“Stoned to death in France: Why Europe is starting to lose faith in Islam”

December 10, 2004

* Times of London: Girl, 23, stoned to death in Marseilles for refusing the advances of a teenage boy

 

CONTENTS

1. Film-maker is murdered in broad daylight
2. The Koran, a popular read in French prisons
3. "Jews spread AIDS, and kill children"
4. Only 50 Moslems in Oslo protest Van Goth's killing
5. A popular read in Brussels mosques
6. Wife-beating and the Mayor of London
7. Stoned to death in Marseilles for refusing a teenage boy
8. Danish Muslims complain after Van Goth's Dutch Film Shown on TV
9. "Germans fear Islamic unrest"


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

FILM-MAKER MURDERED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT

This is another in a series of occasional dispatches focusing on the growth of extremist Islam in Europe. This email deals with France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, England and Belgium.

In recent days the Western media has paid increasing attention to this subject. This may be because it has dawned on many that even when a movie-maker is brutally killed in broad daylight on the streets of a European city for having made a film about the abuse of women in Islam, few European Moslem leaders unequivocally condemned the murder.

 

THE KORAN A POPULAR READ IN FRENCH PRISONS

For example, the headline in an article in The Economist magazine last week was "How much of a threat does Islamic radicalism pose to western Europe?".

And yesterday, for example, the banner headline stretching across five columns at the top of the front page of The International Herald Tribune, read "Growing Muslim prison population poses huge risks." In that article, written by Craig S. Smith and taken from The New York Times, it was pointed out that although Moslems make up ten per cent of France's population they make up over fifty per cent of the inmates of French prisons, and Islamic radicals are increasingly influencing and ideologically indoctrinating this prison population. (Due to harsher law enforcement, France's prison population has in any case risen 20 per cent in the last three years.)

 

"JEWS SPREAD AIDS, AND KILL CHILDREN"

A separate story on page 1 of The International Herald Tribune explained how because technological advances have eroded national boundaries, it is all but impossible to ban European Moslems from watching Hizbullah's al Manar television station. The station broadcasts from Lebanon with Syrian approval and praises suicide bombers of Jews and Americans and blames Jews for spreading AIDS. At present the channel draws about 10 million viewers daily, many of whom are Arabs living in Europe.

(Meanwhile, The Tehran Times reveals that al Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV network that is often sympathetic to Arab suicide bombers is actually a creation of Zionists – see the next dispatch for more details on this.)

 

ONLY 50 MOSLEM PROTESTORS IN OSLO OVER THEO

In Norway last Saturday night, only an estimated fifty Moslems out of a Moslem population of 70,000 turned out for a rally to "reject violence and terror in response to the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands." Its organizer, Noman Mubashir (a Norwegian Moslem), told the newspaper Aftenposten that he had hoped the Moslem Council, or another Muslim organization or spokesperson, would participate in such an event. But they didn't. Hundreds of non-Moslems, including politicians from across the political spectrum, attended this "moderate Moslem" event, but according to Norwegian news reports only 50 Moslems turned up.

 

WIFE-BEATING AND THE MAYOR OF LONDON

Meanwhile, Sheikh al-Qaradawi once again explains why London's leftist mayor Ken Livingstone keeps on praising him.

In Sheikh al-Qaradawi's latest sermon in Arabic (translated by MEMRI), he says that beating is only "of benefit for some wives, not all."

Mayor Livingstone, who was previously expelled from Tony Blair's ruling Labour Party but has now been invited to rejoin, has in the past made clear that he's against domestic violence – except it seems if practiced by Moslems.

After his wife-beating comments, Sheikh al-Qaradawi added: "The Zionist lobby organized a massive campaign against me. One of the main reasons for this campaign was that I object to the homosexuals".

In fact it wasn't Zionists who objected to Livingstone's red carpet treatment of al-Qaradawi, but homosexuals, Hindus, Jews and Sikhs – all of whom al-Qaradawi has defamed and some of whom (gays and Jews) he has said should be put to death.

 

A POPULAR READ IN BRUSSELS MOSQUES

Al-Qaradawi's utterances are on a par with the usual fare in some Dutch and Belgian mosques which stock "The Way of the Muslim" (by Muhammad Iqbal) with its chapters on how Moslem men should beat their wives effectively and how they can – by defenestration followed by some stoning – effectively kill homosexuals.

I attach three further articles below, with summaries first for those of you who don't have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

STONED TO DEATH IN MARSEILLES FOR REFUSING THE ADVANCES OF A TEENAGE BOY

"Stoned to death... why Europe is starting to lose its faith in Islam" (By Charles Bremner, Times of London, December 4, 2004)

"Days before she was due to be married, Ghofrane Haddaoui, 23, refused the advances of a teenage boy and paid with her life. Lured to waste ground near her home in Marseilles, the Tunisian-born Frenchwoman was stoned to death, her skull smashed by rocks hurled by at least two young men, according to police... The horrific "lapidation" of the young Muslim stoked a French belief that the country can no longer tolerate the excesses of an alien culture in its midst.

... From Norway to Sicily, governments, politicians and the media are laying aside their doctrines of diversity and insisting that "Islamism," as the French call the fundamentalist form that pervades the housing estates, is incompatible with Europe's liberal values.

... In Germany, with its three million Muslims, and France, with its five million, television viewers were shocked when local young Muslims approved of Dutch film-maker Theo Van Goth's murder. "If you insult Islam, you have to pay," was a typical response.

"The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart," said Angela Merkel, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrat opposition. "Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots."

Italy's traditional tolerance towards immigrants has been eroded by fear of Islamism. An Ipsos poll in September showed that 48 per cent of Italians believed that a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West was under way and that Islam was "a religion more fanatical than any other".

Similar views can be heard across traditionally tolerant Scandinavia – and no longer just from the populist rightwing party’s such as Pia Kjaersgaard's People's Party in Denmark.

... Reluctantly, some intellectuals have lately concluded that the model for Europe should be the US. On Tuesday a writer for Libération, the French left-wing daily, noted that immigrants in the US threw themselves into "the American dream" and prospered. "There is no French, Dutch or other European dream," she noted. "You emigrate here to escape poverty and nothing more."

 

DANISH MUSLIMS FILE COMPLAINTS AFTER VAN GOGH'S DUTCH FILM SHOWN ON TV

"Muslims file complaint over Dutch TV's airing of excerpts from film by slain Dutch filmmaker" (Associated Press, December 7, 2004)

Danish Muslims have filed complaints against Denmark's two state-run television stations for having shown excerpts of Theo van Gogh's short film "Submission" about the oppression of women in Islam, after his slaying last month.

... In a letter mailed Saturday to police, Laue Traberg Smidt, the group's lawyer, said the Danish Broadcasting Corp.'s coverage "seems rather an attempt to contribute to a confrontation and whip up a sentiment against Danes of Muslim faith." Separately, another group of Muslims in central Denmark filed a complaint against TV2 with police.

"When we show excerpts, we do it in the interest of freedom of speech," Danish Broadcasting's news director Lisbeth Knudsen said, adding it was not done to inflame tensions or cast aspersions upon Denmark's Muslim community...

 

"GERMANS FEAR ISLAMIC UNREST"

"Germans fear Islamic unrest" (By Roger Boyes in Berlin, Times of London, November 17, 2004)

Islamic preachers in Germany have been told that they may be ordered to deliver their sermons in German rather than in Arabic in an attempt to halt racist diatribes.

... Support for such a move is growing after a television channel used hidden cameras to film the imam of a Berlin mosque frequented by young Turks. He was heard telling worshippers that "Germans can only expect to rot in the fires of hell because they are non-believers".

... Moreover, Germans smelt badly: "These nonbelievers, these Europeans, they do not even shave under their armpits, so that sweat gathers in their hair and makes them stink."

The sermon, translated from Arabic and broadcast on German state television, stopped well short of a call to violence. But it was strong and hostile enough to shock ordinary Germans and the political class who argue that European Muslims are being poisoned by the rhetoric they hear in the mosques.

... "We must now consider legal steps to ensure that German is spoken in mosques and in Koran schools," said Anetta Schavan, a powerful regional education minister tipped as a future leader of the Christian Democrats, to wide applause among conservative politicians. The point would be to make it easier for plain-clothed policemen to monitor mosques' activities.

... Bassam Tibi, Germany's leading expert on Islamic affairs, advised the Government to find a proper balance between controlling mosques and integrating foreigners. “If we don’t do more to integrate foreigners then Germany will face the civil war-like conditions that are emerging in Holland," the professor said.

... Local councils have started to question building and planning permission for new mosques; there are already more than 700 in the country. The latest, the Berlin Sehitlik Mosque with a capacity for 1,500 worshippers, was completed last month only after Muslim elders agreed to place flight-warning lights on the tall minaret towers...


FULL ARTICLES

WHY EUROPE IS STARTING TO LOSE ITS FAITH IN ISLAM

Stoned to death... why Europe is starting to lose its faith in Islam
By Charles Bremner
The Times (of London)
December 4, 2004

Islamic fundamentalism is causing a 'clash of civilisations' between liberal democracies and Muslims

Days before she was due to be married, Ghofrane Haddaoui, 23, refused the advances of a teenage boy and paid with her life. Lured to waste ground near her home in Marseilles, the Tunisian-born Frenchwoman was stoned to death, her skull smashed by rocks hurled by at least two young men, according to police. Although the circumstances of the murder are not clear, the horrific "lapidation" of the young Muslim stoked a French belief that the country can no longer tolerate the excesses of an alien culture in its midst.

A few days ago, pop celebrities joined 2,000 people in a march through Marseilles denouncing violence against women, particularly in the immigrant-dominated housing estates. The protest against Islamic "obscurantism" and the "fundamentalism that imprisons women" was led by a group of Muslim women who call themselves Ni Putes ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Submissive).

The movement, which emerged three years ago to defend Muslim women, is spawning similar groups across Europe, supported by a mainstream opinion that has recently abandoned political correctness and wants to halt the inroads of Islam.

From Norway to Sicily, governments, politicians and the media are laying aside their doctrines of diversity and insisting that "Islamism", as the French call the fundamentalist form that pervades the housing estates, is incompatible with Europe's liberal values.

The shift is not just a reaction to exceptional violence such as the Madrid train bombings, or the murder of Theo van Gogh, the anti-Islamic Dutch film-maker, by a Dutch-Moroccan. It stems from a belief that more muscular methods are needed to integrate Europe’s 13-million strong Muslim community and to combat creeds that breed extremists and ultimately, terrorism. With mixed results, governments are trying to quell the scourge by co- opting Muslim leaders to promote a moderate European Islam.

In Germany, with its three million – mainly Turkish – Muslims, and France, with its five million of mainly North African descent, television viewers were shocked when local young Muslims approved of Van Gogh's murder. "If you insult Islam, you have to pay," was a typical response.

"The notion of multiculturalism has fallen apart," said Angela Merkel, leader of Germany’s Christian Democrat opposition. "Anyone coming here must respect our constitution and tolerate our Western and Christian roots." Italy's traditional tolerance towards immigrants has been eroded by fear of Islamism. An Ipsos poll in September showed that 48 per cent of Italians believed that a "clash of civilisations" between Islam and the West was under way and that Islam was "a religion more fanatical than any other".

Similar views can be heard across traditionally tolerant Scandinavia – and no longer just from the populist rightwing party’s such as Pia Kjaersgaard’s People's Party in Denmark. The centre-right Government of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has equipped Denmark with Europe's toughest curbs on immigration, largely aimed at people from Muslim countries. In Sweden, where anti-Muslim feeling is running high and mosques have been burnt, schools have been authorised to ban pupils who wear full Islamic head-cover, although the measure comes nowhere near France’s new ban on the hijab in all state schools.

In Spain, with a rapidly rising population of nearly a million Muslims, the backlash has been less visible despite the bombings, but thousands demonstrated in Seville this week against plans to build a mosque in the city centre. The Government has also won approval by sending 500 extra police to monitor preachers and Muslim associations.

Police across the EU are closely watching prayer meetings in makeshift mosques in cities and housing estates, and media accounts of the jihadist, anti-Western and anti-semitic doctrines of the imams are fuelling public anger. In Germany, pressure is growing for sermons to be preached in German rather than Turkish or Arabic. Hidden TV cameras recently broadcast an imam in a Berlin mosque telling worshippers that "Germans can only expect to rot in the fires of hell because they are nonbelievers".

The debate over the limits to free speech is loudest in France, which now acknowledges the failure of its "republican" approach to integration whereby immigrants were supposed to blend harmoniously into society and not exist in separate communities.

Dominique de Villepin, the Interior Minister, is deporting foreign imams who support wife-beating and other uncivilised practices. This week the Government moved to ban a Lebanon-based television channel for anti-semitic broadcasting. The left wing, which long shunned criticism of Islam as the stock-in-trade of Jean-Marie le Pen, the far-Right leader, now denounces the "totalitarian", anti-feminist, antisemitic doctrines of the fundamentalists. Jacques Julliard, a leading left-wing commentator, said the Left’s longstanding tolerance had been used as "an agent for the penetration of Islamic intolerance".

Some on the Left have also taken strong exception to the concept of "Islamophobia", a supposed sin defined by EU anti-racism watchdogs as akin to anti-Semitism.

The French consensus was symbolised by the 80 per cent public support for the head-scarf ban, which started with little trouble in September. While many Muslims felt stigmatised, the Government took comfort from the approval of the ban by a substantial minority of the 10 per cent of the population that is of immigrant origin.

Among them is Fadela Amara, a Muslim town councillor from Clermond Ferrand, who heads the Ni Putes, Ni Soumises movement. "The veil is an instrument of oppression that is imposed by the green fascists," she says. Mme Amara, who led the Marseilles march, advocates an "open Islam, an Islam of French culture a bit Gallic around the edges". This is also the aim of the state, which two years ago created a national Muslim Council to promote moderate mainstream Islam. The council was set up by Nicolas Sarkozy, the then Interior Minister, who now heads the UMP, President Chirac’s centre-right party.

M Sarkozy has just caused a stir by going a stage further, proposing that France’s rigorously secular state fund the building of mosques. "Whether I like it or not, Islam is the second biggest religion in France. So you have to integrate it by making it more French," he said. To general dismay, however, the national council is coming increasingly under the effective control of radicals.

Reluctantly, some intellectuals have lately concluded that the model for Europe should be the US. On Tuesday a writer for Libération, the French left-wing daily, noted that immigrants in the US threw themselves into "the American dream" and prospered. "There is no French, Dutch or other European dream," she noted. "You emigrate here to escape poverty and nothing more."

 

MUSLIMS COMPLAIN OVER TV AIRING OF FILM BY SLAIN DUCTH FILMAKER

Muslims file complaint over Dutch TV's airing of excerpts from film by slain Dutch filmmaker
By Jan M. Olsen
The Associated Press
December 7, 2004

Danish Muslims have filed complaints against Denmark's two state-run television stations for having repeatedly shown excerpts of Theo van Gogh's film "Submission" after his slaying last month.

The 12-minute film, released in August, was sharply critical of Islam and the status of women in Muslim communities.

Since Van Gogh's killing in Amsterdam on Nov. 2, the Danish Broadcasting Corp. and TV2 have aired excerpts several times during news shows about the death and the debate that followed it across Europe.

In a letter mailed Saturday to police, Laue Traberg Smidt, the group's lawyer, said the Danish Broadcasting Corp.'s "massive coverage of the case and its repeated use" of excerpts "seems rather an attempt to contribute to a confrontation and whip up a sentiment against Danes of Muslim faith."

"They understand that it must be shown, but they feel it is being repeated again and again as if it was part of an advertising campaign," Traberg Smidt said Monday.

Separately, another group of Muslims in central Denmark filed a complaint against TV2 with police. Efforts to reach them were unsuccessful.

Both channels denied the allegations.

"When we show excerpts, we do it in the interest of freedom of speech," Danish Broadcasting's news director Lisbeth Knudsen said, adding it was not done to inflame tensions or cast aspersions upon Denmark's Muslim community.

In his complaint, Traberg Smidt said he represented a group of about 20 Danish Muslims, who wanted to remain anonymous "because they are afraid of unpleasant (reaction) in the current atmosphere."

There was anti-Muslim violence in the Netherlands after the Dutch filmmaker's death, but no such backlash has occurred in Denmark. About 149,000 people, or 2.8 percent of Denmark's population of 5.4 million, are Muslim.

While convictions for violating the law on racism occasionally happen in this tolerant country, no one has been sentenced for blasphemy since 1938, when a group of Danes were convicted of slander against Jews.

A 26-year-old Islamic radical with Moroccan-Dutch citizenship was arrested in the Netherlands and charged in the slaying of Van Gogh, a distant relative of the famed painter.

 

GERMANS FEAR ISLAMIC UNREST

Germans fear Islamic unrest
By Roger Boyes in Berlin
The Times (of London)
November 17, 2004

Islamic preachers in Germany have been told that they may be ordered to deliver their sermons in German rather than in Arabic in an attempt to halt racist diatribes.

The move reflects Berlin's fears that a spark of ethnic and religious unrest could leap from the Netherlands to Germany, a country with more than three million Muslims.

Support for such a move is growing after a television channel used hidden cameras to film the imam of a Berlin mosque frequented by young Turks. He was heard telling worshippers that "Germans can only expect to rot in the fires of hell because they are non-believers".

The Germans, he said, would only support Turkish entry to the European Union if the Turks ripped down the minarets and bulldozed the mosques. Moreover, Germans smelt badly: "These nonbelievers, these Europeans, they do not even shave under their armpits, so that sweat gathers in their hair and makes them stink."

The sermon, translated from Arabic and broadcast on German state television, stopped well short of a call to violence. But it was strong and hostile enough to shock ordinary Germans and the political class who argue that European Muslims are being poisoned by the rhetoric they hear in the mosques.

Senator Erhart Körting, in charge of internal security for the city of Berlin, threatened yesterday to expel the preacher to Turkey if his statements were confirmed. "I want this case cleared up within days," he said.

Anetta Schavan, a powerful regional education minister tipped as a future leader of the Christian Democrats, led the political offensive against what the tabloids are describing as "hate preachers".

"We must now consider legal steps to ensure that German is spoken in mosques and in Koran schools," she said to wide applause among conservative politicians. The point would be to make it easier for plain-clothed policemen to monitor mosques' activities.

The German Government is not convinced that it can push through such legislation: it would almost certainly prompt a long and uncomfortable constitutional debate about the freedom of worship. But mosques have been coming under closer scrutiny since the beginning of the year when the police raided a mosque in Gelsenkirchen after Friday prayers and a controversial sermon.

Bassam Tibi, Germany"s leading expert on Islamic affairs, advised the Government to find a proper balance between controlling mosques and integrating foreigners. "If we don’t do more to integrate foreigners then Germany will face the civil war-like conditions that are emerging in Holland," the professor said.

Measures being considered by the Interior Ministry and other government departments include the compulsory use of German in Islamic schools, more training for Islamic theologians at German universities and more pressure on foreign-born social welfare beneficiaries to attend German-language classes.

The Islamic community is already hemmed in by some German regulations. The traditional Muslim call to prayer is banned in Berlin because it violates noise pollution rules. Christian churches also have restricted times for their bell ringing.

Local councils have started to question building and planning permission for new mosques; there are already more than 700 in the country. The latest, the Berlin Sehitlik Mosque with a capacity for 1,500 worshippers, was completed last month only after Muslim elders agreed to place flight-warning lights on the tall minaret towers.

German television last week withdrew the controversial film Submission, which has been blamed for inciting the fatal attack on the Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. The decision seems to have come from the Dutch production company rather than the German networks. "We don’t want to pour even more oil on the fire," Alexandra Keddemann, spokeswoman for the producers, said.

However, the 11-minute film can be seen on the internet and many German Muslims are said to be clicking on to the site.

German television chiefs were shocked when they sent their reporters out to question German Muslim responses to the killing of Mr van Gogh.

Young Turks questioned at a Cologne street market immediately supported the attack. "If you insult Islam, you have to pay," was a typical response.

Islam is the third-largest religion in Germany, after the Protestant and Roman Catholic faiths.

There are three million Muslims in Germany, representing 3.2 per cent of the population.

1.9 million are of Turkish origin, mainly descendents of the postwar generation of guest workers imported to Germany to make up for its manpower shortage.

Most Muslims live in highly concentrated districts in the industrial towns of western Germany and in Berlin. Few Muslims live in eastern Germany.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.