At the end of August a group of French anti-jihad activists met in Paris under the aegis of Vigilant Freedom Europa. Below is a report on the event that was written by the British contingent, in consultation with their French counterparts.
Congress: 30 August 2008, Paris, France — Event Report
On 30 August bloggers, journalists, and activists, mainly from France, but also from Great Britain came together in Paris’ Chinatown for this meeting of key activists. This congress of French Counterjihad activists built on an earlier Anglo French meeting that took place in March and amplified some of the themes raised at the Identity Crisis conference in Rome.
The focus of this French-language meeting was practical action, the development of a well organised French network, the integration of the French network into the broader international coalition, and the fostering of synergy. Also, the following, more specific activities were discussed:
Legal actions — The problem of Western laws being used to subvert Western freedoms and Western culture was discussed in detail. The so-called “hate speech” laws seem to be applied unequally and unfairly with hate speech directed against non-Muslims apparently being ignored. It was resolved that such inequality before the law needs to be highlighted and tackled and this would form a key component of the new French activist movement. Muslim writers, editors, publishers, and broadcasters who incite violence, hatred, intolerance, and unequal treatment of non-Muslims should be pursued in the courts to the full extent of the law. The unequal treatment of non-Muslims must end, and the justice system should be pressured to remedy such failings. Equality before the law is essential in any civilised society.
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Educational initiatives — The need to reach out and educate the French public about Islam in the face of apparent bias in the mainstream media was seen as an important priority. Many Muslims and certainly many non-Muslims are completely uninformed about the Islamic faith that is gaining a great deal of power and influence within western states and institutions. Many people are fleeing to Western Europe from Islamic states in order to escape from the laws and practices that others seek to establish in the West. When Europe is under sharia law, where will lovers of freedom have left to flee?
It is absolutely imperative that more balanced and less sanitised coverage of Islam becomes the norm, otherwise radicalisation of Muslim communities and the marginalisation of more secular Muslims and apostates will become the norm. Propaganda from Islamist elements is made more potent by biased and dishonest coverage of Islam in the media, in education, and from the mouths of politicians. The European people deserve the right to make informed decisions when they appointment their leaders via the ballot box. Censorship breads injustice.
The meeting discussed the production of a movie about the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, one that is faithful to the Sunna and is within the capabilities of the French Counterjihad community. It might be possible to achieve favourable results using 3DsMAx digital editing tools.
Media strategy — It will be necessary for activists to begin to expose the media manipulations and lies that seem to be in constant circulation in France and the rest of Europe. Biased pro-Palestinian journalists need to be exposed, for instance. The recently exposed Al-Dura affair demonstrates the lengths to which some broadcasters are prepared to go. SITA (Sensibilisation à L’Islam Tous Azimuts, “Stop Islamisation and Terrorist Actions”) actions which expose false Islamic arguments need to be expanded both within France and within the global Counterjihad community. Links between French activists engaged in this activity and their counterparts overseas will be developed and diversified. SITA actions have already been effective in France to challenge decisions to build mosques and bring related issues into the public eye.
Unity — The importance of the unity of the Counterjihad community was acknowledged. Differences that do exist, as they do in all historic movements, need to be put in perspective by developing a strategy based on shared values, a common Counterjihad culture that transcends boundaries and fraternity between activists who come from varied backgrounds and perspectives. It is important that a clear statement against anti-Semitism is made in unambiguous terms. Israel is in the front line in the struggle against Islamism and should be encouraged and supported in its efforts in freedom’s cause.
The meeting was very productive, not least because it allowed French activists from varied backgrounds and perspectives to come together and meet face to face and deepen their friendships. It also afforded a chance for French activists to meet their British counterparts and develop shared policies and goals. British delegates were able to increase their understanding of Counterjihad work in the French context. in this regard the input of Nidra Poller and Philippe Karesenty, who both attended the meeting as observers, was invaluable.
The meeting was organised by representatives of Vigilant Freedom Europa which has already developed cohesive networks in many European countries. The development of the French network in the heart of Europe is an important component of Vigilant Freedom’s European operations. Vigilant Freedom Europa is alarmed by the suppression of freedom of speech within France and the apparent victimisation of activists by the French authorities. It will now be able to build on the firm foundations that were established at the meeting and increase its membership and influence within France in order to resolve such issues and halt the lurch of the French state in the direction of undemocratic practices. Future meetings, events, and campaigns will follow in due course.