In country after European country, the post-modern charade of the bliss of multiculturalism — the idea that all cultures are equal and can coexist peacefully side-by-side in any given country, and that Muslim immigrants should be allowed to keep their cultural traditions at the expense of integrating into wider European society — is unravelling. Consider just a few of the following Islam-related controversies that jolted Europe during March 2012, a month that not only exposed the deadly consequences of decades of politically correct multiculturalism, but also brought into stark relief the moral confusion that now reigns supreme among much of Europe’s political class.
In France, a 23-year-old Islamic jihadist named Mohamed Merah confirmed the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorism. Merah, a French citizen of Algerian origin, killed three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi with close-range shots to the head. He filmed himself carrying out the attacks that began on March 11 to “verify” the deaths. Merah later died in a hail of gunfire on March 22 after a 32-hour standoff with police at his apartment in the southern French city of Toulouse.
In an extraordinary display of moral callousness, an indifferent Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s ‘Foreign Minister’ and member of the British Labour Party, declared that “what happened in Toulouse,” — the deliberate murder of the Jewish children — was morally equivalent to the accidental war deaths of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. Then, in a clumsy effort to blunt the outrage engendered by Ashton’s spectacle, her spin doctors released a statement to “clarify” her remarks by amending the official transcript of her speech.
Ashton made her contentious comments at none other than a pro-Palestinian activists’ conference in Brussels, the self-styled “Capital of Europe” and also the most Islamic city in Europe. She hosted the event, entitled “Palestine Refugees in the Changing Middle East,” in an attempt to convince the world that the European Union is an “honest broker” in the Middle East. Not surprisingly, the Hamas terrorist group applauded Ashton, saying “she deserves thanks, appreciation, and support in the face of Zionist attempts to terrorize and pressure her.”
Meanwhile, in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 19 extended an invitation to Hamas’s very own Ismail al-Ashqar to speak to the 19th regular session of the body. The UN reluctantly rescinded al-Ashqar’s invitation at the last minute on fears that his appearance might further undermine its own credibility.
True to form, the Human Rights Council considered five resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians, including four resolutions submitted by Palestine, even though no such state exists. One resolution called for the council to appoint an international fact-finding committee to investigate Israeli “settlements” on the West Bank and their impact on Palestinian life.
The measure was adopted by a vote of 36 in favor, 1 against and 10 abstentions. Voting in favor were: Austria, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland. Not surprisingly, no European country opposed the measure (the United States cast the only ‘no’ vote).
In Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a possible candidate for German chancellor, on March 14 described Israel as an “apartheid regime.” Posting on his Facebook site, Gabriel wrote: “I was just in Hebron [under the Palestinian Authority's control, not Israel's, at the Palestinian Authority's request - the editors]. That is a lawless territory there for Palestinians. This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification.”
Gabriel’s remarks triggered a wave of criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU), which issued a statement saying: “The fact that a German politician is using the term ‘Apartheid’ in connection with Israeli society is shameful. This is out of turn and reveals Mr. Gabriel’s ignorance in foreign policy matters, especially when it comes to such complex issues such as the Middle East conflict.”
Gabriel, a former environmental minister, was unrepentant. He later sought to meet with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, despite Germany’s official policy not to recognize the terror group. Gabriel also said he welcomed the inclusion of Hamas as political partner in the Middle East.
In Sweden, Ilmar Reepalu, the leftwing mayor of Malmö, accused Jews in the country of teaming up with an anti-immigrant party to “spread hate” toward Muslims.
Reepalu, who has turned a blind eye to the growing problem of anti-Semitism in Malmö during the more than 15 years he has been mayor, believes that Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism because of their support for Israeli policies in the Middle East.
Muslims now comprise between 20% and 25% of Malmö’s total population of around 300,000; much of the increase in anti-Jewish violence in recent years is being attributed to shiftless Muslim immigrant youth. In recent months, the only synagogue serving Malmö’s 700-strong Jewish community has been the focus of repeated attacks. The synagogue, which has previously been set on fire and been the target of bomb threats, now has guards stationed around it, while the Jewish kindergarten can only be reached through reinforced steel security doors.
About the Author: The writer is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, one of the oldest and most influential foreign policy think tanks in Spain.
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