Islamophobia in Europe

OK – I feel sorry for the Muslims who have nothing to do with attacks on non-Muslims. I really do. I feel sorry that they have to feel uncomfortable in their home countries because some crazed nutjobs murder in the name of Islam.

It was sad to watch on Channel 4 this evening some French Muslims holding up their passports and ID cards for the cameras. They are angry about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the Kosher store ones which followed as of course, some people will now look at all brown people (me included!) and think – are they a potential terrorist? This is very sad. I am certain there are plenty of lovely Muslims who want only peace and quiet. I have known some lovely Muslims, who were exceptional people in every way – educated, peaceful and good parents. I am really sorry that anyone who has only love in their hearts are being treated with suspicion.

But then I have to say that in general, their cause might be helped were there to be more public demonstrations in support of their Nations, and Jews in particular held specifically by Muslims.

The news media have been very careful to seek out Muslims to find out their perspective on this. I have already written about the unpleasant and equivocal expressions from some Muslims about the recent atrocities. I know that there must be many many more unheard voices which are angry and hurt by these events. I ask myself however, if I were a Muslim, and I was seeing the never ending messages of hate from people in the name of Islam, how would I feel? Would I feel scared for myself – yes. But would I not also want to show extra solidarity? Would I not feel the need to somehow help anti-radicalisation efforts or help groups which are particularly victimised, such as Yazidis or Jews?

The fact is, My grandfather was German, and his wife was Belgian. She stayed in Belgium whilst he was at war, and whilst he died on the Soviet front. She was not popular, to say the least, once people found out the situation. But she understood at the same time. Her husband was doing what he thought his patriotic duty was, but in effect he was fighting against her people. She understood that Belgians would dislike her for being married to a German man.  Very complicated, but whilst his memory is dear to us, we have always rejected Nazism and have been wary of Germany full stop – the memory of TWO world wars with Germany at their heart is hard to drop.

I think it is the same with Muslims, sadly. I think things have gone too far now for non-Muslims to just simply forget – these atrocities are happening too regularly. There have been teaching assistants, doctors, pizza delivery boys who become Jihadi murderers. They don’t come with a label or a handy German accent as in the World Wars. Today here in the UK and France we aren’t able to simply look out for spies or agents parachuted in to harm us – it is people born and bred within our own lands which are becoming actors in this new war. The theatre of war could be any tube train, airplane, station or bus. The one common factor is Islam.

Today, Jews in France will be thinking – it could be any Jewish business or home which is targeted next – already they are leaving for Israel in droves, sadly. So if I were a Muslim now, I WOULD be thinking about myself, but also about the non-Muslims who are trying to make sense of these attacks. They are only the latest in a long string against us. During the World Wars Germans would rightly have been suspected. It would have been sad for nice Germans who were simply embroiled in events and had no choice but to fight and be patriotic. But they would have understood – life sometimes isn’t fair – but it’s a hell of a lot more unfair for those being put to death by those of your persuasion.

Yet those Germans that are remembered are those that helped the Resistance Movements during WWII – the few who tried to destroy the evil Hitler was bringing upon the world. The Muslims that feel most at risk from unfair suspicion would have the most to gain from starting their own Resistance. It’s not enough to say Islam has nothing to do with the terror currently stalking our lands. Islam has to prove it – the way that Germany has had to prove it is no longer warlike. I don’t think it is unfair.

The fact that Islam is a Religion is just by the by – it has had a history of Violence and Conquest right from the start – Mohamed was a military man who spread his new religion using warfare. This has not abated since the start and continues in dramatic fashion with Isis.  What we have to come to terms with now is this – is the violence inherent within Islam and the Koran present in large enough numbers in Western Muslims to present a threat to our way of life? Clearly there are enough Western Muslims ready to take up arms against the people of their societies to ensure terrorist attacks will not abate.

Either we insist on asserting our rights in printing offensive materials etc or we capitulate and allow Sharia laws and Muslim needs to trump the needs of other peoples. When it comes to Jews, I don’t see why they should be the ones who are unable to wear Jewish clothing if they like – for fear of attack from the anti-semites – many of them Muslims – in what is also THEIR country. It is not Jews attacking non-Jews. It is Muslims attacking others.

We may cite inequality, or foreign policy – but there are plenty of poor white English or French who don’t therefore firebomb rich people’s homes. My dad was Indian – British Colonialism doesn’t make me want to kill English people. Why should it? I am grateful to live here and not in a Third World Country.  Muslims have huge choices of Islamic countries they could move to if they didn’t like it in the West – yet they don’t – presumably because they wouldn’t feel as free there as in the West.

Asking any Muslim about Israel tends to elicit an angry response – I haven’t met one that doesn’t resent Israel, a tiny strip of land, as being for Jews. Jews are becoming so uncomfortable in France they are leaving for Israel. The attacks today included Jewish dead.

Yet why should Jews feel they need to leave France. It is NOT Jews attacking anyone – nor any non-Muslims attacking Muslims. It is Muslims. So how is it fair that Jews are having to uproot from Europe and Muslims are simply asked whether they are upset by the ‘atmosphere’ after these attacks?

It is not too much to ask in my view, that Muslims show more robust distaste for Jihadi extremism and have a really open discussion about the violence of the Koran and what the aim for Islam is in the future. We would ask the same of the Pope if it were Catholics constantly killing indiscriminately in the name of Jesus. Still, it is easy to find Muslims who believe Jews and the CIA were behind the Charlie attacks and 9/11 – so it’s not so easy to rationalise.

When the IRA were hell-bent on terrorising us in England I hated them – despite being a Catholic. I was young when they finally stopped but I would have joined a march of Catholics – only, it was not needed, because everyone knew that it was the IRISH whom we should fear.  I did give up being a practising Catholic when I couldn’t reconcile the way it had been treating unmarried mothers, its stance on condoms during the AIDS epidemic and generally decided if God exists, he probably isn’t so petty as to care about controlling behaviour as long as one behaves in a moral and kind way.

Now there is no particular TYPE of Muslim we can rightly fear – Jihadis come in all shapes and sizes, colours and nationalities. It is Islam as a religion which leads to the violence, and so a bit more honesty from Muslim communities about this would be a good start.

The fact is – as well as the educated Muslims we often hear on the media, there are far more in the West and worldwide which harken back to their tribal village beliefs and reject the discussion of their faith which is needed. Thus we have FGM, the Rotherham abuse of white girls, ‘Honour’ killings happening in our civilised nations – things which are deservedly to be repudiated all over the world but which we would not have to live with in our Western world. The West has striven for centuries against superstition and irrational beliefs. Why should we now accept it from Muslims? Islamic clerics state that Islam is NOT a religion of peace and that at its core is CONQUEST. So I think it should be TOTALLY justified that in trying to seek to retain our freedoms and our LIVES we start seeking to identify which Muslims would like to live peacefully and happily in our lands, and which would not.  Or if it is even possible for REAL Muslims to co-exist with the rest of us, in peace.

Perhaps Muslims should decide on a leader and sort their house out before we decide that the risk of granting Muslims the Right to Religion no longer trumps our right to LIFE.

From Canada Free Press:

“Islam is antithetical to Western Democracy. The idea of a Caliphate is essential to Islam. A Caliphate requires submission of religion, commerce, politics, and everything else in your life to a single ruler. There is no role for opposition. There is no role for an individual to say, “Hang on a minute, something isn’t quite right about this,” because such a statement is, by definition, heresy. And heresy is punishable by death by the people who get to define heresy.”

What is NOT going to help is condoning and excusing the attacks in France by suggesting France was at fault – by excluding the terrorists, by letting them be too poor etc:

Questions for France

First, I’d take issue with the notion of a monolithic West. Across different countries there is a huge diversity in social, political and economic contexts. But in this specific case, we’re talking about two French nationals. They are not immigrants. They are the product of marginalised suburbs who their entire life may have felt excluded. That doesn’t make attacking and killing people acceptable. But it gives you an idea of where social policies fail, leaving people open to messages which can have a devastating impact on society. When French nationals commit acts of terror in France, we have to ask “what is it that is happening in France which is contributing to individuals taking up arms against their fellow citizens?”
Myriam Francois-Cerrah, columnist at the New Statesman

Much more sensible is this understanding of events –

Fuel to the fire

Islamist extremists opposed to Western values, culture and democracy will launch attacks like the horror this week in Paris with or without provocation. The provocation—and that in itself is subjective—simply adds fuel to a fire that was already burning and helps to create more obvious targets from Charlie Hebdo to the London Underground. In the case of the French cartoonists, it was their democratic decision to draw pictures of the Prophet Mohammed. For London’s transport network, it was the government’s foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. As long as a twisted interpretation of Islam exists there will always be violence. The provocation is just the excuse.
Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor at The Times

Prospect Magazine’s blog in full:

Excellent piece by Charles Moor in the Telegraph on Islam – There is a price for living in a free society.

Watch Channel 4 News’ coverage today of the final hours in the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

Very interesting article on the origins of Islamic hatred of the Jews


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