Saturday, 29 August 2009

Turks Started Wildfires in Greece

The Greek government has been shaken politically by its failure to cope with Greece's recent wildfire outbreak. Meanwhile, the Turks, in a seemingly noble gesture, have offered assistance to Greece. Let's not forget, however, that it was only a few years ago that a senior Turkish politician admitted that Turkey's officially sponsored paramilitary/terrorist/commando group, the Grey Wolves, was responsible for starting the fires in Greece every summer.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Brother Tariq Kicked Out of Rotterdam

Brother Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss Egyptian who campaigns for Turkey's accession to the EU, has been kicked out of his gigs in Rotterdam. France and the Netherlands have now woken up to Tariq Ramadan and grasped the fact that he is a reactionary in disguise. Perhaps the British government and the Guardian newspaper will now do the same, although I won't hold my breath.

It seems that the Geert Wilders phenomenon really has elite politicians in the Netherlands running scared. They're used to dissenting fringe parties like the BNP or Le Pen. Now, for the first time, they're faced with an anti-immigration party, which rejects racism (Wilders expresses contempt for the BNP) and has a chance of going mainstream and even winning. This is a heartening development which I hope will be replicated elsewhere in Europe.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Turks Confess To Plotting Terrorist Attack in Germany

Two Turkish citizens who had been living in Germany, along with two German converts to Islam, are to confess to plotting a terrorist attack on German soil. After training at jihadi camps in Pakistan, they decided to carry out a terrorist "spectacular" in Europe. The attack planned is said to have been even larger in scale than the bomb attacks in London or Madrid a few years ago.

It seems that "secular" Turkey is just as capable of producing lunatic Islamic extremists as Saudi Arabia.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Guardian Censorship

I posted the following comment on the Guardian website the other day in response to Tariq Ramadan's article on Turkish accession to the EU. By Saturday morning, it had received almost 40 recommendations, which is high for a lengthy comment on the 3rd comments page. By mid-day on Saturday, it had been removed by a moderator. Note I am apparently on a danger list at the Guardian, and my comments must be pre-approved before they are made visible to anyone else. So a censor had viewed and approved my comment on Friday, when it first appeared, then the weekend shift censors came in on Saturday and had a different opinion. This shows how frighteningly arbitrary all censorship systems are, and why absolute freedom of speech (libel excepted) must be affirmed.

Here is the text of the deleted comment. Judge for yourself whether you think it contains anything offensive, and see the Guardian flounder badly as it fails catastrophically in its aim of becoming the prime global platform for the exchange of liberal ideas. You can't become a platform for the exchange of ideas when you're afraid of ideas. If Karl Marx had been alive today, he would have been censored off the pages of the Guardian as someone who is intolerant of religion - "the opiate of the masses."

It seems to me one of the supreme paradoxes of world history that political correctness, a kind of "anti-racist" mania, has taken much of Europe's liberal left down a bizarre and circuitous path of ideas which culminates in them defending the basest intolerance: an intense religiosity which threatens all the achievements of tolerance Europe achieved in the latter decades of the 20th century. People who abhor gays, women and free speech are being welcomed into our midst, and we are not allowed to express unhappiness about it; otherwise we are deemed intolerant, censored and, in some cases, sent to prison. The old left's bitter antagonism to religiosity in all its forms was far, far healthier than this twisted tolerance of intolerance.

Here is the text of the censored comment:

Only 3% of Turkish territory is in Europe. It did not experience any of the formative events that shaped European culture like the Renaissance or the Enlightenment, the spread or decline of Christianity. It is simply absurd to call Turkey a European country.

Turkish cultural attitudes are primitive and unacceptable by European standards. Half of all murders in the country are "honour killings" - murders (or enforced suicides) of young girls by members of their own family, supposedly to cleanse the shame of having formed some undesirable romantic attachment (although sometimes for as trivial a thing as standing too close to an older man or receiving an SMS message).

If Turkey joins the European Union, it will be the largest single country and will soon constitute one quarter of the EU's entire population. Normal democratic pressures will force politicians to pander to Turkish prejudices. Modern Europe, on the whole, is the most tolerant place in the world. Turkish accession will threaten all this. Retrograde, primitively prejudiced attitudes against gays, women, free speech and a host of other issues will suddenly become a major part of European political discourse. Turkey is a threat to European tolerance - culturally, it is an American Deep South x 10.

You point out that the EU lacks political influence commensurate with its economic weight because it is disunited. Destroying the EU's cultural homogeneity only makes it less likely that the EU will be able to develop a unified foreign policy in future. This, of course, is why the Americans and the anti-EU right, such as the Conservatives, were so keen to incorporate the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe into the EU and why they are such eager proponents of Turkish accession too (something that might otherwise be considered counter-intuitive considering the racist attitudes traditionally common among their political base). They know that Turkish accession will scupper forever the dream of a united EU as a world power.

The economic issues you raise are a red herring. We can trade with Turkey and offer it privileged market access (as we do currently) without it being a member.

I have no doubt that the accession of Turkey to the European Union will ultimately destroy the European Union. Opinion polls show that the people of Europe are overwhelmingly opposed to Turkish membership - they know that it is not European, whatever the elite say. When the 100 million Turks start distorting European laws to reflect their own prejudices, many people will conclude that the EU is simply not worth going on with. It won't happen right away, but 20 years after Turkey joins, if it joins, the EU will disintegrate. Historians looking back on the failed experiment will conclude that Turkish accession was blow that ultimately proved fatal. If only the warnings had been heeded in advance.

Who is Tariq Ramadan?

Tariq Ramadan is an Islamic intellectual and activist. Of Egyptian origin, he is the grandson of Hassan al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood could fairly be called the progenitor of virtually all modern jihadi movements. The Ramadan family was forced to flee Egypt in the wake of the government crackdown on Islamic extremists which followed an attempted assassination of Nasser.

Tariq Ramadan now resides in Switzerland and holds teaching positions in Switzerland and Britain. His intellectual credentials have been called into question, however. At the University of Geneva, his doctoral thesis was essentially an apologia for his grandfather. He was denied the customary congratulations of the awarding panel and his thesis supervisor later called him a “pseudo-intellectual” and a “vain opportunist”.

Fluent in multiple languages, Ramadan appears frequently on television and print in Europe, discussing Islamic issues. He is an official adviser to the EU and to the British government on religious questions. He also markets tapes of his own talks on religious issues. These sell well among Muslim communities in Europe.

Tariq Ramadan verbally assaulted two French police officers at Paris Roissy Charles De Gaulle airport in 2007. He admitted the offence and was fined 2,500 euros.

Brother Tariq

Ramadan likes to pose as the rational face of Islamism. But he has been dogged by accusations that he offers two separate discourses, one for the unIslamic westerners, and one for the "brothers." French journalist, Caroline Fourest, wrote an expose of Tariq Ramadan in book form called "Frère Tariq" or "Brother Tariq" as it was in the English translation, which was also published as a book. Much of the book focuses on an analysis of statements Tariq Ramadan has made in the various tapes he has sold. Extracts from the book (in French) can be read here for free on the website of the French news magazine L'Express.

Quoting from his tapes, Caroline Fourest notes the following about Tariq Ramadan :

He believes that unmarried men and women should not be alone in the same room together.

He believes that unmarried men and women should not shake hands. He says : «Essayez de l'éviter, mais, quand on vous tend la main, vous donnez la main.» ["Try and avoid it, but if someone extends their hand to you, extend your hand."]

He is opposed to swimming pools in which males and females mix. He counsels even Muslim men against going to mixed swimming pools. "Mais qu'est-ce que tu regardes à la piscine: tu peux pas y aller parce que ton regard est posé sur des choses que tu ne dois pas voir!" [But what are you looking at in the swimming pool: you cannot go there because you will see things you ought not to see!"]

Ramadan encourages Muslims to pay close attention to the education of their children, to “promouvoir les structures intégrant le cursus officiel et l'éducation islamique, qu'elle soit déclarée ou non” [“promote structures integrating the official programme and Islamic education, whether declared or not”]. He also sternly warns young Muslim girls that they should not participate in gym activities that result in any part of their bodies being exposed to the gaze of others.

The overall impression one gets from reading transcripts of Tariq Ramadan’s tapes is that, collectively, they form a kind of manual for what can only be described as “entryism” : a conscious attempt to infiltrate a foreign body and reshape it from within. In this case, the foreign body is Europe. There is not a word about how Muslim immigrants to Europe ought to respect the cultures of the countries which gave them shelter and a livelihood. There is not a word about integration with the indigenous communities, except advice on how to avoid it. Ramadan’s action plan is every bit as calculated, as vicious and as purposeful as any of the entryist projects we saw launched by communists during the Cold War. As he remarked in an interview with the New Statesman : “The duty for Muslims now is to take Islam from the periphery of European culture to the centre.”

Before seeing these transcripts, I was inclined to view all talk of a conscious attempt to Islamicise Europe as nothing but a wild, neo-conservative fantasy. Having read them, however, I don’t see what other conclusion can be reached. Ramadan is adept at using the benign-sounding buzzwords Western politicians specialise in, but there is no doubt that his real agenda is the Islamification of Europe, and that he represents a far greater threat to our civilisation than any of the Bin Ladens or Al-Zawahiris who have been dangled in front of us as bogeymen in recent years. It is incredible that such a dangerous extremist, whose conscious goal is to corrupt European culture, is a paid adviser to the British government and the European Commission and has his salary paid by European taxpayers.

Tariq Ramadan and Stoning

Tariq Ramadan’s brother, Hana Ramadan, who was the director of the Islamic Centre of Geneva, published an article called “Uncompromising Sharia” in Le Monde. In this he defended the sentence passed on two women in Nigeria for the “crime” of adultery: death by stoning. In justification he noted that AIDS was spread by unmarried people having sex. Stoning such people to death could therefore be regarded as an anti-HIV measure. When questioned on a television programme about his views on women being stoned to death for adultery, Tariq Ramadan refused to condemn it. Instead, he said, there should be “a moratorium.” You can see a lengthy extract from the television programme here. It features an exchange of views between Tariq Ramadan and Nicholas Sarkozy, who was then the French Interior Minister.

Tariq Ramadan and the Double Discourse

According to Tariq Ramadan, Muslims must say this to themselves: “Je dois développer un discours à la mesure de l'oreille qui l'écoute.” [“I must develop a discourse tailored to the ear that will hear it”]. In other words, Muslims must conceal their true intentions, and strive to seem plausible and rational to a Western audience, all the while concealing the extremism beneath.

In an article published in the Canadian Free Press, Dr. Sami Alrabaa quotes Tariq Ramadan as saying the following :

“My brothers and sisters, we must exploit the so-called democracy and freedom of speech here in the West to reach our goals. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the Koran teach us that we must use every conceivable means and opportunity to defeat the enemies of Allah. Tell the infidels in public, we respect your laws and your constitutions, which we Muslims believe that these are as worthless as the paper they are written on. The only law we must respect and apply is the Shari’s...”

“The Germans claim that they want to integrate you in their society. We tell them we are going to integrate them in our Umma (Muslim world) after converting them to Islam.”

Tariq Ramadan’s Unsavoury Associates

As well as the objectionable things he has done and said himself, Tariq Ramadan maintains friendly relations with some highly questionable people.

Among these is Yahya Michot, who insists that the kidnapping and murder of seven Christian Cistercian monks at Tibhirine in Algeria was “justified from a religious point of view.” Ramadan described Michot as “a brother and a friend.”

Another is Asma Lamrabet. Ramadan wrote an approving preface to Lamrabet’s book, “Simply Muslim.” The book advised Muslim men to give their wives “a light slap” when they became hysterical during an argument.

Tariq Ramadan Rejected By the French Left

By uttering the usual platitudinous concerns about globalisation, etc., Tariq Ramadan often succeeds in projecting himself as a left-winger. On this basis, for example, he is welcomed on to the pages of The Guardian newspaper in the UK. But the French left, who are much more knowledgeable about what he represents, have firmly rejected him.
There is an excellent critique of Tariq Ramadan from a left perspective here.

Among the points made :

Tariq Ramadan is opposed to Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men, but not vice versa.
“a Muslim man can marry a Christian or Jewish woman...the reverse is not possible because a Muslim woman can't marry a man from another religion”.
Ramadan’s views on gays :

“Islam fixes very clear limits. God wanted an order, and this order is men for women and women for men. Homosexuality is not something admitted in Islam. (…) Homosexuality does not correspond to divine exigence as regards sexual relations... This act pushes men towards something that is quite similar to bestiality”

Europeans Overwhelmingly Oppposed to Turkish EU Membership

The Guardian recently published an article by Tariq Ramadan, arguing in favour of Turkish accession to the EU. There wasn't much substance to it, really: just the usual "you're all racists if you don't agree," economic benefits, bridge to the Middle East, etc.

Much more interesting were the comments that followed the article, and those that followed a response to it in The Telegraph. Commenters were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea, to the point of there being almost no one in favour of it. This is heartening. What's disheartening is that no one in the upper reaches of our governmental structures seems to care what ordinary people think. We need to make them care.

Of course many fine contributions were reaped by the Guardian censors, including those which were simply dispassionate analyses. Some of the comments brought out disturbing details about the background of Tariq Ramadan. I followed these up and collected them in a separate post. All of these posts were deleted by the Guardian censors but I was able to follow the links provided before they were deleted.

The limitations of the Guardian have become painfully apparent to me recently and, in my view, it can no longer be regarded as a platform for the serious exchange of ideas. Perhaps this should have been apparent to me sooner, but it still makes me sad - sad like my dog had just died. Just as it has been a Labour government, not a Conservative one, which has ushered in authoritarianism in Britain, so it is a left-wing paper which practises the most clunkingly rebarbative censorship of any British newspaper site, while dissenting views can be freely expressed on the websites of right-wing papers like The Telegraph.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A fifth of Europe's Population Will Be Muslim by 2050

According to a new report. And that's without Turkey joining the EU. Think how much worse it's going to be if Turkey does join.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Letter opposing Turkish EU membership sent to MEPs

This is the text of a letter I recently sent to all the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in my voting region. I intend to document their responses here when I receive them. I feel that only this kind of grassroots democratic pressure has any chance of stopping Turkey's EU membership drive. Everyone needs to send such letters to their representatives. Feel free to copy mine word-for-word or use it as a template if you plan to the same.

I write to express my grave concern about the prospect of Turkey acceding to the European Union. In my view this would be a disastrous step which may well ultimately destroy the European Union. This is something I would deeply regret as, although deeply flawed in its current incarnation, with far too little direct democratic input, I feel that the European Union has enormous and unique potential to bring about positive change in the world.

By accepting Turkey as a member, the borders of the EU would be vastly extended. We would then face the reality of having borders in the conflict-scarred zones of the Middle East, with Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Iran as neighbours. This would create grave problems with regard to illegal immigration. At the moment, Europe’s borders within the undeveloped world are primarily sea borders. This still creates huge problems. For example, Greece, a country of 11 million people, is currently struggling to accommodate a vast tide of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers which, by some estimates, amounts to 2 million people. This is almost one fifth of the country’s own population! And these are immigrants who, in the main, have had to make the difficult journey across the sea to get to Europe. Think how much more greatly this problem is going to be magnified when they simply have to stroll across Turkey’s vast and porous borders. And, of course, the overwhelming majority of these immigrants do not intend to remain in Greece. For many, the goal is to come to Britain. So, ultimately, it is we who will have to deal with them.

Europe’s population is declining, while Turkey’s is growing fast. With a population which currently stands at around 72 million, Turkey might well already be the European Union’s largest member at its projected accession date of 2014. By 2050, Turkey’s population is projected to reach 100 million, while the EU’s is expected to have shrunk. Turkey might then constitute almost one quarter of the EU’s population as a whole. Since the European Union is nominally democratic - and we have to hope that the structures of the European Union will become less bureaucratic and more democratic in future, possibly with an EU president being directly elected by the people – this would give Turkey, whose culture is essentially alien, a vast and potentially sinister influence over a whole range of important issues. It would be a retrograde force, counteracting the tolerant values that have come to characterise modern Europe.

On any number of issues, for example with regard to respect for gay rights, free speech, women’s rights or the rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities, Turkey has shown itself to be far less enlightened than one would expect of a modern civilised nation, in Europe or anywhere else. To take only one example, the Turkish government bans access to YouTube in case Turkish citizens come across videos that criticise the revered dictator Ataturk. Criticism of Ataturk is illegal in Turkey.

Turkey is not a stable democracy. Its military regularly interferes in politics or threatens to do so. There is constant talk of a military coup if its elected governments diverge too greatly from the path laid down by Ataturk. Indeed, this appears to be the only way which secularism can be maintained in Turkey. The natural instincts of the ordinary people are to favour Islamist political positions.

Turkey is not a European country. Only a tiny sliver of territory, amounting to approximately 3% of the whole, lies on the west side of the Bosphorus, the traditionally accepted definition of Europe. The European Union cannot expand indefinitely. A reasonable limit has to be set somewhere. And borders of Europe are surely the appropriate place. Were this core principle to be discarded, the European Union would then face the prospect of having to fend off membership applications from as far afield as Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Nor is Turkey a European country culturally. Its history and traditions are different. Even modern European atheists recognise that Christianity has shaped European culture. Today, although religious practice has largely been abandoned in Europe, the imprint of Christian tradition remains in the moral character and cultural outlook of the people. That heritage has created a commonality of thought and feeling in Europe which Turkey simply does not share.

Not having been subject to the same shaping influence, Turkish people see the world in a very different way. The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who had previously been a supporter of Turkish accession, said that he was shocked by Turkey’s conduct at the NATO meeting in April 2009. All NATO members, except Turkey, were unanimous in their choice of former Danish Prime Minister, Anders Rasmussen, for the post of NATO Secretary-General. Only Turkey opposed it. The Turks objected to Anders Rasmussen because he had spoken up in favour of liberty of expression during the Danish cartoon controversy in 2005. That alone was enough to earn him a Turkish veto years later. Of course, after much behind-the-scenes bargaining, the Turks were persuaded to change their minds. But the episode is a dramatic illustration of the threat that Turkey poses to modern Europe’s progressive, liberal values. The experience of having participated in this meeting later caused Bernard Kouchner to change his mind on the question of Turkish accession.

Britain and the other countries of the European Union receive thousands of applications from Turkish asylum seekers each year. Is it not incredible that we are actually thinking about welcoming into the European Union a country whose government is so repressive that thousands of its citizens are forced to seek asylum abroad? Imagine if thousands of Swedes or Belgians were applying for asylum in Britain each year. The idea is, of course, absurd, and the idea of Turkey becoming a member of the European Union ought, consequently, to be no less absurd.

Turkey has still not come to terms with its own history. During the First World War, the Turks committed an outrageous genocide against the people of Armenia. This served as the template for Hitler’s later persecution of the Jews. “Who today remembers the Armenians?” Hitler is said to have asked before embarking on the Holocaust. But while modern Germany has fully and candidly acknowledged the crimes of the Nazi era, modern Turkey continues to deny the most elementary facts relating to the Armenian genocide – facts that are accepted by all objective historians. Indeed, Turkey refuses even to use the term genocide in connection with those events. Bizarrely, the Turkish government goes so far as to threaten diplomatic consequences whenever official personages or institutions in other countries call the Armenian genocide by its name. This shows that Turkey has a long road to travel on the way to political maturity and is utterly unfit to be a member of the European Union.

In addition, in its relations with the European Union, Turkey often seems to act more like an adversary than a potential partner. Turkish military aircraft routinely violate EU airspace. On average this occurs 1,500 times per year, making for approximately 5 airspace violations times per day. How can we seriously be considering extending membership to a country which makes these threatening gestures towards us?

Perhaps most importantly, the European people simply do not want Turkey to become a member of the European Union. Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that the idea of Turkish membership of the European Union is one that is overwhelmingly rejected by the citizens of the European Union. The countries of the EU are democracies. The European Union itself is supposed to function in a democratic manner, although experience shows that it unfortunately often does not. You as an elected politician are supposed to represent the wishes of your people. It is not morally acceptable that popular feeling in democratic countries should be so contemptuously swept aside. In the long run, the disregard for democracy evident in so many actions at the highest level of the European Union is unsustainable. It is fuelling popular discontent, which manifests itself in the “No” votes in referendums almost every time the population of any country is asked to give its consent. If democratic principles continue to be disregarded in this way, I believe that in the long run the very existence of the European Union will be threatened. People feel strongly about the Turkey issue, and they will feel even more strongly when the 100 million Turks begin to have their inevitable democratic influence on issues that affect their lives. Riding roughshod over popular opinion on the question of Turkish membership may well come to be seen in historical retrospect as the EU’s “Stalingrad.”

The only serious argument advanced in favour of Turkish membership is that it will benefit Turkey. Of course it will benefit Turkey. Almost any country in the world would benefit from European Union membership, with access to the world’s largest market for goods and services and the range of social support mechanisms that the European Union offers. But the EU is not a charity. It simply cannot proceed on the basis of whether another country’s membership of the EU will benefit the other country. The relevant question is whether it will benefit the EU. In this letter, I hope I have demonstrated quite clearly that it would not.

Let me add that, as a European taxpayer, I deeply resent the fact that Turkey now receives literally hundreds of millions of Euros each year from the coffers of the European Union (almost €600 million in this year alone, and projected to increase further next year) even though it is not a member of the European Union and may never become one.

I would like to know your views on Turkish membership of the EU. Do you agree that it is potentially damaging to the EU? Have you spoken out or will you speak out on this issue? If you favour Turkish membership, I would like to know your reasons for doing so. And even if you do favour it, you will surely agree that the issue should be decided democratically? Will you agree to join in calls for the question of Turkish membership to be decided ultimately by referendum if it is ever provisionally approved by the governments of the member states?

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Grim Anniversary of Turkey's Bid to Join European Union

Yesterday marks the grim anniversary of Turkey's original request to join the European Union, or, as it then was, the European Economic Community. The request was rejected but a few years later, in 1963, the Turks were offered an association agreement which opened up the possibility of future membership.

What ought to have been nothing but a sick joke has instead turned into a horrific nightmare - a looming possibility which carries the potential to destroy the European Union altogether. How did this happen? Largely through the pusillanimity of successive generations of European politicans, who took the route of least resistance, succumbing to American pressure and deferring the day of decision till a later time, one in which they would be out of office and immune from criticism by anyone but a few switched-on historians (or bloggers). Generation after generation smiled and said, "Yes, later" to the Turks, instead of saying "Get real!". The endless deferral finally materialised into a frightening possibility in our own time, one that threatens to corrode European civilisation from within.