Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Geert Wilders’ Courageous Journey
Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders has released in 2012 his autobiographical account of his internationally known condemnation of, and personal conflicts with, Islam, with a forward available online by his fellow comrade in letters vis-à-vis Islam, conservative columnist Mark Steyn. Marked for Death: Islam's War against the West and Me recounts how an individual Dutchman became aware of an aggressive and authoritarian agenda in Islam as a faith-based political ideology.
Through personal travels to the Middle East and the example of Muslim migrants who sought not to assimilate to Holland's world-renowned tolerant culture, but rather despised and sought to dominate it, Wilders recognized the incompatibility of Islam's canonical core with a free Western civilization. Wilders in turn personally experienced this incompatibility as his continuing condemnation of Islam brought him not the intellectual interchange due a debater in public forums, but rather personal and legal endangerment. Yet Wilders persevered and prevailed, thereby giving an example of how the free world can once again overcome a totalitarian threat.
As Steyn writes in his forward, the Wilders "who emerges in the following pages is not the grunting thug of media demonology but a well-read, well-traveled, elegant, and perceptive analyst."
Wilders traveled and worked in Israel following his 1981 high school graduation, beginning a lifelong passion for this country that has led to at least annual visits throughout the years, over 50 trips in all. During this initial stay in Israel, Wilders also made his first visit to a majoritarian-Muslim country, Egypt.
Wilders was "overwhelmed by the kindness, friendliness, and helpfulness of its people."
Yet an "overwhelming sense of fear" under the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak also possessed these people. Additionally, their capital "Cairo was poor and incredibly dirty," making Wilders "amazed that such a place could be a neighbor of Israel, which was so clean." One "big mistake" by Wilders here was buying a glass of water from a public water collector, leading to several days of severe diarrhea spent lying on a hostel floor for two dollars a day "in a crowded, stinking room."
Wilders' travels made him notice critical attitudinal differences between Muslim Arabs and Jews. Understandably in the context of Israel's fight for survival amongst surrounding Arabs, "Israelis often had negative political opinions about Arabs." Yet even Israelis who had lost loved ones to Arab terrorism "did not feel offended by the Arabs' mere existence." In Egypt, though, the "mention of Israel inevitably produced an outburst of vitriolic hatred." This "wrath was not confined to Israeli soldiers or politicians or to Israelis who had done them personal harm," but rather "was hatred against all Jews, even children." It "was hard to find an Arab who spoke about Jews with anything but unconcealed contempt."
Wilders' experience with Islam at home in Holland has been no less negative. In his chapter "Conquest," Wilders writes that mass Muslim migration is turning many Dutch neighborhoods into "cities of the prophet." This is in emulation of Islam's prophet Muhammad and his original followers who sought refuge from Mecca in the largely Jewish settlement of Yathrib in the Arabian Peninsula in 622. "By foolishly welcoming Muhammad and Meccan followers into their town," Wilders writes, "the Yathribians guaranteed their own extinction and the transformation of their land into Medina, the ‘City of the Prophet', which it has remained ever since."
Wilders' writes elsewhere that Muhammad's emigration or hijra from Mecca to Medina, the orientation point of the Islamic calendar, is an "intrinsic part of Islamic culture" such that for some Muslim immigrants "Islam is meant to dominate, not to assimilate" in the immigrants' new home. Thus, with the open encouragement of Muslim leaders like Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, "immigration is Islam's Trojan horse, paving the way for jihad" in another Islamic attempt "to conquer Europe."
The result is a "slippery slope toward full Islamization" of Europe under "creeping Shaira" as a "non-violent infiltration of our institutions, a stealth jihad." Among many examples cited by Wilders, municipal authorities in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam as well as the nearby Belgian port of Antwerp have begun registering polygamous marriages. Pools and beaches in diverse European countries such as Finland and Italy have also accommodated Muslim demands for strict sexual segregation with separate bathing areas. In Britain, non-Muslim women have even had to wear the so-called burkini adaptation of Islamic female body covering.
Likewise, Europe faces the depredations of many Muslims who see the continent not as a new home to settle, but rather as a foreign society to be subjugated and plundered in accord with Islam's history of raiding. Holland, for instance, has 40 areas known as "Vogelaar neighborhoods" after a list published in 2007 by the Dutch Minister of Integration and Housing, Ella Vogelaar. Here large Muslim communities exhibit high crime rates, particularly with respect to non-Muslim victims, vigilante enforcement of sharia norms such as those involving the "modesty" of females, and a susceptibility to riots provoked by any incident à la Rodney King. Even state authorities such as the police only enter these areas with the greatest precaution.
France similarly has since 1996 751 internationally known zones urbaines sensibles (sensitive urban areas or ZUS), the scene of extensive rioting in 2005 with over 10,000 destroyed cars. Wilders describes the same phenomenon of non-Muslim "no-go" areas in Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Muslim hostility extends beyond individual criminal acts to state social services. Some imams in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have told their congregations to avoid work and paying taxes in order to drain their host societies through welfare payments. Similarly, a Pakistani immigrant told a Norwegian newspaper that he and his boss avoided paying taxes.
Wilders' ongoing exposure to Islam has prompted his extensive study of the same. Wilders is a "fervent reader of the Koran," often compared by Wilders to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, banned in many countries like Wilders' Holland. Reading the Koran for the first time, Wilders expected "to find injunctions to ‘love thy neighbor'...similar to those in the Bible, but instead...found the spite of a god who hates."
Drawing upon the analysis of many other scholars of Islam, Wilders discerns that "Islam is primarily a political ideology, not a religion." In particular, unlike "authentic religions" Islam "does not teach the golden rule" but rather "institutionalizes inequality." Wilders has come to the conclusion that while "many moderate Muslims" exist, the "political ideology of Islam is not moderate-it is a totalitarian cult with global ambitions."
Like others, Wilders has determined that oft-criticized "inhuman aspects form the core of Islam," thereby marginalizing any attempt to formulate a benign understanding of Islam as esoteric and largely unviable. Therefore "there is no such thing as ‘Islam with a human face,' just as there was no real ‘socialism with a human face' or ‘national-socialism with a human face.'" "People who reject Islam's violent, intolerant, and misogynistic commandments may be moderates," Wilders analyzes, "but they are not practicing ‘moderate Islam'-they are not practicing Islam at all."
Having traveled to Afghanistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey, Wilders recognizes the great "potential" of Muslim individuals. Yet Wilders concludes, "Islam is the problem-and we should not be afraid to say so," thereby rejecting any attempt to "sugarcoat Islam...out of a misguided fear of offending its adherents."
Wilders has paid a price for his condemnation of Islam. Since November 4, 2004, two days after the Amsterdam murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim, Wilders has lived under constant police protection "like a prisoner" due to similar death threats.
"Providing permanent protection for critics of Islam," Wilders observes, "is one of the many costs a society has to pay once it allows Islam inside its borders." Wilders also endured a prosecution in Holland for his anti-Islam statements before obtaining a critical legal victory for free speech on June 23, 2011.
Yet Wilders has ultimately obtained results. Following the strong showing (15.5% of the vote) of Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) in the June 9, 2010, Dutch general elections, Wilders was able to demand in return for PVV support for a minority government changes in Dutch immigration policy. Dutch policies now restrict the extent of immigrant family unification to spouses and young children, emphasize integration into Dutch life as opposed to cultural relativism, and expel residents convicted of crime.
The Dutch government, meanwhile, denounced the 57-member state (including Palestine) Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its calls to suppress Wilders following his legal victory.
The Dutch government has also strengthened its support for Israel, cutting support for "humanitarian organizations" supporting anti-Israel sanctions and questioning Israel's right to exist. Along with Israel and the United States, Holland also boycotted the shamelessly anti-Israel United Nations anti-racism conference (Durban III) in September 2011. Wilders' defiant example shows that free nations need hardly submit to Islamic threats often seen as insurmountable.
A Culture War or a War Against Christ?
Some in the media have popularized the term “culture war,” giving the impression that the war being waged against Christianity is the same thing as a war against everything that is traditional.
But in 2013, let’s change the term. Let’s call it what it is: “A war against Christ.”
Certainly there are many American traditions rooted in Christian teaching and history. But mixing some traditions with what is purely Christ-honoring—although it may recruit support from non-Christian traditionalists or conservatives—dilutes the Christian dye.
Take for example the ACLU’s war against Christians praying in public schools while obliging Muslims the ability make their noon prayers in a school. Or Vanderbilt University’s discrimination against Christians—forbidding them from meeting on campus if they adhere to their religious principles. Or dozens of other cases that are clearly a war against Christ and His followers—pure and simple.
So let’s call it what it is.
Christians know why the world hates us. The One we worship warned us two thousand years ago. Jesus said that the reason they hate us is because they hated Him. Just look what they did to Him!
Christians should seek to understand that type of hatred. But by “understand,” I don’t mean we should wave the white flag of surrender. On the contrary, we should be worried if the secular culture were to embrace us with open arms. We ought to be wary, for example, if Piers Morgan were to one night praise the sacrificial services that Christians practice as an indication of our love for Christ and one another. Or we should be concerned if MSNBC were to run a documentary on how so many the things that civilized the world —from our educational system to the hospital movement—were ALL inspired by the teaching of Jesus Christ.
The norm is for Piers Morgan and his ilk to praise Angelina Jolie for donating a goat to an African village or applauding Brad Pitt for giving a few crumbs from his bulging table to the South African poor through the U.N.
But true Christians do not seek to give of themselves—healing the sick, feeding the hungry—so they can be recognized by the likes of CNN. In fact, if we seek the praise of those who control this world’s system—even if some of them call themselves Christian—then we have lost our reward in Heaven.
I know the desire to have the world recognize their service lures in some Christian leaders. But what they actually get sucked into is a diabolical scheme to equate their obedience to Christ to the “charitable work” of non-Christian groups.
Let them, and us, be forewarned that to crave the world’s praise is to lose something far more important: our eternal reward.
Our attitude should be to let them hate us all they want, while we will still love our enemies and bless those who persecute us.
Let them malign us all they want. We will not return evil for evil. We will let our “good” defeat their “anti-Christ” schemes.
Let them denigrate our love for our Lord, and for others, all they want. They can never defeat our caring spirits. “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
We are not in a public relations war. We are in a spiritual war. Therefore, don’t wave the white flag. Don’t be tempted to cave in to their pressure.
Keep on serving. Keep on loving. Let them war against us to their hearts’ content. For we read the last chapter, and it says, “The Lord wins!”
Pope warns that selfish individuals are deliberately abusing the Human Rights Act to get what they want
The Pope has warned that human rights have become a vehicle for individuals to pursue selfish demands.
His attack was combined with a fresh appeal for tolerance of Christianity and of Christians who object to equality laws.
In a speech in the Vatican to foreign ambassadors, Pope Benedict XVI suggested human rights laws can lead to ‘intolerance or even violence towards individuals, symbols of religious identity and religious institutions’.
The Pope’s intervention comes at a time of deepening concern over the misuse of human rights laws in Britain, and as the European Court of Human Rights comes close to verdicts on four British test cases on Christian rights.
The cases include Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in clerk who was refused the right to wear a cross with her uniform, and Lillian Ladele, who was sacked as a registrar because she declined to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.
The Pope has been heavily critical of gay rights in Britain and denounced David Cameron’s plans for gay marriage in his New Year message.
In his latest speech, the Pope said he was concerned that human rights laws were being used by selfish individuals to trample on those with opposing views.
He said: ‘Sadly, especially in the West, one frequently encounters ambiguities about the meaning of human rights and their corresponding duties.
‘Rights are often confused with exaggerated manifestations of the autonomy of the individual, who becomes self-referential and absorbed only in seeking to satisfy his or her own needs.
‘To be authentic, the defence of rights must instead consider human beings integrally, in their personal and communitarian dimensions.’
In an apparent reference to the British Catholic adoption agencies that closed rather than follow equality laws that meant placing children with same-sex couples, the Pope added: ‘Believers, and Christians in particular, are prevented from contributing to the common good.
‘Outlawing individual and institutional conscientious objection in the name of liberty and pluralism opens the door to intolerance and forced uniformity.’
The Pope’s remarks will inevitably be seen as another attack on the emergence of so-called ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ – including gay rights – at a time when some countries, including Britain, are seeking to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
But they will please critics of the way the Human Rights Act is being implemented following revelations last week that nearly 4,000 foreign criminals, including rapists and murderers, are using its provisions to avoid deportation.
Such abuses have added to the pressure on David Cameron to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights, enshrined into British law by the Human Rights Act, but the Prime Minister’s Liberal Democrat partners are keen supporters of the Act.
In his address, the Pope observed that such major existing, recognised rights as the right to life and the right to freedom of conscience and religion were being eroded as human rights were being redefined.
He criticised the use of the false concept of human rights to ‘expand legislation which decriminalises abortion’ and to marginalise religion in social life, sometimes resulting in ‘intolerance or even of violence towards individuals, symbols of religious identity and religious institutions’.
He said: ‘In order effectively to safeguard the exercise of religious liberty it is essential to respect the right of conscientious objection.
‘This “frontier” of liberty touches upon principles of great importance of an ethical and religious character, rooted in the very dignity of the human person.
‘They are, as it were, the “bearing walls” of any society that wishes to be truly free and democratic.
Benedict XVI used his address to also call for a halt to the ‘endless slaughter’ and ‘dreadful suffering’ in Syria, warning governments that without a ceasefire in the civil war the country would soon be reduced to ‘nothing but a field of ruins’.
The Pope’s remarks came in his annual address to foreign ambassadors to the Holy See – including Nigel Baker, the British Ambassador.
'Stay at home' mothers snubbed by British government
Not that there's that many left in broke Britain
David Cameron and Nick Clegg are being urged to bring forward proposals to help “stay at home” mothers after the Coalition’s plans to overhaul child benefit and plans for a new child care tax allowance appeared to snub them.
Campaigners and Tory MPs including a former minister rounded on the Government, insisting that parents who looked after their children rather than go to work were being “discriminated against” by Coalition tax policies.
Changes introduced on Monday cut child benefit for 1.1million families where a single earner is paid more than £60,000 a year, including many which have a mother at home looking after the children.
At the same time, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister sketched out plans in the Coalition’s Mid Term Review of support for working mothers, which are likely to let working mothers claim back £2,000 per child per year to cover child care costs.
However, critics complained that the interests of 1.2 million parents who choose to stay at home to care for their children were overlooked, with only a vague commitment to help married couples through the tax system.
Several Cabinet minister are understood to have "major reservations" about the Prime Minister's failure to introduce the marriage tax break. One minister said that Mr Cameron "needs to be looking at what can be done for stay-at-home mothers as a matter of urgency."
The 52-page review included 180 policy measures which Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, have committed the Coalition to delivering by the next general election, expected in May 2015.
The document included commitments to helping people onto the housing ladder, further investment in infrastructure and a new way of funding pensions, but it was criticised by business leaders and campaigners for not including enough detail,
On tax breaks for married couples, the review included a vague commitment to “ensure that provision is made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on proposals to introduce transferable tax allowances for married couples”.
However, MPs and campaigners said they were are worried the wording does not actually commit the Government to introducing a tax break for married couples, only for the Lib Dems to abstain from any vote on the proposals.
Tim Loughton, the Tory MP and the Coalition’s former children’s minister, said: “There is an army of parents who work hard at home to bring up their children who are losing out on child benefit and other allowances now.
“They need a Conservative-led Government to put into practice what it said on the tin in our manifesto and deliver a transferable married couples tax allowance in the next Budget before time runs out.
“Trotting out tired mantras about accommodating the voting sensitivities of Lib Dem MPs with very different views on the family just won’t wash anymore.
“Decent parents doing a good job of bringing up their children in increasingly difficult circumstances have already waited too long for a go.”
Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mother’s Union and an adviser to Mr Cameron on childhood issues, complained that marriage was at present not supported by the tax system.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “Marriage, as the best stable environment for both couples and their children, seems unsupported by current fiscal policy.
“I call on the Government to honour their commitment to support married couples through the tax system by introducing transferable tax allowances for married couples.”
Dominic Raab MP said: “Tax breaks for childcare costs will be a massive boon for hard-pressed families, and do more for working women than Labour achieved in 13 years.
“But, we risk creating another category of ‘have nots’, and eroding family choice, unless it also applies to working couples with a stay at home Mum or Dad.”
Last night senior Number 10 sources insisted that the plan to introduce a tax break for married couples, which would benefit stay-at-home mothers, would be announced “in due course”, most likely in the March 20 Budget this year.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.