Daily Archives: June 18, 2017

Europe: The Case of the Vanishing Women by Judith Bergman

  • “It is best to wait outside. There are men in here… In this café, there is no diversity.” — Male customer in a café in Sevran, on France 2 television.”In this café, there is no mixing. We are in Sevran, not Paris. Here there is a different mentality. It is like back home.” ­ — Another male customer in a café in Sevran, on France 2 television.

  • Women seem “to have been erased”, from the cafés and the streets. “So now to avoid threats, and being put under pressure, they censor themselves and keep quiet.” — Caroline Sinz, journalist, France 2 television.
  • This Islamization has been fueled and strengthened by Qatar’s heavy investments — particularly in mosques — in France, which currently stand at around $22 billion.
  • “There is a misplaced form of morality, often exercised by minority groups over a majority, which leads to the fact that the public space, supposedly belonging to both men and women, is restricted from women.” — Pascale Boistard, former French Minister for Women’s Rights
  • French ministers feign surprise and outrage that women in these suburbs have finally succumbed to the incessant terror against them and are disappearing from the streets.

Women have literally disappeared from cafés and bars in certain predominantly Muslim suburbs in France, according to recently aired undercover footage from the France 2 television channel. The footage featured two women activists, Nadia Remadna and Aziza Sayah, from the women’s rights campaign group, La Brigade des Mères (Brigade of Mothers), entering a café in the Paris suburb of Sevran, where they were met with surprise and hostility from the all-male customers. One told them: “It is best to wait outside. There are men in here… In this café, there is no diversity.”

Another customer told them: “In this café, there is no mixing. We are in Sevran, not Paris. Here there is a different mentality. It is like back home.”

Aziza Sayah (left) and Nadia Remadna (right) are activists from the “Brigade of Mothers” women’s rights group in France, who recently went with concealed cameras into a café in a Paris suburb, where they were met with surprise and hostility from the all-male customers. (Image source: France 2 video screenshot)

In a suburb of Lyon, France 2 TV journalist Caroline Sinz spoke to a young woman who said that she is quite simply afraid to go out, and wears baggy clothes and no makeup to avoid being targeted by the Muslim men in the neighborhood.

In the words of Sinz, women seem “to have been erased,” from the cafés and the streets. Sinz goes on to explain that women in these areas used to protest against the status quo, but now,

“They are afraid, they have already spoken out in many cities, and were insulted and assaulted… So now to avoid threats, and being put under pressure, they censor themselves and keep quiet.”

Axelle Lemaire, France’s Minister for Digital Affairs, and the first government official to comment on the footage, said the footage appeared to show an “intolerable” and “illegal” case of “discrimination against women”. However, she was quick to add that it was not a question of religion, and said that France’s Muslim communities should not be blamed.

Lemaire’s comment about religion reveals, once more, the willful ignorance that so many in Europe’s political establishment display in their refusal to deal with the issues of Islamization. Sevran is part of the district of Seine-Saint-Denis, an area inhabited by over 600,000 Muslims, out of 1.4 million people. Already in 2011, a report by the highly respected political scientist and expert on Islam, Gilles Kepel, “Banlieue de la République” (“Suburb of the Republic”), showed that Seine-Saint-Denis, as well as other suburbs, were becoming parallel Islamic societies, increasingly cut off from the rest of French society. That women have now disappeared from the streets of Sevran cannot be divorced from the fact of the Islamization of these societies.

This Islamization has been fueled and strengthened by Qatar’s heavy investments — particularly in mosques — in France during the past five years. These investments currently stand at around $22 billion. Investments in mosques are how Qatar is apparently spreading Wahhabism/Salafism — a particularly radical form of Islam — around the world.

Islamic sharia law is quite clear on the role of the woman in Islam; French politicians might be well advised to open a Quran before they pronounce recent events as having “nothing to do with Islam.” The Quran states that a woman must obey her husband in all things [Quran 4:34][1] and that her role is in the home, where she should preferably stay, unless she has a legitimate errand to attend to outside the house [Quran 33:33].[2] In countries where sharia is the law of the land, as in Saudi Arabia, a woman cannot leave the home without permission of her husband.

Considering the subservient role of women in sharia law, it is only a natural development that those French suburbs that have become Islamized and where sharia is held in high regard, now resemble Saudi Arabia. The cumulative effects of Islamization, supported with Qatari money and influence, can come as a surprise only to those political and cultural elites who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge and deal with the realities.

Another French politician, former Labor Minister Eric Woerth, said that the footage “stabs at the heart of the Republic. The heart of the Republic is the equality between men and women”. But is this passionate declaration of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” not a bit belated? Where have these politicians been? A year ago, Pascale Boistard, then France’s Minister for Women’s Rights, said in an interview:

“There are areas in our territory where women are not accepted, where they are not respected, and where they are almost obliged to live with this fact as an annoyance in everyday life. And everyone seems to find it more or less normal… In many neighborhoods, women are limited to certain areas (the foyer, the exit from school …) and virtually absent from others, such as sports venues, or places of entertainment. Is it normal that in some places you cannot find any women in the cafes? There is a misplaced form of morality, often exercised by minority groups over a majority, which leads to the fact that the public space, supposedly belonging to both men and women, is restricted from women”.

The subordination, humiliation and terrorization of women in the suburbs has been going on for decades, right under the noses of those politicians who claim to care about women’s rights and “the heart of the republic,” yet chose to stay ignorant. In 2002, the late author of “Dans l’enfer des tournantes” (“To Hell and Back“), Samira Bellil, described how her life as a teenager in the late 1980s in the suburbs was, as the title suggests, pure hell. Speaking to Time magazine in 2002, she said: “From the moment a girl steps outside, guys think they have the right to pass judgment and treat us differently. In extreme cases, this leads to violence or aggression.” Bellil was gang-raped repeatedly by Muslim youths, who knew her and targeted her, because “any neighborhood girl who smokes, uses makeup or wears attractive clothes is a whore.” At the time, Time magazine further reported:

“[P]olice are loath to patrol the areas for fear of violence. The result: civility and order in many banlieues have broken down, and bands of young men feel they can attack women with impunity…”

This was fifteen years ago.

In the same article, Time also interviewed Fadela Amara, head of the organization, Ni Putes ni Soumise (“Neither Whores nor Submissives”) which campaigns for women to be able live normal, modern lives. Amara said that since 1992, women in the suburbs of France have had to deal with the spreading influence of Islamic fundamentalism:

“Over the past 10 years, the condition of women in the banlieues has radically deteriorated… We are seeing an increase in insults of young women who wear jeans, a rise in forced or arranged marriages, more young women obliged to drop out of school and a greater incidence of polygamy.”

Fifteen years later, French ministers feign surprise and outrage that women in these suburbs have finally succumbed to the incessant terror against them and are disappearing from the streets.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


[1] Quran 4:34: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.”

[2] Quran 33:33: “And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.”

Europe: More Migrants Coming “Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way” by Soeren Kern

  • “In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country.” — Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka.

  • Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe’s permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe’s permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.
  • The migrants arriving in Italy are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing warzones.
  • The director of the UN office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The European Union has called on its member states to lift border controls — introduced at the height of the migration crisis in September 2015 — within the next six months.

The return to open borders, which would allow for passport-free travel across the EU, comes at a time when the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean continues to rise, and when Turkish authorities increasingly have been threatening to renege on a border deal that has lessened the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.

Critics say that lifting the border controls now could trigger another, even greater, migration crisis by encouraging potentially millions of new migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to begin making their way to Europe. It would also allow jihadists to cross European borders undetected to carry out attacks when and where they wish.

At a press conference in Brussels on May 2, the EU Commissioner in charge of migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, called on Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden — among the wealthiest and most sought after destinations in Europe for migrants — to phase out the temporary controls currently in place at their internal Schengen borders over the next six months.

The so-called Schengen Agreement, which took effect in March 1995, abolished many of the EU’s internal borders, enabling passport-free movement across most of the bloc. The Schengen Agreement, along with the single European currency, are fundamental pillars of the European Union and essential building-blocks for constructing a United States of Europe. With the long-term sustainability of the single currency and open borders in question, advocates of European federalism are keen to preserve both.

Avramopoulos, who argued that border controls are “not in the European spirit of solidarity and cooperation,” said:

“The time has come to take the last concrete steps to gradually return to a normal functioning of the Schengen Area. This is our goal, and it remains unchanged. A fully functioning Schengen area, free from internal border controls. Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European project. We must do everything to protect it.”

The temporary border controls were established in September 2015, after hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in Europe, and when EU member states, led by Germany, gave special permission to some EU countries to impose emergency controls for up to two years. Since then, the European Union has approved six-month extensions of controls at the German-Austrian border, at Austria’s frontiers with Hungary and Slovenia and at Danish, Swedish and Norwegian borders. (Norway is a member of Schengen but not the EU.) Since then, several countries have argued that they need border controls to combat the threat of Islamic militancy.

On May 2, Sweden, which claims to conduct the most border checks among the EU countries, announced that it will lift controls at its border with Denmark. Sweden received 81,000 asylum seekers in 2014; 163,000 in 2015; 29,000 in 2016, and the same is expected for 2017.

On April 26, Austria called for an indefinite extension of border controls. “In terms of public order and internal security, I simply need to know who is coming to our country,” Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said. Austria, which accepted some 90,000 migrants in 2015, also called for a “postponement” of the EU refugee distribution program, which requires EU member states to accept a mandatory and proportional distribution of asylum-seekers who arrive in other member nations.

On March 9, Norway extended border controls for another three months.

On January 26, Denmark extended border controls for another four months. Integration Minister Inger Støjberg said that his government would extend its border controls “until European borders are under control.”

On January 19, Germany and Austria announced that border controls between their countries would continue indefinitely, “as long as the EU external border is not adequately protected.”

Meanwhile, the number of migrants making their way to Europe is once again trending higher. Of the 30,465 migrants who reached Europe during the first quarter of 2017, 24,292 (80%) arrived in Italy, 4,407 arrived in Greece, 1,510 arrived in Spain and 256 arrived in Bulgaria, according to the International Office for Migration (IOM).

By way of comparison, the number of arrivals to Europe during each of the first three months of 2017 exceeded those who arrived during the same time period in 2015, the year in which migration to Europe reached unprecedented levels.

The trend is expected to continue throughout 2017. Better weather is already bringing about a surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. During just one week in April, for example, a total of 9,661 migrants reached the shores of Italy.

The migrants arriving there are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing warzones. According to the IOM, the migrants who reached Italy during the first three months of 2017 are, in descending order, from: Guinea, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, Somalia and Eritrea.

In February, Italy reached a deal with the UN-backed government in Tripoli to hold migrants in camps in Libya in exchange for money to fight human traffickers. The agreement was endorsed by both the European Union and Germany.

On May 2, however, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel reversed course by saying the deal ignored the “catastrophic conditions” in Libya and would not curb migration. He said that Germany now favored tackling migration by fighting instability in Africa:

“What we are trying instead is to help stabilize the countries on the continent. But that is difficult. We will have to show staying power, stamina and patience. This is in the interest of Africans but also in the interest of Europeans.”

Gabriel’s long-term solution — which in the best of circumstances could take decades to bear fruit — implies that mass migration from Africa to Europe will continue unabated for many years to come.

Italy has emerged as Europe’s main point of entry for migrants largely because of an agreement the European Union signed with Turkey in March 2016 to stem migration from Turkey to Greece. In recent weeks, however, Turkish authorities have threatened to back out of the deal because, according to them, the EU has failed to honor its end of the bargain.

Under the agreement, the EU pledged to pay Turkey €3 billion ($3.4 billion), as well as grant visa-free travel to Europe for Turkey’s 78 million citizens, and to restart accession talks for Turkey to join the bloc. In exchange, Turkey agreed to take back all migrants and refugees who reach Greece via Turkey.

After the deal was reached, the number of migrants reaching Greece dropped sharply, although not completely. According to data supplied by the European Union on April 12, a total of 30,565 migrants reached Greece since the migrant deal took effect. Only 944 of those migrants have been returned to Turkey. Still, this is in sharp contrast to the hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered Greece at the height of the migration crisis. Turkey’s continued cooperation is essential to keep the migration floodgates closed.

On April 22, Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs, Ömer Çelik, issued an ultimatum, warning the European Union that if it does not grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel by the end of May, Turkey would suspend the migrant deal and flood Europe with migrants.

On March 17, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu warned that his country would “blow the mind” of Europe and renege on the deal by sending 15,000 Syrian refugees a month to Europe:

“We have a readmission deal. I’m telling you Europe, do you have that courage? If you want, we’ll send the 15,000 refugees to you that we don’t send each month and blow your mind. You have to keep in mind that you can’t design a game in this region apart from Turkey.”

In February 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had already threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe. “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses,” he told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In a speech, he signaled that he was running out of patience:

“We do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. We will be patient, but we will do what we have to. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing.”

In February 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) threatened to send millions of migrants to Europe. “We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses,” he told Jean-Claude Juncker (right), President of the European Commission. (Image source: Turkish President’s Office)

European officials say that to qualify for the visa waiver, Turkey must meet 72 conditions, including the most important one: relaxing its stringent anti-terrorism laws, which are being used to silence critics of Erdoğan, especially since the failed coup in July 2016. Turkey has vowed not to comply with the EU’s demands.

Critics of visa liberalization fear that millions of Turkish nationals may end up migrating to Europe. The Austrian newsmagazine, Wochenblick, recently reported that 11 million Turks are living in poverty and “many of them are dreaming of moving to central Europe.”

Other analysts believe Erdoğan views the visa waiver as an opportunity to “export” Turkey’s “Kurdish Problem” to Germany. According to Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder, millions of Kurds are poised to take advantage of the visa waiver to flee to Germany to escape persecution at the hands of Erdoğan: “We are importing an internal Turkish conflict,” he warned. “In the end, fewer migrants may arrive by boat, but more will arrive by airplane.”

The European Union now finds itself in a Catch-22 situation. Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe’s permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe’s permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.

Greek officials recently revealed that they have drawn up emergency plans to cope with a new migrant crisis. Turkey is hosting some three million migrants from Syria and Iraq, many of whom are presumably waiting for an opportunity to flee to Europe.

Italy is also bracing for the worst. Up to a million people, mainly from Bangladesh, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and Syria are now in Libya waiting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, according to the IOM.

The director of the United Nations office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In an interview with The Times, Møller, a Dane, said:

“What we have been seeing is one of the biggest human migrations in history. And it’s just going to accelerate. Young people all have cellphones and they can see what’s happening in other parts of the world, and that acts as a magnet.”

German Development Minister Gerd Müller has echoed that warning:

“The biggest migration movements are still ahead: Africa’s population will double in the next decades. A country like Egypt will grow to 100 million people, Nigeria to 400 million. In our digital age with the internet and mobile phones, everyone knows about our prosperity and lifestyle.”

Müller added that only 10% of those currently on the move have reached Europe: “Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way.”

Europe: Making Itself into the New Afghanistan? by Giulio Meotti

  • “Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan,” said Algerian writer Kamel Daoud. Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan.

  • The West used to be proud of being the land of the free. European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition “Passion for Freedom” at the Mall Gallery in London censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley.
  • “The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians”, then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum’s new management, with the approval of President Hollande’s culture ministry. So today, the Louvre has a section dedicated to Islamic art, but nothing on Eastern Christianity.

Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is the picturesque city that gave its name to the famous treaty signed in 1992 by the twelve nations of the European Community at the time, and which paved the way for the foundation of today’s European Union and the single currency, the euro.

Maastricht, however, is also the home of “Tefaf”, the most important art and antiques fair in the world. The art work “Persepolis” by the Italian artist Luca Pignatelli was already scheduled when the commission ordered it removed. The work, built in 2016, combined a Persian Islamic rug and a female head. “We are all humbled and speechless”, Pignatelli declared, pointing out that his work had initially aroused the enthusiasm of the commission. The fair’s explanation was that Pignatelli’s work was “provocative“.

The officials of fair presumably did not want to offend Islam and possible Muslim buyers with Pignatelli’s combination of the mat (used by Muslims for prayer) with the woman’s face. “We are shocked, this is the first time this has happened and I think it is legitimate to talk about it”, Pignatelli said. “If in Rome it can happen that you decide to veil art works to avoid offending foreign visitors, well, I do not agree”. The reference is at the Italian government decision to veil the antique Roman statues to avoid offending Iran’s visiting President Hassan Rouhani.

If Europe wants a future, it should be less ideological about Maastricht’s treaty and more against Maastricht’s capitulation to fear. The brave Algerian writer Kamel Daoud said:

“Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan”.

Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan. The Taliban have killed artists and destroyed art works. The West used to be proud of being the land of the free.

European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition “Passion for Freedom,” at the Mall Gallery in London, censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley. Entitled, “ISIS Threaten Sylvania“, it was eliminated after the British police referred to its “inflammatory” content. Previously, the Tate Gallery in London banned a work by John Latham that displayed a Koran embedded in glass.

The brave work of the artist Mimsy, “ISIS Threaten Sylvania”, which satirized the brutality of ISIS, was removed from London’s Mall Galleries after the British police defined it “inflammatory.” (Image source: Mimsy)

Another British artist, Grayson Perry, admitted that he censored himself out of fear that he might end up like Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker slain by an extremist Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri, for having made a film about women under Islam. “I have censored myself,” Perry said. “The reason I have not gone all out in attacking Islamism in my art is because I have real fear that someone will slit my throat”.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London first showed, then withdrew, a portrait of the Prophet of Islam, a work of devotional art image of Muhammad. The photographer Syra Miah, a British native whose family came from Bangladesh, saw her work withdrawn from an Art Gallery in Birmingham after protests by a group of Muslims. The photo portrayed a half-naked woman, mentally ill, who lives under a bus stop in Bangladesh.

The Museum of Cultures of the World in Gothenburg, Sweden, opened with an exhibition entitled “AIDS in the Era of Globalization”. In it, the artist Louzla Darabi exhibited a work, “Scène d’amour”, that depicts a woman having sex with a man whose face cannot be seen. A verse from the Koran is written on it in Arabic. Less than three weeks after the inauguration of the exhibition, the museum removed the painting. The Hergé Museum in Louvain, Belgium, was planning an exhibition to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoonists; that event, too, was cancelled.

French President François Hollande eliminated a section of the Louvre Museum dedicated to the Eastern Christians, who in the last two years have been decimated by the Islamic State. “The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians”, then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum’s new management, with the approval of Hollande’s culture ministry.

Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya — former head of the Louvre’s Coptic section and one of the world’s leading scholars on Eastern Christianity — denounced the move. “The dramatic events we are currently seeing in the Middle East and Eastern Europe should instead spur us to do more to promote lasting cultural ties,” Rutschowscaya wrote in her letter to Hollande. So today, the Louvre has a section dedicated to Islamic art, but nothing on Eastern Christianity.

Perhaps the Iranian ayatollahs were right in asking the Capitoline Museums in Rome to veil the nude statues during President Rouhani’s visit. Perhaps the Islamic fundamentalists are wrong, the West is not as free as it claims. Perhaps we should apologize to the Taliban for criticizing their destruction of the great Buddhas of Afghanistan. According to the West’s new cultural sanctimony, today these statues might be considered “blasphemous” too.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Europe: Let’s Self-destruct! by Judith Bergman

  • A reasonable question that many Europeans might ask would be whether it is not perhaps time to review priorities?
  • Perhaps the time has come to look at whether it remains worth it, in terms of the potential loss of human life, to remain party to the 1961 Convention, which would prohibit a

  • The terrorist as poor, traumatized victim who needs help seems to be a recurring theme among European politicians. But what about the rights of the poor, traumatized citizens who elected these politicians?

Roughly 30,000 foreign and European Islamic State fighters from around 100 different countries, who have gone to Syria, Iraq and Libya, could spread across the continent once the terror group is crushed in its Iraqi stronghold, warned Karin von Hippel, director-general of the UK military think tank, Royal United Services Institute, speaking to the Express on October 26:

“I think once they lose territory in Iraq and Syria and probably Libya… they will likely go back to a more insurgent style operation versus a terrorist group that wants to try and hold onto territory… There has been about 30,000 foreign fighters that have gone in from about 100 countries to join. Not all of them have joined ISIS, some have joined al-Qaeda, Kurds, and other groups, but the vast majority have gone to join ISIS. These people will disperse. Some of them have already been captured or killed but many will disperse and they’ll go to European countries…They may not go back to where they came from and that is definitely keeping security forces up at night in many, many countries”.

Perhaps these scenarios are really keeping security forces up at night in many countries. Judging by the continued influx of predominantly young, male migrants of fighting age into Europe, however, one might be excused for thinking that European politicians themselves are not losing any sleep over potential new terrorist attacks.

According to a report by Radio Sweden, for example:

“Around 140 Swedes have so far returned after having joined the violent groups in Syria and Iraq. Now several municipalities are preparing to work with those who want to defect. This could include offering practical support to defectors.”

The municipality of Lund has dealt with this issue, and Malmö, Borlänge and Örebro have similar views. As Radio Sweden reports:

“Lund’s conclusion is that defectors from violent extremist groups should be handled like defectors from other environments, such as organized crime. After an investigation of the person’s needs, the municipality can help with housing, employment or livelihood.”

According to Sweden’s “national coordinator against violent extremism,” Christoffer Carlsson:

“…You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need a driver’s license, debt settlement and shelter. When people leave, they want to leave for something else, but they do not have the resources for it, so it is difficult for them to realize their plan. If they do not receive support, the risk is great that they will be unable to leave the extremist environment, but instead fall back into it.”

Anna Sjöstrand, Lund’s municipal coordinator against violent extremism, says that people who have served their penalty should all have support. Last year, the Municipality of Örebro received criticism for offering an internship to a young man who returned after having been in Syria.

“There may be such criticism, but for me it is difficult to think along those lines. They get the same help as others who seek help from us. We cannot say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no right to come back and live in our society,” says Anna Sjöstrand.

According to Sweden Radio, several of the municipalities stress that people who commit crimes should be sentenced and serve their penalties before they can receive support. According to Amir Rostami, who works with the national coordinator against violent extremism:

“If you are suspected of a crime, the investigation of the crime always comes first. But as long as there is no suspicion of a crime, then it is in our own interest to help those that come out of this extremist environment. The consequences for society are quite large if you do not.”

So, in Sjöstrand’s words, travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, a bestial Islamic terrorist organization with its sexual enslavement of women and children, rapes, brutal murders of Christians, Yazidis, and other Muslims is just “a wrong choice.” You know, similar to embezzling money or getting into a drunken brawl at a bar, just ordinary garden-variety crime, which should not intervene with your “right to come back and live in our society”. In other words, it seems to support the standard European idea that the terrorist is the victim, not the innocent people he is out to maim, rape, and kill.

According to the Swedish view, burning Christians and Yazidis alive, gang-raping and murdering women and children, and other such “wrong choices” should not get into the way of one’s “rights.” It also seems to ignore the rights of members of the peaceful society who are vulnerable to being attacked. It would be logical to posit that traveling for the express purpose of joining a terrorist organization such as ISIS, which has as its explicit goal the destruction of Western nations such as Sweden, should actually lead to the forfeiture of the “right to come back and live in our society” — especially as those former ISIS fighters evidently do not consider Swedish society “their society.”

Another word that comes to mind is treason. But not for Sweden, such logical moral and political choices. Better to have another go at politically correct policies, doomed to failure, at the expense of the security (and taxpayer money) of law-abiding Swedish citizens, whose rights to live without fear of violent assault, rape and terrorism clearly ceased to matter to Swedish authorities a long time ago.

This hapless attitude towards ISIS increasingly resembles criminal negligence on the part of Swedish authorities. It was recently reported that Swedish police received a complaint of incitement to racial hatred, after an unnamed Syrian-born 23-year-old used a picture of the ISIS flag as a profile picture on social media. Prosecutor Gisela Sjövall decided not to pursue legal action against the man. The reason, according to Sjövall?

“IS expresses every kind of disrespect; it is against everyone except those who belong to IS itself. There is the dilemma, it [offends] too big a group… You could say that merely waving a flag of IS in the current situation cannot be considered hate speech. It is not an expression of disrespect towards any [particular] ethnic group. It has been said there could possibly be some form of incitement, that IS urges others to commit criminal acts such as murder, but that is not the case.”

Since ISIS hates absolutely everybody, according to Swedish law they can apparently engage in as much hate speech as their hearts desire. The terrorists, who are vying for a world-dominating caliphate, must be laughing their heads off.

Sjövall added that because the Nazi swastika is intrinsically linked to inciting anti-Semitism, this contravenes Swedish laws, and that maybe the ISIS flag would be considered as contravening Swedish law in 10 years.

At the rate that Swedish society is self-destructing, there may not even be much of Sweden to speak of 10 years from now.

On June 7, 2016, it was reported that British citizen Grace “Khadija” Dare had brought her 4-year-old son, Isa Dare, to live in Sweden, in order to benefit from free health care. In February, the boy was featured in an ISIS video, blowing up four prisoners in a car (pictured above). The boy’s father, a jihadist with Swedish citizenship, was killed fighting for ISIS.

In neighboring Denmark, in March 2015, a Danish MP for the Social Democrats, Trine Bramsen, said about returning ISIS fighters:

“Some constitute a danger or can become dangerous. Others need help. We have actually seen that many of those who come home have experienced such horrors that they need psychological help”.

The terrorist as poor, traumatized victim who needs help seems to be a recurring theme among European politicians. But what about the rights of the poor, traumatized citizens who elected these politicians?

Denmark happens to be the European country with the most ISIS fighters returning from Syria, according to a report released in April by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. The report shows that 50% of the people who left Denmark to fight with ISIS in Syria have returned to Denmark. The UK is second, with 48%, and then come Germany (33%), Sweden (29%), France (27%), and Austria (26%).

In Denmark, four Syrian ISIS fighters were arrested in April when they returned from Syria.

The head of the Strategic Institute of the Defense Academy in Denmark, Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen, told a Danish newspaper in April that there are not enough resources to monitor all returning ISIS fighters and thereby ensure their arrest, adding:

“But then again, not all [ISIS fighters] are identical. Some will come home and be a threat to society, whereas others will return disillusioned. If we treat everyone in the same manner, we risk pushing some of those who are in doubt even further in. If someone returns and it cannot be proven that he has committed crimes and if he, besides that, is disillusioned, then he should get help to get out.”

How do you determine with certainty that someone is “disillusioned,” when he could in fact be a ticking bomb waiting to commit terror?

In Denmark, the authorities decided on a prohibition to travel to Syria to join ISIS. That, however, does not solve the problem of what to do with the returning ISIS fighters. It also does not do much to prevent those potential ISIS fighters who have been frustrated in their efforts to join ISIS, from unleashing their terror on European soil instead — as ISIS has in fact commanded them to do.

Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, have considered revoking the citizenship of returning ISIS fighters, thereby preventing them from returning. This is certainly feasible in those cases where the person in question has dual citizenship. Political obstacles aside, however, one of the main legal obstacles to countries taking this path is the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which prohibits governments from revoking a person’s nationality if it leaves them stateless.

A reasonable question that many Europeans might ask would be whether it is not perhaps time to review priorities? Perhaps the time has come to look at whether it remains worth it, in terms of the potential loss of human life, to remain party to the 1961 Convention, which would prohibit a country from stripping a returning ISIS fighter of his citizenship in order to prevent him from entering the country?

Presumably, the European people care more about staying alive than the intricacies of international law. When will European leaders mobilize the political will to act?

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

Europe: Let’s End Free Speech! Are European Countries Now Police States? by Judith Bergman

  • According to New Europe, in Leeuwarden, “about twenty opponents of the plans [to establish asylum centers] in the region received police visits at home.” In other words, the Netherlands are engaging in state censorship, thereby raising the question: Is the Netherlands now a police state?

  • In the town of Sliedrecht, police came to Mark Jongeneel’s office and told him that he tweeted “too much” and that he should “watch his tone”: his tweets “may seem seditious”. His offense? One tweet said: “The College of #Sliedrecht comes up with a proposal to take 250 refugees over the next two years. What a bad idea!”
  • In September 2015, Die Welt reported that people who air “xenophobic” views on social media, risk losing the right to see their own children.
  • While ordinary European citizens risk arrest and prosecution for “xenophobic” remarks, a German EU Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, called a visiting Chinese delegation of ministers “slant eyes” (“Schlitzaugen“). European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has promoted Oettinger to be in charge of the EU budget.
  • Clearly, the law is not equal. EU Commissioners can make “xenophobic” remarks and get a promotion; European citizens, for exercising their right to free speech, are arrested and prosecuted.

In Europe, is the enemy now the governments? Evidence is mounting that expressing even a mild opinion that runs counter to official government policy can land you in prison, or at least ensure a visit from your friendly local Kafkaesque police. Has Europe effectively become a police state?

Several European governments are making it clear to their citizens that criticizing migrants or European migrant policies is criminally off limits. People who go “too far,” according to the authorities, are being arrested, prosecuted and at times convicted.

In the Netherlands, the police visited people who naïvely made critical comments about asylum centers on Twitter in October 2015. In the town of Sliedrecht, police came to Mark Jongeneel’s office and told him that he tweeted “too much” and that he should “watch his tone”: his tweets “may seem seditious”. His offense? The town had held a citizens meeting about a refugee center in the region, and Jongeneel had posted a few tweets. One said: “The College of #Sliedrecht comes up with a proposal to take 250 refugees over the next two years. What a bad idea!” Earlier he had also tweeted: “Should we let this happen?!”

He was not the only one. In Leeuwarden, according to New Europe:

“…about twenty opponents of the plans [to establish asylum centers] in the region received police visits at home. It also happened in Enschede, and in some places in the Brabant, where, according to the Dutch media, people who had been critical of the arrival of refugees and ran a page on social media on the topic were told to stop”.

A spokesperson for the national police explained that ten intelligence units of “digital detectives” monitor Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in real time, looking for posts that go “too far,” so that they can visit with people to tell them “what effect a post or tweet on the internet can have.” In other words, the Netherlands are engaging in state censorship, thus raising the question: Is the Netherlands now a police state?

In the United Kingdom, Scott Clark was arrested in February 2016 for writing on the Facebook page of the Scottish Defense League that Syrian refugees would “see the nasty side to us.” According to a news report, he referred to sexual assaults on women in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve by men of Arab or North African appearance as justification for his online comments, in which he also wrote, “If anything happens to any young girl I will personally spit in the face of councilors who pushed and pushed to get them housed here…” He also wrote, “There’s defo an Islamic invasion. Defo something going down. Just witnessed 15 Syrians in the local boozer… I opposed their arrival from the start.”

Inspector Ewan Wilson from Dunoon police office told the Guardian:

“I hope that the arrest of this individual sends a clear message that Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of activity which could incite hatred and provoke offensive comments on social media.”

In Germany, a married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted in a criminal trial for creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. According to news reports, the page stated, “The war and economic refugees are flooding our country. They bring terror, fear, sorrow. They rape our women and put our children at risk. Make this end!”

At the trial, Peter M. defended his remarks online and said, “One cannot even express a critical opinion of refugees without getting labelled as a Nazi. I wanted to create a discussion forum where you can speak your mind about refugees…” He said that in his role as an administrator of the group, he removed pro-Nazi or radical remarks, but since Facebook had deleted the page, he could not present the evidence to the court.

In his verdict, the judge said, “The description of the group is a series of generalizations with a clear right-wing background.” Peter M. was sentenced to a nine-month suspended prison sentence and his wife to a fine of €1,200 with the judge adding, “I hope you understand the seriousness of the situation. If you sit in front of me again, you will end up in jail.”

In Germany, being critical of migrants and the government’s migrant policies can have other draconian consequences. In September 2015, Die Welt reported that people who air “xenophobic” views on social media, risk losing the right to see their own children. There need not even be a criminal offense for a court to consider the child’s welfare to be endangered and to restrict the parents’ right to see his or her child or to order “an educator” present during a meeting between parent and child, who can “intervene as required.” It is also possible to forbid certain actions, expressions or meetings in the presence of the child. As a last resort, the court can take the child out of the parent’s care entirely.

According to Eva Becker, Chairwoman of the Working Group on Family Law in the German Bar Association (DAV), “The decisive factor is a healthy understanding of people.” Becker estimates that it would not be enough to consider the child’s welfare endangered, if a parent said that he would rather not have any Syrian migrants living in his neighborhood. On the other hand, if a father or a mother makes comments that contain verbal threats against refugees in the presence of the child, he or she would “clearly exceed the critical limit.”

It is not even relevant whether those comments are criminal according to German law. Even a comment that is not punishable under German law can push a parent over the “critical limit.” It is not crucial whether the act is criminal, but whether it “influences” the child in a way that endangers its welfare. If a court establishes that the child’s welfare is at risk, the parent may have his or her rights of access to the child initially limited.

Actions, rather than talk, are considered even more incriminating. According to Becker, it is one thing to talk disparagingly with acquaintances about asylum seekers in the presence of the child, but much worse to take the child to “xenophobic” demonstrations.

Becker never defines what is meant by “xenophobic.” It seems implied that the talk is of one-way xenophobia, not Islamic xenophobia against non-Muslims, for example, but no attempt is made at a definition, although this is clearly the most crucial part of the matter.

While ordinary European citizens risk arrest and prosecution for “xenophobic” remarks, it is an entirely different matter for those at the top echelons of the European Union.

In a speech in Hamburg in October, Germany’s EU Commissioner for digital economy, Günther Oettinger, called a visiting Chinese delegation of ministers “slant eyes” (“Schlitzaugen“), an expression that is generally considered racist. Oettinger did not even bother to apologize, but told Die Welt that it was important to see his comments in a “larger context.”

The European Commission also refused to apologize for, or investigate, Oettinger’s remarks (which were apparently also disparaging of women and homosexuals). Commission Chief Spokesman Margaritis Schinas told incredulous reporters that, “We have nothing to add.” Asked if there would be an investigation into the remarks, he said, “We do not have an FBI at the Commission.”

As recent as October 28, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker promoted Oettinger to the highly coveted and powerful position of vice-president with responsibility for the EU budget.

Clearly, the law is not equal. EU Commissioners can make “xenophobic” remarks and get a promotion; European citizens, for exercising their right to free speech, are arrested and prosecuted.

While European citizens are arrested and prosecuted for exercising their right to free speech, an EU Commissioner such as Günther Oettinger (left) calls a visiting Chinese delegation “slant eyes” and is rewarded with a promotion by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (right).

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

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