Five Signs of Hope (Maybe) for Europe

Prince-Charlesby :

Every now and then readers of this site, while thanking me for my coverage of the Islamization of Europe, have kindly asked if it’s possible for me to provide an occasional break from the endlessly depressing accounts of jihad and appeasement and dhimmitude and, quite simply, report on some good news for a change.

Point taken. Here, in recognition of the hopeful message of Christmas and the New Year’s promise, is a year-end dose of tidings of – well, not great joy, but at least possible positive turnarounds on various fronts.

1. BRITAIN: Walking back a dhimmi policy

The Marks and Spencer story. This one went through the whole cycle (from proud corporate declaration of spineless dhimmitude to meek apology therefor) with incredible – and gratifying – rapidity.

Just a couple of days before Christmas, a customer of the posh London retailer told the Telegraph that a Muslim clerk had refused, albeit politely, to ring up her bottle of champagne because the item offended the clerk’s religious convictions. Confronted with this story, a spokesperson for M&S affirmed that, indeed, out of respect for Islam, the store had a policy of allowing Muslim workers to refuse to serve customers purchasing (for example) alcohol and pork, and to pass these haram customers on to other, less discriminating employees.

Result: a huge public outcry, including a Facebook page promoting an M&S boycott. Within hours, M&S was not only apologizing for its wrongheaded policy but (amusingly) insisting that, in fact, it had no such policy at all, and that in the champagne incident the store’s actual policy had not been properly followed.

2. FRANCE: Walking back a dhimmi report

Here’s another example of outraged reactions to dhimmitude having a real effect. Earlier this month, Le Figaro revealed the contents of a new report – commissioned by France’s socialist prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault – which recommended a veritable blizzard of revolutionary acts by the government, from renaming streets and squares after immigrants to prohibiting the mention of transgressors’ ethnicity in the news media. Among much else, school curricula would be dramatically transformed to make them radically multicultural. Accepting the report on November 13, Ayrault promised that the recommendations would be acted upon tout de suite.

Then the protests started pouring in. “It will no longer be up to immigrants to adopt French culture,” charged Jean-Francois Cope, head of the opposition UMP party, “but up to France to abandon its culture, its values, its history to adapt to the culture of others.” Geoffrey Didier, also of UMP, called the report “a crime against republican assimilation and another step in the communitarian strategy of the Socialist Party.” And National Front leader Marine Le Pen denounced it as “a “declaration of war on the French who are calling for an end to the policy of mass immigration and the reaffirmation of our republican laws and values.” The nationwide outrage led one commentator to describe Ayrault as having “shot himself in the foot.” Confronted with the reaction, Ayrault did a snappy about-face, saying meekly: “Just because I get a report doesn’t mean it’s government policy.”

3. BRITAIN: A Prince who May or May Not Be Snapping out of It

Over the years, Prince Charles’s gushing praise of Islam, his enthusiastic participation in Islamic ceremonies, and his occasional references to his own purportedly serious study of the religion have fed speculation that he was either a secret Muslim or was well on his way to becoming one. (A 1997 article in the Middle East Quarterly, entitled “Prince Charles of Arabia,” carefully sifted through the evidence for this proposition.) As recently as 2010, Charles gave a speech extolling Islamic “spiritual principles” as environment-friendly.

How surprising it was, then, to hear the Prince of Wales saying in a speech earlier this month that “we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by fundamentalist Islamist militants.” Underscoring that he had been trying for twenty years “to build bridges between Islam and  Christianity,” he lamented that “we have now reached a crisis where the bridges are rapidly being deliberately destroyed by those with a vested interest in doing so, and this is achieved through intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution, including to Christian communities in the Middle East at the present time.” Refreshingly, he made no apparent attempt to draw a false moral equivalency, to put the crisis down to the usual “interreligious tensions”: no, Charles actually said that Muslims were persecuting Christians, and condemned it outright.

This doesn’t mean he’s now a hero of the counterjihad resistance, but it’s something.

Read more at Front Page

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em?

burqa-women-450x170By Bruce Bawer:

“Don’t be stupid, be a smarty –
Come and join the Nazi Party.”
– Mel Brooks, “Springtime for Hitler”

What to do? Late last Sunday night, a 23-year-old woman in Oscarshamn, a town of 17,000 people that’s about halfway between Mecca and Medina – sorry, I mean Stockholm and Malmö – was on her way home when she was stopped by three young men of foreign origin. “Are you Swedish?” they asked her. When she said yes, they hit her so hard that she fell to the ground. Then, looking down at her, lying there at their feet, they said: “Welcome to Sweden. It’s our country now, not yours.”

The brief account I read of this incident closes with the information that the police have labeled this a “hate crime.” Gee, ya think? Presumably there’s no place on their checklists for “soft jihad.”  (Although I’m sure there was nothing soft about the punch that knocked that young woman to the pavement.)

One thing these “soft” jihadists have going for them is that what they’re engaged in is, quite simply, so audacious that –  unless you’re prepared to open your mind up to the immense and terrible reality of it – it can seem almost farcical. “It’s our country now, not yours”? It has the absurd ring of a pathetic claim made by some schoolyard punk. Except that those three punks in Oscarshamn aren’t alone. They’re certainly far from the first of their kind in Europe to make such an arrogant pronouncement. And as the years go by, that bold assertion, echoed increasingly in the streets of a growing number of European towns and cities, comes ever closer to being the plain and simple truth.

It may be that that 23-year-old woman would’ve known better than to walk home alone late at night if she were living in certain parts of Stockholm or Malmö, but that she assumed it was still safe in Oscarshamn. Perhaps she figured: well, it won’t be safe here in five or ten years, but for now…?

This is the current European calculus. I’m reminded of a gay guy I met in a West Hollywood bar one night in the mid 1980s. He had, he told me, recently moved to L.A. from New York. “Why?” I asked. I was stunned by the fatuity, the deadly self-deception, of his reply. He had left New York, he said, to get away from AIDS: “It’s not so bad here yet.”

I’m also brought to mind of the Australian writer Nevil Shute’s haunting 1957 novel On the Beach, which became a 1959 film starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. Fallout from a nuclear war has killed almost everybody on earth, leaving alive just a few million people in the southern hemisphere – in Australia, New Zealand, and at the southern tips of South America and Africa – who can do nothing but wait for the air currents to do the inevitable job of bringing the radiation their way, too. Over the course of the novel, one by one, from north to south, the cities of Australia die out. The film is splendid, but the novel paints an even more haunting portrait of the human race helplessly facing its own extinction.

Of course, the difference between Shute’s characters and real-life Europeans today is that the latter aren’t helpless. They could act. But they feel helpless. They hear the cry ring out, in one place after another: “It’s our country, not yours.” And how do they respond?

Last week three news stories neatly summed up the ways in which all too many Europeans are responding. From Brussels came the report that the European Parliament is expected to act in a few days to lift the immunity from prosecution that Marine Le Pen enjoys as a member of that body. Why? So that she may be put on trial for criticizing Islam. A British Tory member of the European Parliament, Sajjad Karim, spoke out in favor of the measure, explaining that there’s “a red line between freedom of speech and inciting racial hatred.”

What exactly did Le Pen, head of the French National Front, say to bring on this effort? In a December 2010 speech, she observed that the sight of masses of Muslims spontaneously taking over streets and blocking traffic in order to pray together – a spectacle that is increasingly familiar in Paris and other French cities, and that is destined to become an everyday event in other European cities before very long – recalled the Nazi occupation of France. “There are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation all the same and it weighs on people,” Le Pen declared. It is for this bit of truth-telling that she now faces the prospect of a trial.

That’s one way, then, to respond to the jihadists’ victory cry – to haul their opponents into court. Another approach is to keep the critics of jihad from entering your country in the first place. On Friday the BBC reported that British officials – who for years have refused to deport any number of high-profile advocates of Islamic terrorism, and on multiple occasions have allowed the most atrocious of foreign-based jihad apologists (such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi) to sully their shores – were appalled at the news that Islam critics Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer planned to come to Britain to speak at a June 29 event in memory of jihad victim Drummer Lee Rigby. Home Secretary Theresa May, the BBC noted, was considering denying Geller and Spencer entry into the U.K.; Home Affairs Committee Chairman Keith Vaz, describing them as “incendiary speakers,” made the usual fraudulent, fainthearted noises about the “incitement of hatred.”

Read it all at Front Page

Islam Looms in French Elections

by Soeren Kern


“We have been too busy with the identity of those who arrived and not enough with the identity of the country that accepted them.” – Nicolas Sarkozy

With just ten weeks to go until the first round of presidential elections in France, Islam and the question of Muslim immigration has become a central issue in the campaign.

France, home to between five and six million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in the European Union; polls show that millions of French voters are worried about the proliferation in France of “separate Islamic societies” that are ruled by Islamic Sharia law.

Responding to these concerns, French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined an important part of his re-election platform — imposing restrictions on Muslim immigration — during a February 10 interview in the weekend magazine supplement of the pro-government newspaper, Le Figaro.

Sarkozy rejected calls by his Socialist rival, François Hollande, to offer an amnesty to all of the estimated 350,000 illegal Muslim immigrants currently in France. Sarkozy said: “I say very clearly that, unlike Mr. Hollande, I am not in favor of regularizing the status of illegal immigrants, which would immediately create fresh demand.”

Sarkozy also spoke out against Hollande’s plan to allow Muslim immigrants to vote in local elections. “This is not the time,” he said, “considering all the risks associated with the rise of multiculturalism.”

In an effort to fight back against skyrocketing social security fraud, Sarkozy said he would make i harder for a foreign-born spouse to obtain French nationality by marrying a French citizen.

Sarkozy also promised a constitutional change to make it easier to expel illegal immigrants and failed asylum-seekers, and he called for stricter surveillance of legally resident foreigners.

Just a week earlier, French Interior Minister Claude Guéant, in a clear reference to the Muslim world, said that not all civilizations are equal.

“Contrary to what the left’s relativist ideology says, for us all civilizations are not of equal value,” Guéant told the conservative student association UNI on February 4. “Those which defend humanity seem to us to be more advanced than those that do not. Those which defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those which accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred.”

Guéant also stressed the need to “protect our civilization.”

The comments sparked a predictable uproar, with critics denouncing his comments as dangerous and xenophobic. But when journalists asked Sarkozy to distance himself from Guéant, Sarkozy brushed aside their objections as a “ridiculous argument.”

“The interior minister said that a civilization that does not accord the same place and rights to men and to women does not have the same value. It is common sense and I don’t want to argue about it,” Sarkozy remarked in an interview with France 2 television.

The latest IFOP poll dated February 9 shows Hollande leading Sarkozy, 31% to 24.5%. Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right, anti-immigrant National Front party, is polling at 19.5%.

It still ,remains to be seen however, whether Le Pen will get her name on the ballot. All French candidates must secure the signed endorsement of 500 elected local officials before they can be put on the ballot. Le Pen has so far been able to gather only 350 names, largely because of the perceived political risk of being associated with her populist campaign. She has until March 16 to collect the remaining signatures.

The IFOP poll forecasts that if Le Pen cannot run, Sarkozy would come in with roughly one-third of the vote in the first round, equal to Hollande. But Sarkozy would probably still lose the run-off vote to Hollande.

Not surprisingly, Sarkozy has been reaching out to Le Pen’s supporters, signaling that he shares many of their concerns about Islam and Muslim immigration.

In January 2012, for example, the Sarkozy government implemented a new law that makes it harder for Muslim immigrants to obtain French citizenship. As of January 1, foreigners seeking French nationality will be tested on French culture and history, and will have to prove that their French language skills are equivalent to those of a 15-year-old mother-tongue speaker. They will also be required to sign a new charter establishing their rights and responsibilities.

In September 2011, the French government enacted a new law prohibiting Muslims from praying in the streets. The ban was Sarkozy’s response to growing public anger over the growing phenomenon of Muslim street prayers, in which thousands of Muslims from Paris to Marseille and elsewhere closed off streets and sidewalks, thereby shutting down local businesses and trapping non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices, to accommodate overflowing crowds for Friday prayers.

The weekly spectacles provoked a mixture of anger, frustration and disbelief, but despite public complaints, local authorities had declined to intervene, largely out of fear of sparking riots.

The issue of illegal street prayers was catapulted to the top of the French national political agenda in December 2010, when Le Pen denounced them as an “occupation without tanks or soldiers.”

Sarkozy said the street cannot be allowed to become “an extension of the mosque,” and warned that the overflow of Muslim faithful onto the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.

Guéant told Le Figaro that Muslims who continue to pray in the street will be arrested: “My vigilance will be unflinching for the law to be applied. Praying in the street is not dignified for religious practice and violates the principles of secularism. If anyone happens to be recalcitrant we will put an end to it.”

Read the rest…

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.