News Agencies – September 5, 2012
Véronique Genest, star of the long-running French television police series Julie Lescaut, has come under attack over a series of Islamophobic comments on Twitter, in which she claimed that Islam is a threat to democracy and aims to impose sharia law on France, declared her admiration for the racist journalist Éric Zemmour and described it as a “historical fact” that Muslims are allies of the Nazis.
An Islamic school that had been using teaching materials that dis Jews and encouraged boys to keep fit for jihad has lost its license to use Toronto District School Board property. The board suspended a permit issued to the Islamic Shia Study Centre, which operated the East End Madrassah out of a Toronto high school until an outcry last week over the content of its curriculum booklets.
But the school’s curriculum, which it has now taken off its website, referred to “crafty,” “treacherous” Jews and contrasted Islam with “the Jews and the Nazis.” The passages were from two books published by Iranian foundations. Girls, meanwhile, were told to limit their involvement in physical activities and to instead engage in hobbies that would prepare them to become mothers and wives.
Reuters – May 16, 2011
Muslim creationists are currently touring France preaching against evolution and claiming the Qur’an predicts many modern scientific discoveries.
Followers of Harun Yahya, a well-financed Turkish publisher of popular Islamic books, held four conferences at Muslim centers in the Paris area at the weekend with more scheduled in six other cities.
Harun Yahya, one of the most prolific publishers in the Muslim world, gave proudly secularist France a scare in January 2007 by mass-mailing thousands of free copies of his “Atlas of Creation” to schools and libraries across the country.
The Education Ministry quickly ordered headmasters to seize and hide copies of the large format book. It followed up with a special seminar to train teachers how to counter a small but growing group of pupils who challenge evolution with creationist theories. In October 2007, with strong French support, the Council of Europe denounced the creationist views laid out in the “Atlas of Creation” as a religious assault on science and human rights.
“People who defend evolution can’t accept the existence of a Creator,” Sadun said at La Reussite (“Success”), one of the few Muslim-run private schools in France.
“Life is not the result of chance, it’s the creation of a higher power, which of course is Allah,” he said in fluent French, adding that the confiscation of the “Atlas of Creation” was similar to book-burnings staged by the Nazis in the 1930s.
A teacher at the La Reussite meeting said French educators called him an Islamic fundamentalist for his creationist views, but he thought they were actually secularist fundamentalists.
15 October 2010
Having seen the disastrous consequences of virulent anti-Semitism firsthand, Germany must lead the fight against Europe’s rising intolerance towards Muslims, writes The Local’s Marc Young in this op-ed: “Let me be painfully clear here — I am in no way equating the persecution Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis with the anti-Muslim sentiment now simmering in modern, democratic Germany. However, just as it was once acceptable to badmouth Jews and scapegoat them for society’s ills — in Germany as well as Western democracies like America and Britain — millions of law-abiding, well-integrated Muslims are now being targeted unfairly.”
Radical leftwing groups are currently on a crusade against German flags — displayed around the country in support of the German football team — to fight nationalism and stirring “Nazi-emotions” in the Germans. The irony of the battle is that most victims whose flags are destroyed or burnt are of Turkish or Arab background.
In Berlin, shop owner Ibrahim Bassal displayed a massive German flag reaching from the fifth floor nearly down to street level. Autonomists came to his shop and urged him to take it down, but he says: “He have been living and working in Germany for years, our kids are born here. What’s the problem? Of course we support Germany. What does that have to do with the Nazis?”
German and European anti-Semites of the 19th century, who paved the way for the Nazis, and enemies of Islam in the 21st century employ similar mechanisms. Historian Wolfgang Benz, who is the director of the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism in Berlin, sees significant parallels between the two supremacist movements. Concepts of the enemy are always constructions following certain principles; they distinguish between good (oneself) and evil (the “other”/external) as a basis for exclusion and putting the blame on a specific group.
19th century anti-Semites have managed to make their racist and deathly pseudo-theories public and to convince a significant number of people with fraud documents such as the fake “Protocols of the elders of Zion”, which were supposed to give evidence for an alleged Jewish world conspiracy. Today, Benz argues, the public should be more aware of these mechanisms and be able to unmask them. But still many people are ready to condemn Islam as “evil” on the grounds of a minority that is extremist. They spread irrational fears of a “foreign power” that takes over the society from within and with the help of demographics – arguments that were also used under Nazi rule when Jews were not allowed to procreate. Benz calls for actively remembering the consequences of the construction of enmities.
Radical Islamic terrorism is becoming a more multifaceted and concrete threat to Germany.
“Islamist terrorism continues to be a real threat to Germans,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Tuesday in Berlin at the release of the 2008 report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an agency that monitors all forms of extremism in the country. Germany, Schaeuble said, is home to “a considerable Islamist personnel potential that also includes German Muslim converts.” An increasing number have been traveling to the border region shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan to receive training in al-Qaida-run terrorist camps, spy agencies have learned. Heinz Fromm, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the government agency that compiled the 303-page report, spoke of a “new quality” of radical Islamic threats directed at Germany. “We are seeing more video threats that are addressing Germany and its military engagement in Afghanistan directly, and they are increasingly in German,” he said. Many videos are also aimed at recruiting Muslims in Germany for jihad, Fromm added. Berlin has some 4,000 troops stationed with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In past years, authorities have foiled several attack plots in Germany that were aimed at protesting the country’s military involvement there.
But it’s not just radical Islamic terrorism that poses a security threat for Germany. The total number of right-wing extremist crimes in 2008 — a figure that also includes inciting racial hatred and spreading neo-Nazi propaganda material — shot up by 15.8 percent to 19,894, with 1,042 of the crimes violent. “The number of neo-Nazis, and this is alarming, has risen again,” Schaeuble said. The report says there are 4,800 neo-Nazis in Germany, up 400 from the previous year. The so-called Autonomous Nationalists, a group of black-clad right-wing extremists, have over the past year clashed repeatedly with left-wing extremists. “They are much more ready to use violence,” Fromm said. And it seems the neo-Nazis are not just clashing with their far-left counterparts. On May Day, a group of roughly 300 neo-Nazis attacked participants of a regular union demonstration with batons and stones — the first neo-Nazi attack on a peaceful demonstration. “That’s an escalation and a new phenomenon,” Fromm said.
The West German city of Cologne experienced two demonstrations today. One was a gathering of several hundred promoters of the extreme right protesting against Muslims in Germany and a planned mosque in Cologne. Several thousand people also gathered for a counter-protest called by politicians, church officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations. No serious incidents were reported. The events were monitored by 5 600 police officers, including police on horseback.
The promoters of the extreme right were convening a so-called “Anti-Islamic Congress”. In their speeches, they called Germany a “dictatorship of political correctness”. Extreme left-wing individuals tried to disrupt the gathering, but police did not let the anarchists reach the neo-Nazis, preventing a repeat of the violence of September 2008 that accompanied the first “Anti-Islamic Congress”. This time police did not permit the right-wing radicals to come near Cologne House and told them they had to hold their event at a different place in Cologne. A march to the Cologne mosque, now under construction and a particular thorn in the side of the neo-Nazis, was also forbidden. Both bans were upheld by first-instance courts and, in the early hours of Saturday, by the German Constitutional Court as well. According to DPA, experts are warning against the neo-Nazis’ “undemocratic and xenophobic ideology.” This was also why the counter-protest of several thousand people took place, refusing “to leave the streets to the brown birds”, a reference to the brown shirts worn by members of the “Hitler Youth”, the erstwhile youth organization of the fascist NSDAP.
“Today’s signal is clear: Democrats are united against right-wing radicalism, racism and instigation,” Reinhard Bütikofer, a member of the German Green Party, told DPA. Mayor Fritz Schramma declared that there is no room in Cologne for an extreme-right ideological platform.
Over 90 Muslim graves were desecrated on Sunday in the central Austrian town of Traun, near Linz, close to the Czech border. The gravestones were knocked over and in certain cases painted with black spray paint, Austrian security authorities said in a statement. Jewish symbols such as the star of David were also painted on the graves, as well as “Menorah” or Jewish candelabra. Austrian authorities suspect right-wing extremist neo-Nazis were responsible for the violence. The cemetery’s undertaker said a sticker of a right-wing organisation was removed from the entrance of the cemetery last week. The incident took place the same day as two far-right political parties made substantial gains in Austria’s parliamentary election. At the weekend the far-right Freedom Party and the New Alliance for the Future of Austria received a combined 29.1 percent of the vote. The Social Democrats won the polls with 30 percent but they and the conservative People’s Party suffered their worst results since 1945.