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Islamisation and Cowardice in Scandinavia
As German journalist Henryk Broder put it after the 2006 riots over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad: "Objectively speaking, the cartoon controversy was a tempest in a teacup. But subjectively it was a show of strength and, in the context of the 'clash of civilisations,' a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The Muslims demonstrated how quickly and effectively they can mobilise the masses, and the free West showed that it has nothing to counter the offensive -- nothing but fear, cowardice and an overriding concern about the balance of trade. Now the Islamists know that they are dealing with a paper tiger whose roar is nothing but a tape recording."
In 2008, three years after the cartoons were first published, the matter is still very much alive in the minds of many Muslims. More than 200 lawmakers shouted "Death to the enemies of Islam" during an angry demonstration outside the Afghan parliament, protesting the reprinting of the cartoons in Denmark and the release of the Islam-critical film Fitna by the Dutch politician Wilders. At the same time, Danish aid is helping schools to re-open in Afghanistan, even though critics say the curriculum is based on fundamentalist Islam. A campaign to boycott Danish and Dutch products was launched in Jordan. The campaign will include ads in newspapers and on radio and television that urge consumers to avoid buying named goods. The organisation, "The Messenger of Allah Unites Us," have produced t-shirts, bumper stickers and posters with the campaign logo "Live without it."
"[Danish] Muslim organisations intend to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights," Muslim leader Mohammed Khalid Samha told IslamOnline, the large English language website founded by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, after a Danish court rejected a suit by seven Muslim groups. "We were quite sure that the Danish judiciary would not be fair to Muslims," said Samha. Meanwhile, two Tunisian men were arrested and charged with plotting the murder of Jyllands-Posten cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
As Bruce Bawer, author of the book While Europe Slept, puts it in the essay Courage and Cowardice in Scandinavia from June 2008, following a bomb in Pakistan targeting Denmark:
"When a car bomb exploded outside Denmark's embassy in Islamabad on June 2, killing eight, it was easy to guess who had done it and why. Sure enough, some days later al-Qaeda took credit and confirmed its motive: the now-infamous Muhammed cartoons. Originally published in the Jyllands-Posten daily on September 30, 2005, they were reprinted by a raft of Danish dailies last February 13 in a show of solidarity with turban-bomb cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, the target of three would-be assassins who had been arrested the day before. Presumably this rather surprising action — the Danish media, generally speaking, have given Jyllands-Posten a rough time for the past three years for upsetting the Muslims — was the immediate cause for the bombing."
In contrast to Denmark's defiance, other Scandinavian countries surrendered to Islamic pressure as fast as humanly possible. Bawer again:
"Sweden took another route. When a political website featured a Jyllands-Posten cartoon, the government sent police to close it down. More recently, hit with his own cartoon crisis involving artist Lars Vilks, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt not only met Muslim ambassadors, but was praised by one for his 'spirit of appeasement.' Norway didn't cover itself in glory, either. On the pretext that a tiny newspaper, Magazinet, had reprinted the Jyllands-Posten cartoons (never mind that major dailies in Spain, Germany, and France had done so as well), the cartoon jihadists chose to target Norway as well, plainly betting that the dialogue-happy, UN-worshipping 'peace country' would curb its freedoms at the first hint of Muslim displeasure. They were right. Norway's government caved in ignominiously, holding a press conference on February 10, 2006, at which Magazinet's cowed editor, Vebjørn Selbekk, with the blessing of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, grovelled before a posse of imams and apologised to them for exercising his freedom of speech. It was probably the most disgraceful day in modern Norwegian history, but you wouldn't know it by the politicians and journalists, who celebrated this selling out of freedom as a triumph of peacemaking."
Selbekk, editor of the small Christian newspaper Magazinet, had firmly resisted pressure from Muslims who had made death threats and from the Norwegian establishment. But eventually Norway's Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion Bjarne Håkon Hanssen hastily called a press conference at a major government office building in Oslo. There Selbekk issued an abject apology for reprinting the cartoons. At his side, accepting his act of contrition and asking that all threats now be withdrawn, was Mohammed Hamdan, the then head of Norway's Islamic Council. As Bawer indicates, it was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom, with the Muslim leader declaring Selbekk to be henceforth under his protection.
"Trondheim's Adresseavisen daily ran a cartoon which, though not depicting Muhammed, angered 'moderate' Muslim lawyer Abid Q. Raja, who – apparently feeling that Adresseavisen had obeyed the word but not the spirit of the Magazinet accords – argued that the cartoon shouldn't have been published because it would be 'misunderstood' by Muslims. Pakistani ambassador Rab Nawaz Khan agreed, calling the cartoon an 'act of terror' that can 'endanger the lives of Norwegian citizens.' When a cartoon is terrorism and a bomb is a form of expression, you're in Orwell country. Yet the star of the moment was Norwegian novelist Dag Solstad, who only days before the bombing delivered what you might call Norway's version of Rowan Williams's sharia lecture. Solstad didn't go in for sharia explicitly – instead, he made the argument that free speech is actually undesirable, since it drowns meritorious works (such as his novels, presumably) in a sea of vulgarity (a category to which he relegated the Muhammed cartoons). Solstad's colleagues offered polite demurrals."
Our Offensive National Flag
Jeremy Clarkson heads the program “Top Gear” at the BBC, one of the funniest shows on TV. Since it has absolutely nothing to do with politics or religion, only with cars, it is one of the very few programs at the Burka Broadcasting Corporation still worth seeing.
I have to disagree with Clarkson regarding the English national flag, though. Discrediting national flags as signs of “bigotry” is happening all over the Western world.
And no, you are not being robbed of pride in your national heritage because of your colonial history. I’m Norwegian. We don’t have a colonial history, yet we are still subject to similar attacks. They don’t do this because you are English, they do this because you are Westerners and — dare I say? — white. British colonial history is just a convenient excuse.
From the Times Online, “We’ve been robbed of our Englishness”:
Today, things are rather different. Mention the war and you’ll be told by an outreach counsellor that we must empathise with the Germans, who are coming to terms with their mistakes of the past. “And you know, children, it was actually the British who invented concentration camps . . .”
Empire? When I was at school, teachers spoke with pride about how a little island in the north Atlantic turned a quarter of the world pink, but now all teachers talk about is the slave trade and how we must hang our heads in shame.
Right. So we must forgive Germany for invading Poland. But I must beat myself to death every night because my great-great-great-grandad moved some chap from a hellhole in Ghana to Barbados. In fact I can’t even say we’re British any more because then all of Scotland would rush over the border, pour porridge down my trousers and push a thistle up my bottom.
I believe people need to feel like they’re part of a gang, part of a tribe. And I also believe we need to feel pride in our gang. But all we ever hear now is that we in England have nothing to be proud about. In a world of righteousness we are the child molesters and rapists.
Our soldiers were murderers. Our empire builders were thieves. Our class system was ridiculous and our industrial revolution set in motion a chain of events that, eventually, will kill every polar bear in the Arctic.
And it gets so much worse. Because if you say you are a patriot, men with beards and sandals will come round to your house in the night and daub BNP slogans on your front door. This is the only country in the world where the national flag is deemed offensive […]
Then there’s our national character. In the past, boys were told in school assembly that their mothers had died and were expected to get over it in a nice game of rugby. Crying only happened abroad. Not any more. We were ordered to weep like Americans when Diana died, and no local news report is complete today without some fat oik sobbing because his house has fallen over[…]
Do you see? We can’t be proud of our past because it’s all bad, we can’t use British humour because it’s offensive and we can’t use understatement to deal with a crisis because the army of state-sponsored counsellors say we’ve got to sob uncontrollably at every small thing.
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