The Islamization of Belgium and the Netherlands in 2013

Belgian Salafisrby Soeren Kern:

In January, the gangland shootings of two young Moroccan men in downtown Amsterdam drew renewed attention to the growing problem of violent crime among Muslim immigrants. The two men were gunned down with AK-47 assault rifles in a shooting the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, described as reminiscent of “the Wild West.”

In March, the Dutch public broadcasting system NOS television reported that the Netherlands has become one of the major European suppliers of Islamic jihadists. According to NOS, about 100 Dutch Muslims are active as jihadists in Syria; most have joined the notorious Jabhat al-Nusra rebel group.

Belgium and the Netherlands have some of the largest Muslim communities in the European Union, in percentage terms.

Belgium is home to an estimated 650,000 Muslims, or around 6% of the overall population, based on an average of several statistical estimates. The Netherlands is home to an estimated 925,000 Muslims, which also works out to around 6% of the overall population. Within the EU, only France (7.5%) has more Muslims in relative terms.

Belgian and Dutch cities have significant Muslim populations, comprised mostly of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants, as well as a growing number of converts to Islam.

The number of Muslims in Brussels—where roughly half of the number of Muslims in Belgium currently live—has reached 300,000, which means that the self-styled “Capital of Europe” is now one of the most Islamic cities in Europe.

In 2013, Muslims made up approximately 26% of the population of metropolitan Brussels, followed by Rotterdam (25%), Amsterdam (24%), Antwerp (17%), The Hague (14%) and Utrecht (13%), according to a panoply of research.

Not coincidentally, Belgium and the Netherlands have been at the forefront of the debate over Muslim immigration and integration in Europe. What follows is a chronological summary of some of the main stories about the rise of Islam in Belgium and the Netherlands during 2013.

In January, the Belgian branch of the Dutch department store chain HEMA lost a wrongful termination lawsuitfiled by a Muslim shop assistant whose contract was not renewed because she refused to stop wearing a hijab, the traditional Islamic headscarf.

The woman, a Belgian convert to Islam, had been employed as temporary sales staff for two months, during which time she wore the hijab at work. But when customers complained, the store manager asked her to remove the headscarf.

After she refused to comply, HEMA declined to extend her contract in sales, but did offer her an alternative job in its warehouse, where she would not have direct contact with clients. She said the alternative job offer was unsatisfactory and then consulted a lawyer.

Lawyers defending the Belgian shop said that to maintain the “neutral and discreet image of HEMA, the shop did not want employees wearing any kind of religious symbols.”

But a labor court in the nearby Belgian city of Tongeren ruled that HEMA did not have a clearly stated policy on headscarves and thus had no valid justification to dismiss the woman. The court ordered HEMA to pay the 21-year-old woman €9,000 ($12,000), the equivalent of six month’s salary, as compensation.

According to the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, an NGO that helped bring the woman’s case to trial, the main purpose of the legal action was to clarify how far a company can go in seeking to present a “neutral image” to its customers. The NGO believes neutrality cannot be invoked as a genuine and determining occupational requirement, and says it is not self-evident that neutrality can amount to a legitimate goal if and when it is chiefly invoked to please a private company’s clients.

Also in January, the gangland shootings of two young Moroccan men in downtown Amsterdam drew renewed attention to the growing problem of violent crime among Muslim immigrants. The two men were gunned down with AK-47 assault rifles in a shooting the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, described as reminiscent of “the Wild West.”

According to the Amsterdam-based newspaper Het Parool, young Moroccans continue their “unstoppable march to become the largest group of violent criminals” in the country, despite decades of government programs aimed at steering young Muslims away from a life of crime. Moroccan gangsters specialize mainly in robberies of banks and jewelry stores, as well as in drug trafficking, according to Het Parool.

Meanwhile, the Dutch newspaper Trouw reported that the Protestant Church of the Netherlands is planning to close up to 800 of its 2,000 churches around the country due to the dwindling number of practicing Christians. Critics of the move say many of these buildings are likely to be converted into mosques.

In February, Members of the Belgian Parliament introduced a bill that would limit the power of Muslim extremists who win elected office at the local or national levels and isolate themselves from the political mainstream.

The move came after members of the newly established Islam Party vowed to implement Islamic Sharia law in Belgium.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

European Anti-Semitism and the Fear of Muslims

by Timon Dias:

When European history teachers omit the Holocaust from their curriculum, they do not do this because they hate their Jewish students more than their Muslim students. They omit it because they are afraid of their Muslim students. They might also believe they do it to be “nice,” but then how come this same “niceness” is not afforded to the Jews?

In the “Stockholm Syndrome,” now seen, ironically, in Sweden, victims start bonding with their abusers in the wish that if they share the same values as their abusers, their abusers might stop abusing them. “We must be open and tolerant toward Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so toward us.” — Jens Orback, former Swedish government minister.

The European Union [EU] is singling out Israel for sanctions. Not only are the officials at the EU failing to boycott other regions that legally count as occupied territories, but they are actively aiding at least one clearly occupying power, Turkey, in the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus: in 2006, the EU approved a $259 million aid package for the Turkish Cypriot community there. In addition to that double-standard, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, has revealed noticeable prejudice on multiple occasions, the latest example being when she felt compelled to compare the Toulouse massacre to “what’s happening in Gaza,” any similarities to which would objectively be hard to come by.

Is there, then, an EU tendency to be anti-Semitic? As Thomas Friedman once wrote “Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.”

 

Jens Orback (center), a former Swedish government minister, famously said: “We must be open and tolerant toward Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so toward us.” (Image source: Swedish Social Democratic Party/Anders Löwdin)

Recently, a shocking development was reported on in Belgium by Peter Martino, in which elementary schools are using government approved anti-Semitic textbooks for their history classes. That report recalled a Belgian girl in 2008, who wore a small star of David around her neck, and told the author she had just been refused entry to a bus in Belgium by a bus driver who said that, as a Muslim, he could not allow her to enter the bus. In the 21st century, in Western Europe, a girl was turned away from a public bus because she was a Jew.

What still stings me is that I did not take her seriously; what she said, however, has proven anything but far fetched. A 2011 study by Mark Elchardus, relates that one out of every two Muslim students in Brussels — half — are anti-Semitic. A recent study roughly replicated the same results for the Belgian cities of Ghent and Antwerp. Conversely, Belgium is also the country that is allowing Abou Jahjah, founder of the Arab-European League, a known anti-Semite and Hezbollah affiliate, accused of instigating riots and forming a private militia, to return to Belgium after having left it for Lebanon in 2006 to “fight off the foreign invasion” alongside Hezbollah. A country in which officials teach schoolchildren that the Holocaust was similar to “what’s happening in Gaza”; that accepts the return of a man who was part of a foreign hostile fighting force and says he “felt a sense of victory” on 9/11, is indeed likely to become a country where a girl is refused entry on a bus because she is Jewish.

How is this dynamic to be explained? Besides the latent or active anti-Semitism that might drive EU leaders in their unequally-applied conduct toward Israel — as opposed to other nations such as Turkey that are committing the same alleged offense — another explanation is worth exploring.

The author Ali Salim recently began a popular article with: “We Muslims make the mistake of thinking Europeans really care about us, especially the Palestinians. We are wrong. Europeans simply hate the Jews more than they hate and fear us.”

Although possible, it might also be worth to consider, an alternative explanation: that many Europeans fear Muslims more than they fear Jews, and therefore give in to anti-Semitic tendencies. When European history teachers, for example, omit the Holocaust from their curriculum in order not to offend Muslim students, they do not do that because they hate their Jewish students more than they hate their Muslim students. They do it because they are terrified of their Muslim students.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Bombing Into Unintended Consequences in Syria

by Abigail R. Esman:

Islam Conquering Higher European Education

by Soeren Kern:

Critics say that such efforts to create a “European Islam” are naïve and misguided, and will serve only to contribute to the “mainstreaming” of a religious and political ideology that is intrinsically opposed to all aspects of the European way of life.

The Catholic University of Leuven, the oldest university in Belgium and one that has been a major contributor to the development of Roman Catholic theology for more than 500 years, will offer a degree in Islamic theology beginning in 2014.

The decision by KU Leuven, as the university is commonly known, to focus on Islam follows similar moves by other leading universities in Europe and reflects the growing influence of Islam on the continent.

 

Castle Arenberg, part of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. The university will offer a degree in Islamic theology beginning in 2014. (Image credit: Juhanson/Wikimedia Commons)

The proliferation of degree programs in Islamic theology is being justified by European governments — which are subsidizing the teaching of Islam in European universities with taxpayer money — as a way to “professionalize” the training of Muslim imams, or religious teachers, many of whom do not even speak the language of their European host countries.

Some European governments believe that by controlling the religious education of imams, they can promote the establishment of a “European Islam,” one that combines Islamic principles and duties with European values and traditions such as the rule of law, democracy, human rights and gender equality.

But critics say such efforts to create a “European Islam” are naïve and misguided, and will serve only to contribute to the “mainstreaming” of a religious and political ideology that is intrinsically opposed to all aspects of the European way of life.

The KU Leuven degree in Islamic theology will be offered within the department of World Religions, Interreligious Dialogue and Religious Studies (WIDR). The program is intended only for those who already have a bachelor’s degree, a requirement that would appear to eliminate the chances for admission for a vast majority of the imams in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

Moreover, KU Leuven’s Islam courses will be taught only in Dutch, a linguistic barrier that will presumably exclude many other practicing imams from participating in the degree program. In addition, the university has not yet revealed who will be teaching the courses on Islam, nor has it published information concerning the academic credentials of the professors who will be running the new program.

In order to earn the degree, students must prepare a thesis and also complete an internship as an Islam counsellor in public institutions such as hospitals, youth programs and prisons, etc.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

 

U.S. Administration Wrongly Advocates the Islamist Interpretation of Islamophobia

syriaBy Walid Phares:

The State Department issued a report denouncing what it called “a spike in anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and Asia.” It said that “Muslims also faced new restrictions in 2012 in countries ranging from Belgium, which banned face-covering religious attire in classrooms, to India[,] where schools in Mangalore restricted headscarves.”

The State Department report confuses religious persecution, which is to be condemned, with politicization of religions, which is a matter of debate and includes strategies of which the U.S. government should not be a part. If countries ban the right to pray, broadcast, and write about theology — any theology — this would be against human rights. But Belgium and India do not ban religions per se. In fact, they are more tolerant regarding diverse religious practice than most of the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The Obama administration is not criticizing secular European and Asian governments for deciding to ban prayer or theologically philosophical dissertations, but rather criticizing these countries for banning the hijab or niqab in public places.

The administration understands the wearing of the hijab as a religious injunction for all Muslims. This is not the case, as senior theologians have decreed, including al Azhar, and the niqab is not a universal Muslim obligation, as one can see in 53 Muslim-majority countries. It is a matter of choice. The organized groups calling for a systematic imposition of the niqab are Islamist forces. This translates politically into an official endorsement on the Obama administration’s part of the Islamist political agenda under the camouflage of religious rights.

The Obama administration, by using the charge of Islamophobia against countries that oppose the political agenda of an ideological and political faction comprising those known as Salafists and Khomeinists, has become a partner with these factions against secular, liberal, reformist movements who do not abide by the niqab rule. It is one thing to defend religious communities and something else to defend the agenda of ideological factions. The niqab is part and parcel of the ideological agenda advocated by the Islamists, not a tenet held by all Muslims. If the Obama administration is worried about the Islamist agenda not yet met by European and Asian countries, it should claim so, but the administration cannot claim defense of a religious injunction to all Muslims while the latter have no consensus on the matter.

It has been noted over the past few years that U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East, the Arab world, and Muslim-majority countries has come increasingly under the influence of pressure groups, identified also as “lobbies,” implementing the doctrinal and political agendas of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian Khomeinist regime. The State Department has been made to believe that the Islamist agenda and the beliefs and values of all Muslims are one, which is a grave mistake.

Read more: Family Security Matters

 

“Belgium Will Become an Islamic State”

by Soeren Kern:

The statements of Mark Elchardus, author of a 426 page study, who linked Islam with anti-Semitism, earned him a lawsuit filed by a Muslim group, which said that his comments violated Belgium’s anti-discrimination law of 2007, which forbids discrimination on the basis of “religious convictions,” and Article 444 of the Belgian penal code as his statements appeared in a newspaper and were therefore repeated extensively in print. Belgian law, however, apparently did not prevent Muslims from resorting to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

Two Muslim politicians, who just won municipal elections in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, on October 14, have vowed to implement Islamic Sharia law in Belgium.

The two candidates, Lhoucine Aït Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch, both from the fledgling Islam Party, won seats in two heavily Islamized municipalities of Brussels, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and Anderlecht, respectively.

During a post-election press conference in Brussels on October 25, the two future councilors, who will be officially sworn in on December 3, said they regard their election as key to the assertion of the Muslim community in Belgium.

“We are elected Islamists but above all we are Muslims,” Ahrouch said. “Islam is compatible with the laws of the Belgian people. As elected Muslims, we embrace the Koran and the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed. We believe Islam is a universal religion. Our presence on the town council will give us the opportunity to express ourselves,” said Ahrouch, who refuses to shake hands or make eye contact with females in public.

A one-hour video of the press conference in French has been posted on YouTube. At one point in the video (0:07:40) Ahrouch, 42, says he will strive to make sure that the town council’s “motions and solutions are durable and definitive and will emanate from Islam.”

Ahrouch, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2003 for the assault and battery of his disabled wife, also spends considerable time talking about ethics in politics and “respect for the other.”

Elsewhere in the video (0:25:40), Aït Jeddig, 50, commends Islam as having paved the way for “the emergence of European civilization.” (He makes no mention of Europe’s Judeo-Christian or Greek-Roman roots.) He also insists that Islam is compatible with freedom and democracy.

The video ends with an interview of a third Islam Party candidate, Abdelhay Bakkali Tahar, 51, who did not garner enough votes to secure a seat in the district of Bruxelles Ville.

The Islam Party, which plans to field candidates in European-level elections in 2014, campaigned on three core issues: ensuring that halal meals are served in public school cafeterias, securing the official recognition of Muslim religious holidays, and pushing for a law that would legalize the wearing of Islamic headscarves in public spaces.

Ahrouch has run for political office before. In 1999, he founded a political party called “Noor: Le Parti Islamique,” which promotes a 40-point program based on Islamic Sharia law. These points include, among other items: 7) abolishing interest payments [riba] in the Belgian banking sector; 10) redesigning the Belgian judiciary to comply with Islamic law; 11) restoring capital punishment; 12) prohibiting alcohol and cigarettes; 15) promoting teenage marriage; 16) segregating males and females in public spaces; 20) outlaw gambling and the lottery; and 39) creating an official Islamic alms fund [Zakat].

Ahrouch says that his ultimate goal, creating an Islamic state in Belgium based on Islamic Sharia law, has not changed.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

“Islam to Topple Man-made Democracy”

By Soeren Kern:

Leaders of the group say the  purpose of Belgium’s first Sharia Law court  is to create a parallel  legal system to challenge the state’s authority as the  enforcer of the  civil law protections guaranteed by the Belgian  constitution.

Police in Amsterdam have arrested the spokesperson of the Islamist  group  Sharia4Holland on charges of making death threats against the  Dutch Freedom  Party leader, Geert Wilders.

Abu Qasim was arrested after a speech he gave in Amsterdam’s central Dam  Square on May 25 (video in Dutch here), when he warned that Wilders would be  “dealt with” once the Netherlands became an Islamic state.

Qasim also called Wilders “this dog of the Romans” and — referring to the  Dutch filmmaker and Islam critic who was murdered by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim in  2004 — warned that  Wilders should learn lessons from “the case of Theo van  Gogh.”

Amsterdam’s multiculturally-minded police initially refused to intervene in the case. Although making death threats is a criminal offense in Holland, police instead arrested a passer-by who tried to challenge the Sharia4Holland speaker.

Qasim was not arrested until three days after the event, after local  politician Robert Flos,  speaking on AT5 television, asked Amsterdam’s left-wing  mayor, Eberhard  van der Laan, why city police did not intervene when Qasim  threatened  Wilders with death.

Qasim, a 29-year-old Islamist who lives in the central Dutch city of Woerden,  is now scheduled to appear in court on July 11.

Sharia4Holland — and its Siamese twin Sharia4Belgium — is a radical  Muslim  movement that wants to impose Islamic Sharia law in the  Netherlands, Belgium  and the rest of Europe. Over the past several  months, Sharia4Holland and  Sharia4Belgium have become increasingly  belligerent in their appeals to fellow  Muslims to overthrow the  democratic order in Europe.

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten,  in testimony to the Dutch Parliament  on May 29, said that radical  Muslims are becoming more provocative and activist  and “there is a risk  that Sharia4Holland supporters could cross the line and  use violence.”

In December 2011, the Dutch Intelligence Service AIVD said it was concerned  about the rapid radicalization of Sharia4Holland.  AIVD issued the advisory  after Sharia4Belgium released a video in which  the Belgian Islamist Sheik Abu  Imran (aka Fouad Belkacem, who is  Sharia4Belgium’s main spokesman) declared  that the black flag of Islamic  Jihad will “soon be flying on top of all the  palaces in Europe.”

The December 11 video, which has been translated into English by the Middle  East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), shows Imran dressed in military  camouflage calling for the destruction of the Atomium, a monument in Brussels  that is the national symbol of Belgium.

Imran says: “This is a short message to the King of Belgium and  specifically  to the Muslims in Belgium. This is the flag [black flag of  jihad] that, Allah  willing, will soon be flying on top of that building  over there [the Belgian  royal palace]. There you see the flag [Belgian  flag] of the Taghut [idolaters],  the infidels, and soon the flag of  ‘there is no god but Allah’ will be flying  there, on top of that palace,  and on top of all the other palaces in Europe,  until Allah willing, we  reach the White House.We will not rest, we will not  stop, until this  flag flies on top of that building [the royal palace].”

The video then continues from another location in Brussels —  directly in  front of the Atomium. Imran says: “We can see nowadays how  people are taking  photos, and how people from all over Brussels and from  all over Europe, come  here for what is called ‘tourism’ and take photos  of this monument. They hold  on to this monument. On top, you can see  the Belgian flag. This monument is a  symbol of Belgium.Soon, Belgium  will fall apart. May Allah disperse them and  their country. Amen. Then  this symbol will be useless to them.”

Read more: Family Security Matters

Belgistan? Sharia Showdown Looms in Brussels

The graffiti on a building in Belgium says it all: “Welcome to ‘Belgistan.” In fact, some are now calling it the Muslim capital of Europe… The Christian Broadcasting Network CBN http://www.cbn.com