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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Leftist Politics of the Nobel Peace Prize, Part 1

Posted by paulipoldie on October 13, 2009

http://newsrealblog.com/2009/10/10/the-leftist-politics-of-the-nobel-peace-prize/

The Leftist Politics of the Nobel Peace Prize, Part 1

2009 October 10

by John Perazzo

nobel-logo

Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday for what the Norwegian Nobel Committee called “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”; his “vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons”; and his efforts to create a “new climate” of “multilateral diplomacy” in international relations.

Mind you, all Nobel nominations must be submitted by February 1 of the year in which they are to be awarded, meaning that Obama, who took his oath of office as President on January 20, was nominated for the Prize within his first twelve days in office. Had Obama achieved anything of substance during those few days to merit such an award? No serious thinker could argue that he had. His nomination is but a testament to the fact that the Nobel Peace Prize has increasingly devolved into an honor awarded to recipients who reflect the Nobel Committee’s leftist politics and preferences. Consider some of the more notable winners of recent years.

Gore

In 2007 former Vice President Al Gore won the Prize for his success in spreading uninformed panic about man-made global warming, a controversial concept whose very existence is denied by tens of thousands of eminent scientists and climatologists. But then again, Barack Obama’s Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein may have unwittingly revealed what the real motivation between global-warming initiatives is – worldwide redistribution of wealth from the United States, to the Third World. Said Sunstein in 2007: “It is even possible that desirable redistribution is more likely to occur through climate change policy than otherwise, or to be accomplished more effectively through climate policy than through direct foreign aid.”

mohamed-elbaradei-2008-11-27-7-4-10

In 2005 the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to Mohamed ElBaradei, an Egyptian attorney who has served as Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1997. Under his leadership, the IAEA’s strategy of appeasement proved unsuccessful at dissuading North Korea from developing a nuclear weapons program in the late 1990s. Yet ElBaradei is employing the same approach today to address Iran’s well-documented pursuit of nuclear power. He has suggested in diplomatic circles that the best course of action may be to tolerate small-scale uranium enrichment in Iran, in exchange for Tehran’s pledge to eschew the production of nuclear armaments — a plan very similar to the failed bargain he struck with North Korea.

Wangari-Maathai-photo

The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize went to Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan ecologist and environmental activist who founded the Green Belt Movement in Africa in 1977. An anti-white, anti-Western crusader for international socialism, Maathai alleges that “some sadistic [white] scientists” created the AIDS virus “to wipe out the black race.” She is also a member of the Commission on Global Governance, whose manifesto, titled Our Global Neighborhood, calls for a dramatic reordering of the world’s political power — and redistribution of the world’s wealth.

Carter

The 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient was Jimmy Carter, who strongly opposed America’s looming invasion of Iraq. When the former U.S. President was officially given his award, Nobel Committee Chairman Gunnar Berge told reporters that Carter’s honor “should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current [U.S.] administration has taken. It’s a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States.”

So much for the fanciful notion that the voting process for the Nobel Peace Prize is anything more than a politically motivated spitting contest.

Posted in Brainwashing, Must Read, News | Leave a Comment »

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Posted by paulipoldie on October 13, 2009

http://www.pi-news.net/2009/10/mit-pax-europa-gegen-die-islamisierung/#more-90832

Einen Tag nach ihrer denkwürdigen Kundgebung „Für Menschenrechte – Gegen Unterdrückung“ am 3. Oktober an der Berliner Gedächtniskirche hat sich die Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa zu einer Mitgliederversammlung getroffen. Die Freude über die gelungene Veranstaltung des Vortages war unter den knapp 100 Teilnehmern deutlich spürbar.

(Text: byzanz / Fotos: RChandler)

Die mutigen Bürgerrechtler waren sich einig, dass mit dem 3. Oktober eine regelrechte Initialzündung stattgefunden hat. Ein deutliches Zeichen, dass sich viele Menschen die Islamisierung ihrer Heimat nicht mehr tatenlos gefallen lassen. Pax Europa ist eine Bürgerbewegung, die parteipolitisch unabhängig und keinem Verband oder sonstigen Organisationen verpflichtet ist. Sondern nur dem eigenen Gewissen und der eigenen Überzeugung.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Pax Europa hat es geschafft, mit Robert Spencer einen der international bekanntesten Islamkritiker aus den USA nach Deutschland zu holen. Sein Auftritt hatte bereits die knapp 300 Teilnehmer der islamkritischen Kundgebung am Breitscheidplatz restlos begeistert. Spencer war auch bei der Versammlung am Sonntag dabei und konnte den Mitgliedern weitere wertvolle Informationen über die internationale islamische Unterwanderung präsentieren. Mit jeder noch so skurrilen Forderung, beispielsweise von Waschungsanlagen auf Flughäfen, zementieren Moslems ihre Herrschaftsansprüche. So dokumentieren sie ihre Präsenz und weitere Ausbreitung. Mit jedem Schritt, den sie in unser alltägliches Leben machen, mit jedem „religiös“ bedingten Zugeständnis, mit jedem schariakonformen Gesetz und mit jedem Zurückweichen der christlich-jüdischen Werteordnung sehen sie die Überlegenheit der muslimischen Lebensweise bestätigt und sich weiterhin ermutigt, Stück für Stück den Islam in westliche Gesellschaften zu implementieren.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Robert Spencer machte deutlich, dass es ein absolutes islamisches Dogma ist, die Vorherrschaft zu erringen. Denn wir „Ungläubigen“ sind Abtrünnige, die Mohammeds Gesetz zurückgewiesen haben. Der Islam darf niemals auf Dauer beherrscht werden. In jedem Land, in dem Moslems bisher zahlenmäßig in die Nähe von Mehrheitsverhältnissen kamen, wurden deren Forderungen immer kompromissloser mit Gewaltmaßnahmen und Terror begleitet.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Pax Europa-Vorsitzender Willi Schwend präsentierte eindrucksvolle Bilder dieses Islam-Terrors. Beispielsweise von seiner letzten Indien-Reise, bei der er bemerkenswerterweise nur eine Woche vor dem islamischen Massenmord noch am Ort des unfassbaren Geschehens in Bombay weilte. Der Chef des TV-Senders Bayern Journal Ralph Burkei war eine Woche später dort, was ihn das Leben kostete. Der TSV 1860 München hatte damit auch seinen ehemaligen Vizepräsidenten verloren. Und 30 Angestellte des Bayern Journals ihren Arbeitgeber. Willi Schwend zeigte, dass Hindus in Indien ihre Tempel wie Festungen schützen müssen, wenn Moslems in unmittelbarer Nachbarschaft leben. Dieses Bild, das mehr an einen KZ-Turm erinnert, ist ein massiver Schutzwall gegen Angehörige der Religion des Friedens™.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Wobei der schleichende Djihad noch viel gefährlicher ist als der offene Terror. Denn er kommt auf Samtpfoten daher, spricht die Sprache der naiven ahnungslosen Gutmenschen und schafft Fakten, die später nur sehr schwer wieder zu beseitigen sein werden. Robert Spencer spricht wie Geert Wilders, den er sehr bewundert und dem er wünscht, bald niederländischer Ministerpräsident zu werden, angesichts der massenhaften muslimischen Einwanderung von einem trojanischen Pferd, das bedenkenlos nach Europa und in die USA hineingelassen wurde.

Spencer sparte auch nicht mit Kritik an „seinem“ Präsidenten Barack Hussein Obama, der sich durch seine unkritische und rückgratlose Islam-Anbiederei den Friedensnobelpreis erschleimte. Obamas Unterstützung für die geplante Resolution der UN-„Menschenrechtskommission“, Islamkritik in Zukunft verbieten zu lassen, ist ein unfassbares Einknicken vor dieser Eroberungsideologie und ein Aufgeben der demokratischen Urtraditionen wie Meinungs- und Redefreiheit. Robert Spencer ist fassungslos über das Verhalten des amerikanischen Präsidenten, der damit der islamkritischen freiheitsliebenden Bewegung schwer in den Rücken fällt und sich damit auch gegen Grundsätze der amerikanischen Verfassung stellt.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Daher ist es für uns immens wichtig, der Islamisierung in Deutschland JETZT entgegenzutreten, und zwar DEUTLICH und SICHTBAR. In dieser Frühphase, in der die Weichen noch richtig gestellt werden können und in der die nichtmuslimische Bevölkerung NOCH in der Mehrheit ist. Später wird es ungleich schwerer sein, das Rad der Entwicklung wieder zurückzudrehen.

Die Mitglieder von Pax Europa sehen sich der Bewahrung der christlich-jüdischen Tradition unserer europäischen Kultur, den Errungenschaften der Europäischen Aufklärung und dem Erhalt der freiheitlich-demokratischen Grundordnung verpflichtet. Der Verein will intensiv über die schleichende Islamisierung Europas aufklären. Er richtet sich nicht pauschal gegen muslimische Menschen, aber sehr wohl gegen die islamische Ideologie, die dem Nationalsozialismus in vielen Punkten erschreckend gleicht. Beispielsweise im Führerprinzip, das im Islam das Kalifat ist, also die anzustrebende Herrschaftsform ohne demokratische Institutionen und ohne Gewaltenteilung. Im weiteren der Weltbeherrschungsanspruch, der abgrundtiefe Judenhass, die sozialistischen Vorstellungen, im Islam durch die Umma repräsentiert, und die Rolle der Frauen als Gebärmaschinen, die im Nationalsozialismus bekanntlich durch die Mutterkreuze gefördert wurden. Pax Europa tritt dagegen kompromisslos für den Erhalt des christlich-jüdisch geprägten europäischen Werteverbundes ein.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Im Vorstand von Pax Europa sind mutige und fachkundige Islamkritiker wie der Verleger Wilfried Puhl-Schmidt, der Unternehmer Willi Schwend, der Autor Eckhardt Kiwitt, die unermüdlichen Organisatoren Conny Axel Meier und Gerhard Lipp, die Aktivisten Joachim Swietlik und Dieter Moll, der geistige Vater des Koranplakates, sowie der Berliner CDU-Abgeordnete René Stadtkewitz, der ein vielversprechender Hoffnungsschimmer unter den beim Thema Islamisierung doch bisher so zurückhaltenden Unionspolitikern ist. Von den Vertretern anderer etablierter Parteien ganz zu schweigen.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Der Verein legt ausdrücklich Wert darauf, sich klar von Rechts- und Linksextremisten sowie Ausländerfeinden abzugrenzen und wird diese auch nicht aufnehmen. Somit ist diese Bürgerbewegung unangreifbar und ideal geeignet, um den Widerstand der freiheitsliebenden Menschen dieses Landes gegen die Islamisierung anzuführen. Dies wurde vergangenen Sonntag auch mit folgender Resolution gegen Extremismus und Fremdenfeindlichkeit dokumentiert:

Wir weisen alle Anschuldigungen und unwahren Behauptungen seitens ehemaliger Mitglieder, tedenziöser Medien und politischer Gegner aufs Schärfste zurück, die Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE) sei rechtsextremistisch, volksverhetzend, rassistisch oder xenophob.

Die Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa hat sich stets gegen Fremdenfeindlichkeit und Extremismus von rechts und von links positioniert und wird dies auch in Zukunft tun. Als anerkannte Menschenrechtsorganisation werden wir weiterhin auf die Gefahr der Islamisierung der Gesellschaft hinweisen und dieser durch Aufklärung entgegenwirken. Die BPE begrüßt und unterstützt es, wenn Muslime sich von dieser verfassungsfeindlichen und totalitären Herrschaftsideologie des Islams abwenden und so ein integraler Teil unserer freien, demokratischen Gesellschaft werden.

Pax Europa hat bereits die Landesverbände Nord (Bremen, Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein), Berlin-Brandenburg, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Rheinland-Pfalz/Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen und Bayern gegründet. Von dort werden auch lokale und regionale islamkritische Veranstaltungen tatkräftig unterstützt, was vor allem auch für die PI-Gruppen in bisher 20 deutschen Städten interessant sein dürfte.

Mit Pax Europa gegen die Islamisierung

Eine Mitgliedschaft bei Pax Europa ist nicht nur symbolisch wichtig, um sich in die Reihen dieser standhaften Verteidiger der Menschenrechte einzufügen. Der jährliche Mitgliedsbeitrag von 10 bis 50 Euro (je nach Einkommensverhältnissen) trägt auch zur Unterstützung von so bedeutsamen Aktionen wie der „Lesen Sie den Koran“-Plakatierung bei. Wer jetzt Mitglied wird, muss übrigens bis zum Ende des Jahres keinen Beitrag entrichten, erst ab Januar 2010. Werte PI-Leser, Kommentatoren und Artikelverfasser: Wenn Ihr Euch weitergehend engagieren wollt, dann ist Pax Europa die erste Wahl. Wer nicht nur zuhause mit den Hufen scharren und seinen Unmut über die immer schlimmer werdenden Zustände nicht nur über die Tastatur abarbeiten möchte, der trete bei. Den Mitgliedsantrag gibt es hier.

Aus eigener Erfahrung kann der Autor dieser Zeilen besten Gewissens sagen: Es tut unwahrscheinlich gut, sich mit diesen klar denkenden und erfrischend mutigen Gleichgesinnten zusammenzuschließen. Um gemeinsam für die innere Überzeugung selbstbewusst aufzutreten und der geistig verwirrten Gegenfront von Linksideologen, Rechtsextremisten und Islamfanatikern die Stirn zu bieten. Es befreit sichtlich von dem angestauten Ärger, dass die noch tonangebende politisch korrekte Meinungsmafia dieses schöne Land sichtlich an die Wand zu fahren droht.

Wir sind das Volk!

Posted in Berichte von Konferenzen, Counterjihad, Islam, Islamisierung, News | Leave a Comment »

Shocker! Pax Europa Accused Of Racism At OSCE Conference!

Posted by paulipoldie on October 2, 2009

Regular readers will be aware that I usually do not comment on anything I post here; comments can be found at the original sites. However, I was alerted to this piece below, which prompted me to reply. And swiftly at that.

http://www.icare.to/livereport/

hat tip aeneas

Blue stars, yellow stars

(opinion)
On the tables with information booklets outside the pelnary hall a leaflet appeared of the ‘Burgerbewegung Pax Europa’ (BPE). They call themselves a Human Rights organization for Freedom and Democracy. “The Citizens’ Movement Pax Europa clearly distances itself from all right-wing or left-wing extremists and all xenophobic movements” I always get suspicious when I read a disclaimer like that. Why would you put that in your flyer? There must be something in it that could perhaps make the reader think your either an extremist, a racist or both.

“The Citizens’ Movement Pax Europa is open to all those who want to join and support the association’s objectives: Democracy, rule of law, and human rights according to the ‘UN Declaration of Human Rights’ ” Apparently the UN charter doesn’t apply to migrants, ehh Muslims, ehh Turkish Muslims in Germany in particular. “About 1 million Muslims – 700.000 Turkish – have been granted German citizenship” So? You would think the BPE would be happy that so many wish to become German citizen and fulfill all requirements that come with it. No, BPE is not, they are outraged that there are some 2600 Islamic prayer houses and on top of that 163 traditional mosques “with minarets and dome” Eeeks, minarets and dome, that’s scary…. Since 34% of Germans are Protestant and another 34% Roman Catholic how many churches (with bells and tower) would there be? The migration rate of 2.19 migrants/1,000 population (2009 est.) puts Germany on place number 40 of the world migration rate, countries like the Netherlands (34) Denmark (33) and Portugal (29) above them.

The entire leaflet is riddled with so-called arguments why Muslims/Turks (being Turkish = Muslim apparently) should not be allowed to become citizen of Germany or any European country. Turkey should, as an Asian – Muslim country, never be allowed to join the EU. It also lists demands for migrants to be allowed into an European country, it all comes down to assimilate or ship out. It is rather curious, to put it mildly, to see this odious piece of racist propaganda appear during the HDIM, an event where people gather to exchange thoughts on human rights, certainly not always agreeing, but at least trying to debate issues on bases of arguments and most of the time in a respectful manner. The BPE has reversed the EU logo colors, they have a yellow background with blue stars. Folks, the EU yellow stars only have 5 points, no problem there….

Suzette
I CARE News team

**************************************************************************************

Pax Europa has made the effort to engage in a process – now there are people implying that it should not be bothering and should shut itself off to all other ideas.

This opinion piece is “riddled” with idiocies.  But I will address them step by step.

1. Apparently the UN charter doesn’t apply to migrants, ehh Muslims, ehh Turkish Muslims in Germany in particular.

Of course, it does. The leaflet does not, and will never, deny the fact that there is a UN Charter (I take it the author meant the UN Charter on Human Rights). Pax Europa deeply respects the Charter and will continue to do so. However, one must be aware that there is also a parallel set of human rights which is endorsed by the United Nations: The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (1990). No such thing as “universal rights” if there is another set of human rights, is there?

Whereas the Universal declaration states

‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.’

CDHRI does not guarantee equal rights, but merely equal dignity: Article 6 (a) Woman is equal to man in human dignity, and has rights to enjoy as well as duties to perform; she has her own civil entity and financial independence, and the right to retain her name and lineage. (b) The husband is responsible for the support and welfare of the family.

‘All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex, religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations.’

In particular, CDHRI has been criticised for failing to guarantee freedom of religion.

Here, I rest my case.

2. You would think the BPE would be happy that so many wish to become German citizen and fulfill all requirements that come with it.

BPE would be very happy about many becoming German citizen (sic!), if they only abide by the law. Many become German citizens without giving up their original citizenship, which makes one wonder why they bother at all. Could it be that some have other motives? No, that couldn’t be it because there are no bad and sinister asylum seekers and migrants; it the host societies’ fault that migrants are not feeling welcome. (Sarcasm off)

3. “…they are outraged that there are some 2600 Islamic prayer houses and on top of that 163 traditional mosques “with minarets and dome” Eeeks, minarets and dome, that’s scary.”

May I remind your readers of the following statement made by the current Turkish prime minister:

“Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, 1997.

Or perhaps this statement made by Erdogan in Cologne, Germany:

ANKARA – Turkish PM warns Germany’s leaders not to confuse assimilation with integration. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Turks in Germany on Tuesday to reject assimilation, repeating comments that drew a furious response last weekend.

“I repeat… assimilation is a crime against humanity,” Erdogan said in a speech to parliament in Ankara.

Erdogan warned Germany’s leaders not to confuse assimilation with integration for the nearly three million people of Turkish origin living in the country.

“I explained over there (Germany) that they must differentiate very clearly between assimilation and integration. We can think differently from (Chancellor Angela) Merkel about this, but that is my opinion,” Erdogan said (…)

4. Turkey should, as an Asian – Muslim country, never be allowed to join the EU.

No, it should not. It does not need to join the EU. It already enjoys a privileged association status, which should suffice. See here for more information.

5. It is rather curious, to put it mildly, to see this odious piece of racist propaganda appear during the HDIM, an event where people gather to exchange thoughts on human rights, certainly not always agreeing, but at least trying to debate issues on bases of arguments and most of the time in a respectful manner.

Would you care to elaborate on the racism charge? Otherwise I will assume your are using the racism charge because you ran out of arguments and to stifle debate.

6. “… most of the time in a respectful manner…”

And would you also point out where Pax Europa and its colleagues departed from respectful manners?

****************************************************************************

Surely OSCE meetings are places where problems can be resolved rather than glossed over.  To dismiss a position via name calling does not make the world a better place because it makes people afraid to raise matters of public concern that fester as a result.

See also: http://www.libertiesalliance.org/2009/10/02/attempt-to-silence-debate-in-warsaw/

Posted in Conference Reports, Freedom of Speech/Redefreiheit, Human Rights - menschenrechte, Must Read, News | 2 Comments »

Sanitizing the Textbooks for Islam

Posted by paulipoldie on August 31, 2009

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/08/sanitizing-textbooks-for-islam.html#readfurther

Below are excerpts from Fjordman’s latest essay at Dhimmi Watch:

I recently wrote an essay regarding how the Council of Europe, in close cooperation with the European Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab League and other Islamic organizations, are working to combat “Islamophobia” in Europe by all means necessary. Now the French blog Galliawatch takes a look at the CoE as well. This should be considered required reading for all those numerous people who still stubbornly dismiss Eurabia as a “conspiracy theory.” The CoE and the EU are implementing policies aimed to rewrite school textbooks throughout the European continent in order to provide a positive and non-threatening view of Islam. They are thus indoctrinating our children to accept Islam.

They are doing this behind our backs, without consulting us, and they can do so because the EU is constructed as a top-down organization where all crucial decisions are taken behind closed doors and imposed on the general public by an unelected oligarchy, who may or may not be bought and paid for by our enemies. Yes, this is a massive betrayal, but we should remember that it is a betrayal that they can commit because we gave them the tools to do so, or at least didn’t object strongly enough when they took these tools, maybe because we didn’t understand the full significance of them. The only way to stop this and prevent similar betrayals from occurring in the future is to take away these tools from the hostile Eurabian oligarchy, which requires dissolving both the EU and the CoE.

Resolution 1605 of the Council of Europe

Council of Europe member states should continue to be vigilant in their work to prevent and combat the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

– – – – – – – –

One would have thought that a “phenomenon” that was born the day Islam was initiated, and has existed with non-Muslims for some 1400 years, would no longer be deemed a “phenomenon.”

9. In light of the above, the Assembly calls on the member states of the Council of Europe to:

9.1. act strongly against discrimination in all areas;

9.2. condemn and combat Islamophobia;

9.7.6. encouraging the participation of people with an immigrant background in political parties, trade unions and non-governmental organisations;

9.7.7. taking all the necessary measures to eliminate the inequality of opportunity faced by immigrants, including unemployment and inadequate education;

9.7.8. removing unnecessary legal or administrative obstacles to the construction of a sufficient number of appropriate places of worship for the practice of Islam;

9.7.9. ensuring that school textbooks do not portray Islam as a hostile or threatening religion;

Read: ensure that textbooks be dishonest, ignoring the countless injunctions of Islamic hostility found in that religion’s primary texts, and countless historical examples, from day one to now, of how Muslims acted on those hostile teachings.

Go over to Dhimmi Watch for the rest of the essay and the source links.

Posted in Fjordman, News | Leave a Comment »

Waqf Call in Austria

Posted by paulipoldie on August 31, 2009

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/08/waqf-call-in-austria.html#readfurther

I’ve written previously about the Islamic doctrine of waqf, or “sacred trust”, which is a scripturally-sanctioned policy that considers all property to be held in trust for the Ummah. Any territory which has ever been conquered, occupied, or held by Muslims is permanently covered by waqf, specifically including cemeteries where Muslims are buried.

Westerner officials do not realize the significance of opening an official Muslim cemetery within their jurisdiction, but the Muslims do: they know that by doing so they have carved out a little piece of Dar al-Islam within Dar al-Harb, in perpetuity.

Our Austrian correspondent ESW has translated an article from Der Standard about the opening of an Islamic cemetery in Vienna:

Islamic cemetery to be opened after end of Ramadan

Omar Al-RawiThe long-planned opening of the Islamic cemetery in Vienna is to take place after the end of Ramadan, says Omar Al-Rawi, member of the Vienna city council (SPÖ) and in charge of integration matters at the Islamic Religious Association.

[…]

The cemetery was to have opened in 2003, but financial problems delayed the project. The OPEC Fund as well as Qatar were the main financial contributors; many small contributors offered money at the last moment, and others contributed in kind.

– – – – – – – –

As a result, the inauguration will be ceremonious. “We will not open the cemetery quietly”. This memorable event will be celebrated with an elaborate ceremony. The entire Islamic leadership as well as local and foreign representatives, e.g. from Qatar, but also Austrian political representatives are expected to attend. The celebrations should include Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

[…]

The lead time for this project was a considerable. It took almost twenty years for the city of Vienna and the Islamic Religious Association to finalize the plans for the cemetery. There were many reasons for the delay: archeology (artifacts were found on the site), bankruptcy (of one of the construction companies), arson attack (by unknowns).

The city of Vienna provided the site for the cemetery; the Religious Association was in charge of construction. The plot’s size is 3.4 hectares and provides for 3,000 deceased who will be buried facing Mecca. Although no reservations have been made so far, there have been many inquiries. Many older Muslims still possess insurance in order to repatriate their corpses for burial in Turkey. Al-Rawi is confident this will change once the cemetery is in operation.

Ah, yes: No more need to be buried in Turkey, because Turkey has returned to the Gates of Vienna.

Only this time the Viennese have simply opened the gates and said, “Würden Sie bitte besuchen Sie uns im Inneren?”

Posted in Islam, News | Leave a Comment »

Wearing Out Their Welcome

Posted by paulipoldie on August 18, 2009

Wearing Out Their Welcome

by Baron Bodissey

In the midst of the raging economic crisis, with the tourist industry in Austria experiencing a dramatic drop, the number of Arab visitors to Austria vacation spots remains the same. Even though Middle Eastern tourists are propping up the Austrian economy, not all Austrians are happy with the ethnic shift in the tourist industry.

Our Austrian correspondent ESW has translated an article from the print edition of NEWS magazine, published on August 13, 2009:

The Arabs are coming…

…and are spending a lot of money. Tourists from the Middle East spend more money during their vacation than all the others.

…but many don’t want them. In Zell am See, many restaurant owners are ranting against the Arabs.

Luxury tourists. Large Arab families are on tour in Austria and leave millions in the country. Still, not all of them are popular everywhere.

Zell am See Arabs 1“Zell am See is prostituting itself,” rants Hermann Mosshammer in a regional magazine. “I want to be able to walk around town five years from now without a muezzin calling to prayer from a church tower.” He owns two cafés in Zell am See and has a problem with the tourists who hail from the Arabian peninsula. The lake, the mountains, the glacier: all wonders of nature in the Pinzgau [a district of Salzburg, an Austrian province] attract holiday makers from Dubai, Qatar, and other places.

Seventeen percent of all summer tourists in Zell am See are from the Arabian gulf. In July and August 2008, approximately 100,000 Arabs visited the city of 9,700 inhabitants, thereby saving the already limping summer tourism numbers. Austria’s capital, Vienna, also profits from this boom: there were a remarkable 137,000 overnight stays [an Austrian euphemism to count tourist stays] from Arab countries in 2008.

But not everyone is excited about the boom. Café owner Mr. Mosshammer is not alone in his opinion. NEWS visited Zell am See and many restaurant owners support what polls have shown: Eighty percent of those polled want to stop all promotional activities in Arab countries. More specifically, it is those in the restaurant and catering business who do not benefit from the Arab boom who do not see the exotic visitors as cash-cows saving their summer business, but who see them as part of a cultural problem.

“All the veiled women in their burqas are changing the appearance of our town. The men treat the waiters and other hotel personnel like second class humans. Many regular guests and visitors from the Netherlands and Germany are being scared off. We need a new and healthier mix of guests,” an agitated restaurant owner, requesting anonymity, tells NEWS.

Millions from the Middle East.

Zell am See Arabs 2Such polemics are problematic and economically fatal, especially in a year of crisis such as 2009, in which tourism numbers in Austria are expected to dip by 3.5%. It is the Gulf Arab holidaymakers who can save the tourism industry from a total collapse. Sheikhs tend to vacation with a different budget compared to central Europeans. The national average shows that visitors from the Middle East spend at least 30 percent more than all other tourists; they stay at five-star hotels, often with their extended families, and shopping is their favorite activity while vacationing.

There is no crisis mode.

– – – – – – – –

“There is no crisis in Saudi Arabia and Dubai,” says Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, managing director of Österreich Werbung [Austrian Tourism Agency] in Dubai. There is plenty of money in people’s wallets, as NEWS was able to discern while walking around downtown Vienna. “We have been coming to Austria for many years because people here are so friendly,” says Abdul from Qatar. “This year, my family and I — eighteen people in all — are spending July and August in Austria. We will be spending 850,000 euros.” The rentier and his family will also pay an obligatory visit to Zell am See. He does not yet know of the restaurant and hotel owners’ hostile behavior awaiting them.

Assimilation instead of marginalization.

While the people in Pinzgau are getting heated up about some stores extending their opening hours for their Arab guests, Vienna has adapted to the Middle Eastern guests.

Dieter Fenz, managing director of the Vienna Mariott hotel, has adapted hotel services to the needs of the Arabs. “We now have 24-hour kitchen service, because the Arabs often eat their breakfast at noontime and eat their dinner between one and three a.m. In addition, we have Arabic-speaking personnel working at reception, in the kitchen area and in the coffee shop.”

The managing director of the tourism agency in Zell am See, however, sees an “Arab” problem and presents a solution: “Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, where there is no traveling, start on August 11 next year; in 2012, it starts on August 1. Ninety-five percent of vacationers from the Arab countries will stay home.” One question remains: Who will fill up the empty bed in the luxury hotels.

ESW comments:

The region around Zell am See is without doubt one of the most beautiful in all of Austria. It is not only the Gulf Arabs who take advantage of this quaint town’s versatility, particularly in the summer months when temperatures in the Gulf climb to almost 50 degrees (in the shade!). What is so special about Zell am See?

Zell Am See, a winter ski resort, is located in the state of Salzburg, Austria. The city, which is the administrative center of the district of Zell Am See, is one of the Austria’s most important tourist destinations. With a population of around 9,600 inhabitants, Zell Am See is home to a calm and serene atmosphere, ideal to relax and rejuvenate.

It is Zell am See’s geographic location that makes the small city so easy to reach. Located in the literal geographic center of Austria, visitors and holiday-makers can fly into Munich or Salzburg and then drive to Zell am See. On the other hand, one can easily decide for a day trip to Italy to go on a shopping spree. In addition, the historical and cultural city of Salzburg is only a hour’s drive away.

The region Zell am See/Kaprun offers much of what Gulf Arabs who are used to the desert climate want to see and experience: Snow in the summer on the nearby glacier, impressive waterfalls, a fresh-water lake, mountains, but also five-star hotels catering to every need of holiday-needy Kuwaitis, Emiratis, Bahrainis, Saudis and Qataris.

Already back in 1990, when I was interning at the Austrian Embassy in Kuwait, I stamped thousands of visas for huge families and their maids and chauffeurs eager to flee Kuwait. The numbers were not much lower during my tenure in the late 1990’s, despite Austria’s accession to the Schengen regime, which made it mandatory for Bahrainis and Qataris to apply for visas at the nearest Schengen Embassy in their home countries. The destination written on their visa application forms was nearly always: “Sal am Si” in its countless variations.

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/08/wearing-out-their-welcome.html#readfurther

Posted in Must Read, News | Leave a Comment »

A Report on the OSCE Roundtable

Posted by paulipoldie on July 25, 2009

A Report on the OSCE Roundtable

by Baron Bodissey

Earlier this month the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held a “Human Dimension Roundtable” in Vienna. One of the participants — a Counterjihad sympathizer — has prepared the following report.

OSCE map
Click the image above to see a full-sized map of the OSCE countries. At the bottom of this post is a list of those countries, as well as the mission statement of the OSCE. The original map of OSCE states (in pdf format) can be found here.

Henrik Ræder Clausen has also posted a report on the same event.


The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
and the Counterjihad

A report from the Human Dimension Roundtable, Vienna
July 9-10, 2009

One may wonder what the Counterjihad and an organization like the OSCE could possibly have in common. Before I delve into this matter, I will provide a short overview of the OSCE, as it is a rather obscure organization, especially for non-Europeans, despite the membership of the United States and Canada. I will also touch on how the OSCE processes work.

According to its fact sheet, “The OSCE works for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. The Organization comprises 56 participating States that span the globe, encompassing three continents — North America, Europe and Asia — and more than a billion people.” However, the OSCE uses the “d”-word: dialogue. The fact sheet calls it its “genetic code, in order to maintain security throughout its region.”

To be fair, the OSCE does its work in relative obscurity, “away from the headlines”, in order to defuse potential threats. The only time we hear about the OSCE is during elections, when monitoring missions are established, most recently in Georgia. The OSCE is also active in post-conflict areas, “helping to reinforce confidence- and security-building measures.” These measures include, among others, initiatives for minority rights, legislative reform, the rule of law, and press freedom.

The OSCE, like the EU, believes in Euro-Mediterranean partnership which includes countries like Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan for further cooperation. All partners for cooperation, save Israel, were noticeably absent from the roundtable discussions.

OSCE seats
The OSCE, or rather its predecessor the CSCE, was one of the main players in bringing down Communism:

The Organization traces its origins to the early 1970s, to the Helsinki Final Act and the creation of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which at the height of the Cold War served as an important multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 heralded the start of a new era for a “Europe whole and free”, and the participating States called upon the CSCE to respond to the emerging challenges. The CSCE acquired its first permanent structures, including a Secretariat and institutions, and established the first field missions. In 1994 the CSCE, more than a conference, was renamed the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Organization “views security as comprehensive and takes action in three ‘dimensions’: the politico-military; the economic and environmental; and the human.” It is precisely the third dimension — the human dimension — that brought down communism. The Soviets, through their participation in the CSCE, were gently led toward the acceptance of human rights, including freedom of worship:

“…[T]he inclusion of the humanitarian aspect was a victory for the West, including the neutral states….[A]t the beginning of the negotiations the Soviets did not even accept the use of the term “human rights” at the negotiations concerning the Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations Between Participating States, instead the word “penguin” was used. Finally they were forced to accept the human rights aspect on their territory as an “essential factor for peace, well-being and justice”. For instance, by accepting this the Soviet Union had to change its views on the suppression of its citizens of the Jewish faith as well as other minorities. The Soviet Union could not but free some of its imprisoned and persecuted dissidents […] As the Chairman of the United States Delegation to the Vienna CSCE Follow-up Meeting noted, “there were remarkable results”. By 1986, jamming of radio broadcasts had ceased, enabling citizens of all participating states to listen to broadcasts of their choosing. A significant number of Jews were able to emigrate from the Soviet Union. Freedom of speech and press censorship were also matters which were addressed as a consequence. At the same time over 600 political prisoners had been freed, dissidents had been allowed more freedom, worshipers form different religious faiths had won more tolerance. But not only the citizens of the Soviet Union profited form the CSCE process: in particular, citizens of both Germans states were finally able to visit each other (however, only up to 30 days per year), mostly to visit relatives.” (Source: university paper by ESW, “The evolution of the CSCE to the OSCE. Did the Institutionalization of the CSCE increase its Effectiveness — evaluation of successes and failures with emphasis on human rights and national minorities. 2002)

In addition:
– – – – – – – –

The very concept of freedom of movement for people, as established in the Helsinki Final Act, is what essentially facilitated the fall of Communism and marked the beginning of the end for bipolarism in Europe. What began in the early 1980’s in Poland with the mass protests of the Solidarity union, which was cracked down by the government, ended once again with Poland in 1988 the massive anti-government strikes forced the government to allow free elections in which the Communists were heavily defeated. These protests rapidly spread to other Soviet satellite states such as Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. By the end of 1991, Gorbachev had resigned and the Soviet Union had split up into separate republics. Communism was not defeated but had defeated itself.

The OSCE is

“unique and innovative in several respects. Firstly, the concept of “sovereign and independent states and in conditions of full equality” was unheard of in an era of bloc-to-bloc confrontation. Secondly, while other negotiations embraced a rather fragmented approach to security, the CSCE endorsed a comprehensive view. Thirdly, unlike the United Nations Security Council, where decisions could be halted by vetoes, the CSCE’s advantage was consensus. Thus, the CSCE did not offer the two blocs a playground for power politics. Instead of ambiguity, the CSCE process encouraged transparency in all fields.”

In OSCE terminology, the term human dimension is used to describe the set of norms and activities related to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, which is regarded within the OSCE as one of the three dimensions of security. The term also indicates that the OSCE norms in this field cover a wider area than traditional human rights law. (Human Dimension commitments, vol. 1, 2005)

According to its book on “Human Dimension Commitments, Vol. 1, 2005”, “the OSCE process is essentially a political process that does not create legally binding norms or principles. Unlike many other human rights documents, OSCE human dimension commitments are politically, rather than legally, binding. This is an important distinction since it limits the legal enforceability of OSCE standards. On other words, OSCE commitments cannot be enforced in a court of law.”

The OSCE’s office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR), based in Warsaw, is the main institution of the OSCE for human dimension. It organizes “regular meetings that take stock of OSCE human dimension commitments and recommends follow-up. In all its activities, the ODHIR reaches out to a network of partners active in related areas, including international and local non-governmental human rights organizations.”

ODHIR organizes and hosts thematic roundtables to give civil society representatives the opportunity to draft recommendations for the OSCE and participating states.

The OSCE’s “Tolerance and Non-Discrimination and Information System (TANDIS) is worth looking into more closely, especially its brochure on hate crimes (pdf)

It is this consensus which was so extremely helpful in killing some “very poisonous” (Henrik R. Clausen) recommendations made at the Civil Society roundtable in July 2009. This is advantageous because if there is no consensus, then the recommendation is not carried and thus no longer an issue. Of course, this means only a very limited number of recommendations make it into the protocol.

These are the recommendations agreed upon in the Civil Society roundtable:

1. Freedom of religion or belief should be mainstreamed in the work of ODIHR;
2. Participating States are encouraged to implement existing commitments on freedom of religion or belief according to international human rights standards. Participating States are encouraged to make use of the assistance available from ODIHR;
3. The rule of law should be recognized as an essential prerequisite for full and proper enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief;
4. Participating States are encouraged to actively create an atmosphere in the public space within which freedom of religion or belief can best flourish and in which religious and belief communities can engage in full and fruitful dialogue. This space should be open to all, and the public media can play an important role in the creation of this space.

Some of the poisonous recommendations are listed below:

Cojep International (no link to Cojep’s press release is available, as they were distributed on paper) appears to be a very dangerous organization. It was represented by its Vice-Chair, Veysel Filip, who not only took the floor sharply criticizing the “Charter on Muslim Understanding” in an official statement, but also complaining about “the inadequate response of the German government to date given the nature of the crime (the stabbing of an Egyptian woman in a courtroom in Dresden)” and “urges the German authorities to publicly condemn the attack.”

Now why should the German authorities react by condemnation? Here is Henrik R. Clausen’s (ICLA) statement in response:

“(Regarding) the murder in Dresden: We have full confidence in the German law to handle this matter, and we emphasize that no such events, no matter how evil, should be used (and abused) as a pretext for assaulting freedom of expression or implementing draconic legislation.”

It should be noted that other than the official German representative to the OSCE, no participating state or organization except for ICLA, took the floor.

Cojep added that “Governments should ensure that law enforcement officers are trained to respond to and investigate anti-Muslim crimes. Public education efforts should promote tolerance and diversity and address anti-Muslim prejudice.”

A similar request was made during the Civil Society round-table meeting, namely for “sensitivity training in schools”, but this was quickly off the table thanks to ICLA and Pax Europa interjections.

In its recommendations, Cojep “has recently observed a sharp decline of funding for support of the Muslim NGOs which is necessary for them to attend OSCE human dimension events and make their voice to be heard. We would like to emphasise that in order to ensure a more balanced participation of all communities in the OSCE region, ODIHR [OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights] should promote the participation of Muslim NGOs more.”

There should be no public funding for NGO groups as this would undermine the credibility of an NGO’s status as a non-governmental group. Other funding is acceptable, but it hard to understand the whining of Cojep regarding a supposed under-representation of Muslim NGOs. There were plenty of those present at the July 2009 meeting.

With regard to hate speech laws (which are described in great detail in an OSCE brochure “Hate Crime Laws — A Practical Guide”), the United States Mission to the OSCE weighs in:

“Anti-terrorism laws or extremism laws are too often misused — sometimes deliberately — to limit religious groups. To cite two recent examples, new religion laws in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan appear to be aimed at keeping a lid on religious extremism. In practice, however, such restrictions on legitimate religious activities tend to enhance extremism. Among the groups labeled this way in some participating States are many Muslim groups…[…].”

The US Mission also quotes President Obama who “noted the importance for countries to avoid impeding their citizens from practicing religion in almost any way they see fit — for instance, by dictating what clothes a woman should wear.” As discussed by many commentators, this statement is truly poisonous when it comes to Islam.

However, the US Mission must be applauded for its statement on freedom of expression, namely that limitations must not be imposed unless there is a call for violence:

“Sometimes calls for religious tolerance or calls to respect others’ beliefs are used to justify limitations on our OSCE commitments relating to freedom of expression and religion. The United States believes that such limitations on freedom of expression, including religious expression, are unacceptable absent a clear threat of violence — governments should permit free expression to the fullest extent possible. In our view, the antidote to intolerant speech is not limitations on speech — even when it is admittedly offensive — but rather ensuring that our society uses its freedom of expression to discredit and condemn such statements, while nevertheless aspiring to a level of dialogue that is respectful and constructive.”

Though ICLA, Pax Europa, Mission Europa, and the Akademikerbund were invited to sign the Joint NGO Statement (Observatory for Religious Freedom, Spain; Alliance Defence Fund, United States et. al.; Paneuropa Union, Austria; Human Rights Platform www.christianophobia.eu, Europe; Evangelischer Aufbruch, Germany), we were unable to do so. There are some acceptable ideas included in the statement; however, other statements contrary to our ideas were truly problematic, even if the intention is noble.

For example, this statement was unacceptable:

“Governments must admit religious attire even in public places, except when paramount interests such as safety, public order or health compel to rule otherwise. Governments must recognize the wide extent and implications of the right of parents to the moral and religious upbringing of children, without any interference from political power and from official ideology leading to indoctrination. In sum, States must recognize religion as a vital source of moral behaviour which is beyond and superior to secular legal systems.”

Religious law must never be recognized as superior to secular law. This is where Muslims will applaud since this is precisely what Muslims believe: Sharia law is above any other law since it is Allah’s law. Thus, a clear “No” to religious law’s superiority to secular law.

The idea that of granting the parents the unconditional right to moral and religious upbringing of their children unfortunately opens the door to Islamic madrassas, widely known to be breeding grounds for religious indoctrination and brainwashing. While this — the parents being in charge of their children’s moral upbringing — might be seen as good and moral idea, Muslim parents must first renounce the problematic verses and suras of the Quran (see Charter for Muslim Understanding).

On the other hand, one recommendation can and must definitely be supported:

“To guarantee the availability of places of worship taking into account urban planning considerations, and the artistic, cultural, religious, architectural and environmental characteristics of the territory. A dialogue should be established with the local community and religions traditionally present in that area. Legislative regulations should distinguish between places used for worship only and places of worship used for activities beyond purpose of worship.”

Here is a (sometimes very problematic) list of recommendations submitted to the OSCE prior to the Roundtable for Civil Society:

Alliance Defense Fund (US):

Freedom of religion and freedom of assembly are complementary rights, with the former requiring the latter for actualization, maturation and perpetuation. A disturbing trend exists where laws regarding the establishment of places of worship for minority Christian religions are either illusory (because of administrative provisions making the operative provisions of laws allowing for the establishment of places of worship virtually impossible to utilize) such as in Turkey, or are non-existent such as in several of the more conservative Middle Eastern Nations (e.g. United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia).

Weg der Versöhnung — Way of Reconciliation (Austria):

FREEDOM OF SPEECH is the foundation and basis of success of every democracy. It is the basis of the dignity of the human being. The loss of the freedom of speech is the beginning of tyranny, as history proves. It is being severely threatened in the EU in our day by so-called Hate Speech and Antidiscrimination legislation.

Cojep International (France):

In Europe we observe that Muslims have been increasingly facing arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on their right to manifest and practice their religions. The referendum process to ban the building of minarets in Switzerland and the recent law adopted for the same purpose in the Carinthia province of Austria are two examples of this worrying situation. Muslims are also concerned about intervention of their internal religious affairs, especially when they were not allowed to choose their own imams or muftis.

We would like to also recommend that ODIHR’s Panel of Experts on Religious Freedom should have a more balanced approach towards to all regions of OSCE and all religious groups and believers and non-believers. For this purpose, we would like to propose to ODIHR to include at least one expert with a Muslim minority background.

Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association (Iceland):

Repeal blasphemy laws.

Muzaffar Olimov (Tajikistan):

The ban on hijabs limits the ability of women to get education and employment and indirectly discriminates against women. In Tajikistan, where the economic status of women is lower than that of men, the ban on hijabs should be lifted.

Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians (Austria):

Radical political correctness and hate speech legislation may lead to a restriction of the freedom of religion as well as of the freedom of expression. We urge not to promote a claimed right not to feel offended which ends up in restricting the freedom of expression of individuals and groups, including religious individuals and groups.

Observatory for Religious Tolerance and Freedom (Italy):

The ODIHR should not consider violations of religious freedom against majority religions less serious than those against minority religions because such violations are serious per se and OSCE commitments are referred to majority religions as well.

The European Union is also represented in the OSCE, both by the current presidency (Sweden) and ECRI, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. What follows are the most destructive passages from ECRI’s paper submitted to the OSCE (emphasis added):

  • ECRI considers that religious intolerance is a form of racism.
  • ECRI has taken issue with various forms of intolerance: harassment by the police and local authorities vis-à-vis, among others, “non-traditional” groups; violence against persons and properties perpetrated by non-state actors; and inflammatory speech by extremist politicians and media.
  • ECRI has also commented on the spreading of stereotypes and prejudice (on, for example, the limited possibilities of some religious groups to integrate); and even the contribution to the negative climate of the exploitation by mainstream politicians of issues such as forced marriages and female genital mutilation.
  • For ECRI there is no real dilemma between protecting freedom of speech and the fight against religious intolerance. There are cases where the demands of the latter will take precedence over the former. It should be noted in this respect that the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention takes to some extent the same position.
  • In its General Policy Recommendation on combating racism and racial discrimination in and through school education, ECRI has highlighted the need for an instruction which “complies with the scientific neutrality essential in any educational approach”.
  • ECRI has had to deal with religious discrimination in employment and housing. This targets, among others, women with headscarves.
  • Dialogue between the authorities and the representatives of religious groups but also between the different groups is essential in a multicultural society; also essential is the monitoring of the situation by the authorities, through a process of data collection that respects the principles of data protection and self-identification. However, multiculturalism should not be seen as an end in itself. What ECRI strives for is integrated societies. For us, successful integration is a two-way process, a process of mutual recognition, which has nothing to do with assimilation. An “integrated society” in ECRI’s conception is equally inclusive of majority and minority groups.

Just how dangerous the discussion on religious freedom can be becomes obvious if one goes back six years to a roundtable on Religious Freedom and Democracy, which took place in Rome in 2003, during the OSCE Fall Conference on Religious Freedom:

Ambassador Babacar Ba spoke on behalf of the Secretary General of the Islamic Conference, Abdelouahed Belkeziz, emphasizing the significance of Islam in the history of humanity and the values of tolerance and freedom it has always promoted, whilst denouncing the link between Islam and the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. Ambassador Ba stressed the positive relations between Islam and other religions, recalling how, historically, Islam had harmoniously integrated certain elements of previous civilizations. He made a link with the Mediterranean aspect of the Rome Conference by underlining the crucial role of the Mediterranean area in the symbiotic relationship between Europe and Islam. Quoting two verses of the Koran, Ambassador Ba underscored the openness of Islam. According to him, Islam has always been a good example of tolerance towards the Jews, the Christians and also nonbelievers throughout history, whilst discouraging forced conversion.

Ambassador Ba went on clarify the alleged misunderstandings pertaining to the debate on the compatibility of religion with democracy. According to him, Islam is not less compatible with democracy than other religions, pointing to the notion that the West did not inherit its democratic principles from any religion, but rather from its great philosophers. Moreover, he argued that the Islamic world is following the same path as the West by striving to institutionalize the same separation of religious institutions from the state. He emphasized the OIC’s commitment to the dialogue between cultures and civilizations in all its relations with international organizations, mentioning an initiative called the “civilization dialogue”.

We must, under all circumstances, continue what was started in July 2009. We need to shake up and wake up those willing to wake up.

Perhaps one day we will be able to say: The CSCE brought down communism; the OSCE brought down Islamic supremacism.


What is the OSCE?

(Original pdf here)

The OSCE works for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. The Organization comprises 56 participating States that span the globe, encompassing three continents — North America, Europe and Asia — and more than a billion people.

Forum for dialogue — platform for action

Europe faces new threats and challenges. The OSCE, with its multi-faceted approach to security, offers the region a forum for political dialogue and negotiations and a platform for multilateral partnerships that pursue practical work on the ground.

Dialogue is in the OSCE’s genetic code. To maintain security throughout its region, the OSCE relies on political dialogue about shared values and develops partnerships with governments, civil society and the private sector. The OSCE often works away from the headlines to foster discussion to defuse tensions and head off potential conflict.

The OSCE’s 19 field operations enable the Organization to tackle crises should they arise, and can also play a critical post-conflict role, helping to reinforce confidence- and security-building measures. They foster the administrative capacity of the host countries through concrete projects that respond to people and their needs. These include initiatives to support community policing, minority rights, legislative reform, rule of law, press freedom and border management. Increasingly, the OSCE is building networks of professionals to work more efficiently against terrorism, smuggling of small arms and light weapons, and trafficking in human beings.

From the Cold War to new security challenges

The Organization traces its origins to the early 1970s, to the Helsinki Final Act and the creation of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which at the height of the Cold War served as an important multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 heralded the start of a new era for a “Europe whole and free”, and the participating States called upon the CSCE to respond to the emerging challenges. The CSCE acquired its first permanent structures, including a Secretariat and institutions, and established the first field missions. In 1994 the CSCE, more than a conference, was renamed the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The complex security challenges of the 21st century — from climate change to the spectre of terrorism — have made it clear that the co-operation fostered by the OSCE is needed more than ever.

These combine with the challenges inherited from the past — resolving conflicts in the former Soviet Union, embedding stability in the Balkans, promoting military transparency — to make the OSCE agenda ambitious and full.

Participating States

1 Albania
2 Andorra
3 Armenia
4 Austria
5 Azerbaijan
6 Belarus
7 Belgium
8 Bosnia And Herzegovina
9 Bulgaria
10 Canada
11 Croatia
12 Cyprus
13 Czech Republic
14 Denmark
15 Estonia
16 Finland
17 France
18 Georgia
19 Germany
20 Greece
21 Holy See
22 Hungary
23 Iceland
24 Ireland
25 Italy
26 Kazakhstan
27 Kyrgyzstan
28 Latvia
29 Liechtenstein
30 Lithuania
31 Luxembourg
32 The Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia
33 Malta
34 Moldova
35 Monaco
36 Montenegro
37 Netherlands
38 Norway
39 Poland
40 Portugal
41 Romania
42 Russian Federation
43 San Marino
44 Serbia
45 Slovakia
46 Slovenia
47 Spain
48 Sweden
49 Switzerland
50 Tajikistan
51 Turkey
52 Turkmenistan
53 Ukraine
54 United Kingdom
55 United States Of America
56 Uzbekistan

Asian Partners for Co-Operation

A1 Afghanistan
A2 Japan
A3 Republic Of Korea
A4 Mongolia
A5 Thailand

Mediterranean Partners for Co-Operation

M1 Algeria
M2 Egypt
M3 Israel
M4 Jordan
M5 Morocco
M6 Tunisia

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/07/report-on-osce-roundtable.html#readfurther

Posted in Berichte von Konferenzen, Conference Reports, Human Rights - menschenrechte, Must Read, News | 3 Comments »

Cultural Crime

Posted by paulipoldie on June 6, 2009

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/08/cultural-crime.html#readfurther

by Baron Bodissey

A primary characteristic of Islam is its bestial treatment of women. One of the notable dogs-that-did-not-bark is Western feminism, which has remained largely silent about brutality against women in the the Muslim subcultures of the West.

Oppression of women has strolled unnoticed into Europe, Australia, Canada, and the United States while the feminists concentrate on forcing the native male population to urinate while sitting down, or push to get lesbian sexual practices into school curricula.

Our Austrian correspondent ESW has translated some excerpts from Kurier about one woman’s efforts on behalf of immigrant Muslim women in her country who are oppressed, beaten, and killed:

Austrian Minister of Interior: “I want to protect those girls”

Girls with an immigrant background who are forced into marriages, who are beaten by their fathers, brothers, cousins: this is a “huge problem”, even in Austria, according to Maria Fekter, the minister of interior (ÖVP, conservative party). “There are quite a few murderers in our jails who have committed honor killings, but this is hushed up.”

In order to combat this phenomenon successfully, Fekter demands the introduction of the concept of “cultural crime”. This concept should describe those crimes that are illegal according to Austrian law, but which are part of an immigrant’s culture. “It is important to call a spade a spade.”

– – – – – – – –

Maria Berger, minister of justice (SPÖ, socialist), criticizes Fekter. “Murder is a murder whether or not it has resulted from an honor killing.” The Greens accuse Fekter of “being confused” and “election propaganda”.

In an interview with the Austrian daily Kurier Fekter rejects the criticism. “Let me remind all of those with simplified arguments that all parties voted in favor of the introduction and acceptance of the crime of female genital mutilation.” Back then, law experts argued that this was not necessary because FGM is considered a criminal assault. If, however, a mother approves of her daughter undergoing FGM, then it is considered voluntary criminal assault and therefore cannot be punished as a crime. “As a result I have introduced the concept of cultural crime.”

A short time ago, a judge in Frankfurt legitimated marital violence due to cultural reasons. “I don’t want any of this in Austria. I want to protect the victims.” In most case, the victims are female.

[Additional material from Die Presse.]

Posted in Islam, News | Leave a Comment »

A Tribute to Jörg Haider

Posted by paulipoldie on June 6, 2009

Sunday, October 19, 2008

by Baron Bodissey

Our Austrian correspondent ESW watched Jörg Haider’s funeral yesterday, and sent this report to us in memoriam.

A Tribute to Jörg Haider
By ESW

Jörg HaiderA little more than a week has passed since Austrians woke up to the news of Jörg Haider’s death. And it is still very difficult to comprehend the loss of this man whose death has caused Carinthia to lapse into a collective ocean of tears. Thousands of red and white candles, even more flowers, line the streets. Thousands of Carinthians lined up in front of the governments building to pay their respects to Jörg Haider, their beloved governor (and beloved he was, despite MSM commentaries to the contrary), lying in state in a simple casket draped with red roses and a wreath bearing the words of his widow: “With love, Claudia”.

His funeral service took place yesterday, exactly one week after his death, in Klagenfurt, Carinthia’s capital. It was a somber affair, without any disruptions from “right-winged neonazis”, as was feared (and I might add, perhaps even hoped for, as it would have shown Haider’s evil nature). As a matter of fact, the service was attended by almost all members of the caretaker government, the Austrian president, governors from all other Austrian provinces (even Vienna’s mayor, who is provincial governor at the same time as Vienna is also a province, and who is infamous for his hateful words on election night).

What angered me was the attendance of Gaby Schaunig, a member of the Socialist party and former member of Haider’s government, who had staunchly opposed anything and everything Haider ever said and did. She left the government prior to the elections, saying that she could no longer tolerate working with Haider. She explained that she no longer wanted to be insulted on a daily basis. Why would someone like Schaunig attend the funeral of someone she so obviously hated? I would have respected her decision to refrain form attending more than her attendance. She is a hypocrite.

At least the Greens had the guts to stay away from the funeral. Not one member of the Green party attended. While this was also a snub to the politician Jörg Haider, I respect their decision. Perhaps — no, surely — it is much better for Austria if the Greens never become part of a coalition government. Imagine if they were forced by protocol to attend a funeral of a man or woman they so obviously dislike?

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi could also be seen in the crowd. He embraced Haider’s widow, Claudia, for a long time. Neither Le Pen nor Filip Dewinter attended the funeral service. No reason was given.

To return to the service: more than a million Austrians watch the live TV coverage, watching as friends and foe describe their feelings about Jörg Haider. Traditional Carinthian music is sung by a student choir; some tearful faces can be seen. Haider’s mountaineering friend, Teddy Inthal, speaks first, “The sun has fallen from the sky, the sun that Haider tried to reach all his life! His death is an error!”

Following these personal words, former minister of justice, Dieter Böhmdorfer, takes the podium to describe the political being of Jörg Haider. Uwe Scheuch, a long-time friend of Haider, describes his son’s reaction to the governor’s death, “Our governor cannot die!” Scheuch adds, “Jörg, we will take good care of your Carinthia!”

The following rendition of the song “Ich glaube” (I believe) by a popular Austrian singer-songwriter, Udo Jürgens, causes tears to flow freely, even from hard-boiled politicians, who are seen with tissues. Claudia Haider and her daughters also cannot hold back their tears, like the countless mourners lining the streets, watching the service on videowalls.
– – – – – – – –
After another three more political speeches, caretaker chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer takes the podium for some conciliatory remarks on behalf of the government (and perhaps the socialist party, which hated Haider with a passion since his takeover of the FPÖ in the late 1980s). Gusenbauer calls Haider “an extraordinary man”, who was able to detect inevitable changes that needed to be made. He adds that “the only consoling fact about death is Haider’s ability to reconcile in death that which was irreconcilable in life. As a result of your death, perhaps some of those people will have the courage to come to terms with the human being, the man Jörg Haider. Governor, dear colleague, rest in peace” These words are followed by the Austrian national anthem and, as a deliberate climax to mark the end of the funeral service, the Carinthian anthem.

The official funeral service ends with the celebration of a mass in the Klagenfurt cathedral. Mozart’s Requiem is performed during the mass, again moving attendants to tears. After communion, Claudia Haider personally thanks all well-wishers, who “have offered words of solace on the hard and rocky road of mourning.” She adds, “One must not despair when something is lost for everything is returned in an even more magnificent way.”

Haider’s last destination is the cemetery, where he is cremated at 4 p.m.

This leaves us — Austrians, Carinthians, supporters, critics — without Jörg Haider. While the above words and the tearful description of the funeral service might not be understood by those not residing in Austria and thus unfamiliar with Austrian politics, Haider was truly an asset to the political landscape. For decades, Austrian politics was dominated by SPÖ and ÖVP, either in coalition governments or with a majority government by either party. Austria badly needed a change, and Haider was the one who initiated change.

It was only natural that the ruling parties were wary, especially the SPÖ, whose leader at the time, chancellor Franz Vranitzky, was in charge of the doctrine of ostracism towards Jörg Haider. Ultimately, it was this doctrine that opened the door to the forming of the controversial ÖVP-FPÖ coalition government after the 1999 elections, followed by the EU sanctions against Austria. Vranitzky passionately hated Haider, as did does Werner Faymann, today’s SPÖ leader and chancellor-in-waiting.

To those waiting to hear critical words from me, an Austrian, regarding his controversial positions, I say this:

You want to hear and read a condemnation. What I can say is the following: He admitted his allusions to the Third Reich were wrong, having caused him one of the most painful moments in his life, namely his forced resignation from the position of provincial governor. I agree that these words were more than unwise. However, in my view they did not endanger Austria as a democracy. Following Haider’s words, there were no swastikas blowing in the wind, no Jews deported, no homosexuals beheaded. Haider was young at the time; he learned. He was punished (see above). This case should be closed.

Former chancellor Schüssel was a worthy opponent and pulverized FPÖ and Haider, causing Haider to mellow with time. As Serge Trifkovic notes, when Haider’s FPÖ entered the coalition government in 2000,

[…] Haider’s ambiguous statements on the Third Reich […] ceased to be part of his politically operative vocabulary. On the other hand, his main message — that there are too many foreigners in Austria and that immigration threatens the country’s economy and traditional ethnic composition — is even more valid today than a decade ago. That message is now shared by two parties. One of them (FPÖ) Haider led to national prominence; the other (BZÖ) he created from scratch. They command 29 percent of the electorate between them, but were unlikely to cooperate because of the bitter personal animosity between Haider and the current FPÖ leader and former Haider protégé Heinz-Christian Strache. Ironically, the Austrian nationalist Right may be better poised to achieve unity that has eluded it for years now that its poster boy is no longer with us.

Although I was not in Austria when the government was formed in 2000, and I was unable to watch TV coverage of the demonstrations protesting this government, I still remember my outrage at the EU sanctions imposed on Austria.

Mr. Trifkovic sums up:

The move (the forming of the coalition government ÖVP-FPÖ) nevertheless caused an uproar in Brussels: the European Union decided to impose sanctions on Austria even before the government had announced its program. “There is a lot of excitement in the European chicken pen,” Haider quipped, “and the fox hasn’t even got in.”

This episode merits some attention because it reveals in a raw form the mix of authoritarianism and hypocrisy characteristic of Brussels. On January 31, 2000, the European Union informed Austria that it would face boycott if its new government included the FPÖ. On February 4 Chancellor Schuessel nevertheless went ahead and brought members of the Freedom Party into his coalition. He was acting in full accord with the rules of parliamentary democracy: the new government had a clear majority of 104 out of 183 parliamentary deputies. EU governments duly severed all bilateral political contacts with the Austrian government. They also restricted the promotion of Austrians at EU headquarters and ignored Austrian ministers at EU meetings. The measures also included ban on school trips, cultural exchanges and military exercises. The U.S. joined the bandwagon and the State Department called Ambassador Kathryn Hall back to Washington for “consultations.”

Although the measures had no impact on the lives of ordinary Austrians, they triggered a backlash among the Austrian public. They also caused an outcry in some smaller EU nations — notably Denmark — fearful of the domination of more powerful members, such as France, which pushed for punitive measures. For months thereafter the EU’s Portuguese presidency maintained that the sanctions would remain, but after the EU foreign ministers’ Azores meeting in June 2000 it was obvious that the embargo could not be sustained.

The EU sanctions were illegal because the decision to apply them was taken outside the EU structures and without due process: the Austrian government was not allowed have its point of view heard before the other members states took action against it. The EU action was doubly contentious in view of the fact that Haider’s party was democratically elected and that it had not done or said anything contrary to Austria’s constitution or European law. Even those Austrians not sympathetic to Haider came to see Brussels’ heavy-handedness as an insult to their country.

Not all governments were happy with these sanctions. My father was ambassador to Greece at the time and told me that he did not feel the sanctions in day-to-day business dealings with the Greek government. It seems to me that some EU member states may have been bullied into supporting something they did not agree with. This bullying comes as no surprise. It is standard operating procedure in Brussels.

The first political result of his death was the decision of the ÖVP to start coalition talks right away, ostensibly because of the financial crisis, but those wary of the MSM know better. The conservatives seemingly decided that Haider’s 27-year-old successor, Stefan Petzner, was not the right material to form a government with. The general mood among political commentators is that BZÖ will not survive, and will ultimately merge with FPÖ. FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache has already offered “sanctuary” to BZÖ MP’s.

Stefan Petzner, Haider’s best friend, spokesman and protégé, is already being denounced by the MSM and political opponents. I believe that he should be given a chance to prove himself even though newspaper commentators are already calling for Haider’s widow to take charge of the party. Petzner could and should be taken seriously, at least by us in the Counterjihad movement, because he clearly knows what is at stake regarding Islam. He was quoted as saying that one of his foremost goals is to stop the creeping Islamization of Austria.

As I have said before, Austrians are in for interesting political times.

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/10/tribute-to-jrg-haider.html#readfurther

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Platitudes and naivete: Obama’s Cairo speech

Posted by paulipoldie on June 4, 2009

June 4, 2009

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/026426.php#respond

Here is the text as prepared for delivery, provided by the White House, via USA Today, June 4 — with my comments interspersed:

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning,

…whose Grand Sheikh, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, has given his approval — on Islamic grounds — to suicide bombing.

and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

According to Islamic law, a Muslim may only extend this greeting — Peace be upon you — to a fellow Muslim. To a non-Muslim he is to say, “Peace be upon those who are rightly guided,” i.e., Peace be upon the Muslims. Islamic law is silent about what Muslims must do when naive non-Muslim Islamophilic Presidents offer the greeting to Muslims.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

“Co-existence and cooperation”? When and where, exactly?

Note that Obama lists only ways in which the West has, in his view, mistreated the Islamic world. Not a word about the jihad doctrine, not a word about Islamic supremacism and the imperative to make war against and subjugate non-Muslims as dhimmis. Not a word about the culture of hatred and contempt for non-Muslims that existed long before the spread of American culture (“modernity and globalization”) around the world, which Obama D’Souzaishly suggests is responsible for the hostility Muslims have for the West.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

The idea that the jihadists are a “small but potent minority of Muslims” is universally accepted dogma, but has no evidence to back it up. The evidence that appears to back it up is highly tendentious — check out here how Dalia Mogahed (now an Obama adviser) and John Esposito cooked survey data from the Islamic world to increase the number of “moderates.”

And of course it was by no means only “the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians” that “has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights.” It was also the Islamic texts and teachings that inspired those attacks that have fueled this perception. But Obama is not singular in declining to acknowledge the existence of such texts and teachings. In that he is following George W. Bush and every influential American politician, diplomat, and analyst.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

Platitudes.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

No word, of course, of the Sharia laws that impugn the dignity of human beings who are women or non-Muslim by denying them various basic rights.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust,

Once again, he assumes that it is his responsibility, and America’s, to dispel mistrust that Muslims feel for the West. It is not the responsibility of Muslims to do anything to gain the trust of the U.S. or the West in general.

nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran

Holy!

tells us, “Be conscious of God and speak always the truth.” That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims.

Note that he avoids saying his father was a Muslim, which would open him to charges of apostasy.

As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam – at places like Al-Azhar University – that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

The idea that Islamic culture was once a beacon of learning and enlightenment is a commonly held myth. In fact, much of this has been exaggerated, often for quite transparent apologetic motives. The astrolabe was developed, if not perfected, long before Muhammad was born. The zero, which is often attributed to Muslims, and what we know today as “Arabic numerals” did not originate in Arabia, but in pre-Islamic India. Aristotle’s work was preserved in Arabic not initially by Muslims at all, but by Christians such as the fifth century priest Probus of Antioch, who introduced Aristotle to the Arabic-speaking world. Another Christian, Huneyn ibn-Ishaq (809-873), translated many works by Aristotle, Galen, Plato and Hippocrates into Syriac. His son then translated them into Arabic. The Syrian Christian Yahya ibn ‘Adi (893-974) also translated works of philosophy into Arabic, and wrote one of his own, The Reformation of Morals. His student, another Christian named Abu ‘Ali ‘Isa ibn Zur’a (943-1008), also translated Aristotle and others from Syriac into Arabic. The first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683. The first hospital was founded in Baghdad during the Abbasid caliphate — not by a Muslim, but a Nestorian Christian. A pioneering medical school was founded at Gundeshapur in Persia — by Assyrian Christians.

In sum, there was a time when it was indeed true that Islamic culture was more advanced than that of Europeans, but that superiority corresponds exactly to the period when Muslims were able to draw on and advance the achievements of Byzantine and other civilizations. But when the Muslim overlords had taken what they could from their subject peoples, and the Jewish and Christian communities had been stripped of their material and intellectual wealth and thoroughly subdued, Islam went into a period of intellectual decline from which it has not yet recovered.

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.”

Of course it doesn’t. But does that statement hold true the other way around?

And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t it have been more accurate for Obama to say “won a Nobel Prize”? Isn’t Ahmed Zewail the only U.S.-based Muslim to have won a Nobel Prize?

And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library.

I have an Arabic Qur’an and 19 different translations of the Qur’an in my office — 18 into English and one into Spanish. I’m not sure that the fact that Jefferson had a Qur’an in his personal library necessarily means what Obama is suggesting it means.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.

I couldn’t agree more!

And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

Assuming that such stereotypes actually exist, and that negativity toward Islam among non-Muslims isn’t entirely a reaction to jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, why is this his responsibility? Is it his responsibility as President to fight against negative stereotypes of Christians as ignorant racist yahoos? Is it his responsibility as President to fight against negative stereotypes of Hindus? Jews? Black Americans? American Southerners? Californians? Or is it only his responsibility to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam? If the latter, why? On what basis? By what justification?

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words – within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one.”

Good, but not good enough. He should have pointed out not only our founding principles, but the fact that America is the only country that has ever taken it upon itself to extend a helping hand to its defeated enemies. America has spent billions upon billions to try to help improve Islamic societies — often this money has been spent in a misguided and ignorant fashion, but there is no denying the good intentions. It would have been good of Obama to point that out also.

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President.

I still remember when it was “racist” and “Islamophobic” to note the President’s middle name.

But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores – that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.

“Nearly seven million American Muslims” — he is accepting the inflated population figures pushed by Islamic advocacy groups for obvious political reasons.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Platitudes and naivete. No mention of the Islamic supremacist agenda that would deny the right of so many to live with dignity — but I am sure he doesn’t even believe that such an agenda exists.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

Platitudes.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience.

He picked two places where he believes that the chief victims are Muslims.

That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests.

Yes, and often they have done so under the divine imperative to make non-Muslims “feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).

Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.

In the interest of such sharing, no doubt, Obama made sure that Muslim Brotherhood members attended this speech. Yet the Brotherhood is dedicated, in its own words, to “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” Doesn’t that count as an attempt to elevate “one nation or group of people over another”?

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension.

Indeed!

Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

Unfortunately, the definition of “innocent” is not always and everywhere the same. Some jihadists consider no non-Muslim to be innocent. This is an important point, since Obama is appealing to Muslims to oppose the killing of innocents, by which he means American non-combatants as on 9/11 — but many of his hearers don’t consider such people to be innocent:

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That’s why we’re partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths – more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

He is appealing to Muslims, as I explained above, on the basis of premises that not all of them share.

Incidentally, his reference is to Qur’an 5:32. 5:33 doesn’t quite continue the beautiful spirit here, mandating crucifixion or amputation for those who fight against Allah and Muhammad.

The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism – it is an important part of promoting peace.

No mention, no awareness, of the imperative within Islamic texts and teachings to subjugate Infidels.

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

Based on the erroneous assumption that jihad violence is a reaction to American actions, and so American kindness will dispel it. The South African Mufti Ebrahim Desai, the imam of an “Ask the Imam” feature at a Muslim question and answer site, was once asked this question (spelling and grammar as in the original): “The west is often criticised by Muslims for many reasons, such as allowing women go to work. But shouldnt the west also recieve praise because its always them who intervene when muslims r being tortured, they stopped Milosovic kiling muslims and sent their own troops to the country, they r usually the first to send aid when theres a flood, they r also intervening in Isreal and condeming them killing Muslims, so should we appreciate their efforts or not?”

Desai’s answer was brief: “In simple the Kuffaar [unbelievers] can never be trusted for any possible good they do. They have their own interest at heart.”

One man’s opinion? Sure. But it is an opinion with deep roots in Islamic tradition, and it would therefore be naïve to dismiss it as simply Desai’s own mean-spiritedness. The Qur’an contains a warning against those who turn “in friendship to the Unbelievers….If only they had believed in Allah, in the Prophet, and in what hath been revealed to him, never would they have taken them for friends and protectors, but most of them are rebellious wrong-doers” (5:80-81). It also tells Muslims that “never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion” (2:120).

These are words that Obama should consider carefully.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future – and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq’s sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq’s democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

Good luck with that. It hasn’t happened in all the years since 9/11. Why will it happen now? On what basis does Obama think or hope it will?

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed – more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation.

Occupation? Why did no one ever complain about Egyptian and Jordanian occupation of Palestinian land between 1948 and 1967, when they controlled Gaza and the West Bank?

And those “daily humiliations” might not be so bad if so many of them hadn’t gloried in blowing up Israeli civilians. Israel took steps to protect its citizens. If the Palestinians didn’t have a culture of hatred and violence, those steps would not have been necessary and would not have been taken.

So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

Intolerable? But it wasn’t intolerable for Israelis to put up with the daily threat of being blown up in pizza parlors or on buses?

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

Such a state will be used as a base for further jihad attacks against Israel, just as Gaza has been since the Israeli withdrawal. But the lessons of history never seem to count in these calculations.

That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them – and all of us – to live up to our responsibilities.

The Palestinians never have. What will Obama do to change that now? Apparently his only concrete idea is to put more pressure on the Israelis, although he talks a good game:

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

His comparison of the Palestinians with black Americans is unconscionable. Are the Israelis Bull Connor and George Wallace? For the comparison to hold, black Americans must have been launching daily rocket attacks against white civilians, and blowing themselves up at those segregated lunch counters during crowded lunch hours. Remember that?

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build.

People have been calling upon them to do that for years. They have never heeded the call. Mortimer Zuckerman and others spent $14 million to give them Israeli greenhouses during the Gaza turnover, so they would have a way to make a living. They turned those greenhouses into weapons smuggling tunnels.

But remember, the lessons of history don’t count.

The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Yes, and Khaled Meshaal will fly Buraq to Washington to finalize his assent to all these things.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Absurd moral equivalence. Peaceful settlements on land to which Israel has a legitimate claim, versus genocidal bloodlust.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Never mind the many indications that that humanitarian crisis is a product of the Palestinian propaganda machine.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel’s legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

Naivete.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Not “everyone” knows this. Many Palestinians will not recognize Israel’s right to exist — ever. Many Israelis know that a Palestinian state would be a jihad base working for the destruction of Israel.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

Using Islamic locutions will only lead many Muslims to believe that Obama is a Muslim, which could get him into some difficult situations.

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

Dangerous naivete.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

Does that include Sharia?

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

He doesn’t seem to understand that in Islam there is a very different understanding of the meaning of “justice” and “freedom.”

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.

More historical myth. Even Maria Rosa Menocal, in her extended whitewash of Muslim Spain called The Ornament of the World, admits that the laws of dhimmitude were very much in force in the great Al-Andalus. She says: “The dhimmi, as these covenanted peoples were called, were granted religious freedom, not forced to convert to Islam. They could continue to be Jews and Christians, and, as it turned out, they could share in much of Muslim social and economic life. In return for this freedom of religious conscience the Peoples of the Book (pagans had no such privilege) were required to pay a special tax — no Muslims paid taxes — and to observe a number of restrictive regulations: Christians and Jews were prohibited from attempting to proselytize Muslims, from building new places of worship, from displaying crosses or ringing bells. In sum, they were forbidden most public displays of their religious rituals.”

So much for that “proud tradition of tolerance.” Also, historian Kenneth Baxter Wolf observes that “much of this new legislation aimed at limiting those aspects of the Christian cult which seemed to compromise the dominant position of Islam.” After enumerating a list of laws much like Menocal’s, he adds: “Aside from such cultic restrictions most of the laws were simply designed to underscore the position of the dimmîs as second-class citizens.”

If Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together peaceably and productively only with Christians and Jews relegated by law to second-class citizen status, then al-Andalus has absolutely no reason to be lionized in our age. Obama should know that the laws of dhimmitude give his claim of a “proud tradition of tolerance” the same hollow ring as the stories of prominent American blacks from the slavery and Jim Crow eras: yes, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington were great men, but their accomplishments not only do not erase or contradict the records of the oppression of their people, but render them all the more poignant and haunting. Whatever the Christians and Jews of al-Andalus accomplished, they were still dhimmis. They enjoyed whatever rights and privileges they had not out of any sense of the dignity of all people before God, or the equality of all before the law, but at the sufferance of their Muslim overlords.

I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.

“People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul.” — Obama

“If anyone changes his religion, kill him.” — Muhammad, the prophet of Islam

Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one’s own faith by the rejection of another’s. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld – whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

It is good to see him mention this. It will be interesting to see if he backs it up with action on the behalf of Maronites or Copts.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Will he make sure that zakat doesn’t go for jihad, as it has in the past — cf. the Holy Land Foundation’s millions for Hamas?

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit – for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

Will Obama speak out for the women who have been threatened and even killed for not wearing clothes that Islamic supremacists found acceptable?

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s Interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action – whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

Platitudes and naivete.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights.I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

How does he propose to overcome the culture that teachings like this create? The Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223).

The Qur’an also declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282).

It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3).

It rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11).

Worst of all, the Qur’an tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them” (4:34).

It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence.

Britney causes jihad: Dinesh D’Souza, call your office! Maybe the far-seeing conservative writer can get a job in the Obama Administration, now that Obama is suggesting that he shares D’Souza’s preposterous thesis that America’s immoral pop culture, exported to the Islamic world, caused these pious, modest people to react by taking down the World Trade Center. In reality, the immorality of the West has been a feature of Islamic anti-Western writings since long before Britney Spears took to the stage. Jihad theorist Sayyid Qutb was scandalized by the dancing at a church social in Greeley, Colorado in 1948. And before he even went to America, Qutb wrote Social Justice In Islam, calling for Islamic Sharia law to rule the world. The immorality he saw in American culture did not itself turn him against America, but illustrated for him why America was unfit to rule the world, and why only Islam was fit for that role. That immorality was never for Qutb the root cause of his opposition to America.

And eight centuries before Qutb’s birth, a recurring feature of Muslim polemic against the Crusaders was the sexual immorality of the “Franks.” According to an anonymous poet at the time of the First Crusade, the Europeans completely overturned the moral order: “What is right is null and void and what is forbidden is made licit.” Muslims will always charge non-Muslims with immorality unless they adopt Islamic moral norms. But this alleged immorality no more causes the jihad than do American policies toward Israel and Iraq.

Now Santa promises gifts:

Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations – including my own – this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities – those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.

This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

What will we get in return for all those gifts? He thinks we will get good will. We have spent billions already, however, and have no good will to show for it.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek – a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God’s children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.I know there are many – Muslim and non-Muslim – who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.

Seeing things realistically is not to “stoke the flames of division,” although I am sure he will conflate them.

Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort – that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country – you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort – to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples – a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”

The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”

The Holy Bible tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.

And over and out, in a flourish of naive Rodney-Kingism.

(Originally posted at 6:27AM.)

Posted at June 4, 2009 11:55 AM

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