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.

Europe: Laughing at the Messenger by Douglas Murray

  • Once again, an American has pointed to a failing in European society, and instead of focusing on the problem identified or even admitting that there is a problem, the European response has been to point at the American and blame him for creating the problem he has in fact merely identified.

  • We are being given an accurate representation of a serious problem.If the response to every problem is denial, and the response to anyone pointing to the problem is opprobrium, legal threats or hilarity, it suggests that Europe is not going to make the softer-landing it could yet give itself in addressing these issues.
  • It might make us feel better, but every time we attack or laugh at the messenger, rather than addressing the message, we ensure that our own future will be less funny.

How can one excavate the minds of so many European officials and the extraordinary mental gymnastics of denial to which they have become prone?

One of the finest demonstrations of this trend occurred in January 2015, after France was assailed by Islamist gunmen in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then in a Jewish supermarket. In the days after those attacks, Fox News in the U.S. ran an interview with a guest who said that Paris, and France, as a whole, had “no-go zones” where the authorities — including emergency services — did not dare to go. In the wake of these comments, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, chose to make a stand. She announced that she was suing Fox News because the “honour of Paris” was at stake.

It appeared that Mayor Hidalgo was rightly concerned about the image of her city around the world, presumably worrying in particular about the potential effects on tourism.

Of course, Mayor Hidalgo’s priorities were all wrong. The reason Paris’s public relations suffered a dent was not because of what a pundit said on Fox News one evening, but because of the mass murder of journalists and Jews on the streets of the “City of Light.” Any potential tourist would be much more concerned about getting caught up in a terrorist firefight than a war of words. Mayor Hidalgo’s manoeuvre, however, turned out not to be a rarity, but a symptom of a wider problem.

Consider the almost precise replay of that 2015 episode after U.S. President Donald Trump referred in a speech to “what’s happening last night in Sweden.” Much of the press immediately seized the opportunity to claim that Trump had asserted that a terrorist attack had occurred the night before in Sweden. This allowed them to laugh at the alleged ignorance of the president and the alleged concoction of what has become known as “fake news.” Except that it swiftly became obvious to anyone who cared that what the president was referring to — a documentary film about the situation in Sweden that had aired the night before on Fox News — showed the extent of the lawlessness in parts of Sweden. While every authority in Sweden was laughing at Donald Trump, a day after his comments. residents of Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm, obligingly had a car-burning riot and attacked police.

The troubles that Sweden has gone through in recent years, since mass migration began in earnest, are hard indeed to ignore. These troubles include the setting up of what the American scholar of Islam, Daniel Pipes, most accurately referred to as “semi-autonomous sectors.” Although non-Muslims can enter, the areas are different from the rest of the country. These are areas where, for instance, police, fire and ambulance services refuse to enter because they and other authority figures representing the state frequently come under attack. The filmmaker, Ami Horowitz, experienced the downside of some of these areas. On a recent visit to Sweden he was attacked for taking a film crew into a suburb of Stockholm when some of the locals objected. We are being given an accurate representation of a serious problem.

Car-burnings and riots do break out in Sweden today with considerable regularity, and sexual assaults have sky-rocketed in the country (although these figures are the subject of heated debate over whether they represent a rise in incidents or a rise in reporting). Either way, rapes carried out by immigrants remain a real and underreported issue. The authorities – including the Swedish media – have refused to run stories about these unpleasant facts

In Sweden, more than in perhaps any other European country, the media is homogenous in its support for the left-wing status quo in the country, and this includes a support for the views of recent governments on immigration policy. Anything which could give ammunition to critics of that policy is — as in Germany — deliberately underreported or actively covered over by the majority of the media.

The response to Trump’s comments unfortunately demonstrated this yet further. The desire to pretend that the president had specifically claimed that there had been a terrorist attack the night before was one trick. Another was to simply mock and belittle him and his claims. Former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt took to Twitter to say, “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?” The European press gleefully took up tweets by members of the Swedish public who responded to Trump’s claims by sending photos of people putting IKEA furniture together. A joke which would have been funnier had a failed asylum seeker from Eritrea not stabbed and killed a mother and son in an IKEA store in Västerås in 2015. Elsewhere, the present Swedish foreign minister, Margot Wallström, in her familiar preaching tones announced that diplomacy and democracy “require us to respect science, facts and the media.”

In response to US President Donald Trump’s recent reference to “what’s happening” in Sweden, Swedish Twitter users mocked him by posting photos of people putting IKEA furniture together. The joke would have been funnier had a failed asylum seeker from Eritrea not murdered Carola Herlin (left) and her son in an IKEA store in Västerås, Sweden, in August 2015.

So, once again an American has pointed to a failing in European society, and instead of focusing on the problem or even admitting that there is a problem, the European response has been to point at the American and blame him for creating the problem he has in fact merely identified. Such behaviour is a psychological affliction before it is a political one. It must stand somewhere along the continuum of the famed stages of grief. But it bodes exceptionally poorly for Europe’s future. If the response to every problem is denial, and the response to anyone pointing to the problem is opprobrium, legal threats or hilarity, it suggests that Europe is not going to make the softer-landing it could yet give itself in addressing these issues. It might make us feel better, but every time we attack or laugh at the messenger, rather than addressing the message, we ensure that our own future will be less funny.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England.

Europe: Illegal to Criticize Islam by Judith Bergman

  • While Geert Wilders was being prosecuted in the Netherlands for talking about “fewer Moroccans” during an election campaign, a state-funded watchdog group says that threatening homosexuals with burning, decapitation and slaughter is just fine, so long as it is Muslims who are making those threats, as the Quran tells them that such behavior is mandated.

  • “I am still of the view that declaring statistical facts or even sharing an opinion is not a crime if someone doesn’t like it.” – Finns Party politician, Terhi Kiemunki, fined 450 euros for writing of a “culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion.”
  • In Finland, since the court’s decision, citizens are now required to make a distinction, entirely fictitious, between “Islam” and “radical Islam,” or else they may find themselves prosecuted and fined for “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.”
  • As Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” There are extremist Muslims and non-extremist Muslims, but there is only one Islam.
  • It is troubling that Western governments are so eager to crack down on anything that vaguely resembles what has erroneously been termed “Islamophobia,” which literally means an irrational fear of Islam.
  • Considering the violence we have been witnessing, for those Westerners who have studied Islam and listened to what the most influential Islamic scholars have to say, there are quite a few things in Islam of which one legitimately ought to be fearful.

Several European governments have made it clear to their citizens that criticizing European migrant policies or migrants is criminally off-limits and may lead to arrest, prosecution and even convictions. Although these practices constitute police state behavior, European governments do not stop there. They go still farther, by ensuring that Islam in general is not criticized either.

Finland is the European country most recently to adopt the way that European authorities sanction those who criticize Islam. According to the Finnish news outlet YLE, the Pirkanmaa District Court found the Finns Party politician, Terhi Kiemunki, guilty of “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith” in a blog post of Uusi Suomi. In it, she claimed that all the terrorists in Europe are Muslims. The Court found that when Kiemunki wrote of a “repressive, intolerant and violent religion and culture,” she meant the Islamic faith.

During the trial, Kiemunki was asked why she did not make a distinction between Islam and radical Islam. She replied that she meant to refer to the spread of Islamic culture and religion, and that she “probably should have” spoken of radicalized elements of the religion instead of the faith as a whole. Kiemunki was fined 450 euros. Her lawyer has appealed the verdict.

Kiemunki issued a press release after the verdict, in which she said:

“I am still of the view that declaring statistical facts or even sharing an opinion is not a crime if someone doesn’t like it… I wrote that I don’t want our country to be overtaken by a culture and law based on a violent, intolerant and oppressive religion.”

According to YLE, she added that her essay did not generalize about Muslims, but pointed out that not all Muslims are terrorists. “In these times, specifically in the recent past and today, all of the perpetrators of terrorist acts have turned out to be Muslim,” she said.

In Finland, Terhi Kiemunki, a Finns Party politician, was found guilty by a court of “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.” (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

So in Finland, since the court’s decision, citizens are now required to make a distinction, entirely fictitious, between “Islam” and “radical Islam,” or else they may find themselves prosecuted and fined for “slandering and insulting adherents of the Islamic faith.” As Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” There are extremist Muslims and non-extremist Muslims, but there is only one Islam.

It is a pity that Kiemunki did not present the court with quotes from the Quran, such as, “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” (9:5), and “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah.” (8:39). Perhaps, then, the court could have at least tried to explain to the public in more concrete detail the differences between “Islam” and “radical Islam.”

In the Netherlands, a state-funded hotline, run by the anti-discrimination bureau MiND, said that it could not act on a complaint about death threats against homosexuals posted to an online forum, in which the Muslim poster called for homosexuals to be “burned, decapitated and slaughtered.” The reason why this anti-discrimination watchdog group could not act on the complaint was that, “The remarks must be seen in the context of religious beliefs in Islam, which juridically takes away the insulting character.” MiND concluded that the remarks were made in

“the context of a public debate about how to interpret the Quran… some Muslims understand from the Quran that gays should be killed… In the context of religious expression that exists in the Netherlands there is a large degree of freedom of expression. In addition, the expressions are used in the context of the public debate (how to interpret the Koran), which also removes the offending character.”

So, while Geert Wilders was prosecuted in the Netherlands for talking about “fewer Moroccans” during an election campaign, a state-funded watchdog group says that threatening homosexuals with burning, decapitation and slaughter is just fine, so long as it is Muslims who are making those threats, as the Quran tells them that such behavior is mandated. This might be one of the most astounding examples of voluntary submission to sharia law in the West thus far.

A spokesman for the MiND hotline later admitted that, after “further research” on the issue, it had concluded that the complaint had been “unjustly assessed” — after Dutch MPs called for the hotline to be stripped of public funding.

In February 2016, a Danish district court found a man guilty of making statements on Facebook that the court found to be “insulting and demeaning towards adherents of Islam.” The man had written:

“The ideology of Islam is as loathsome, disgusting, oppressive and as misanthropic as Nazism. The massive immigration of Islamists into Denmark is the most devastating thing to happen to Danish society in recent history.”

He was fined for “racism.” The High Court subsequently overturned the verdict in May 2016. The court found that the man was in fact innocent of racism, as his statements were “directed at the ideology of Islam and Islamism.”

It is troubling that Western governments are so eager to crack down on anything that vaguely resembles what has erroneously been termed “Islamophobia,” which literally means an irrational fear of Islam. Considering the violence we have been witnessing, it would be irrational not to have fear of its threats. As Shabnam Assadollahi recently pointed out in an open letter to Canadian Members of Parliament, there are quite a few things in Islam of which one legitimately ought to be fearful.

All these governments need to do is consult the speeches of one of the most influential living Islamic scholars of Sunni Islam, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi hosts one of Al Jazeera’s most popular programs, Sharia and Life, which reaches an estimated 60 million viewers worldwide. Already in 1995, Qaradawi told a Muslim Arab Youth Association convention in Toledo, Ohio, “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through the sword, but through dawa [outreach].”

Dawa, the Islamic call to conversion, is the Islamic summons for the non-violent conquest of non-Muslim lands, including Europe. As explained by Qaradawi in a recording from 2007, the aim of the conquest consists mainly the introduction of sharia law. According to Qaradawi, sharia law should be inserted gradually, over a five-year period in a new country, before implementing it in full. This sharia law includes chopping off hands for theft; killing apostates and homosexuals, denigrating and oppressing women, as in polygamy, beating them as a means of “disciplining” them, and so on. For those Westerners who have studied Islam and listened to what the most influential Islamic scholars have to say, there is quite a bit to be “phobic” about. It would be refreshing to hear the views of European leaders and courts on these aspects of sharia law instead of their almost ritual condemnations of those who have actually studied Islamic sources and seek to raise awareness of the nature of sharia law.

While prosecuting and sanctioning people who criticize Islam is becoming more common in Europe, this practice used to be reserved only for Muslim countries officially governed by sharia law, such as Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, where it is forbidden to insult Islam.

It is a pity that European courts and other state bodies have begun taking their cues from Islamic law. Apparently, European judges and politicians are no longer capable of appreciating the immense freedoms that used to be the norm on the continent, and which they seem all too willing, of their own free will, to abolish.

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

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