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October 13, 2015 / 30 Tishri, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘reykjavík’

Reykjavík’s Revised Anti-Israel Boycott to Hit Only Judea & Samaria Jews

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

(JNi.media) Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson announced on Saturday on Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV that Reykjavík City Council is canceling its boycott of all Israeli products, limiting the boycott instead to goods produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria, Iceland Review reported.

Dagur admitted that the original boycott motion approved by the council hadn’t been prepared well enough, but now it would be “changed and clarified.”

“I have stated that it should have been made much clearer in the text [that only products from territories occupied by Israel should be boycotted], although that’s what we had in mind. I will suggest to the City Council that the motion the way it reads now be withdrawn while we discuss the next steps and how to present it,” the mayor said.

Dagur added: “I must admit that I’m angry at myself for not having done this the way I wanted.” He said he was surprised by the reaction to the decision. “I expected a reaction but not on this scale. It appears to be a stronger reaction than when Iceland declared support for an independent Palestine [in 2011].”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move, which came “for no reason or justification except for hatred for its own sake.” The ministry added: “We hope someone in Iceland will come to their senses and end the one-sided blindness against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.” And Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson called the decision “ridiculous.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center recommended that Jews not travel to Iceland.

“I had a good conversation today with Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen, who has gone through the same … thing. The first news stories had the same interpretation, that Copenhagen was to boycott all products from Israel, and Frank had to put a lot of effort into correcting it. … That’s part of the project ahead, to deliver a clear message,” Dagur promised.

Here’s a tidbit from JNi.media’s earlier feature on Iceland’s anti-Semitism (Iceland’s Chilly Treatment of Jews and the Freeze on Israeli Goods): In 2012, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote a letter to Iceland’s radio and TV director, Pall Magnusson, objecting to the reading of Hymns of Passion by Hallgrimur Petursson which were broadcast leading up to Easter. In the Passion Psalms, Petursson repeated the words for Jews—”Judar” and “Gydingar”—fifty times in fifty psalms, in every case with negative associations of dishonesty, hatred, perfidy and pride. But Magnusson denied the anti=-Semitic allegation, and replied, “I strongly believe that your somewhat harsh interpretation of what you call ‘anti-Semitic references’ in the hymns are not justified.” He didn’t explain why they were not justified, except to refer to how old they are. “I ask you to bear in mind that the hymns were written 350 years ago, and they describe the poet’s feelings about events that supposedly took place 2,000 years ago …. and are a cherished part of Iceland’s cultural history and heritage.” Among these cherished verses demonstrating Iceland’s cultural history and heritage are: “The righteous law of Moses / The Jews here misapplied / Which their deceit exposes / Their hatred and their pride.”

Iceland Capital’s Israel Boycott is Flagrant Violation of WTO Treaty

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

The City Councillors of the capital of Iceland, that tiny little Island nation of former Vikings, have their knickers in a twist over the “Occupation” by Israel of what they call the “Palestinian Territories.” The knickers must be twisted too tightly, because what they did to express their displeasure is going to get their national government in trouble.

The 15-member City Council passed a motion banning the city of Reykjavik from purchasing any goods made in Israel. Reykjavik went whole hog – all Israeli goods were banned under its new law, not just goods made or grown beyond the “Green Line.” The measure was passed by a majority of the City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

The motion was sponsored by retiring Councillor Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, of the center-left Social Democrats. The motion was introduced in 2014, as a response to that summer’s conflict between Hamas and Israel. Vilhelmsdóttir also encouraged individuals to boycott all Israeli goods.

The preamble to the new law states that the City of Reykjavik will not purchase any goods from Israel so long as that country “occupies Palestinian territories.”

In the opinion of the Reykjavik City Council, Israel deserves to be slapped – at least symbolically – for “violating international agreements” and for treating Palestinian Arabs with a form of Apartheid, akin to South Africa.

Vilhelmsdóttir claims neither she nor her legislative action have anything to do with anti-Semitism, and neither are opposed to Israel, merely to the current government of Israel.

The councillor’s husband, Sveinn Runar Hauksson, is the head of the Iceland-Palestine Association.

Sveinn Runar Hauksson (center), husband of Björk Vilhelmsdóttir

Sveinn Runar Hauksson (center), husband of Björk Vilhelmsdóttir

On the Councillor’s Facebook page, she features a picture of two young girls holding a huge poster of a man with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanuyahu’s head on the body of a Nazi officer.

picture featured on Facebook page of Bjork Vilhelmsdottir

picture featured on Facebook page of Bjork Vilhelmsdottir

Although most photographs of Hauksson show him wearing a kefiyah expressing allegiance to Fatah, his Facebook page boasts a picture of him in 2010 handing an award to the then-Prime Minister of Gaza and head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh.

The spouse of Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, with Ismail Haniyeh, Hama leader.

The spouse of Björk Vilhelmsdóttir, with Ismail Haniyeh, Hama leader.


Hauksson not only dislikes Israel, he is not too fond of the United States, and hoped its defeat by Vietnam would be celebrated all over the world.


Svein R Hauksson tweet re VNam


The boycott motion passed this week expresses Reykjavik’s disapproval of the “racial apartheid government in Israel,” and compares Israel to South Africa under apartheid. The law also expresses support for the “right of Palestinians to an independent and sovereign state within the borders of the Six-Day War in 1967.” So much for only opposing the current government of Israel.

The new boycott law states:

Boycotting products is a peaceful way to influence governments in countries where human rights are not respected and where international agreements are disregarded. One example of when boycotting had a big impact on a country was when countries all over the world decided to boycot South Africa because of its apartheid regime. In recent years, an increasing number of individuals, organisations, counties and states have taken up boycotts against Israel where the situation is not unlike the sitution in South Africa during the time of the apartheid regime. (Emphasis added.)

Interesting that the motion should mention wrongdoing countries where “international agreements are disregarded.”

Iceland to Get its First Mosque

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The Reykjavík City Council has approved a building permit for the construction of the first mosque in Iceland.

The mosque will be built in Sogamýri, an upscale district near downtown Reykjavík on a highly desirable plot of land that was granted to Muslims free of charge, courtesy of Icelandic taxpayers.

Members of the city council — which is led by Reykjavík Mayor Jón Gnarr, who identifies himself as an anarchist — say they hope the prime location will make the mosque a prominent landmark in the city.

Critics of the mosque, however, say the project is being financed by donors in the Middle East who are seeking to exert control over — and radicalize — the growing Muslim community in Iceland.

Although reliable statistics do not exist, the Muslim population of Iceland is estimated to be approximately 1,200, or 0.4% of the total Icelandic population of 320,000. Most Muslims in Iceland live in the capital Reykjavík, where they make up about 1% of the total population of 120,000.

The Muslim community in Iceland may be small in comparison to other European countries, but its rate of growth has been exponential: Since 1990, when there were fewer than a dozen Muslims in the country, their number has increased by nearly 10,000%. Much of this growth has been due to immigration, but in recent years native Icelanders have also been converting to Islam in increasing numbers.

Currently there are two main Muslim groups in Iceland: the Muslim Association of Iceland, which has around 500 members, and the Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, which has some 300 followers. The former group is run by Salmann Tamimi, a Palestinian immigrant who considers himself to be the voice of moderate Islam in Iceland; the latter group is run by Ahmad Seddeq, a firebrand preacher from Pakistan whose activities are allegedly being financed by Saudi Arabia.

Although both groups pertain to Sunni Islam, they have been openly fighting with each other for many years over who should be the rightful representative of Islam in Iceland.

In 2000, Tamimi — whose group meets at a make-shift mosque on the third floor of an office building in downtown Reykjavík — submitted an application to obtain a free plot of land from city authorities to build the first purpose-built mosque in Iceland.

Not to be outdone, Seddeq — whose group meets at a make-shift mosque in an old concert hall near the Reykjavík airport — submitted his own application for free land to build a competing mosque.

City officials responded by saying there should be only one mosque and that it should be shared by both groups. “Obviously we won’t be allocating two lots for mosques at this point and we find it natural for them to cooperate on the construction of one mosque,” Páll Hjaltason, the chairman of Reykjavík City’s Urban Planning Council, told the newspaper Fréttabladid.

Seddeq said he was open to the idea of sharing one plot of land, but Tamimi, who submitted his application first, would have none of it. Instead, Tamimi lashed out at Seddeq, accusing him of extremism, fanaticism and oppression in the name of Islam.

“Our application is completely different from theirs,” Salmann said in an interview with the newspaper Fréttabladid. “This is like asking the national church to be with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Tamimi sought to undermine Seddeq’s group by accusing it of being financed by Saudi Arabia. At one point, Tamimi called the police to report members of Seddeq’s group, accusing them of misunderstanding the peaceful nature of Islam, and saying that he feared that Muslim extremists were attempting to gain a foothold in Iceland.

Tamimi also sought to assure the Reykjavík City Council that — unlike Seddeq — his mosque project would not be financed by foreigners and thus would not be promoting extremism.

“If we are going to have a mosque, it must be done according to local considerations,” Tamimi said in October 2010. “As soon as you lose sight of the source of funding you lose control of what happens subsequently. The experience of other countries teaches that it is wise to reject large foreign investments in religion. Such investors are much more likely to import their own countries’ traditions and not adapt to the traditions in their host country.”

In the end, city officials sided with Tamimi, whose mosque project was formally approved on September 19. After more than a decade of bickering, construction of Reykjavík’s first mosque is expected to begin in early 2014.

The cost of building the 800 square meter (8,600 square foot) mosque — which will include a prayer hall, community center and library, as well as a nine-meter (30 foot) minaret — is expected to exceed 400 million Icelandic Krona (€2.5 million; $3.3 million).

But now that the Reykjavík mosque project has been given the go-ahead, Tamimi’s group has changed its tune and now admits that foreign donors will be paying for the mosque’s construction costs after all.

During a newspaper interview on September 19 — conducted just a few hours after the mosque project was approved — Sverrir Agnarsson, a convert to Islam who is chairman of Tamimi’s group, the Muslim Association of Iceland, was asked how the mosque would be financed.

“We have received numerous promises,” Agnarsson said. “We are mostly seeking funding from individual foreigners. We have a right to get support from the collective funds of Muslims [the Ummah, or the worldwide community of Muslims]. We are doing all of this in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice to guarantee that all the money coming to us is received legally, and is not associated with any terrorist organizations,” he added.

The idea that foreigners are financing the spread of Islam in Reykjavík does not sit well with many Icelanders.

One of the most vocal opponents of the mosque project has been the former mayor of Reykjavík, Ólafur F. Magnússon. In an article he wrote for the newspaper Morgunbladid, Magnússon laid out his position:

It is a matter of grave concern that it seems to be no problem for Muslims in Iceland to finance such a mosque here in Iceland with money from ‘Muslim/Islamic promotion organizations’ abroad. They could receive financial help from organizations that want to increase Islamic influence in Iceland as well as in other countries. This can be dangerous for our national culture and safety.

Magnússon also said why he thought it was wrong for foreign organizations to be financing the construction of mosques in Iceland:

Islam is a religion with the goal to eliminate all other religions and to expand all over the world, the West, the Nordic countries…and now even Iceland. The experience in the Nordic countries shows that Muslims are not adapting to society. This has become a huge problem, in Malmö [Sweden] for example. The other day, a mosque was to be built on Trondheim [Norway], but the Norwegian authorities canceled the project because some Saudi Arabian organization was to finance the whole thing.

Although he is not opposed to the mosque per se, Magnússon believes it is outrageous for the city to give Muslims a building site at no cost at a great location in the center of Reykjavík. He also asks why political movements and feminist groups in Iceland are so tolerant towards a religion that he says degrades women.

Part of the answer may be found in the political make-up of the Reykjavík City Council, which is led by the upstart Best Party, a so-called joke party that was propelled into office in 2010 as a backlash against establishment parties in the wake of Iceland’s banking collapse in 2008.

The Best Party — a semi-serious far left party that is home to anarchists, atheists, surrealists, punks and poets — is being led by Jón Gnarr, a stand-up comedian whose stated political aim is thoroughly to upset the established order in Reykjavík. Critics say the new mosque represents a big step toward achieving Gnarr’s objective.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/iceland-to-get-its-first-mosque/2013/09/30/

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