Monday, October 31, 2005

Iran to mark U.S. embassy seizure anniversary with parades

I wonder whether they have invited Jimmi Carter? He could bring his Peace Prize (courtesy of my country), and listen to speeches about nuking Israel:

Iran to mark U.S. embassy seizure anniversary with parades

Iran’s Ministry of Education announced on Sunday that 20 million students in primary and secondary schools across the country will chant “Death to America” on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. “Students across the country will be ringing school bells with chants of Death to America on Wednesday, November 2, and special programs will be held in schools”, said a statement by the public relations department of the Ministry of Education, carried by the Persian-language website Aftab, which belongs to the State Expediency Council. The anniversary ceremonies are being held two days earlier this year, as November 4 falls on Friday, the Muslim Sabbath. “There will be a statement on the November 4 anniversary condemning the warmongering policies of the U.S. and the Zionist regime”, the Education Ministry statement said. On November 4, 1979, Iranian “students” led by a close confidante of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and took approximately seventy Americans captive. The incident triggered the most profound crisis of the Carter presidency and lasted 444 days. Many of the hostage-takers went on to become major political figures in Iran in subsequent years. “A series of activities are planned to mark the occasion, which will include parades, cultural and arts contests, essay-writing competition and newspaper production by students, and all will be centred on the themes, ‘Why Death to America and Zionists?’, ‘Hating the Great Satan America’, ‘The Role of Students in the Scientific Development of the Country’ and ‘Quest for Justice at the Heart of Domestic and International Issues’.”

Islam dissident backs PM in dispute

Islam dissident backs PM in dispute

European leaders should step forward and support Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's refusal to meet with eleven Muslim ambassadors to discuss press coverage of Islam, Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali said on Sunday. Somalian-born Hirsi Ali, who is considered one of northern Europe's staunchest Islam opponents, has lived under police protection for a year, ever since Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered for his critical film on women in Islam, which Hirsi Ali penned. Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that the 36-year-old politician and debater supported whole-heartedly the paper's decision to call for and print cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed last month, an action considered blasphemous by devout Muslims and an unneeded provocation by many Danish politicians and journalists.

The ambassadors of eleven Muslim countries have deplored the newspaper's decision and asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is also the minister of press issues. Rasmussen, however, declined to meet the ambassadors, saying that if they had the slightest understanding of the workings of Danish society, they would know that he had no desire or powers to change the newspaper's editorial policies. 'The Danish prime minister's reply to the ambassadors should be an example for every European leader,' Hirsi Ali told Jyllands-Posten's reporter. 'The prime minister steps forward to tell Muslims loud and clear that the freedom of expression is a deciding factor for a free society, and that a prime minister in a free society neither can nor wishes to regulate what newspapers do or do not do. The fact that he makes a special point of explaining this to the ambassador from Turkey - which is seeking entrance to the EU - is an expression of true statesmanship.'

Hirsi Ali, who says she suffered physical violence at the hands of her Islamic teacher in her country of birth and had to escape from her family when they tried to have her married against her will, criticises Islam as a totalitarian religion, which makes a special point of debasing women. She said Jyllands-Posten had made the right decision to print the caricatures of Mohammed, and urged media in other countries to do the same. 'It's necessary to taunt Muslims on their relationship with Mohammed, because otherwise we will never have the dialogue we need to establish with Muslims on the most central question: Do you really feel that the prophet Mohammed is completely infallible, and that every Muslim in Europe in 2005 should follow the way of life the prophet had 1400 years ago, as the Koran dictates? The provocation is necessary to spark the debate,' Hirsi Ali said.

Religious headscarves unwanted in Denmark

According to a survey, carried out for the free daily Metroexpress nearly one in two Danes believe that religious headscarves, as often wore by Muslim women, should be banned in Denmark. The Danish People's Party have decided after seeing the surveys results, to once again propose a new parliamentary law banning the wearing of headscarves in schools. Four years ago, they attempted to impose a similar ban but were not supported in parliament by any other party. The Social Liberals have already announced they would not support any ban on religious headscarves. Likewise, the Lord Major of Århus Louise Gade said that any ban in Århus would only be introduced against her strong opposition. "There are far more important things to take issue with than what clothes people wear," she said.

Minister complains of pampered immigrants

Immigrants and foreigners in Denmark are being pampered by the social services and therefore cannot find work, the Employment Minster told reporters today. Employment Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen is demanding that social workers and their bosses focus far more on getting people into jobs, as only one in five interviews between clients and social workers are centred around job seeking. The president of the Social workers Union told reporters that his members are doing everything humanly possible to find work for immigrants; the problem is that jobs for them simply do not exist.

Islam vs. Free Speech: The Case of Denmark

Since the murder of the Islam critical Dutch film director Theo van Gogh, Danish artists have become fearful of criticising Islam. Author Kåre Bluitgen is due to publish a book on the prophet Muhammad, but so far no one had agreed to illustrate the work through fear of reprisals from Islamic extremists. Daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten responded by asking 40 illustrators to make drawings of Muhammad. Twelve illustrators heeded the newspaper's call, and sent in cartoons of the prophet which were published in the newspaper. Some Muslims took offence, as pictorial depictions of Muhammad are banned in Islam. 'This type of democracy is worthless for Muslims,' Imam Raed Hlayhel wrote in a statement. 'Muslims will never accept this kind of humiliation. The article has insulted every Muslim in the world. We demand an apology!' Jyllands-Posten described the cartoons as a defence for 'secular democracy and right to expression'. It is not the first time Hlayhel has created headlines in Denmark. One year ago, he infuriated the nation during a Friday prayer session by insisting that Muslim girls should cover themselves from head to toe, and neither wear perfume nor go to the hairdressers if they want to have any chance of going to heaven.

The case has since then escalated in severity. Death threats have forced daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten to hire security guards to protect its employees. Journalists and editors alike have received threats by email and the telephone. Editor Juste said the cartoons had been a journalistic project to find out how many cartoonists refrained from drawing the prophet out of fear. 'We live in a democracy,' he said. 'That's why we can use all the journalistic methods we want to. Satire is accepted in this country, and you can make caricatures. Religion shouldn't set any barriers on that sort of expression.' Juste's opinion was not shared by Århus imam Raed Hlayhel, who gave an interview to the Internet edition of Arabic satellite news channel al-Jazeera telling that he considered the cartoons derisive of Islam, and described one of the drawings as showing Muhammad wearing a turban-like bomb. Several thousand Muslims demonstrated in Copenhagen against the treatment of Muslims in general and the images of Muhammad published by the newspaper Jyllands-Posten in particular. "We fear that this could lead to violence and extremism, and that young people can decide to carry out extremist acts. We call upon the government to ban degradation of religions and hope that Jyllands-Posten will respond to just criticism," said Danish Muslim Katja Hansen.

Pictures of bombs exploding over of Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and blood flowing over the national flag and a map of Denmark are among the images circulating on the Internet. Daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported that the collages showed pictures of various tourist attractions in Denmark and stated that 'The Mujahedeen have numerous targets in Denmark - very soon you all will regret this', amongst other things. Another picture showed soldiers, armed with bombs, over a map of Denmark, with blood spattered over parts of the country. Recently, four young men between 16 and 20 years of age were taken into custody yesterday in Brøndby, a suburb of Copenhagen, charged with planning terrorism. The police say that the action was planned for 'a European target within the near future', and some of the items found indicated that it was likely a suicide bombing that was in the works. The four arrested are described as inconspicuous and well-behaved young men. All four are born and bred in Denmark, although only one has Danish citizenship. Their friends and relatives had become bemused in recent weeks as the boys had begun to meet at various mosques to pray, adopting a radical tone that was worrying to some of their relatives.

A number of Muslim countries with embassies in Denmark have sent a protest to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen about the caricatures. 'We are hoping for understanding about Muslims' feelings about Muhammad and an apology from Jyllands-Posten,' said Mascud Effendy Hutasuhut, minister counsellor at the Indonesian Embassy. The Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Turkish ambassador to Denmark fully supported the move. In a letter, they urged PM Rasmussen to call the newspaper to account for "abusing Islam in the name of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression." Liberal party foreign spokesperson Poulsen says EU candidate country Turkey's approval of the letter underlines how important it is for Turkey to live up to freedom of expression demands. Prime Minister Rasmussen denied the ambassadors’ request. 'This is a matter of principle. I won't meet with them because it is so crystal clear what principles Danish democracy is built upon that there is no reason to do so,' said Rasmussen. 'As prime minister, I have no power whatsoever to limit the press - nor do I want such a power,' he said. 'It is a basic principle of our democracy that a prime minister cannot control the press.' 'Some people say that the press needs to be constructive, and sometimes I also think that'd be nice. But who's to say what's constructive? That's an unfair demand to make. The press needs to be critical - I need to bear that as prime minister and religions must do so as well,' he said.

International Muslim organisations are to take over the discussion about whether a Danish newspaper was in its rights to print caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. After Rasmussen also refused to meet with the ambassadors, Egyptian Ambassador Mona Omar Attia said in a Danish news broadcast on Tuesday that the group planned to meet to discuss contacting other parliamentary leaders, some of whom had urged the PM to hear the ambassador's complaints. After meeting at the Saudi Arabian Embassy on Wednesday, however, the group said they had decided to let international Muslim groups take over the cause, allowing groups such as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to try to influence the prime minister. The conference represents 56 member states and has already sent a letter of protest to the government. 'It's out of our hands,' said Attia after the meeting. 'Now it is moving up to the international level. Therefore, we will not try to contact Denmark's political leaders. 'One could imagine that the Arab League will weigh in soon,' she said.

When some Muslims complain about their religion being slighted, the entire Islamic world seems to support them. Unfortunately, the same is not the case with the infidels using their freedom of speech. They are too frequently left to fight alone, with little support. This needs to change. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with dozens of member states backed by Saudi oil money, is now up against one newspaper and the government of a nation of just above 5 million inhabitants. But what is at stake is nothing less than the very concept of freedom of speech and thus democracy itself, an issue far greater than Denmark. It is totally unacceptable that Muslims try to intimidate the citizens of free nations from speaking their minds, and it is time that this is made clear in no uncertain terms. As an expression of solidarity, you can send in this draft message:

I would hereby like to express my support for the newspaper Jyllands-Posten publishing cartoons of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Freedom of speech is the lifeblood of a democratic society, and cannot be tampered with. Muslims in Denmark freely exercise this right, even to say things that people in Denmark find greatly offensive. A leading Danish mufti in 2004 said that Danish women not wearing the veil “were asking for rape.” Another imam wanted to import the sharia concept of blood money to Denmark, and pay the equivalent of 100 camels for a man’s life. If Muslims in Denmark think these are acceptable statements, they cannot by any right claim to be offended by a few simple drawings. At least not if they really mean that Islam is compatible with Western democracy. Jyllands-Posten should know that this case is being followed by individuals from all around the world, and that you have the support of thousands of people who don’t want to see their freedom slip away. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen should also be commended for his clear and principled stand in this case, as Dutch ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out. In an age where too many political leaders shy away from defending the basic values of our societies, it serves to Denmark’s credit to have a leader who still possesses a backbone.

I would also like to condemn the actions made by the ambassadors of several Muslims countries in this case, and those of Turkey in particular. The behavior of the Turkish government is incompatible with that of a nation with a desire to become a part of a Western community such as the EU. If Turkey thinks that the EU shouldn’t be a Christian club, than Turkey should respond in kind by withdrawing from all “Islamic clubs” such as the OIC. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has earlier stated that anti-Islamism should be viewed as a ”crime against humanity”, has pushed for criticism of Islam to be treated as racism within the EU and is now backing an effort to curtail the freedom of speech of the citizens of an EU nation. These actions are not those of a secular politician such as Ataturk, but more closely mirror the attitude of the Ottoman sultans of old. They indicate that a Turkey within the EU would threaten the freedom of European citizens, and clearly demonstrate that Turkey is not yet ready to become a part of the European community.

Suggested email addresses:

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten: ,

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, Copenhagen, Denmark:

Office of the Turkish President:

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC): ,

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Europe: Trick or Treat or Ramadan Sweets?

Poor Europeans: We don't believe in our own culture anymore, and our continent has become a battlefield for competing "cultural imperialisms": American and Islamic ones. I know which one I would choose, but quite a few among our chattering class seem to object less to the increasingly prominent Ramadan celebrations than to Halloween. A sign of the times? Which candies will our grandchildren be eating 50 years from now? Will it be "trick or treat" or Ramadan sweets? And which sheets will our daughters be wearing? A burka or a "Casper the ghost" costume? They sure look similar, don't they? Perhaps it's the ultimate proof that all cultures really are equal, so why care? After all, it's just another piece of cloth, isn't it?

Some Europeans Aren't Fans of Halloween

It's almost Halloween and all those ghosts, goblins, tricks and treats are giving Hans Kohler the creeps. So the mayor of Rankweil, a town near the border with Switzerland, has launched a one-man campaign disparaging Halloween as a "bad American habit" and urging families to skip it this year. "It's an American custom that's got nothing to do with our culture," Kohler wrote in letters sent out to households. By midweek, the mayors of eight neighboring villages had thrown their support behind the boycott. So had local police, annoyed with the annual Oct. 31 uptick in vandalism and mischief. Although Halloween has become increasingly popular across Europe complete with carved pumpkins, witches on broomsticks, makeshift houses of horror and costumed children rushing door to door for candy it's begun to breed a backlash. Critics see it as the epitome of crass, U.S.-style commercialism. Clerics and conservatives contend it clashes with the spirit of traditional Nov. 1 All Saints' Day remembrances. Halloween "undermines our cultural identity," complained the Rev. Giordano Frosini, a Roman Catholic theologian who serves as vicar-general in the Diocese of Pistoia near Florence, Italy. Frosini denounced the holiday as a "manifestation of neo-paganism" and an expression of American cultural supremacy. "Pumpkins show their emptiness," he said. In Sweden, even as Halloween's popularity has increased, so have views of the holiday as an "unnecessary, bad American custom," said Bodil Nildin-Wall, an expert at the Language and Folklore Institute in Uppsala.

Is Sweden Superior?

An American friend of mine once noted that Swedes actually seem to believe their own propaganda about being the world's model nation. She's right. Here are a couple of comments on my blog from a Swedish reader who is puzzled about why I write so many critical posts about the situation in Sweden. His conclusion is that I do this because I suffer from an inferiority complex vis-a-vis Swedes. Notice that there isn't even a hint of irony in this thinking:

Reading your comments on Sweden it's pretty obvious that you have a serious inferiority issue vis-a-vis Sweden. I though most Norwegians had put this behind them. Proof that not only many Norwegians, but also many Danes, seem to have a serious complex of some kind vis-a-vis Sweden. Here in Stockholm no one cares one iota about Norway on Denmark. And if we have something to say about either of them, it's mostly nice neighbourly things.

First of all: I decided from the outset of this blog that Fjordman would be a Scandinavian blog, not a Norwegian one. I did this beacuse Scandinavia encompasses both one of the strongest anti-dhimmi nations in Western Europe, Denmark, and perhaps the most pathetic dhimmi nation of the Western world, Sweden. This makes it more interesting for outsiders to read my blog. Besides, being Norwegian, I can easily read Swedish and Danish newspapers as well as my own. I won't bother my international readers with Scandinavian family fights. They date back centuries, as is usually the case in Europe. I could for instance point out that Norway's national savings now exceed Sweden's national debt. Put in simple terms, Norwegians can buy Sweden, one hundred years after our independence. Not that we would want to, of course. Who wants to buy Malmö, anyway? You guys can keep it. Sweden is the largest of the Scandinavian countries, and usually the one that outsiders know best. That is true. Unfortunately, I suspect that the days of Sweden being a model for the rest of the world are long gone. Today, it is more an example of dhimmitude, immigration insanity and politically correct repression of free speech. The "Swedish Model" has become something negative, not something positive. That doesn't prevent leading leftists from clinging on to their now collapsing system:

“Sweden is fantastic!”

“When will Swedish business and the Swedish right feel proud of Sweden?” - Helle Klein, writing on her Aftonbladet-hosted blog under the headline “Sweden is fantastic!” It is, I have always maintained, the Fox News of Swedish print journalism. This is the second time in just over a week that Klein has accused the Swedish right of not possessing sufficient ‘pride.’

Some visitors may still believe the propaganda, too:

Nordic welfare states working just fine

Sweden is home to one of the world's most generous social-welfare states. Here, each parent will get eight months off from work per child, at 80 percent of salary. That's just one of the gold-plated social benefits available to Swedes, who pay some of the world's highest taxes in return. The Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland are thriving, despite having even more generous government benefits and higher taxes than their European peers. This is not to say that the Nordic systems are problem-free. Sweden, for example, is grappling with huge abuse of its generous sick-leave policy. In recent years, it also has admitted large populations of poor, uneducated immigrants, many of whom are failing to assimilate and living on public aid.

But even the official numbers show that the Swedish economic model is in serious trouble:

New Study: 80’s Generation Worse Off

Young adults born in the 1980’s have an appreciably lower standard of living in Sweden than older generations. That’s according to a report published by Statistics Sweden. The report suggests that main reasons behind the gap in living standards are a general demand for higher qualifications, a lack of cheap available housing and mass unemployment during the 90s and early 2000s when the number of available jobs shrunk some 10%. The statistics show that fewer young adults can afford to own a car or take overseas holidays compared to previous generations. More of them are in debt and suffer from symptoms of stress - brought on by low job security.

“Official figures do not tell the whole story”

Sweden had the second highest growth rate in the world from 1890 to 1950, but since the tax rate rose from 20 % in 1950 to 50 % in 1980 we have fallen behind. For example, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Sweden was the fourth richest country per capita in the world in 1970 whereas now it is down to number 14.

I believe what triggered the tirade about an inferiority complex was my suggestion that Norway should impose stricter control over our shared border with Sweden, to prevent that country's problems from dragging us down, too:

Swedish Welfare State Cracking?

Are we seeing some major cracks in the Swedish welfare state, with its 25% real unemployment rate? If so, what happens when it collapses? Isn't it likely that this will trigger a flood of "welfare tourists" to neighboring countries? Given that Finland is beyond political correctness and hardly accepts any immigration at all, and that Denmark is increasingly fed up, the weakest link among Sweden's neighbors is Norway. We share a very long border with Sweden, which is among the least protected borders in the world. Our significant oil wealth and naive politics make us an attractive destination. How are we going to respond to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people suddenly moving here? This question hasn't even been asked, much less debated, by a single political leader in this country.

This isn't just something I made up. In Denmark, right-wing politicians are already debating the problem of immigrant "welfare tourists" from Sweden. Some even claim that Sweden poses a threat to Denmark as large as that of a possible Turkish EU membership:

DF wants to fence Sweden out

The Danish People's Party (DF) wants to downsize the expansive cooperation between the Nordic countries in order to protect the Danish welfare system, national broadcaster DR reported. DF MP and spokesman on foreign affairs Søren Espersen said Danish emigration to Sweden was pressing the Swedish welfare system, just as many Swedes had moved to Denmark to receive social benefits there. Espersen said DF should work towards having Denmark withdraw from Nordic cooperation, which allows any citizen of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland or Iceland to move to any of the other countries and gain full access of their social security systems. Espersen said he would take the matter up in the Nordic Council, a government-level organ supervising the nations' cooperation. The Liberal Party' representative in the Nordic Council, MP Kristian Pihl Lorentsen, said he agreed with Espersen. 'It's obvious that if Sweden runs a much more lax refugee and foreigner policy than Denmark, we can't live with foreigners moving to Denmark after an obligatory stint in Sweden,' he said.

I hope Swedes enjoy your superiority. Something tells me you are going to need it soon.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Second night of rioting in Paris

Silent march follows Paris riots

Hundreds of people have taken part in a silent march through a suburb of Paris in memory of two teenage boys whose deaths sparked two nights of violence. Angry crowds clashed with police on Thursday and Friday nights, throwing stones and setting cars alight in the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. The crowds blamed police for the deaths of the two boys, electrocuted when they climbed into an electrical station. Reports said the boys had been trying to evade police - who deny this. The authorities in Paris say no officers were chasing them at the time of their deaths. Police detained 14 people after Friday night's clashes, which officials said saw 15 police officers and one journalist injured, and a shot fired at a police van. Thursday's violence broke out after youths attacked firefighters who had been called in to help the two victims, who were aged 15 and 17, and a third youth who received serious burns.

Second night of rioting in Paris

Hundreds of French youths fought with police and set cars ablaze in a suburb of Paris early Saturday in a second night of rioting which media said was triggered when two teenagers died fleeing police. Firefighters intervened around 40 times on Friday night in the northeastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois where many of the 28,000 residents are immigrants, mainly from Africa, police and fire officers said. Unidentified youths fired a shot at police but no one was hurt, police said. A police trade union called for help from the army to support police officers. "There's a civil war underway in Clichy-Sous-Bois at the moment," Michel Thooris, an official of police trade union Action Police CFTC, said. "We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting," he said.

September Diary

In Le Figaro daily dated Feb 1, 2002, Lucienne Bui Trong, a criminologist working for the French government's Renseignements Generaux (General Intelligence — a mix of FBI and secret service), complains that the survey system she had created for accurately denumbering the Muslim no-go zones was dismantled by the government. She wrote: 'From 106 hot points in 1991, we went to 818 sensitive areas in 1999. That's for the whole country. These data were not politically correct.' Since she comes from a Vietnamese background, Ms. Bui Trong cannot be suspected of racism, of course, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to start this survey in the first place. The term she uses, 'sensitive area,' is the PC euphemism for these places where anything representing a Western institution (post office truck, firemen, even mail order delivery firms, and of course cops) is routinely ambushed with Molotov cocktails, and where war weapons imported from the Muslim part of Yugoslavia are routinely found. The number 818 is from 2002. I'd go out on a limb and venture that it hasn't decreased in two years. Note the French govt's response to these unpleasant statistics — they stopped collecting the statistics!

The unreported race riot in France

Fredric Encel, Professor of international relations at the prestigious Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Paris and a man not known for crying wolf, recently stated that France is becoming a new Lebanon. The implication, far-fetched though it may seem, was that civil upheaval might be no more than a few years off, sparked by growing ethnic and religious polarization. In recent weeks, a series of events has underlined this ominous trend. On March 8, tens of thousands of high school students marched through central Paris to protest education reforms announced by the government. Repeatedly, peaceful demonstrators were attacked by bands of black and Arab youths--about 1,000 in all, according to police estimates. The eyewitness accounts of victims, teachers, and most interestingly the attackers themselves gathered by the left-wing daily Le Monde confirm the motivation: racism. Some of the attackers openly expressed their hatred of "little French people." One 18-year-old named Heikel, a dual citizen of France and Tunisia, was proud of his actions. He explained that he had joined in just to "beat people up," especially "little Frenchmen who look like victims." He added with a satisfied smile that he had "a pleasant memory" of repeatedly kicking a student, already defenseless on the ground. Another attacker explained the violence by saying that "little whites" don't know how to fight and "are afraid because they are cowards." Rachid, an Arab attacker, added that even an Arab can be considered a "little white" if he "has a French mindset." The general sentiment was a desire to "take revenge on whites."

Stoning in France

The alleged murderer of a 23-year-old Tunisian woman, whose stoned body was discovered on October 20, has been placed in police custody. The suspect, 18, arrested Sunday at his home, is an old acquaintance of the victim. He will be presented before the examining magistrate today.

Is France on the way to becoming an Islamic state?

France is facing the problem that dare not speak its name. Though French law prohibits the census from any reference to ethnic background or religion, many demographers estimate that as much as 20-30 per cent of the population under 25 is now Muslim. The streets, the traditional haunt of younger people, now belong to Muslim youths. In France, the phrase "les jeunes" is a politically correct way of referring to young Muslims. Given current birth rates, it is not impossible that in 25 years France will have a Muslim majority. The consequences are dynamic: is it possible that secular France might become an Islamic state?

Holocaust lessons meet Muslim rebuff in France

"Filthy Jew!" schoolchildren howl at a classmate. "Jews only want money and power," they tell their teachers. "Death to the Jews" graffiti appear on school walls outside Paris and other French cities. These are not scenes from the wartime Nazi occupation or a fictional France where the far-right has taken control. Outright anti-Semitism like this is a fact of life these days in the poor suburbs where much of France's Muslim minority lives. The outspoken book "The Lost Territories of the Republic" opened France's eyes to classrooms where some Muslim pupils openly denounced Jews, praised Hitler and refused to listen to any non-Muslim teacher talking about the history of Islam.

Will Muslim Immigration Trigger Wars in Europe?

Yes, I’m pretty sure this immigration will trigger wars in Europe. This continent has simply lost control over its own borders, and the native population is being replaced at an astonishing rate in many of its major cities. Europe has a rather violent history, and migrations of this magnitude have usually triggered wars between the original population and the newcomers. The situation becomes even worse when we enter another factor: Islam. The Islamic world is at war with pretty much everybody, everywhere. Both Thailand and the Philippines, countries where the Muslim population is not much larger than it is in some Western European countries, are facing war.

A Separate Peace: The Blade Runner Century

I sometimes fear that we are witnessing the second fall of Rome, and that chaos will ensue, the new Dark Ages. This will be the "Blade Runner" Century, where people will retreat into their little fortresses in their own separate peace and try to keep anarchy at bay.

I don't always think like that, but in dark moments, I do, yes. Looks like I'm not the only one:

A Separate Peace

I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now. In fact I think it's a subtext to our society. I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. It's beyond, "The president is overwhelmed." The presidency is overwhelmed. The whole government is. And people sense when an institution is overwhelmed. Citizens know. If we had a major terrorist event tomorrow half the country--more than half--would not trust the federal government to do what it has to do, would not trust it to tell the truth, would not trust it, period.

I think those who haven't noticed we're living in a troubling time continue to operate each day with classic and constitutional American optimism intact. I think some of those who have a sense we're in trouble are going through the motions, dealing with their own daily challenges. Our elites. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it. I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours." Not all of course. There are two groups. One has made a separate peace, and one is trying to keep the boat afloat. I suspect those in the latter group privately, in a place so private they don't even express it to themselves, wonder if they'll go down with the ship. Or into bad territory with the trolley.

Toward a Virtual Caliphate

Toward a Virtual Caliphate

Most interesting, however – but certainly least noticed – is a diverse body of "superstar" religious scholars whose efforts might serve as a more metaphorical embodiment of the caliphate. For this group, the caliphate is not so much a political institution attached to sovereign territory, but rather an ideal of pan-Islamic ecumenicism – a moderate and relatively inclusive form of lowest-common-denominator orthodoxy. In their minds, this community of shared knowledge and religious interpretation is explicitly designed as an antidote to bin Laden and the radical jihadis. Given the means of its establishment and propagation, such a tendency might perhaps best be thought of as a "virtual caliphate." The figure at the forefront of this movement is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Egyptian religious scholar who trained at the venerable institution of Al-Azhar in Cairo – the Oxford of the Islamic religious sciences. Perhaps the worst thing the West could do is to cast figures such as Qaradawi as part of the problem simply because his views don't precisely correspond with US goals. While increased recruitment into the Qaradawi camp will not by any means produce a generation of Muslims favorably predisposed to US foreign policy, it will represent a consolidated, critical mass of influential and respected Muslims with whom meaningful dialogue with the hope of tangible progress can take place.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Human rights in Afghanistan 'of great concern'

Human rights in Afghanistan 'of great concern'

Escalating violence, torture and forced child marriages are some of the rights abuses still blighting Afghanistan four years after the removal of the fundamentalist Taliban government, the United Nations says. The situation of women, denied basic education and healthcare under the Taliban, had improved only in certain respects, with more of them in the paid workforce and education system. "However, the stark reality is that women in Afghanistan, especially outside of Kabul and urban areas, and particularly among the poor, are generally still viewed as the property of men," the report says. Another major concern is child marriage, which some estimates say makes up more than 40 percent of all marriages in Afghanistan. "Girls as young as seven years of age are made to marry much older men, sometimes 30 to 40 years older," often to settle debts or disputes. The practice is in part to blame for regular reports of cases of self-immolation, with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission saying that there had already been 85 cases this year.

Karzai under pressure over editor's jailing

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was under growing pressure on Tuesday to intervene in the case of an editor jailed for two years for blasphemy after clerics accused him of questioning Islamic law. The world's top media rights groups joined Afghan journalists in urging Karzai to intercede after a court sentenced Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of the monthly magazine Haqoq-e-Zan (Women's Rights), at the weekend.
Nasab, 50, was arrested at the beginning of the month after conservative clerics complained about his magazine to the Supreme Court, which in turn asked the public prosecutor's office to arrest him. Articles, including some by an Iranian scholar, criticized the stoning of Muslims who convert to another religion and the use of corporal punishment for offenses such as adultery, Reporters Without Borders said.

Iran: Time to end appeasement?

We will use force, Blair warns Iranians

Tony Blair delivered his strongest warning to Iran last night, saying Teheran would not be allowed to become a "threat to our world security". Speaking at a European summit at Hampton Court, west London, a visibly angry Mr Blair said Iran would be making "a very big mistake" if it believed western leaders were too preoccupied with other issues to deliver a strong response. Western frustration with Iran has been building up for months, particularly over Teheran's nuclear programme, its support for Palestinian radicals and suspicions that it has passed bomb-making technology to Iraqi insurgents.

Robert Spencer: Iran Calls for a New Holocaust

Ahmadinejad also made it clear that, like Hamas, he did not view the Palestinian conflict with Israel as one of nationalism, but of religion: “Anybody who recognizes Israel,” he warned, “will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury, any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world.” Ariel Sharon has issued a call of his own: expel Iran from the UN: “A country that calls for the destruction of another people cannot be a member of the United Nations.” If Ahmadinejad and his gang are to see that the anger of the civilized world against his criminal regime is genuine, world leaders should heed Sharon’s recommendation -- and also work quickly to defuse Iran’s nuclear program. Since the jihad Israel faces is the same jihad that threatens so much of the world today, this great “victory for the Islamic world” will only herald even larger cataclysms to come.

Khomeini's speech on the day of celebration of the birth of Muhammad: 1981

Why do you only read the Quranic verses of mercy and do not read the verses of killing? Quran says; kill, imprison! Why are you only clinging to the part that talks about mercy? Mercy is against God. The prophet has [had] sword to kill people. Our [Holy] Imams were quite military men. All of them were warriors. They used to wield swords; they used to kill people. We need a Khalifa who would chop hands, cut throat, stone people In the same way that the messenger of God used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people. In the same way that he massacred the Jews of Bani Qurayza (4) because they were a bunch of discontent people. If the Prophet used to order to burn a house or exterminate a tribe that was justice.


One of Iran’s most influential ruling cleric called Friday on the Muslim states to use nuclear weapon against Israel, assuring them that while such an attack would annihilate Israel, it would cost them "damages only". "If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world", Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani told the crowd. "Jews shall expect to be once again scattered and wandering around the globe the day when this appendix is extracted from the region and the Muslim world", Mr. Hashemi-Rafsanjani warned.

Iran's Missiles Can Now Hit Europe, Rafsanjani Says

"Now we have the power to launch a missile with a 2,000-kilometer range. Iran is determined to improve its military capabilities." "If the Americans attack Iran, the world will change. . . . They will not dare to make such a mistake," Rafsanjani was quoted as saying in a speech at a national security exhibition.

Bush: Iran has right to civilian nuclear program

President George W. Bush on Tuesday said Iran had a right to a civilian nuclear program if it did not gain expertise or materials to build an atomic weapon. The United States last month explicitly accepted for the first time that Iran could develop civilian nuclear programs, backing an EU proposal.

Pakistan Admits Rogue Scientist Aided Iran

After years of denials, Pakistan admitted Thursday that its top nuclear scientist sold crucial equipment to Iran. The admission by the Pakistani information minister was the first public acknowledgment that Abdul Qadeer Khan provided Iran's secret nuclear program with centrifuges, a crucial component needed to enrich uranium and produce nuclear material for warheads.

Iran prepares war plans, to strike bases in case of US mobilization

Iran has identified seven US bases in the region to attack in case there is the smallest sign of American mobilisation to its borders. The Iranian leadership is absolutely confident of prevailing over any US attack alone, and it assesses that the American military is “very tired” and cannot run a big military campaign against Iran for long.

Iran opens garrison to recruit suicide bombers against West

A senior officer in the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), told a hard-line weekly close to Iran’s ultra-conservative President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the new “Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison” would recruit individuals willing to carry out suicide operations against Western targets.

Four suspected suicide bombers arrested in Copenhagen

A few months ago, I lamented the lack of political blogs in English from Denmark, probably the one Western nation with the most open and mainstream debate about issues related to Islam and Muslim immigration. Now, a few of my favorite bloggers in Danish have established a promising group blog called Viking Observer. Bookmark it:

Four suspected suicide bombers arrested in Copenhagen

Four young men between 16 and 20 years of age were taken into custody yesterday in Brøndby, a suburb of Copenhagen, charged with planning terrorism. The four young men are all of middle-eastern descent, but have grown up in Denmark. Three of them live with their parents, while the fourth recently moved into his own place. Only one of them is a Danish citizen. "We are talking about four young, introspective men, who are very tied up in their religious lives. You can see it in their lifestyle, their dress and their movement around the mosques of Copenhagen." Danish police said they had arrested four Muslim men on Thursday under an anti-terrorism law after a tip-off from a Balkan country that they were involved in planning a terrorist attack. "We believe we can prove a connection between the two people in the Balkan country and the four men in Denmark and have reasons to believe that they were about to plan a terror attack some place in Europe," Skovgaard said. He said the possible attack could have been aimed at Denmark, which has more than 500 troops serving with U.S.-led forces in Iraq. Bosnian police last week arrested three people in Sarajevo on suspicion of preparing terrorist activities. According to Sarajevo's Dnevni Avaz daily newspaper, one of the three suspects was an 18-year-old who was preparing a suicide bomb attack on the Sarajevo embassy of an European Union country. A Turkish, Swedish and a Bosnian national were apprehended over suspicion that they were preparing terrorist activities.

Suspected suicide terrorists arrested

Four quiet, well-behaved teenagers were arrested in Copenhagen on Thursday, on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. The boys, who are aged between 16 and 20, are all of Mid-Eastern descent and deeply devout Muslims. The police say that the action was planned for 'a European target within the near future', and some of the items found indicated that it was likely a suicide bombing that was in the works. Swedish newspaper Expressen reported on Friday that possible targets were the US or the British embassy in Sarajevo. The four arrested are described as inconspicuous and well-behaved young men. 'They are deeply religious and very responsible,' said Bro. All four are born and bred in Denmark, although only one has Danish citizenship. The police said none of them came from deeply religious families. Their friends and relatives had become bemused in recent weeks as the boys had begun to meet at various mosques to pray, adopting a radical tone that was worrying to some of their relatives.

Denmark has been threatened quite recently because of the cartoons of Muhammad published by newspaper Jyllands-Posten:

Holy war against newspaper

Bombs exploding over pictures of Danish daily Jyllands-Posten and blood flowing over the national flag and a map of Denmark are among the images circulating on the internet after the newspaper printed twelve cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed last month. Daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported that the internet collages, posted in the name of an unknown organisation calling itself 'The Glory Brigades in Northern Europe', showed pictures of various tourist attractions in Denmark and stated that 'The Mujahedeen have numerous targets in Denmark - very soon you all will regret this', amongst other things. Another picture showed soldiers, armed with bombs, over a map of Denmark, with blood spattered over parts of the country.

But even before this, the country has been mentioned as a target because of its active involvement alongside the Americans in Iraq:

Denmark: Three out of four expect terror attack

The fear of terror related to Denmark's presence in Iraq, however, failed to shake Danes support for the nation's 500 soldiers stationed near the southern city of Basra. Half of those asked, 50 percent, said that it was the correct decision to participate in the war against Iraq. Forty-three percent were against. Despite the split opinion on sending troops to Iraq, 75 percent said that Danish soldiers should either remain in Iraq until there was no longer a need for them or that a date for their withdrawal should be set.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Beyond homesickness: Western wives in Egypt

Beyond homesickness: Western wives in Egypt

With Karen's niqab (veil) covering up most of her face, you can still see bitterness in her eyes. You can hear resentment in her voice as she tells her story. She refuses to have her real name and nationality published, but she claims to speak on behalf of many Western women living in Egypt, married to, or divorced from, Egyptians. After converting to Islam, Karen moved to Egypt with a few other women who shared with her idealistic ideas about living in a Muslim-majority country. They were soon confronted with the reality about the people's "ignorance of Islam" and deviation from its teachings. Her first year as a foreigner on her own in Cairo was the most difficult. "I have never felt as lonely as I felt here in this city with 16 million people," she says. "Being a woman as well as a foreigner put me in a double disadvantage. It's a men's country, [where] men don't take women seriously ... and tend to take advantage of them." She decided she couldn't stay in Egypt unless married and she accepted a marriage offer by an Egyptian man, a decision that she regrets. "Marriage itself is difficult, cross-cultural marriage is more difficult, and when you don't understand the other's culture, you have a third degree of difficulty." Cultural differences resulted in her divorce. Egypt's culture, in Karen's opinion, is one of manipulation, not directness. "Egyptians are obsessed with covering their back. In the West we are direct because we have a system that covers us up." As a result, she says, "The [Egyptian] husband [of a Western woman] thinks, 'My wife is not respecting me' when all what she is doing is being direct." Cultural differences made Karen feel "oppressed" in her marriage: "The Western woman enters the relationship on a 50-50 basis, whereas men in Egypt tend to be brought up to feel they are superior to the girls in the family.

Turkish government backed Ambassador

Turkish government backed Ambassador

The Turkish Foreign Ministry fully supported the Turkish ambassador to Denmark when he, together with 9 other ambassadors, asked the Prime Minister to intervene in a case involving the media. A daily Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, had published a number of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. The letter urged Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to call the newspaper to account for "abusing Islam in the name of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression." Liberal party foreign spokesperson, Troels Lund Poulsen, says EU candidate country Turkey's approval of the letter underlines how important it is for Turkey to live up to freedom of expression demands.

Turkish PM: "Anti-Islamism is crime against humanity"

Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that anti-Islamism must be treated as a crime against humanity just like anti-Semitism, the Turkish daily Zaman reported on Tuesday, September 6. Addressing the sixth meeting of the Eurasian Islamic Council meeting in Istanbul Monday, September 5, Erdogan said his government has added an article to the declaration in the European Council regarding Islamophobia stipulating that anti-Islamism be accepted as a crime against humanity.

"The Fall of Europe" by Ali Sina

Anti-Islamism as well as anti-Semitism will be dealt with within the framework of legal proceedings. The Council reports will include anti-Islamist movements. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) will closely monitor these movements.

The European Court of Human Rights Kneels to Islam

The applicant was prosecuted under Article 175 §§ 33 and 4 of the Criminal Code for publishing insults against “God, the Religion, the Prophet and the Holy Book”. The applicant alleged that his conviction and sentence had infringed his right to freedom of expression. he issue for the Court to determine was whether the interference had been “necessary in a democratic society”. However, the present case concerned not only comments that were disturbing or shocking or a “provocative” opinion but an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam. Believers could legitimately feel that certain passages of the book in question constituted an unwarranted and offensive attack on them. In those circumstances, the Court considered that the measure in question had been intended to provide protection against offensive attacks on matters regarded as sacred by Muslims and had therefore met a “pressing social need”.

Prophet cartoon issue taken up abroad

Prophet cartoon issue taken up abroad

International Muslim organisations are to take over the discussion about whether a Danish newspaper was in its rights to print caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. A group of eleven Muslim ambassadors who sent a letter of protest to Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen over the tone of the debate over Islam in Denmark have decided to let the issue run its course internationally, rather than continue to try to press the issue with domestic politicians. The ambassadors had requested Rasmussen to step in to tone down a debate that in recent weeks has seen a Copenhagen City Council candidate and the Minister of Culture withdraw critical statements about Islam, and a newspaper's violation of the Muslim ban on pictorial depictions of Mohammed. After Rasmussen also refused to meet with the ambassadors, Egyptian Ambassador Mona Omar Attia said in a Danish news broadcast on Tuesday that the group planned to meet to discuss contacting other parliamentary leaders, some of whom had urged the PM to hear the ambassador's complaints. After meeting at the Saudi Arabian Embassy on Wednesday, however, the group said they had decided to let international Muslim groups take over the cause, allowing groups such as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to try to influence the prime minister. The conference represents 56 member states and has already sent a letter of protest to the government. 'It's out of our hands,' said Attia after the meeting. 'Now it is moving up to the international level. Therefore, we will not try to contact Denmark's political leaders. 'One could imagine that the Arab League will weigh in soon,' she said.

UNCHR: Protecting Religion– Specifically Islam

In an astonishing move on 12 April 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) moved from promoting respect for human rights to promoting "respect for all religions and their value systems". On Tuesday 12 April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) passed Human Rights Resolution 2005/3 entitled, "Combating Defamation of Religions". Islam On Line (IOL) reported it this way: "The United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted on Tuesday, April 12, a resolution calling for combating defamation campaigns against Islam and Muslims in the West." IOL quotes Cuba's delegate who claimed that Islam has been the subject of a "very deep campaign of defamation". The resolution was pushed forward by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). It was put under Agenda Item 6 that deals with racism and all forms of discrimination."

UK: Government beaten on hatred bill

Government beaten on hatred bill

The government has been heavily defeated in the Lords over plans to outlaw incitement to religious hatred. Peers voted by a majority of 149 in favour of a cross-bench move to put freedom of speech safeguards into the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. Opponents say proposed legislation is drawn too widely and could outlaw criticisms of beliefs. Current race hate laws covers Jews and Sikhs but ministers say other groups, such as Muslims, need protection. Opponents of the bill argue that people can choose their religion, unlike their race, and so should not be protected against offence or criticism. Ministers reject claims that the current bill would stop free speech. But comedian Rowan Atkinson has called it "draconian". Last week a group of opponents, including him and former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, suggested a series of amendments. These include making sure nobody is found guilty of religious hate crimes unless it is proved they intended to stir up hatred. Only "threatening words" should be banned by the bill, not those which are only abusive or insulting, they added.

UK: Religious hatred Bill is being used to buy Muslim votes

Critics rightly suspect a cynical attempt to claw back Muslim support for New Labour that has been squandered through the war in Iraq. It is a bone tossed to those who claim to speak on behalf of a Muslim community that overwhelmingly resides in Labour inner city heartlands. If Ms Ali lived here, she could find herself facing a seven- year prison sentence, for publicising the fact that in some Islamic societies, women cannot leave the home, let alone drive a car. Rather than dabbling in areas where it has no business, the Government should be wondering how to defend the likes of Ms Ali, since it is - tragically - too late for Theo van Gogh.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Islam vs. the Free World: The Battle on the Internet

As I have noted before here, a significant part of the battle of Islam vs. the Free World takes place on the Internet, which this blog itself is a tiny part of. This goes for "Islamophobic" sites such as Jihad Watch and Faith Freedom International, but also for Islamic websites. Some sites by Islamic militants are being shut down by people such as Aaron behind the Internet Haganah, but there are those who would like to keep them online for surveillance:

America Defends Al Qaeda Websites

American intelligence agencies are trying to keep al Qaeda on the Internet. Many patriotic (or just anti-terrorist or anti-Islamic) hackers constantly seek out pro-al-Qaeda websites, and try to shut them down. American intelligence agencies attempt, quietly, to minimize and mitigate these attacks, in order to keep these sites up. So what’s going on here? The American government is operating, behind the scenes, to keep al Qaeda websites online so that American spies can monitor who visits these sites, and what they do there. Al Qaeda knows this, and is trying to bring more of its web activity into the inter net underground, a shadowy zone normally inhabited by criminals and the hackers who keep us all supplied with spam and PC damaging worms and viruses. That area is harder to keep under surveillance, or even easily find.

The advent of the Internet has triggered an explosion of activity:

Leading Egypt Cleric Wants Fewer Frivolous Edicts

The chief Muslim cleric in Egypt wants tighter controls on who may issue religious edicts, or fatwas. Egypt's Grand Mufti says more fatwas have been issued in the past 10 years than in the previous 1400 years. Modern technology has made it easier than ever to issue or receive a fatwa, one of the religious edicts that guide Muslims' interpretations of Islamic law. Someone with a specific question about what Islam allows can get a personalized fatwa on the matter over the Internet.

This is also making not just Islamic nations, but non-democratic countries and groups everywhere rather nervous. Notice that even China, famous for its censorship, is pushing for more UN control. Perhaps the Great Firewall of China isn't as watertight as some want us to believe?

Why the UN Wants to Control the Internet

The United Nations (UN) is campaigning to take over the one aspect of the Internet that can be controlled centrally, the DNS (Domain Name Server) system. This was one of the key ideas that make the Internet work. DNS is a system of server computers that contain the list of web site names, and the twelve digit long IDs that computers actually use to find sites on the net. Since DNS was invented in the United States, the organization ICANN, that supervises the assignment of web site names, is in the U.S. (as an organization independent of any government and staffed by an international crew.) In reality, governments that would like to control media tightly within their own borders, are the ones that would like another tool to accomplish that, and UN control of DNS would do that. Major members, or groups of smaller members, of the UN, can exercise considerable control over UN organizations. For example, if DNS were controlled by the UN, China could insure that any site names China did not approve of, never appeared. Otherwise, the Internet is nearly impossible to control.

Muslims face most racism in Sweden

This article of course doesn't ask whether there is a reason why Muslims are more disliked than other immigrant groups. It also doesn't ask whether there is a lot of racism from Muslims towards native Swedes or even other immigrant groups, which I strongly suspect:

Muslims face most racism in Sweden

Muslims are exposed to the most racial harassment in Sweden, according to a new report from the Board of Integration. Seven out of ten reports of ethnic discrimination came from people with a Muslim background, and almost 40% of those questioned in the survey said they had witnessed verbal abuse directed at Muslims. The report, Racism and Xenophobia in Sweden, also showed an increasing intolerance of immigration. "If you look at the whole period from 1999 to 2004 there has been a significant increase in the number of people who want to close Sweden's borders to immigration, from 35% to 45.5%," said the report's author, José Alberto Diaz. But the picture painted by the report is complex. While one in five respondents said that they were "negatively inclined towards people who they did not consider belonged in Sweden", the support for anti-immigration political parties, such as the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) and the National Democrats (Nationaldemokraterna) is declining. One in four said they could consider voting for such a party, down from almost one in three in 1999. Two thirds of those questioned rejected the notion that Sweden is a racist country, and fewer people then five years ago believe that racism is increasing. In 1999, 56% said they believed racism was rising, but by 2004 this had decreased to 46%.

Are Americans Becoming Europeans?

Are Americans Becoming Europeans?

When it comes to public policy, Europe has taken a wrong turn. Its welfare state has sapped initiative and driven jobs abroad; its treatment of immigrants is shameful; unemployment is in the double digits; health policy is making people sicker; and foreign policy is based on isolationism and moral posturing. The results are predictable: The countries that use the euro will grow 1.2 percent this year, according to The Economist; the U.S. will grow 3.5 percent. Similar disparity has prevailed for a decade, and Americans today have a living standard about one-third higher. The notion that Europe will be able to compete with resurgent China and India in the next 30 years is laughable. […]I worry that we are beginning to see the initial signs of just such a turn for the worse. A distinguished 20-member panel of experts convened by the National Academies, America’s top science advisory group, has warned in a new study that the U.S. “could soon lose its privileged position” as the world’s top innovator and growth engine. With competitors “who live just a mouse click away,” we stand to lose high-paying jobs, especially to Asia.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rule America?

Via LGF:

Rule America? Liberal elites ruined Britain as a hyperpower. Could America meet the same fate?

In an important sense, the British Empire's strength failed because its elite liberal citizens stopped believing in it. The parallels with 21st-century America are striking. In little more than 10 years, England went from victory in World War I to serious discussions about completely disarming herself. Talk of a "peace dividend" began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and culminated 10 years later with a major draw-down of forces and the abandonment of the two-war doctrine.

I already found a reply to this essay:

Why Liberal Elites Can't Sink America

The Internet is going to save America...or, I should say, the New Media will, by breaking the liberal elite's media monopoly. In 1930's Great Britain, anti-patriotic elites held a lock on the machinery of "idea dissemination," just like American liberal elites did until the 1990's. Thus, the British people were fed a steady diet of defeatism, doubt, and even hatred toward British Civilization. Those who opposed the elites had scant opportunity to fire back salvos supported by reason and rationality.

Trials in Baghdad, tribulations in Washington

Having recently written a book with the subtitle The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, I am regularly asked when exactly I expect that fall to happen. The answer is not this year, next year or the year after that. Not this decade. And quite probably not this century either. I would say America is currently somewhere around the reign of Trajan. If I remind you that Dacia was modern-day Serbia, and Mesopotamia modern-day Iraq, you will see that there is a striking geographical parallel between recent American military expeditions and the campaigns of Trajan. Yet Trajan's over-extension of the empire was easily rectified by his successor Hadrian, who withdrew from Armenia, Mesopotamia and Assyria. "By every honourable expedient [he] invited the friendship of the barbarians; and endeavoured to convince mankind that the Roman power, raised above the temptation of conquest, was actuated only by the love of order and justice." That sounds like a straightforward enough foreign policy for Mr Bush's successor.

20 fined for using letters W and Q

20 fined for using letters W and Q

A Turkish court has fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration, under a law that bans use of characters not in the Turkish alphabet, rights campaigners said. The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people 100 new lira ($75.53) for holding up the placards, written in Kurdish, at the event last year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish alphabet. The 1928 Law on the Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters changed the Turkish alphabet from the Arabic script to a modified Latin script and required all signs, advertising, newspapers and official documents to only use Turkish letters. More than 30,000 people have been killed, most of them Kurds, since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels began an armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

'Pakistan quake: God's wrath for Afghan invasion'

'Pakistan quake: God's wrath for Afghan invasion'

Cashing on the devastation inflicted by the October 8 earthquake, Islamists in Pakistan have termed the temblor as ‘God's wrath’ on the country for the decision to desert Taliban and back the American ‘invasion’ of Afghanistan. Riaz Hussain Pirzada, a treasury member belonging to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q, but considered close to Islamist alliance Muthahida Majlis Amal (MMA), told the National Assembly yesterday that the quake was ‘god's wrath’ for Pakistan's support of the US campaign. God was also ‘angry’ with Pakistan because "we welcomed the holy month of Ramzan by rigging the last phase of the local government elections," Pirzada said. After the earthquake, the refrain of many of the Islamist parties is that it is the ‘punishment’ for the country's decision to withdraw backing for Taliban and al-Qaeda and support US ‘invasion’ of Afghanistan.

Denmark: PM ditches Muslims for freedom of speech

Three cheers for Denmark, a Western European nation where there is still some spine left in some political leaders. I'm thinking of making a formal application for getting Norway back into the union with Denmark. We split up in 1814, in the aftermath of the wars that Napoleon, the bastard, inflicted upon Europe. But what's 191 years between friends? And this time, we come with a trillion dollars worth of oil as dowry. Think about it, will you?

PM ditches Muslims for freedom of speech

Eleven Muslim ambassadors in Denmark looking to meet with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to discuss what they call a 'smear campaign' in the media against Islam and Muslims have had their request denied. The prime minister had otherwise been encouraged by the opposition to meet with the group as a way to increase understanding in an increasingly controversial public debate. In recent weeks, both the minister of culture and a Copenhagen mayoral candidate have retracted statements they made about Muslims and Islamic culture. Most recently, national daily Jyllands-Posten has invoked international ire by publishing twelve caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, some of which characterised him as a terrorist. Pictorial depictions of Mohammed are frowned upon by Islam.

'This is a matter of principle. I won't meet with them because it is so crystal clear what principles Danish democracy is built upon that there is no reason to do so,' said Rasmussen. Rasmussen reiterated his message that individuals who felt offended by the tone of the public debate should bring their grievances to the courts. 'As prime minister, I have no power whatsoever to limit the press - nor do I want such a power,' he said. 'It is a basic principle of our democracy that a prime minister cannot control the press.' Rasmussen said that though he preferred a positive debate in the press, as long as people kept their comments with in the boundaries of the law, the motives behind the comments were not an issue. 'Some people say that the press needs to be constructive, and sometimes I also think that'd be nice. But who's to say what's constructive? That's an unfair demand to make. The press needs to be critical - I need to bear that as prime minister and religions must do so as well,' he said.

Swedish policy “shuts immigrants out of jobs”

Swedish policy “shuts immigrants out of jobs”

Immigrants in Sweden are forced into a life of welfare dependency as a result of the country’s integration policy, a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has claimed. Forcing immigrants to move to areas with housing, but no jobs, has harmed integration. The OECD notes Sweden’s very high proportion of refugee and family-related immigration compared with other countries. In addition, an increasing number of immigrants come from countries with cultures very different to Sweden’s. This, the report says, makes it more difficult for people to find work. The OECD predicts that demand for labour will increase as the population ages, and argues that programmes to deal with this are needed now.

Local authorities face massive rise in refugees

The head of the Swedish Integration Board, Andreas Carlgren, has said he believes that the number of refugees which Sweden's local authorities have to take in will increase to 24,000 people next year. That was the figure mentioned in a newsletter which Carlgren sent out on Monday. According to Svenska Dagbladet, which saw a copy of the newsletter, that is three times the amount quoted in an earlier assessment made by the board. "The predictions, which are based on those who could not be expelled and who are therefore registered at the Board of Migration, indicate that local authorities could need to take in around 24,000 people next year," wrote Carlgren. "To that number must be added the number who are hidden," he said, referring to those asylum seekers who have had their applications turned down but went into hiding in Sweden before they could be deported.

The best Norwegian blogs

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet has launched a competition for the honour of being called "Norway's best blog". If you go to this page, you will see the "Bloggkonkurranse" (Blog competition). Readers can here nominate blogs they like. You write the name of the blog (Navn på bloggen), post the Internet address URL, and then you write your name and your email address. There are several categories, and I think Fjordman fits best into News/Politics (Nyheter/Politikk).

Of course, you can nominate others, too. Of Norwegian blogs in English, Bjørn Stærk should be known to many of my readers. Some others could include Oslo Girl, Thinking with my fingers, Norwegian Socialism Exposed or Secular Blasphemy.

For Scandinavian readers, some of my favorites in Norwegian include, Hablog, Typisk Tor Andre, Morbus Norvegicus, Noe Annet, Hjorthen, Vampus and Replikk.

The best Norwegian blogs

Dagbladet has launched "Gullbloggen" (The Golden Blog), a competition for the honour of being called "Norway's best blog" in different categories. An overall winner will also be chosen. I was invited to sit in the panel together with jilltxt and Dagbladet's Bente Kalsnes. Our job is to make a shortlist from the readers' nominees, then the readers will elect the winners. The panel will also choose the overall winner. The start looks good - nominations keep pouring in.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Slave descendants seek satisfaction

Slave descendants seek satisfaction

For many foreign visitors, Copenhagen's cosy cobblestone streets, gabled town houses, and stately palaces may be a charming reminder of Denmark's colonial past. Some of the charm, however, may be lost on Shelley Moorhead, who arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday. Moorhead leads a campaign to raise awareness about Denmark's 175-year record of slavery in the former Danish West Indies, the source of a considerable part of the country's wealth and splendour in the colonial era. 'Danes ruled a slave regime that lasted from 1673 to 1848,' he said. 'If slavery existed, there also existed a mentality that allowed that institution to exist.' Danish slavery began when Christian V and the West Indian Company decided to boost Denmark's economy with spices, tobacco, cotton, rum, and sugar. When Danish and Norwegian workers proved useless for labor in the country's Caribbean colonies, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. Jan, African slaves were shipped in to do the work for them. At least 100,000 people were transported alive from what is now Ghana, and an equal number is believed to have perished on the long journey over the Atlantic. The figures grant Denmark the dubious honor of a seventh place in the rank of the world's biggest slave-trading nations - right after the United States.

New trend in Ramallah: 'Girls only' cyber cafés

New trend in Ramallah: 'Girls only' cyber cafés

Reem Abdullah was raised in a conservative family in a village near the city of Ramallah. She is a university student and needs some Internet time to do research for her studies. But Reem had a dilemma; family restrictions made it almost impossible for her to frequent cyber cafés open to both genders. Reem's case is not uncommon in the West Bank, where many female students need Internet access in order to support their university studies. According to a 2004 statistical study by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), almost 15 percent of females in the West Bank and 16 percent in the Gaza Strip use the Internet, while the ratio of Palestinian households with Internet connections has reached 9.2 percent. However, despite the fact that Ramallah is considered by Palestinians to be a "liberal" city, it remains quite the predicament for a girl to walk into one of the city's many cyber cafés and have to sit in mixed sessions with males - a social and religious taboo for a large number of Palestinian families. Several months ago a concerned West Bank mother decided to do something about this problem. Ahlam Al Tawil established the first 'girls-only' cyber café in the West Bank - Sabaya-Net (sabaya means young women).

Saudi allows cinema again, but only cartoons

Some 20 years after public screenings of films were banned, the first cinema will open next month in ultraconservative Saudi Arabia, but showing only cartoons, a source from the firm handling the project said on Sunday. The cinema will open for women and children at a Riyadh hotel at the Eid Al Fitr feast at the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan on November 2 or 3, said the source who requested anonymity. The source said that the move was made possible following an agreement with Riyadh municipality. The pan-Arab Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat said on Sunday that the 1,400-seat cinema will hold three one-hour shows to screen foreign cartoon films dubbed in Arabic every evening. It estimated that more than 50,000 people would visit the cinema during the two-week Eid break. The paper said that the project was a prelude to the start of real cinema screenings for all in Saudi Arabia, given that cafes in main cities already show films, sports games and video clips on large television sets. Cinema was once shown in private clubs in Saudi Arabia until all public screenings were banned because they were considered against Islamic law in the early 1980s. Saudi Arabia is the only country to have banned cinema houses in the Muslim conservative Arab Gulf region.

PM urges Muslims to go to court

PM urges Muslims to go to court

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen rejected on Friday Muslim ambassadors' request that he get personally involved to tone down the current debate about Muslims. Ambassadors from eleven Muslim countries sent a letter to Rasmussen on Wednesday, requesting that he step in to stop 'the current smear campaign being carried out by the public and the media against Islam and Muslims'. On Friday, Fogh rejected their call, saying that 'freedom of expression is the very foundation of Denmark's democratic tradition'. 'Freedom of expression has wide boundaries, and the Danish government has no means to influence the press,' said Rasmussen in his reply. 'Danish laws do forbid blasphemous statements or discriminating acts, and the offended party can bring such statements or acts before the court.' Despite refusing to steer the tone of the debate, Rasmussen agreed with the ambassadors' opinion that dialogue between cultures and religions should be based on mutual respect and understanding.

The ambassadors' request comes after heated debate over newspaper Jyllands-Posten's decision to run drawings of the prophet Mohammed, which is frowned upon by Islam. In addition, some of the drawings depicted Mohammed in a negative light, which only added to Muslims' ire. The ambassadors said, however, that the cartoon incident was just the latest of a number of unfortunate critiques of Islam, including critical comments by the Minister of Culture, a Copenhagen City Council candidate, as well as a local radio station that had been found guilty of broadcasting racist programming. 'We distance ourselves from these statements and publications, and we request that you prosecute those responsible as a way to create religious harmony, better integration, and improve Denmark's relations with the Muslim world in general,' the ambassadors said in their letter.

Immigrants protest against Muslim cartoon threats

A group of immigrants in Denmark have signed a protest against threats sent to employees of newspaper Jyllands-Posten after the paper published cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. "It is important for us to stress that those Muslims who make such threats are not representative of all immigrants in Denmark, "said one of the protesters. The protest also criticises the 11 Muslim countries which sent an official letter of complaint to the Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, about the cartoons. Even the OIC, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which has 57 member countries, has now complained to the Prime Minister about the Danish Islamic debate.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Russia Population Shrinks to 143 Million

Russia Population Shrinks to 143 Million

Russia's population has shrunk by more than half a million people this year, dipping to 143 million, the federal statistics agency said Friday. Russia's population — the largest in Europe — has been declining steadily since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, with increased poverty, alcoholism, emigration and degradation of the health care system blamed for reducing birth rates and life expectancy. Since the beginning of the year, the population went down by 506,400, the agency said on its Web site. United Nations experts have urged Russian authorities to boost social spending to improve health care and prevent the population decline. In a United Nations Development Program report released this week, demographers predicted that Russia's population will fall to 100 million by 2050, and could even drop to 80 million. The UN urged Russian authorities to change its strict immigration policy to provide incentives for educated, skilled migrants from former Soviet republics and other countries to move to Russia.

They've got used to freedom, so why do Russians still hunger for the USSR?

In a poll conducted in 2003, the Russian Centre for Public Opinion found that 53 per cent of Russians still regard Stalin as a "great" leader. Since 1989, the Russian mortality rate has risen from below 11 per 1,000 to more than 15 per 1,000 - nearly double the American rate. For adult males, the mortality rate is three times higher. Average male life expectancy at birth is below 60, roughly the same as in Bangladesh. A 20-year-old Russian man has a less than 50/50 chance of reaching the age of 65. This has much to do with the round-the-clock consumption of fags and booze - the typical St Petersburg man walks around with a bottle of beer and a cigarette in one hand the way a Londoner carries his mobile phone - not to mention an attitude to road safety apparently inspired by the Mad Max films. Exacerbating the demographic effects of increased mortality has been a steep decline in the fertility rate, from 2.19 births per woman in the mid-1980s to a nadir of 1.17 in 1999. Because of these trends, the United Nations projects that Russia's population will decline from 146 million in 2000 to 101 million in 2050. By that time the population of Egypt will be larger.

Putin's nightmares: Spreading insurgency, rising China

As the terrorism spreads northward, into areas of mixed Moslem and Orthodox populations, tactics on both sides ignite old passions. There are also lots of Moslems in Russia’s major cities — more than a million in Moscow alone. With Russia’s catastrophic declinning population but a rapid increase among its Moslemnon-Slav [from whom its armed forces are increasingly drawn], the long term threat is obvious. It is no wonder given all the problems obvious to Russians on a day-to-day basis opinion polls report ordinary citizens worried about the possible breakup of the post-Soviet Russian Federation. Surely Putin wakes in the middle of the night to remember sales of fighter planes and warships to the Chinese and signatures to friendship and border treaties does not vitiate the rapidly declining Russian population of minerals-rich Siberia, far closer to Beijing and millions of potential Chinese immigrants than Moscow.

The Other Russian Revolution

"A chicken's hardly a bird, a woman's hardly a person." This is a common Russian saying and it reflects the Russian way of thinking. In spite of the complete absence of women's rights in 18th-century Russia, there were five empresses of Russia who presided over the lives and deaths of their subjects. A woman in Russia lived through her family. And she had to have a husband. The key role for women in the U.S.S.R. was to be a "warrior's holiday." "A man knows the happiness of one who receives; a woman knows the happiness of one who gives"--this was the dream and the rule. The Russian Invasion of the tennis Klondike is in full swing. But there is a world beyond tennis, and they will have it, too. The Russian girls are coming. They don't want to change the world. They want to conquer it.