Europeans are increasingly lashing out at the construction of new mosques in their cities, as terrorism fears and continued immigration feed anti-Muslim sentiment across the continent.
The latest dispute is in Switzerland, which is planning a nationwide referendum to ban minarets on mosques. Earlier this month, Italy’s interior minister vowed to close a controversial mosque in Milan.
Some analysts call the mosque conflicts the manifestation of a growing fear that Muslims aren’t assimilating, don’t accept Western values and pose a threat to security.
“It’s a visible symbol of anti-Muslim feelings in Europe,” says Daniele Joly, director of the Center for Research in Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick in England. “It’s part of an Islamophobia. Europeans feel threatened.”
Well, give the girl a prize for noticing what’s going on. Too bad the conclusion following her premise is so skewed by p.c. Yes, I saw that “I” word, too. But this woman is an academic so she’s afflicted with word-tics; this is a professional hazard for non-profit employees.
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Here is the definition of “phobia”:
1.A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.
2.A strong fear, dislike, or aversion.
In the case of an ethnic group (Ms. Joly being the director of a place that supposedly “researches” ethnic relations ), some of whose members have a predilection for blowing things up, this fear is not irrational.
One could hazard a guess that Ms. Joly didn’t lose anyone she loved on 7/7, hmm? Had that happened, one doubts that the “Islamophobia” word would drop so trippingly from her lips.
The disputes reflect unease with the estimated 18 million Muslims, who constitute the continent’s second biggest religion, living amid Western Europe’s predominantly Christian population of 400 million, Joly says.
You’ll notice that the linked news article does not say “Islamophobia.” It terms the phenomenon differently, this way:
Ms. Joly thinks “the tide has turned” since the 1980’s and ‘90’s. I quite agree, despite the continuing bad news from the education sector in the EU. After all, those years didn’t see the bombings and burnings and random hatred/violence that have arrived as part of the urban scenery in many European countries. Back in the 1980’s how many London parents were ordering kevlar school uniforms for their children?
Oops. I’ll bet Ms. Joly thinks that’s just part of the pervasive Islamophobia, hmm?
Supporters of the Swiss referendum collected enough signatures two weeks ago to call for a constitutional ban on minarets, the towers used to call worshipers to prayer. No date has been set for the vote.
Italy’s Interior Minister Roberto Maroni announced this month that he wants to close a Milan mosque because crowds attending Friday prayers spill onto the street and irritate neighbors. In April, the city of Bologna scrapped plans for a new mosque, saying Muslim leaders failed to meet certain requirements, including making public its source of funding.
In Austria, the southern province of Carinthia passed a law in February that effectively bans the construction of mosques by requiring them to fit within the overall look and harmony of villages and towns.
Far-right leaders from 15 European cities met in Antwerp, Belgium, in January and called for a ban on new mosques and a halt to “the Islamization of West-European cities.” The group said mosques act as catalysts for taking over neighborhoods and imposing Islamic ways of life on Europeans.
“We already have more than 6,000 mosques in Europe, which are not only a place to worship but also a symbol of radicalization, some financed by extreme groups in Saudi Arabia or Iran,” Filip Dewinter, leader of a Flemish separatist party in Belgium, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide at the conference.
Although the group in Antwerp represented minority political parties from Belgium, Austria and Germany, its cause resonates elsewhere.
Ah, there are tiny points of light all over Europe, thanks to these “far right” extremists:
Construction of a mosque in Cologne, Germany, drew protests from residents last year and sparked a political debate in Berlin over concerns that it could overshadow the city’s great Gothic cathedral.
In London, plans for a “mega-mosque” for 12,000 worshipers next to the site of the 2012 Olympics drew 250,000-plus opposing signatures.
Current controversies over mosques represent an anti-Muslim attitude that initially sprang up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the transit bombings in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, Joly says.
Oh, my! She noticed the reason for the pervasive Islamophobia. Too bad she is imprisoned by her job and can’t use the real name for this phenomenon: reasonable fear for one’s safety, never mind one’s way of life.
Meanwhile, there are the usual dire predictions from the usual suspects:
Sakib Halilovic, an imam in Zurich, says Switzerland’s referendum to ban minarets “plays into the hands” of extremists by denying them a place to worship or limit what the mosque can look like.
“It will boost radical positions within the Muslim society in Switzerland,” Halilovic told the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. last week.
In other words, do what we want or we’ll get dangerous.
On the other hand, this report has an optimistic, level-handed conclusion:
Some moderate Muslims say those against building more mosques sometimes have legitimate concerns.
“Truthfully speaking, we don’t need so many mosques,” says Irfan al-Alawi, international director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in London. “We have 1,600 mosques (in Britain) and a (Muslim) population of 1.6 million. It’s become a business rather than a worship place.”
And so it has. Just like the business of jihad, which pays handsomely for those who know how to run a terrorist venture successfully.
Particularly thriving are the jihadists operating out of the proliferating Wahhabist mosques which are a global undertaking on behalf of the Ummah – that sunshine Utopia which will bring peace and harmony to all.
*This news article appeared in AZCentral (in Arizona) but was written by Jeffrey Stinson of USA Today. No link available to Mr. Stinson.
And a hat tip to Aeneas!