?Muslim rage? rampaging across Great Britain from Glasgow to Cardiff to Luton to London. The new head of the Muslim Council is said to want to see a limited degree of sharia law brought to Britain. The ?Father of the House of Commons,? Tam Dalyell MP, blames a cabal of Jews for American foreign policy that so enrages young British Muslims.

I attended the Islam Channel?s ?Global Peace and Unity Conference? at the ExCel Centre in London in December, 2005, thinking it would be a celebration of Islamic/Arab/Asian culture, food and literature. Since I cannot visit Pakistan, Libya, Sudan, Syria or other Muslim connubations because I would be detained and perhaps beheaded, I felt this was a way to enjoy Islamic culture in safety and security. Sadly I was in for a rude awakening.


Behind a large grey curtain was a crowd of 25,000 angry young Muslims being whipped up to a Jihadist frenzy all day by a succession of viscerally hostile white British agitators that included the keffieh-clad lawyer Michael Mansfield QC, Yvonne Ridley and George Galloway MP. Ridley described Israel as ?that vile little nation? and the British police as ?Jackboot Britain.? Galloway exhorted the crowd to express its hatred of the USA and Israel by taking to the streets. The former cricketer and avowed opponent of Gen Musharraf, Imran Khan, gave a bizarre speech about the poor Germans between the World Wars being like the Muslim world today, humiliated by the Western powers.

Not once in the entire day did anyone mention al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. The hours and hours of rabble-rousing, mostly by British-born Muslims, concentrated on three basic enemies: the United States, Israel and Zionists, wherever they may be. The hatred and aggression of this group is something I will never forget. I felt I was in the midst of a Nuremberg-style rally and was terrified that someone would kill me if they discovered I was American-born and a staunch supporter of Israel.

I was the only non-Muslim writer and filmmaker to attend the event (my full reflection on the day may be found here).

Tonight?s al Qaeda-obsessed reporting on British and American networks is once again ignoring the point Melanie Phillips and other commentators have been trying to drive home for years: that Osama bin Laden does not need to open his mouth for British Muslims to be inspired to plan and stage horrifying atrocities.

The ?Global Peace and Unity? event at the ExCel centre in London in December 2005 left no doubt in my mind that a massive number of British Muslims, mostly young, have been inculcated with abject hatred of Americans and Jews and that Osama?s goading is not necessary to lead them to the ultimate martyrdom. I look at Michael Chertoff tonight and appreciate his vigilance, but he is not surrounded every day, as many of us in London are, by angry young men and women who have been born and educated in their country of domicile and who want to destroy as much as they can in the name of America-hatred and Jew-loathing.

The small community of Anglo Jewry has been at the receiving end of what Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks calls ?a tsunami of anti-Semitism.? This is a double-edged sword: I have met pin-striped-suited Englishmen who have told me they wish more Jews would be killed when suicide bombers attack Israel. I have met otherwise sensible Britons who become embarrassingly loud and abusive about everything under the sun in America, be it food, films, baseball or clothes. This quickly accelerates into a tirade about the Zionists bullying Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Blair into ?crusades? to destroy the Middle East. If sober, educated Britons can rail about Israel and the USA from one end of the British Isles to the other, this creates a lethal mix for the angry young Muslims. ?If the local population hates the bloody Yanks and Jews as we do,? they deduce, ?it is open season for our dream of martyrdom in our quiet houses in Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Hampshire.?

If the eminent historian and novelist An Wilson can rail against Israel and the USA in his weekly columns, does this not give reassurance to radicals? When Brian Sewell vents about, of all things, the ?greedy Jews? of Manchester wanting to build a Holocaust memorial, and the aforementioned Tam Dalyell laments the ?cabal of Jews? that drives Anglo-American policy, do extremists not feel comforted? When the New Statesman prints a cover showing a British Union Jack flag being impaled by a Jewish Star, is this not a partnership with terrorists? When streams of commentators flood television, radio and the print media denouncing the USA and Israel, do the potential airline-bombers not feel reassured they are in heaven on earth?

One day this past summer I was in my local ? Halal? ( this is not meant as a barb -- it is now a Halal- geared bank) branch of my bank when two young men became embroiled in a very public shouting match with one of the managers. She firmly told them that their account had been closed down because of ?large amounts of money going in and going out.? They argued that they had ?20,000 Pounds and will just open a new account? but she suggested they go elsewhere. It was indeed odd that the manager had been so indiscreet as to chastise these young men in public, but one had the impression these scenarios unfolded every day. I have watched young men withdraw massive amounts of cash and stuff it into their jackets or into black bags.

Should I have gone to the anti-terror police? Maybe so. But I did not, worried that I would be regarded as a paranoid Islamophobe. It is this very fear amongst the general population that also contributes to the environment of free-range terror planning.

At my local corner shop in London, run by cockney Jack for forty years, the new owners from Bangla Desh have emptied the shelves of bacon, sausages and even tinned ham and Kotex. They will no longer carry any goods that the majority local population had been buying for generations. Building societies think twice about displaying piggy banks and giving them away to children. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the recent head of the Muslim Council of Britain, boycotts Holocaust Memorial Day and Muslim spokesman Inayat Bungalawala writes to the ?Jewish Chronicle? that the creation of the state of Israel was the great disaster of the last century. The Muslim Public Affairs Council UK (MPACUK) allows shocking rhetoric onto its website but is not proscribed and is opening new branches in Ilford and Birmingham.

These ?leaders? should be bringing their people together with other religious groups in Britain, but what I have seen in the past year has confirmed my worst fears: that the British Muslim community is moving farther and farther away from the tranquil assimilation that every other ethnic and religious group has enjoyed in the United Kingdom. When I first came to England over thirty years ago, brilliant professionals who had not been born here were storming the creative scene, Tom Stoppard, Herbert Wise, Ken Adam amongst them. Other fine minds who have contributed to the rich tapestry of British culture have come from Italy, Africa, the West Indies and America, and they have integrated with ease. From what I saw at the alarming ?Global Peace and Unity Conference,? British Muslim youth are not joining the ranks of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Royal Ballet or the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

It is not Osama who is driving the spectacular rise of terror in Britain. It is the support from the white population, the Israel-bashing from public figures -- London Mayor Ken Livingstone being a prime agitator -- and the support the radicals feel they enjoy from a large swath of Britain that is creating this happy breeding ground. The church has obsessed about boycotting Israel, the media fixate on ?Zionist conspiracies? and the imams, many of whom do not speak English, exhort their young worshippers to anything but ballet lessons, football sessions or outings to the Natural History Museum.

The American and British authorities need to get real about the threat from Britain and Europe and stop concentrating all of their attentions on the madrassahs of Pakistan. The elderly white Highlander and war hero who gave me a lift from the train station to my Scottish holiday hotel spent the entire trip berating me about the evils the Jews, Yanks and Zionists have inflicted on the world. If he is so full of rage, what is the Muslim population feeling, when they know his ilk will give them succour?

What has happened in Britain in this turbulent year did not surprise me. Those of us who live there, in the ?coming Caliphate,? know that the threat is huge, is massively supported and may never be extinguished. I am not hopeful.


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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2006, 05:30:32 AM »

European Muslims worry about frank new Islam debate
Mon Oct 23, 2006 10:29 AM BST



By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain's heated debate about Islamic veils reflects a growing frustration with Muslims in Europe that risks further isolating these minorities rather than integrating them, leading European Muslim activists say.

The new tone in Britain, which Muslims on the continent long saw as a model of tolerance where criticising minorities was politically incorrect, marks a watershed in the way Europeans talk about Islam, they told Reuters.

Islamist radicalism, ethnic segregation and clashes of values must be discussed openly, they agreed, but the increasingly polarised debate squeezes out moderates on both sides.

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sparked off the British debate this month by saying the full facial veils some Muslim women wear hindered integration. Some Muslim leaders called his remarks offensive and accused him of whipping up Islamophobia.

"Intolerance is growing in Europe," said Dalil Boubakeur, president of France's Muslim Council, who saw the new mood as a response to security fears and the radicalisation of a small minority of Muslims who do not accept European values.

"There is a sense we are living in a different time," said Dilwar Hussain, head of policy research at the Islamic Foundation in Britain.

"With all the security concerns, people feel they can be more frank," Hussain said. "The reaction from Muslims is to recede further and further into a sense of victimhood."

The activists said politicians and the media blamed religion for problems that are really economic and social, such as unemployment and discrimination.

"Before, we were just immigrants from Turkey or Morocco or other places, but then they found something to combine us," said Famile Arslan from the Dutch group Islam and Citizenship.

"All immigrant problems have been Islamised. All Muslims have been criminalised," she said.

"NEW OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE"

European policies towards Muslim minorities have ranged from the tolerant British and Dutch "multicultural" path to France's strict ban on Muslim headscarves in state schools.

But the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the bombings in Madrid and London have deepened concerns about whether Europe's 15 million Muslims all accept European values.

"Europeans were stunned to see that even people who were quite integrated could do these things," Boubakeur said.

Ali Kizilkaya, head of Germany's Muslim Council, said Muslims were now seen "as a kind of security problem".

Yazid Sabeg, France's most successful Muslim businessman, accused the media of tarring all Muslims with the terrorist brush. "Demonising Islam by confusing it with Islamism is the new opium of the people," he complained.

One reflex by politicians and the media -- to call on Muslim leaders to denounce violence any time Islamist radicals strike -- was misguided because it identified the peaceful majority with crimes they did not support, the activists argued.

"Muslims in Europe feel the need to apologise for deeds they didn't contribute to," Arslan explained.

DANISH WAKE-UP CALL

The activists agreed the disarray of Muslim communities, which are often split by differences of ethnicity, dogma and politics, frustrated efforts to respond constructively and left radical voices to be the ones most frequently heard in public.

"Muslims are not a homogenous group," said Arslan. "There is no Muslim community. Maybe that is our biggest problem."

Hussain agreed: "There isn't anything like a coherent group of people you can tell what to do or what not to do."

While most activists said public clashes could degenerate into anti-immigrant campaigns, one Danish Muslim leader said the uproar over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad there earlier this year had helped calm tensions by promoting a dialogue.

"The cartoon crisis did function as a wake-up call for both Danish politicians and Muslim leaders," said Yildiz Akdogan, spokeswoman for the Democratic Muslims group.

When more such cartoons surfaced this month, the government promptly denounced them and Muslim leaders avoided exploiting the issue, she said. "The final outcome is good."

 rolleyes
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2006, 06:13:31 PM »

http://www.breakingnews.ie/2006/10/19/story281662.html#

Extremist lawyer wants flag of Islam on Leinster House
19/10/2006 - 5:49:00 PM

The flag of Islam should be flown over Leinster House, an Islamic extremist said tonight.

Speaking in Dublin before addressing a Trinity College debate, Anjem Choudray also reiterated controversial views that Muslim violence is justified in certain circumstances.

The British-born lawyer, 39, angered the Irish Government last year when he said that Ireland risked becoming a target for a 9/11 style attack because it allowed US war planes to refuel at Shannon Airport.

Mr Choudray said: ?As a Muslim, I believe Islam is superior to every other way of life and that it can resolve all the social and economic problems that Ireland suffers from.

?And as a symbol of that, the flag of Islam should be flown over the D?il.

?This is symbolic of the fact that all societies will be run better according to God?s law.?

Mr Choudray, who has visited Ireland several times, was invited by the Philosophical Society at Trinity College to debate Islamic violence with other speakers.

He added: ?I think it is quite important that violence is defined and the Islamic context is presented because it is not as simple to say Muslims can never use any force or violence or fight to defend themselves.

?There is a context where Muslims have a right to defend their lives, their honour and their property.?

Referring to the US military stopovers at Shannon Airport, he said tonight: ?If US warplanes are using Irish soil, then Ireland is seen as aiding and abetting the war on so-called terror.

?Ireland says it has a position of neutrality but I don?t think it is seen that way in the Muslim world at all.?

Mr Choudray also warned that the Pope must be careful with his public statements so that he doesn?t offend Islam.

He said: ?He has enough advisers to tell him that this is a sensitive issue and that Muslims take their religion very seriously.?
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2006, 04:05:51 PM »

France's Permanent Intifada
New York Sun Editorial
October 27, 2006

Only days after the violence in the Paris suburbs erupted onto the world's front pages a year ago, these columns described the battles between the Muslim youths and French police, in a November 4, 2005, editorial,"Intifada in France." We wrote: "If President Chirac thought he was going to gain peace with the Muslim community in France by taking an appeasement line in the Iraq war, it certainly looks like he miscalculated. Today the streets of the French capital are looking more like Ramallah and less like the advanced, sophisticated, gay Paree image Monsieur Chirac likes to portray to the world, and the story, which is just starting to grip the world's attention, is full of ironies. One is tempted to suggest that Prime Minister Sharon send a note cautioning Monsieur Chirac about cycles of violence."

The "Intifada" label was dismissed in many quarters. On November 5, John Lichfield in Britain's Independent wrote "from the centre of the world's most beautiful city" that "despite the inflammatory rubbish written by some right-wing commentators in the French press about a ?Paris intifada', this is not an Islamic insurrection or a political revolution of any kind." He predicted that the riots "will burn themselves out in a few days, just as they have before." The Washington Post editorialized on November 8 that "? It's not the European version of an intifada: Islamic ideology and leaders play no role in the disturbances." Bernard-Henri Levy wrote on November 9 in the Wall Street Journal that "this is not, thank heaven, a matter of an Intifada wearing French colors."

Well one year later, the riots are still going on, and the French themselves are now calling it an intifada. France's Interior Ministry reported that almost 2,500 police officers were "wounded" in the first six months of the year. Rescue workers need police escort in the Muslim dominated suburbs. The AP recently reported from Paris: "On a routine call, three unwitting police officers fell into a trap. A car darted out to block their path, and dozens of hooded youths surged out of the darkness to attack them with stones, bats and tear gas before fleeing. One officer was hospitalized, and no arrests were made. The recent, apparently planned ambush was emblematic of what some officers say has become a near-perpetual and increasingly violent state of conflict between police and gangs in tough, largely immigrant French neighborhoods."

The head of a police trade union Action Police, Michel Thooris, recently told the interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, that the situation in the slums can be described as a "permanent Intifada." Almost every day police cars are pelted by, among other objects, Molotov cocktails. Mr. Thooris told journalists that "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists." He said that "Many youths, many arsonists, many vandals behind the violence do it to cries of ?Allah Akbar' (God is Great) when our police cars are stoned," the AP reported.

We recount this not out of any schadenfreude. But all our lives, we have thought of France in a certain way, as Charles of Gaulle once said. We would actually like to see the Fifth Republic come to its senses and see that its interests are with the rest of the Free World and that appeasement is not an answer, not in France, not in Israel, and not in Iraq. We are not with the anti-immigration movement.

One of France's faults is what we, in one of last year's editorials, called its "failure to integrate its immigrant Muslim community." It's a community that "lives in areas rampant with crime, poverty, and unemployment, much the fault of France's prized welfare system ? Immigration into a country with a dirigiste economy is a recipe for trouble, which is why supporters of immigration into France have long warned of the need for liberalization."

But there has been no liberalization. The French labor market is as inflexible as ever. Unemployment still is in the double digits, and it's highest among the immigrants and minority populations. All this, as we noted, "is compounded by the image France projects of itself to its Muslims, which one can surmise is the reason why Muslims see rioting as the solution to any grievance." Monsieur Chirac didn't join the war in Iraq out of fear of his domestic Muslim population. And so, "unsurprisingly when faced with some unhappiness they believe they can pressure the French state into submission."

The way out for France is two-fold. Firstly to reform its welfare state and allow the Muslim dominated slums to integrate into French society. The second is to send a signal to the French Muslim community that France doesn't buckle under threats, that it sees itself as part of the West, allied with America, Israel, and the Free World. On a domestic level, that means employing Mayor Giuliani-style "zero-tolerance" policing in the suburbs. On a national level, France would do well to send troops to fight the Islamists in Iraq and prove themselves to be true members in the coalition in the war on terror. As it is, France is learning the profound truth of which President Bush has begun speaking in respect of Iraq ? if we retreat, the enemy will follow us home.


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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2006, 05:30:57 PM »

City Journal
The Avant-Garde of the Apocalypse
The Dutch and their Muslims
Theodore Dalrymple
25 October 2006

Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance, by Ian Buruma (Penguin Press, 288 pp., $24.95)
Whatever the other effects of the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh, they have certainly raised the Dutch profile in the global press. A country whose stability, prosperity, and tolerantly pragmatic response to social problems long raised a yawn of ennui among newspaper editors suddenly found itself not only at the forefront of the news but also as emblematic of all the problems of the modern, complex, interdependent, and highly confused world. The Netherlands was suddenly in the avant-garde of the apocalypse, experiencing the coming clash of civilizations. Not since the seventeenth century had Holland been so important.

Ian Buruma seems uniquely placed to explain the Dutch situation to the rest of the world. He is a prolific writer who lived the first half of his life in Holland. Completely fluent in Dutch, he knows his country?s history but has also lived in many other nations and therefore can see his own with an outsider?s, as well as an insider?s, eye. Above all, he focuses on the influence of recent history, and how it is taught and remembered, upon present politics. For example, he wrote a book comparing the ways in which Germany and Japan (both of whose languages he speaks) have dealt with their war records.

The recent Dutch past hampers them in responding to Islamic extremism. The Dutch war record is not glorious: a greater proportion of Dutch Jews wound up deported and killed during the German occupation than of any other Western European country?s. Buruma does not mention that the Dutch also contributed more men to the SS than most other occupied nations. No sooner was the occupation over, moreover, than they engaged in a brutal but hopeless war to retain the East Indies as a colonial possession.

A bad conscience, then, bubbled under the calm, prosperous surface of Dutch life, waiting to emerge at precisely the wrong moment?when Dutch society faced the genuine challenge of Islamic extremism among large numbers of Moroccan immigrants. Frankness then became impossible, and intellectuals drew false analogies between anti-Islamist opinion and the anti-Semitism that had led to the inglorious war record. The Dutch then had to fight with at least one, and sometimes two, hands tied behind their back.

Where self-censorship exists on a large scale, eventually a maverick will arise who breaks the collective silence, often in a rather vulgar and unattractive way. Theo Van Gogh was such a maverick. Coming from a secure background in Holland?s haute bourgeoisie, he felt privileged and safe enough to mock, deride, and insult his society?s conventions: indeed, from an early age, no doubt because of inherent temperament, he felt compelled to do so. For example, he started a scatological magazine, The Dirty Paper, at his primary school. He seems to have come into the world with a desire to shock and get seen doing so.

He thought he was a licensed jester. His ability to shock depended, of course, upon the persistence in Dutch society of the Calvinist mentality of purse-lipped moralism, now as frequently employed against those who dare suggest that the rank, and deeply ideological, hedonism of Amsterdam is not only unattractive but morally reprehensible as against those, such as fornicators, traditionally regarded as sinners. Scratch a Dutch liberal, and you will find a Calvinist moralist not far beneath the surface.

This Calvinism, however, was tolerant to the extent that it did not prescribe slaughter in the streets for those deemed to have insulted it. Its worst sanction was disapproval?precisely what Van Gogh sought. Van Gogh hid under so many layers of rather crude irony that it became impossible to know what he really believed, if anything; and it was beyond his comprehension that anyone would take anything so seriously, or perhaps literally is a better word, as to kill for it.

Van Gogh could be funny. For example, at one public forum, he remarked on his surprise that an Islamist who was taking part in the discussion needed the protection not only of Allah but of bodyguards as well. There may be disagreement about the socio-cultural and psychological roots of Islamism, but a sense of humor certainly isn?t among them. The Islamist left the forum in a rage, with Van Gogh exclaiming, ?Allah knows best! Allah knows best!?

Buruma is good at depicting the crosscurrents of Dutch society. Its political class is?or at least until recently was?a self-selected elite, whose members sought office without ever wishing to change policies. It required its members to be gray and featureless, without flamboyance or ostentation: observing and listening to one ex?prime minister, for example, I thought I was seeing a better-than-averagely-dressed member of an eastern European politburo. He spoke fluently but said nothing; his fleshy face suggested years of official luncheons and dinners in banqueting halls without natural light; I doubt that he had paid for a sandwich for decades.

Meanwhile, back in le pays r?el, pressures and discontents have mounted. The original idea of Dutch employers was that Moroccan men from desperately poor villages would come for a time to provide cheap labor (they liked their immigrants poor and illiterate, because they would be easier to control and less likely to organize and cause trouble), and then go home again once the sweeping or assembling or whatever menial task they were to perform was done. Instead, the men stayed and their families joined them. The assumption was that they would eventually assimilate, once they perceived the full beauty of the Dutch way of life.

The native Dutch population increased arithmetically, that of the immigrants geometrically, until whole neighborhoods, usually of public housing, became in effect Moroccan colonies. As Marx might have put it, the colonizers found themselves colonized.

Three factors retarded the newcomers? integration into Dutch society. The first was a social security system that allowed large numbers of people to subsist without working and therefore without engagement in the wider society, so that the creation of mental ghettoes soon followed the creation of physical ones; the second was the ideology of multiculturalism, which was born of a combination of liberal guilt and indifference to the real fate of immigrants; and the third was the permission given to second generation immigrants to seek their spouses back in Morocco, so that the most retrograde aspects of their parents? native culture could survive.

Interestingly, Dutch-Moroccan young men seek sexual liaisons with European-Dutch girls, whom they regard as being ?easy in the sexual sense,? but prefer Moroccan women (from Morocco) as wives. Village girls, they believe, are compliant, undemanding, obedient, and easily cowed. When you are at the bottom of the social pile, domination of women can seem particularly important and rewarding, and it compensates for all manner of other humiliations. Unfortunately, it is a primitive compensation that inhibits genuine social advance.

Buruma does not disguise from us the unattractive side of a modern and extremely liberal western society such as Holland?s. Returning to live a few months in Amsterdam, he stays in a house in the famous, or infamous, red-light district:

The virtually naked ?window prostitutes,? from all the poor countries in the world, pose in their dimly lit rooms along the canal, in old houses decorated with gracefully carved seventeenth- and eighteenth-century gables and neon signs offering live sex shows. It is easier in that part of town to buy a large electric dildo than a newspaper.
This is not attractive, to say the least; and it is hardly surprising that some reflective young men, with the normal frustrations of youth as well as the difficulties of being not fully at ease in either society, Dutch or Moroccan, turn to a doctrine that seems to them to solve all social and personal problems at once and gives them besides a powerful sense of mission and purpose.

Buruma is quite clear about the absurdity of Islamism as a doctrine. Its intellectual nullity is patent. He lets Islamists and their sympathizers speak for themselves, and perhaps the most startling moment comes when one of his interlocutors, by no means the most stupid, objects to the slaying of Van Gogh because it was done during Ramadan.

However, he is much less clear about what part Islam itself plays in the situation. The subtitle of the book leads us to expect an answer as to whether Islam is now compatible with liberal democracy and the kind of religious tolerance that we took for granted until recently.

Optimists might point to India, for example, which has the second largest population of Muslims in the world, but which has maintained the highest standards of democratic freedom of any country in the Third World. However, pessimists might reply that it is the memory and very real threat of intercommunal violence, from which the Muslims must emerge the overall losers because they are so much in the minority, that keeps freedom alive in India and Muslims loyal to, or at least compliant with, the democratic order. If they scented weakness in the Indian state, they?or rather the Islamists among them?would go on the offensive.

You sense reluctance on the author?s part to tackle the really difficult questions, for fear of being too offensive. He is so judicious that he arrives at no judgment. At the book?s end we are no nearer knowing what the limits of tolerance are or should be than we were at the beginning. For instance, the author treats Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch-Somali woman who made the offending film, Submission, with Van Gogh and now lives under permanent threat of death, with a certain disdain, as if he fears to identify with anyone too closely, and he underscores her privileged background, as if it somehow vitiated her argument that Islam has at the heart of its doctrine and way of seeing the world the justification for oppression and intolerance. This is not to say that all Muslims are oppressive or intolerant, any more than that all people of democratic or egalitarian sentiment treat their social inferiors with deep respect. Hirsi Ali may be wrong in what she says, but it is important to prove her wrong, not merely mildly deprecate her as the scion of privilege and a person given by temperament to extreme positions.

The smell of political correctness wafts gently through the book. We read, for example, that all doctrines have the potential for violent extremism. Is this really true? Quakerism, for example? Does one really expect Christian Scientists to turn politically violent after reading Mary Baker Eddy? On another occasion, Buruma permits a young man of Moroccan origin, who turned out badly though his two brothers did well, to explain without challenge his persistent failure in life, despite his intelligence and obvious ability, by reference to discrimination. Why should he have faced such incapacitating discrimination, and not his two successful brothers? It is possible, of course, that a reason exists, but Buruma does not seek it out.

That said, his book is highly readable, and it is not as if readers of English are well-supplied with books about the cultural and political situation of Holland. Since both Holland and Belgium are now very important, not perhaps in the statistical sense, but in a symbolic sense, since both experience with particular acuteness pan-European problems, this book is welcome. I would have preferred it to be harder-edged, but perhaps that is because I have the makings of a fanatic.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/rev2006-10-25td.html
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2006, 10:35:43 AM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=0TBMNM00S0QNBQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2006/11/02/wfrance02.xml

Youths challenge the French state
David Rennie in Paris
Last Updated: 2:17am GMT 02/11/2006



Symbols of the French state, including policemen, firemen and postmen, are under intensified attack from disaffected youths as the country faces the worst race relations crisis in its history.

Hardly a night passes without gangs ? many of them from immigrant families ? attacking police cars, buses and emergency rescue teams.

   
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a burning city bus

 
Yesterday, the weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur published a confidential report drawn up by a public service trade union, the CGT, containing scores of eye-witness accounts of brutal attacks on public servants who work in the worst suburbs, or "banlieues", from gas board workers to staff from the electricity company.

Its publication follows the revelation that attacks on police have soared this year, with some 14 a day, and a growing number of incidents in which officers have been lured into ambushes.

This has prompted a warning that the day France witnesses the lynching of a policeman is not far off.

The CGT report painted a graphic picture of violence: blocks of cement dropped on paramedic crews; washing machines pushed off balconies on to fire engines; electricity company agents too scared to cut off customers who have not paid bills, after being attacked with knives, guns and fists.

On the Right and Left, politicians have accused youths of singling out symbols of the state, in an attempt to show that they, and not the French republic, are the law in their run-down neighbourhoods.

Shortly after three weeks of rioting that gripped French suburbs last November, Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister and favourite to be the Centre-Right candidate for the French presidency next year, said the violence, which left scores of businesses in ruins and nearly 10,000 cars burned, was above all "territorial". Gangs were trying to seize control of a piece of territory, "and rule it by force", Mr Sarkozy said in an interview with Le Point magazine.

Mr Sarkozy is admired and loathed in equal measure for his vocal pledges to crack down on such "scum", as he called rioters last year, and his policies of sending heavily armed police units into the worst neighbourhoods, in a show of force.

This week, a year later, Le Nouvel Observateur found a clear echo in the views of a politician on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Communist mayor of Sevran, a poor north-eastern Paris suburb. Youths who burned buses or attacked firemen were only hurting their own families and neighbours, who would be deprived of the few remaining public services, said the mayor, Stephane Gatignon. "For them it's a way of showing they exist, that this is their home, their territory."

The banlieues' inhabitants include millions of immigrants. Some police representatives, notably the small, fringe trade union Action Police, squarely blame radical Muslim imams for whipping up the violence, talking of an "intifada" in the banlieues. But a leaked report by the French police intelligence service, the Renseignements G?n?raux (RG), concluded last year that Islamists had "no role in setting off the violence", which it described as a "popular revolt" against the authorities.

A more recent report by the RG, leaked to Le Figaro last month, also reported, in a tone of some relief, that rumours of angry youths in different suburbs linking up in organised networks were not true.

A close study of the CGT trade union report also revealed a less than political motivation for attacks. Many workers from the gas board, electricity or telephone companies reported being attacked after accidentally witnessing drug deals, or stumbling on caches of drugs or weapons belonging to criminal gangs.

Crime in the banlieues is described as a part of life, and while billions of pounds have been spent on some estates many remain grim concrete widernesses with unemployment at 20 per cent, or double the national average, with youth unemployment still higher.

david.rennie@telegraph.co.uk
 
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2006, 02:48:07 PM »

Sorry for the lack of URL.  This came to me on 10/24/06 from a usually reliable source:
==============

Police Tuesday near Osnabrueck, in western Germany, arrested a 36-year-old terrorism suspect, identified only as Ibrahim R., after they had searched his apartment and computer.

The Iraqi man, described by his landlord as "helpful but crazy," had administered an Internet chat room where he supported terrorist ideologies and even tried to recruit new personnel for al-Qaeda.

Police had surveyed him for more than a year and found that he downloaded and disseminated audio and video messages by al-Qaida bosses Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Officials said he likely didn't have direct contacts to al-Qaida, but what he shared with the terror network was a profound hatred against the United States and the West, hatred that he discharged onto the Web.

Rolf Tophoven, a German terrorism expert, recently told United Press International that the Internet, used for "propaganda and inciting purposes," has become the Islamists' most important recruitment tool.

"The Web has turned into something like the University of Jihad -- it has become a virtual self- service shop of Islamist terror," he said. Officials in Berlin agree. Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's interior minister and thus the top security chief, has long called for closer monitoring of the Internet.

Last week's arrest was preceded by a failed train bombing, when two men placed homemade bombs on two regional trains. They had found the plan to build the explosive devices on the Internet, and although the bombs failed to detonate, the attempt shook Germany's intelligence community to the core, as both individuals had not previously appeared as terror suspects.

In recent months, more and more videos have popped up online that have German subtitles, to spread the jihadist messages for converts with little to zero knowledge of Arabic, but a large potential for violence.

In an update of the country's anti-terror laws, lawmakers gave Schaeuble some $165 million to improve the war against online terrorism. Observers say this funding was much needed: While federal police and intelligence agents already comb through the Web on the lookout for terror propaganda, the number of Islamist Web sites has grown exponentially in recent months. The money, the German news magazine Der Spiegel writes in its latest issue, may result into new computers and the creation of an additional 50 jobs assigned to survey the Web.

According to Spiegel Online, Schaeuble as early as the beginning of this year has asked his experts to develop a concept for a new department of Berlin's Anti-Terror Center, a federal institution designed to combat terrorism in Germany. The new department will be called Center for Internet Monitoring and Analysis and will go live in 2007, the magazine wrote. Germany reportedly wants to cooperate with other countries (mainly with the United States and its western European partners) to fight online terrorism.

"More than before and at best round the clock we have to know what happens in Islamist forums, analyze hints for developments and try to arrest possible disseminators of propaganda in Germany," August Hanning, the deputy interior minister, told the magazine.

Some lawmakers even want to go a step further. Uwe Schuenemann, the conservative interior minister of Lower Saxony , wants Web site providers to sign guarantees that they take terrorism-related material off their servers. He also calls for outlawing the download of terrorism videos.

Ingo Wolf, the Free Democrat interior minister of North-Rhine Westphalia, wants to enable law enforcement agents to not only survey terrorism suspects who go online, but also access their hard drives, according to Der Spiegel, via spy ware or similar programs.
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« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2006, 03:36:38 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/10/ap/world/mainD8KLPNSO0.shtml

Germans Nab Iraqi in al-Qaida Web Case
Iraqi arrested in Germany for allegedly spreading al-Qaida messages on Web

 
 BERLIN, Oct. 10, 2006

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(AP) An Iraqi man suspected of spreading messages by al-Qaida leaders on the Internet in the past year was arrested Tuesday in Germany, prosecutors said.

The 36-year-old, who was identified only as Ibrahim R., was arrested near the western city of Osnabrueck, and his apartment was searched, the prosecutors said.

He was accused of spreading audio and video messages by leaders of al-Qaida and al-Qaida in Iraq on the Internet from his home "in several cases since Sept. 24, 2005," _ and "in doing so of having supported these groups in their terrorist activities and aims."

The prosecutors said the messages were from Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri and former al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad in June.

Prosecutors did not elaborate on the man's alleged activities or say how he got the messages.

It was unclear whether the man was suspected of posting the messages on the Web himself or of having circulated messages already online, and there also was no word on whether he was believed to have acted alone.

Prosecutors gave no details of the contents of the messages.

The top security official in Lower Saxony state, Uwe Schuenemann, said the man had been under observation for a year because he had been accused of involvement in another crime, of which he gave no details.

The Iraqi had applied for a residence permit, but it had not yet been approved, Schuenemann said.

The man was to be brought before a federal judge Wednesday for a decision on whether he could be held pending possible charges of supporting a terrorist organization _ a charge that falls short of membership in a terrorist group.

Germany introduced legislation designed to prosecute supporters of foreign terrorist groups on its soil after it emerged that three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had lived and studied in Hamburg.
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2006, 01:55:07 PM »

 

Terrorist threat to UK - MI5 chief's full speech
Following is the full text of a speech delivered on November 9, 2006 by Eliza Manningham-Buller, Director-General of MI5, on the terrorist threat facing the UK:

The International Terrorist Threat to the UK

I have been Director General of the Security Service/M15 since 2002. Before that I was Deputy Director General for five years. During that time, and before, I have witnessed a steady increase in the terrorist threat to the UK. It has been the subject of much comment and controversy. I rarely speak in public. I prefer to avoid the limelight and get on with my job. But today, I want to set out my views on:

the realities of the terrorist threat facing the UK in 2006;
what motivates those who pose that threat
and what my Service is doing, with others, to counter it.
I speak not as a politician, nor as a pundit, but as someone who has been an intelligence professional for 32 years.

2. Five years on from 9/11, where are we? Speaking in August, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police, described the threat to the UK from Al-Qaida-related terrorism as ?real, here, deadly and enduring?. Only last week the Home Secretary said the threat will be ?enduring ? the struggle will be long and wide and deep.? Let me describe more fully why I think they said that. We now know that the first Al-Qaida-related plot against the UK was the one we discovered and disrupted in November 2000 in Birmingham. A British citizen is currently serving a long prison sentence for plotting to detonate a large bomb in the UK. Let there be no doubt about this: the international terrorist threat to this country is not new. It began before Iraq, before Afghanistan, and before 9/11.

3. In the years after 9/11, with atrocities taking place in Madrid, Casablanca, Bali, Istanbul and elsewhere, terrorists plotted to mount a string of attacks in the UK, but were disrupted. This run of domestic success was interrupted tragically in London in July 2005. Since then, the combined efforts of my Service, the police, SIS and GCHQ have thwarted a further five major conspiracies in the UK, saving many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of lives. Last month the Lord Chancellor said that there were a total of 99 defendants awaiting trial in 34 cases. Of course the presumption of innocence applies and the law dictates that nothing must be said or done which might prejudice the right of a defendant to receive a fair trial. You will understand therefore that I can say no more on these matters.

4.  What I can say is that today, my officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don?t know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas. The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world. This view is shared, in some degree, by a far wider constituency. If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July 2005 are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July 2005 attacks in London were justified.  What we see at the extreme end of the spectrum are resilient networks, some directed from Al-Qaida in Pakistan, some more loosely inspired by it, planning attacks including mass casualty suicide attacks in the UK. Today we see the use of home-made improvised explosive devices; tomorrow?s threat may include the use of chemicals, bacteriological agents, radioactive materials and even nuclear technology. More and more people are moving from passive sympathy towards active terrorism through being radicalised or indoctrinated by friends, families, in organised training events here and overseas, by images on television, through chat rooms and websites on the Internet.

5.  The propaganda machine is sophisticated and Al-Qaida itself says that 50% of its war is conducted through the media. In Iraq, attacks are regularly videoed and the footage downloaded onto the internet within 30 minutes. Virtual media teams then edit the result, translate it into English and many other languages, and package it for a worldwide audience. And, chillingly, we see the results here. Young teenagers are being groomed to be suicide bombers. We are aware of numerous plots to kill people and to damage our economy. What do I mean by numerous? Five? Ten? No, nearer??. thirty that we know of. These plots often have links back to Al-Qaida in Pakistan and through those links Al-Qaida gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here on an extensive and growing scale. And it is not just the UK of course. Other countries also face a new terrorist threat: from Spain to France to Canada and Germany.

6. A word on proportionality. My Service and the police have occasionally been accused of hype and lack of perspective or worse, of deliberately stirring up fear. It is difficult to argue that there are not worse problems facing us, for example climate change... and of course far more people are killed each year on the roads than die through terrorism. It is understandable that people are reluctant to accept assertions that do not always appear to be substantiated.  It is right to be sceptical about intelligence. I shall say more about that later. But just consider this. A terrorist spectacular would cost potentially thousands of lives and do major damage to the world economy. Imagine if a plot to bring down several passenger aircraft succeeded. Thousands dead, major economic damage, disruption across the globe. And Al-Qaida is an organisation without restraint.

7.  There has been much speculation about what motivates young men and women to carry out acts of terrorism in the UK. My Service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, as far as that is possible. Al-Qaida has developed an ideology which claims that Islam is under attack, and needs to be defended. This is a powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the West?s response to varied and complex issues, from long-standing disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide. Afghanistan, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir and Lebanon are regularly cited by those who advocate terrorist violence as illustrating what they allege is Western hostility to Islam.

8.  The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by:

perceived worldwide and long-standing injustices against Muslims;
an extreme and minority interpretation of Islam promoted by some preachers and people of influence; 
 their interpretation as anti-Muslim of UK foreign policy, in particular the UK?s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Killing oneself and others in response is an attractive option for some citizens of this country and others around the world.

What Intelligence can do
9.  As I said earlier, I have been an intelligence officer for some 32 years. And I want again to describe what intelligence is and is not. I wish life were like ?Spooks?, where everything is (a) knowable, and (b) soluble by six people. But those whose plans we wish to detect in advance are determined to conceal from us what they intend to do. And every day they learn. From the mistakes of others. From what they discover of our capabilities from evidence presented in court, and from leaks to the media. Moreover intelligence is usually bitty and needs piecing together, assessing, judging. It takes objectivity, integrity and a sceptical eye to make good use of intelligence: even the best of it never tells the whole story. On the basis of such incomplete information, my Service and the police make decisions on when and how to take action, to protect public safety. Wherever possible we seek to collect evidence sufficient to secure prosecutions, but it is not always possible to do so: admissible evidence is not always available and the courts, rightly, look for a high standard of certainty. Often to protect public safety the police need to disrupt plots on the basis of intelligence but before evidence sufficient to bring criminal charges has been collected. Moreover we are faced by acute and very difficult choices of prioritisation. We cannot focus on everything so we have to decide on a daily basis with the police and others where to focus our energies, whom to follow, whose telephone lines need listening to, which seized media needs to go to the top of the analytic pile. Because of the sheer scale of what we face (80% increase in casework since January), the task is daunting. We won?t always make the right choices. And we recognise we shall have scarce sympathy if we are unable to prevent one of our targets committing an atrocity.

And the Service?
10. As I speak my staff, roughly 2,800 of them, (an increase of almost 50% since 9/11, 25% under 30, over 6% from ethnic minorities, with 52 languages, with links to well over 100 services worldwide), are working very hard, at some cost to their private lives and in some cases their safety, to do their utmost to collect the intelligence we need. The first challenge is to find those who would cause us harm, among the 60 million or so people who live here and the hundreds of thousands who visit each year. That is no easy task, particularly given the scale and speed of radicalisation and the age of some being radicalised.  The next stage is to decide what action to take in response to that intelligence. Who are merely talking big, and who have real ambitions? Who have genuine aspirations to commit terrorism, but lack the know-how or materials? Who are the skilled and trained ones, who the amateurs? Where should we and the police focus our finite resources? It?s a hard grind but my staff are highly motivated: conscious of the risks they carry individually; and aware that they may not be able to do enough to stop the next attack. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude and I thank them. On July 8 last year I spoke to all my staff. I said that what we feared would happen had finally happened. I reminded them that we had warned that it was a matter of when, not if, and that they were trained to respond ? indeed many had been up all night, from the intelligence staff to the catering staff. I told them that we had received many messages of support from around the world, and that we, along with our colleagues in the police and emergency services, were in the privileged position of being able to make a difference. And we did. And we have done so since.

11.  My Service is growing very rapidly. By 2008 it will be twice the size it was at 9/11. We know much more than we did then. We have developed new techniques, new sources, new relationships. We understand much better the scale and nature of what we are tackling but much is still obscure and radicalisation continues. Moreover, even with such rapid growth, we shall not be able to investigate nearly enough of the problem, so the prioritisation I mentioned earlier will remain essential but risky. And new intelligence officers need to be trained. That takes time as does the acquisition of experience, the experience that helps one with those difficult choices and tough judgements.

What else can others do?

12.  That brings me on to my final point. None of this can be tackled by my Service alone. Others have to address the causes, counter the radicalisation, assist in the rehabilitation of those affected, and work to protect our way of life. We have key partners, the police being the main ones and I?d like today to applaud those police officers working alongside us on this huge challenge, those who collect intelligence beside us, help convert it into evidence for court, and face the dangers of arresting individuals who have no concern for their own lives or the lives of others. The scale and seriousness of the threat means that others play vital roles, SIS and GCHQ collecting key intelligence overseas, other services internationally who recognise the global nature of the problem, government departments, business and the public.

13.  Safety for us all means working together to protect those we care about, being alert to the danger without over-reacting, and reporting concerns. We need to be alert to attempts to radicalise and indoctrinate our youth and to seek to counter it. Radicalising elements within communities are trying to exploit grievances for terrorist purposes; it is the youth who are being actively targeted, groomed, radicalised and set on a path that frighteningly quickly could end in their involvement in mass murder of their fellow UK citizens, or their early death in a suicide attack or on a foreign battlefield.

14.  We also need to understand some of the differences between non-Western and Western life-styles; and not treat people with suspicion because of their religion, or indeed to confuse fundamentalism with terrorism. We must realise that there are significant differences between faiths and communities within our society, and most people, from whatever origin, condemn all acts of terror in the UK. And we must focus on those values that we all share in this country regardless of our background: Equality, Freedom, Justice and Tolerance. Many people are working for and with us to address the threat precisely for those reasons. Because: All of us, whatever our ethnicity and faith, are the targets of the terrorists.
 
15.  I have spoken as an intelligence professional, describing the reality of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the UK in 2006. My messages are sober ones. I do not speak in this way to alarm (nor as the cynics might claim to enhance the reputation of my organisation) but to give the most frank account I can of the Al-Qaida threat to the UK. That threat is serious, is growing and will, I believe, be with ? us for a generation. It is a sustained campaign, not a series of isolated incidents, It aims to wear down our will to resist.

16.  My Service is dedicated to tackling the deadly manifestations of terrorism. Tackling its roots is the work of us all.
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2006, 09:42:01 PM »

Dutch seek ban on burqas in public


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP)-- The Dutch government, facing re-election next week, said Friday it plans to draw up legislation "as soon as possible" banning the head-to-toe garment known as burqas and other clothing that covers the entire face in public places.
The announcement puts the Netherlands, once considered one of Europe's most welcoming nations for immigrants and asylum seekers, at the forefront of a general European hardening of attitudes toward Muslim minorities.

"The Cabinet finds it undesirable that face-covering clothing -- including the burqa -- is worn in public places for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said in a statement.

"From a security standpoint, people should always be recognizable and from the standpoint of integration, we think people should be able to communicate with one another," Verdonk told national broadcaster NOS.

Basing the order on security concerns apparently was intended to respond to warnings that outlawing clothing like the burqa, worn by some Muslim women, could violate the constitutional guarantee against religious discrimination.

The main Dutch Muslim organization CMO has been critical of any possible ban. The idea was "an overreaction to a very marginal problem" because hardly any Dutch women wear burqas anyway, said Ayhan Tonca of the CMO. "It's just ridiculous."

"This is a big law for a small problem," he said. Tonca estimated that as few as 30 women in the Netherlands wear a burqa and said the proposed law could be unconstitutional if it is interpreted as targeting Muslims.

He also said that the security argument did not stand up.

"I do not think people who have bad things in their minds would wear a burqa," he said.

In the past, a majority of the Dutch parliament has said it would approve a ban on burqas, but opinion polls in advance of national elections on November 22 suggest a shift away from that position, and it is unclear if a majority in the new parliament would still back the government-proposed ban. 

Amsterdam's mayor, Job Cohen, of the opposition Labor party, said he would like to see burqas disappear, though he did not advocate a ban.

"From a viewpoint of integration and communication, naturally it's very bad," he told reporters. "You can't speak with each other if you can't see each other, so in that sense, I'd say myself the less (it's worn), the better."

The issue has resonance throughout Europe, Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw recently caused a stir by saying he wants Muslim women to abandon the full-face veil -- a view endorsed by Prime Minister Tony Blair. In France, the center-right's leading presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has increasingly been adopting some of the rhetoric of the extreme-right.

Germany, which also has a large Muslim immigrant community, has a law banning teachers in public schools from wearing head scarves, but no burqa ban.

In Holland, policies associated with the nationalist fringe in 2002 have been co-opted by the center: holding asylum-seekers in detention centers, more muscle for the police and intelligence services, and visa examinations that require would-be immigrants to watch videos of homosexuals kissing and of topless women on the beach. Everyone must learn to speak Dutch, and Muslim clerics must mind what they say in their Friday sermons for fear of deportation.

The Netherlands is deeply divided over moves by the government to stem the tide of new arrivals and compel immigrants to assimilate into Dutch society. The issue was given added urgency with the 2004 slaying of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic and the failed attempt to expel a Somali-born critic of Islam.

Around 1 million Muslims live in the Netherlands, about 6 percent of the population of 16 million.

After France banned the wearing of head scarves in public schools, the Dutch government decided to leave that question up to individual schools. Most allow head scarves.

The city of Utrecht has cut some welfare benefits to unemployed women who insist on wearing burqas to job interviews. The city claimed the women were using the burqa to avoid working, since they knew they would not be hired.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2006, 08:29:20 AM »

Ser Spiegel, Nov. 17, 2006

Germany's Struggle To Prosecute Terrorists
By Dominik Cziesche

Germany has had little success in jailing suspected accomplices of Mohammed Atta, largely for lack of evidence. A risky foreign mission launched by its security services went badly awry.

On that fateful morning of September 11, 2001, Mohammed Haydar Zammar and Mamoun Darkazanli must have known that their lives were about to change forever. The moment the first images of the blazing World Trade Center hit the screens, Zammar, considered a mentor to the attack's ringleaders by Germany's security services, and Mamoun Darkazanli, long suspected of supporting al Qaeda, were speaking on the phone. Shortly afterward, they met up. For about an hour, Darkazanli later recalled, he and Zammar followed the coverage on TV.


 DPA
Mzoudi on trial (before Hamburg's Higher Regional Court, 2003): Sharing quarters with Mohammed Atta
It was to be their last meeting. For almost five years, Zammar has been languishing in a Middle Eastern prison cell. Darkazanli still lives in his Hamburg apartment, despite the authorities' best efforts to indict him. The fate of these two Islamists epitomizes the dilemma faced by Western democracies in their war against terror. Can it be won without impinging on civilians' constitutional rights? And can a state governed by the rule of law afford to cooperate with countries that use torture in their interrogations?

Zammar was abducted by CIA officers during a trip to Morocco at the end of 2001 and taken to Syria, a country that practices torture. That made Syrian-born Zammar, who had acquired German citizenship in 1982, one of the first victims of "rendition," a U.S. practice that rides roughshod over fundamental legal principles. He is now incarcerated in a 6x3 foot cell, a gaunt shadow of his former 300-pound self.

The German authorities have long been aware of Zammar's circumstances. Back in November 2002, officials from Germany's federal investigative agencies embarked upon a top-secret mission to interview him in Damascus. Their superiors had stipulated in their brief that "under no circumstances may German agencies and their personnel take part, either actively or passively, in torture." If at any time they discovered that a detainee was being treated "inappropriately," they were to halt the mission immediately.

Back in Germany, just after the 9/11 attacks, Zammar had mocked a judge at his trial, saying: "The law obligating me to testify here is not an Islamic law. As a consequence, I do not feel bound by it." But in Damascus, he was proving almost garrulous. Clad in a dark-gray jalabiya and a green army anorak, he chatted to his visitors over pistachios and tea about things that had never passed his lips in Germany. He volunteered, for example, how he had encouraged the 9/11 attackers to enroll at a terrorist training camp.

But Zammar also bemoaned being left to vegetate in his tiny cell. The German officials noted that he looked emaciated, but could discern "no visible sign of infirmity."


The dubious Syrian jaunt did little to further the Germans' 9/11 investigation. Evidence obtained through the efforts of Syrian torturers is inadmissible in a German court. Details of the trip leaked late in 2005 placed Merkel's fledgling government in an embarrassing bind - and left ministers groping for explanations: "It was the unanimous view of all the officials involved" that proper interviewing conditions were "not violated," a spokesperson for the country's new grand coalition said.

In fact, the previous coalition - comprising the Social Democrats and Green Party - had struck a very questionable bargain to secure permission for the interrogation in the first place. In return for access to the prison, the German authorities suspended espionage proceedings against some Syrian intelligence agents. "We wouldn't do that again," says one official today.

The government got itself into trouble of a different kind over Zammar's associate, Darkazanli. In his case, the German investigators played it strictly by the book, but an entire army of German and American experts were unable to produce enough evidence to indict him in Germany.

Probably no other case has damaged Germany's reputation as much as this one, especially in Washington. Intelligence services had to explain why they had not monitored Darkazanli more closely in the build-up to 9/11, while the German federal prosecutor's office was accused of doing too little too late. For weeks on end, the government faced a barrage of media accusations that top suspects had nothing to fear in Germany.

But Darkazanli is by no means the only suspected terrorist to escape prosecution, compounding the impression of legal lethargy. The state's attorneys failed to build cases against most of the hijackers' associates. A handful have quit the country in the interim; some left voluntarily, others were deported. Only one - Ramzi bin al-Shibh - is being held by the U.S. at an undisclosed location.

But many continue to live in Germany - because they are married to German nationals, or still enrolled at universities. And above all because nobody can prove they were complicit in Mohammed Atta's plans.

In the wake of 9/11, the Federal Prosecutor launched proceedings against just two of the terrorists' associates: Abdelghani Mzoudi and Mounir al-Motassadeq, known in Hamburg's department of interior affairs simply as "M & M."

Hamburg's higher regional court sentenced al-Motassadeq to 15 years for being a member of a terrorist organization and an accessory to 3,066 counts of murder. The conviction was then quashed by the country's Supreme Court. In a second trial, the sentence was reduced to seven years. But Germany's Federal Court of Justice this week affirmed his conviction and extended the charges to include 246 counts of abetting murder for the deaths of the passengers and crew members of the airlines used by the hijackers. The court said the evidence proved that al-Motassadeq had been aware that attacks were being planned. It turned the case back to the lower court and said the thousands of deaths in New York and Washington could be taken into consideration when al-Motassadeq is sentenced.

In the original trial - an attempt to convict al-Motassadeq of belonging to a German-based terrorist organization - the courts resorted to sleight of hand. Since supporting foreign terrorist groups was not punishable before September 11, the judges simply reversed the sequence of events. In the court's version, a terror cell based in Germany had decided to carry out attacks in the U.S., before its members traveled to Afghanistan to drum up support. In other words, bin Laden hadn't recruited henchman Atta. Atta was the global mastermind and bin Laden his loyal follower.


Continue to Part 2


---------

Germany's Struggle To Prosecute Terrorists (2)
Return to Part 1

The German Supreme Court rejected this theory as implausible, and overturned the sentence. The lack of statements from key witnesses, including that of Chalid Sheikh Mohammed, also affected their ruling. The strategist behind the attacks is being held by the Americans at an undisclosed location - outside the range of normal jurisdiction, and beyond the reach of even the longest arm of the law. Although German intelligence is privy to some of his testimony, German courts are not - as is also the case with Zammar's statements to the Syrians.

Klaus Tolksdorf, the presiding judge at Germany's Supreme Court, warned that terrorism did not justify "barbarous, uninhibited war." In doing so, he clearly rejected the strong-arm methods advocated by Washington, which former CIA antiterror chief Cofer Black once euphemistically referred to as "taking off our kid gloves." Tolksdorf's words expose the (self-imposed) limitations of the German state, but leave its prosecutors on the horns of a dilemma.


 Knut M?ller / DER SPIEGEL
Islamist Zammar (2001 in Hamburg): "The law is not an Islamic law; as a consequence, I do not feel bound by it"
Like his friend al-Motassadeq, Abdelghani Mzoudi also underwent weapons training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. He even spent some time living at Marienstrasse 54 in Hamburg, the house where the student terrorists hatched their plot. But Hamburg's higher regional court was forced to acquit him, too - again for lack of evidence.

At the trial, the federal prosecution service and representatives of the country's security services had entangled each other in a web of contradictions. While one was insisting that Mzoudi had been in Hamburg when the attacks were planned, the other was claiming the terrorists had hatched their conspiracy in Afghanistan in his absence. Mzoudi was acquitted, and now lives in Morocco, where he unfailingly sings the praises of Germany's legal system.

According to the Hamburg judge Ernst-Rainer Schudt, Germany's criminal law is designed to handle clubs and associations, but is powerless to stop "sporadic fundamentalist cells springing up," organizations that fail to elect treasurers and submit regular reports.

This plays into the hands of men like Mohammed B. and Abderrazek L., just two of scores of students from Islamic fundamentalist circles.

Mohammed B. was an electrical engineering major who flunked his exams twice as long ago as 1995. After that he reported sick before each further test, to avoid being thrown off his degree program. He was friends with two of Atta's alleged accomplices, Said Bahaji and Zakariya Essabar, both of whom are still at large. In March 2000, his Internet connection was used twice to access a website containing information on U.S. flying schools. But not by him, he claims.

He once wrote to his uncle in Morocco that the Germans were waging war on Islam, but would never win. In the fall of 2003 he returned to Morocco of his own free will; there was no evidence to justify deportation.

Abderrazek L., a short, stocky man, once shared an apartment with Mzoudi. Among his possessions the police found one video showing Chechen Mujahideen beheading a captive. And another in which imams encourage good Muslims to "kill the children of the unbelievers ... drag off their women and destroy their homes."

Once again, the authorities hit a brick wall. "I'd like to stress that being someone's acquaintance doesn't necessarily mean 'knowing' them," said Abderrazek L., detailing his links with the hijackers' associates. "We are all Muslims, and at the mosque we are all brothers." He knew most of those involved in the attacks, but without knowing much about them, he claimed.

And what about the videos? "I didn't watch them all from beginning to end," he professed. And anyway, who's to say he shares the imam's views? He didn't think the attacks of 9/11 were "all that good" - given all the innocent victims, he says.

Abderrazek L. has at least left the country: one of the first from the wider group of people linked with the terrorists. But in the war on terror, his case neither raises the German judiciary's profile nor enhances its image.

In the beginning, things had looked so different. Immediately after September 11, the Germans seemed on the brink of dramatic breakthroughs. Within days the police had made rapid progress, documenting the key information and major participants. They searched Darkazanli's apartment just 48 hours after the attacks, confiscating papers and instructing him to report for questioning two days later. Which he did: the following Saturday Darkazanli duly turned up and was interrogated from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


 AP
Convicted terrorist al-Motassadeq: Accomplice in the murder of 246 passengers and crew members
"How long have you known Said Bahaji?" he was asked about a man who continues to evade capture. "Does the name Mohammed Zammar ring a bell?" And: "Do you know Abdelghani Mzoudi?" They questioned him about the hijackers and about bin al-Shibh, one of the plotters.

They also quizzed Darkazanli about his business connections. "Don't you find it strange that your business partners in the United States are all in jail for their parts in bomb attacks?"

His answer: "No. I was just looking to make some money with these people. In my line of business, I can't be expected to know what everyone else is up to."

The authorities first took an interest in Darkazanli's unusual connections as early as 1993, when they intercepted a wire transfer from his wife's bank account to the suspected head of an Afghan training camp. The alleged purpose of the payment: "child support." Then there was the discovery of a photo showing Darkazanli wielding a submachine gun in Afghanistan's mountainous Hindu Kush region. And then there was his alleged involvement in the purchase of a ship for al Qaeda, contributing - according to Spanish investigators - 152,000 deutschmarks toward the total price of 760,000 deutschmarks. Darkazanli insists that none of these transactions are connected to terrorism.

In 1998, Mamduh Mahmud Salim - Osama bin Laden's purported financier - was arrested in Bavaria. Since that day Darkazanli, who had power of attorney for one of Salim's accounts in Frankfurt, has been eyed as a major catch.

Federal investigators twice asked prosecutors to institute legal proceedings against Darkazanli prior to 9/11. But they refused.

And so he stayed in his home on a leafy side street in Hamburg's Uhlenhorst quarter, a few steps from the Alster Lake. In the days following the attacks, local joggers were joined by hordes of camera crews, journalists and investigators - all demanding an explanation for the crime. But as he has repeatedly done, Darkazanli denied any links with al Qaeda.

Today, the crowds have disappeared. It looks as if Darkazanli is living happily ever after, having yet again slipped through the prosecution's net, unlike his friend Zammar. And at first glance it seems as if the authorities have suffered yet another setback in their war against terrorism.

But appearances can be deceiving. Before the German parliament retired for its summer recess, it ratified new legislation on EU arrest warrants, allowing the extradition of German nationals to other EU states. This could prove crucial to the Spanish authorities who have long been demanding Darkazanli's handover. Unlike their German counterparts, Spanish prosecutors believe they have the evidence to prove Darkazanli's membership in al Qaeda. They see him as an accomplice of the Islamic fundamentalist Imad Yarkas, who was given a 27-year sentence for his role in the 9/11 attacks.

Darkazanli appealed successfully against the attempted deportation at Germany's Constitutional Court. He was due to be put on an Iberia Airlines flight from Berlin's Tegel Airport to Madrid's Barajas Airport, but the judges suspended the extradition order minutes before take-off. The court requested increased safeguards for German citizens against extradition, which should only be permitted, they ruled, "in cases where the offense has a typical cross-border dimension from the outset and shows a corresponding gravity, as is the case with international terrorism or organized trafficking in drugs or human beings." The government lawyers returned to the drawing board.

It was a convoluted process, they say - unlike the case of Zammar, who was simply blindfolded, bundled onto a plane, and spirited away to a torture chamber. With Darkazanli, the legislation had to be meticulously worded, reworded and reworded again; there were thirty-odd drafts in all. The final law represents the German civil servants' riposte to the mob-like methods of the war on terror. Darkazanli, they say, has yet to fully appreciate the danger he faces.

But - they suspect - that will soon change.
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2006, 05:45:25 AM »

A German friend shares these two articles with me about prosecuting Islamofascists in Germany
=======================

The Spiegel is Germanys largest and most famous magazine for politics, economics and social matters. It also is very critical. You may be interested:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,448921,00.html
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,449003,00.html

My friend's comments on these two articles:

Ever since the attempted bombings on two trains in Germany, people have become more aware that they could be a potential target for terrorists. As the German government strictly abides torture any kind of illegal action to gather information, they have had a hard time to collect evidence. As you may read as an example in the second story, evidence obtained by the Syrians were not admissible in the German court. Despite the struggle for a verdict, this trial will be the first of many to come. Germany already expelled some radical muslim leaders (one was brought back to Turkey to face trial there). It's a slow development, but Germany wil have more expierence next time and be able to handle such a case more quicker in compliance with german civil law or as the articles closing statement goes "The final law represents the German civil servants' riposte to the mob-like methods of the war on terror."

Motasseq has now been arrested to await the final verdict.


--------------------

In its online-edition the Spiegel magazine has dedicated a website to the topic of Muslims in Europe, collecting all its english articles. You may be interested:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,k-6817,00.html


----------------

Several very interesting articles in the final URL.? Very valuable to get the perspective of a major mainstream German publication -- all in English!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2006, 06:28:06 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2006, 06:11:23 AM »

Here is one of the articles in that final URL:
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http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,442180,00.html

PRINCE KARIM AGA KHAN IV.
Prince Karim Aga Khan IV is considered to be the direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad and, as the 49th imam, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims. A minority community within the Muslim faith, the Ismailis include some 20 million members scattered across 25 countries in Central Asia, Europe and Eastern Africa. The Aga Khan himself lives near Paris in Aiglemont Palace. Born near Geneva, the prince grew up in Kenya, Switzerland and London before being educated at Harvard. At the age of 20, he succeeded his grandfather as the Aga Khan, thus becoming a religious leader and the administrator of billions in assets. Fed by his family inheritance and a 10 percent tithing fee from Ismaili Muslims, the Aga Khan channels much of the money into the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the world's most important private development aid organizations. The Aga Khan has two sons from his first marriage - - Rahim, 34, and Hussein, 32. He also has a son from his second marriage to the German princess Gabriele zu Leiningen - - six- year- old Ali Mohammed. The Aga Khan must name one of his sons as his successor, but that choice will remain a secret until his death.
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SPIEGEL: Your Highness, in a lecture Pope Benedict XVI quoted Emperor Manuel as saying: "Show me just what Muhammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as a command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." This quotation from the 14th century has caused great uproar in the Muslim world. Why? And what was your reaction?

Aga Khan: From my point of view, I would start by saying that I was concerned about this statement because this has caused great unhappiness in the Islamic world. There appears to be momentum towards more and more misunderstandings between religions, a degradation of relations. I think we all should try not to add anything to worsen the situation.

SPIEGEL: Benedict XVI did explicitly dissociate himself from the emperor's quoted statement. The pope's own position with regard to his lecture is that he wanted it to promote a dialogue; and since then, several times, he has expressed his respect for the world religion that is Islam. Was it just an unfortunate choice of words? Or was he deliberately misunderstood?

Aga Khan: I do not wish to pass judgement on that, nor can I. And it might also be unreasonable for me to presume that I know what he meant. But that (medieval) period in history, to my knowledge, was one of the periods of extraordinary theological exchanges and debates between the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world. A fascinating time. The emperor's statement does not reflect that, so I think it is somewhat out of context.

SPIEGEL: The theme of Pope Benedict's lecture was different, it was one of his favorites: the link between faith and reason which, he said, implies a rejection of any link between religion and violence. Is that something you could agree on?

Aga Khan: If you interpret his speech as one about faith and reason then I think that the debate is very exciting and could be enormously constructive between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world. So I have two reactions to the pope's lecture: There is my concern about the degradation of relations and, at the same time, I see an opportunity. A chance to talk about a serious, important issue: the relationship between faith and logic.


SPIEGEL: If the pope were to invite you to take part with other religious leaders in a debate about faith, reason and violence, would you accept?

Aga Khan: Yes, definitely. I would, however, make the point that an ecumenical discussion at a certain stage will meet certain limits. Therefore I would prefer to talk more about a cosmopolitan ethic stemming from all of Earth's great faiths.

SPIEGEL: Does Islam have a problem with reason?

Aga Khan: Not at all. Indeed, I would say the contrary. Of the Abrahamic faiths, Islam is probably the one that places the greatest emphasis on knowledge. The purpose is to understand God's creation, and therefore it is a faith which is eminently logical. Islam is a faith of reason.

SPIEGEL: So, what are the root causes of terrorism?

Aga Khan: Unsolved political conflicts, frustration and, above all, ignorance. Nothing that was born out of a theological conflict.

SPIEGEL: Which political conflicts do you mean?

Aga Khan: The ones in the Middle East and in Kashmir, for example. These conflicts have remained unresolved for decades. There is a lack of urgency in understanding that the situation there deteriorates, it's like a cancer. If you are not going to act on a cancer early enough, ultimately it's going to create terrible damage. It can become a breeding ground for terrorism.

Now to the issue of spreading faith by the sword: All faiths at some time in their history have used war to protect themselves or expand their influence, and there were situations when faiths have been used as justifications for military actions. But Islam does not call for that, it is a faith of peace.

SPIEGEL: It's true that horrible crimes were committed in the name of Christianity, for example by the crusaders. That was long ago, that's the past. But jihadists commit their crimes now, in our times.

Aga Khan: It is not so far in the past that we have seen bloody fights in the Christian world. Look at Northern Ireland. If we Muslims interpreted what happened there as a correct expression of Protestantism and Catholicism or even as the essence of the Christian faith you would simply say we don't know what we are talking about.

SPIEGEL: "The West (will stand) against the Rest" wrote Professor Samuel Huntington in his famous book "Clash of Civilizations." Is such a conflict, such a clash inevitable?

Aga Khan: I prefer to talk about a clash of ignorance. There is so much horrible, damaging, dangerous ignorance.

SPIEGEL: Which side is responsible?

 
Aga Khan: Both. But essentially the Western world. You would think that an educated person in the 21st century should know something about Islam; but you look at education in the Western world and you see that Islamic civilizations have been absent. What is taught about Islam? As far as I know -- nothing. What was known about Shiism before the Iranian revolution? What was known about the radical Sunni Wahhabism before the rise of the Taliban? We need a big educational effort to overcome this. Rather than shouting at each other, we should be learning to listen to each other. In the way we used to do it, by working together, with mutual give-and-take. Together we brought about some of the highest achievements of human civilization. There is a lot to build on. But I think you cannot build on ignorance.

SPIEGEL: Nonethless, it is striking that a particularly large number of Muslim-dominated states figure among the most backward and undemocratic states in the world. Is Islam in need of an era of enlightment? Is the faith even incompatible with democracy as others claim?

Aga Khan: As I said before, one has to be fair. Some of the political leaders have inherited problems that are in no way attributable to the faith. New governance solutions have to be tested and validated over time. Nor do I believe Muslim states are systematically economic underperformers. Some of the fastest growing economies and some of the most successful newly industrialized countries are in the Islamic world. Now concerning democracy: My democratic beliefs do not go back to the Greek or French (thinkers) but to an era 1,400 years ago. These are the principles underlying my religion. During the prophet's life (peace be upon him), there was a systematic consultative political process. And the first imam of the Shiites, Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Hazrat Ali, emphasized: "No honor is like knowledge, no power is like forbearance, and no support is more reliable than consultation."

------

SPIEGEL: If pluralism, civil society and Islam can coexist harmoniously, as was proven in the past, then why is this so seldom achieved nowadays?

Aga Khan: I think we have a very diverse situation in the Islamic world. Wealthy countries with enormous ressources, newly industrialized countries, extremely poor ones.

SPIEGEL: Not many are functioning democracies.

Aga Khan: People speak about failed states. I do not think that states can fail, but democracies certainly can. The failure of democracy is not specific to the Islamic world. Indeed, about two years ago, the United Nations carried out an in-depth analysis of democracy in South America. About 55 percent of the population in South American states said that they would prefer to live under a paternalistic dictatorship instead of an incompetent or corrupt democracy that is not improving their living condition.

SPIEGEL: Most of your Ismaili constituency lives in states that cannot be called perfect democracies: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. What makes democracies fail?

Aga Khan: I ask myself every day what we can do to sustain the multiple forms of democracy, to make these forms of government work, whether it is in Latin America, Africa or the Middle East.

SPIEGEL: And what do you believe to be the answer?

Aga Khan: I admit that I live in a mood of frustration. What is the point in these areas of the world of carrying out a referendum in a population that essentially cannot read and write? What is the point in testing a constitution with a population that knows no difference between a presidential regime or a constitutional monarchy? Elections, constitutions -- all this is necessary, but not sufficient. I think we have to accept that countries have different histories, different social structures, different needs, so we have to be a great deal more flexible than we have been.

SPIEGEL: Nor is democracy monolithic. The American model of democracy is no panacea for the rest of the world. Has George W. Bush aggrevated the situation with his particular way of bringing democracy to the Middle East? Can the United States still win the war in Iraq?

Aga Khan: I am very, very worried about Iraq. The invasion of Iraq had an impact across the world like nothing before in modern times. The invasion has unleashed every force in the Islamic world, including the relations between the Arabs and non-Arabs and the relationship between the Shia und the Sunni.

SPIEGEL: You mean the war created a new terrorist base and radicalized people?

Aga Khan: Indeed. It mobilized a large number of people across the Islamic world, who before then were not involved, and indeed I think they did not want to be.

SPIEGEL: Do you share the view of the American professor and Islam expert Vali Nasr that the balance of power in the Muslim world is undergoing a decisive shift, that Shiites could become the most influential force from Baghdad to Beirut, that the future of the Middle East will be shaped by wars between different Muslim factions?



 Aga Khan: When the invasion of Iraq took place, we were told two things: (that there would be) regime change and democracy. Well, anyone who knew the situation in Iraq, as you did, I did, but what did that mean? That meant a Shia majority; it could not have been otherwise. Anyone who then concludes that the next issue is a Shia majority in Iraq is going to start thinking, What does that mean in the region, what does it mean in the Islamic world, what does it mean in relation to the West? All that was as clear as daylight, you didn't even have to be a Muslim or a scholar to know that.

SPIEGEL: In your opinion, was it pure ignorance and naivete that made the Bush government start the war? Was it really about introducing democracy or a strategic decision about conquering oil fields and military bases?

Aga Khan: I wish I could answer that question.

SPIEGEL: Are you in contact with the religious leaders in Iraq, like Grand Ayatollah Sistani? And with the religious leaders of Iran as well?

Aga Khan: We have frequent contacts with important personalities in both countries.

SPIEGEL: What would it take to get you to go to the region as a mediator?

Aga Khan: This is, at the moment, not one of my priorities. One day maybe, we might consider (participating in the) reconstruction (effort).

SPIEGEL: When you compare the invasion in Iraq with the one in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida worked hand in hand ...

Aga Khan: ... there I see a completely different picture. First of all, the Afghan regime at the time was quasi totally detested by the people; it was equally unpleasant for Sunnis as it was the for Shias and it was totally unacceptable I think just in terms of overall civilized life.

SPIEGEL: Afghanistan is currently being confronted with major problems and the situation seems to be deteriorating by the hour. What went wrong? And what can the West do to make the situation more stable?

Aga Khan: The security situation is indeed very worrying -- it is getting worse, especially in the south. Most of our projects are in the capital and in the north where (the situation) is better but not satisfying. We can supply energy from Tajikistan, we can provide civil services. We try to avoid the danger that certain areas in Afghanistan will be rehabilitated more quickly than others. If this development overlaps with ethnic divides you have another problem. But the main problem is that most people in Afghanistan have not seen an improvement in their daily lives. The process of reconstruction does not seem to be penetrating. We have not succeded in bringing a culture of hope to this country. One of the central lessons I have learned after a half century of working in the developing world is that the replacement of fear by hope is probably the most powerful trampoline of progress.

SPIEGEL: President Karzai is a personal friend of yours. Many people see him as a weak leader, and some call him "Mayor of Kabul" because he is unable to control large parts of the country.

Aga Khan: We should do everything to help him. He has an enomously complex agenda to deal with. He is our best hope. And besides, he is the elected leader and we have to work with the parliament.

SPIEGEL: Even if warlords and a former members of the Taliban are represented in Afghanistan's parliament?

Aga Khan: You either accept the results of democracy or you don't. Otherwise you talk about qualifying democracy.

SPIEGEL: That means the West should deal with the radical Islamist Hamas as well?

Aga Khan: You have to work with whoever the population has elected as long as they are willing to respect what I call cosmopolitan ethics. Now, it's true that Hamas has a record of conflict ...

SPIEGEL: ... of outright terror ...

Aga Khan: ... but it would not be the only time that movements that have such a record make it into parliament, and even end up in charge of government later on. Can I remind you of Jomo Kenyatta and his Mau Mau movement in Kenya, for example, or the ANC in South Africa? Take away the causes of extremism and extremists can come back to a more reasonable political agenda. That change to me is one of the wonderful things about the human race.

SPIEGEL: You know Syria's president, Bashar Assad, very well. You recently visited him again in Damascus. In contrast to the American administration, the German government is trying to get him involved in the Middle East peace process.

Aga Khan: I would like to compliment the German government and others in Europe who have taken the decision to invite President Assad to be a party to the peace process. The process of change from decades of political directionalism is something that needs time, as you saw in East Germany. I think there are many reasons to go out of our way to assist Syria in making the transition from the past to the future.

SPIEGEL: If you look back at the years that have passed since World War II -- the Cold War between the East and the West, the ideological conflict with communism -- would you ever have thought that this conflict could be replaced by one between the West and radical Islamists?


Aga Khan: I beg you, please get away from the concept of a conflict of religion. It is not such a conflict. Nobody will ever convince me that the faith of Islam, that Christianity, that Judaism will fight each other in our times -- they have too much in common. That's why I am talking about this global ethic which unites us all. That's why we are trying to work with the Catholic Church in Portugal on a program aimed at immigant minorities. I am aware of a sense of disaffection with the society that many young Muslims feel because they think that the Western society has the intention of marginalizing or damaging them.

SPIEGEL: The German government just organized a conference with many different Muslim groups and personalities who live in Germany. Do you consider such a forum useful or is it just window dressing?

Aga Khan: We can avoid misunderstandings by having such a forum where people from different faiths consult each other so they understand what really affects them. Once you have committed an offense all you can do is to try and reverse it. Anyone who knows the faith of Islam, for example, would have known that the caricatures of the prohet were profoundly offensive to all Muslims.

SPIEGEL: Again, this whole affair was misused by radical Islamists. They added caricatures much more offensive than the original ones to incite the masses.

Aga Khan: But I am told that there was an internal debate between the editors of that publication and they actually knew what they were doing. They took a risk and somebody should have said to them, Why get into that situation? Now we are talking about civility, which is a completely different concept. If we are talking about civility in a pluralist society, then how do you develop that notion of civility, particularly where there is ignorance. And that's the thing that's worrying. And that's why I get frustrated when I see these situations that go on and on and on. Because I'm not willing to believe that they are all inspired by evil intent.

SPIEGEL: Provocative, sad and distasteful. But the freedom of the press is one of the highest values in our democracy. We have to balance one thing against the other and we will allow non-believers to express even outrageous opinions.

Aga Khan: I think that you are now referring to one of the most difficult problems that we have and I don't know the answer. The industrialized West is highly secularized; the Muslim world is much less secularized and that stems largely from the nature of the faith of Islam, which you know and I know has an intrinsic meshing with everyday life. And that is a scenario where people of goodwill need to think very, very carefully.

SPIEGEL: In some of your speeches you mentioned Kemal Atat?rk in a positive context. Turkey followed his path and is one of the very few countries with a predominant Muslim population where there is separation of church and state. Would you like to see others go the same way?

Aga Khan: I am not opposed to secularism as such. But I am opposed to unilateral secularism where the notions of faith and ethics just disappear from society.

SPIEGEL: Your Highness, we thank you for this interview.

Interview conducted by Stefan Aust and Erich Follath.

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« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2006, 06:16:14 AM »

Hope I'm not overloading everyone's reading time this morning!? Here's more from Germany:

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http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,446120,00.html

More than 70 Muslim workers have been stripped of their security clearances at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport for alleged links to terrorist organizations. Now the unions representing the workers are threatening to strike.



When French nationalist politician Phillipe de Villiers decried the "Islamization of France" in his book "The Mosques of Roissy" this spring, he was called xenophobic, extremist, paranoid -- and a best-selling author. Indeed, despite some heavy criticism of his views, the French were snatching up his book in droves, and the government started heeding his warnings.

"Islamists and criminals from the housing projects are working in concert to put the airport under Shariah law, threatening managers and the rare employees of French origin," he wrote. Two months after de Villiers' claims that "Allah's workers" had access to sensitive security zones at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy ordered all unofficial prayer sites in the airport closed. Now, as a result of an anti-terrorism investigation, 72 Muslim airport employees have been stripped of their security clearances.

The workers -- who are mainly baggage handlers and aircraft cleaners -- are accused of having visited terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. One is thought to have been close to a senior figure in an Algerian terrorist group with links to al-Qaida, and another is thought to have been a friend of "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid. Reid is currently serving a life prison sentence in Colorado for attempting to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami in 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoe.

Charles de Gaulle airport -- also called the "Roissy" -- is located north of Paris, and many of its employees are Muslims of north-African descent who live in the rundown suburbs nearby. De Villiers claims in his book that clandestine mosques line the tunnels beneath the airport's runways and that some luggage handling companies employ members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Workers and unions complain the suspensions amount to religious discrimination. Legal suits and labor strikes are on the table. France's largest trade union, the CFDT, filed a discrimination lawsuit in mid-October over the revocations, while 10 affected workers are taking legal action in individual capacities. Now the unions representing the airport workers have announced that they are meeting next Tuesday to consider strike action. On the following Friday, a court in Cergy-Pontoise will hear the case for unfair dismissal brought by six men who were sacked.

?
Jacques Lebrot -- the French government official who oversees the airport -- insists that religion is not the issue. "Monsieur or Madame X who goes to pray in a mosque and travels to Mecca for the pilgrimage is not the problem for us. But we will ask questions if we find someone who has spent holidays several times in Pakistan," he told reporters. Eric Moutet -- a lawyer for the suspended workers -- told the New York Times: "We have not seen any objective evidence against our clients. The only common denominator we see today is that they are all Muslim."

For de Villiers, though, that may be reason enough. As head of the far-right party, Movement for France, he's basing his 2007 presidential bid on an anti-immigrant platform. His campaign is unlikely to garner any significant proportion of the vote, but he's sure to sell a few more books.

-----------------------
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,445757,00.html
AFTER HEADSCARF COMMENTS
Police Protection for German Parliamentarian
A German parliamentarian of Turkish origin has called for Muslim women to throw off their headscarves and embrace Western values. After receiving death threats for the remarks, she is under police protection. Politicians are defending her right to free speech.

With the increased focus on immigrants in Germany, it sometimes seems like integration success stories don't exist. They do. And Ekin Delig?z is one of the country's finest. A Turkish-born German citizen, she now serves in the seat of German democracy, the Bundestag. But, cultural emissaries like Delig?z don't only build bridges, they also sometimes expose the vast differences that make their existence so crucial.

That, in fact, is why Delig?z is now kept company by a police detail. The Green party member has received death threats for calling on Muslim women to take off their headscarves and to embrace German society and values two weeks ago. "You live here, so take your headscarf off," Delig?z was quoted by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper as saying.

In addition to the threats, she has also been the victim of a negative media campaign in Turkey with tabloid stories comparing her to the Nazis. In a letter of complaint written to the Turkish Ambassador by the head of the Green Party Renate K?nast, she indicated that Delig?z had been "insulted in writing, by telephone, and also in person ... overwhelmingly by Turkish men."

Delig?z sees the headscarf as a symbol of female oppression and patriarchy. If it were just a fashion accessory, she says, "then I wouldn't now be under police protection."

A number of Muslim organizations in Germany have accepted an invitation from K?nast and the Greens to discuss the threats and to talk about "behaving with respect toward each other."


 
Meanwhile, a number of German politicians are vociferously denouncing the threats and defending Delig?z's right to freedom of speech. "It is absolutely legitimate that a woman who is Muslim herself ... makes this appeal, said German Interior Minister Wolfgang Sch?uble. In an interview with the German radio station RBB, he continued, "What we lawmakers must decisively support is that someone can voice these opinions and that one doesn't need police protection to do so."

Norbert Lammert, president of the Bundestag and a close ally of Chancellor Merkel, called the threats "a severe attack on the core values of our constitution."

Delig?z is pleased at the support the German government has provided. "Most threats were supposed to intimidate me," she said, "but in a democratic society it should be possible to also express a critical opinion."


« Last Edit: November 20, 2006, 06:19:29 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2006, 04:19:43 AM »

**On the whole, the western born/western educated jihadists tend to be from middle class, even upper class socioeconomic backgrounds. So we know they aren't "depraived because they are deprived".**

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/world/europe/26crevic...epage&pagewanted=all

British Terror Trial Traces a Path to Militant Islam


In 2004, the British authorities received a tip from a suspicious employee of a storage warehouse outside London, above, that Nabeel Hussain, one of the defendants in the conspiracy trial, was storing a large amount of fertilizer there.



By ELAINE SCIOLINO and STEPHEN GREY
Published: November 26, 2006

LONDON, Nov. 25 ? More than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer suitable for making bombs was locked in a rented storage warehouse. A cookie tin of aluminum powder was hidden behind a garden shed. Young British Muslims underwent military training at guerrilla camps in remote parts of Pakistan. Suspects, surreptitiously taped by the police, talked about bombing targets in Britain.


At the storage site, the police found more than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer which could fuel a blast.


A search at a defendant?s home turned up a cookie tin of aluminum powder, another possible bomb ingredient.



Omar Khyam and Salahuddin Amin, defendants linked to an alleged bomb plot; Mohammed Junaid Babar, a prosecution witness; and Mohammed Momin Khawaja, awaiting trail in Canada in connection with same case.

Enter a computer technician in Canada experimenting with remote-controlled detonation devices and a collaborator-turned-informer from Queens testifying about secret meetings with operatives of Al Qaeda.

For eight months, the tale of the Operation Crevice Seven has been unfolding in a cramped, windowless courtroom in the Old Bailey in London.

On trial are seven men, ages 19 to 34, six of them with family roots in Pakistan. Arrested in 2004, they are charged with involvement in a criminal conspiracy to make explosives to commit murder, allegations that they all deny. Their target, the authorities say, was unclear ? a nightclub, perhaps, or a shopping mall, public utilities, a British airliner or even the House of Commons.

But investigators say the evidence reveals the workings of the kind of cell most feared by officials in Europe. Young Muslims, radicalized by local imams and trained at military camps in Pakistan with vague connections to Al Qaeda, plan an attack at home with help from outside terrorists.

The July 7, 2005, London transit bombings and the alleged London-based plot uncovered last August to blow up airliners also involved disaffected British youths of Pakistani descent, some of whom had traveled to Pakistan for family visits, study and perhaps training.

In a speech this month, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the director general of the British security service known as MI5, disclosed that intelligence officers were watching 1,600 people ?who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas.?

She said they had identified nearly 30 plots that ?often have links back to Al Qaeda in Pakistan and through those links Al Qaeda gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here.? She said other countries ? Spain, France, Canada and Germany ? faced similar threats.

Dame Eliza?s comments echo concerns among intelligence officials throughout Europe that remnants of Al Qaeda?s network, disrupted after Sept. 11, were reconstituting in the tribal areas on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Crevice defendants deny they were a conspiratorial cell. Some admit to training in Pakistan but insist they had a goal other than attacking Britain, notwithstanding the fertilizer stored near London. They said they supported jihad in Afghanistan and the liberation of Kashmir, a disputed area between Pakistan and India.

One defendant, Salahuddin Amin, a 31-year-old part-time taxi driver from Luton, testified Tuesday that he started donating money to help Kashmir in 1999. Then he moved to Pakistan in 2001 and became a conduit directing assistance from Britain to Afghan refugees in Pakistan, he said.

But prosecutors charge that Mr. Amin, who knew some of the other Crevice defendants from Britain, became a link between them and militants in Pakistan. They said he and others attended a two-day course in Pakistan to learn to make fertilizer-based explosives. In videotaped confessions to the British police after his arrest in 2005, he admitted being ?mixed up with terrorists? and said he provided a formula for explosives to one of his co-defendants through an Internet chat room.

On the witness stand, Mr. Amin proclaimed his innocence, saying he confessed only after being jailed for 10 months in Pakistan, where he said he was beaten and threatened with a whirring electric drill. ?I would never take part in plots like that,? he testified.

Heeding the Call to Jihad

Omar Khyam, 24, considered by prosecutors to be the ringleader of the group, began his journey to extremism as a teenager in Crawley, just south of London.

Mr. Khyam, a standout cricket player, planned to study electrical engineering in college, but when he was 16 he began spending time with members of Al Muhajiroun, a radical group active in Crawley and dedicated to a global Islamic community under Shariah, the legal code based on the Koran. The group, led by Omar Bakri Mohammed, is now banned in Britain.

Two years later, instead of preparing for his high school exams, Mr. Khyam ran away, leaving a note saying he was off to join Islamic freedom fighters in Kashmir.

His uncle told a British newspaper that ran an article in 2000 about Mr. Khyam?s sudden departure that his nephew had been indoctrinated by Al Muhajiroun. Mr. Khyam?s family persuaded him to return home, but not before he had attended a training camp.

?They taught me everything I needed for guerrilla warfare in Kashmir, AK47s, pistols, RPGs, sniper rifles, climbing and crawling techniques, reconnaissance and light machine guns,? Mr. Khyam testified in the Crevice trial in September.

After enrolling in college in Britain, Mr. Khyam returned to Pakistan in 2001 for a friend?s wedding and crossed into Afghanistan to meet members of the Taliban movement before it was overthrown after 9/11. ?They were soft, kind and humble, but harsh with their enemies,? he recalled in court.

Meanwhile, in Luton, a town on the other side of London and another center of Al Muhajiroun recruitment, Mr. Amin also heeded the call to jihad.

His videotaped confessions to the police tell the story of his rejection of his Western way of life, his turn to prayer and the rules of Islam and his political radicalization.

It was in a Luton prayer center that he first met some of the men accused of being Crevice conspirators, including Mr. Khyam and a man accused of being a Qaeda operative, Abu Munthir, who was visiting from Pakistan.

Videos showing the slaughter of Muslims in Chechnya and Bosnia jolted Mr. Amin into sending money to ?freedom fighters? in Kashmir to buy arms and ammunition. The lectures of the radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri at the Finsbury Park mosque in London shortly before 9/11 and the American-led invasion of Afghanistan helped persuade him that he should join the Afghan fight.

Two months after 9/11, Mr. Amin sold his house in Luton and went to Pakistan in search of training with militants, according to his confessions. The prosecution argues that over the next three years, Mr. Amin, Mr. Khyam and their associates entered a hidden world of terrorism with tentacles on three continents.

Secrecy was maintained by using aliases and coded language. Cellphone conversations were avoided. Rather than using e-mail messages, communications were passed through Internet chats or by electronic messages stored for others to pick up later with passwords. Computer hard drives and cellphone SIM cards were discarded and replaced often.

The prosecution?s guide through that world was a Pakistani-American named Mohammed Junaid Babar, who said he worked for the New York chapter of Al Muhajiroun.

Defense lawyers portray Mr. Babar as a fabricator and possibly an agent for the United States government. ?You are a liar, a deceitful, self-centered, arrogant fantasist,? Michel Massih, a lawyer for one of the defendants, told Mr. Babar during cross-examination last April.

Mr. Babar acknowledged having lied when first questioned by the F.B.I. He pleaded guilty in New York in June 2004 to providing material support for terrorists, and he said in court that he was testifying against the Crevice suspects to reduce his sentence.

Yet during 17 days on the witness stand, Mr. Babar, the star witness for the prosecution, told a riveting story.

A militant networker, Mr. Babar said he moved to Pakistan in November 2001 with money and instructions from Al Muhajiroun. A year later, on a fund-raising trip to London, Mr. Babar said, he first met members of what he called the ?Crawley lot,? including Mr. Khyam and Anthony Garcia, an Algerian-born aspiring fashion model who had changed his name and is now accused of purchasing the secreted fertilizer.

Mr. Babar said Mr. Khyam told him that he and other ?brothers? from Crawley were not just a local operation but reported to a man called Abdul Hadi, described by Mr. Khyam as the ?No. 3? in Al Qaeda.

In mid-2003, the prosecution said, the Crevice suspects began coming together in Pakistan where Mr. Babar?s home in Lahore was a haven for young, radical Britons of Pakistani descent.

Bomb-related equipment like detonators, fertilizer and aluminum powder that can be used to fuel an explosion, and beans to make the poison ricin were stored in a bedroom cupboard, he said. The backyard was used for small-scale experiments with explosives, including the detonation of a spice jar packed with chemicals.

Mr. Amin, meanwhile, was living close by. He said in his police confessions that he had been collecting money and materials for fighters in Afghanistan and passing them on to the man accused of being a Qaeda operative, Abu Munthir, who had once visited the Luton prayer center.

When Mr. Khyam arrived in Pakistan in 2003, hoping to train to fight in Afghanistan, he was told there were enough fighters there, according to Mr. Amin?s confessions. Instead, Abu Munthir sent word that if he was really serious, he should ?do something? in Britain, Mr. Amin told the police.

Later that year, Mr. Khyam, Mr. Amin and another man traveled to a safe house in Kohat, Pakistan, for two days of training in making explosives, including fertilizer bombs, Mr. Amin said. Mr. Khyam then organized a session in the mountains around Malakand near the Afghan border, allegedly to teach others what he had learned.

Mr. Khyam and a core group of three other Crevice suspects, including Mr. Babar, made their way there by posing as Western tourists looking to visit lakes and glaciers.

Mr. Babar said one of the men he brought along was a Canadian named Mohammed Momin Khawaja, a computer engineer, now 27, who is accused of being the detonator-maker in the plot.

Mr. Babar recalled in court that the first test with fertilizer-based explosives failed; the second was moderately successful.

?It created a U in the ground,? Mr. Babar testified. ?It went down, sideways and back up the other way.? The group videotaped the scene, he added, hoping to produce a ?a minimovie-type thing? with Koranic verses or songs, to inspire others.

If Mr. Babar is to be believed, Mr. Khyam became so determined to carry out an attack in Britain that during this time he also took a 10-day trip to seek more guidance from Qaeda operatives.

Mr. Babar said Mr. Khyam told him that the instructions from Abu Munthir were for ?multiple bombings,? either ?simultaneously or one after the other on the same day.?

Mr. Babar recalled Mr. Khyam saying that Britain was as responsible as the United States for what was happening in the Middle East and should be attacked. ?He said we need to hit certain spots like pubs, nightclubs and trains,? Mr. Babar said.

An Undercover Investigation

Precisely how and when the authorities learned of the group?s activities is unclear, but by early February 2004, they had begun one of Britain?s largest antiterrorist undercover investigations. Operation Crevice, aided by the United States, Canada and Pakistan, involved round-the-clock human surveillance, audio wiretaps in cars and homes and video surveillance.

On Feb. 20, investigators got an extraordinarily lucky break: a suspicious employee at a self-storage warehouse outside of London called the police to report that someone named Nabeel Hussain was storing a large amount of fertilizer.

The police inserted an undercover officer called Amanda as the receptionist and secretly replaced the fertilizer with a benign substance. A hidden camera was installed and filmed Mr. Khyam when he showed up to check the contents.

The police continued to watch and listen, and their 3,500 hours of surveillance tapes are at the core of the prosecution case. Some of the most chilling conversations played in court are between Mr. Khyam, whose Suzuki sport utility vehicle and apartment had been bugged, and Jawad Akbar, 23, a college student whose apartment had been bugged.

In a conversation recorded in February 2004, Mr. Akbar talked of an ?easy? target, like a nightclub, ?where you don?t need no experience and nothing and you could get a job.? In such a place, he said, ?no one can even turn round and say, ?Oh, they were innocent,? those slags dancing around,? using a slang term for loose women.

When Mr. Khyam asked what he would do if he got a job at a place like the Ministry of Sound, London?s largest nightclub, Mr. Akbar replied, ?Blow the whole thing up.?

In March, Mr. Khyam talked about a simultaneous attack of Britain?s gas, electricity and water systems.

?The electrics go off so it?s a blackout, and then the gas lot move in and bang,? he said. ?Then something goes wrong with the water, a simultaneous attack.?

In late March, when Mr. Khyam and his younger brother, Shujah Mahmood, 19, also a defendant, bought tickets to fly to Pakistan on April 6, the police feared that an attack in Britain was imminent.

On March 30, 700 police officers raided two dozen locations, shutting down what they suspected was a cell and arresting six of the defendants.

They found the cookie tin containing aluminum powder behind a shed at Mr. Khyam?s family home in Crawley. They also found a dozen CD-ROMs giving detailed plans of Britain?s electricity and gas systems that they charged had been stolen from the National Grid Transco utility company by an employee, Waheed Mahmood. At 34, Mr. Mahmood, a father of four, is the oldest Crevice defendant.

The police seized a list of British synagogues and computer video files containing parts of an explosives handbook and a military training manual. Investigators also found instructions for how to react if contacted by counterterrorism authorities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Khawaja, who had recently returned from visiting Crevice suspects in Britain, was arrested in Canada. Electrical equipment, described by British authorities as remote-control devices that could be connected to bomb detonators, as well as guns and ammunition, were found at his home. He is awaiting trial in Canada, the first suspect to be tried under Canada?s 2001 Antiterrorism Act.

The Prosecution?s Case

Prosecutors acknowledge that they have not been able to identify either a fixed target or a date for an attack, but they do not have to. To win convictions, they only have to prove that the seven defendants conspired to cause an explosion ?likely to endanger life? in Britain.

Mr. Khyam, Mr. Garcia and Mr. Hussain are also charged with possessing 600 kilograms, or about 1,320 pounds, of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, and Mr. Khyam and Mr. Mahmood with possessing aluminum powder, in both cases with the intent to use the ingredients to commit an act of terrorism.

In considering the surveillance tapes, defense lawyers argue that their clients may have been doing a lot of talking about deadly chaos, but that it was nothing more than talk. Some of the schemes seemed like fantasy, like injecting poison into beer cans at soccer games. Others were more frightening, if true: Mr. Amin is accused of making inquiries about buying a radioactive ?dirty bomb? from the Russian mafia in Belgium.

As in other criminal cases in Britain, some of the evidence against the suspects is not permitted to be disclosed ? either to the jury or the public ? until the trials are over for fear that juries will be improperly swayed. Even the news media is under a strict order by the judge to avoid revealing certain information about the case.

The evidence presented shows that the radicalization of the defendants began years ago, raising questions about how well the British security services monitored militants in their midst before last year?s transit bombings. The authorities continue to investigate any links between the Crevice defendants and the 2005 bombers, one of whom, the government says, had visited a training camp in Pakistan before the attack.

Investigators closely watch traffic between Britain and Pakistan. But that is a significant challenge with nearly 400,000 visits by residents of Britain to Pakistan in 2004, of an average length of 41 days. And it is even more difficult to determine which, if any, of those visitors are militants following the dangerous route of traveling to Pakistan for indoctrination and training.

?Counterterrorism efforts haven?t been able to penetrate the process of radicalization and recruitment,? said Sajjan M. Gohel, director for international security at the London-based Asia-Pacific Foundation. ?For every individual captured or killed, there are at least five more coming down the assembly line.?


Ariane Bernard contributed reporting.

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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2006, 07:26:34 AM »

Quote
**On the whole, the western born/western educated jihadists tend to be from middle class, even upper class socioeconomic backgrounds. So we know they aren't "depraived because they are deprived".**

IMO not quite true. If you would be well educated, studied, and coming from a somewhat secular background and you'd still have to face racial discrimination because being coloured or muslim, then you'd most probably feel even more depraved than someone who comes from a lower social class and is used to being discriminated. Some of these muslims are highly educated but get no job because they're muslim. Of course this discrimination is being fueled by people who think Eurabia is coming. Its a vicious circle in its own - Thomas theorem coming true.
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2006, 07:51:31 AM »

**And the european converts to islam become suicide bombers because.....**

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 30, 2006, 04:01 PM
URL: http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,418783,00.html
War on Terror

German Women Vowed to Mount Suicide Attacks in Iraq

By Matthias Gebauer and Holger Stark

German authorities may have thwarted suicide bomb attacks in Iraq by German women. According to intelligence sources, three women were prevented from travelling to Iraq after one of them had announced she planned to blow herself up in Iraq.




AFP
Car bombs and suicide bombs remain a daily feature of life in Iraq. On Monday, some 39 people were killed in multiple bombings in the country.


SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that German intelligence agencies have prevented three German women from travelling to Iraq in recent weeks. The women, who have close contacts to the Islamist scene in Germany and at least one whom has converted to Islam, came to the attention of intelligence agencies after one of them had announced on an Internet site that she intended to blow herself and her child up in Iraq.

After the Web posting were spotted, Germany's domestic and foreign intelligence agencies mounted an intense search for the three women. One of them was located in Berlin, the other two are believed to come from southern Germany. The Berlin woman's child was taken away from her and she has been put in a psychiatric clinic. The two other women were also prevented from leaving Germany. One of them is also believed to have a child.

It's not clear yet how serious the women were about their claims and how far their plans for an attack had progressed. There has been no official confirmation. Well-informed sources say the women have had contacts with sympathizers of Ansar al Islam, a militant group linked to al-Qaida and suspected of smuggling suicide bombers from Germany to Iraq. The group is also suspected of raising money for the resistance to the US-led forces in Iraq.

There have been several such cases in the past and German security officials have long been worried that Islamic militants are increasingly recruiting young Muslims with German passports for suicide attacks.

It has become almost routine for foreign bombers to be used in Iraq. But the use of European citizens could be a new and dangerous trend. Last November a female Belgian convert blew herself up near Baghdad.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  Posted September 13, 2006 03:31 PM  Hide Post
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20408791-2703,00.html

Western-born Muslims seen as biggest threat
Richard Kerbaj, Herzliya, Israel
September 14, 2006

YOUNG Western-born Muslims recruited in universities, mosques and on the internet are increasingly being turned to jihad by terrorist networks, which train them in Islamic countries to support and conduct attacks on their homelands.
The return of brainwashed sleeper agents trained in counter-intelligence and covert fundraising, as well as the use of explosives, was the "biggest threat to humanity in modern times", said Boaz Ganor, founder of the Israeli-based Institute of Counter-Terrorism.

"They are looking for them in mosques ... in the youth centres ... on the web ... relying on social acquaintances and also family ties and universities," Dr Ganor told a conference hosted by the institute in the resort city of Herzliya yesterday.

He said terror organisations used psychological strategies to win the hearts of "specific" young Muslims through either indirect recruitment platforms such as the internet, and direct ones such as combing radical mosques and prayer halls.

Extremists looked for recruits who were not integrated into Western society and wanted to reinvent themselves.

"They are looking for people who are alienated from society, they're looking for people that have religious devotion, they're looking for those who believe that they are discriminated against," Dr Ganor said.

Converts to Islam with a proclivity for violence and fanaticism were also considered good recruits. "They are using this idea of divine command, saying 'we are just messengers and it is God that demands you to do this job ... we have to save Islam'.

"(But) when you spread a network like that, sometimes you get fissures that you don't expect to get because these alienated, frustrated youngsters are not just in the Muslim society, and therefore we see another phenomenon, which are converts."

Last month, The Australian revealed that dozens of violent criminals in Sydney were being brainwashed by hardliners and converting to radical Islam in jail, creating a serious national security time bomb.

Dr Ganor said of the recruits: "They are usually being trained in other countries - it could be Pakistan or another place - and then they are infiltrated again into the old society as an indoctrinated, trained sleeper that are just sitting and waiting for the order.

"Some of them are being used for fundraising missions, some of them are being used for collection of intelligence and for recruiting others. But we have to understand ... that some of them are being used for this mission of launching a terrorist attack on Western society."

Another expert on Islamic terrorism who spoke at the conference, Steven Emerson, told The Australian that terrorist organisations were increasingly shifting towards training their recruits on how to become better intelligence agents and expose the weaknesses of their enemies.

"It's in al-Qa'ida's manual to do better counter-intelligence, to do observation, surveillance, reconnaissance," he said. "That's critical to any good terrorist apparatus. You always have to have a reconnaissance man.

"Hezbollah excels in reconnaissance - sending back to Tehran videos that they have witnessed in terms of the vulnerabilities."

Dr Ganor said Muslim communities worldwide needed to take the initiative in exposing and thwarting the actions of radicals.
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Al Qaeda exploits 'blue-eyed' Muslim converts
12 October 2005

PARIS/BERLIN: What prompts someone to convert to Islam and to sign up for global "holy war" in the name of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda?


Security agencies are asking that question with increasing urgency as they confront a growing catalogue of actual or attempted attacks in which Muslim converts are suspected of playing prominent roles.

Christian Ganczarski, a German suspected of involvement in a 2002 bombing in Tunisia, converted at 20 before embarking on a jihadist career in which, investigators believe, he became a close associate of bin Laden's.

Other high-profile militant converts include Jamaican-born Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who killed 52 people in London in July, and Briton Andrew Rowe, jailed for 15 years last month for possessing terrorist materials.

Frenchman Lionel Dumont, a suspected Rowe associate and another convert, will go on trial in December accused of a series of attacks in the 1990s, including an attempt to bomb a Group of Seven summit in Lille.

"It's striking, the number of converts engaged in terrorist activities," said Michael Taarnby, a researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies who has studied the recruitment and radicalisation of Islamist militants.

Jean-Louis Bruguiere, France's top anti-terrorism judge, told the newspaper Le Figaro in an interview: "The converts are undeniably the toughest. Nowadays the conversions happen more quickly and the commitment is more radical."

The phenomenon is not confined to Europe.

John Walker Lindh, dubbed "the American Taliban", was convicted and jailed in 2002 for fighting alongside the Afghan militia, and US citizen Jose Padilla has been held for more than three years as a suspected enemy combatant in connection with an alleged "dirty bomb" plot.

In Australia, British-born Muslim convert Jack Roche was jailed for nine years in 2004 for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra.

In interviews with Reuters, European experts said the vast majority of those who converted to Islam did so for legitimate personal reasons. Some convert in order to marry Muslims.

Many converts were drawn, the experts said, by the appeal of a universal faith that transcended national and ethnic barriers, offered a sense of belonging and brotherhood and provided a new identity, including the choice of a Muslim name.

However, a small fraction were extremists who saw in radical Islam a vehicle to challenge and overthrow the existing world order, said Olivier Roy, research director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

The advantage for militant groups and the problem for security agencies is that converts can often move more freely and attract less suspicion than people of obviously Middle Eastern appearance.




"If you are a youngster in the French suburbs, your mates are second-generation Muslim immigrants and you want to wage war against society, the system, where do you go?" said Roy.

"Thirty years ago, you joined the Maoists, the Trotskyists, the far left, the Baader group, Action Directe. Today, where do you go? Bin Laden." A German intelligence official cited cases where radical foreigners had acquired residents' status by marrying local women, complicating authorities' attempts to kick them out.

"It gives them more security in their legal status. If they're married to a German woman, it's very hard to expel them," he said.

Some of the best-known extremist converts whose cases have come to trial were drifters on the margins of society.

David Courtailler, a Frenchman convicted last year of abetting terrorists, was drawn into radical circles when he converted to Islam at a British mosque and was approached by a stranger there who gave him money and an air ticket to Pakistan.

Reid, Rowe and Ganczarski all had records as small-time thieves or drug dealers.

"They are people who feel devalued, despised and by becoming terrorists they suddenly become supermen, heroes," said Roy.

Once they converted, the experts said, such people often moved towards violence quickly, driven partly by a need to prove themselves. They might also be more easily manipulated by extremists because they lacked the cultural grounding to distinguish between true and distorted versions of Islam.

"Basically, you can tell them just about anything and they're willing to believe it," Taarnby said. "They're not asking the right questions. They're just accepting what they're being told at face value."

The advantage for militant groups ? and the problem for security agencies ? is that converts can often move more freely and attract less suspicion than people of obviously Middle Eastern appearance.

"Thanks to their physical appearance they can penetrate targets in Europe much more easily without being spotted," said Roland Jacquard, head of the International Terrorism Observatory in Paris.

In theory, white Europeans attending radical mosques would be easy for intelligence services to identify. "But when they are taken on by terrorist organisations, they are asked to ensure they don't draw attention to themselves in that way," Jacquard said.

Such individuals are insiders who understand perfectly the nature of the Western societies they are trying to subvert, Jacquard said. "They know the mentality, the lifestyle that the terrorist organisations want to strike." He said al Qaeda's recruitment of "blue-eyed" Europeans dated from the Bosnian war.

"Now, when you take Muslim converts whose mother and father are French, English, Spanish or Italian and who live in society normally, with society's habits, they are absolutely undetectable."

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« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2006, 08:01:51 AM »

Well, that doesn't really contradict to what I'm saying...

Quoted from one of your articles:

Quote
The phenomenon is not confined to Europe.
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2006, 09:27:48 AM »

Quijote:

The Thomas principle you cite has considerable merit of course.  Of course the flip side is sticking one's head in the sand or up one's butt when there really is a problem has its own drawbacks.  These are challenging times we live in.

I am reminded of mathematician Nash's prisoner's dilema game theory here and subsequent evolutions thereof.  In Nash's original thought experiement, the players play one time.  Do they choose win-win or zero sum?  Subsequent theoreticians of these things then researched what happens when the same players play each other repeatedly.  It turns out that the best strategy is "tit for tat"  i.e. I treat you as you treat me.  In an environment where the cultural context tends to assume win-win, then the first time the game is played, people tend to choose win-win.  Conversely, someone who plays win-win repeatedly in a zero sum environment tends to get fcuked.

For good people used to win-win mindset, the Thomas thereom you site seems self-evident.  But to repeatedly apply it with those who live by zero sum presents some real survival questions.

Marc

PS:  I would also add to the mix the economic policies that IIRC the French call "dirigiste" meaing a government directed quais-socialist economy.  IMHO these policies, such as extreme job security laws, high unemployment benefits, high mandated benefits, etc tend to be very destructive of job creation.  If I have my facts right, unemployment rates in countries such as France and Germany are over 10%, more than double that of the US.  (IIRC you are German, yet live in Switzerland (which is not part of the EU) because of the lack of job opportunity?)  In an environment lacking opportunity, exclusionary attitudes on the part of some are hard to avoid.
(A plausible case can be made that a part of the Paristinean Infitifada has much of its roots in these economics.)  Conversely, here in the US where job creation is much higher and unemployment much lower, Muslims are much better integrated.  Coincidence?  I suspect not.
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« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2006, 10:04:16 AM »

In my opinion the Eurabia theory is detriment to our efforts in Europe to integrate the muslims. Also if everything Europe does to take a step to approach our muslim population at the very instant is considered to be dhimmitude, this is very unproductive.? IMO the Eurabia theory is anti-european and counter-productive to our efforts. Bat Ye'or as educated as she may be (she's a studied archeologist, maybe she should keep away from politics), is fueled by hatred against muslims. Unfortunately she has made quite an impact in the US with her awkard theorem, while she remains mostly unknown in Europe.

Quote
If I have my facts right, unemployment rates in countries such as France and Germany are over 10%, more than double that of the US.

Yes, they are. Many countries in Europe have economic problems. See my WW for Wealth thread.

Quote
Conversely, here in the US where job creation is much higher and unemployment much lower, Muslims are much better integrated.? Coincidence?? I suspect not.

Partly yes, sure. In most parts of Europe muslims are discriminated and not welcome - simply because they're foreigners. Therefore they're not being integrated into society. In France muslims as studied as they may be, get no job, French are preferred.? The Eurabia theorem fuels the hatred against muslims. So we create our own little pond of sharks for radicals to fish in. Therefore I oppose the Eurabia theory and I warn that we have to look out for those muslims who want to integrate as they will give a good signal for others to follow. Considering the muslim population in Europe to be part of a bigger plan to seize Europe is not only paranoid, it's useless. It only adds up to the problem.
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« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2006, 11:27:27 AM »

IMHO the Eurabia theory cannot simply be wished away-- there does seem to be rational basis for it.  Yes it does make things harder for bringing Muslims into the mainstream-- just as ignoring certain realities does not make them go away.  Its a tough problem.

Anyway, here's this Quijote, which complements some of the points you are making.
=========

U.S. tour offers visitors lessons on tolerance
Eastern Europeans meet with community leaders in L.A. and across the nation as part of a program to foster ethnic relations at home.
By Teresa Watanabe, Times Staff Writer
November 26, 2006


If you think ethnic conflict is bad in Los Angeles, listen to the stories of recent visitors Aleksandar Milovanovic, Edin Colic and Gjylnaze Syla.

Milovanovic, a Serbian Christian, said Albanian Muslims expelled him from his land, decapitated his uncle and burned his family homes. Syla, a member of the Kosovo parliament in Serbia, said mobs burned her family homes and expelled her sister. Colic of Bosnia-Herzegovina said he went without sufficient food, healthcare, schooling and electricity for three years while Serbian military forces surrounded his native Sarajevo.

Having survived the terrors of ethnic cleansing, war and raging hatred as the former Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s, the three Eastern Europeans came to Los Angeles recently to learn how this city manages its dizzying ethnic diversity and promotes pluralism and tolerance.

Among the lessons learned: Dialogue makes a difference. Networking among ethnic community groups to promote common interests is vital. And ducking the problems makes them worse."What I found out is that you have your problems here, but the U.S. addresses them," Syla said. "You see it. You face it. That's what makes America great. Europe is much slower to react."

The 10-day visit to a total of seven cities, co-sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, included meetings with city officials, Hollywood players, religious leaders and community activists from Latino, Asian American, black, gay and Jewish groups.

The committee's Rabbi Andy Baker said he began organizing the "Promoting Tolerance in Central and Eastern Europe" program in 1992 in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation of Germany to help the region's developing democracies learn from U.S. experiences with diversity.

Jewish communities, which had suffered repression under the region's Communist rule, were beginning to see what Baker called populist anti-Semitism after the end of the Cold War. New press freedoms, for instance, opened the door to the republication of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and other biased publications, Baker said.

"Freedom didn't suddenly bring understanding and appreciation of ethnic relations, as we saw in the former Yugoslavia," Baker said. "The challenge for us was what could we take from our experiences in America to benefit what was going on in these societies."

The program's 18 participants visited Capitol Hill and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.; toured Little Italy and the Jewish Lower East Side in New York City; and explored Olvera Street and Chinatown in Los Angeles. They also visited the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and experienced Shabbat at the homes of local families.

Several participants, most of them young political leaders, said their meetings with ethnic and charitable organizations left some of the deepest impressions. In Washington, for instance, the group discussed race and ethnic issues with representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, Japanese American Citizens League and the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

At the Skirball Center, a panel about Hollywood's effect on pluralism was a "big hit," according to Steve Addison, the American Jewish Committee's director of international relations in Los Angeles.

Vic Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP's Hollywood office, said he outlined how his organization serves as a watchdog over media portrayals of African Americans and works with other ethnic groups to push minority hiring.

And at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, Chief Executive Lorri L. Jean described the organization's successful legal fight more than three decades ago to win nonprofit status, which the federal government had denied, and its collaborative work with other groups to protest bias against immigrants, ethnic minorities and others.

To Julia Leferman, a National Liberal Party of Romania member, the dynamic role of U.S. nonprofit and community organizations in promoting tolerance was particularly instructive. In Romania, where the government officially recognizes 18 minority groups, people depend on the state to solve their problems, she said. She wondered aloud if the nation's Gypsies, formally known as Romas, might become more integrated into society with stronger networking among private minority organizations.

"In Romania, people depend on the state to solve their problems, including minorities," she said. "Here, communities are working together to better promote their interests without necessarily relying on the federal and state governments."

Milovanovic, a legal assistant at the Democratic Party of Serbia's Education Center, said he was impressed by discussions about common values and beliefs between Muslim and Jewish youth in Chicago.

"This is something we could do between Serbians and Albanians," he said. "We have so many common issues: unemployment, the pain we share on both sides. "It would require a lot of energy and strength to do this," he added, "but if we don't deal with it we'll be in constant danger of another cycle of violence."

And Colic, a political science student and Liberal Democratic party board member of Bosnia-Herzegovina, said he gained hope for the future between Bosnians and Serbs after seeing how the Jewish committee and German foundation had paired up to produce the tolerance program. He also was inspired by the educational power of the Holocaust Memorial, he said.

"We definitely need something like that so we can teach the next generation of kids what people can do to people ? so they can learn from the mistakes of their parents," he said. "I don't think it will happen soon, though, because everything is still fresh."

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« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2006, 11:34:29 AM »

What a great program!
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« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2006, 12:55:44 PM »

Quote
IMHO the Eurabia theory cannot simply be wished away-- there does seem to be rational basis for it.

I do not wish it away. But I also don't have the time to write a book to disproof its theories.
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« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2006, 05:04:48 PM »

Let me know what you think of the Steyn book when it arrives and you read it  smiley
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« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2006, 01:20:26 AM »

Well, that doesn't really contradict to what I'm saying...

Quoted from one of your articles:

Quote
The phenomenon is not confined to Europe.

Yes, but please explain to me how you take a european muslim convert (Or American, Canadian, Australian convert) and then get a jihadist. You don't have the "victim" status you claim is what is fueling the jihad with middle eastern, south asian, african ethnicities that face discrimination in europe.
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« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2006, 04:30:50 AM »

Why are there youngsters packing a buchload of guns and going into their high school on a rampage?

Hard to say. I guess its many components playing together;
  • lack of cultural identity
  • self hatred
  • feeling of exclusion (from society, friends, family)
  • suicical tendencies
  • depression

I'd say these convert jihadist are an exception and no rule.

What do you think?
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« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2006, 05:01:39 AM »

Quote
You don't have the "victim" status you claim is what is fueling the jihad with middle eastern, south asian, african ethnicities that face discrimination in europe.

This is not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we have to beware of generalizations and that we have to look for the causes to seek Jihad within the muslim population differently within the different groups.

Turks and Arabs hate each other. The French muslims tend to seek radical ideals mainly due their discrimination (they are french!), while for example the Pakistani immigrants of London certainly carry the idea of Jihad from their motherland.

The muslims in Europe are not one big corps and far from being ever united. That also is their weakness which we have to use.
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« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2006, 06:03:16 AM »

Why are there youngsters packing a buchload of guns and going into their high school on a rampage?

Hard to say. I guess its many components playing together;
  • lack of cultural identity
  • self hatred
  • feeling of exclusion (from society, friends, family)
  • suicical tendencies
  • depression

I'd say these convert jihadist are an exception and no rule.

What do you think?

I think there is a massive body of evidence to correlate violence to islam. Not every muslim, but as a rule the more religiously observant, the more likely to engage in jihad, or at least support it due to islam's core theology. Those that might have joined the Brownshirts 70 years ago or the Red Army Faction or Bader-Meinhof 30 years ago are converting to islam and becoming jihadis today. The commonality between the various groups is the endorsement, even sanctification of violence to meet their communal goals.
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« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2006, 06:19:21 AM »

Quote
I think there is a massive body of evidence to correlate violence to islam.

Unfortunately yes, I have to agree. Elias Canetti, one my favourite authors, considered Islam to be a religion of war.
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« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2006, 08:34:05 PM »

Here's Ralph Peters take on things.  Quijote, if you are not familiar with RP, he is a retired Army Colonel who worked intel matters in the mid-east.  He is regarded as a bold thinker, willing to take chances, and there is never any doubt what he thinks. grin
=============

The piece by Ralph Peters was linked from RealClearPolitics yesterday. I saved it, didn't keep link. Should be in recent archives of NY Post or RCP. But another interesting counter conventional wisdom point of view about Europe. (Which I find compelling since I thought this in the late '90's when the skinheads were firebombing Turkish slums in Germany back then.)

THE 'EURABIA' MYTH
By RALPH PETERS
November 26, 2006 -- A RASH of pop prophets tell us that Muslims in
Europe are reproducing so fast and European societies are so weak
and listless that, before you know it, the continent will become
"Eurabia," with all those topless gals on the Riviera wearing veils.
Well, maybe not.

The notion that continental Europeans, who are world-champion
haters, will let the impoverished Muslim immigrants they confine to
ghettos take over their societies and extend the caliphate from the
Amalfi Coast to Amsterdam has it exactly wrong.

The endangered species isn't the "peace loving" European lolling in
his or her welfare state, but the continent's Muslims immigrants -
and their multi-generation descendents - who were foolish enough to
imagine that Europeans would share their toys.
In fact, Muslims are hardly welcome to pick up the trash on Europe's
playgrounds.

Don't let Europe's current round of playing pacifist dress-up fool
you: This is the continent that perfected genocide and ethnic
cleansing, the happy-go-lucky slice of humanity that brought us such
recent hits as the Holocaust and Srebrenica.
THE historical patterns are clear: When Europeans feel sufficiently
threatened - even when the threat's concocted nonsense - they don't
just react, they over-react with stunning ferocity. One of their
more-humane (and frequently employed) techniques has been ethnic
cleansing.

And Europeans won't even need to re-write "The Protocols of the
Elders of Zion" with an Islamist theme - real Muslims zealots
provide Europe's bigots with all the propaganda they need. Al Qaeda
and its wannabe fans are the worst thing that could have happened to
Europe's Muslims. Europe hasn't broken free of its historical
addictions - we're going to see Europe's history reprised on meth.
The year 1492 wasn't just big for Columbus. It's also when Spain
expelled its culturally magnificent Jewish community en masse - to
be followed shortly by the Moors, Muslims who had been on the
Iberian Peninsula for more than 800 years.
Jews got the boot elsewhere in Europe, too - if they weren't just
killed on the spot. When Shakespeare wrote "The Merchant of Venice,"
it's a safe bet he'd never met a Jew. The Chosen People were
long-gone from Jolly Olde England.

From the French expulsion of the Huguenots right down to the last
century's massive ethnic cleansings, Europeans have never been shy
about showing "foreigners and subversives" the door.
And Europe's Muslims don't even have roots, by historical standards.
For the Europeans, they're just the detritus of colonial history.
When Europeans feel sufficiently provoked and threatened - a few
serious terrorist attacks could do it - Europe's Muslims will be
lucky just to be deported.
Sound impossible? Have the Europeans become too soft for that sort
of thing? Has narcotic socialism destroyed their ability to hate? Is
their atheism a prelude to total surrender to faith-intoxicated
Muslim jihadis?

The answer to all of the above questions is a booming "No!" The
Europeans have enjoyed a comfy ride for the last 60 years - but the
very fact that they don't want it to stop increases their rage and
sense of being besieged by Muslim minorities they've long refused to
assimilate (and which no longer want to assimilate).

WE don't need to gloss over the many Muslim acts of barbarism down
the centuries to recognize that the Europeans are just better at the
extermination process. From the massacre of all Muslims and Jews
(and quite a few Eastern Christians) when the Crusaders reached
Jerusalem in 1099 to the massacre of all the Jews in Buda (not yet
attached to Pest across the Danube) when the "liberating" Habsburg
armies retook the citadel at the end of the 17th century, Europeans
have just been better organized for genocide.

It's the difference between the messy Turkish execution of the
Armenian genocide and the industrial efficiency of the Holocaust.
Hey, when you love your work, you get good at it.
Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having
babies, Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time. When a third
of French voters have demonstrated their willingness to vote for
Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front - a party that makes the Ku Klux
Klan seem like Human Rights Watch - all predictions of Europe going
gently into that good night are surreal.

I have no difficulty imagining a scenario in which U.S. Navy ships
are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest,
Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's
Muslims. After all, we were the only ones to do anything about the
slaughter of Muslims in the Balkans. And even though we botched it,
our effort in Iraq was meant to give the Middle East's Muslims a
last chance to escape their self-inflicted misery.
AND we're lucky. The United States attracts the quality. American
Muslims have a higher income level than our national average. We
hear about the handful of rabble-rousers, but more of our fellow
Americans who happen to be Muslims are doctors, professors and
entrepreneurs.
And the American dream is still alive and well, thanks: Even the
newest taxi driver stumbling over his English grammar knows he can
truly become an American.

But European Muslims can't become French or Dutch or Italian or
German. Even if they qualify for a passport, they remain
second-class citizens. On a good day. And they're supposed to take
over the continent that's exported more death than any other?
All the copy-cat predictions of a Muslim takeover of Europe not only
ignore history and Europe's ineradicable viciousness, but do a
serious disservice by exacerbating fear and hatred. And when it
comes to hatred, trust me: The Europeans don't need our help.
The jobless and hopeless kids in the suburbs may burn a couple of
cars, but we'll always have Paris.
Ralph Peters' latest book is "Never Quit the Fight."
Home

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM,
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« Reply #38 on: November 28, 2006, 01:15:11 AM »

**Mark Steyn responds.**

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/print/016028.php

November 26, 2006
They Report, You Decide (with update from Mark Steyn)

Most of our readers are aware of Mark Steyn's "Demography is Destiny" theme, which he has elaborated in much of his recent writing. Steyn thinks that low birth rates among Europeans, in particular, will inevitably lead to their replacement on the European continent by Muslims who are reproducing at a far faster rate. Steyn pursues the theme in today's article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Quartet of Ladies Shows Where We're Headed. He contrasts Fatma An-Najar, the 64-year-old Palestinian grandmother who became a suicide bomber, with Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church:

An-Najar gave birth to her first child at the age of 12. She had eight others. She had 41 grandchildren. Keep that family tree in mind. By contrast, in Spain, a 64-year old woman will have maybe one grandchild. That's four grandparents, one grandchild: a family tree with no branches.
Meanwhile, what of the Episcopalians?

Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"
"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"

"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."


Is that a death wish, or what? As Steyn points out, "Here's the question for Bishop Kate: If Fatma An-Najar has 41 grandchildren and a responsible 'better educated' Episcopalian has one or two, into whose hands are we delivering 'the stewardship of the earth'? If your crowd isn't around in any numbers, how much influence can they have in shaping the future?"

Steyn's logic is persuasive to me, but Ralph Peters isn't buying it. He thinks that, far from taking over Europe, that continent's Muslims "will be lucky just to be deported:"

Have the Europeans become too soft for that sort of thing? Has narcotic socialism destroyed their ability to hate? Is their atheism a prelude to total surrender to faith-intoxicated Muslim jihadis?
The answer to all of the above questions is a booming "No!" The Europeans have enjoyed a comfy ride for the last 60 years - but the very fact that they don't want it to stop increases their rage and sense of being besieged by Muslim minorities they've long refused to assimilate (and which no longer want to assimilate).

Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having babies, Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time. When a third of French voters have demonstrated their willingness to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front - a party that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem like Human Rights Watch - all predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.

I have no difficulty imagining a scenario in which U.S. Navy ships are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims. After all, we were the only ones to do anything about the slaughter of Muslims in the Balkans.


It's true that the Europeans have historically been willing to act much more harshly that Americans when they have felt threatened. But I wouldn't start sending the Marines to Brest just yet.

To comment on this post, go here.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn comments:

I don?t know whether Mr Peters is referring to my book, because, as usual when this particular columnist comes out swinging, he prefers to confront unnamed generalized opponents: thus, he refers to ?a rash of pop pundits? predicting Europe will become Eurabia. Dismissing with airy condescension ?a rash? of anonymities means you avoid having to deal with specific arguments.

Had he read America Alone, for example, he would know that I do, indeed, foresee a revival of Fascism in Europe. He concludes: ?All predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.? Which of us predicted anything about ?going gently?? As I write on page 105 of my book: ?It?s true that there are many European populations reluctant to go happily into the long Eurabian night.? What I point out, though, is that, even if you?re hot for a new Holocaust, demography tells. There are no Hitlers to hand. When Mr Peters cites the success of Jean Marie Le Pen?s National Front, he overlooks not only Le Pen?s recent overtures to Muslims but also the fact that M Le Pen is pushing 80. As a general rule, when 600 octogenarians are up against 200 teenagers, bet on the teens. In five or ten years? time, who precisely is going to organize mass deportations from French cities in which the native/Muslim youth-population ratio is already ? right now - 55/45?

As I?ve said innumerable times, the native European population is split three ways: some will leave, as the Dutch (and certain French) are already doing; some will shrug and go along with the Islamization of the continent, as the ever-accelerating number of conversions suggests; and so the ones left to embrace Fascism will be a minority of an aging population. It will be bloody and messy, as I write in America Alone, but it will not alter the final outcome. If you don?t breed, you can?t influence the future. And furthermore a disinclination to breed is a good sign you don?t care much about the future. That?s why the Spaniards, who fought a brutal bloody civil war for their country in the 1930s, folded instantly after those Madrid bombings. When you?ve demographically checked out of the future, why fight for it?

Ralph Peters is late to this debate. If he?s going to join the discussion, he might do better to tackle the facts. But that would require him to acknowledge real specifics rather than ?a rash of pop pundits?. You?ll notice that his column and mine differ not just in their approach to worldviews but in their approach to argument: mine cites four specific persons, their actions and assertions; his boldly batters anonymous generalizations. I know which I regard as more effective.


Thanks to Mark Steyn for this addition to the discussion.
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« Reply #39 on: November 28, 2006, 06:20:08 AM »

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2006/11/europes_ineradicable_viciousne.html

November 27, 2006
Europe's Ineradicable Viciousness?
Steven M. Warshawsky

Yesterday in the New York Post, Ralph Peters wrote a strongly-worded piece  challenging the "pop prophets" who argue that, as a result of demographic and cultural forces, Europe is rapidly turning into a Muslim-dominated continent -- what Bat Ye'or has termed "Eurabia."  Presumably Peters is thinking of fellow commentator Mark Steyn, whose best-selling book, America Alone,  is based on this exact thesis.  (For my review of America Alone, see here).

Peters argues that reports of Europe's demise are greatly exaggerated, and that once Europeans "feel sufficiently threatened" by the increasing numbers of Muslims in their midst, they will "over-react with stunning ferocity."  According to Peters, there is an "ineradicable viciousness" at the core of European civilization, and he strongly suggests that a genocide of Europe's Muslim population is a likely eventuality.  To support his analysis, Peters points to Europe's historical mistreatment of Jews, the massacres committed by the Crusaders in 1099, the expulsion of the Moors from Spain in 1492, and the growing popularity of Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front party in France.  Peters' argument is not remotely persuasive.

To begin with, societies obviously change over time.  For example, the United States no longer permits slavery or segregation.  No serious person would argue, based on these historical practices, that black Americans are in danger of experiencing similar treatment in the future.  Similarly, while European countries certainly have had a "vicious" past (even the Scandinavians have their Viking ancestors), Peters offers absolutely no reason to believe that either the governments or a majority of the people living in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, et al., retain such intolerant and warlike impulses.  On the contrary, as Steyn and others have extensively documented, the available evidence points in the opposite direction.  (See, e.g., the Madrid bombings that caused the Spanish electorate to vote out the conservative government that had supported the war on terror.)   

Significantly, Peters does not question the demographic trends that underlay the Eurabia thesis.  Steyn reports that Western women in Europe have an average of 1.4 children (well below the "replacement level" of 2.1 children per woman), whereas Muslim women have an average of 3.5 children.  This means that the Western population in Europe will shrink with each new generation, while the Muslim population explodes.  Already in France, for example, it is estimated that the numbers of Western and Muslim youths are roughly the same.  This means that the numbers of potential "warriors" available to each demographic group are at parity.  Hardly the situation that confronted European Jews before World War Two.


There are other problems with Peters' article, and I am sure it will spark many more rebuttals.  But his main argument that Europeans are "world-champion haters" who are poised to slaughter their Muslim neighbors is devoid of evidence, and ignores the very real problems posed by an increasingly Muslim Europe.

Steven M. Warshawsky   
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« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2006, 07:29:09 AM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/999jpabw.asp

The Veil Controversy
Islamism and liberalism face off.
by Olivier Guitta
12/04/2006, Volume 012, Issue 12



IN 1989, the first hijab incident in Europe took place in Creil, a suburb of Paris, when three high school girls tried to go to class wearing the Islamic headscarf. The students were expelled. Fifteen years later, with the hijab spreading fast among Muslims in France, the government formally banned the wearing of religious symbols in public schools. At the time, most European countries criticized French "intolerance" and deemed the issue a uniquely Gallic problem. But it wasn't. Today most European countries--and a number of Muslim countries--are debating what to do about this increasingly problematic sign of Islamization.

The British were among the most vocal critics of the French ban--back when they were still quite pleased with their own multicultural model. But on October 5, ex-foreign minister Jack Straw revealed that he regularly asked women who came to see him wearing face veils to take them off. Straw pointed out that veils are bad for community relations, and Prime Minister Blair added that the veil is a "mark of separation." This debate coincided with the decision of a British principal to fire an assistant teacher who refused to remove her full-face veil, or niqab, while teaching. Joining the fray was author Salman Rushdie, whose elegant contribution was the statement, "Veils suck." Tensions are rising, fueled by accusations of Islamophobia from some Muslim officials. There is fear that race riots could break out in some British suburbs.

Then there is Germany, where four states have barred public school teachers from wearing the hijab. Some brave female politicians born in Turkey spoke out on the issue in an October 15 interview with Bild am Sonntag. One of them, Ekin Deligoz, a Green party member of parliament, advised fellow Muslim women: "You live here, so take off the headscarf." She added that the headscarf is a symbol of female oppression. Because of her comments, Deligoz has received death threats and is now under police protection.

Finally, in Italy, where the niqab is banned, the controversy has reached new heights since the broadcast of a heated exchange on a television talk show. Right-wing member of parliament Daniela Santanche clashed with the imam of a mosque near Milan, Ali Abu Shwaima. Said Santanche: "The veil isn't a religious symbol and it isn't prescribed by the Koran." Retorted Shwaima: "The veil is an obligation required by God. Those who do not believe that are not Muslims. You're ignorant, you're false. You sow hatred, you're an infidel."

Coming from an imam, this rant carried almost the weight of a fatwa, or religious edict, in certain quarters, where it could be seen as a death sentence. Santanche has been given 24-hour police protection. She says she is speaking out because Muslim women forced to wear the veil have asked her to. She told the Sunday Times, "It's time to turn our backs on the politically correct. It's a question not of religion but of human rights."

And not only in Europe. Muslim countries are not immune to the controversy over the veil. In Egypt--where some 80 percent of women are now veiled, according to sociologist Mona Abaza--the dean of Helwan University has recently expelled female students for wearing the niqab. Interestingly, Soad Saleh, a former dean of the female faculty and Islamic law professor at the most prestigious Islamic university in the world, Cairo's Al-Azhar, confirmed that the niqab is not an obligation. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, goes further: "Neither the Koran, nor the hadith require women to wear a headscarf."

But the country whose government is currently going after the hijab most vigorously is Tunisia. The wearing of the hijab has been spreading rapidly in Tunisian towns, prompting President Ben Ali recently to reactivate a 1981 decree banning the wearing of the hijab in government offices, schools, universities, and public places in general. His government views the hijab as one more sign of the unwelcome but growing influence of Islamists in Tunisian society. This past Ramadan, in a reversal of the standard pattern for Muslim religious police, Tunisian police were seen tearing headscarves off women in the streets.

The authorities consider the hijab unacceptable in a country that enshrined women's rights as long ago as 1956, with the banning of repudiation (male-initiated casual divorce), polygamy, forced marriage, and the granting of women's rights to vote and sue for divorce. Ben Ali sees women "as a solid defense against the regressive forces of fanaticism and extremism."

Interestingly, the Tunisian author and feminist Samia Labidi, president of A.I.M.E., an organization fighting the Islamists, recounts that she personally started wearing the veil before puberty, after Islamists told her the hijab would be a passport to a new life, to emancipation. After a few years, she realized she had been fooled and that the veil made her feel like she was "living in a prison." At first, she could not bring herself to stop wearing it because of the constant psychological pressure. But the 1981 ban on the hijab in public places forced her to remove it, and she did so for good.

Labidi's experience suggests that in both Tunisia and France the recent banning of the hijab has actually helped Muslim women who are subject to Islamist indoctrination.

For Islamists, the imperative to veil women justifies almost any means. Sometimes they try to buy off resistance. Some French Muslim families, for instance, are paid 500 euros (around $600) per quarter by extremist Muslim organizations just to have their daughters wear the hijab. This has also happened in the United States. Indeed, the famous and brave Syrian-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan recently told the Jerusalem Post that after she moved to the United States in 1991, Saudis offered her $1,500 a month to cover her head and attend a mosque.

But what Islamists use most is intimidation. A survey conducted in France in May 2003 found that 77 percent of girls wearing the hijab said they did so because of physical threats from Islamist groups. A series in the newspaper Lib?ration in 2003 documented how Muslim women and girls in France who refuse to wear the hijab are insulted, rejected, and often physically threatened by Muslim males. One of the teenage girls interviewed said, "Every day, bearded men come to me and advise me strongly on wearing the veil. It is a war. For now, there are no dead, but there are looks and words that do kill."

Muslim women who try to rebel are considered "whores" and treated as outcasts. Some of them want to move to areas "with no Muslims" to escape. However, that might not be a solution, as Islamists are at work all over France. The Communist newspaper L'Humanit? in 2003 interviewed two Catholic-born French women who said they had converted to Islam and started wearing the niqab after systematic indoctrination by the Muslim Brotherhood.

In light of this, wearing the hijab may or may not be a manifestation of the free exercise of religion. For any individual, it may reflect the very opposite--religious coercion. In fact, millions of women are forced to wear the veil for fear of physical retribution. And the fear is well founded. According to Cheryl Benard of RAND, every year hundreds of women in Pakistan and Afghanistan alone are killed, have acid thrown in their faces, or are otherwise maimed by male fanatics.

Given the Islamists' ferocious determination on this point, it is worth asking: Why exactly is covering the female so important to them? The obvious answer is that it is a means of social control. Not coincidentally, it is one of the only issues on which Sunni and Shia extremists agree. It's not by chance that use of the hijab really took off after Iran's Islamic regime came to power in 1979. Some Shiite militias in Iraq have actually started forcing women--Muslim or not--to wear the veil or face the consequences.

If this issue were not vital for Islamists, how can one explain their reaction when France banned the hijab in public schools? Al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, "strongly condemned" President Chirac's decision and threatened actions against France. Likewise, Sheikh Fadlallah, founder and spiritual leader of Hezbollah, wrote to Chirac threatening "likely complications" for France. Mohammad Khatami, former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, called on the French government to "cancel this unjust law."

Commenting recently on the veil and the Islamists' strategy, Professor Iqbal Al-Gharbi, from the famous Islamic Zaytouna University in Tunis, explained: "The veil is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind the veil, there is the regressive interpretation of the sharia [Koranic law]. There are the three essential inequalities which define this interpretation: inequality between man and woman, between Muslim and non-Muslim, between free man and slave."

"Islam is the solution" is the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead, the real solution to the veil problem in Europe and in modern countries elsewhere is the defeat of radical Islam, making possible the peaceful integration of normal Muslims into Western societies on Western terms.

Olivier Guitta is a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant in Washington.
 
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Quijote
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« Reply #41 on: November 28, 2006, 02:27:48 PM »

Once I read Peters I couldn't quite agree with him (don't remember the topic), but now he has my sympathies...  grin
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« Reply #42 on: November 29, 2006, 09:20:11 AM »

Quote
Europe's quiet integration

Zachary Shore
International Herald Tribune
 
Lately European leaders seem seized by acute Islamophobia. First President Jacques Chirac perceived a threat to French identity posed by schoolgirls decked in head scarves. Then Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain spoke of outlawing the veil from public view. Now, after calling for a nationwide burka ban, Christian Democrats in the Netherlands have won the most seats in Parliament.

Most Western European nations are tightening their immigration laws while fretting over free speech in cartoons, plays and print. All the while, right-wing xenophobic parties are on the rise across the Continent. One year after riots set French housing projects ablaze, Europe appears to be shifting sharply to the right.

Just below the news media's radar screens, however, a countertrend is under way, which promises a kinder, gentler and potentially more successful approach to Europe's Muslim quandary.

While right-leaning ministers at the national level are talking tough to Muslims, progressive officials and private citizens at local levels are spearheading innovative programs to aid Muslim integration.

In Berlin, Ren?e Abul-Ella runs Al- Dar (The Home), an organization dedicated to helping Arabic women and their families integrate into German society. Al-Dar provides language, typing and computer training to Muslim women and counsels them on issues they cannot discuss in most contexts. Abul- Ella told me that nearly every family she knows has had some incidence of domestic violence.

Al-Dar works with fathers, too, some of whom have prevented their daughters from attending school. "We don't make the people who come to us feel ashamed about their culture," Abul-Ella said. "Instead, we show them that what is appropriate in one country may not be appropriate in another.

At the other end of Germany, Michael Blume is at work in Stuttgart pushing through a series of radical policy shifts in the state of Baden-W?rttemberg. Blume had not even finished his doctoral thesis on comparative religion when he received a call from the state's minister-president. It was just after the 9/11 attacks, and the minister-president was repeatedly being asked about his government's policies toward Muslims, who comprise 5.7 percent of Baden- W?rttemberg's population, and whose numbers are swelling fast. He had no policies, and there was no one on his staff to handle it.

Having heard about Blume's provocative research, the minister-president invited the young Ph.D. student to tea, and in the course of their discussion asked Blume to join his staff. Since then, Blume has initiated a pilot program in 12 public schools serving large concentrations of Muslim children. With the schoolteachers' and parents' consent, these schools now offer classes in Islam as well as the usual courses on Christianity. Religion has always been taught in German schools, but the study of Islam had never been part of the curriculum. The aim is to encourage a sense of Muslim inclusion within German society and discourage the all-too- common development of a parallel society existing outside the mainstream.

Further west, the French city of Strasbourg is also experimenting with new integration strategies. Here sits the European Parliament, with its ornate marble stairways and plush voting chambers, and the Council of Europe, devoted to ensuring human rights and social cohesion throughout the continent. But travel just a few minutes to the other side of Strasbourg, to the neighborhood of Neuhof, and you will see dilapidated housing, shattered windows and crumbled streets.

Drugs have plagued the neighborhood, but the city is attempting to revitalize it, not just by constructing decent housing. Outside the Ecole Maternelle Reuss, scores of immigrant children play tag with all the boisterous energy you would find in any playground. Behind the playground, a more serious course is under way inside a prefab concrete two-room structure where the mothers are learning French. Many came from Bangladesh, Turkey, Morocco or Algeria with little education. All say they are grateful to learn the language, and their courses are paid for by the city if they cannot afford to pay themselves.

These are just a few of Europe's smart steps toward Muslim integration. There are many others. In Berlin, the Aziz Nesin Europa elementary school is completely bilingual. Half of all courses are taught in German; the other half in Turkish. Most policy makers insist that only by mastering European languages can immigrants and their children prosper. The Aziz Nesin school is proving that early bilingual education enhances cognitive ability, fosters curiosity about other cultures, and may even improve academic performance. And the school is not just for Turkish children. It is mixed between Turkish-German and German kids, fostering bonds between cultures at a very early age.

Tough talk and burka bans may win votes at the national level, but municipal governments cannot afford to let their Muslim residents remain closed off from the community and open to extremism. If any of the progressive local projects succeed, they will eventually be adopted nationwide. Europe's leaders have no other choice. If they keep fiddling with the politics of exclusion, Paris will again be burning.
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"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."
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« Reply #43 on: November 29, 2006, 10:32:53 AM »

**I'd agree that integration is taking place. The question is, who is integrating who?**

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=Y3UZA1RZGTHK5QFIQMFSFGGAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2006/11/29/nsharia29.xml

Sharia law is spreading as authority wanes
By Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor
Last Updated: 2:03am GMT 29/11/2006



Islamic sharia law is gaining an increasing foothold in parts of Britain, a report claims.

Sharia, derived from several sources including the Koran, is applied to varying degrees in predominantly Muslim countries but it has no binding status in Britain.

   
The Koran is one of the sources that Sharia derives from

 
However, the BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action produced evidence yesterday that it was being used by some Muslims as an alternative to English criminal law. Aydarus Yusuf, 29, a youth worker from Somalia, recalled a stabbing case that was decided by an unofficial Somali "court" sitting in Woolwich, south-east London.

Mr Yusuf said a group of Somali youths were arrested on suspicion of stabbing another Somali teenager. The victim's family told the police it would be settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail.

A hearing was convened and elders ordered the assailants to compensate their victim. "All their uncles and their fathers were there," said Mr Yusuf. "So they all put something towards that and apologised for the wrongdoing."

Although Scotland Yard had no information about that case yesterday, a spokesman said it was common for the police not to proceed with assault cases if the victims decided not to press charges.

advertisementHowever, the spokesman said cases of domestic violence, including rape, might go to trial regardless of the victim's wishes.

Mr Yusuf told the programme he felt more bound by the traditional law of his birth than by the laws of his adopted country. "Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law," he said. "It's not sharia, it's not religious ? it's just a cultural thing."

Sharia's great strength was the effectiveness of its penalties, he said. Those who appeared before religious courts would avoid re-offending so as not to bring shame on their families.

Some lawyers welcomed the advance of what has become known as "legal pluralism".

Dr Prakash Shah, a senior lecturer in law at Queen Mary University of London, said such tribunals "could be more effective than the formal legal system".

In his book Islam in Britain, Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, says there is an "alternative parallel unofficial legal system" that operates in the Muslim community on a voluntary basis.

"Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their traditions," he says. These are based on sharia councils, set up in Britain to help Muslims solve family and personal problems.

Sharia councils may grant divorces under religious law to a woman whose husband refuses to complete a civil divorce by declaring his marriage over. There is evidence that these councils are evolving into courts of arbitration.

Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks, said this type of court had advantages for Muslims. "It operates on a low budget, it operates on very small timescales and the process and the laws of evidence are far more lenient and it's less awesome an environment than the English courts," he said.

Mr Siddiqi predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.

"I was speaking to a police officer who said we no longer have the bobby on the beat who will give somebody a slap on the wrist.

"So I think there is a case to be made under which the elders sit together and reprimand people, trying to get them to change."
 

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Quijote
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« Reply #44 on: November 29, 2006, 10:39:37 AM »

Indeed very interesting. I think the British have larger problem than they'd like to admit. Again, in Britain the Pakistani muslims are very strong, but they're not found anywhere else in such larger numbers. Still, sharia courts will not have any importance upon British civil law ever and I trust the British stubborness to never allow this.
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"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."
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« Reply #45 on: November 29, 2006, 10:49:17 AM »

Well, I have my fingers crossed. Just keep in mind that much of the middle east was once very christian in it's makeup. Now it's the heart of the muslim world.
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« Reply #46 on: November 29, 2006, 12:21:08 PM »

The British have centuries of expierence with their Empire of how to handle foreign folks. In the commonwealth the British have learned a lot how to appease its population and still keep it under their strict rule. Sure, their Empire is no more, but in Iraq and Afghanistan the British have clearly shown just how well they get along with other cultures and still be a hard bite.

I have a profound trust, especially in the Brits (in opposition to the French), that they know what they're doing and can handle some sharia-wannabe-courts.
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"En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero
acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."
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« Reply #47 on: November 29, 2006, 04:35:24 PM »

Very interesting.

The current real time application of the magnificent tradition of Anglo-Saxon common law, which originated in UK and of which US is an off-shoot, has serious problems and the response here of the Somalis is not without its logic.

Unfortunately, the rise of a parallel legal system based along these lines has some profound dangers to it.  Yet it is precisely because of its merit, that nipping it in the bud could accentuate divisions as well.  Does tragedy lie ahead?
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« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2006, 06:19:46 PM »

Quijote,

I don't have the faith in the Brits you have. I fear political correctness will be the death of them.
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« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2006, 10:46:38 AM »

Today I had an interesting talk with a Turk. I asked him about the differences between Sunnites, Shiites and Wahabits. He himself is a Sunnite which also has four distinctions. He isn't someone who would be very talkative, but his comments were very much on point. For him the Shiites are simply wrong when claiming Ali to be descendant of Mohammed. And when I asked about Wahabits he just said; "Saudis are Wahabits, aren't they? Well, they're just utterly stupid." I didn't ask him any further because he started to get upset about Shiites and Wahabits. Once more a personal affirmation for how different the muslims here in Europe are.

Quote
I fear political correctness will be the death of them.

I fear you don't know the Brits, because 'political correctness' and 'britishness' are two extremes.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2006, 10:48:12 AM by Quijote » Logged

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acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que viv?a un hidalgo de los de
lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, roc?n flaco y galgo corredor."
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