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Posts Tagged ‘Gatestone Institute’

Converting Denmark into a Muslim Country

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Muslim immigrants in a town near Copenhagen have forced the cancellation of traditional Christmas displays this year even while spending lavishly on the Islamic Eid celebration marking the end of Ramadan.

The controversy has escalated into an angry nationwide debate over the role of Islam in post-Christian Denmark, where a burgeoning Muslim population is becoming increasingly assertive in imposing its will on a wide range of social and civic issues.

The latest dust-up involves the Egedalsvænget housing complex in Kokkedal, a town situated some 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Copenhagen where Arab and Turkish immigrants now comprise more than half the total population.

At a recent meeting of the Egedalsvænget tenants’ association, the Muslim majority on the Board of Directors refused to authorize spending 7,000 Danish kroner ($1,200) for the community’s annual Christmas event.

The vote came shortly after the same Board of Directors authorized spending 60,000 kroner ($10,000) on a large communal celebration of the Muslim holiday Eid. Five out of nine of the board members are Muslims.

A Muslim member of the board, Ismail Mestasi, defended the decision to cancel the Christmas tree and party, arguing that no one had offered to organize the celebration. “No one wanted to take on the responsibility. A vote was taken and it ended as it ended. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I was asked to get the tree. And I didn’t want to.” But a non-Muslim board member, Karin Leegaard Hansen, refuted him, saying that she herself had offered to take on the responsibility, but that she was overruled by the Muslim board members.

The dispute, which is the latest in an ever-growing list of Muslim-related controversies in Denmark, was first reported by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) on November 7. Since then, the issue has snowballed into a national scandal and has become a key topic for public debate in the Danish media as well as in political circles.

A spokesman for the Danish Conservative Party, Tom Behnke, says he fears there are people who want to convert Denmark into a Muslim country. In an interview with DR News, Behnke said: “I think it is deeply alarming that our integration efforts are so ineffective that the moment there is a Muslim majority, we do away with good-old Danish traditions and introduce Muslim traditions instead. We are living in Denmark, and people have to adapt to the situation that applies here.”

When asked whether housing associations with a Muslim minority should sponsor an Eid party, Behnke replied: “We have to remember that in the past, an Eid festival was the Muslims’ victory celebration after they had slaughtered the Christians, so I don’t know how much there is to celebrate in Denmark. Still, people should be allowed to celebrate whatever festivals they want to, but they also must respect the festivals in the country they have come to.”

Behnke added: “There is no point in wanting to convert Denmark into a Muslim country because you yourself have a Muslim background. That must never happen. On the contrary, we must have mutual respect for one another. This is a lack of respect for Danish traditions and culture. We must not have a Denmark where Danish traditions disappear as soon as there is a Muslim majority.”

Danish police are now investigating an accusation of racism made against the Muslim board members. In an interview with the Copenhagen Post, police spokesperson Karsten Egtved said: “It needs to be determined to what extent the decision by the Muslim members of the board to first vote ‘yes’ to a 60,000 kroner Eid party, then ‘no’ to a 7,000 kroner Christmas tree to celebrate Christian traditions, violates laws by discriminating against Christians and their traditions.”

The Christmas tree controversy took an ominous new twist on November 12, when a van carrying two journalists from TV2 News was attacked by 25 masked hoodlums. The journalists had gone to the Egedalsvænget housing complex to film a report about the story, but immediately upon their arrival their van was bombarded with bricks and cobblestones. The attackers destroyed the van and chased the hapless journalists out of the area.

According to TV2, the perpetrators were Muslim youths who were seeking to silence media coverage of the Christmas tree dispute.

An Arab View…

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

There is nothing more nauseating than watching people celebrate as rockets are being fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip.

This is what happened last week when Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

As soon as the sirens went off, many Palestinians took to the streets and rooftops, especially in Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods, to cheer Hamas. Sometimes they responded to the Hamas rockets by launching fireworks into the air as a sign of joy, and chanting, “We are all Hamas!” and, “O Jews, the army of Mohammed is coming after you!”

Scenes of jubilation over the rocket attacks on Israel were also reported in several Palestinian cities in the West Bank, including Ramallah, the center of Palestinian “pragmatism and moderation.”

Later, upon learning that Hamas’s rockets had failed to kill Israelis in the two cities, the Palestinians voiced disappointment.

Never mind that the rockets could have fallen on their heads. As far as these Palestinians are concerned, there is no problem if a number of Arabs are killed on the way to destroying Israel.

The celebrations reflect the strong hostility that many Palestinians continue to feel toward Israel despite 20 years of a peace process, and billions of dollars of Western aid. This hostility is the direct result of years of anti-Israel and anti-Western incitement in the Arab and Islamic world.

The hostility is directed not only toward Israel, but also its friends — above all, the United States.

Similar outbursts of joy had erupted in many parts of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem immediately after Palestinians heard of the 9/11 terror attacks in the US.

And this was not the first time that Palestinians had expressed joy over the targeting of Israeli cities.

During the 2006 war in Lebanon, Palestinians and some Arab citizens of Israel took to rooftops to cheer Hizbullah’s rocket attacks on northern cities in Israel.

During the second intifada, many Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, used to take to the streets to sing and dance and hand out candies after hearing about another suicide bombing inside Israel.

And when Saddam Hussein fired rockets at Israel in the early 1990′s, Palestinians also took to the streets and rooftops, chanting, “O beloved Saddam, strike strike at Tel Aviv!”

Last week, by the way, many Palestinians in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron were chanting: “O beloved Qassam [Hamas's armed wing], destroy, destroy Tel Aviv!” and “The people want the destruction of Israel!”

No one is expecting the Palestinians to express solidarity or sympathy with Israel in its confrontation with Hamas.

But when many Palestinians express their joy in public over the firing of rockets and missiles at Israeli cities, one is entitled to wonder whether there is a majority of Palestinians who would ever agree to any form of compromise with Israel.

In today’s world of the Palestinians, anyone who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor and a collaborator; but anyone who calls for the destruction of Israel and fires rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is a hero.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

No Room for Moderate Palestinians

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Today there is almost no room for moderates among the Palestinians.

Any Palestinian who dares to talk about compromise and peace with Israel, or even meet with Israelis, is immediately denounced as a “traitor” and “defeatist.”

Take, for example, the most recent case of Munib al-Masri, a wealthy Palestinian businessman from Nablus (Shchem), the largest city in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -Ed.].

Known as the “Palestinian Rothschild,” al-Masri has drawn strong condemnations from many Palestinians for hosting Israeli businessman Rami Levy at his home.

Even Palestinian journalists have joined the campaign against al-Masri. Some 70 journalists signed a petition calling on the Palestinian media to stop calling calling al-Masri’s palace by its name, “The House of Palestine.”

Inspired by Andrea Palladio, the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture, The “House of Palestine” is the most expensive palace in the West Bank.

It was in this palace that al-Masri met with Levy and Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, U.N. and E.U. representatives to find ways to “break the stalemate” in the Middle East peace process.

The main purpose of the gathering was to “create an Arab-Islamic-Jewish alliance to impact decision-makers by launching an initiative to break the stalemate,” according to a statement issued by al-Masri.

Palestinians representing various political groups have since condemned al-Masri for promoting “normalization” with Israel by inviting an Israeli businessman to the meeting in his palace.

The widespread condemnations forced al-Masri to issue a “clarification” in which he reassured Palestinians that he was “totally opposed to any economic relations with Israeli businessmen as long as Israel continued to occupy the 1967 territories.”

The “clarification” is yet another sign of how moderate Palestinians succumb to threats and calls for boycott.

A few days later, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas underwent the same experience.

In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV station, Abbas stated that he did not want to return to his birthplace of Safed [in northern Israel], triggering an unprecedented wave of denunciations from many Palestinians who accused him of relinquishing the Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to their former villages inside Israel.

Like al-Masri, Abbas later reassured Palestinians that he remained “committed to the right of return” and that he would never compromise on the rights of the refugees.

Obviously, the Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where they are not ready to hear about any concessions to Israel or tolerate the presence of an Israeli businessman in a Palestinian city. This radicalization is the direct result of decades of anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination in the Palestinian territories — a campaign that has been spearheaded, ironically, by the “moderate” Palestinian Authority leadership that is publicly talking about making peace with Israel.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

On Boycotting Israel

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

I am happy to say that Britain still has some exports. Sad to say, they include vicious anti-Israel boycotts and propaganda. Take developments from the past couple of weeks alone.

In recent years the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), among other Israeli musicians, has found it increasingly difficult to perform in Britain without being subjected to interruption and protest. At last year’s BBC Promenade concerts, the highlight of the musical year in London, protestors repeatedly interrupted the IPO’s performance. The orchestra – under Zubin Mehta – carried on, but each piece on the program was at some point marred by shouting, protest songs and more.

A year earlier the Jerusalem String Quartet had its performance at the Wigmore Hall repeatedly halted by the forward reconnaissance unit of the UK’s anti-Israel brigade. There, as at the Proms, the collection of anti-classical music bravehearts sang witless anti-Israel songs of their own invention to ensure that the quartet could not play its program of Ravel and Mozart. The Wigmore Hall protestors were entirely Jewish, the Albert Hall ones mainly so, thus causing a collective sigh of despair and a smacking of hands on foreheads by sane Jews everywhere.

As though to show how swiftly bad behavior can spread, last week it was the turn of protestors in New York to oppose the IPO. Among the chants of the protestors were “Oboe, trumpet or bassoon, apartheid is out of tune” and “IPO gets no ovation, ambassador for occupation.”

If, like me, you ever labored under the misunderstanding that orchestras exist to play music and that music is an international language which brings peace and understanding between people – and all that jazz – then you are clearly unaware of the new low that Israel’s opponents have sunk to. Music today may still be an international language, but it is best listened to only once you have ascertained that none of the woodwinds section is Zionist. Or the strings. Or brass. A single self-hating Jew in the percussion section, playing the triangle for instance, might be permissible. But otherwise it should be boycott, boycott, boycott. Sing it loud: “No Israelis is our tune, is that a Jew on third bassoon?’ ‘We’d like a word with that bearded drummer, from where we stand he could be a frummer.”

The dozens of New Yorkers from the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (or NYCftBoI for short) who disrupted the Carnegie concert claimed that the Israeli state is engaged in “apartheid policies against the Palestinian people” and that no amount of world-class musicianship can “cover up the injustice that Palestinians face.”

Which leads one to wonder what they do think is acceptable. Both North Korea and Iran have symphony orchestras. Or at least Iran did until this month when the mullahs boycotted it for us, after not having paid the musicians for three months. Music, apparently, is Zionist – or at least Western music is, which to hard-line mullahs is evidently the same thing. Anyhow, this strikes me as a shame. Personally I would love to have heard it – and the North Korean symphony as well. If the latter could ever be persuaded to visit London or New York – and provided that their musicians didn’t perform – as is their management’s wont – with background montages of nuclear tests, I would welcome them with great enthusiasm. Indeed I would regard listening to their playing and applauding them enthusiastically as a noteworthy demonstration to them that I recognize a difference between their government and themselves.

Iranian state forces may shoot students, hang gays from cranes and seek to annihilate a whole people, but I should think it very strange if anyone thought that the appropriate response would have been to shout anti-Iranian abuses at their national orchestra or question the very existence of their country during the piccolo solo. Likewise, if the North Korean National Symphony Orchestra were engaged in a rendition of their beautiful national tune, Arirang, I would think it not only the height of bad manners but exactly the wrong moment to start hollering about their government’s creation of multi-generational concentration camps and violation of the non-proliferation agreement.

In both of these cases the sin is real. Iran and North Korea actually are states that practice the most vile oppression of their people. Israel does not. Yet it is orchestras from Israel, string-quartets from Israel and, indeed, dance-troupes from Israel that are threatened and vilified where it would be the height of bad manners and, in fact, powerful statecraft to oppose orchestras from real totalitarian societies.

Where Would Hezbollah Be Without the EU?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

However bad many Americans think that the Obama administration is on security matters, at least one thing can be said in their favor: they are not Europeans.

An adviser to President Obama last week condemned the European Union’s weakness on security issues, and one, in particular, namely its disgraceful and pusillanimous behavior on what should be an open-and-shut case.

Speaking in Dublin last Saturday, the chief counter-terrorism adviser to President Obama, John Brennan, criticized the European Union for its complete failure to stand up to the terrorist group Hezbollah.

It will be amazing to many Americans – and indeed to many Europeans – that the group remains able to operate, recruit and raise funds within the E.U. In America, which like France, felt the full brunt of Hezbollah activities in Beirut in 1983, the organization has long been banned in any and all of its guises. This last August Washington, which already sanctions and classifies Hezbollah as a foreign “terrorist organization,” additionally put the group on a list of organizations under sanctions for involvement in the slaughter being carried out in Syria by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. As Brennan added, in addition to its involvement with terrorist activities carried out by Iran, Hezbollah “is training militants in Yemen and Syria.” Even that does not do justice to the scope, range and history of Hezbollah’s ambitions.

In the E.U. however, the group is able to fundraise unhindered. This appalling fact has come about because of an entirely false distinction which the E.U. continues to observe. It is a distinction entirely of its own invention.

For the E.U. claims that there is a difference between the “political”‘ and the “military” wings of Hezbollah. Therefore as long as the “political” side of their activities is being pursued the E.U. considers it legitimate activity. Of course there is a striking fact here: nobody outside the E.U. believes there is any such internal distinction within Hezbollah. The American government does not see it; the Canadian government does not see it. The governments of Iran and Syria do not see it. The people of Lebanon do not see it. And of course Hezbollah itself certainly does not see it.

For the leadership of Hezbollah the issue of its legitimacy within the E.U. is a source of considerable satisfaction. Where would Hezbollah be without the E.U.? The Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has already made it very clear where they would be. A few years back Nasrallah said that if the E.U. designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group in its entirety it would “destroy” the organization; as Nasrallah put it, “[t]he sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral, political and material support will be destroyed.”

Any other political entity in the West would recognize that as an invitation. But for the E.U. it is a terrible warning. For one of the reasons why the E.U. continues to argue for a political-military divide is that proscribing the fictitious “political wing” of Hezbollah would risk destabilizing Lebanon. Anybody who knows anything at all about Lebanon might observe that Hezbollah is doing perfectly nicely at destabilizing Lebanon already. Hezbollah’s parallel state within Lebanon, its private army and road-blocks, its blackmailing of its opponents and its bribery of those it wishes to keep it in power is destabilizing enough. And that is not even to mention the deeply “stabilizing” (if you are the E.U.) effects that the group must have as they carry out assassinations of opponents, bombings in civilian areas and so on.

The E.U. has been here before. During the same period they came up with their false wall-of-separation within Hezbollah they did the same thing with Hamas. That terror group too, they decided, had a military and a political wing. After the atrocities of the Second Intifada, however, that fiction disappeared. It did not disappear because the E.U. was made aware of something it had previously been unaware of. It disappeared in Europe because it was no longer possible – in terms of public opinion or political expediency – to allow a group to operate which blew up buses full of civilians.

Of course in July this year an Iranian proxy of some kind – believed by many to be Hezbollah – did exactly that on European soil. The bombing of a bus of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria showed that Iranian proxies like Hezbollah are not only willing but able to use within the E.U. the tactics they have used for years in the Middle East and, in the case of Hezbollah, as far away as Buenos Aires in the 1990s.

Islam Overtaking Catholicism as Dominant Religion in France

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

A majority of people in France, according to a new poll, believe that Islam is too influential in French society, and almost half view Muslims as a threat to their national identity.

The survey reveals a significant degradation of the image of Islam in France. The findings also show that French voters are growing increasingly uneasy about mass immigration from Muslim countries, which has been encouraged by a generation of political and cultural elites in France dedicated to creating a multicultural society.

The survey conducted by the French Institute of Public Opinion (or Ifop, as it is usually called) and published by the center-right Le Figaro newspaper on October 24, shows that 60% of French people believe that Islam has become “too visible and influential” in France — up from 55% in an earlier survey two years ago.

The poll also reveals that 43% of French people consider the presence of Muslim immigrants to be a threat to French national identity, compared to just 17% who say it enriches society.

In addition, 68% of people in France blame the problems associated with Muslim integration on immigrants who refuse to integrate (up from 61% two years ago), and 52% blame it on cultural differences (up from 40% two years ago).

The poll also shows a growing resistance to the symbols of Islam. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of French people say they are opposed to Muslim women wearing the veil or Islamic headscarves in public, compared to 59% two years ago.

Furthermore, the survey shows that only 18% of French people say they support the building of new mosques in France (compared to 33% in 1989, and 20% in 2010).

“Our poll shows a further hardening in French people’s opinions,” Jerome Fourquet, head of Ifop’s opinion department, told Le Figaro. “In recent years, there has not been a week when Islam has not been in the heart of the news for social reasons: the veil, halal food, dramatic news like terrorist attacks or geopolitical reasons,” he said.

France, which is home to an estimated six million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the European Union. There are now, in fact, more practicing Muslims in France than there are practicing Roman Catholics.

Although 64% of the French population (or 41.6 million of France’s 65 million inhabitants) identify themselves as Roman Catholic, only 4.5% (or 1.9 million) of these actually are practicing Catholics, according to a separate survey on Catholicism in France published by Ifop in July 2009.

By way of comparison, 75% (or 4.5 million), of the estimated six million mostly ethnic North African and sub-Saharan Muslims in France, identify themselves as “believers;” and 41% (or 2.5 million) say they are “practicing” Muslims, according to an in-depth research report on Islam in France published by Ifop in July 2011.

Taken together, the research data provides empirical evidence that Islam is well on its way to overtaking Roman Catholicism as the dominant religion in France.

This trend is also reflected in the fact that mosques are being built more often in France than are Roman Catholic churches; nearly 150 new mosques are currently under construction in France.

The total number of mosques in France has already doubled to more than 2,000 during just the past ten years, according to a research report, “Constructing Mosques: The Governance of Islam in France and the Netherlands.” The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, has called for the number of mosques in the country to be doubled again — to 4,000 — to meet growing demand.

By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church has built only 20 new churches in France during the past decade, and has formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to research conducted by La Croix, a Roman Catholic daily newspaper based in Paris.

In recent weeks, tensions have flared over the proposed conversion of an empty church into a mosque in the central French town of Vierzon. The controversy involves Saint-Eloi’s, a small church located in a working class neighborhood that has been taken over by immigrants from Morocco and Turkey.

With six churches to maintain and fewer faithful every year, Roman Catholic authorities in Vierzon say they can no longer afford to keep Saint-Eloi’s. They now want to sell the building for €170,000 ($220,000) to a Moroccan Muslim organization that wants to convert the church into a mosque.

Jordan’s King Abdullah ‘Playing With Fire’

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Muslim thugs in Jordan last weekend attacked a large group of young men and women who had gathered at a coffee shop in Amman to celebrate Halloween.

The thugs were members of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Salafi group.

The assailants claimed that the party was being held by “worshippers of the devil” and said Halloween was in violation of the teachings of Islam.

The attack is seen as yet another sign of the growing power of Muslim fundamentalists in Jordan.

If the Jordanian authorities cannot provide security for a Halloween party, how will they be able to prevent radical Muslims from taking over the kingdom in the future?

The “Arab Spring,” which has seen the rise of Islamists to power in a number of Arab countries, has emboldened Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi followers.

These two radical groups have hijacked Jordan’s pro-reform campaign and are doing their utmost to undermine the monarchy.

The two groups seek to establish an Islamic regime in Jordan that would one day participate in the “big jihad” to eliminate Israel.

The Salafi group in Jordan has dispatched dozens of terrorists to neighboring Syria to take part in the jihad [holy war] against Bashar Assad’s regime. And this is happening under the watchful eye of the Jordanian security establishment.

Hundreds of Jordanian jihadis are believed to fighting alongside the anti-Assad forces in Syria together with Muslim fundamentalists from all around the world.

Mahmoud Abdel Al, 33, a Jordanian car mechanic and father of five who belonged to the Salafi group, carried out a suicide bombing in Syria last week, according to his proud family.

His mother, Hind, told the French news agency AFP that her son was very religious and had studied the Quran from the age of 10.

“He loved jihad,” she said. “When he was a child he wanted to go to the West Bank to fight, but I prevented him. But when he grew up I told him, ‘May Allah facilitate your mission and be satisfied with you, my son.’”

The suicide bomber could not have travelled to Syria to carry out his “holy” mission without the knowledge of the kingdom’s powerful General Intelligence Department.

The Jordanian authorities believe that as long as the Muslim terrorists are going elsewhere to carry out their attacks, there is nothing to worry about.

But there is no doubt that the same jihadis who are crossing the border into Syria will one day come back to fight against King Abdullah and his regime.

Instead of taking serious measures against the terrorists, Jordan’s King Abdullah is doing the exact opposite.

The king, who is already facing widespread criticism for failing to implement real reforms and combat corruption, has begun to flirt with the Salafi group in a desperate bid to win its sympathy.

By flirting with these fundamentalists, King Abdullah is also hoping to win them to his side in his confrontation with the kingdom’s popular and influential Muslim Brotherhood.

Last week, in a surprise move, the king pardoned five Salafi terrorists who had planned to carry out a series of attacks against Jordanians and Western diplomats and nationals.

Sources in Amman said that King Abdullah was also planning to release Mohammed Dumus, a Salafi terrorist who murdered an American diplomat in Amman in 2003.

The king, however, backtracked at the last minute to avoid an angry response from the US, the sources said.

The king’s efforts to appease the Muslim fundamentalists will only play into the hands of Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis.

As one Jordanian political analyst put it, “Our king is playing with fire.”

The Muslim thugs would not have dared to attack the Halloween party if they thought that the Jordanian authorities would respond in a tough manner.

Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi thugs today feel secure enough to impose their will on any Jordanian. By releasing convicted terrorists from prison, the king is encouraging his rivals to pursue their efforts to destabilize the kingdom and create an Islamic state in Jordan.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jordans-king-abdullah-playing-with-fire/2012/11/07/

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