Wilders Proposes “Headscarf Tax”

Controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders told parliament on Wednesday that Muslim women should pay to wear a headscarf. He suggested that any Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf should have to apply for a license and pay 1 000 euros for the privilege, Radio Netherlands and DPA report. Wilders says the money raised would go toward women’s emancipation programmes. He added the fine was meant to “demotivate” people from wearing Muslim attire. Wilders, leader of the liberal-right Freedom Party PVV, made his remarks during a parliamentary debate about the government’s budget plans.

DutchNews and Euranet covered the angry responses of other politicians to the proposal, reporting that Liberal Democrat leader Alexander Pechtold “asked himself if Wilders was serious”. The politician called Wilders’ proposal xenophobic and racist. GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema said the speech was “vulgar” and Minister of Housing, Communities and Integration Eberhard van der Laan called it “hysterical”.

In Dresden, High Culture and Ugly Reality Clash

In early July thousands of mourners took to the streets in Egypt, chanting “Down with Germany.” Thousands more Arabs and Muslims joined them in protests in Berlin. In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad added to the outcry by denouncing German “brutality.” The provocation was the murder on July 1 of Marwa al-Sherbini, a pregnant Egyptian pharmacist here. She was stabbed 18 times in a Dresden courtroom, in front of her 3-year-old son, judges and other witnesses, reportedly by the man appealing a fine for having insulted Ms. Sherbini in a park. Identified by German authorities only as a 28-year-old Russian-born German named Alex W., he had called Ms. Sherbini an Islamist, a terrorist and a slut when she asked him to make room for her son on the playground swings. Ms. Sherbini wore a head scarf. The killer also stabbed Elwi Okaz, Ms. Sherbini’s husband and a genetic research scientist, who was critically wounded as he tried to defend her. The police, arriving late on the scene, mistook him for the attacker and shot him in the leg. More than a week passed before the German government, responding to rising anger across the Arab world, expressed words of sorrow while stressing that the attack did occur during the prosecution of a racist and that the accused man was originally from Russia. Dresden is one of the great cultural capitals of Europe. It is also the capital of Saxony, a former part of East Germany that, along with having a reputation as Silicon Saxony, has made more than a few headlines in recent years for incidents of xenophobia and right-wing extremism. One wonders how to reconcile the heights of the city’s culture with the gutter of these events. MICHAEL KIMMELMAN reports.

Death Threat Against Robert Redeker Leads to 8 Months in Prison and Fine

Eight months in prison with a fine of 1,000 Euros was requested in Orl_ans as punishment for a 26 year-old who threatened to kill Robert Redeker, a philosophy professor who on 19 September 2006 published a critique against Islam in the Le Figaro daily newspaper. Mustapha Dian, the young Frenchman of Moroccan origins, sent three emails to Redeker who lives in the Toulouse region.

Brigitte Bardot charged with Inciting Racial Hatred Over Complaint about Aïd el-Kebir

Former French actor and animal activist Brigitte Bardot went on trial in a Paris courtroom charged with inciting racial hatred over remarks made in a letter to French president Nicolas Sarkozy in December 2006 regarding the Muslim festival of Aïd el-Kebir and the slaughter of sheep. Bardot wrote, I am fed up with being under the thumb of a population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts. The letter was later published by Bardot’s foundation. This is the fifth time Bardot has been charged with inciting racial hatred since 1997. 73 year-old Bardot did not attend the court in person, claiming she was physically unwell. She may receive a fine of 15.000 Euros and a two-month prison sentence. The decision will be rendered on June 3rd.

Quran film by Dutch Islam critic is released on the internet

A Dutch lawmaker who produced a film criticizing Islam and the Quran, released the short film on Thursday by posting it on the internet. The film by Geert Wilders cites verses of the Quran interspersed with images of violence, and scenes from terrorist attacks in the United States and Spain, and the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The Dutch government had warned the legislator that such an offensive film could spark protests in Muslim countries. A Dutch judge was due on Friday to hear the petition of a Muslim group seeking an independent review of the film to examine whether or not it violates laws on hate speech. The Dutch Islamic Federation was asking the court to impose a fine of _50,000 ($79,000) for every day that the film was available to the public. The film, named _Fitna,’ was released on the public video website LiveLeak after the internet domain hosting Geert’s website removed the site from public view, upon review of the site’s content.

L’occidente Di Fronte All’islam

Dopo la fine della Guerra Fredda nuove insidie hanno occupato lo spazio lasciato libero dallo ‘spettro comunista’. L’Occidente e’ di nuovo in pericolo. Nel corso degli ultimi anni e’ stato aggredito ripetutamente dalle forze estreme provenienti dal microcosmo islamico. Esso, pero’, e’ reso piu’ fragile anche dall’indebolimento costante della sua identita’. Le sfide alle quali deve rispondere sono, pertanto, di natura ben diversa. Da un lato, l’aggressione dell’Islam che rifiuta il modello sociale religioso sul quale si e’ consolidato il nostro modo di vivere. Dall’altro, lo svuotamento dei valori che caratterizza la percezione della cultura nel nostro mondo. Ecco quali sono i rischi ai quali andiamo incontro inesorabilmente. Rischi che vengono messi in evidenza da Gianni Baget Bozzo e Raffaele Iannuzzi nel saggio ”Tra nichilismo e Islam. L’Europa come colpa”, pubblicato dalla casa editrice Mondadori nella collana ”Uomini e religioni”. ”Con il nuovo millennio – dichiarano gli autori – e’ ripreso il conflitto che segno’ il primo e il secondo millennio cristiano: quello tra Cristianita’ e Islam. Si tratta di una guerra radicalmente asimmetrica, che ha la forma dello scontro tra una religione e uno Stato, tra la potenza tecnologica e il suicidio martoriale, tra scelte individuali e diffuse e organizzazione concentrata”. Per molti secoli il confronto tra Cristianesimo e Islam ha caratterizzato la nostra storia. Le conquiste arabe e le offensive cristiane, organizzate intorno alle crociate per liberare interi paesi dall’incubo dei musulmani, hanno segnato lo sviluppo dell’Europa. Dopo l’attacco alle Torri Gemelle, pero’, il forte antagonismo tra le due realta’ contrapposte si e’ riacceso. La guerra all’Occidente, secondo quanto affermano i due autori, e’ influenzata ”dal wahabismo saudita che non riconosce diritto di esistenza ai cristiani e agli ebrei, andando oltre la stessa condizione offerta dal Corano ai popoli della Bibbia”. La religione e’ diventata uno dei terreni di scontro piu’ ‘caldi’. D’altra parte, l’Europa e’ assillata anche dal pericolo di perdere le sue peculiarita’ culturali e le sue tradizioni. Ma non solo. Oltre agli attentati islamici, che minano la convivenza pacifica del Vecchio Continente, il Cristianesimo sembra aver perso la piena consapevolezza del suo ruolo. A partire dalla fine della Seconda guerra mondiale ”le Chiese cristiane hanno pensato l’espansione mondiale del Cristianesimo come una colpa”. Una ‘colpa’ che ha pregiudicato la riaffermazione condivisa di un modello culturale la cui tradizione si perde nei secoli antichi.

L’islam Ci Vuole Cancellare

{Across the Po Valley, a political battle is raging over the place of Islam in Italian society. The battle of Lepanto is mentioned and a clash of civilizations.} By Roberto Castelli VENEZIA – Cita la battaglia di Lepanto. Invoca lo scontro di civilt_. Tra “noi” e loro”. E la sinistra? “Se vince, vincono gli incappucciati”. Dal palco della festa nazionale padana a Venezia, Roberto Castelli _ un fiume in piena. “Noi non siamo contro l’Islam, _ l’Islam che _ contro di noi, ci vogliono cancellare – tuona il ministro della Giustizia – ma a lla fine la battaglia la vinceremo noi perch_ la coscienza del popolo padano si _ risvegliata”. Toni da crociata. Con cui Castelli vagheggia un ritorno al passato con la battaglia di Lepanto. Era il 7 ottobre 1571, e l’alleanza costituita dalla repubblica di Venezia con Spagna e il regno Pontificio batt_ le forze navali dell’impero Ottomano. Ieri come oggi, sembra voler dire il ministro. “La battaglia di Lepanto – dice Castelli – ci ricorda un pericolo sventato con le armi e che oggi possiamo sventare con le armi della libert_ e delle democrazia”. Ma la lista dei nemici della democrazia, a giudizio del Guardasigilli, _ lunga. E un posto di primo piano lo occupa la sinistra. Quella che, giura Castelli, “ha gi_ stampato le schede con i risultati elettorali”, quella che ha tra i candidati alle primarie “un uomo mascherato”. Un chiaro riferimento al candidato dell’area antagonista che corre per le primarie dell’Unione con un passamontagna modello zapatista con i colori della bandiera della pace. “E’ un’immagine sinistra – attacca Castelli – simile a quelle dei tagliatori di teste dell’Iraq. Se vince la sinistra vinceranno gli incappucciati simili ai terroristi”. L’ultimo affondo _ dedicato a Lucia Massarotto, la signora veneziana che anche quest’anno ha esposto il tricolore sulla finestra della sua casa affacciata su riva degli Schiavoni, teatro della manifestazione leghista. Nel ’97 Bossi non esito’ a invitarla a “buttare nel cesso” il tricolore, stavolta Castelli usa altri toni ma non meno sferzanti: “Oggi signora lei pu_ esporre quella bandiera tranquillamente, proprio perch_ c’_ la Lega. Se domani vincer_ la sinistra l’unica cosa che potr_ esporre sar_ la bandiera della mezzaluna”. Parola di Roberto Castelli, ministro della Giustizia. Stretto giro di posta arriva la risposta di Lucia Massarotto, tutt’altro che intimidita dalle parole del ministro: “Non ho bisogno del consenso o del permesso di Castelli per esporre il tricolore. Eppoi non credo proprio che se la sinistra vincesse potrei esporre solo la mezzaluna”.

U.K. To Ban Incitement To Religious Hatred; Hindu, Muslim Groups Welcome The Measure

By Hasan Suroor LONDON: Ignoring protests from secular groups and Opposition parties, the British Government has decided to go ahead with plans to make incitement to religious hatred an offence. A bill to this effect was introduced in the Commons amid fears among writers, satirists and rights activists that it would stifle free speech, but leaders of Hindu and Muslim groups welcomed it saying they needed protection against attacks on temples and mosques. Currently, the law protects ethnic groups against racial hatred but there is no protection against incitement on religious grounds. The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill seeks to ban “hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.” A breach of the proposed law would be punishable by fine or a prison term. Novelists Hanif Kureishi and Monica Ali joined the chorus of criticism against the bill calling it a recipe for self-censorship. “What I’m certain of is the damage to freedom of speech that will come about as a result of self-censorship – it already exists and will be dramatically increased,” said Ms. Ali, the Bangladeshi-born author of Brick Lane. “Invitation To Censorship” Mr. Kureishi, who is of Pakistani origin, feared that the bill would “stifle” even legitimate criticism of religion. Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said despite its “good intentions, the move was an invitation to “censorship”. But spokesmen for the Hindu Council and the Muslim Council of Britain said such a law was needed in a climate where religious groups were often targets of attack. ? The Home Office Minister Paul Goggins sought to allay fears that it would curb freedom of expression saying it would not stop debate on religion or prevent people from “poking fun” at religion as feared by satirists and comedians.