EU’s fight against radical Islam — Religious leaders, politician say only if Muslim immigrants accept western values tensions would subside — (DUSSELDORF) – Henrik Broder, a prominent Jewish journalist in Germany, recently published a book titled, “Hooray! We Surrender!” which criticizes what the author refers to as ‘Europe’s weakness in its battle against Islam.’

Gil Yaron Henrik Broder, a prominent Jewish journalist in Germany, recently published a book titled, “Hooray! We Surrender!” which criticizes what the author refers to as ‘Europe’s weakness in its battle against Islam.’“We must define what sets us aside as a society, and what values we must uphold in our struggle against Islam,” Broder tells Ynet. Broder’s remarks come amid the ever-increasing tension in Europe between the traditional values and those of radical Islam, which are beginning to spread throughout the continent. It began with the Madrid terror attack, which was carried out by a cell of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East and continued with the London bombings, which were carried out by UK-born Muslims, and the attempts to attack airliners in Britain and trains in Germany. In the interim there were the violent riots in response to the prophet Muhammad caricatures, the outrage and threats over Pope Benedict XVI’s accusations and the public outcry following the UK veils affair.
Muslim Europeans protesting Muhammad cartoons (Photo: AFP)With the end of the Cold War 17 years ago, Europe was able to unite around values of democracy, individualism and a free market. But lately the atmosphere ion Europe has begun to change, and tolerant Europe has started to organize against radical Islam (and some say Islam in general), an ideology that is being referred to more and more as ‘an enemy of modern western society’s lifestyle.

Until recently political correctness reigned in Europe, and those who dared point an accusatory finger at minorities were ostracized. When immigrants attacked their host-countries in Europe, the Europeans blamed western society for ‘inadequately absorbing them.’

Dialogue, not confrontation was the solution to the absorption difficulties of immigrants; criticism of the Muslim minority, part of which refused to accept the social ideals of the majority, was dismissed as racist – and so the Muslims in Europe did not integrate with the western population.

Muslim quarter in Brussels (Photo: Roee Nahmias)

But following Madrid and London attacks, as well as the Muslim riots over the Mohammad caricatures, there are more and more signs indicating that the European Union is beginning to view Islam and the Muslim immigrants as an existential threat.

Mission: Intelligence

About 15 million Muslims live In Europe today, which constitute about 3-4 percent of the population in most European countries. In France, Muslims make up and estimated 10 percent. Police forces across Europe have already started to focus efforts on collecting intelligence information among their countries’ Islamic communities.

For German intelligence, for instance, this is virgin territory. German police, who confer regularly with Jewish officials to assess the threat to their safety, admitted to them that they have know idea of the goings-on in Germany’s Muslim communities.

Senior police officials themselves confessed to Ynet that, “There are whole areas in German cities that in our view are ‘out of bounds’, and we don’t enter them anymore. For too long we thought that as long as we let them manage themselves, they won’t bother us. Now this attitude is taking its revenge on us.”

Germany Defense Ministry official Christian Schmidt, a member of the governing Christian Democrats party (CDU), told Ynet that among the Muslim community in his country, “Thousands tend towards extremism and pose a threat to us.”

He said that contrary to absorption processes in other communities, among Muslims future generations become more fanatic, with “the third generation being the most extremist.”

Currently various German states are considering legislation to obligate imams to carry sermons in German, to “increase the transparency of Muslim communities and abate concern and suspicion.” In effect, this reflects the shortage of Turkish and Arabic speakers in the German intelligence community and the difficulties hindering them from collecting crucial information from this sector.

Tensions between communities have been rising since last summer’s thwarted terror attacks in Britain and Germany. Two and a half month ago plans to blow up two trains in Koln failed to materialize due to technical failures in the makeshift bombs hidden in two suitcases.

German authorities nabbed a number of suspects and the mastermind of the attempted attacks, which prompted a debate about whether the government should make it obligatory for transportation operators to install CCTV cameras on trains.

In Britain a plot to blow up a number of US-bound planes using liquid explosives, shook a nation that was still trying to come to terms with the July 7 attacks two years earlier.

Relations between 1.8 British Muslims and the rest of the country suffered another set back as tension grew and a wide-scale arrest raids conducted against Muslim terror suspects across the country only added fuel to the fire.

The government said it is weighing plans to cut public funds to Muslim schools, although no such plans were considered for the 36 Jewish and 7,000 Christian schools in the monarchy.

In another dramatic development, the Ministry of Education announced new regulation to the higher education system which would make it obligatory for British universities to keep track of the activities of Muslim students and report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement authorities.

Many countries did not suffice with discussions: The governments of Germany and Britain launched dialogue with Muslim organizations in the hope that a European form of Islam – one that is pragmatic and pacifist – would emerge.

In Berlin, the home of many Germans of Turkish origins, Turkish kindergartens would be forced to adopt the German language as the only communication tool in the hope to inoculate minority children with the values of democracy and civil rights.

In Switzerland meanwhile, where Muslims constitute less than one percent of the population, referendums held in a number of cantons reflected the will of an overwhelming majority to limit the spread of Islam. More so, strict immigration laws were introduced, and in many areas the construction of new Mosques has been banned.

Debate on values

But for many this is not enough. While individualism has been a supreme value in Europe for many decades, common European values have been subject to intense debate especially to the backdrop of Turkey’s impending membership in the European Union.

“We need to start public discussions about our values, which we have to communicate in a resolute manner,” Michael Geller, a member of the European parliament representing Germany’s CDU told Ynet.

“Islam is not a threat yet, but a challenge that forces us to define our common values. Citizen rights and the status of women especially are things that should be assimilated among Muslim immigrants,” he said.

Henrik Broder however is a skeptic. “I don’t think Europe know to do something besides to surrender. People have no idea what they are fighting for. We can’t set the clock back, and I don’t want Europe to give up on its Muslims. But when the Dutch justice minister says it is possible for Sharia to become the basis for Dutch laws and when in England there are independent Sharia courts – that’s the end of European society as we know it,” he said.

FRANCE: GOVERNMENT EYES NEW SECURITY MEASURES AMID FEARS OF FRESH RIOTS

FRANCE: GOVERNMENT EYES NEW SECURITY MEASURES AMID FEARS OF FRESH RIOTS  

Paris, 16 Oct. (AKI) – France’s prime minister, Dominique de Villepin on Monday asked interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy and justice minister Pascal Clement to study ways of boosting security and stepping up penal sanctions for those convicted of attacking the country’s law enforcers. The move follows a series of ugly clashes between police and youth gangs in poor suburbs of Paris in recent weeks which have sparked fears among the country’s police associations and politicians that the urban riots that rocked France in late October and November 2005 could be about to break out again.

“Gendarmes and policemen have a difficult job that demands respect and support,” said Sarkozy – a hopeful in France’s 2007 presidential race who controversially described last year’s rioters as “rabble” and “scum”. His office will meet police unions on Tuesday, AFP news agency reported.

In most recent of four serious incidents in the past month, a policeman was seriously injured by stones hurled by youths at the weekend after their vehicle was allegedly ambushed and stoned in the suburb of Epinay-sur-Seine north of Paris. The patrol car was trapped when a driverless vehicle was rolled behind it by a group of up to 50 youths, police said.

The police car was attacked with stones and baseball bats and one policeman, Christophe Esteve, 30, was hit in the face. Youths allegedly fired tear gas at police sent to investigate a theft. Local people claimed no more than 20 youths were involved in the disturbance, however, and that the incident began when police began to forcefully interrogate two youths they had picked up on the street.

Violence and aggression towards police, gendarmes, firemen and teachers rose by almost 10 percent between October 2005 and September 2006, according to France’s national Observatory research body. There have been 4,200 violent incidents involving youths in France this year, and such violence increased by 30 percent from August to September, according to a study published on Monday in the daily Le Monde.

The French authorities have recorded around 480 incidents of violence towards police – demonstrating “an unprecedented desire to attack the police,” according to the French police union. Policemen have complained of demotivation, lack of resources, suspicion, repeated vandalism, and physical danger when intervening in incidents, according to police associations.

But Ahmed Hacene, member of a local cooperative founded in Epinay-sur-Seine founded after the more than three week long riots of November 2005, said that the weekend incident there was “an initial act” that had occurred “in a climate of verbal provocation and a frequent lack of respect shown by policemen.”

Last year’s riots erupted in France’s delapidated tower-bloc suburbs with high immigrant populations and unemployment after the accidental death of two Muslim teenagers in Clichy-sous-Bois, a working-class Paris suburb during a police chase.

The violence, which spread from Paris to poor suburbs of other cities, mainly involved Muslim youths of Arab and African descent. St least one person was killed and dozens injured in the riots, which led to 2,900 arrests. Damage to the many thousands of vehicles that were torched and to buildings was put at hundreds of millions of euros by insurers.

Last year’s unrest in France captured the attention of the world’s press and prompted renewed debate over radical Islam and the integration of immigrants, and whether the French system has failed its immigrant communities. Many come from its former colonies and have remained France’s poorest groups.

 

Paris: Muslim airport workers lose clearances —- Are the French finally getting it?

Paris: Muslim airport workers lose clearances

Of course, they are claiming discrimination. “Muslim airport workers lose clearances,” by Jamey Keaten for Associated Press, with thanks to Drew:

PARIS – Authorities at Charles de Gaulle airport have stripped several dozen employees — almost all of them Muslims — of their security badges in a crackdown against terrorism, a government official said Friday.Four baggage handlers who lost their clearance filed a joint discrimination complaint this week, alleging they had been unfairly associated with terrorism because they are Muslims, their lawyers said. Some had been in their jobs for up to five years.

The baggage handlers and other employees have been barred from secure areas at the airport since February, Jacques Lebrot, an official who oversees the airport, told The Associated Press in an interview.

The cases were “linked to terrorism, of course,” he said, adding that the crackdown followed recommendations by France’s anti-terrorism coordination unit, UCLAT, as part of an 18-month investigation.

You don’t strip people of their badges for small matters,” he said. The crackdown was part of heightened security in France, after terror attacks in Britain, Spain and the United States in recent years.

Lebrot, citing security reasons, declined to say whether the “several dozen” people — he would not specify how many — who lost their badges had been involved in specific plots.

Mr. X or Y could have been suspected because corresponding facts … suggested he belonged to a sizable network,” Lebrot said, without elaborating. Others could have been stripped of the badges because they were “impressionable and manipulated” by such networks, he said….

In letters from the regional government office, the employees were told that they presented a “significant danger to airport security,” or had shown “personal behavior threatening airport security.”

Lawyers for those who lost their badges said that under police questioning, they were never told of the reasons they lost their badges — but repeatedly were asked about their religion.

“The link among these people is that either they are Arab — or practice their religion in a normal way,” said Eric Moutet, a lawyer for the four employees suing in administrative court. Authorities, he said, “are in essence asking people to prove they are not terrorists.”

They “practice their religion in a normal way.” Does that mean in a way that Osama bin Laden might consider normal? In a way that accords with mainstream teaching of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, all of which mandate warfare against unbelievers?

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