Why does eastern Europe have less Islamic terror attacks?
This is a very interesting question and one poised in my own mind a lot. Why do Eastern European countries have less, significantly less, Islamic terrorist attacks? Many would say that it is because they have significantly less Muslim’s living in their countries. What the Poles have realised is that there is a correlation between the number of Muslims in a country and the number of terror attacks a country has to suffer.
Sound racist? Maybe just stating the obvious? Douglas Murray raises this very question:
Of course, any connection between the mass influx of people into Europe and the terrorism and other societal problems to which the continent is waking up every day is still frowned upon.
Indeed, there is no faster way to be thrown out of what remains of polite society than suggesting that the immigration and the terrorism may be linked. Yet the link is obvious. For sure there are those who over-egg the point. The Stockholm attacker from April was a recent arrival in that country. As were the axe-wielding train attacker last northern summer in Wurzburg, Germany, and the suicide bomber in Ansbach, Germany, that same month.
But then the Paris attackers from November 2015 included people born and brought up in France and Belgium.
So while some of the terrorists may have just arrived, others were born in Europe.
This fact is not quite as soothing as the proponents of weak borders and mass immigration would like it to be. For if Europe is doing such a bad job of integrating people who are already here, then who but a madman would seek to propel immigration from Muslim countries to such a historic high? The question goes unanswered because in Europe’s immigration debate it is still very rarely asked.
Murray makes the point that if we wish less Islamic terrorism we should have less Islam. Is this not the conclusion the Eastern Europeans have come to?
by Daniel Pipes Washington Times WARSAW – On being designated prime minister of Poland last December, Mateusz Morawiecki made the extraordinary statement that he and his government want to “transform [the European Union], to re-Christianize it.”
Struck by this grand vision of Poland’s destiny, and particularly interested in the near-total ban on Muslim migrants (Morawiecki again: “we will not accept migrants from the Middle East and North Africa in Poland”), I just spent a week in Warsaw to understand why that country differs so sharply from Western Europe and what this implies.
I found a raging debate over the country’s civilizationist (usually and inaccurately known as “far-right”) party, called Law and Justice (PiS, pronounced peace). More precisely, Poles disagree on: Did PiS foment or respond to anti-Muslim feelings?
The leading Polish nobleman Stanislaw Szczuka (1654-1710), in a Sarmatian outfit.
PiS critics portray it (like other civilizationist parties) as riding imaginary fears and specious emotions to political power. Other than the 1683 siege of Vienna, they point to Poles’ historic good relations with Muslims, including seven centuries of exemplary ties with the tiny Turkic-speaking body of Muslims living in Poland, the Lipka Tatars; the Polish nobility’s romantic notions of their Iranian (“Sarmatian“) origin; the Ottoman Empire refusing to recognize the partition of Poland; and PiS itself warmly welcoming Chechen immigrants to Poland in the early 2000s.In this interpretation, PiS and compliant media raised the specter of violence and other tensions concerning Muslims in Western Europe, scaring sufficient numbers of Poles that it could form the first single-party government of the post-Communist era. Critics argue that PiS demagoguery debases and endangers Polish democracy while undermining the European Union.
PiS supporters reverse this account. In their telling, a steady diet of news from Western Europe of jihadi violence, taharrush, “grooming” gangs, honor killings, female genital mutilation, criminal activity, welfare fraud, and cultural aggression prompted a demand from below for the party to adopt an anti-immigration and -Islamization platform. The Merkel Tsunami of 2015-16, with its million-plus Muslims walking through Europe, frightened Poles. Accordingly, some 75 percent of them reject Muslim immigration. So, even if PiS’ main rival reaches power, they note, the Muslim ban will stay.
Of these two interpretations, I find the second far more convincing. PiS is no more responsible for the fears of immigration and Islamization than Europe’s other civilizationist parties, such as Austria’s Freedom Party or Italy’s League. They all respond to a growing unease, mainly from the bottom of the socio-economic spectrum. They represent Europeans who fear for their civilization.
That said, there is much to criticize about PiS. It lavishes money on welfare payments the government cannot afford and has adopted the idea of “dependent market economies” from the anti-capitalist economic theorist Thomas Piketty. In a surprising nod to the Communist past, PiS wants to make the state more powerful, for example, by taking control of the judiciary. It engages in conspiracy theories (especially about the airplane disaster in Smolensk in April 2010). It sponsored the idiotic law that would land someone in jail for referring to “Polish death camps” then made things worse by talking about “Jewish perpetrators” of the Holocaust. (Though, under international pressure, it did back track last week on the threat of prison.)
Noting these problems, I maintain that the party should be educated and monitored, not demonized, so it can learn from its errors while protecting the country from the potentially existential threat of Islam’s intrinsic drive for power.
Why have Poles responded so differently from Western Europeans to Muslim migration? The homogeneity of the country and its precarious history (it disappeared from the map for over a century) are both factors but what I found decisive was Poles coming late to the game, seeing the massive errors of their western neighbors, and resolving not to repeat those.
No Sarmatians here: Pictures, such as this one from 2015, are what most changed Polish opinion. Note the near-absence of women and children.
What are the long-term implications of excluding Muslim migrants? That Poland avoids Western Europe’s looming crisis. As countries, starting with Italy, try to control their borders and expel illegal migrants, tension, insurrection, and violence will follow. In contrast, Poland (and its former Soviet-bloc neighbors) will sit out that crisis and may take in expatriates from Western Europe.
Though those expatriates head primarily to Australia, Canada, and the United States, Poland might soon – given its proximity, personal security, and inexpensive cost-of-living – become an attractive destination, especially for pensioners and for Jews, singled out as targets in Europe’s West but increasingly safe in Poland.
So, while the EU won’t be re-Christianized anytime soon, neither will Poland be Islamized.
If you have not read Murry’s book you should buy it right away as it is one of the most significant works in recent years. In this video, he goes through what is happening in Europe today and gives a very clear analysis (as usual) of the consequences of mass (uncontrolled) immigration of peoples that hold to cultural and ethical mores that are contrary to Western liberal democracies. As Murray points out, do we think that people shed deep-rooted beliefs and values?
Under the rules, swimmers – including non-Muslims – are barred from entering the pool in normal swimming attire. Instead they are told that they must comply with the “modest” code of dress required by Islamic custom, with women covered from the neck to the ankles and men, who swim separately, covered from the navel to the knees.
I am sure many remember this article from the Telegraph from 2009 describing how British swim centres are coming under Sharia law – all at taxpayers expense. I went back and read this piece again since it had been on my mind after taking my son to a swimming gala held by Swim Ulster. It reminded me of my times in Muslim majority countries where most things were gender segregated and what we would see as normal social interaction is virtually non-existent.
It also reminded me of a business meeting I had in Freetown Sierra Leone with a Lebanese businesswoman (dressed in Western clothing) refused to shake my hand when the meeting concluded. This surprised me because Muslim women that do not adhere to Islamic dress codes usually have no problems with shaking the hand of a man. I talked to the friend that introduced me (a Muslim himself) what the issue was and he just laughed and commented that she was torn between Islamic culture and western culture and felt the clothes were acceptable, i.e. no head covering, but the handshake was going too far.
When you travel you expect such things and even in the UK you expect it when you see a Muslim woman adhering to Muslim dress code. What you don’t expect in the UK, or in Europe, is that the Muslim dress code being imposed on non-Muslims in a public setting. We have the attitude that if a person wants to dress in a certain way go for it (if it is their own choice and not imposed on them by peer or family pressure). What we don’t expect in the UK is that publically funded facilities enforce Muslim dress code on anyone.
After all Sharia law is not the law of the land the last time I checked. Yet we see this increasingly more common and we must ask the question where does it stop? For example, am I going to be told that I can’t put ham in my children’s lunches because it would offend Muslim pupils? It is already happening in some parts of the UK and do we expect it to spread as the influence os Sharia law increases in the UK?
updated Jul 31, 2017A French publication reports on this recent development: “A swimming pool off-limits to men, with an exclusively female staff, and smoked windows. It’s not in Saudi Arabia but in France, in the fine town of Lille.” More interesting yet, this swimming pool is not a private concern but one of only four sponsored by the Lille municipality – which, by the way, has a woman mayor, Martine Aubry. “It’s a matter of modesty” explains a spokesman for the municipality, noting also that the women-only rules apply only during certain hours. A sign of things to come? (June 15, 2003)
Dec. 4, 2003 update: A half year later, the Lille swimming pool continues to provoke discussion and confusion. Agence France-Presse reports today Jean-Marc Ayrault, parliamentary head of the Socialist party and mayor of Nantes, saying that “the rule is mixing the sexes” in municipal facilities. But while he himself refused to accede to Muslim demands for sex-segregated sessions at the pools, he also refused to condemn the actions of the socialist mayor of Lille for permitting just that.
Dec. 12, 2003 update: The nearby town of Mons-en-Baroeul has ended the scheduled hours reserved for Muslim women in its municipal pool, in place since 1996. This decision was taken in September 2003, a result of the French national debate on “laïcism and the wearing of veils.”
Sohad Sarhan, left, and Manal Elsay cover the windows at North Seattle’s Meadowbrook Pool before the “Muslim Sister Swim” begins.
Sharkansky correctly points out that, as such, the center “should strictly comply with non-discrimination guidelines. Nevertheless, the Muslim Sister Swim is open exclusively to Muslims, no infidel women need apply. I asked a representative of the North Seattle Family Center to explain this, and she told me that it was to respect these immigrant women’s culture.”
Sharkansky concludes that “if there’s ever a reason for taxpayer dollars to be used to support an immigrant’s culture, it should be to support them in learning to shed whatever aspects of their culture are incompatible with American culture. The last thing we need to teach immigrants is to expect publicly-subsidized religious apartheid.” July 29, 2017 update: See “Seattle woman-only swims: No, it’s open to anyone female” for a major change.
Dawn Elmezyen, right, and her daughter Melanie Willis, 12, get ready to swim at the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center by covering the windows.
July 24, 2006 update: The Cook/Douglass Recreation Center pool at Rutgers University, a taxpayer-funded institution, has instituted Muslim women-only hours for two hours on Sundays. Swimmers pay $5 for each session, half of which goes to support the Noor-Ul-Iman School.
Dec. 9, 2006 update: The Thornton Heath Leisure Centre, a municipal facility in Croydon, a distant part of London, not only has women-only hours but also men-only hours. And, if that weren’t enough, Thornton Heath requires all swimmers during those gender-segregated hours to wear Muslim-style swimming gear. Yes, by decree of the Croydon Council, for two hours on Sunday afternoon swimming shorts that hide the navel and extend below the knee are de rigeur for men. And when it’s women’s hours, the swimming gear must cover from neck to ankle.
Some members responded furiously. “I turned up and saw a sign saying it was closing early for Muslim afternoon – I couldn’t believe it,” commented Daniel Foley, 44. “I think it is preposterous that a council should be encouraging this type of segregation over municipal facilities,” said Alex Craig, 34. “It seems the issue here is over modesty. Surely if Muslims want to swim then they should just turn up with their modest swimwear at the same time as everyone else. To make a special provision for them is just ridiculous and strikes me as imposing an ‘Us and them’ mentality which is wrong.”
In contrast, the Croydon Mosque thought Muslim-garb swimming sessions a grand idea. Its spokesman said: “Muslims are not allowed to show intimate parts of their body. This is non-negotiable. Muslims have as much right to go swimming as anyone else.” And a spokesman for Croydon Council said: “We are not giving preference to any one group but simply taking practical steps to create access to all.”
Apr. 17, 2008 update: So far, all the incidents have concerned keeping men and women apart; presumably, non-Muslims could swim in their gender-appropriate session. Now comes news from the Clissold Leisure Centre in Stoke Newington, East London, that a corporate lawyer, David Toube, and his 10-year-old son, Harry, were denied entrance to a pool because of not being Muslim. To their surprise, they had encountered the “men-only modesty session” taking place every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. at the municipal pool, which at least two websites advertise as being for Muslim men only. Toube recounts what happened when he turning up at 9 a.m. on April 13:
I arrived at the pool to discover that they were holding what staff described to me as “Muslim men-only swimming.” I asked whether my son and I could go as we were both male. I was told that the session was for Muslims only and that we could not be admitted. I asked to speak to the duty manager, who confirmed that this was the case. … I asked what would happen if I turned up and insisted I was Muslim. The manager suggested that they might ask the Muslims swimming if they minded my son and I swimming with them. If they didn’t object, we might be allowed in.
Clissold Leisure Centre later apologized. “Staff cannot ask your religion on entrance and you won’t be refused entry if you don’t appear to be Muslim.”
Nov. 12, 2008 update: Under pressure initiated by a Somali Muslim female immigrant, Lul Abdulle, the Portland, Oregon, municipality has agreed to set aside two men- and women-only hours each weekend at the Buckman Pool, complete with same-gender lifeguards. The sessions began in October. So far, however, the turnout has been small. The city is giving the program three to six months and then will assess it.
Jun. 22, 2009 update: Municipal swimming pools in Helsinki, Finland, have “Muslims-only” hours – but all are welcome. Helsingin Sanomat reports:
Teemu Raatikainen, the head of the Jakomäki public pool, says that Finns have also come to the pool during Muslims-only hours. He notes that it is not possible to check up on a customer’s religious affiliation. “We have not asked about it. We have trusted that customers know what times they are coming to.
The decision to reserve specific times for Muslim women was a controversial one in Jakomäki. “In principle, there is no impediment to common times for swimming. The woman’s religion is of no consequence. Islam teaches that a Muslim woman must not be naked in front of another woman”, says Pia Jardi of the Finnish Islamic Council. Finns are used to a different kind of modesty culture and these pool shifts make things easier on both sides. Following the rules is up to the individual. Islam gives the guidelines, that some people follow, and others do not.”
The initiative for hours reserved for Muslim women came from an association operating at the Jakomäki shopping centre seven years ago, and finally went before the Sports Department of the City of Helsinki. The reserved times have been very popular, although some problems have emerged. “A few fights between people of different nationalities have been reported in the showers.”
Aug. 16, 2009 update: Thornton Heath Leisure Centre is hardly unique in requiring Muslim-style swimming gear (see the Dec. 9, 2006 update, above); the Sunday Telegraph published a survey of British pools with such provisions.
Scunthorpe Leisure Centre, North Lincolnshire: signs indicate that swimmers “must follow the required dress code for this session (T-shirts and shorts/leggings that cover below the knee).”
Woodside Leisure Centre, Glasgow: a local mosque group organizes a men-only swimming session which requires suits that cover from navel to knee.
Blackbird Leys Swimming Pool, Oxford: to encourage Muslim women to learn to swim, most participants at a women-only class wear “modest” outfits, though normal suits are permitted.
Loxford School in Ilford, east London: at weekly sessions for Muslim men, “it is compulsory for the body to be covered between the navel and the knees. Anyone not adhering to the dress code or rules within the pool will not be allowed to swim.”
Labour MP Anne Cryer (West Yorkshire) asks the obvious question: “I can’t see why special clothing is needed for what is a single-sex session.”
The Muslim-only sessions at Thornton Heath prompted one Croydon resident, Alex Craig, 34, to comment that “it is preposterous that a council should be encouraging this type of segregation over municipal facilities. Surely if Muslims want to swim then they should just turn up with their modest swimwear at the same time as everyone else.”
A press officer at the Croydon council said that the wording on its website is wrong, that the modest dress code is a suggestion, not a requirement. Indeed, the website was subsequently changed to remove references to a dress code. In contrast, an official at Thornton Heath insisted that the dress code is compulsory.
Aug. 17, 2009 update: The Sunday Telegraph garnered so much attention that the Croydon councilfelt compelled to remove the notorious guidelines requiring that non-Muslim swimmers cover up at a public pool (“During special Muslim sessions, male costumes must cover the body from the navel to the knee and females must be covered from the neck to the ankles and wrists”).
Of interest: The Croydon Mosque and Islamic Centre said it never asked for this regulation. According to Shuaib Yusaf, “If it was designated as a Muslim session to encourage Muslim women to come along, to that extent I could see a degree of merit in it.”
The Islam Democrats in the Hague municipal council denounced the municipality decision to cancel separate swimming. The mayor and aldermen said that people should meet other other while exercising, also men and women. But the supporters of separate swimming, used mostly by Muslim women, said the decision was symbol-politics.
May 12, 2010 update: Tundra Tabloids reports that public Helsinki swimming pools offer lessons specifically for Muslim girls.
July 5, 2010 update: The city council in Walsall, England put a film over windows at the Darlaston Leisure Centre after Muslim women complained about being seen. Which action upset non-Muslims. One of them says the pool has now lost its “pleasant views and open air feel.” Another says she is angry at the “very high-handed” way the council dealt with the matter: “It had lovely views before, now it is like before I had my cataract operation done – a cloudy effect.”
Clear glass panes at the lower end of the pool’s outer wall have been covered with a film to prevent onlookers from seeing in
Sep. 16, 2010 update: Here’s something new – not Muslim getting special treatment but non-Muslims having to submit to the Shari’a in Australia’s Victoria State.
Families are being ordered to cover up before attending a public event to avoid offending Muslims during next year’s Ramadan. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has approved a ban on uncovered shoulders and thighs for a community event to be held at the Dandenong Oasis, a municipal pool. “Participants aged 10 and over must ensure their bodies are covered from waist to knee and the entire torso extending to the upper arms,” a request by Dandenong City Council and the YMCA states in an exemption application to the Equal Opportunities Act. “Participants must not wear transparent clothing.”
The request has been approved by VCAT and applies to a family event to be held at the pool next August. “The applicant intends this to be an event where people of all races and religions and ages may attend, use the Centre’s facilities and socialise together,” VCAT notes. “The holy month of Ramadan has a particular focus on families and the applicant wishes to encourage families to attend and socialise together with others. The minimum dress requirements are set having regard to the sensitivities of Muslims who wish to participate in the event.”
The ban on skimpy clothes will apply between 6.15 and 8.15pm on August 21 next year, a time when the pool is closed to the public and normally used by a Muslim women’s swimming group. The ban was yesterday compared by the Human Rights Commissioner Helen Szoke to a ban on thongs in a pub. “Matters such as this are not easy to resolve and require a balance to be achieved between competing rights and obligations,” she said. “Dress codes are not uncommon: eg singlets, jeans, thongs etc in pubs/hotels.”
Sherene Hassan, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Victoria, said she didn’t support the dress restrictions. “My preference would be that no dress code is stipulated,” Ms Hassan said. But Liberty Victoria said the ban was reasonable because the event was to be held out of hours. A spokeswoman for the City of Greater Dandenong said the ban would help Muslims feel part of the community.
Oct. 17, 2010 update: An entire class at the Borgtun school in Tromsø, Norway, must adapt to male-female segregated sports classes on account of a solitary Muslim student. The school administration took this step when the parents of a Muslim girl asked to exempt her from gym and swimming classes due to the family’s religious beliefs, choosing instead to separate boys and girls in these two classes for her grade level.
Nov. 16, 2011 update: Columbia Association, a municipal organization in the Baltimore, Md., area, has programmed woman-only swim times, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at the Columbia Swim Center in the Wilde Lake Village Center, one of the 23 swimming pools it operates in Howard County. The Baltimore Sun article includes a round-up of other cases, one previously unknown to this blog: “New York City’s recreation and parks department offers a women-only swim time at the Metropolitan Recreation Center.
Apr. 6, 2013 update: Chris (who did not give his last name), 38 and a single father, signed his 9-year-old daughter for lessons in “Ultra Swim 1: Female class.” a nine-week course offered for free at the Dennis R. Timbrell Recreation Centre pool in Flemingdon Park (in the greater Toronto area). He learned on March 28 and again on April 4 that blinds would prevent him from watching her practice. When he protested, he was told this is for “religious reasons.” Chris related that he spoke to a staff member and “she told me that it’s because of Muslim women, that we’re not allowed to look at them or whatever.”
The city aquatics manager, Anne Jackson, indicated that the Timbrell pool also has a male-only swim course where only men can watch – no mothers allowed. She also said that nine pools in Toronto have female-only swim programs and all of them disallow fathers and other men from watching.
July 9, 2013 update: From swimming pools to tennis courts, the Shari’a advances step by step: Today we learn of women-only tennis sessions in Blackburn, England, though at private, not municipal courts. But must municipal courts be not far behind?
A women-only tennis morning has been launched in Blackburn. Women can play on the private outdoor courts, at Crosshill Tennis Club, Corporation Park, every Tuesday, at 10.30am. The privacy of the courts makes them suitable for Muslim women, director Waqar Hussain said, although everybody is welcome. He said: “The local women wanted something to do, and somewhere private, something without a car, and in the local area.”
Mr Hussain said he welcomed the debate on the clash between tennis rules and Islam. The Women’s Tennis Association rules said players should not wear sweatshirts, sweat pants, T-shirts, jeans, or cut-offs. … Mr Hussain said: “One or two members used to be very good and used to play in tracksuit bottoms and headscarves. This group is mums knocking a ball about, not doing much running, so they don’t necessarily need to dress up.”
Nov. 30, 2013 update: The provision of a men-only swim time at a municipal pool appears to have sufficed to provide legal cover for a women-only time in Tukwila, Washington State.
March 7, 2016 update: Special hours for women is one thing; destroying the possibility of swimming in public pools quite another. Ingrid Carlqvist documents the latter at “Sweden: Sexual Assaults at Swimming Pools.” The surge of illegal immigration to Sweden has led to young male asylum seekers turning public swimming pools “into ordeals of rape and sexual assault.” Carlqvist provides copious examples of these.
In addition, because of the Islamic ban on nudity, “young Muslim men refuse to take a shower before bathing, and keep their underwear on under their swim trunks,” leading to problems of hygiene in the pools. When they are told to take off their underwear, the Muslims sometime disobey. In one indoor park, Aq-va-kul, “youth gangs smashed the interior, threw objects in the water and threatened other patrons. Aq-va-kul was closed, and the pool was drained and cleaned of shattered glass. A few days later the pool was reopened, but it closed permanently to the public in 2015. Now the facility has been renovated, but is only open to competitive swimmers and swim clubs.”
the number and characteristics of people who live in a particular area or form a particular group, especially in relation to their age, how much money they have and what they spend it on
I have to admit that up until about five years ago demographics was one of those subjects that sounded as if you never wanted to look into unless you were in marketing because the whole concept seemed so dry and boring. Yet after living overseas for so long the concept gradually entered my consciousness and I began to realise that this is something that will change our culture forever.
Being based in Belfast in Northern Ireland, which is the smallest province of the UK by far we are probably 10 years behind the `mainland’ (as we call the rest of the UK) when it comes to the changes in society. We have started to see immigration but not to the extent that the rest of the UK has seen so in reality, we are in many ways insulated to the whole `multicultural’ debate.
For my family and I, we are a bit different as we would be seen as the perfect example of multiculturalism because my wife and I are from two very different cultures (one being an Ulster Scot and the other from an Asian heritage), our children being a product of two ethnic and cultural backgrounds and traditions. Yet our children are just like every other teenager in the UK and the cultural differences of their parents are not even a topic of discussion as it is taken for granted and accepted. Our children do not see themselves as any different from any of their peers because they are not. They grew up in the UK and they are British but British with an Asian influence in the way they think and act.
How will demographics change our children’s lives?
I am no stranger to different cultures and religions as I have lived and worked in Asia, Africa and the Middle East (with a lot of time spent in Mulsim Majority countries). So I do not bat an eyebrow when I see people dressed in different cultural or religious dress. Being used to seeing women with head coverings, whether it is the Hijab, Niqab or the Burkar (although you can see from this link there are more than just three versions of the Muslim women’s headdress) so most times I do not give women who wear them a second thought.
Yet the rise in women wearing them in the UK gives rise to many worries concerning what this means for the future of our children, but especially for their children. The reason these questions have been on my mind particularly the past weekend was the sight of two Somalian women on one of my local streets, near my daughters swimming classes. Unlike most in the UK that are not of Somali origin, I know a little about Somalian culture as I lived and worked there in recent years.
A book everyone should read
What struck me was not that I was seeing two Somalia women dressed in full Muslim attire on the streets of Belfast (the sight is becoming more and more common) but the number of children that accompanied the two women (approximately ten I would guess). I don’t know why this stuck in my mind this day but it did and I started to run over in my mind Douglas Murray’s book The Strange Death of Europe.
Murry is one of the clearest thinkers and commentators in Europe today and having lived in many Muslim majority countries (many of which provide us with the majority of the Muslim migrants coming into Europe today), I find his commentary and arguments very persuasive.
After starting thinking of demographics and Murray’s commentary on the cultural and social suicide of Europe because of mass Islamic migration (a huge change in our demographics); I went with my son to the last swimming gala of the year (as at 14 years of age he is just coming good as a competitive swimmer). I was acting as a volunteer turn judge for the Swim Ulster gala and I could not get out of my mind would we see such gala’s in Europe in 50 years time. Seems a strange thing to be thinking about but today I am wondering if it is so strange. According to a recent Pew Report:
Europe’s Growing Muslim Population Muslims are projected to increase as a share of Europe’s population – even with no future migration
According to this report, the UK has just over four million Muslims (6.3% of the population), but of course, with regional variations, i.e. certain parts of the country have denser concentrations of Muslims. What struck me this past weekend was the growing influence of Muslims in the UK and how their culture and ethical norms are slowing being incorporated into British society – slowing replacing our culture and heritage.
It reminds me of a story involving a swimming pool in Luton in 2016 where the local authorities started men only swimming sessions in order to accommodate local Muslim `culture and practice’. The Daily Mail Online reported the issue by quoting a local Imman:
Ajmal Masroor told talk radio that women “prefer a segregated pool where they can enjoy themselves without being an object of desire”.
This goes to the heart of the issue. According to Islam women should cover up because they are an object of men’s lust and thus should not tempt men by revealing any part of their body. It is not the man’s fault that he looks at women in a sexual way but their fault because she did not cover up, thus tempting him. If the reader wants a good Islamic explanation of the purpose of women covering up see Allamah Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi’s article:
I have included an interesting Channel Four debate on women covering up and it is very enlightening. If you look at many of the female defenders of covering up in Islam today you will hear the same rhetoric that is presented in this TV debate. Muslim women cover-up in devotion and obedience to Allah. So to say that they do it by choice is hardly the whole truth.
They do it by choice because they chose to submit to Allah and his prophet. It can hardly be empowering if you are required to do it by Allah and Allah’s word is cast iron – you disobey and you suffer hellfire. It’s like a husband saying to his wife, `you have the choice to obey me or not but if you disobey me I will kill you’. There are choices and there are choices!
The essence of Islam is “Submission to the Will of Allah”, to make one’s opinions, inclinations and actions subservient to the commands of Allah.
”And it is not for a believer man or believer woman to have any choice in their affair when Allah and His Messenger decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, indeed he has strayed a manifest straying.”1
Therefore, if one asks why Hijab or Purdah is necessary, the only proper reply would be, ‘because Allah and His Messenger have so decided’. And that should be the end of all arguments, so far as the believing men and believing women are concerned. But in this age, Hijab has been equated with backwardness of society and is regarded as a symbol of servitude of women.
Many preachers think it is safer to avoid this subject in their lectures. But the Holy Prophet has said: ”When Bid’ats appear and an ‘Alim does not say what he knows (against that Bid’at) then he is cursed by Allah, the angels and the men.” 2 Islam is a compact religion in which all rules and regulations are well-synchronized, and if one wants to tamper with a certain part, the whole system would disintegrate. You have to accept the whole machinery as it is; you cannot choose from it.
According to Islam Muslim women have no choice in the matter if they wish to be obedient to Allah. Allah and the prophet said it, so it is settled. This explains the attitudes of the British Mulsim women in the video. This is frightening, especially when you think of the last words quoted above: `Islam is a compact religion in which all rules and regulations are well-synchronized, and if one wants to tamper with a certain part, the whole system would disintegrate. You have to accept the whole machinery as it is; you cannot choose from it.’ This goes beyond women’s headdress but to every aspect of society and a person’s life.
Are we committing suicide as a society?
Murray is correct when he says that by importing this set of beliefs we are committing cultural and societal suicide and unlike the Muslim migrants we have nowhere to go. Where can our children and grandchildren go?
These questions are asked because our society is already adapting to accommodate 6.3% of the British population and Muslim communities are very focal when it comes to their rights to impose Sharia-based practices in the UK. We have many Islamic/Sharia courts running a parallel legal system in the UK and these are part of the problem of spreading Sharia law in the UK. One Law for All gives a devastating commentary and response to the government’s recent review of the Sharia court system in the UK: Sharia Laws are part of the extremist threat and not a solution. They conclude their criticism in this way:
A forensic examination of the operation of Sharia in Britain lays bare what fundamentalists do to achieve their goals, not merely what they think. We do not accuse them simply of ‘thought crimes’ but of promoting crimes and human rights violations.
The review is a botched attempt at consultation established with flawed terms of reference and an explicit disregard for gender discrimination. The government and the reviewers have failed the women most affected and ignored the concerns of rights advocates.
We will be providing a more detailed submission. Meanwhile, we call on you, as Home Secretary, to ensure that none of the recommendations contained in the review are implemented without consultation with those advocates who are able to make clear connections with extremism, fundamentalism and inequality. The government has, so far, failed in its duty to make an equality impact assessment, which it needs to do with the full weight of evidence before it. Continued indifference to the government’s duty to respect, protect and fulfil human rights will leave us in no doubt that there is no change to the social contract in which women’s rights are traded off as part of a process of appeasement of fundamentalists and extremists.
It seems obvious that this is a perfect example of what Murray means when he calls our politicians cowards.
With the projections showing rapid growth in the Muslim population across Europe (including the UK), it is hard to see a situation where there will not be an increase in the calls for the implementation of more Sharia-based practices and laws that will negatively impact our culture and heritage. Practices and laws that will severely restrict not only our cultural heritage but our freedoms as well.
This is more dangerous than the many terrorist attacks that we face – although evidence is mounting that Islamists use terrorism to play on the cowardice of our politicians who are increasingly giving more and more concessions to Islam. Under no circumstances can we afford to offend Muslims, is this not what we hear nearly every day in the UK and Europe? If we offend them will we not drive them into radicalisation, and we know where that leads to, yes? We offend them, they radicalise, they radicalise and they kill us. So it is better not to offend but to accommodate and give them what they want.
I fear that our children’s children will live in a very different country than what we live in today as our freedoms and way of life is gradually eroded and replaced by Islamic Sharia law. David Wood’s The Three Stages of Jihad seems very adept. As is quoted above:
The essence of Islam is “Submission to the Will of Allah”, to make one’s opinions, inclinations and actions subservient to the commands of Allah.
Are we destined to submit to the will of Allah as defined under Sharia law? Will this be the fate of our grandchildren? It is heartening that the British courts are ruling against gender segregation in the UK: Court of Appeal finds gender segregation can amount to unlawful sex discrimination Yet this is only one of many battles that we face in the UK to protect the long history of individual freedoms that we now have.
Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine whose offices Islamists attacked in 2015, published an editorial recently titled “How Did We Get Here?” that has raised some eyebrows. In it, they ask how Europe has become where European-born Muslims have attacked the hearts of Paris and Brussels. Their answer has proved distasteful to many on the Left.
The editorial has been harshly criticized and the magazine accused of racism and xenophobia. The Washington Post says Charlie Hebdo blames extremism on individual Muslims—the veiled woman on the street, the man selling kebabs. There’s some truth to this accusation, and to the extent that there is, Charlie Hebdo is wrong. But this, and other critiques, miss the larger point of the article, which is to demonstrate the gradual and quotidian way in which criticizing Islam has been silenced.
It’s worth quoting Charlie Hebdo at length:
In reality, the attacks are merely the visible part of a very large iceberg indeed. They are the last phase of a process of cowing and silencing long in motion and on the widest possible scale. Our noses are endlessly rubbed in the rubble of Brussels airport and in the flickering candles amongst the bouquets of flowers on the pavements. All the while, no one notices what’s going on in Saint-German-en-Laye. Last week, Sciences-Po* welcomed Tariq Ramadan. He’s a teacher, so it’s not inappropriate. He came to speak of his specialist subject, Islam, which is also his religion…
No matter, Tariq Ramadan has done nothing wrong. He will never do anything wrong. He lectures about Islam, he writes about Islam, he broadcasts about Islam. He puts himself forward as a man of dialogue, someone open to a debate. A debate about secularism which, according to him, needs to adapt itself to the new place taken by religion in Western democracy. A secularism and a democracy which must also accept those traditions imported by minority communities. Nothing bad in that. Tariq Ramadan is never going to grab a Kalashnikov with which to shoot journalists at an editorial meeting. Nor will he ever cook up a bomb to be used in an airport concourse. Others will be doing all that kind of stuff. It will not be his role. His task, under cover of debate, is to dissuade people from criticising his religion in any way. The political science students who listened to him last week will, once they have become journalists or local officials, not even dare to write nor say anything negative about Islam. The little dent in their secularism made that day will bear fruit in a fear of criticising lest they appear Islamophobic. That is Tariq Ramadan’s task.
The Charlie Hebdo editorial correctly points out that in Europe the dominant liberal culture has pounded into us that we must adapt to Muslims who come to our country, and never ask them to adapt to any of our ways. Doing so would be colonialist and wrong. It’s a double standard, of course. As the welcoming countries, Europeans must suppress their own culture and ideals for those of the Islamic immigrant population. But when they go abroad to non-Western countries, either to live or to visit, it’s considered offensive not to adapt to their ways of life.
Learning a Culture Should Work Both Ways
No one who found the Charlie Hebdo op-ed so offensive would ever suggest Morocco ought to welcome McDonalds or Wal-Mart with open arms. They would say the country is being ruined with Western culture. They want non-Western countries to remain exactly as they are—preserved and frozen in time-while the West must endlessly adapt to anyone who makes it their home.
Europe has failed to ask its Muslim immigrant population to assimilate.
The article highlights the important fact that Europe has failed to ask its Muslim immigrant population to assimilate. This fact was demonstrated recently when police discovered that the only surviving terrorist from the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was able to travel from Paris to Brussels and conceal himself there until a few days before the Brussels attacks. He was aided by a large community of French and Muslim Belgians whose loyalties clearly lie with their own community, not with Belgium, or Europe at large. What’s more, a 2013 study shows the shocking degree to which European Muslims hate the West.
Asking immigrants to assimilate doesn’t mean white-washing their culture and religion, asking them not to wear the hijab, or demanding that they eat pork. But it does mean asking them to accept, to some degree, the culture of the country to which they have willingly moved. These are things like women’s rights, tolerance, free speech, or criticism of religion. It also means not having to apologize for having a culture of one’s own. This is the point that Michel Houellebecq made in his recent novel, “Submission.”
Slow-Boiling Our Brains
Europeans have been lulled into accepting that it’s wrong to criticize Islam or scrutinize it in any way. The Charlie Hebdo editorial points out that it’s a slow process, an insidious wearing away of what is and isn’t acceptable to say or think. The process must be slow, because few people would accept a proposal dictating what topics they’re not allowed to discuss. So, you gradually shame them into it.
The process must be slow, because few people would accept a proposal dictating what topics they’re not allowed to discuss.
This establishes a pre-conditioned mindset so the line of acceptability can be moved further and further until the problem of global jihad can no longer be effectively explored because we aren’t even allowed to ask fundamental questions. This is Charlie Hebdo’s point about Tariq Ramadan, whose grandfather founded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and whose father was an active member of the group. Through the guise of intellectualism and purported adherence to moderate Islam, he instructs his audience ever so gently that the problem has nothing to do with Islam, and that suggesting so is ugly and base.
We acquiesce, because, as Charlie Hebdo points out, we fear being seen as Islamaphobic or racist. We are made to feel guilty if the thought flashes through our head that we wish that the new sandwich shop run by a Muslim sold bacon, or that a woman wearing a hijab makes us a little uncomfortable. That fear that we feel when we entertain those thoughts, the op-ed argues, saps our willingness to scrutinize, analyze, debate, or reject anything about Islam. And this is dangerous.
Fierce Reactions Aim to Condition Us Into Fear
Although Europe is further along in this process, there is a clear relevance to the United States. We are already being instructed on college campuses and by our own president that Muslims are a sort of protected class regarding criticism. President Obama even went so far as to censor French President François Hollande when he used the forbidden phrase “Islamist terrorism.”
We are already being instructed on college campuses and by our own president that Muslims are a sort of protected class regarding criticism.
The latest incident of shaming those who do push back is happening in Kansas, where the Islamic Society of Wichita invited Sheik Monzer Talib to speak at a fundraising event on Good Friday. Talib is a known fundraiser for Hamas, the militant Islamist Palestinian group that the United States classifies as a terrorist organization. He even has sung a song called “I am from Hamas.” U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo dared to put out a press release objecting to the speech out of concern that it would harm the Muslim community, particularly in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attack.
In response, the mosque claimed Pompeo stoked prejudice and Islamaphobia and that they had to cancel the event because of protest announcements and because some individuals on Facebook made some offhand comments about guns. Cue a local media frenzy, letters to the editor accusing Pompeo of government overreach, and the predictable arrival of two CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) representatives to skewer Pompeo.
This is just one example of how criticizing or questioning the actions of a Muslim community—even one that is supporting a Hamas fundraiser—has become anathema. The line of acceptability has been moved so now it’s Islamaphobic to object to someone with links to Islamist groups being invited to a U.S. mosque while we’re in the midst of a global battle against Islamist terrorism. People don’t even want to discuss it. The conversation is over. Just as Charlie Hebdo asks, so should we ask ourselves, “How did we get here?”
Although the particulars of the Charlie Hebdoeditorial may go too far, and I do not endorse everything the article says, the overarching message is that Europe has slowly let this happen year by year, decade by decade, like a frog in a pot slowly brought to a boil. Post-colonial guilt and shame have stopped Europeans from openly loving and defending their own culture. The state of things in Europe today is the natural conclusion of that neglect. We in America are on the same road.
Megan G. Oprea is editor of the foreign policy newsletter INBOUND. She holds a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. You can follow her on Twitter here.
With a decade-long history of yielding to Islamic demands and recent, more alarming submissions, San Diego city schools appear to be ground zero for Islamic indoctrination within American public schools. The current capitulation includes an Islam-centric curriculum with input and resources from a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization, which raises First Amendment issues as well as serious concerns of favoritism toward Muslims students over students of other faiths.
The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) history of accommodation to the demands of Muslim students began in 2007. That year, Carver Elementary School in East San Diego ignited controversy when 100 Somali Muslim students transferred from a closed charter school. To accommodate these new students, the school rescheduled its recess periods to allow a 15-minute break each afternoon for Muslim prayer. The school also added Arabic to its curriculum and removed pork and other non-halal food from the cafeteria. The outcry forced the school to rescind the break, but it simply shifted the lunch hour to accommodate Muslim prayer. SDUSD wasn’t as accommodating to a Christian student in 1993 and was successfully sued when it denied a high school student’s request for a lunchtime Bible study group.
This past week, SDUSD, in collaboration with the Council on American Islam Relations (CAIR), instituted an anti-bullying campaign aimed specifically at protecting Muslims students. In launching the initiative, SDUSD cited an unsubstantiated study by CAIR claiming that 55% of American Muslim students surveyed in California said they were bullied because of their religion. The new program will include adding lessons on Islam to the social studies curriculum that emphasize prominent Muslims in history, creating Muslim-only “safe spaces,” adding Muslim holidays to the school calendar, and providing support and resources for Muslim students during Ramadan.
According to Stan Anjan, SDUSD’s executive director of family and community engagement, the new program will focus on promoting a positive image of Islam. Special disciplinary measures will also be created for the so-called bullying of Muslims cited by CAIR. Instead of detention, the school plans a “restorative justice” program in which students dialogue with each other about perceived bullying words or actions. Educational materials on Islam and resource listings will be provided to parents and school personnel as well.
CAIR, “a radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas,” according to terrorism expert Steve Emerson, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror-funding case brought by the Justice Department in 2007. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce terrorist groups Hamas and Hezb’allah, and several CAIR executives have been successfully prosecuted and incarcerated for terrorist activities. CAIR was designated as a terrorist group by the UAE in 2014.
In 2015, Kevin Beiser and Michael McQuary, two members of the SDUSD Board of Education, issued a formal proclamation in support and recognition of CAIR San Diego, citing ten years of “constructive civic engagement” in San Diego and Imperial Counties. They praised the organization’s work to “promote not only religious and cultural tolerance and understanding but also justice and equality for all who live in the United States.”
CAIR director Hanif Mohebi was specifically complimented for his commitment to “promoting equitable educational opportunity for all students and preparing them to succeed in a culturally diverse society.” The trustees recognized a community partnership with CAIR in mediating school situations involving “discrimination and other behavioral issue[s]” and announced CAIR’s upcoming tenth anniversary banquet, centered on the theme “Strengthening Our Voices, Advancing Together.”
CAIR, billing itself as a benign Muslim civil rights organization, has long been at the forefront in pressuring schools and businesses to accommodate the special needs of Muslims. In 2009, CAIR complained of favoritism when Christian students in Roseville, a Detroit suburb, were given permission slips to attend off-site Bible study classes. Yet CAIR pushed in 2012 for Dearborn public schools to accommodateMuslim prayer on school grounds and early Friday dismissals for Jumu’ah prayers. The organization has pressured schools to have a say on textbook selection and to feature its own lecturers for school assemblies. When a public school teacher in Concrete, Washington referenced the Taliban and Hamas while citing examples of the use of violence to bully people, CAIR cried “racism” and called for a federal investigation, saying the teacher had veered off topic to make anti-Muslim statements. The school district responded that the teacher’s comments were taken out of context.
Mohebi, the head of CAIR San Diego, has been pushing the “anti-Islamophobia” program. He recently tried to prevent the San Diego Police Department from attending a training session on Islamic terrorism featuring Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism. Mohebi said officers would be learning “conspiracy theories” from Mauro. Further, Mohebi importuned that no taxpayer dollars should pay for the training and that the SDPD should not confer continuing education credits for attendance. In a further attempt to control police training on Islam, Mohebi requested the ability to monitor police training to vouch for its accuracy and to provide clarifications throughout the session.
CAIR’s recent activity and its incursion into the San Diego schools’ curriculum has been criticized by Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF). LiMandri said the San Diego program represents a “wholesale realignment of school curricula and the students’ learning environment to the recommendations of a religious organization whose stated mission is to “enhance the understanding of Islam” and “empower American Muslims.”
The FCDF maintains that the First Amendment prohibits a government agency from attempting to effect a secular goal by the propagation of religious concepts. LiMandri points out the litigious pitfalls of a curriculum which could easily be construed as a governmental endorsement of a religion. He also cautions that CAIR’s interpretation of the term “bullying” could extend to the stifling of criticism of Islam, further impinging on First Amendment protections.
Citizens for Quality Education San Diego, a non-partisan group of citizens concerned about public education, voiced their opposition to the new Islamic-friendly curriculum and characterized it as an attempt to implement at local schools “anti-American sharia law,” incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. The group criticized the blatant singling out of the Muslim religion for special accommodations and demanded that the policy be rescinded. Despite widespread community outcry, the district seems to be moving ahead.
If allowed to stand, the SDUSD anti-bullying program – geared specifically to the CAIR-identified needs of Muslim students – could mark a dangerous departure from treasured constitutional principles and First Amendment protections. This case warrants serious attention, as it has grave implications for the direction of education and the supremacy of Islam in the nation.
Western nations may have finally had enough of the slaughter.
December 21, 2016
For Western Europe, 2016 began with an apocalyptic frenzy, a nightmarish vision of its possible future – namely, an avalanche of brutal sexual assaults, over a thousand of them, committed on New Year’s Eve by savage Muslim gangs in the streets and squares of Cologne and several other major German cities.
The horrific events of New Year’s Eve didn’t happen out of the blue, of course. For over a generation, thanks to irresponsible immigration policies that had never been submitted for approval to any electorate, as well as to straightforward demographic realities, Western Europe had been steadily Islamized. At first in a few large cities and eventually even in small, remote towns, the presence of Islam became more and more visible. Over time, government officials who had made these developments possible, and who had cut back their own citizens’ welfare-state entitlements in order to feed, clothe, and house newly arrived Muslims, were rewarded not with the gratitude and assimilation they had expected but with the exact opposite. Steadily, Muslim communities developed into crime-ridden, sharia-governed enclaves, increasingly explicit in their hostility to infidels, increasingly aggressive in their rejection of the values of their host cultures, and increasingly insistent on their legal independence from secular authorities. Forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honor killing became European problems. Hijab proliferated, then (in some places at least) niqab. And authorities reacted to all of it with a feckless passivity.
Along with the quotidian reality of stealth jihad came jihad of the more headline-grabbing sort: terrorism. Only months after 9/11, the Netherlands experienced the coldblooded murder of politician Pim Fortuyn, a vocal critic of Muslim immigration and leading prime ministerial candidate; in 2004, journalist Theo van Gogh, who had just released a documentary about Islam’s treatment of women, was butchered in broad daylight on an Amsterdam street. In 2006, Muslims around the world rioted, committed major acts of vandalism, and massacred dozens in response to a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons of their prophet. Bombs took 191 lives in and around Madrid’s Atocha railway station in 2004 and 52 lives in London in 2005; last year saw the assassination of 12 people at the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Each time, mainstream media and public officials made haste to insist that the atrocities had nothing to do with Islam, to reaffirm their dedication to the policies that made this bloodshed possible, and to shower Europe’s Muslims with inane, unmerited praise. Europeans didn’t have to be familiar with Islamic theology to understand that, like it or not, they were at war. And they didn’t need to know the term dhimmi to recognize that their elites were kowtowing to would-be conquerors.
These elites inhabited a bubble of privilege, protected from the consequences of their own policies. Most Western Europeans did not. In the space of a few years, they’d seen their neighborhoods dramatically transformed. Their once-safe streets were dangerous. Their children were harassed at school. Jews, especially, were terrorized. There was no sign of a reversal in this rapid process of civilizational decline and destruction. And if they tried to discuss the issue honestly, they risked being labeled bigots, losing their jobs, and even being put on trial. Here and there, voters found, and supported, politicians who articulated their concerns. But the political establishment erected cordons sanitaires around them, denying them power and, when possible, dragging them, too, into court. Instead of heeding the voice of the people, officials doubled down.
And then came the final straw: in August 2015, Western Europe’s most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, invited all Syrian refugees to come to Germany. The floodgates opened even wider. Syrian refugees poured in – but most of them proved to be neither Syrians nor refugees. Naive do-gooders who welcomed these monsters into their homes ended up being raped and robbed. And the terrorist attacks became even more frequent. On November 13, 2015, jihadists slaughtered 130 people in and around the Bataclan Theater in Paris. Then came the aforementioned New Year’s Eve carnage. Brussels was hit in March, with 32 civilian deaths. On Bastille Day, a truck-driving terrorist mowed down 86 pedestrians on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. And these were just a few of the jihadist offenses committed in Western Europe during this period. As I write this, a Turkish cop shouting “Allahu akbar!” has just gunned down Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, and – shades of Nice – a truck driven by a Muslim has plowed into a busy Christmas market in the center of Berlin, killing at least 12 and injuring dozens. (P.S. Apparently Merkel heard of the attack shortly after attending a celebration of the “International Day of Migrants.” This is not a joke.)
The good news is that this year’s spikes in out-of-control immigration and in jihadist terror appear to have been accompanied – at last – by an equivalent spike in outrage. Western Europeans’ fury over the relentless rise of Islam in their midst – and at the complicity, and complacency, of their leaders – may finally have reached a tipping point. On June 23, defying the counsel (and upending the predictions) of virtually the entire U.K. political, cultural, business, ecclesiastical, academic, and media elite, the people of Britain voted to quit the EU, reinstate their national borders, and establish proper immigration controls – an act that voters in several other EU countries now yearn to replicate. This month, not long after Donald Trump won an equally stunning triumph against his own nation’s see-no-evil establishment, a referendum in Italy rejected an attempted power grab by their insouciant elites.
The winds are shifting. Merkel’s approval ratings have plummeted, raising the odds that her party will go down to defeat in next year’s parliamentary elections, which will probably be held in September. Meanwhile, in France, presidential hopeful and outspoken Islam critic Marine Le Pen’s numbers are rising in the run-up to that country’s April elections. Since a kangaroo court declared him guilty of anti-Islamic hate speech on December 9, Geert Wilders, the already highly popular head of the Netherlands’ Freedom Party, has won even more support. I gave a talk in Rome a few days after Trump’s win, and was surprised when several members of the audience, including a history professor, came up to me afterwards and voiced strong pro-Trump sympathies. From their perspective, the Donald had come along just in the nick of time, giving the entire West a desperately needed jolt of hope. Their sentiment: we may win this one after all.
In November 1942, after British forces defeated General Erwin Rommel in the Second Battle of El Alamein, bringing the Allies their first major victory in World War II, Winston Churchill famously said: “This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But it may be the end of the beginning.” In these closing days of 2016, it can feel, very much as it did in late 1942, as if the effort by at least some freedom-loving Europeans to push back the tide of tyranny – an effort that for many years seemed quixotic – is finally making some headway. Is this the end of the beginning? We can hope so. But it’ll take more than hope to win this struggle. Among other things, it’ll take a Churchill. Preferably a few of them.
In a 1997 Middle East Quarterly article titled “Prince Charles of Arabia,” Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman looked at evidence that Britain’s crown prince might be a secret convert to Islam. They shifted through his public statements (defending Islamic law, praising the status of Muslim women, seeing in Islam a solution for Britain’s ailments) and actions (setting up a panel of twelve “wise men” to advise him on Islamic religion and culture), then concluded that, “should Charles persist in his admiration of Islam and defamation of his own culture,” his accession to the throne will indeed usher in a “different kind of monarchy.”
Prince Charles, a would-be Muslim?
Charles continues this pattern of admiration and defamation, keeping alive the question of his stealth conversion to Islam. This weblog entry continues to document the topic, starting with a report, “Charles Breaks Fast with the Faithful in Muscat,” in the Dubai-based Gulf News, on some of Charles’ activities during his current five-day visit to Oman::
He toured the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque for almost two hours and “took keen interest in studying various sections at the mosque, including the main prayer hall.” As his spokesman put it, “The Prince was particularly keen to come to the mosque today to see the fantastic building and remarkable architecture which Prince was fascinated with. The Prince has a great love for Islamic architecture and I can’t think of finer example than this mosque.”
He “spent a considerable time at an exhibition of Islamic calligraphy and held meetings with Sheikha Aisha Al Siaby, Head of Public Authority for Craft Industries and Taha Al Kisri, the Head of Omani Society for Fine Arts to discuss various aspects of Islamic art.”
He “broke fast with a large congregation of people from different nationalities as he sat with folded legs on the floor in the open. He ate date and drank juice at the call of Iftar.”
Charles with worry beads, Camilla with shawl.
None of this, of course, is evidence that the Heir to the British Throne has changed religions, but his actions most certainly would be consistent with such a move, and especially the implication that he had kept the Ramadan fast. (November 9, 2003)
June 21, 2004 update: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei will award Prince Charles a $50,000 prize chosen by an international jury set up by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies for his contribution to understanding Islam in the West during a London ceremony on June 24. He is the first non-Muslim to receive the prize established in 1992. Other winners have included Youssef Al-Qaradawi, Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudda, and Adnan Mohd Zarzar.
Dec. 18, 2004 update: Prince Charles put himself in the middle of an Islamic theological issue that again could suggest his conversion to Islam – for if that is not the case, then on what basis does he opine on the Islamic law requiring that apostates from Islam be executed? Jonathan Petre of London’s Daily Telegraphreports on a private summit of Christian and Muslim leaders at Clarence House on this topic sponsored earlier in December by the prince. Apparently, however, he did not get the results he hoped for, with one Christian participant indicating that Charles was “very, very unhappy” about its outcome. That may have been because the Muslims at the meeting resented his public involvement in this topic.
July 14, 2005 update: And what does the good prince have to say about the murder by Islamists of 55 in London a week ago? He put fingers to keyboard and produced “True Muslims Must Root Out The Extremists” for the Mirror:
some deeply evil influence has been brought to bear on these impressionable young minds. … Some may think this cause is Islam. It is anything but. It is a perversion of traditional Islam. As I understand it, Islam preaches humanity, tolerance and a sense of community. … these acts have nothing to do with any true faith. … it is vital that everyone resists the temptation to condemn the Muslim community for the actions of such a tiny and evil minority. If we succumb to that temptation, the bombers will have achieved their aim. Likewise, in my view, it is the duty of every true Muslim to condemn these atrocities and root out those among them who preach and practise such hatred and bitterness.
Aug. 2, 2005 update: At the funeral of King Fahd in Riyadh, the Associated Press reports, “Non-Muslims were not allowed at the ceremonies.” So far as I can tell, Charles did not attend the ceremonies. (There surely would have been a press uproar if he had.) We can conclude that whatever his inner faith, he is not presenting himself as a Muslim in public. In brief, he is not a Muslim at this time.
Sep. 4, 2005 update: Prince Charles revealed in a letter leaked to the Daily Telegraph that he had strained relations with George Carey, then archbishop of Canterbury, over his attitude toward Islam. Particularly contentious was his expressed intent, on becoming king and supreme governor of the Church of England, to ditch the centuries’ old defender of the faith title and replace it with defender of faith and defender of the Divine. The letter reveals the archbishop’s reaction.
I wish you’d been there for the archbishop! Didn’t really appreciate what I was getting at by talking about “the Divine” and felt that I had said far more about Islam than I did about Christianity – and was therefore worried about my development as a Christian.
According to royal aides, Charles did not much respect Lord Carey’s views and the feelings were reciprocated.
will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11. The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America’s “confrontational” approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam’s strengths.
Apparently, he “wants Americans – including Mr Bush – to share his fondness for Islam.”
Nov. 2, 2005 update: That Daily Telegraph article cited in the previous update made the rounds, perhaps even to the White House. In any case, George W. Bush had a little zinger ready for the good prince in his welcome for him and Camilla at the state dinner:
In the first part of the 20th century, our nations stood together to ensure that fascism did not prevail in Europe. In the second half of the 20th century, we worked tirelessly to defeat the totalitarian ideology of communism. And today we’re fighting side by side against an ideology of hatred and intolerance to ensure that the 21st century will be one of liberty and hope.
Charles did not reply to this comment, limiting his response to projects for the underprivileged and fond memories of Winston Churchill.
“The prince comes calling” (drawing by Roman Gann, National Review, Nov. 21, 2005).
Nov. 3, 2005 update: Ali Sina proposes a reason for Charles’ attraction to Islam, suggesting that he may be tired of democracy: “Does he secretly envy the Islamic system of government where the rulers have absolute power and can even impose morality on their subjects?”
Nov. 5, 2005 update: Sharp-tongued Julie Burchill asks in “What’s not to like about Islam if you’re the Prince of Wales,”
I wonder why Prince Charles seeks to big up powerful, theocratic Islam — which already controls so much land and wealth and yet will kill and kill to gain more — and not vulnerable, pluralistic Israel? Why doesn’t he invest as much energy in defence of the persecuted and murdered Christians who suffer for their beliefs under Islamic regimes?
She then answers her own questions, much as Ali Sina does:
Well, I think I know why; because cleaving to Islam is the one way that men who wish to appear liberal and enlightened can promote reactionary ideas. Monarch-worshipping, woman-oppressing, non-democratic — what’s there not for Charles to like!
Nov. 13, 2005 update: Charles’ efforts to promote Islam does his mother no good in Al-Qaeda’s eyes. In a just-reviewed videotape, the organization’s number two, Ayman al- Zawahiri, calls Queen Elizabeth II “one of the severest enemies of Islam” and blames her for what he calls Britain’s “crusader laws.” In addition, he criticizes British Muslims who “work for the pleasure of Elizabeth, the head of the Church of England” and ridicules them for saying (his words, not theirs): “We are British citizens, subject to Britain’s crusader laws, and we are proud of our submission . . . to Elizabeth, head of the Church of England.”
Jan. 19, 2006 update: As patron of the Festival of Muslim Cultures, which its website describes as a national celebration of “the rich cultural and artistic expressions of the Muslim peoples,” Charles will be visiting Sheffield soon. He will tour an exhibition there, “Palace and Mosque: Islamic Treasures of the Middle East,” that launches the festival. The prince is said to be keen to see the exhibition. He will also meet school and community groups and watch a performance by a group of Muslim women and girls.
Jan. 26, 2006 update: The Prince of Wales expressed his pleasure today at the progress in the UK of Shar’i banking products at a conference in London to mark the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Development Bank: “I am certain that with the support of the Islamic Development Bank my charities will be able to increase their efforts to address the challenges we face in Britain’s cities and help those younger British Muslims who feel they have little or no stake in society to play a fuller part in the country’s affairs by promoting community and entrepreneurial development.”
Mar. 21, 2006 update: Charles weighed in on the Muhammad cartoon controversy, telling an audience of more than 800 Islamic scholars at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University in what the Times (London) called a “serious, impassioned 30-minute speech” that “The recent ghastly strife and anger over the Danish cartoons shows the danger that comes of our failure to listen and to respect what is precious and sacred to others. In my view, the true mark of a civilised society is the respect it pays to minorities and to strangers.”
Mar. 25, 2006 update: As the first Westerner ever to address the Al Imam Mohammad Bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Charles (as was the case in December 2004 – see the update above) chose to give Muslims some advice about modernizing their religion. Note the “we” in the following quote: “I think we need to recover the depth, the subtlety, the generosity of imagination, the respect for wisdom that so marked Islam in its great ages.” He also said Jews and Christians should learn from Islamic teachings:
What is so distinctive of the great ages of faith surely was that they understood, as well as sacred texts … the meaning of God’s word for all time and its meaning for this time. … it was Islam’s greatness to understand this in its full depth and challenge. This is what you … can give not only to Islam but by example to all the other children of Abraham.
Prince Charles meets the children at Yusuf Islam’s Islamia Primary School, London.
Speaking of Islamic education, here is a remedial news item: back in March 2000, Prince Charles visited the Islamia Primary School in North-West London. This, Britain’s first state-funded Muslim school, was founded and is headed by Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens), an Islamist who threatened Salman Rushdie’s life during the Satanic Verses controversy and has since been banned from entering the United States. The Prince told the children: “You are ambassadors for a sometimes much misunderstood faith. I believe that Islam has much to teach increasingly secular societies like ours in Britain.”
Oct. 31, 2006 update: There’s been a strong reaction to a Kuwait News Agency report that “Prince Charles Tuesday said that the world problems could be resolve by following Islamic teachings, as Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood.” But a look at the speech in question, to the Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, finds no such statement. All Charles did was to quote the Koran in a favorable way in the context of a new-agey-style discussion of the Planet Earth:
This planet’s survival will depend on you understanding that you can achieve unity through diversity; that you can in fact build on living, timeless traditions that are a part of your unique culture and still be “modern”. It will also depend on you realizing that the planetary crisis we face is so profound in its rapidly developing consequences that we simply cannot afford to go on squabbling amongst ourselves while we destroy the world around us at a truly terrifying rate. As it says in the Qu’ran – “Only they pay attention who have hearts; only they believe (or see signs) who have hearts.” Have you seen the signs? Will you trust in what your hearts are telling you?
Nov. 6, 2006 update: Umree Khan reports in the Guardian, “Why Muslims love the royals,” on the Muslim response to Charles and his family:
In the wake of Prince Charles’s visit to Pakistan, now is an apt time to reflect on the strange hold that royals, and he in particular, have over Muslims.
It may sound paradoxical, but it’s not surprising that when Labour ministers queue up to tell modest women to take their veils off, there is a special affection for a prince whose public utterances on the subject have been marked by a sort of bumbling Islamophilia.
Charles and Camilla’s visit to Pakistan was a really important trip for my mum. She is obsessed with the royal family. Lots of mums are but, really, you have no idea how big the royals are with Bangladeshi women. My friend Koruna will tell me, “You think your mum is obsessed, but I bet she doesn’t have a showcase filled with royal-family china like my aunts.” Of course she does – we had entire commemorative sets of Diana and Charles plates, eggcups, the works, in our living room. “Yeah,” Koruna replies, “but a whole showcase in a mud-shack village in Bangladesh?”
Thousands of households in the subcontinent give pride of place to royal kitsch, and that is as much the case in the volatile Islamic states of Pakistan and Bangladesh as it is in India. A survey of my Asian mates confirms this grim predicament – the royal cult, and in particular the icon that is Diana, is being propped up by Muslim women all over the world.
Kenny Gamble, Bennett and Vivian Levin, and Prince Charles chat about urban renewal.
May 13, 2007 update: The American Trains Magazine carries an article in today’s issue, “Truly special guests ride the rails,” about Charles and Camilla training from Philadelphia to New York City on the special cars belonging to Bennett Levin. On board, the article informs us, “Charles hosted a roundtable discussion with six Philadelphia experts on the subject of urban renewal.” And who should one of those “experts” be but the notorious Kenny Gamble (aka Luqman Abdul-Haqq), seen prominently talking to the prince?
May 26, 2007 update: The BBC has announced a forthcoming world premier performance. Sir John Tavener’s major new work, The Beautiful Names will be introduced on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Westminster Cathedral. The BBC Symphony Orchestra under Jiří Bĕlohlávek will join forces with the BBC Symphony Chorus and Westminster Cathedral Choir.
The Beautiful Names sets the 99 names for Allah as culled from the Qu’ran, sung in Arabic. “Inspiration for the piece came to me as a vision,” says Tavener, “and the music just came to me immediately I saw the Arabic word.” He has worked closely with the Arabist Michael Macdonald to ensure correct pronunciation and stress – “the sound actually does help create the music.” The 70-minute work is divided into eleven groups of nine “tonal zones” and the start of each new section is prefaced by a magisterial calling out of Allah. Making his strongest reference yet to Islam, Tavener also calls upon Sufism, Hinduism and Buddhism in his choice of structure, instrumentation and tonality.
Program notes by Tavener spell this vision out in greater detail. Tickets are on sale for £24, £20, £16, £12, £8. Oh, and the work was commissioned by HRH The Prince Of Wales.”
July 11, 2007 update: From a speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture‘s “Spirit & Life” Exhibition at the Ismaili Centre in London:
So much attention is paid to the outward differences between Faiths. Almost reflexively, this becomes translated into seemingly impenetrable divisions between people; people who – if they did but know it – are in fact linked by much and separated by rather little. How refreshing it is, then, to be reminded by this marvellous exhibition of the spirituality from which our Faiths draw their real strength, and of the heritage and traditions which we share.
The prince and Camilla watch the Whirling Dervishes.
Writing from Konya, Turkey, about Prince Charles’ visit there to the shrine of Mevlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi during the 800th year of Rumi’s birth, Hamilton mentions as an aside that “The Prince disclosed yesterday that he had paid a private visit in 1992 to the shrine.”
After watching ten whirling dervishes perform at a cultural center, Charles stated in a speech: “Whatever it is, it seems to me that Western life has become deconstructed and partial.” The East, on the other hand, he went on, had given us “parables of the soul.” He also cited the Koran and Hadith.
Dec. 16, 2007 update: Princess Diana was also close to conversion to Islam. Of course, there was Dodi Fayad, about whom great debate exists. But before him, she was involved for two years with Dr. Hasnat Khan, in what appears to have been a more substantial and serious relationship. Here is how Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman characterized it in 1997 in “ce Charles of Arabia“:
It bears noting that Charles is not the royal family’s only link to the Muslim world, for Princess Diana, Charles’s ex-wife, has often been linked to Hasnat Khan, a London-based cardiac surgeon. Just as Charles donned a Muslim prayer shawl, Di wore a traditional shalwar kameez during her visit to Khan’s family in Pakistan. London’s Sunday Mirror reports that Khan’s family has approved a possible marriage of the divorced 35-year-old princess and their son, then quoted the princess (via a “friend”) to the effect that she hoped Khan would father a half-sister to her two sons, princes William and Harry. While Diana’s divorce from the heir to the British throne removes her personally from the royal family, her sons could be the first heirs to the British throne with a Muslim stepfather.
More details have just emerged about her possible conversion to Islam, via an interview with Khan’s father, Abdul Rasheed Khan. Some excerpts from an article in the Sunday Telegraph by Massoud Ansari and Andrew Alderson:
Dr Hasnat Khan, a Muslim, ended his relationship with the Princess only months before her death after concluding that a marriage between them would be doomed to failure. Dr Khan told his family: “If I married her, our marriage would not last for more than a year. We are culturally so different from each other. She is from Venus and I am from Mars. If it ever happened, it would be like a marriage from two different planets.” … Mr Khan said his son had explained to him that Diana was “independent” and “outgoing”. But, added to their different faiths, it meant that his son – despite considering asking her to marry him – could not envisage their relationship lasting.
The inquest into the Princess’s death heard evidence last week from one of her closest friends, Rosa Monckton, that Diana had no plans to marry her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, who died with her in a Paris car crash 10 years ago, and that she was still infatuated with Dr Khan. Ms Monckton said the Princess had been “deeply upset and hurt” when Dr Khan broke off their relationship in the summer of 1997. “She was very much in love with him. She hoped that they would be able to have a future together. She wanted to marry him,” she told the hearing. … It is understood that at one point the Princess was willing to convert to Islam in order to marry him but abandoned the idea when he took the decision that their relationship could not work in the long term.
According to Monckton, she and Diana
held long discussions about the Princess’s love life during a holiday they shared in the Greek Islands two weeks before Diana died. The Princess spent far more time talking about Hasnat Khan than she did about Dodi, the inquest heard. Ms Monckton said: “It was clear to me she was really missing Hasnat and I think Dodi was a distraction from the hurt she felt from the break-up.”
Comment: It seems that William and Harry were quite close to becoming “the first heirs to the British throne with a Muslim stepfather.”
Jan. 14, 2008 update: Lots of news from the inquest into Princess Diana’s death where Paul Burrell, Diana’s butler, is in the witness box.
First, Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd, had harsh words for her daughter’s relationships with Muslim men, and Diana in turn intended to break with her over this, a British court was informed. Burrell reported on a conversation between the two six months before Diana’s death. Kydd “called the Princess a whore. She said she was messing around with effing Muslim men and she was disgraceful and she said other nasty things.” Diana responded by vowing never to speak to her mother again.
Second, Burrell told about Diana’s plans to marry Hasnat Khan.
Mr Burrell said he was asked to look into arranging a private marriage between Diana and Mr Khan and went as far as consulting a Catholic priest about the possibility He had also begun preparing rooms at Diana’s Kensington Palace home for Mr Khan. The couple split up a few weeks before her relationship with Dodi Fayed began. But Mr Burrell told the inquest he believed Diana still “held a candle” for Mr Khan and her new relationship was a way of making him jealous.
In contrast, he did not have “the impression that Dodi Fayed was ‘the one’ in her life although he described the relationship as an ‘exciting time’ for Diana.”
Mar. 4, 2008 update: Hasnat Khan has spoken up and, as paraphrased by the Daily Telegraph, indicated that he was introduced Diana’s two sons, Princes William and Harry. Khan said that if he and Diana “had married he would not have expected her to have converted to Islam. His only concern would have been which religion to bring up any children they had.”
Prince Charles was guest of honour at a celebration of Sufi Muslim culture at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground where he was entertained by whirlers in traditional dress. Greeted by artists, religious leaders and musicians, he made his way into a hushed hall at the stadium where he enjoyed a musical recitation of the Holy Quran accompanied by a whirling dervishes dressed in traditional costumes.
Not all of the audience at the Sheldonian Theatre was riveted by Prince Charles’ speech on environmentalism.
Mar. 16, 2010 update: On a visit to Poland, Charles took the highly ususual step to visit the small wooden Tatar mosque in Kruszyniany, chatting to the imam there, and sampling some traditional Tatar foods, including pirogue pierekaczewnik.
Prince Charles talking with the imam at the Tatar mosque in Kruszyniany, Poland.
June 10, 2010 update: Charles says the West must learn environmental policies from Islam. In an hour-long speech on “Islam and the Environment” at Oxford University’s Sheldonian Theatre on behalf of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, reports Rebecca English of the Daily Mail, “the heir to the throne argued that man’s destruction of the world was contrary to the scriptures of all religions – but particularly those of Islam.” He “spoke in depth about his own study of the Koran which, he said, tells its followers that there is ‘no separation between man and nature’ and says we must always live within our environment’s limits.” He also said:
The inconvenient truth is that we share this planet with the rest of creation for a very good reason – and that is, we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us. Islam has always taught this and to ignore that lesson is to default on our contract with creation.
Mar. 14, 2013 update: Prince Charles has been taking Arabic lessons, he acknowledged on a trip to Qatar. The Daily Telegraph (London) tells the story:
The Prince was in Doha attending the launch of the Qatar-UK Alumni Network, for Qataris who have attended British universities, when he told a group of guests: “You all speak such good English.”
Dr Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, chairman of the association and Qatar’s energy minister, asked the Prince if he spoke any Arabic, and the Prince said: “I tried to learn it once but I gave up. It goes in one ear and out the other.” Dr Al-Sada told him: “It’s never too late to learn.”
Later, one of the Prince’s aides confirmed that he has been having lessons in Arabic recently, adding: “He is enormously interested in the region.” The Prince speaks good French, some German, and has also had lessons in Welsh.
The newspaper story, by Gordon Rayner, adds a touch of local color: “All of the women at the reception were dressed head to toe in black, wearing a traditional shaila on their head and an abayya covering their body. … All of the men in the room wore a traditional white thobe from neck to foot, with a ghitra on their head secured by a band called an igul.”
Prince Charles meets with Qataris who attended British universities.
Comments: (1) Curious that the prince would travel the whole way to Qatar for something as minuscule as the launch of the Qatar-UK Alumni Network; that he did would seem to confirm either Qatar’s prowess in Great Britain or Charles’ affection for the Middle East, or both. (2) To see the connection between learning Arabic and conversion to Islam, see my lengthy blog at “The Arabist and Islamist Baggage of Arabic Language Instruction.”
Aug. 20, 2013 update: Off on a little tangent: Ezra Levant notes that Justin Trudeau, the new head of Canada’s Liberal party, attended the Surrey Jamia Masjid in British Columbia during the evening prayer wearing an Arab jalabiya and while there took part in the prayer service, complete with the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith. Meanwhile, his wife Sophie “recently posed for a picture with Trudeau’s mother, Margaret, in honour of Mother’s Day. And in that photo, they were both wearing the Muslim hijab hair-covering. Why would you do that on Mother’s Day – a secular holiday with no Muslim or ethnic characteristic to it at all? Why add in the Sharia element?” Oh, and his senior policy adviser happens to be Omar Alghabra, an Islamist well known to readers of this blog.
Levant writes that despite these theatrics, he does not think Trudeau is a Muslim.
Dec. 18, 2013 update: In a surprise reversal, Prince Charles yesterday focused on the tribulations of Middle Eastern Christians at Islamist hands while visiting the British branches of the Egyptian and Syriac churches.
We cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately attacked by fundamentalist Islamist militants. For 20 years, I have tried to build bridges between Islam and Christianity and to dispel ignorance and misunderstanding. The point though, surely, is that we have now reached a crisis where the bridges are rapidly being deliberately destroyed by those with a vested interest in doing so. This is achieved through intimidation, false accusation and organised persecution, including to Christian communities in the Middle East at the present time. Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ.
Comment: Has something happened to open Charles’ eyes to the dangers of Islamism? If so, this could be an important portent for Great Britain.
Feb. 18, 2014 update: Charles is again dressing up as a Muslim, this time to take part in a “sword dance” in Saudi Arabia.
Prince Charles taking part in an “arda” dance in Riyadh.
May 1, 2014 update: A new retelling of the Rushdie affair quotes Martin Amis on the 1989 reaction of Prince Charles to the Khomeini edict against Rushdie:
I had an argument with Prince Charles at a small dinner party. He said—very typically, it seems to me—”I’m sorry, but if someone insults someone else’s deepest convictions, well then,” blah blah blah … And I said that a novel doesn’t set out to insult anyone. “It sets out to give pleasure to its readers,” I told him. “A novel is an essentially playful undertaking, and this is an exceedingly playful novel.” “The Prince took it on board, but I’d suppose the next night at a different party he would have said the same thing.
Nov. 5, 2014 update: Prince Charles recorded a video message calling on Muslim leaders not to remain silent about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
It is an indescribable tragedy that Christianity is now under such threat in the Middle East – an area where Christians have lived for 2,000 years, and across which Islam spread in 700 AD, with people of different faiths living together peaceably for centuries. It seems to me that our future as a free society – both here in Britain and throughout the world – depends on recognising the crucial role played by people of faith. And, of course, religious faith is all the more convincing to those outside the faith when it is expressed with humility and compassion, giving space to others, whatever their beliefs. … First and foremost, rather than remaining silent, faith leaders have, it seems to me, a responsibility to ensure that people within their own tradition respect people from other faith traditions.
The report, from Sky News, goes on:
Charles said he did not want to be seen as Defender of the Faith, the title held by each monarch since Henry VIII, but as Defender of Faith in general. But he maintained that this conviction was rooted in his own Christian faith. “My own Christian faith has enabled me to speak to, and to listen to, people from other traditions, including Islam.”
Comments: (1) To my knowledge, in the 17 years I have been following the topic of Charles and Islam, he has never made such a statement in which he forthrightly mentions his Christian faith as he does here. (2) Charles’ willingness to speak out on this topic is a possibly significant signal of a change in mood toward Muslims and Islam in the United Kingdom.
Feb. 7, 2015 update: A new, more robust Prince Charles? In an interview on BBC Radio 2’s The Sunday Hour, he made a number of comments very much at odds with the statements and actions logged in the Middle East Quarterly and here over the past two decades:
“There is a real worry that there could come a time when there are no Christians left in the Middle East because the numbers have gone so dramatically down. … Christians have been in the Middle East for 2,000 years, before Islam came in the 8th century.” [Should be 7th. DP]
“The radicalisation of people in Britain is a great worry, and the extent to which this is happening is alarming, particularly in a country like ours where we hold values dear. You would think the people who have come here, or are born here, and go to school here, would abide by those values and outlooks. … how you prevent radicalisation in the first place is the great challenge. You cannot just sweep it under the carpet. But the most important thing is to remind people of the distortions that are made of great religions, and the original ideas of the founders of these religions. Often you find their message is so distorted by their putative followers. That’s the tragedy and, of course, traditional Islam does not permit this sort of thing.”
“When I called myself Defender of Faith all those years ago I was trying to describe the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country. At the same time as being Defender of the Faith, you can also be protector of other faiths. From that point of view, it was very interesting that 20 years or more after I mentioned this frequently misinterpreted phrase, the Queen, in her address to faith leaders around the time of the Jubilee, said that as far as the role of the Church of England was concerned, it is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions but to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country. She was conveying what I was trying to say.”
Also, as reported by the Mail on Sunday, Charles “is to tell new Saudi king Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud to his face that he should stop the 1,000 lashes handed down as punishment to Saudi blogger Raif Badawi for comments which the regime claimed were critical of Islam.”
Comment: Standing up for Middle East Christians, decrying Islamism, and keeping the traditional monarchical title: does this shift reflect just the thinking of one idiosyncratic prince or does it indicate something larger is going on in the country?
Dec. 22, 2016 update: The old Prince Charles is back, with a vengeance, delivering a public address on religion that contained this unforgettably “Chrislamic” Yuletide statement:
Normally at Christmas, we think of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder, though, if this year we might … also remember that when the Prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina he did so because he too was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship.
Mar. 31, 2017 update: The historian Sally Bedell Smith documents in a new book, Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life that in 2001, four weeks after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan and two weeks before the start of the month of Ramadan, Charles called on the American ambassador in London, William Farish, to appeal to President George W. Bush to halt the fighting to “honor” Ramadan.
Farish replied, “Sir, are you really serious?” To which Charles replied, “Yes I am.” Farish noted that it would be difficult to halt a military invasion already underway, to which the prince protested: “But Americans can do anything!” This appeal, it bears noting, was not coordinated with or even known by the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
British Ex-Boxer and Islamist Anthony Small: Insensitive to Burn Candles for Westminster Attack Victims Because They Go to the Hellfire
Former British boxer and Islamist activist Anthony Small posted a video online in which he pinned responsibility for the recent Westminster terror attack on the policies of the West, including the “Not-So-Great Britain.” He also said that it was insensitive to burn candles out of respect of the victims, because they are going to the Hellfire. “It’s like rubbing salt into the wound,” he said. The video was posted on Small’s YouTube account on March 28.
Anthony Small: “At no point before, during, or after making this video have I or will I have any intention to glorify, encourage, support, legitimize, condone, or incite any acts of terrorism–especially those acts of terrorism conducted by the United Snakes of America and her allies.
[…]”I’m going to be conducting a social experiment. That is, I am going to be uploading this video twice–giving it two different headings for each upload. One speaks about the American acts of terror, and the other speaks about Khalid Mahmoud’s (sic) act of terror. (I want) to see for my own self, for your own self, whether four people killed in the West mean more to you guys than hundreds, if not thousands, of people killed inside Syria.
[…]”You have five people killed, and boo hoo hoo – a moment of silence and burning of candles, which I personally think… This is not objective and unbiased now, this is me personally speaking, as a Muslim. I think it is quite insulting to burn candles for those non-Muslims, because besides how they died – if they died in their own beds or of natural causes – to burn candles for them, while I believe they will go to the Hellfire, is a bit insensitive. But that is only my opinion, that’s not objective and unbiased, that’s just my opinion. You shouldn’t be burning candles for people who are going to the Hellfire?! I mean that’s like rubbing salt into the wound.
[…]”We’ve heard it from François Hollande, Prime Minister or President, whatever it is, of France. I mean, how do you have a prime minister and a president? Democracy is confusing as it is, don’t make things more confusing. Anyway, we hear François Hollande saying, ‘They are attacking our way of life.’ But you expect an attack of terror because of your way of life?! You hear the same from Theresa May: ‘It’s an attack against our way of life.’ So you are expecting an attack of terrorism, where someone dies in the process, because of your way of life? No, you expect an attack of terrorism within your own lands because of what you yourselves have put forward of terrorism around the world.
[…]”America and her allies, including Britain, are engaged in the indiscriminate massacring of unarmed men, women, and children in Islamic State-controlled areas. For all intents and purposes, whether we like them or we don’t like them, we hate them or we love them, we support or reject them, whatever the case may be, they consider themselves a state. In the same way, the non-so-Great Britain considers itself a state. I say that it is not a state, I say burn it, forget it, I reject it. But it is a state, and that state feels obliged to protect its citizens.
[…]”If Khalid Mahmoud was affiliated with the Islamic State, and he thus conducted the act in Westminster, killing four people – five including himself – then the reason why he did that is because of Western foreign policy, including not-so-Great Britain going and indiscriminately bombing unarmed men, women, and children from the sky.
[…]”If America wants to stop going around the world bullying the place, conducting military exercises, flexing muscles, dropping bombs here, and invading lands, it will be a lot easier to convince Kim-Se Kum-Se of North Korea to denuclearize himself. The same with Iran – the Shia dogs.”
New paperback exposes ‘interfaith dialogue movement’ and how the Muslim Brotherhood has co-opted the misguided intentions of the Catholic Church
In this new monograph, adapted from Annex 1 of his superb recent book, Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad,Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy Stephen Coughlin explains what’s really behind the so-called ‘interfaith dialogue movement’ and how the Muslim Brotherhood has co-opted the well-meaning but misguided intentions of the Catholic Church in particular. Mr. Coughlin’s expertise in the nexus between Islamic Law (shariah) and Islamic terrorism informs his exposure of the manipulative Brotherhood strategy to use the interfaith dialogue arena as an opportunity to edge Catholics toward a dislocation of faith so as to pave the way for the insinuation of shariah into American faith communities and society in general.
At a time when Vatican policy seems to many to have become unmoored from the traditional doctrinal teachings of the Church in ways advanced by the permissive environment of the interfaith dialogue movement, including tolerance of anti-Constitutional, anti-Western, shariah-based Islamic principles as well as those who promote them, this publication hits home hard. As Mr. Coughlin points out, it is intellectually impossible to adhere faithfully to Church doctrine and yet grant acceptance to principles that are fundamentally opposed to such precepts at the same time. Only a dislocation of Catholic faith could allow such moral equivalence. Ultimately, as he argues, the objective of Islamic supremacists is the prioritization of interfaith relationships over advocacy on behalf of fellow Christians being slaughtered elsewhere by the co-religionists of their Muslim interfaith partners—in other words, the neutralization of the Catholic faith community as a serious obstacle to the encroachment of shariah.
In praise of this new Center publication, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney said,
While the interfaith dialogue movement presents itself as a laudable effort to ‘bridge’ the distance between faiths, those more familiar with the doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood know that the actual agenda of too many such efforts is, in fact, modeled after the well-known dictum of Sayyid Qutb, who candidly reminded Muslims that such a ‘bridge’ is ‘only so that the people of Jahiliyyah [society of unbelievers] may come over to Islam.