Category Archives: Islam

Islamophobia in Eurabia?

Yesterday, Swiss citizens overwhelmingly approved a ban on new minaret construction in Switzerland, and in the process, infuriated all the right parties—the BBC, the Muslim Brotherhood, and elites in the United States. The Swiss should feel shame, and Europe should be worried, according to the Guardian, yet this vote represents a popular trend—Muslim immigrants must meld into society, not attempt to alter it.

In taking a quick peek at the numbers, fifty-seven percent approved the ban, on a relatively high turnout of fifty-three percent. And while only five percent of the Swiss population are Muslim immigrants, and only four minarets hover in towns throughout Switzerland, a clear majority were galvanized into opposing any dramatic changes to the cultural landscape.

France is considering a ban on niqabs and any other face-concealing veils, and one mayor in Italy has erected a controversial sign along with a new policy—no burqas and niqabs in Varallo, Italy. The warning is also translated in Arabic.

“Throughout the city, we are applying the prohibition of wearing these clothes that, in the case of the burqa, prevent the recognition of the person. The signs signify the will “of the Administration to stop this practice of Muslim women that goes against our traditions and standards on safety.”

Some elites, progressives and academics might find this cultural preservation trend troubling for many reasons: it upsets their utopian view of European multiculturalism; it challenges their enlightened Europe as America’s role model argument; it shatters political correctness into pieces. Make no mistake—banning burqas and minarets isn’t politically correct, nor is it expedient.

Perhaps conservatives were wrong. Maybe Americans could learn a thing or two from Europeans. Culture is important, and it merits the fight.

“Going against our traditions…”

Imagine if we used that response to the current assault on Christmas or the English language taking place in America. It’s racist to take the position that Americans or legal residents should have a rudimentary command of the language, and it is offensive to say “Merry Christmas.” By contrast, Italians are picky about their culture, which is why schools were informed of possible penalties if they dared to remove any of the crucifixes the European Human Rights Court found so offensive.

Over time and under constant influence by elites in D.C and on TV, Americans have been influenced into behaving like robots, unable to voice concerns or fight for their culture out of fear for looking like rubes. They can’t voice concerns without incessantly couching their words or avoiding the subject matter altogether. But as they’ve morphed under the pc cloud, they have also exhausted their patience with the experiment.

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Street Reacts to Obama’s Speech

Mideast Bahrain ObamaIf headlines and reaction of news organizations and at least one terror group is any indication of who feels the most slighted by Obama’s trip and speech today, then we might conclude that Israelis were the ones left somewhat disillusioned.

 Planted boldly atop the Jerusalem Post’s site reads, “It’s time for these settlements to stop.” Instead, Haaretz Daily News, focused its headlines on the positive reaction from Israeli politicians. Underneath its “Obama: I’ll personally pursue a two state solution,” however, the writer begins by noting that Washington views the west bank settlements as “illegal.”

 The Palestinian Authority and Hamas offered praise, both sensing a changing policy and a new beginning.

 The Arab press was mixed. One Egyptian editor refused an invitation to attend the speech explaining (from al-Arabiya):

 “If I went to the speech it would mean that the problem was just with (Obama’s predecessor) George W. Bush, but the problem is with U.S. policies in the world and in the Muslim world which haven’t yet changed.”

“We have seen a vast public relations campaign from Obama but we haven’t seen any radical differences, not on an Iraq withdrawal or on Afghanistan, or the war in (Pakistan’s) Swat. He has even gone backwards on promising to close Guantanamo.”

 So attempts to rid the Swat valley of Taliban running around shooting, beating and blowing up innocents are unjustified? If this editor of the independent al-Doustur newspaper, Ibrahim Eissa, views ridding the swat valley of primitive bearded thugs isn’t a good thing, then I’m not sure how Obama’s speech could have changed his mind. Perhaps if he’d announced his intention to convert to Islam and join the Muslim Brotherhood, he might have stood a chance.

 More response from the region as reported by al-Arabiya:

 The Jordan Times said Obama would have to exert himself as he “attempts to clean up the mess his predecessor created in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

“Muslims and Arabs would like to hear much from Obama, starting with Palestine, Iraq and the U.S. military presence in the Gulf.

“While foreign policy is crucial, a sincere show of respect and attempt to rebuild trust are more important.”

Saudi newspaper al-Ryadh said Obama’s decision to address the Muslim world and “in visiting the two most important Arab capitals, is breaking with former American presidents and wants to attack the most important front of the challenges (Western misunderstandings with Muslims.”)

UAE newspaper Akhbar al-Saa referred to “a new era in relations between the United States and the Muslim world” with Obama’s move into the White House.

But Dubai’s al-Bayan stressed that “the region wants to hear from Obama’s mouth that he is conscious of the imbalance in relations (between America) and the Muslim world and that he wants to remedy it.”

In other words, bend over Mr. President. Like all the Presidents who’ve come before you, it’s never going to be enough. As’salaamu alaykums, a smoother than smooth personality and a super-prompter won’t garner applause from those who eschew introspection in favor of blaming Jews and westerners.

Two faces of Islam

muslims_duomoWhere was al-Jazeera when thousands of Muslims recently gathered to pray front of Milan’s Duomo to protest Israel’s operation in Gaza?  As one of Europe’s most storied gothic cathedrals, their act was blasphemous and offensive, yet presumably acceptable to those at al-Jazeera who are now crusading against some in the U.S military who dared to consider handing out Bibles to local Afghanis.

 Consider: the Saudi Kingdom gives billions to western Universities to promote Islam as the religion of peace and shells out even more to build Wahabbi mosques in the west. Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands are rejecting Dutch culture, rather than adapting to it. And it’s a Muslim who fought to remove crucifixes from Italian schools. In Denmark? Well, there were those riot inspiring cartoons which gave rise to Muslim protests world-wide.

 So we, non-Muslims, must adapt and respect without scrutiny, and we do. In the west, we film documentaries and movies slandering and questioning Christianity. How many perverted Catholic priest plots or Dan Brown inspired TV shows have aired in recent years? Yet, I’ve not seen one Mecca vs Medina Koran inspired documentary. Maybe I missed it.

 The latest American transgression involves the U.S military’s proselytizing in Afghanistan by handing out, gasp, Bibles.

 From Fox News:

 Al Jazeera claims, based on inside video obtained from an independent documentary director, that the evangelical group at Bagram had a clear purpose — to spread Christianity. “They were on a mission, but it appears it was not just a military one,” the video begins.

 The documentary filmmaker and former soldier Brian Hughes turned the evidence, an on-base church service at Bagram, over to al-Jazeera. I guess NBC, ABC, BBC and CNN weren’t interested, or he believed al-Jazeera was the only newsmaker capable of exploring the topic without prejudice.

 The hypocrisy of Muslims in the Arab world who expect the opportunity to reform our culture and pray in front of our most sacred churches in open blasphemy while refusing us the opportunity of handing out Bibles isn’t surprising. But our weak defense of religious freedom is.

From RFE/RL:

Under Afghanistan’s internationally backed constitution, it is a crime in the country to try to convert a Muslim to another religious faith. Afghan Muslims who do convert to another religion face a possible death sentence under Afghan law.

 Wary of the sensitivities of the issue, U.S. Central Command has issued General Order No. 1, which forbids troops on active duty from trying to convert people to another religion. That rule applies to all U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 Indeed, a U.S. military spokeswoman at Bagram Air Field said on May 5 that the Bibles shown in the Al-Jazeera report had been sent about a year ago by a church in the United States to one particular U.S. soldier who is an evangelical Christian.

Major Jennifer Willis says she can now confirm that the Bibles seen in the report were collected by U.S. military chaplains and destroyed. She says none of the Bibles was distributed.

 Cultural and religious tolerance is one-sided. Until non-Muslim westerners decide to dispense with political correctness in support of freedom, this hypocrisy will continue.

Politics of Meddling

turkey_euHe came to listen, not to lecture. Yet after yesterday’s push for Turkey’s acceptance into the EU, I wonder if Europeans Obama-glow has worn off. Aside from a few missteps, like his snooze inducing presser with Brown and his ‘French’ town hall, the President and his prompter had them weak-kneed and star-struck. So, they must have been taken aback when Obama continued the ugly American habit of minding other countries’ business.

“Turkey is bound to Europe by more than bridges over the Bosphorous. Centuries of shared history, culture, and commerce bring you together. Europe gains by diversity of ethnicity, tradition and faith – it is not diminished by it. And Turkish membership would broaden and strengthen Europe’s foundation once more.”

But according to a poll released by the German Marshall Fund and the Compagnia di San Paolo in late 2007, only 21 percent of Europeans believe that their culture would be enriched enough to support Turkey’s bid for EU membership. 21 percent. Merkel and Sarkozy strongly oppose EU membership for Turkey.

Imagine the outrage and furor if, during his speech before the United States Congress, French President Sarkozy had made a plea to legalize the more than 20 million illegals currently living in the United States? After all, they would enrich our culture, add to our diversity and benefit our commerce. It would have been a classic ‘mind your own bees wax’ moment.

We should let the EU member nations and their citizens decide Turkey’s fate. Controversial mosque construction, whether to permit ‘burkinis’, and attacks on free speech, are matters for Europeans, not Americans. And if the recent Turkish resistance to the Danish Prime Minister’s nomination to lead NATO is any indication of future battles in Brussels, well, then maybe the concerns of Sarkozy and Merkel have merit.

Maybe Europeans don’t believe that the old continent, “gains by diversity of ethnicity, tradition and faith.” The riots in Paris, the cartoon controversy in Denmark and the attacks on their freedom might have them a bit spooked.

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader, calls the idea “a disaster, and advises Mr. Obama to “remember that while he’s been elected President he’s been elected President of the United States only.” Good luck with that…

‘Resistance Missiles’ in Gaza

gaza_massacre1Now in its fourth day, Israel’s assault on Gaza remains a top story from China and Russia to the United States. The coverage and characterization of the story, however, varies according to the region and language doing the reporting.

Tuesday, Al-Arabiya’s top story (English), written from ‘occupied Jerusalem,’ is entitled ‘Gaza children die as Israel rejects truce.’

Also today, Al-Jazeera (Arabic) headlined with ‘364 martyrs of aggression in Gaza and the resistance missiles in Beersheba.’ We can all feel better knowing that those hundreds of missiles bombarding Israel for the past several months were merely ‘resistance’ missiles.

Yesterday, Al-Jazeera’s Arabic version referred to a leader of the Jerusalem Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, as a martyr when his house was bombed by the Israelis in a raid.

In another Aljazeera piece from Arabic ‘Angry demonstrations will force Arab cities to hold an emergency summit,’ Israel’s assault is called the ‘Israeli massacre on the Gaza strip.’

Why should Hamas stop firing its missiles when so many, especially in the Middle East, view them as ‘resistance’ against an occupation? Until Arabs and Muslims accept the right of Israel to exist, peace talks will continue to be an exercise in futility. And until the ‘right of return’ is abandoned, Palestinians will continue to lack privileges inherent to citizens belonging to a nation.

Islamic Banks Arrive in France

From France’s Le Figaro 11/27/2008

kuwait_finance_house2By June 2009, there will be at least three Islamic banks opening in France. The Qatar Islamic Bank, Kuwait Finance House and Al-Baraka Islamic bank have requested approval  to operate. Islamic banks abide by Sharia law and will undoubtedly appeal to the five million Muslims residing in France.

Who Attacked India? Terrorists or Insurgents

India ShootingDuring the last few days, newspapers from around the world have been headlining with the tragic story unfolding in India. Beyond the details of the story, newspapers from the Middle East have characterized the attackers as ‘insurgents’ and ‘gunmen’. Al Jazeera’s Arabic edition left out the word ‘terrorist’ altogether, unless quoting an Indian source, and their English version repeated the same non-indicting labels. The English version of Al Arabiya described how ‘gunmen’ and ‘attackers’ were terrorizing Mumbai, without using the dreaded ‘t’ word, even in a verb capacity.

To the Arab world, the perpetrators are ‘gunmen’, ‘attackers’ and ‘insurgents’, all labels which could be positive, depending on whose side you’re on; ‘terrorist’ carries only negative connotations. In the west, these innocuous attackers are terrorists. From France’s Le Monde and Le Figaro to the leftist newspapers in Italy (Corriere della Sera), the UK (the Guardian) and, gulp, the New York Times, these ‘attackers’ are ‘terrorists.’

Until Muslims in the Middle East and around the world believe that the men currently hunting British and American innocents are terrorists, not simply valiant insurgents, tragedies like Mumbai are doomed to recur.