The Right of Return Author Leon De Winter: “The Europeans Are Chasing Illusions”

Dutch author Leon de Winter talks with SPIEGEL about his new novel, which is set in 2024, the threats mounting against Israel and the assimilation of Muslims in Europe.

SPIEGEL: Mr. de Winter, your new book — “The Right of Return” — is a novel, but it actually describes a political vision. In the book, it is the year 2024, and Israel has shrunk to just a few square kilometers around Tel Aviv, which is surrounded by enemies. Are you simply playing with some ideas here or is this a serious prediction?

Leon de Winter: Both. Israel is menaced by two threats. On the one hand, by the hatred of its enemies, which today is primarily stirred up by Iran, and on the other hand, by the erosion spreading throughout Israeli society. There are three groups that have little in common: the Orthodox Jews, the Israeli Arabs and the secular Jews, who currently make up the majority of the population. But this majority is dwindling. The conflict between these three lifestyles is every bit as much of a threat — if not even more dangerous — to the existence of Israel as its outside menaces […]

Interview with Author Leon de Winter: ‘The Europeans Are Chasing Illusions’

Dutch author Leon de Winter talks with SPIEGEL about his new novel, which is set in 2024, the threats mounting against Israel and the assimilation of Muslims in Europe. SPIEGEL: Mr. de Winter, your new book — “The Right of Return” — is a novel, but it actually describes a political vision. In the book, it is the year 2024, and Israel has shrunk to just a few square kilometers around Tel Aviv, which is surrounded by enemies. Are you simply playing with some ideas here or is this a serious prediction? Leon de Winter: Both. Israel is menaced by two threats. On the one hand, by the hatred of its enemies, which today is primarily stirred up by Iran, and on the other hand, by the erosion spreading throughout Israeli society. There are three groups that have little in common: the Orthodox Jews, the Israeli Arabs and the secular Jews, who currently make up the majority of the population. But this majority is dwindling. The conflict between these three lifestyles is every bit as much of a threat — if not even more dangerous — to the existence of Israel as its outside menaces.

Op-Ed: Muslims in Europe: Identity versus Integration

An op-ed by Asma Hanif in the Khaleej Times examines some of the challenges faced by Muslims in Belgium, particularly youth, who feel that a wide gap exists between their world at home and their daily life at school. Hanif suggests that this challenge stems from a conflict between preservation of cultural and religious identities on one end, and a call for integration on the other – creating a polarized tug of war, that is experienced as real. Hanif stresses that the situation of Muslims in Belgium is directly connected to the not so distant past, with immigrants coming to work in the country answering labor calls. As ethnic minorities resided in economically low-end neighborhoods, the living patterns of their forefathers are evident today – but as neighborhood resources and institutions like banks and post offices left, economically lagging ghettos remain. More from Asma Hanif can be found at the link below.

Young Muslim leaders in Europe get a close look at US

For Karim Z_ribi, the highlight was shaking the hand of Barack Obama. For Ali Zahi, it was meeting his childhood hero, basketball star Magic Johnson. And Mohamed Hamidi was surprised to find a mosque in Washington that was bigger than the one in his parents’ village in Algeria. Hamidi is a well-known blogger, Zahi is a mayoral aide in this Paris suburb, and Z_ribi runs an employment agency. All are French, Muslim and below 42. All grew up and worked in suburbs that became emblematic of the frustration among second- and third-generation immigrant youths that led to three weeks of riots in France in 2005. And all three joined the small but growing ranks of influential Muslims in Europe invited to the US on 21-day trips as part of its International Visitor Leadership Program. The longstanding program, which seeks to introduce future leaders from around the world to the US, has become part of an American effort to reach out to Europe’s Muslims, especially young people who could fall prey to jihadist talk. The exposure to America softened views of a superpower generally distrusted in their communities. Many young people think that America is waging a war on Muslims, said Zahi, 32, chief of staff for the mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 rioting began after the deaths of two teenagers of African origin. I tell them America is a country that has a black presidential candidate and a self-confident Muslim community, Zahi said.

Muslims in Europe ‘menace to peace’, says ambassador

Oded Ben-Hur, the Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican called Muslim immigrants a serious threat to peace and democracy in Europe. “(Muslims) have a different agenda, and are beginning to be a real serious menace to democracy and peace in Europe,” said Ben-Hur during a speech at the American University of Rome. The ambassador also criticized the complacency of citizens concerning Muslims in Italy. “They (Muslims) are witnessing what they define as the death of their culture, so they have introduced the culture of death,” he told students.

Europe: Over 400 groups sign European Muslim ‘charter of values’

More than 400 Muslim groups gathered in Brussels to sign a ‘charter of values’ at the European Parliament, pledging tolerance and respect for the laws of the countries in which they live. “The charter amounts to a code of good conduct for Muslims in Europe which commits them to taking part in building a united society,” said European Parliament vice-president Mario Mauro. The document was prepared by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe and amounts to a code of conduct for Muslims in Europe and is a show of commitment to building a united society.

Spanish foreign minister stresses importance Muslim presence in European countries

Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish foreign minister, stressed the importance of Muslims in European countries and the sharing of a multitude of values, urging a joint fight against discrimination of Muslims in Europe. The head of the Spanish diplomacy stressed in a latter to the director of the Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the millions of Muslims that are essential to a prosperous Europe, both in their work and social presence.

Sarkozy: Too many Muslims in Europe

In an October meeting with Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Paris, Nicolas Sarkozy shocked listeners with a long anti-Muslim complaint, stating that there are too many Muslims in Europe. Sarkozy also discussed his disdain concerning discussion of Turkey’s entrance into the European Union. According to the French news agency _L ib_ration, the French president devoted nearly twenty minutes to anti-Muslim rants. The French president also asserted a Muslim difficulty towards integration – justifying his position on Turkey and the EU.

Director of the Casa Arabe believes that the expression Islamic terrorism discriminates Muslims

Gema Mart_n, director of Casa Arabe, believes that the use of terms Islamic terrorism or Islamist to qualify the acts of groups such as Al Qaeda has contributed to the growth of intolerance towards Muslims in Europe. As an alternative name, Gema Mart_n suggests alqaedist terrorism and also defends the need to promote seminars that will help clarify the phenomenon and promote concrete actions to fight against Islamophobia. Mart_n’s comments were made during the announcement of the Cordoba Conference, which will focus on this subject.

Islam in the European Union: Transnationalism, Youth, and the War on Terror

This book is about Muslims in Europe and the ‘War on Terror’: its causes and consequences for European citizenship and exclusion particularly for young people. The rising tide of hostility towards people of Muslim origin is challenged in this collection from a varied and multinational perspective. The chapters illustrate the diversity of societies with Muslim majority populations and challenge the dominant paradigm of what has become to be known since the War on Terror as ‘Islamophobia’.