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25

Dec

2009

Muslims Must Not Pay Price for Europe’s Identity Crisis
Friday, 25 December 2009 14:45
by Ramzy Baroud

It seems that the targeting of Muslims and Islam has become a kind of national theater in France. Unlike theater, however, the disturbing trend can, and will turn ugly – in fact to a degree it already has – if the French government doesn’t get a grip on reality. The world, including France, is a complex, multifaceted and fascinatingly diverse place; it cannot be co-opted to fit national specificities determined by a group of irritable far right racists with a distorted interpretation of themselves and others.

Unfortunately, France is not alone; it merely highlights the most obvious manifestation of growing anti-Muslim sentiments throughout Europe. Unearthing the reasons behind the disturbing phenomena is hardly an easy task, for it arguably requires a greater examination of the political, economic and social woes of European states than it does of the ‘shortcomings’ of Islam.

Islam is a great religion in many respects; it has endured for over 1400 years. Its membership is never confined by skin color, culture, political ideology or geographic boundaries. Its views of antiquity, on equality, women rights and peace are considered progressive even by today’s standards.

The detractors of Islam fail to see all this. If Islam is dissected politically or ‘academically’, the investigation is done for the sake of destroying its repute, and discrediting or humiliating its followers.

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) may claim that their commitment is to keep Switzerland secular, devoid of symbols of oppression (as in a mosque’s minaret), but this only sounds like incoherent blabber and reflects nothing but a growing tendency towards racism, intolerance and ethnocentrism. These trends are glaring violations of the liberal philosophies associated with European countries, which guarantee individual and collective rights, including those of self-expression and freedom of speech.

In France, the phenomenon is protracted and more dangerous. Considering that France is the home of five million French Muslims, rightwing tendencies threaten future discord in the country.

The Washington Post reported on December 19 that Bilal Mosque, in the tranquil French town of Castres was desecrated by unknown assailants. “Two pig's ears and a poster of the French flag stapled to the door; a pig's snout dangled from the doorknob. ‘White power’ and ‘Sieg heil’ were spray-painted on one side…and ‘France for the French’ on the other.”

Here, one must recall the alarming words of Britain’s first Muslim minister, Shahid Malik. Himself a victim of hate crimes, Malik lamented a year and a half ago that many Muslims feel targeted like the “Jews of Europe”, and that many British Muslims feel like “aliens in their own country”.

While Many Muslims share the same feeling of nationalism and patriotism in their homelands in Europe, rightwing racists - who are unfortunately becoming a dominant force in shaping public views in various European states – insist on a very narrow definition of what makes a French, a British, a German or a Swiss.

There is indeed an identity crisis that is real and frightening. And it’s one that is not engulfing Europe alone, but also affects and in some instances has devastated many cultures all over the world. While it is a byproduct of misguided and unchecked globalization, in the case of Europe itself the issue is very national and very personal. The European Union, which started as a purely economic body has morphed into a political and pan-nationalist organization that is attempting, by accident or design, to define a united Europe and a prototypical European. This has raised fears of the loss of national identities or whatever remains of it. Expectedly, it is the politically underrepresented, socially marginalized and economically disadvantaged groups that often pay the price of this sort of national resurgence.


Targeting Muslims is a common denominator that now unifies a great proportion of European political elites and media. The reasons are numerous and obvious. Some European countries are at war (which they have chosen) in various Muslim countries; desperate and failed politicians are in need for constant distractions from their own failures and mishaps; associating Islam with terrorism is more than an acceptable intellectual diatribe, a topic of discussion that has occupied more radio and television airtime than any other; also, pushing Muslims around seems to have few political repercussions – unlike the subjugation of targeting of other groups with political or economic clout.

But is their more to this? A 2007-08 Gallup poll asked the following question: does religion occupy an important place in your life? The vast majority in Western European countries answered with a resounding “no”. Only 9 percent of Turkish citizens – a country with a Muslim majority – shared the popular view. Most European Muslims strongly identify with their religion, which has preserved their sense of community, and helped maintain a degree of cultural cohesion and a semblance of collective identity at a time when many in Europe are losing theirs. Muslims must not be blamed for this loss, and nor should they be punished, derided or targeted for daring to hold onto their beliefs.

Returning again to France, what is most alarming about the anti-Muslim measures is that they are largely led by the government itself, rather than a fanatical group of disenchanted ideologues. Eric Besson, the country’s Immigration Minister, stated on December 16 that Muslim veils will be grounds of denying citizenships and long-term residence. Besson was only echoing the disquieting policies of conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy who has started a ‘national identity campaign’ for ensuring an exclusive identity of France - one that is occupied with the targeting of immigrants, particularly Muslims.

Sarkozy, Besson, and Europe’s rightwing and far right politicians must understand the possible ramifications if they continue to press with their reckless and alienating policies.

Radicalization is an unavoidable offshoot of group alienation, which is sadly being used to further fuel the anti-immigrant fervor throughout the continent. It is a vicious cycle, the blame for which lies squarely with the savvy politicians and their obvious agendas. As for those who insist on blaming Islam for Europe’s woes, they should really find another pastime; the self-indulgent game is too hazardous and must stop.

- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is "My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story" (Pluto Press, London), now available on Amazon.com.
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Project Humanbeingsfirst.org said:

0
Another 'Hegelian Mind Fck'!
It is not European woes nor its Identity Crisis, and nor any 'shortcomings' of Islam that is causing Muslims to be demonized in the Western World. It is also not very obtuse. Why are brilliant social scientists and academics like Ramzy Baroud getting confused about it: “Unearthing the reasons behind the disturbing phenomena is hardly an easy task, for it arguably requires a greater examination of the political, economic and social woes of European states than it does of the ‘shortcomings’ of Islam.”?

It has neither anything to do with “political, economic and social woes of European states” nor with Islam. Why do brave people continually rise to defend Islam as if the world's great religion of more than 1.5 billion people needs their pathetic defense, that it can't stand on its own without their guarded fig leaf: “Islam is a great religion in many respects; it has endured for over 1400 years. Its membership is never confined by skin color, culture, political ideology or geographic boundaries. Its views of antiquity, on equality, women rights and peace are considered progressive even by today’s standards. The detractors of Islam fail to see all this.”

The foundations of what is courageously not stated however is actually rather easily visible for anyone well versed in political and social sciences in the “doctrinal motivation, intellectual commitment” designed to sustain “imperial mobilization” as a Hegelian Dialectic to raise the phoenix of the new Atlantis from the ashes of the Old Order: a One-world government. Is this so very profound to comprehend?

Why do pious people continually make World War IV out to be about Islam and Muslims? They either see it as being a war on Islam and apologetically argue that Islam is benign and that “The detractors of Islam fail to see all this” as Ramzy Baroud does in 'Muslims Must Not Pay Price for Europe’s Identity Crisis'; or see it as there being something inherently wrong with an antediluvian Islam which needs to be overhauled to bring it in line with modernity as Daniel Pipes and Bernard Lewis et. al. do in their doctrinal craftsmanship such as 'Crisis of Islam – Holy War and Unholy Terror' and in propagandist statements like it's “Not a Clash of Civilizations, It's a Clash between the Civilized World and Barbarians”; or see it as something wrong with the Muslims who need a reformation from their Dark Age as Pakistani native informant par excellence, Pervez Hoodbhoy does in his atheistic zealotry to reform the Muslim mind. In all cases, they calculatingly distract attention from the blatant fact of the matter that hectoring hegemons are engaging in demonization and false-flag operations to “goosestep the Herrenvolk across international frontiers” in their age old quest for Lebensraum, euphemistically called Global Governance?

Rest of the Editorial is at: http://print-humanbeingsfirst....islam.html


Zahir Ebrahim
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org

 
December 27, 2009 | url
Votes: -1

Jack Hines said:

0
...
smilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gif
What???
Frankly, speaking as a U.S. citizen, I didn't give a damn about Muslims, Hindus, etc., since practicing your religion is your right. What has polarized Americans against Muslims is terrorism, plain and simple. What other religion currently demands a death sentence for anyone converting out of Islam? Islam in the current time is arguably worse, i.e., more violent, than Christianity in Medieval times, and they have access to very modern weapons. One simple example: 72 virgins? Stupid? - yes. Blowing yourself up for this? Stupider. Why isn't it obvious what the problem is? This isn't bigotry - it's fear of the extremist whackos that seem to permeate the Islam religion. When Islamic leaders start to condemn terrorism publicly, instead of gutlessly remaining silent (or are they complicit?), then we will see some changing of European's and (frankly all other non-Muslim countries) view of Muslims, and their acceptance of them as countrymen.

I will grant you that there are all kinds of silly beliefs in the Catholic religion, for example. But, I'm 71, and I never heard of blowing myself up to kill non-believers. Come on - accept that Islam must change at the top or there will never be "acceptance" in secular countries. And I am strongly in favor of secular governments, as are most Europeans and Americans.
 
February 05, 2010
Votes: +0

Richard K. said:

0
What???
smilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gifsmilies/shocked.gif
What???
Frankly, speaking as an Iraqi citizen, I didn't give a damn about Christians, Hindus, etc., since practicing your religion is your right - always has been in Iraq - Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived together for thousands of years just fine until the West started interfering in the region.

What has polarized Iraqis against Christians is American state-sanctioned terrorism, plain and simple. What other religion currently give the death penalty to children? Since 1990, nine countries have executed offenders who were juveniles at the time of their crimes: The People's Republic of China (PRC), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United States and Yemen. Nice company.

Or locks up more people in privatized gulags (jail) than anywhere else in the world? China has 18% of the US incarceration rate. The United States has less than 5% of the world's population and 23.4% of the world's prison population. "WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!" You sure are!

Fundamentalist Christianity and orthodox Judaism in the current time, are arguably worse, i.e., more violent, than Islam in Medieval times, and they have access to very modern weapons.

One simple example: "For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.”
- Wow, let’s keep this one alive. I definitely don’t want to work, but certainly wouldn’t want to be put to death for mowing the lawn on a Sunday afternoon.

Stupider. “And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD they God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straightness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:” ” Hey, cannibalism is cool, especially when it’s your own children. The bible’s not fucked up, not at all!

And here's a quote from Jesus you won't hear in church. "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me"

Why isn't it obvious what the problem is?

This isn't bigotry - it's fear of the extremist whackos that seem to permeate the Christian religion. When Christian leaders start to condemn state sanctioned terrorism - like cowardly bombing civilians from comfortable planes and unmanned drones publicly, instead of gutlessly remaining silent (or are they complicit?), then we will see some changing of The Middle East's view of Christians, and their acceptance of them as countrymen.

I will grant you that there are all kinds of silly beliefs in the Muslim religion, for example. But, I'm 71, and I never heard of shooting children in the head at point blank range to kill non-believers. http://www.chris-floyd.com/isahaqi/

Come on - accept that Christianity must change at the top or there will never be "acceptance" in Middle Eastern and Athiest countries. And I am strongly in favor of Democracy and freedom - as are most people in the Middle East.
 
February 05, 2010
Votes: +0

Project Humanbeingsfirst.org said:

0
Interesting side-effect of Islamophobia
Swiss antagonist of minarets embraces Islam - interesting price!
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakis...ces-Islam


Swiss antagonist of minarets embraces Islam
January 30, 2010

RENOWNED Swiss politician Daniel Streich, who rose to fame for his campaign against minarets of mosques, has embraced Islam.
A member of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and a well-known politician, Daniel Streich was the first man who had launched a drive for imposition of ban on mosques minarets, and to lock the mosques in Switzerland. The proclamation of Streich’s conversion to Islam has created furore in Swiss politics, besides causing a tremor for those who supported ban on construction of mosques minarets.
Streich propagated his anti-Islamic movement far and wide in the country, sowed seeds of indignation and scorn for Islam among the people, and paved way for public opinion against pulpits and minarets of mosques.
But now Streich has become a soldier of Islam. His anti-Islam thoughts finally brought him so close to this religion that he embraced Islam. He is ashamed of his doings now and desires to construct the most beautiful mosque of Europe in Switzerland.
The most interesting thing in this regard is that at present there are four mosques in Switzerland and Streich wants to lay the foundation for the fifth one. He wishes to seek absolution of his sin of proliferating venom against Islam. He is thinking of a movement contrary to his previous one to promote religious tolerance and peaceful cooperative living, in spite of the fact that ban on mosques minarets has gained a legal status.
This is the greatest quality of Islam that it comes up with even greater vigour, when it is faced with confrontation.
Abdul Majeed Aldai, the president of OPI, an NGO, working for the welfare of Muslims, says that Europeans have a great desire to know about Islam. Some of them want to know about the relationship between Islam and terrorism; same was the case with Streich.
During his confrontation, Streich studied the Holy Quran and started understanding Islam.
He wished to be hard to Islam, but the outcome was otherwise. Aldai further says.
Recently the question of ban on minarets was put to voting in Switzerland, wherein the Swiss nationals gave the issue a legal status.
As per voting results 42.5 per cent people voted in favour of the minarets and 57.5 per cent supported the ban, while the Muslim population in Switzerland is only 6 per cent. The most wondrous thing in this regard, therefore, is the support of 42.5 per cent of population for only six per cent Muslims.
The analysts claim that ban on minarets and Islamic rituals has attracted the people towards Islam.
Streich was an important member of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). His importance could be estimated from his influence on party’s policy making, in which he always had a prominent role. His movement against minarets was aimed at gaining political attention and interest. He won the slot of military instructor in the Swiss Army due to his popularity.
Born in a Christian family, Streich had a comprehensive study of Islam merely to malign and confront, but Islamic teachings had a deep impact on him. Eventually he de-linked himself from political activities and he embraced Islam. Streich has termed the SVO activities against the Muslims as satanic.
He says that he used to read the Bible and often went to chapel, but now he recites the Holy Quran and offers his prayers five times a day. He further says that he cancelled his party membership and made public his conversion. Streich says that he has found the truth of life in Islam, which he could not find in Christianity.
On the other hand the Swiss military authorities have feared that Streich, who was once a military instructor, might reveal army secrets to the Muslims.
An SVP National Council member says that Streich as military instructor could be dangerous.
However, a spokesman of Swiss Army while rejecting this impression said that the performance of our military was more important than that who instructed it.
However, from within their own ranks, a man is now working for the promotion of Islam and its teachings. The law of a country can ban minarets but not minds and hearts.
- Newsdesk
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online//International/30-Jan-2010/Swiss-antagonist-of-minarets-embraces-Islam


 
February 06, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

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