He is Admired Who Respects His Family

Below is a report on the latest Islamic public relations campaign in Austria, as observed by our Austrian correspondent ESW.

Interesting things one notices nowadays while stuck in traffic:

IF Wien poster

These so-called rolling boards (translation: “he is admired who respects his family”) can be found all over the place now, especially near traffic lights, where the bored driver can receive Islamic inspiration. How very helpful in times of financial and other crises! Muhammad’s words are so very comforting….

Conveniently enough, those wanting to find out more about Islamic family values can go straight to the promoters’ website and will find that a group by the name of Islamische Föderation in Wien ( Islamic Federation in Vienna) is behind this social warmth campaign. They are certainly worth a closer look. According to the mission statement found on their website (my translation):
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In the final 60 years of the last century, workers were recruited in Turkey to come to Austria and other European countries for the European “economic miracle”. Millions of Muslims came to Europe from Turkey and other Muslim countries. Approximately 4.5 million Muslims came from Turkey, a number of whom also returned to their original home. Today in Austria there are about 480,000 Muslims, 230,000 of whom are Turkish, 3,000 with Austrian roots, and the rest are Muslims from many other origins.

Already in the early 1970s, Turkish workers who wanted to perform their prayers set up small prayer sites. In the 1980s, first regional, then national associations arose for these communities. To realize certain religious services and conditions it was necessary to have a central association. This movement towards concentration was the forerunner of the IFW, founded in 1987.

The religious, cultural, and social services of the IFW may be seen as the task of the IFW and its cooperating associations. These clubs provide the necessary infrastructure for daily worship such as prayer rooms and imams. At this level there are also women’s and youth departments, in addition to the offer of cooperating clubs to take advantage of all activities that are tailored to the needs of their respective target groups. These include religious functions, such as language courses.

The cooperating clubs are particularly useful for the coordination of religious and educational work, and for the holding of cultural events as well as for the cooperation and exchange of experience among them.

The full IFW association is responsible for the coordination of the work under the cooperating associations. It prepares a general work plan, the strategy of clubs, addresses fundamental issues and develops minimum standards for religious services, such as education and social work in local communities, for example, the organization of the annual hajj (pilgrimage) and various other campaigns. In addition, there is a solidarity fund for assistance for burials.

The IFW cooperates with mosque communities in four states (Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, and Salzburg), which consist of 36 clubs and 72 cooperating groups, of which 18 are located in Vienna.

Within a community of about 28,000 people ( “Friday community”), who regularly participate at various IFW events, the IFW counts 7,200 members.

At the beginning of their migration to Austria, the believers prayed under stairways, in rented garages, or similar unsuitable premises, often in workers’ dormitories. The next step was to pray in rented halls, workshops or discontinued business sites — at that time the so-called “backyard mosques” emerged.

The next step was that property had to be acquired to be used for mosques. Sometimes these mosques were even built to be architecturally attractive, in the traditional Islamic architecture. With the acquisition, the former “guest workers” manifested their intention to live permanently in Europe.

There is also a youth and women department, which caters to their (special) needs. It seems that Milli Görüs provides the main financial background for this federation.

What is particularly exasperating in this context is the complete absence of an outcry from other religious institutions. Or at least a similar campaign should have been launched to counter this onslaught of Islamic comfort. I admit that I did not realize there were prior campaigns. But I should have. It should have been picked up by the media, by the church, by anyone. But there was and is complete silence. Nothing. No reaction at all.

Call for social solidarity

Together, we will today for the third time present our campaign “call for social solidarity”. We live in a country with a multi-cultural characteristics. As a part of this society we want to make our contribution — with the help of this campaign — in emphasizing community bridges, to strengthen them or even build new ones. Social interaction feelings of social awareness should also be strengthened.

This campaign was launched in 2006 under the slogan “A Call for Social Solidarity”. A quotation from the Prophet Muhammad served as the slogan: “He who is helpful to humans is the best human.” In 2007 we continued, also with a saying from the Prophet Muhammad, continued: “Don’t go to sleep with a full stomach while your neighbor starves.” Even in its third year, we are continuing this action, and in times of the current global financial crisis, our motto this year is even more effective.

This year’s slogan is “He is admired who respects his family”, which can be found on 163 rolling boards and 105 “city lights” [special form of advertising in Austria] in Vienna, St. Poelten, Linz, Graz and Salzburg. We should not forget that in these difficult times, which I hope will soon be behind us, the security in the family and pillar of the family are essential. The family as a basic social structure was, is and remains indispensable. And where can social warmth be found if not in the family.”

Palestinian kidsAn Islamic family provides warmth? How so? By allowing a man to beat his wife? By denying a Muslim child any choice in his or her religion? By scaring children about hell-fire? By forcing them to become shahids because it is the only way to guarantee paradise? By making children attend madrassas, where they are forced to memorize the Koran when they should be enjoying their childhood? Is this the future of Austrian children?

Not as long as I am capable of resistance!

Link to previous campaign posters


8 thoughts on “He is Admired Who Respects His Family

  1. It has been said that the only antidote for bad speech is more speech. The Christian organizations should counter this Islamic effort with billboards of their own. Just as many billboards or more. Their message should be inspirational, extoling the virtues of Christianity.

  2. Babs, right on target. The immigrants deserve to know that decent religions exist, compatible with reason and humanitarian ideals, sound enough to stand up to scrutiny (no banning of criticism needed), and that religion can be beneficial to society.

    Amazingly, the Church seems fast asleep 🙁

  3. This effort by the IFW is appreciable. Our Prophet, a blesser of mankind, could never have wished what these guys like Al-Qaeda followers, their suicide bombers or their mentors sitting in safe havens Gods knows where; but they are definitely doing such a disservice to Islam which perhaps arch enemies of Islam would never have thought to do.

    These billboards by Islamic Federation of Vienna, Austria (IFW) are a right step in the right direction. The world needs to know about our faith, which is neither Mulla-ism, nor fundamentalism – it’s a message of peace, a message of warmth and sharing, between individuals, communities and nations. If some people are doing wrong things in Islam, that doesn’t means Islam asks them to do wrong things. Same is the case with the guys, the neocons sitting in Washington and Pentagon. What bad things they have done to this world, doesn’t mean all America is to be blamed. The American, the Western values of democracy, enlightenment and fair chance to every body are things which we Muslims need to understand. Good deeds are neither the monopoly of Muslims nor those of non Muslims; they are a common heritage of the whole human race.

    In my own blog “Wonders of Pakistan” I posted an essay on Prophet’s views on conservation of nature, on rights of the earth, the birds and the animals. A person who is kind to such things of nature, how can he be aggressive or harsh to Allah’s noblest creation, the man. This is a message which needs to be understood by the al-Qaedists as well as the neocons in the west.

    There is a dire need that our brothers in faith and those who do not believe in Islam, should know that Islam is nothing but a message of peace, peace for everybody, Muslims and non Muslims alike.

  4. Pax Islamica is not based on freedom. We see this illustrated every time Islamic spokespeople demand curbs on free expression. Jihadists impose Pax Islamica just like the Roman legions imposed Pax Romana.

    When Islam respects freedom of expression, including expression that criticises Islam, its Prophet or its practices then I will respect Islam. There has to be quid pro quo and I have seen no evidence of this from Islam’s spokespeople just demand after demand after demand.

    Is it time for Islam to start respecting Western values such as freedom of expression, equality, the right to criticise dogma, and the right to change your religious beliefs? Can they also support Barack Obama’s decision to make a home for a puppy dog in the White House or is that decision offensive to Muslims due to dogs being haram?

  5. The problem is that not only don’t I believe in your faith, I don’t even trust your faith.
    Why should I? Yours is a bloody history of conquest. Your religion is doing it today in a mostly nonviolent way by demanding footbaths at our airports and universities, prayer rooms and disallowing passengers in public taxies.
    So, when you wax elloquent about the positives of your faith, please understand that I think you have not only invaded our soverign territory and are now trying to expand your power by means of the ingigenous population but, I also think you know this and all your talk of “peace” is merely a way to gain greater power over our societies.
    You and your ilk have identified the western achillies heel; that is that our gov’ts simply cannot tell you to go away. We, as a political body, continue to capitulate to your ancient demands out of a guilt and a vacuum in ideology that we suffer from.

    Will Islam move to the majority party in Europe? I think it will. Will desenting voices be beaten in the streets? I think so…
    Will Israel continue to be one of the world’s powerhouses in science and technology? I presume so, even under the circumstances that their most cherished minds no lomger suffer. You see, they will also be murdered.
    And we sit here and HOPE that Israel has the cijones to take out the Iranian nuclear project… After all, we the western world couldn’t possibly do it. Too much trouble at the U.N. and all that… Not enough CONCRETE EVIDENCE to green light such an action. Ah yes, the world talks us right into another genocide…
    Next time it could be you.

  6. He is Admired Who Respects His Family

    For one moment, let us consider the implications of that supposed “respect” being derived solely though violently enforced compulsion. Yes, COMPULSION.

    After all, this is the sole vehicle that Islam operates by. Were actual inspiration the primary motivating force, Islam might well have demonstrated many more of the fabulous successes that Western civilization has so often exhibited.

    That Islam has only coercion and brute force to show as its principal achievements throws more than a little weight towards the argument that Muslims are deeply mistaken in their choice of Faith.

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