Dutch caricaturists: It's a type of self censorship

Dutch caricaturists, in general, do no publish caricatures of Muhammad. The reasons center around the same issue. “It’s a type of self censorship,” says caricaturist Stefan Verwey. Peter De Wit: “I have big windows and I want to keep them whole.” A political cartoonist for Het Parool, Joep Bertrams: “It bring loads of trouble. Why would I add oil to the fire?”

Some Dutch caricaturists think that a “draw Muhammed week” should be organized in order to defend freedom of the press, but none of them were willing to have their name mentioned in print.

One caricaturist is putting out a book about Muhammed, in which the prophet will be shown with his minor wife, Aisha, in a compromising pose. The artist will only be featured under a pseudonym: Gregorius Nekschot.

Source: Volkskrant (Dutch)

Muslim protest - another view

Muslim protests against Denmark are being staged worldwide. Saudia is boycotting Danish products while even in Israel the Muslims staged a protest against the Danish Embassy. In other parts of the world, more violent means of protest are being used.

Take a look at the following pictures. The first is from Iraq (IFP), the second from Gaza (AP). What do you see?

It may be a protest, it may be free speech. I see the symbol of Christianity being trampled and burned.

What is being protested here?

Jylland-Posten's apology (continued)

Last week, after Saudi Arabia stepped up its diplomatic fight against Denmark and started boycotting Danish products, Jylland-Posten, the newspaper that started it all off published an apology in both Danish and Arabic. This apology still opens up their main page.

Jylland-Posten has now posted an English version of their public apology/explanation to the Muslim world. Unlike their Danish and Arabic versions (translations available below), this one addresses all Muslims and not only Saudi Arabians and goes into a more lengthy explanation of the entire story as well as pointing out the positive contributions Jylland-Posten has made on the integration issue. This apology also addresses seriously offensive drawings that have been circulating around and being attributed to the Danes.

Honourable Citizens of The Muslim World

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten is a strong proponent of democracy and freedom of religion. The newspaper respects the right of any human being to practise his or her religion. Serious misunderstandings in respect of some drawings of the Prophet Mohammed have led to much anger and, lately, also boycott of Danish goods in Muslim countries.

Please allow me to correct these misunderstandings.

On 30 September last year, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten published 12 different cartoonists' idea of what the Prophet Mohammed might have looked like. The initiative was taken as part of an ongoing public debate on freedom of expression, a freedom much cherished in Denmark.

In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologize.

Since then a number of offensive drawings have circulated in The Middle East which have never been published in Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten and which we would never have published, had they been offered to us. We would have refused to publish them on the grounds that they violated our ethical code.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten attaches importance to upholding the highest ethical standards based upon the respect of our fundamental values. It is so much more deplorable, therefore, that these drawings were presented as if they had anything to do with Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Maybe because of culturally based misunderstandings, the initiative to publish the 12 drawings has been interpreted as a campaign against Muslims in Denmark and the rest of the world.

I must categorically dismiss such an interpretation. Because of the very fact that we are strong proponents of the freedom of religion and because we respect the right of any human being to practise his or her religion, offending anybody on the grounds of their religious beliefs is unthinkable to us.

That this happened was, consequently, unintentional.

As a result of the debate that has been going on about the drawings, we have met with representatives of Danish Muslims, and these meetings were held in a positive and constructive spirit. We have also sought in other ways to initiate a fruitful dialogue with Danish Muslims.

It is the wish of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten that various ethnic groups should live in peace and harmony with each other and that the debates and disagreements which will always exist in a dynamic society should do so in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

For that reason, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has published many articles describing the positive aspects of integration, for example in a special supplement entitled The Contributors. It portrayed a number of Muslims who have had success in Denmark. The supplement was rewarded by the EU Commission.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten takes exception to symbolic acts suited to demonise specific nationalities, religions and ethnic groups.

Sincerely yours
Carsten Juste


The Brussels Journal site has posted an English translation of the original Danish version of Jylland-Posten's apology to the Muslims. I attach it here below.

Honored citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,

Allow me this opportunity to correct a few misunderstandings regarding the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, which have now led to a boycott of Danish products in your country.

The cartoons were published four months ago as a contribution to a Danish debate on freedom of expression – a right to which we attach great importance in Denmark.

The initiative has been interpreted as a campaign against Muslims in Denmark and the whole world. This I strongly dismiss. It was not our intention to offend anyone for their religion. That it has nevertheless happened was also not intentional. We have regretted that many times during the past months. Both in our own newspaper, other newspapers, on TV, radio and in the international media. At the same time we have had meetings with representatives of the Muslim community in Denmark. Those meetings have taken place in a positive and constructive spirit and at another meeting we intend to establish an effective dialogue with the Danish Muslims.

We regret that this affair has assumed such proportions and therefore it must be repeated that we did not intend to offend anyone and that, like the whole Danish community, we highly respect freedom of religion.

With kind regards,
Carsten Juste

I have posted a translation of their Arabic apology, which seems to be a rather straightforward translation of their Danish one.

Source: Jylland-Posten (English), Brussels Journal (English)

IslamOnline.net opens page for European Muslims

The Muslim site IslamOnline.net has opened up a new page dedicated to European Muslims.

Within the context of meeting the needs of Muslims in the media field, IslamOnline.net has launched a new Web Page for European Muslims, highlighting the minorities life, challenges, hopes and aspirations.

"The current scene in Europe and the continuing developments among the European Muslims to cope with their hyphened identities reveal our need to look deeply at the heart of their problems, putting the right questions and seeking the proper answers" Dalia Yusuf , European Muslims Managing Editor explained Monday, January 30.

"IslamOnline.net has produced a variety of material in its different pages, reporting and analyzing European Muslims news and views", Yusuf said. "A larger space should be made for in-depth and specialized coverage in parallel to make use of our networks and connections in Europe through an intensive process", she added.

Meant to offer in-depth coverage of all walks of life related to European Muslim minorities, the Page saw the light of day Monday, capping over two years and a half of offline effort, deliberation and preparation.

The new site can be reached here.

Source: IslamOnline (English)

Holland: more requests for asylum in 2005

The total incoming asylum seekers into the Netherlands in 2005 was about 10% higher than in 2004. In 2004 there were 7700 asylum seekers while in 2005 there were 8423. The total number of requests is even higher since an asylum seeker can put in a new request after petitioning the courts.

The probable reason put forth is the change in regime in Somalia. All Somalian asylum seekers were therefore invited to put in a new request for asylum.

Source: Volkskrant (Dutch)

Lybia closes embassy in Denmark

Libya said Sunday it has decided to shut down its embassy in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, to protest the Danish media's "insult of Prophet Mohammad."

The Libyan foreign ministry said in a statement the move was also in response to the Danish government's failure to take a "responsible position" regarding this issue.

It warned it will adopt "economic measures" against the Scandinavian country, but gave no details.

Arab and Muslim countries, as well as the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference, have condemned Denmark, which apologized to Saudi Arabia, for not taking enough measures to stop the "media onslaught on Islam."

They have called for boycotting Danish products and for a fatwa, or religious decree, to forbid the consumption of Danish goods.

Source: United Press International (English)

Rotterdam Code - English translation

Much has been said about the Rotterdam Code recently. Dutch Minister of Integration, Rita Verdonk, has said that it should be followed throughout the country (a Dutch code of conduct) and has drawn much fire when she mentioned that Dutch should be spoken out on the street.

The code itself consists of 7 points, each of which is described in detail, along with the bottom line of what is expected from each point.

I bring here a translation to English of the 7 major points and their sub-points.

1. The people of Rotterdam take responsibility for the city and for each other and do not discriminate.
- We take an active part in society - by working, attending education or by volunteering
- We take part in society outside our own ethnic or religious circle
- We do not discriminate and treat each other with resepect, irrespective of somebody's descent
- We do not accept when others discriminate. Should this happen, we protest against it. If that doesn't help we enlist the authorities. In the first instance we take action ourselves.
- If there are problems, we discuss them with each other and with respect for each other.
- We are proud that we are Rotterdamers. We take responsibility for Rotterdam.

2. Use Dutch as a shared language
- Dutch is the shared language of Rotterdam. In public we speak Dutch - at school, at work, in the street and and in the community center.
- It is our responsibility to be fluent enough in Dutch or otherwise to learn it.
- We bring up our kids mainly in Dutch, so they will have plenty of opportunity in our society.

3. Accept no radicalization and extremism
- We do not accept that religious conviction, philosophy of life or political opinions will be used to legitimize violence, coercion, threats or intimidation; not in our families and not in our daily contact with each other.
- We do not accept radicalism, extremism and behavior that runs counter to the law (constitution) and we publicly distance ourselves from it.
- People that display such behavior or threaten to display it, must be addressed, also in our own circle.
- We warn the police of signals of radicalization, extremism and acts that run counter to the democratic legal system.

4. Bring up their kids to be full fledged citizens
- Parents of Rotterdam support their kids in (learning to) making their own choices - also in respect to belief, philosophy of life or sexuality.
- In order to optimally prepare our kids for the Rotterdam society, we bring them up with proper attention to the Dutch values and norms, culture and traditions.
- We bring up boys and girls equally and give them equal opportunities and equal responsibilities.
- We respect the right to choose your own partner and do not force a marriage partner on our kids.
- We allow our kids the right to choose their own leisure activites (going out, taking part in sports etc)
- We are also responsible for the school success of our kids and support them besides with our time and attention.
- We report all forms of violence, neglect and oppression of kids in our neighborhood to the police and justice system.

5. Treat men and women equally and with respect
- Women have a right to arrange their own lives - thus also in the domain of choosing a partner, being sexually active and sexual preference. This right will be respected by everybody.
- We condemn marriages that are concluded in a house of worship if they're not also formalized by law.
- We tolerate no violence or psychological coercion in regards to women and girls to stay virgin till the wedding.
- Women have a right to take part in public life, without interference by their partners or others. That means, the freedom to take part in education, work and social life.
- We tolerate no intimidation and insult of women because of their clothing, their appearance, their religious or ethnic background.
- We do not tolerate female circumcision, honor murders, (group) rapes, involuntary prostitituion, domestic violence and other forms of female oppression. We will report such cases to the police and justice system.

6. Treat homosexuals and heterosexuals equally and with respect
- We do not discriminate against homosexuals, and teach that to our kids.
- We respect homosexuals, also if our kids are homosexuals.
- We condemn violence against homosexuals and report violence against homosexuals to the police and justice system.
- We speak to each other about intolerant behavior towards homosexuals.

7. Treat (other) religious and non-religious equally and with respect
- Whatever religious, spiritual or life philosophy ideas we also have, will be in addition to the Dutch constitution and we will recognize freedom of religion and the seperation of church and state.
- Everybody has a right to their own belief or life convictions - also in our own circle, family or ethnic, religious or life philosophy group and also to leave it.
- We offer each other room to mold in our own way belief, lack of belief, spirituality and life philosophy.
- We do not obstruct each other from taking part in the society of Rotterdam on the grounds of religious conviction, life philosophy or cultural traditions.

Source: Rotterdam Code (Dutch)

Samir Azzouz planned more attacks

According to the public prosecution Samir Azzouz did not waste much time after he was freed from jail last April and immediately set about to get more weapons and explosives in order to commit more terror attacks.

Possible targets were various politicians as well as the Dutch security services (AIVD). According to other reports, he also planned to shoot down an El-Al plane.

Samir left a taped message as final will and testament where he says: "You are considered as fighters because you have chosen this government. We will spill your blood just as you have spilt the blood of the people of Iraq." There was also a "test" version of the will on the same video.

Samir Azzouz was acquitted in November of planning a terrorist attack because according to the court the manufacturing of an explosive device was at such an early stage that there was no real threat.

Source: NRC Handelsblad (Dutch)

Jyllands-Posten's Arabic apology

This is my translation of Jyllands-Posten's apology in Arabic. I will say again that my Arabic is very basic and translating from a dictionary can lead to misinterpretation. I will be glad to hear from any Arabic speaker if this translation is accurate.

To the honorable citizens of the Saudi-Arabian kingdom,

Allow me with this opportunity to correct the misunderstanding that happened round the drawings of the prophet Mohammed, and that caused you to a boycott of Danish products in your country. These drawings were published 4 months ago in Danish dialog about appropriate expression of an idea and it is a very important right [expression] in Denmark.

This publication was drawn and seemed like an attack against Muslims in Denmark and the Muslim world and that is what I wanted to correct.

There was no intent of the newspaper to offend anyone in his religious beliefs but this regretfully did not indeed happen but without intent.

We already apologized numerous times in the past few months in our newspaper, in other newspapers, on television, on radio and on international media.

And so we started meetings with agents from the Muslim exiles (community] in Denmark and these meetings paid in a constructive atmosphere and like this we will solve in another way to build constructive dialog between Muslims and Danes.

We at Jyllands-Posten regret that the issue got to such a degree and so we will repeat and say that it was not our intention to offend anybody and we believe an example remains of the Danish community in respect to freedom of religion.

With respect,
Carsten Juste
Chief Editor

Read also in the newspaper's opinion "the free word" about:

Jyllands-Posten apologizes for Mohammed cartoons

The diplomatic crisis over the Mohammed cartoons is developing by the day. The "last straw" so it seems, was the Saudi boycott of Danish products.

The Confederation of Danish Industries has appealed to Jyllands-Posten to print an apology for having commissioned the drawings, the BBC said.

"Time has come for Jyllands-Posten to use its freedom of speech to explain how it views the fact that the paper's Muhammad drawings have offended large groups of people," the group's head, Hans Skov Christensen, wrote in a letter to the Danish daily.

He said Danish companies faced repercussions from customers in the Middle East , including product boycotts, dropped orders, and canceled business meetings.

According to the confederation, the Middle East accounts for annual sales of at least $816 million for Danish companies.

Today Jyllands-Posten caved in and featured an apology in both Danish and Arabic on their website, signed by Carsen Juste, the chief editor. You can get an easy "online translation" of their Danish apology. I will try to translate their Arabic one.

Offentliggjort 28. januar 2006 16:25 / Opdateret 28. januar 2006 17:33

Ærede borgere i Kongedømmet Saudi-Arabien

Tillad mig denne mulighed for at korrigere nogle misforståelser omkring de tegninger af profeten Muhammed, som nu har ført til en boykot af danske varer i Deres land.

Tegningerne blev bragt for fire måneder siden som led i en dansk debat om ytringsfrihed - en rettighed, som vi sætter højt i Danmark.

Initiativet er blevet udlagt som en kampagne mod muslimer i Danmark og verden over. Det må jeg kategorisk tilbagevise. Det var ikke vores hensigt at krænke nogen på deres tro. At det alligevel er sket, var altså utilsigtet. Det har vi beklaget mange gange i løbet af de seneste måneder. Både i vores egen avis, i andre aviser, på tv, i radio og i internationale medier. Vi har samtidig gennemført møder med repræsentanter for det muslimske samfund i Danmark. De har fundet sted i en positiv og konstruktiv ånd, ligsom vi også på anden måde søger at etablere en givende dialog med de danske muslimer.

Vi er kede af, at sagen har nået det nuværende omfang og skal derfor gentage, at vi ikke havde til hensigt at krænke nogen, og at vi ligesom det danske samfund i øvrigt respekterer trosfriheden.

Med venlig hilsen
Carsten Juste

Source: Jyllands-Posten (Danish), Islam Online (English)

Austria: parents demand teachers put on veil

Three Muslim fathers in Linz demanded the elementary school teachers put on a veil. The fathers, two Bosnians and a Chechen, had a whole list of demands:
- all teachers must wear a veil
- the children should not be admonished publicly
- the children should not participate in singing (as it's prostitution) and swimming lessons
- the teachers have not earned the right to be addressed politely

The fathers said the teachers should be glad there are so many Muslim kids as otherwise the school would have to be shut down.

The school has a very high immigrant ration and about 3/4 of the kids do not speak German as mother tongue.

The teachers complained about the demands, which spurred reactions from school officials throughout Germany. Fritz Enzenhofer, the national school board president, asked for moderation from both sides, saying it should be clear such things are unacceptable.

Source: kurier.at (German)

Danish blog defaced

The day after Saudi Arabia pulled out its ambassador from Denmark citing insults to Islam as the cause - and the conservative Danish blog site uriaposten has been defaced. (hat tip, Snouck)

The pictures of the site can be seen here and here.

My Arabic is at a beginner's level, but here's my translation:

First page, under a Saudi flag:

Allah the greatest and merciful Allah
Oh messenger of Allah (ie, Muhammed)
The forward infiltration is complete

Second page:

Allah the greatest and merciful Allah
Oh messenger of Allah (ie, Muhammed)
This is the simple answer for every insolence/insult to the loved one
pray to god for him and for peace
and give this infiltration and this step.. to every muslim
infiltration is over

Hacked by
The forward infiltration is complete

Terrorist threat - European citizens

Where does the next terrorism threat come from? According to Norwegian Police Security Service chief Jørn Holme the threat is not from immigrants or asylum seekers, but rather from home-grown second generation immigrants as well as right ring extremists.

"There are many extremist networks that are in fact waging a war against us. This is a very unusual situation that we must learn to live with," Holme said.

Holme said that the task of identifying the small group of extreme Islamists that use or encourage violence was far more difficult than the public imagined and that "sooner or later" Norway, like the rest of Europe, must be prepared for a terrorist attack.

Source: Aftenposten (English)

See also: New Muslim converts and terrorism

Jesus Christ Musical

This video lacks basic taste and you could say it is offensive to Christians. I bring it not to insult, but because of the recent discussion I've had with NoLabels.

As a Muslim, NoLabels thinks that it is ok to kill whoever insults your religion. Wouldn't everybody else?

And so I wonder.. this clip can be found everywhere on the net. Javier Prato, the author, proudly displays his name and those of his friends who helped him out. Why shouldn't he? I suppose he doesn't have to worry about death threats from fundamentalist Christians?

The clip can be found here.

Saudi Ambassador recalled from Denmark

Denmark is not doing enough to prevent insulting Islam, says Saudi Arabia. The Mohammed cartoons that appeared in Jyllands-Posten continue making waves.

The Danish ambassador in Saudi Arabia said last week that the Danish government respects Islam but that it cannot control what appears in the newspaper.

Saudi Arabia, being a totalitarian regime, must have trouble understanding that.

Source: Radio Netherlands (Dutch)

Is Muslim integration in Europe possible?

In order for an adherer of the Muslim faith to successfully immigrate and integrate himself into Western society he must undergo the transformation that Judaism has adapted over its centuries under Western/Christian influence. Judaism originated in Judea similar to Islam as the all encompassing cultural structure of a sovereign people that have lived there for more than a millennia and a half.

Upon being dispersed and seeking to be accepted by the European countries that hosted them, Jews of their volition initiated reforms and adapted Judaism as a ritualistic religion detached for the most part from daily life. They tried to minimize any blunt differences in their appearance, other than that which was imposed upon them and the moment emancipation was awarded great masses of them embraced the language and culture of the more liberal countries.

As early as the 1700s, Jews proudly proclaimed themselves loyal citizens of the country they were in, merely practicing the religion of Moses. In the United States and many other Western countries Jews adapted “local” sounding names in their ongoing yearning to be accepted by their host society.

Prior to such general reformation there were many sporadic attempts of Jewish individuals to integrate into their non-Jewish surroundings. Noteworthy are Maimonides, Abarbanel and Spinoza. These people lived prior to a general reform in the perception of Jewish society and they were therefore the exception to the rule. The only reason the first two were not shunned by the Jewish community is because in addition to their liberal attitudes they were regarded as great religious scholars.

Therefore, on an individual basis, Muslims can successfully integrate themselves into Western society, on the condition that they adopt a liberal mentality. Consequently, by all likelihood they will be removing themselves from the mainstream of Islamic society and such actions may even have vindictive results (see Salman Rushdi).

Since Muslim countries do exist and Islam is the national culture in those countries, Islam will probably not lose its cultural and political aspects.

Therefore, Muslims that wish to integrate into a Christian society would be pioneering uncharted and unacceptable grounds in the perception of their Muslim homelands by refuting their Muslim culture and accepting that of their new host country.

Such conduct could be perceived by their kinsmen as a betrayal of their heritage and so even keeping to their religion will probably be a difficult personal ordeal. It would seem that the more “secular” a Muslim is, the easier it would be for him to integrate in Christian society, especially as it is greatly secular itself.

Muslims have accused Christians that they aren’t really religious exactly for that reason. By that token, a Muslim who would be secular and adapt non-Muslim name and conduct would probably be perceived by his people as having left Islam.

Muslims who do wish to integrate should be aware of the additional objective difficulties. There are many factors that hamper successful integration: mass immigration, different culture, the recentness of this immigration, just to name a few.

Even a Muslim who wishes to integrate completely into European society, enthusiastically picking up everything he can from the local culture, will have to take into account that it might only be his children and grandchildren who will actually reap the fruits. This was/is true in the United States and it doubly true in ethnic societies such as those in Europe.

The Vision of the AEL

The AEL - Arab European League - is an extremist Arab/Muslim organization. Starting off in Belgium, they have since spread out to Holland and France.

They recently advertised their "vision" as they see it on their Dutch website. I was hoping they'll put up an English translation, but since they didn't, here's my attempt at it.

The vision of the AEL

The Arabic European League is a political and social organization that stands for the rights of the Arab and Muslim communities in Europe and the Arab interest in general. The AEL stands also for solidarity with all Muslims and Muslim communities and all oppressed peoples of the world. A member of the AEL declares to stay true and to aspire to the following 19 principles and objectives.

Regarding the Arabic Diaspora, we declare:

1. We declare as the Arabic Diaspora that we belong to the Arab Nation, and at the same time we are valued and rights-deserving citizens of Europe. We demand the right to nourish our cultural identity while we take active place in the lands of residence, with equal rights and treatment.

2. We declare that we will promote and establish Arabic as lingua franca between our people all over Europe.

3. We declare that we will establish structural ties between the Arabic Diaspora in Europe in order to form a community all over Europe. And we will strengthen the ties between our Diaspora and the Arab nation.

4. We declare that we will fight all forms of racism, and especially Islamophobia.

5. We will fight all forms of discrimination and especially in the domain of employment, housing and education.

6. We declare that we will resist all attempts to curtail freedom of expression, religion, admittance of religion and all other fundamental human rights as they are mentioned in the universal declaration of human rights.

Regarding the Arabic world, we declare:

7. We will actively stand up for all just Arab interests in whole of Europe.

8. We will work for balanced and productive Arab-European relations based on mutual respect and awareness and admission of the crimes committed against the Arab people by European colonialism.

9. We are a part of the Arab national movement that aims at achieving freedom, social justice and unity in the Arab homeland.

10. We are an anti-colonial and anti-Zionist organization. Therefore we condemn colonialism and occupation of any Arab territory by a foreign power.

11. We condemn the Zionist project in Palestine and we call upon for the dismantling of the Jewish entity and the establishment of a united Palestinian democratic state in the whole of historic Palestine. A state where Arabs and Jews can live together in peace and enjoy equal rights without any form of discrimination. This includes the return of all Palestinian refugees to their original houses with compensation. To enforce such a solution in practice we will support the opposition to the Zionist occupation of Palestine

12. We oppose all non-Democratic regimes and all other regimes that do not ensure the full width of all human rights named in the universal declaration of human rights. We don’t believe that freedom can be fragmented. It is the freedom of the society without outside occupation and colonization. It is at the same time also the freedom of the individual without any form of oppression. We will not trade one freedom for the other, nor put one aside for the other.

13. We believe that the unity of the Arab people in a democratic federal state is a necessary translation of the actual objective unity of the Arab people, that is a result of the century long history of division.

14. We consider this Arab unity also as a process of decolonization given that the current Arab map is delineated by colonist powers and not by sovereign regimes. Therefore we reject any project for the Arab region that does not take into account its identity, right to unity and freedom. We also reject fragmenting our Arab identity according to the borders of the current Arab states. The future federated Arab entities do not need to follow the present colonial partitions, but will be fixed by the whole of the Arab people.

15. Arab unity will guarantee the necessary space for any form of diversity and will admit the right of old and new minorities to nurture their language and culture.

16. Armenian-Arabs, Assyrian-Arab and Berber-Arabs in particular will be recognized as elements of our nation. Rif, Sous and Kabilya [Berber provinces] will each be federal provinces, enjoying internal autonomy as part of the Arab federal state. The AEL recognizes also the disastrous assimilation and oppression police that Arab minorities endured under dictatorship; such as for example the Berbers and Assyrians. Therefore the AEL calls for the restoration of all threatened languages such as Berber and Assyrian next to the Arabic language. Armenians, Assyrians and Berber Arabs have contributed largely to the formation of the Arab nation which makes them an integral part of the Arab people. Any racial separatist tendency that claims a supremacy and exclusivity of a certain race or ethnic form must be fought.

17. The Arab state, as a secular state, will also respect religious diversity and provide by law full freedom of religious practice for all individuals and groups. It will also guarantee the protection of its citizens to alter their religion, and the right to practice no religion, without persecution of discrimination. The Arab constitution will make Islam as religion of the Arab state.

18. Freedom can be complete only if political freedom and freedom of expression go together with social rights and a social economy. The uprooting of poverty and the prevention of concentration of capital is therefore necessary for a social society. The prevention of all concentration of power either economic, media or any other form of power, is crucial for maintain a free society.

19. Democracy in all respect, political as well as economic is the only acceptable manner of government. Democracy guarantees the sovereignty for the people and all power for the people. Democracy is not strange for the Arabic people and our Arab-Islamic history was witness to many democratic experiments and movements. Also our Arabic philosophy and literature knew many thinkers who promoted democratic standards and norms. But it is especially a necessity to bring out and to lead the established social potential for expansion in our people to prosperity and development.

All actions and activities of the AEL as a movement or its members will service one of all 19 principles.

The AEL will fight for these aims and principles by the logic of empowerment with the belief that only strengthening our society can lead to the realization of its aims. But also from the idea of emancipation that the stress lies on the principle of responsibility. We must free ourselves, we must solve our own problems, we must take responsibility for our own and lead the way to change.

Source: AEL (Dutch)

Brussels: police search for fundamentalist propganda

About 100 police agents searched 20 houses in Brussels and other Belgian cities, looking for Islamic fundamentalist propaganda. The main focus of the search was an Islam center in Molenbeek. The leader of the organization has been under police watch for a while, but has not been picked up. According to the national anti-terrorism coordinator there is no suspicion of terrorism, only extremism.

Source: De Telegraaf (Dutch)

Holland: Financial support for kids of illegals

The court of appeals has decided that kids of illegals still have a right to financial support and that denying such a right goes against the treaty for the rights of children. The case came up when a family from Ghana who is still waiting for a decision on their residency permits asked for financial support for their two kids, who were born in the Netherlands.

The decision does not hold for all illegal immigrant kids.

Source: Radio Netherlands (Dutch)

Pork Soup II

Volunteer associations are continuing to give out pork soup, meant to exclude Muslims from receiving help, and the new 'fashion' is now spreading out to other cities in France, as well as in Belgium.

Police have started cracking down on such soup kitchen, closing them down by resorting to other legal means, such as lack of licenses etc. In Strasbourg pork soup was banned because it could disrupt the public order.

But why should it disrupt the public order if certain groups decide to give out pork soup? Why can't the Muslim community and those groups who want to help out the immigrants, simply open up their own soup kitchens and serve whatever they want there?

The only reason a soup kitchen should be closed down is when they start turning away people due to their race, color or religion. Until that point, the government should stay out of people's houses and let them decide on their own what kind of soup they want to prepare, give or eat.

Source: Los Angeles Times (English)

Moroccan kids sexually abused

ACB, the Amsterdam Center for Foreigners, says that Moroccan kids are often sexually abused. It demands that the names of pedophiles be made public. The police should start noting the descent of people complaining of sexual abuse in order to see whether Moroccans fall victim more often.

Oebele Kooistra, a researcher for the ACB, says that Moroccans fall victim more often to sexual abuse since they hang out more often, especially in the central station and in parks, but also because they're open for such things. Moroccan kids can be 'bought' more easily with money, a place to sleep or some attention. This, he suspects, might be the basis for the aggression moroccan kids show homosexuals.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

Amsterdam: Moroccan community must solve problems

A meeting of Moroccan organizations in Amsterdam this Sunday did not come to a conclusion on how to bring the peace back to the city, but there was general agreement that there was indeed a problem, and that that problem must be solved by the Moroccan community itself.

So what is the problem? According to the general consensus: The Moroccan kids must wrestle with their identity - whether they're Dutch or Moroccan - and therefore don't feel at home. Their parents don't give them enough direction and they additionally face problems when trying to get a job.

However, not everybody was happy with this meeting. Kids did not really participate and as one Moroccan resident said, on condition of anonymity: "I have little trust in these organizations. Why weren't there any regular people there? I don't believe that much will happen. They come here only to get money out of the 5 million euros the cabinet promised to deal with the problems of the Moroccan youth".

Source: De Telegraaf (Dutch)

Verdonk wants code of Dutch conduct

Dutch Minister of Immigration, Rita Verdonk, is considering defining a "code of conduct" for all Dutch. This would include standards expected of any resident of the Netherlands, such as speaking Dutch, equality between men and women and not discriminating.

Verdonk said that many immigrants don't know what is expected of them. The Dutch should decide what is important to them, what is the essence of the Dutch identity and what they are proud of, she says, as the basis for the code. A 7-step code is now implemented in Rotterdam that might serve as a basis for this new code.

Not everybody agrees with Verdonk - especially when it comes to speaking Dutch, but the minister insists that Dutch should be the language used in shops, schools and playgrounds. Dutch feel uneasy many times when they only hear foreign languages while walking outside their own house.

Verdonk also calls upon immigrants to be more actively aware of their rights and to report discrimination.

Source: Het Parool (Dutch)

Illegals in Belgium get help

Illegal immigrants are often helped out in Belgium. From Dutch classes to clubs, youth movements to hospitals - people usually don't ask and don't expect answers. Hospitals sometimes use ID cards of Belgians in order to give needed help to illegal immigrants. Even the police is usually not interested in catching them.

Or in other words, there is an "illegal immigrant" problem in Belgium simply because Belgians don't seem to care. They feel it is more important to help out immigrants.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

Is Holland heading for French type rioting?

Depends who you ask.

Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen is afraid that 'small riots' in Amsterdam will grow into big 'French type' rioting. According to him, it's an issue of social-economics. Many Moroccan kids feel they they have no future.

The issue is now being discussed by the Dutch parliament.

According to Hirsi Ali, the issue here is structural and ideological, and unless that is the approach, no solution will be found. She says that Cohen admits that foreign born preachers are being used by Islam to spread intolerance against Jews, homos and women.

Geert Wilders says that the Moroccan "street terror" should be dealt with harshly. Immigration must be stopped and immigrants who are convicted should be stripped of their Dutch nationality.

Khadija Arib says that the troubles in Amsterdam West must be addressed. More investments need to be brought in, and parents need to get involved.

Sources: Trouw (Dutch), Het Parool (Dutch)

Hofstad group suspect deported

Zine Labidine Aourghe, a suspect in the Hofstad group that had been staying illegally in Holland, has been declared "unwanted" and deported.

He had been freed from jail in September since his probable sentence would have already been served by then.

Amnesty International says people with a "stigma" of terrorism should not be deported to North African countries, as these countries do not observe human rights. Many people were arrested after the Casablanca bombing, says an Amnesty International spokesman, and many of them were not related to terrorist activities. Zine is afraid he'll be in trouble in Morocco since "there's no justice there". His wife, with whom he has 2 kids, is also worried for his safety.

Source: De Volkskrant (Dutch)

Dutch immigrant unemployment "alarming"

Dutch immigrants have very high percentages of unemployment, according to a recent study. This rate has gone up since the economic downturn in 2001.

Unemployment by group:
Ethnic Dutch - 9%
Surinamese: 16%
Dutch Antillians - 22%
Moroccans - 27%
Immigrant youth - 40%

According to a researcher Dutch Antillians do worse than Surinamese since they have less education, are usually further apart from the general society and are strongly represented in the underworld.

Source: Radio Netherlands (Dutch)

Israel and Gaza

"There should be no difference between me and other AIDS patients in the world, who get care and get to live."

This is a quote from a Palestinian who was just recently denied entry into Israel for medical care. I just think it is interesting, since it brings up a point which is usually ignored. Israel decided to leave the Gaza Strip this summer and besides moving out all army facilities, forcibly evicted all Jews from there. That is, since this summer, there are no Jews in the Gaza Strip, which except for a small community here and there is the general situation in every Arab land. Additionally, since the Oslo accords, Jews do not enter any Palestinian controlled area in the West Bank.

Any Jew entering a Palestinian area is risking his life, and the Israeli army, after having to save several, declared it a punishable offence.

Of course, this Arab is right. There should be no difference between him and any other patient around the world. The only thing he's forgetting is that Israel does not open up its gates to every AIDS patient around the world. For some reason, Palestinian patients do get treatment in Israeli hospitals, though. Suddenly when one isn't given permission to do so, it becomes a human rights offence.

The English version, btw, completely ignores the issue that Gaza is not occupied anymore by Israel. They are free, independent. Should this Palestinian want, he is free to go whereever else he wants to. Israel does not guard the Gaza Strip - Egypt border.

It is much easier, I assume - you're within an hour or two drive from all the major hospitals, you can get back home every day. But wouldn't the obvious thing be for him to turn to the Arab countries and ask for help there?

Sources: Ynet (Hebrew), Scoop (English)

Converting for business

Frank van Wichen recently converted to Islam. The new convert doesn't hide his reasons either - he wants to open his furniture shop on Sunday.

"I make 40-60% of my sales on Sundays", and he can now open only 12 Sundays a year. As a Muslim he can get an exemption. "Other shops are also open on Sundays and one on the grounds that he's a Muslim." So why shouldn't he do so as well?

Van Wichen did not hide his true intentions from his new imam either, but the imam had no trouble with it.

The city, Almere, calls his step "rather unusual" but has yet to deliver an official response.

Source: AD.nl (Dutch)

Amsterdam mayor wants to deal with Moroccan unrest

Job Cohen, Amsterdam's mayor, has called representatives of all city neighborhoods to discuss growing unrest among the Moroccan community.

An 18 year old Moroccan was killed in an accident last November when trying to escape with a stolen a car from the police chase. Two weeks ago a 17 year old was killed when he apparently tried to escape a policeman who was checking his bike.

Many Moroccans feel discriminated by the police, especially by the new ID law.

Source: De Volkskrant (Dutch)

Denmark: Royal Theater tries to attract more immigrants

The theatre hopes to put more immigrants in its seats both as a way to expose more people to culture, but also as a way to reach new audiences.

'Commercially, it is naturally unsatisfying that there are large segments of the population that just don't use our national theatres. Seen from a democratic perspective, it is also unsatisfying, that the Royal Theatre, that we all support with our taxes, isn't a stage for everyone,' said Kresten Schultz-Jørgensen, sales and communications manager for the Royal Theatre.

In order to attract more immigrants, the theatre will use 20 specially appointed 'ambassadors' from within immigrant communities to increase interest, reported national daily Politiken.

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

Netherlands: 40% unemployment among immigrant youth

An official report says unemployment in the immigrant community in the Netherlands is two to three times higher than among citizens of Dutch origin. However, the Bureau for Social and Cultural Planning says the number of self-employed immigrants or those in a permanent job has increased over the past 10 years. Young people are faring the worst: 40 percent of young people from immigrant communities are jobless, twice as many as their Dutch-origin counterparts.The report also concludes that, since the economic downturn in 2002, unemployment among the Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and West Indian communities has more than doubled.

Source: Radio Netherlands (English)

Insulting Islam

Right, so I took up NoLabels' challenge and went to http://islam101.com.

I delved through the site. It's actually a religious site, explaining the actual implementation of Islam. If I was expecting a more serious discussion about anything, I was quite disappointed. I know there are sites which enable to ask more serious questions and not just tell you what a Muslim should be doing, but I have not yet caught the "question time" at such sites. This site does not really enable you to ask questions. That's ok, I just don't understand then why this is the site where I'm supposed to get answers for them.

So, I'm still left with questions, which - until anybody answers them, I'll have to keep on wondering:
1. What is so insulting about a cartoon of Mohammed walking in the desert. Isn't that what he did? How about a picture of a Dane afraid to draw a picture of Mohammed? Why is that insulting?

In every article I've read the one repeating sentence is "one of the cartoons shows a picture of Mohammed with a bomb on his turban". That could be insulting, except that sadly it's a very real commentary on today's world affairs. Calling repeated attacks in the name of Islam in Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudia "civil war conflicts" does not deal with the problem.

2. And let's say the cartoons really do insult Islam (see question #1), why can't the Muslims in Denmark do what anybody else who feels insulted does? Why do they turn instead to dictatorships who have nothing to do with human rights in order to spearhead their international campaign against their own country? Would they prefer to live in Egypt, which "cares about the freedom of expression but knows that there are limits"?

I'll repeat (again and again) if necessary. The upshot of this whole cartoon story is not whether it's ok to insult Islam or not. Of course you shouldn't insult somebody else's religion. However, you shouldn't shy away from being critical. That is the problem with today's PC society. "Politically Correct" has long moved from "not insulting somebody" to "not being able to voice true crticism for fear of offending the high priests of political correctness".

The real issue here is the Danism Muslims' complete misunderstanding of their own liberal society. Yes, sometimes you have to take the bad with the good and I have yet to see one Danish Muslim explaining why he was insulted except for "they put a cartoon of Mohammed in the paper". I would have far more understood it if the Dutch Muslims would have spearheaded a anti-Theo van Gogh campaign. Turning to newspapers and other media after every appearance of his and complaining about it. Going out and refuting any lies he might be spreading. Suing him for libel. But then, I guess if you start off an international dilomatic crisis over a cartoon showing Mohammed walking in the desert, you can also kill off a guy if he does something just slightly worse. Yes, he was "asking for it", but from all the groups from which he was "asking for it", just one decided to go and do so. The people insulting Islam are those who use violence to get what they want.

To explain further: When I say that I was ashamed when an Israeli abroad committed a horrible murder, that is what I mean. He insulted me by his act.

When Snouck brings examples of Israelis in Holland who make trouble, I feel insulted by them. How dare they portray my nation to other like that??

NoLabels' reply was that everybody should feel ashamed whenever any person commits a horrible act.

It's very simple really. I know humans are capable of immense cruelty and barabaric deeds. It insults me when somebody from my own nation does something like that. It should insult a Muslim when a father kills his daughter since she refused to marry the guy he wants her to marry. Instead, they feel insulted by the daughter. It should insult Muslims when one of their own goes out and kills a guy for what he said. Instead, they explain why the guy was insulting.

I expect somebody who professes to stand for Peace and Love to be a beacon of shining light on these virtues. Not to be the example of the complete opposite.

After all, nobody thinks that the USSR republics were democratic just because they calleed themselves a "People's Democratic Republic" and everybody knows the US is democratic even without them having to repeat it.

A conversation about Islam and my blog

For those who don't follow the comments section on my blog, here's a rundown of a conversation/discussion with a Muslim from Canada this last week. The reason? I dared post a picture of the much talked about cartoons of Mohammed.

NoLabels had decided to prove to me that Islam is a religion of true love and peace (and so every bit of non-Islamic thought should be punished). Luckily for me, I don't live in such a country of love and peace. I doubt I'll be allowed to walk freely after such a discussion.

NoLables comments are in green
Esther comments are in blue

NoLabels said:
You ask that people remember what happened to Jewish people and all the racism that occured to them. Yet you post racist websites on your blog. If you really didn't agree with that newspaper, you wouldn't even give the time to post it on your blog. Don't ask others to be considerate of Jewish people when you yourself is a bigot and a racist. Treat people the way you want to be treated

Esther said:

What racist websites? I went to an Islamic site that mentioned this site. I think people should have an idea what is being discussed.

And of course I agree with that newspaper. These cartoons are not racist, though you're welcome to explain how. Since I do not read Norwegian I can't know what the article itself says. I linked it in part hoping somebody would be able to tell me.

NoLabels said:
How about a newspaper printed a cartoon desecrating Jewish symbols and religious people. And then they call it freedom of speech. How would you like it. I really don't like your hyprocacy. You talk about how Jewish people are being treated really badly and how they should be excepted, yet you do the same with our religions.

Esther said:
Hypocrisy would be if I would say one thing and do another. That is not the case at all.
Take this story:

An anti-semitic cartoon against Israel's prime minister featured in a British newspaper and thereafter won a prize.

The Israeli Embassy / Foreign ministry:
1. wrote a letter to the newspaper
2. complained to the British Press Complaints Division
3. considered suing the newspaper

The Israeli Embassy in London did not assume that this is a matter for the British prime minister, not did it turn to the UN. It turned to the people responsible for making sure free speech is not abused in the UK. They were turned down and told that free speech allowed such cartoons.

I fully expect the Muslims of Denmark or Norway to do the same. If a Muslim feels he has been directly hurt by these cartoons, he can sue the paper, he can turn to whatever organization is in charge of papers in Denmark, he can check anti-racism/anti-hate laws and see if they apply. Turning to the prime minister is showing a complete misunderstanding of the processes of free speech in a democracy.

Btw, notice that I had no trouble giving you a link to a cartoon that I find detestable. Notice that this picture appears on a pro-Israel site. How else would people know what everybody's talking about?

So far I have only seen articles ABOUT these cartoons on Mohammed. How can I make a rational decision whether they're racist/insulting if I haven't seen them? Have you seen them that you could make such a decision?

Now that I've seen them, I can say that I don't find them racist or insulting at all (of whatever I can read, of course, I don't understand Norwegian). I would be interested to know which pictures you find insulting and why.

Another issue, Theo van Gogh. He was not a saint. He said some very strong things against Muslims. He also said some very strong things against Jews. He think he managed to offend quite a few people. But I expect the Muslim community to ignore / deal with it in a lawful way, just as I expect the Jewish community to do so.

You can see some of his quotes here (and they are strong):http://www.thesharpener.net/?p=113

Should a Jew actually have killed Van Gogh - what do you think would have happened? Wouldn't ALL Dutch / world Jewish communities come out to denounce such a murder? Think about the last such murder by a Jew and about the last such murder by a Muslim. Think about the reactions of both communities and let me know why you feel I am the one being hypocritical here.

NoLabels said:
You gave me a link to a cartoon of Sharon. Yes Sharon is a leader of a Jewish country but he isn’t a Jewish religious figure. If those disgusting cartoons depicted cartoons of Muslim Presidents or Prime Ministers it wouldn’t be a huge problem. Imagine if a distasteful cartoon was done of Moses or some other religious figure Jews follow. You would just as angry. The reason why a Muslim website as those cartoons: is to show people the evidence of hate crimes being done to Muslims. I think you’re a hypocrite because you say you stand for equality and peace yet you talk down about Islam. I would like to know, what your motif writing about Muslims in Europe is. You seem to want to show how “terrible” Islam is. Just don’t get upset when someone makes rude and racist remarks about Jewish people. It is so easy for you to call people who hate Jewish people racist but when you hate on Islam it is not racism or Islam phobia.

Theo Van Gogh was a despicable man who made money from the expense of other religions. Ignoring it seems is all you seem to do but I’m not going to sit back and watch my religion being twisted and turned. If you are desecrating on my religion you are hurting me and I will certainly defend myself. The man who killed Van Gogh was one man and one man alone. Not an entire group of people but one man. See there is thing when people tend to paint and punish an entire religion or nation for the actions of a few.

Esther said:
I disagree with you. An insulting cartoon of Moses, or any Jewish symbol would not be direct ground for anti-semitic attacks. I would therefore not mind it as much as a cartoon showing the prime minister which for all the world represents Jews as a child eater. How many Jews do you think suffered directly from anti-semitic attacks after such a cartoon was featured so prominently?

I brought to you what hurt me and you're telling me that it's not good enough?

And still - I think such cases should be dealt with according to the laws of the land. Not by whining about racism, but by actually doing something about it.

A recent case in Belgium: the holy virigin was shown with a naked breast. A great furor by Christian groups ensued. I did not really follow the case, but I have yet to see the UN investigating this human rights violation. Nor did anybody turn to the Belgian gov't and expect them to deal with it. If you're interested in this case, I'll try to find more information.

Specifically for your comments:
You say:
I think you’re a hypocrite because you say you stand for equality and peace yet you talk down about Islam.

and then you say:
If you are desecrating on my religion you are hurting me and I will certainly defend myself.

You don't see any problem with these two statements? Peace and defending yourself due to what you see as insults do not go together. And again, as a Muslim, can you explain what insulted you about these cartoons? I might be clueless, but I just don't understand it.

You ask why I'm writing about Islam? Because, being Jewish, I am intensly interested in how Muslim immigrants fit into European society. Both from the historic perspective, since Jews had had to go through this for the past 2 millenia, and from the perspective of the future. If Muslims cause hatred against strangers, Jews are going to suffer. I'm also interested in how Europeans deal with the strange and different. How they deal with valid demands of a person to practice his religion and how they deal with invalid demands and terrrorism. All these processes interest me.
Most of what I bring is simply news. If you think that shows Islam in a bad light, then maybe you should start wondering why it is so easy for me to find such news.
As for me: When a year ago an Israeli living in the Netherlands killed his girlfriend's kids, I was ashamed. I did not try to find any excuse, because there really isn't none, except that the man was nuts. But his nutiness made me feel bad. I do not want other people to get such an impression of Jews or Israel. It made the news in Israel and people in comments reacted the same. They do not want such an example for their nation. I expect Muslims to act the same way. So far, I don't see that. When Muslims do start feeling ashamed when people do bad things in the name of their religion, which is supposed to be the true faith of love and peace, instead of striking out at anybody who points out such issues, then I will be the first one to put it on my blog.

NoLabels said:
“I disagree with you. An insulting cartoon of Moses, or any Jewish symbol would not be direct ground for anti-semitic attacks.”

Well you’re just going to disagree with anything I say. I did not get that from that cartoon, the only message I got was that Sharon hates the other side so much that he would even kill the innocent children. It gives off a bad light on Sharon not masses amount of people. I can’t believe you think insulting cartoon of Moses is not as bad. An insulting cartoon of Moses is basically flat out an insult to all Jews and their faith.

“I think such cases should be dealt with according to the laws of the land.”

I could honestly say you don’t think matters should always be solves according to the laws of the land. If those laws are unjust why should anyone abide by them? If people did always do that, the world would still be the same cruel world for many types of races such has black people. Black people rose up against the racist acts against them. Sometimes extreme measures need to take place for extreme times.

“Peace and defending yourself due to what you see as insults do not go together.”
They go together just like hot-dogs go with ketchup. Why should people become some kinds of robots who are programmed to do whatever is told of them? If they are being unjustly treated, they should defend themselves to reach that state of peace. Sometimes you have to go through some rough roads till you finally reach contentment.

“And again, as a Muslim, can you explain what insulted you about these cartoons? I might be clueless, but I just don't understand it.”

You seem to know how to fetch some horrible things about Islam but you are incompetent when it comes to know what the religion is really about. I’m not going to give you the easy way out, how about you take some time off and actually do some research into the religion. May I suggest islam101.com?

“If Muslims cause hatred against strangers, Jews are going to suffer.”

Now how on Earth will Muslims “causing hatred against strangers” make Jewish people suffer. Muslims don’t cause hate; we stand for peace and equality. Evidentially, it seems Jewish people are doing all the hating…Exhibit A: your blog.

“How they deal with valid demands of a person to practice his religion and how they deal with invalid demands and terrrorism.”

Yes go research it, you need it. May I suggest once again islam101.com?

“Most of what I bring is simply news. If you think that shows Islam in a bad light, then maybe you should start wondering why it is so easy for me to find such news.”

The “News” you find is done by people like you, who have absolutely nothing better to do but to insult, degrade, and publish falsehood about Islam. I could easily find news on Jewish people as well and cartoons. Hey even through in some racist quotes as well. But I won’t do that because I know that I’m better then that and so is my religion.

“When a year ago an Israeli living in the Netherlands killed his girlfriend's kids, I was ashamed.”

Of course you should be ashamed, so would anyone around the world no mater what religion and race. He had no right killing those innocent kids. If a Muslim man did that, it would be utterly embarrassing and shameful for HIM and HIM alone. You shouldn’t judge people on the actions of one even if they do it in the name of their religion. I come back to this whole black people thing. Think how the black people felt when people branded them all the same when one of their own did something horrible, now is that right? No it is not. One should take accountability for ones actions not an entire group of people. If anything we as a human race should be embarrassed that one of our own would do something a thing.

“which is supposed to be the true faith of love and peace”

Indeed it is.

Esther said:
Hey nolabels,

I'm actually trying to have a discussion. I appreciate all the links, but I really do study Islam. I have read much about Islam, including some rather serious books. Books which discuss Islamic philoshopy and thought. Of course I'm no expert. That's why I constantly read more. All these books have not explained to me why a picture of Mohammed in the desert is so insulting.
Laws of the land - if I'm not mistaken, you come from Canada? One of the world's liberal democracies with freedom guaranteed for all? Of course there are times when desperate measures need to be taken. But these times are not when a CARTOON is published in a newspaper. If you already want to start a revolution for human rights, how about you start with Iran and Saudia? North Vietnam maybe? The last place I would shout about human rights abuses are the liberal democracies of Canada, the US and Europe.

Now, I don't mind having a serious discussion with you. If you want to just shout at me everytime that I hate Islam and that I'm hypocritcal without referring back to what I'm actually saying, then you're welcome too, of course - but don't expect that to prove your point for anybody who reads it.

Today Muslims are responsible for almost all terror attacks around the world. This includes many terror attacks against Muslims themselves. By saying "all humans should be ashamed" you're actually following in the footsteps the British Muslim council. You're saying - I disown all responsibility for my own crimes, since "everybody" should feel responsible for them. It doesn't go that way. When one religion and one religion alone is the focal point of so much terror and bloodshed, maybe, just maybe, somebody should stop and ask themselves why?

Just saying "we're a religion of peace" does not make you one. If you want to have a serious discussion, please try to prove your point. (and getting all violent is not really helpful in doing so)
You say that all news showing Muslims in a bad light are just written by Muslim haters. I am not perfect. I will be the first one to admit it. Please note one of the my posts Fact and Fiction. So you can shout at me that I'm just copying drivel about Muslims that didn't happen, but as much as I can, I do verify my facts. I will never write up something I know not to be true, and if I have any doubts, I will spend time to verify it. How much trouble do you go to before you write up a comment?

"I could easily find news on Jewish people as well and cartoons"

Yes - you'll find many anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli cartoons. You can start off right here. But if you want the real definition of hypocrisy, it's comparing a cartoon of Mohammed walking in the desert (drawn since people feared for their lives to illustrate a book about Mohammed) to a picture of Jews as rats and snakes. I hope you see the difference. Should the cartoons in question have been a picture of Muslims as rats intending to take over the world, do you really think Danish authorities wouldn't have opened up an investigation against the newspaper for going against the Danish anti-racism laws?

You expect me to rant and rave about pictures desecrating Judaism? I'm sure you could find some, but I don't understand your point. The point is not that there are Jew haters around the world, or Muslim haters, or black haters or other kinds of racists and bigots. The point is that when a cartoon is drawn putting down Muslims, instead of suing the newspaper, the Muslim organizations of that country bring it up to the level of death threats and a UN Human Rights investigation. So, please do find me a similar story about Jews. I'd be curious to see it.

NoLabels said:
“I'm actually trying to have a discussion. I appreciate all the links, but I really do study Islam. I have read much about Islam, including some rather serious books. Books which discuss Islamic philoshopy and thought. Of course I'm no expert. That's why I constantly read more. All these books have not explained to me why a picture of Mohammed in the desert is so insulting.”
Your research was inadequate, continue to do more research. If you really want to find out more about Islam (which you don’t), just email me and I will be more than happy to link you up and give you suggestions on books.

“Of course there are times when desperate measures need to be taken. But these times are not when a CARTOON is published in a newspaper.”

I wasn’t referring to the cartoon; I was referring to Theo Van Gogh. I will assume you just missed that part.

“If you already want to start a revolution for human rights, how about you start with Iran and Saudia? North Vietnam maybe?

Yes places around the world lack human rights and most certainly need our help. Why don’t you help me out and we can work together to eradicate the mistreatment of human rights.

“The last place I would shout about human rights abuses are the liberal democracies of Canada, the US and Europe.”

Well that just shows how naïve you are. Liberal democracies aren’t perfect. If that was the case, wouldn’t you think all religions would have a national day off from work or school on their special days not just for Christians? Last time I checked the US is a Conservative democracy.

“Now, I don't mind having a serious discussion with you. If you want to just shout at me everytime that I hate Islam and that I'm hypocritical”

Hey I call it as I see it.

“but don't expect that to prove your point for anybody who reads it.”

The same goes to you.

“Today Muslims are responsible for almost all terror attacks around the world. This includes many terror attacks against Muslims themselves.”

There we go with the hating again and the falsehood. I would like to see your facts and figures and please try some accurate statistics this time.

“When one religion and one religion alone is the focal point of so much terror and bloodshed, maybe, just maybe, somebody should stop and ask themselves why?”

I ask myself that everyday. Why do Jews hate Muslims so much? To the point of murdering them and exile them from their lands.

“Just saying "we're a religion of peace" does not make you one. If you want to have a serious discussion, please try to prove your point. (and getting all violent is not really helpful in doing so)”

Nope I’m not just saying it; the proof is all around you. Just take the wool off your eyes and demolish that brick wall in front of you and then you will see how beautiful Islam is.

“You say that all news showing Muslims in a bad light are just written by Muslim haters. I am not perfect. I will be the first one to admit it.”

Finally you admit you are a Muslim hater, racist bigot.

The rest of your message is so useless and so antagonistic that I won’t even respond to it.

Esther said:
Thank you for giving me a lesson in the true meaning of love and peace.

Let's see:
- you do not bother answering my questions. I am not asking out of malice, but out of true curiosity. I want to learn. Instead of answering, you insult me (I did not learn enough), you give me a very general link to an Islamic site and tell me I haven't studied enough. If all you can do is tell me to find answers elsewhere, don't be surprised when I actualy do. For the next person you try to convince about Islam, I suggest you make just a little bit of an effort in actually showing them that you're nice and not just condenscending and insulting.

- you did not give backing to anything you claim. I asked you several times for such, but all you can tell me if that I'm a Muslim hater and don't deserve any consideration. That might be good enough for bigots, but not for people who actually think.

- you are so full of hate - against Jews, against the very society which enables you to have such discussions (in Saudi Arabia internet is censored), against anybody and everybody. If this is the example of truly enlightened Islam, then I'm only left to wonder why this is supposed to make me think Islam is as good as you claim.

I tried finding a good count of all terror attacks in 2005. Sadly, I only found a list of those committed by Muslims (only those where people were killed). Notice that many of these attacks were in Muslim countries.

If you want to prove that Muslims aren't responsible for most terror attacks in the world, how about you do it, instead of expecting all those bigoted Muslim haters to do it for you?

NoLabels said:
“you do not bother answering my questions. I am not asking out of malice, but out of true curiosity.”

You admitted to me that you are a racist bigot; I don’t waste my time on people like you. It is not about curiosity but rather to find more ways to insult my religion.

“Instead of answering, you insult me (I did not learn enough), you give me a very general link to an Islamic site and tell me I haven't studied enough.”

Saying you didn’t learn enough or your information was inadequate is not an insult, trust me I can get worse than that. It is the simple truth; you do need more studying to do because evidently you are as dumb as a door knob.

“If all you can do is tell me to find answers elsewhere, don't be surprised when I actualy do.”

See this is what I mean about you making stuff up and spinning things around to make it negative. Anyone can do that, it’s easy. I gave you a general good Muslim site. You say you want to learn more (which you don’t) then go on that site and have a blast. Furthermore I told you that you can email me if you want to discuss even more options. So don’t give me excuses, you are obese with excuses.

“I suggest you make just a little bit of an effort in actually showing them that you're nice and not just condenscending and insulting.”

Actually I’m not trying to convince Islam to you…okay maybe I was in the beginning when I didn’t know your ugly demon-like personality. Now that I know who you are, I wouldn’t waste my time on bigots. What I’m doing is called defending. Nice? No I’m not going to be your dog. I laugh at the thought of you calling me condescending and insulting, no no no the award for that is all yours.

“you did not give backing to anything you claim. I asked you several times for such, but all you can tell me if that I'm a Muslim hater and don't deserve any consideration. That might be good enough for bigots, but not for people who actually think.”
Yes you’re right it is good enough for bigot, bigots like you.

"you are so full of hate - against Jews”

The only person who is doing all the hating is you! I’m not the one who made a hate blog that has a database of all the falsehood and twisted stuff from around the web about Islam. Several times I said how I hated the Holocaust and what happened to the Jewish people; now if I hated Jews I would never say that. So don’t turn tables at me, I could see right through your dark and eerie heart.

“you to have such discussions (in Saudi Arabia internet is censored), against anybody and everybody.”

Care to elaborate on what you mean by censored internet?

“I tried finding a good count of all terror attacks in 2005. Sadly, I only found a list of those committed by Muslims (only those where people were killed). Notice that many of these attacks were in Muslim countries.”

That’s nice. Dig up more civil war conflicts and the desperate attempts of people trying to get their lands back from thieves like the Israelis.

“If you want to prove that Muslims aren't responsible for most terror attacks in the world, how about you do it, instead of expecting all those bigoted Muslim haters to do it for you?”

You know if you want to get nasty and racist I have no problem bringing out every single stereotype, racist slurs, false hateful sites, and degrading cartoons I can find of Jews. If you want to throw out accusations, the onus is on you buddy to proof it.

I find it really sad that there are people out there in the world who spend their time being hateful and mean spirited. Didn’t your mom ever teach you if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all (you don’t have to answer *rolls eyes*)? I wouldn’t expect a Jewish person would be the one behind all the hate, I was expecting a fat white middle aged man. You know what they say about stereotypes. Considering all your past history of being portrayed as horrible human beings who are money hungry, one would think that a Jewish person would be more considerate of others now. I guess I had high expectations, you surely can’t reach it.

Esther said:
Hi nolables,

Kind of a funny name for somebody who labels and insults others.

Do you really think I'll give you my private email?

I think you're really a coward . If you would be really tough like you're showing yourself to be you would go to REAL Muslim hating sites and start saying something there. With your email in full view, you won't last a minute in such a verbal fight. Instead, you go to somebody who's actually trying to be objective.

Like I said, thanks for the lesson!

Danish prosecutors refuse to file charges against newspapers for cartoons

A regional prosecutor said he would not file charges against a newspaper that published contentious caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, and Danish Muslim groups said Monday they would appeal.

"We cannot understand the decision," said Ahmad Akkari, a spokesman for a coalition of 11 community groups, adding that they would take their complaints to Denmark's top prosecutor.

He said the 12 caricatures, published Sept. 30 in the Jyllands-Posten daily, were a "clear offense to Islam."

And again - Mr Akkari shows that what he really doesn't understand is how free speech works in a liberal democracy. If a Muslim feels personally hurt, he can personally sue the newspaper. Unless maybe there's no basis for such a lawsuit?

Egypt has been spearheading foreign criticism of Denmark over the cartoons. While Egypt "respects freedom of opinion and expression, we also realize the borders which must never be crossed," Egypt's official Middle East News Agency quoted Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit as saying Monday after he was informed of the prosecutor's decision by his Danish counterpart.

The dispute has created a backlash against Danish Muslim groups, who critics say blew the matter out of proportion by asking Muslim countries to pressure the Danish government to act against the paper.

In other words, by trying to "protect Islam" what the Muslim groups actually did was to show how much they don't respect the rights of others to express an opinion and the liberal culture of the country in which they live

(sounds familiar?)

Source: Yahoo News (English)

Increasing support for asylum seekers

More and more Dutch are taking in homeless asylum seekers since they think Verdonk's policies are cruel.

The National Support Base for Ondocumented (LOS) gives out information on how to help out asylum seekers and the number of phone calls in increasing5. Rian Ederveen, manager of the organization, doesn't have facts to base his impressions, given the secretive nature of the issue. Nobody wants to get in trouble with the police for helping illegal immigrants. However, he says that most other organizations dealing with illegal immigrants are getting the same impression.

"We know now that not every asylum seeker can stay in Holland, but that a mother and a kid must sleep in the street, is going too far for more and more Dutch people."

According to Ederveen, most of the activists are Christians or leftists.

Source: Nederlands Dagblad (Dutch)

Weekly Roundup

List of Muslim terror attacks in 2005

Ibrahim Afellay was chosen as "Muslim of the Year" - the 19 year old soccer player got 30% of the votes on a contest sponsored by the site www.wijblijvenhier.nl (we stay here) (Telegraaf, Dutch)

The prosecution in the Hofstad group trial might have hurt its own case - two new witnesses testified last week, bringing up new accusations. The only question now is: if they're telling the truth, why did they keep silent till now? (Trouw, Dutch)

Threatening letter to the Remmery factory is a fake - last year the factory was threatened to discharge Muslim employees. A step the owner refused to take. (De Standaard, Dutch)

A Moroccan minister is asking Moroccans to come back - Nezha Chekrouni said that "emigrants are a loss to our land" (De Standaard, Dutch)

Belgium will introduce electronic ID cards for immigrants - the cards will be first introduced in Antwerp in 2007. (De Standaard, Dutch)

Immigrants open up their houses - different immigrants from different countries keep a feeling of home inside their houses (Trouw, Dutch)

Mohammed Bouyeri wants to represent himself in the Hofstad group trial. (Volkskrant, Dutch)

Belgium thinks Holland is too strict on immigration policy - The strictness of Dutch policy is causing many immigrants to go through the "Belgian Route". Belgian Interior Minister Dewael thinks the Dutch policy is too strict and won't implement it in Belgium. (Volkskrant, Dutch)

Belgium and Holland band against abuse of immigration rules

Patrick Dewael, Belgian Minister of the Interiour, and Rita Verdonk, Dutch Minister for Immigrants have agreed that both countries should work together to prevent abuse of family reunification laws. Belgium is much more lenient than Holland when it comes to family reunification and the "Belgian Route" is quickly becoming a favorite option by many immigrants who want to get around the tough Dutch laws.

In a meeting, the two ministers agreed that first the facts should be checked to determine exactly what is going on. During the meeting Dewael explained the new Belgian law making fake marriages a punishable offence, as well as various proposals to make Belgian family reunification law more stringent.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

British Muslim council boycotts Holocaust Memorial Day

On the face of it, this looks like a reasonable demand. What does Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), ask after all?

“The MCB unhesitatingly and wholeheartedly supports the prime minister’s determination that the horrendous crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust are never forgotten.”

But he added: “After the world vowed ‘never again’ at the end of the Second World War, though, we have seen the same barbarism again, against peoples in Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya and recently in Darfur.

“So we said that our common humanity called upon us to also recognise the crimes perpetrated against other people, and we called for the establishment of an EU genocide memorial day.

“Such a day would help dispel the — frankly racist — notion that some people are to be regarded as being more equal than others.”

In other words, he's just saying that having a separate Holocaust Memorial Day is in itself racist. The UK, and Europe, should remember all racial genocides, wherever they are around the world.

The "uniqueness" of the Holocaust was not the fact that one nation was killed just for being members of that nation. It goes much deeper than that. The Nazis saw their war on two fronts - the Jewish People on the one hand, and conquering Europe/World on the other. Killing the Jews was even more important than winning the war. Even when defeat was eminent Jews were still being killed, despite it taking resources away from the war effort.

During WWII, Britain refused to allow Jewish refugees the ability to enter the British Mandate of Palestine (the Land of Israel). By that, they consigned many Jews to their fate. That is a good reason, why Britian should remember the Holocaust and make sure "it never happens again".

I hope the day comes soon when the MCB calls out against anti-semitism as quickly as it calls out against Islamophobia.

Source: European Jewish Press (English)

The plan: take homos as hostages

A witness in the Hofstad group trial says the group planned to free Mohammed Bouyeri. The idea was to take control of a homo bar in Amsterdam, hold everybody there hostage and demand to free Mohammed Bouyeri. After he was freed they intended to blow up everybody - hostages and themselves. (this is good to keep in mind should such an attack ever occur).

The attack was supposed to take place within the next two or three years. The financing was to come from robbery.

The witness, Jamal B, said he was approached by Bilal L while they were both in prison to recruit him for the attack, telling him he had provided Mohammed Bouyeri with the bike and gun he had used when he killed Theo van Gogh.

Defense lawyers said the entire thing was preposterous.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

Amsterdam: 'riot' after kid's death

A 17 year old Moroccan Dutch kid was killed after driving his scooter into a pole. Shortly beforehand, a plainclothes policeman stopped to examine the abondoned scooter, which had the motor running.

Angry kids smashed the windows of a police station. A car was burned nearby, but it is unclear whether there was any connection.

Source: Het Parool (Dutch)

More on Mohammed cartoons

The cartoons can be viewed here.

It looks like the UN is moving forward with an investigation into the case.

Louise Arbour - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - has appointed two UN experts on racism to carry out a detailed investigation into what Arbour characterizes as a “disrespect for belief.”

Mohammed cartoons reach Norway

Magazinet, a Norweigan magazine, has joined their Danish neighbors in being accused of blasphemy against Mohammed and against Islam. The magazine printed a series of cartoons depicting Mohammed in various settings. The cartoons originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Aftenposten in order to express freedom of expression.

Mohammad Hamdan, head of the Norweigan Supreme Islamic Council came out against the cartoons.

"What on earth does freedom of expression mean?" A furious Hamadan wondered.

"What is the real motive behind this act? Is it out of free speech or to insult Muslims who make up the largest minority in Norway?"

Hamdan said it is crystal-clear that the publishers want to trigger a sectarian sedition inside peaceful Norway.

Do they? Or maybe it is the other way around?

"We never heard of this magazine and had it not been for news agencies, we wouldn't have known about the publishing," Hamadan said.

He noted that this magazine did in no way speak for the Christian community in Norway.

"Some Christian organizations have already denounced in statements the magazine's act and distanced themselves from it," the Muslim leader said.

The Supreme Islamic Council is going to cause a major diplomatic incident over something that appeared in an "obscure" magazine? Wouldn't ignoring the whole thing be a little less insulting to Muslims?

Source: Islam Online (English)

A good summary of the Danish cartoon story can be found on Fjordman.