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Islam And Modern European Values Do Not Mix
Dan Bilefsky and Ian Fisher write in the IHT that people in Europe have had it with the Muslim immigrants:

"You saw what happened with the pope," said Patrick Goeman, 43, the owner of Raga, a funky wine bar in central Antwerp, half an hour outside Brussels. "He said Islam is an aggressive religion. And the next day they kill a nun somewhere and make his point.

"Rationality is gone."

Goeman is hardly an extremist. In fact, he organized a protest last week in which 20 bars and restaurants closed on the night when a far-right party with an anti-Muslim message held a rally nearby.

His worry is shared by centrists across Europe disturbed that any criticism of Islam or Muslim immigration provokes threats of violence.

For years, those who raised their voices were mostly on the far right. Now those normally seen as moderates - ordinary people as well as politicians - are asking whether once unquestioned values of tolerance and multiculturalism should have limits.

...Whatever the motivations, "the reality is that views on both sides are becoming more extreme," said Imam Wahid Pedersen, a prominent Dane who is a convert to Islam. "It has become politically correct to attack Islam, and this is making it hard for moderates on both sides to remain reasonable."

Yeah? Well, maybe Islam should be attacked. I heard some Islamic Studies prof from American University mewling about how people are people are mean to Muslims on Terri Gross' Fresh Air when I was back in the States. The prof complained that we're "sensitive" to blacks in America, but why can't we be "sensitive" to Muslims? Oh, boohoo. Terry brought up a version of the point made above, about the Islam as an excuse for a death cult thing of a growing number of Muslims.

Meanwhile, in France, via The Paris Blog, a bus was set on fire in the Paris suburbs yesterday. Rue Rude writes:

Everyone is worried about a renewal of the violence of last November. Yesterday a bus was set on fire in the middle of the day in one of the “sensitive” suburbs, Grigny in Essonne, and about 300 people stood around and watched as the firemen put it out, protected by policemen who themselves were the target of stone-throwing. The local reaction, even from older people, seemed to be, “Why don’t the police leave?

...Afterward, a lot of promises were made and there was a lot of talk about improving the lot of the jeunes de banlieue, but nothing has really changed. The only real hope is for the economy to get better, and it is inching its way up at the moment.

What has changed since last year is that there is starting to be more violence directed at the policemen individually, including traps set for them. In the past week several policemen have been wounded badly. It's remarkable to me, as an American, to see that these policemen, all armed, have not one single time drawn their guns to shoot the men and boys attacking them.

More from the IHT story about the mood of Europeans in Europe:

"So there is this fear," he said, "that we are being transported back in a time machine where we have to explain to our immigrants that there is equality between men and women, and gays should be treated properly. Now there is the idea we have to do it again."

So strong is the fear that Dutch values of tolerance are under siege that the government introduced a primer on those values last winter for prospective newcomers to Dutch life: a DVD briefly showing topless women and two men kissing. The film does not explicitly mention Muslims, but its target audience is as clear as its message: Embrace our culture or leave.

Perhaps most wrenching has been the issue of free speech and expression, and the growing fear that any criticism of Islam could provoke violence.

In France last month, a secondary school teacher went into hiding after receiving death threats for writing an article calling the Prophet Muhammad "a merciless warlord, a looter, a mass murderer of Jews and a polygamist." In Germany, a Mozart opera with an additional scene showing the severed heads of Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and Poseidon was canceled because of security fears.

With each incident, mainstream leaders are speaking more plainly.

"Self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practice violence in the name of Islam," Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said in criticizing the opera's cancellation. "It makes no sense to retreat."

The backlash is showing itself in other ways. Last month, the British home secretary, John Reid, called on Muslim parents to keep a close watch on their children. "There's no nice way of saying this," he told a Muslim group in East London. "These fanatics are looking to groom and brainwash children, including your children, for suicide bombing, grooming them to kill themselves to murder others."

If having you in our society is like having a mass homicide virus, I think you should be asked to leave. But, how, in a free society, do we find out who the mass murderers are before they do the deed -- and still have a free society?

Posted by aalkon at October 26, 2006 9:35 AM

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Comments

> a DVD briefly showing topless
> women and two men kissing.

Genius! Masterstroke! Show 'em dirty movies... That'll learn 'em, plenty good!

It's hard not to be cynical. America was so successful at integration that people came to assume it was natural. People didn't see how much daily conflict and cross-generational investment it took to make it happen. This will be the century when humanity figures out that primitive attitudes are durable. You can't bring primitive people into the future by moving them in to a modern country, and you can't bring them into to future by invading their primitive ones.

Reynolds says this about France:

http://tinyurl.com/uu5cj

Posted by: Crid at October 26, 2006 4:44 AM

Here's a great passge from that link: "In the past few weeks alone, several policemen were ambushed by youths who seemed intent on killing them. In response, the French Interior Ministry asked the police to keep a low profile and not to show themselves in the Muslim suburbs in order to avoid tension."

Imagine if the Mayor of New York had told the Irish cops to stay out of Brooklyn.

Posted by: Crid at October 26, 2006 4:49 AM

In a neighborhood without policeman, the thugs, thieves, and rapists rule. Oh, and arsonists, too. I guess the people who burned the bus didn't think about what it would be like for little old ladies to get around without affordable public transportation.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 26, 2006 5:14 AM

"In the past few weeks alone, several policemen were ambushed by youths who seemed intent on killing them. In response, the French Interior Ministry asked the police to keep a low profile and not to show themselves in the Muslim suburbs in order to avoid tension."

And bringing home the troops solved the problem, right?

Posted by: Jim Treacher at October 26, 2006 7:39 AM

You have to wonder whether Goeman and the 20 bars who locked their doors were simply scared of any vandalism or general mayhem from either side. I'd be tempted to shut down just for that reason, on a protest night.

Posted by: Jon at October 26, 2006 8:28 AM

Amy, I gotta ask, how do you walk in that skirt?

Posted by: deja pseu at October 26, 2006 9:16 AM

"But, how, in a free society, do we find out who the mass murderers are before they do the deed -- and still have a free society?"

That IS the magic question, isn't it? A good place to start might be to stop getting worked up about veils and such.

Posted by: Lena at October 26, 2006 10:06 AM

> A good place to start might be
> to stop getting worked up about
> veils

You first. Next time someone tries to *literally* shroud you because of their feelings about your sexual identity, be sure not to get worked up.

Posted by: Crid at October 26, 2006 11:12 AM

My suggestion would be to curtail immigration strictly for the next 15-20 years or so, and vigorously enforce the anti-illegal immigration laws in both Europe and the US in the meantime. It would limit the risk of potential terrorists living on civilized soil. It would also preserve the free society idea, since I can't think of any Western nation whose constitution states that anyone and everyone who wants to live in [pick your country] has the right to do so. Western nations could work on digesting and assimilating the number of immigrants we already have, and if certain individuals, immigrant or no, act criminally, they should be jailed accordingly. Just my .02.

Posted by: Kim at October 26, 2006 2:14 PM

Ignore earlier comment, posted in wrong thread.

Posted by: deja pseu at October 26, 2006 2:23 PM

Crid -- I was suggesting that we choose our battles carefully. I really don't care if someone wears a veil, and I don't think it's worth my time trying to figure out if they "really" want to wear a veil or not. Weener

Posted by: Lena at October 27, 2006 1:10 AM

I don't care if people wear veils or believe that the moon is in Virgo and it means the cream will curdle -- providing it doesn't curtail my life or my freedom.

The other day, I was at lunch with two women who speculated about my astrological sign. I told them I don't have one. I don't believe in stuff like astrology. But, they talked about how I must be one kind of sign (a fire sign?) and then when I told them when I was born they said I wasn't like that sign at all. No, I'm not like a sign, I'm a unique person, and a product of my genes and the reaction of my genes to the environment. (Genes - see Ridley - are switched on and off according to environmental factors.)

Astrology is based on a limited (and wrong) view of the planets anyway.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 27, 2006 1:16 AM

> I don't think it's worth my time trying
> to figure out if they "really" want to
> wear a veil or not.

You're right, I just think we need to maintain the maximum possible pissiness about this. We're not going to curtail immigration despite Kim's suggestion, so we need to bur sure the new arrivals know how it's going to work in their new homeland.

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2006 3:25 AM

Be. Be sure. Very early today

Posted by: Crid at October 27, 2006 3:29 AM

Muslims don't understand the concept of free speech, if they did, they wouldn't go nuts about cartoons of Muhammad. Yet, we are helping them set up a democracy in Iraq? They aren't going to want or value that which they don't understand. Bush has caused the deaths of more Americans than Saddam ever would have with his dirty bombs.
On a lighter note I think a burka would be freeing... I wouldn't have to fix my hair, put on makeup, shave my legs, buy expensive clothes, I could gain a few pounds unseen...

Posted by: chicknlady at October 29, 2006 3:32 AM

Kim, are you joking?

# 1 How do you curtail immigration “strictly” on continents, both Europe & North America, that are surrounded by seas & long borders in the middle of a desert? Put a cop or whatever garde champêtre every 100 meter on the beaches of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the North Sea, to check the illegal landing off makeshift embarkations? And this for the next 15 to 20 years or so… Would you go and build walls & fences like those planned between the United States & Mexico?

# 2 How could this limit the risk of potential terrorists living on civilized soil when some of the said terrorists are “born” on said “civilized” soil?

# 3 RE “It would also preserve the free society idea, since I can't think of any Western nation whose constitution states that anyone and everyone who wants to live in [pick your country] has the right to do so.”
Illegal immigration does not give a hoot about any Western nation constitution and legal system. When the would-be immigrant follows the law, he becomes a legal immigrant. But, when he lands on a beach, flies in a container, or crosses mountains or the US-Mexican border “undocumented”, he is illegal. He has no right to do it, but he does. And that’s the facts. And when millions are doing that illegal thing, it is impossible for nations to do anything about it. And that is again the facts.

# 4 RE “Western nations could work on digesting and assimilating the number of immigrants we already have…”
Well, that’s what most western nations want to do through their legal system. It would be nice if it worked, but, (a) in the meantime, the illegals (will) keep on coming; (b) as for the “digesting and assimilating” part of Kim’s comment. If you look at Western Europe, social unrest as illustrated by riots – past or to come-, is not the work of illegals, although foreign rabble-rousers call for mayhem. Riots & terrorist acts in France, England, Spain, Holland, Germany etc. have been done by (young) people born & raised in Europe. So, it looks that in many cases, the “digesting & assimilating” process does not work.

# 5 RE “… and if certain individuals, immigrant or no, act criminally, they should be jailed accordingly.” Again, that’s what the law states, but, if you do succeed in arresting all illegal immigrants, who is going to build the prisons to jail all of them? You must be aware that, whether in the US or the UE, illegal aliens are counted in the tens of millions. Are we going to turn our countries into police states & concentration camps?

All this being said, illegal immigration is not the only problem faced by the US & Europe. The other problem, more important & dangerous, the one Kim is not mentioning, will never be solved by regulating illegal immigration or digesting & assimilating the number of immigrants. Because you cannot “digest” immigrants who do not want to “assimilate”, but who invade your country to destroy your way of life & impose theirs.

Posted by: Frania W. at October 29, 2006 9:29 AM

Exactly. I was talking about this tonight with two friends who live in France; one from the US and the other from the UK. Sure, we have loads of immigrants in the US, I said, but the thing is, they come wanting to be a part of what the US is -- to join our system and our economy. To be part of the old "melting pot."

But, what of immigrants who want to come to your country and make your country unfree like the places they're from? Who spread violence while trying for that goal? When I come to France, it's to learn how to do things the French way. If I didn't want the French way, I'd be elsewhere. If you don't want the free country way, stay in your own unfree countries, thank you, and, if you're a woman, walk around wearing a pup tent over your head.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 29, 2006 2:58 PM

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