Our Austrian correspondent AMT recommended the following two pieces for translation, and JLH was kind enough to oblige us.
Of the first piece, AMT says:
This is an editorial written by an obvious newcomer to the paper. Unfortunately, it also shows that despite the advances of the Counterjihad’s efforts in educating the MSM and the public, there are still far too many in far too influential positions who just do not (want to) get it. And this remains dangerous.
From the Austrian paper Die Presse, August 17, 2010:
Tolerance for a Misunderstood Religion
by Norbert Rief
The Discussion about the Building of a Mosque near the World Trade Center could be an Opportunity.
The ad is flaunted on every New York City public bus: “A mega mosque — why there?” above the picture of an airplane flying toward the burning world Trade Center. The transportation authority refused the ad; then a court made the provocation possible. The judgment, exulted the lawyer for the citizens’ initiative, is “a victory for the Constitution. It would have been problematic if the government were able to decide what statements are appropriate.” What may escape him is that by referring to the basic right of freedom of speech, he intended to constrict another basic right — that of religious freedom.
Building a mosque less than 200 meters from where Arab terrorists caused the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 is worthy of attention for more than one reason. On the one hand, because the United States until now has been a stronghold of tolerance and openness, this debate is not appropriate to the country. On the other hand, because it could cost US president Barack Obama the election in three months, not because he interceded in favor of the mosque, but because he did not do it decisively enough.
The two points overlap. There would be no US-wide discussion if the congressional elections were not taking place and the Republicans hoping to succeed by — once again — emotionalizing September 11.
They are helped by the fact that Obama has thus far only made mistakes. The question has long been decided: there is already permission to build and the uproar was encouraged by a citizens’ initiative, Fox News, and several politicians. Until Obama raised the discussion to a worldwide level.
One could honor the US president for speaking clearly to emphasize the right of every person to practice his religion wherever he wishes. But before he could be applauded for his political courage, he was already pulling back. On Sunday, he said that his statement could in no way be taken as support for the building.
He has suffered twofold damage: first, because he took an unpopular position; second, because he did not have the backbone to stand up for it.
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It is Obama’s job as president to defend the Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom in its first amendment. The US was founded by people who had been oppressed and persecuted because of their beliefs in their countries of origin. It is not without reason that there is a stricter separation between church and state (not necessarily religion and state) than in any European country. If Obama steps over this line, if a mosque is forbidden in Manhattan where there are synagogues and churches, that would be a devastating signal. With that, the US would officially make Islam equivalent to terrorism.
And now we come to the second, socially far more relevant question relating to the protest against the mosque. Apparently, the people in the hitherto so tolerant America regard Islam less as a religion than as a political ideology. And that should be more alarming to Muslims than an uncomfortable discussion.
According to an Imas poll, 54% of Austrians consider Islam “a threat to the West.” The clear “No” of the Swiss last year in a plebiscite on minarets was not based on dim prejudices, but on the uncertainty of people who do not know how to assess this religion.
Needling comments like that of the Pope a few years ago, who referred to a quote according to which Mohammed had brought only bad things into the world, do not advance ecumenical understanding. That is just as reprehensible as the agitation of the FPÖ, which made a campaign out of the natural resistance of neighbors in Wien Foridsdorf to a mosque because they feared a dramatic increase in traffic.
What a remarkable sign of openness and tolerance it would be if official America should support the construction of a mosque in the very spot where excesses of this faith had led to the most devastating terrorist attack in the history of the country.
The Austrian Counterjihad’s Harald Fiegl immediately sent a letter to the editor, which thus far has remained unpublished — undoubtedly along with hundreds of others:
Dear Mr. Rief:
Permit me a few observations in reference to your editorial of August 16, 2010, “Tolerance for a Misunderstood Religion.” If you take the trouble to read the Koran, you will see that it contains passages that are contrary to law and constitution in the West.
Islam is not a religion of the private sphere, but rather an alliance of politics and religion (theocracy). The community is primary. It is a (totalitarian) ideology for all of humanity. From that follows the group pressure to be closed off (symbol=hijab) and to exclude non-Muslims. Evoking religious freedom, the Muslim community demands the collective right to transplant the Islamic life model manifested in the 7th century unchanged into present day life, even though the principles embedded in Islam are counter to the law. Islam presents like a political party, but it works without parliamentary legitimization and cloaks its intentions. Its desired socio-political changes are accomplished without parliamentary discussion and in an undemocratic manner.
Non-Muslims, on the other hand, have only the individual right to pursue their own beliefs in accord with the laws.
The over-emotional or ignorant people you addressed know all this. They also know that Turkish President Erdogan considers making a distinction between Islam and Islamism is an insult and simplistic. These people are also following the persecutions of Christians in Islamic countries and know that Islam has its own human rights: sharia.
Your call for tolerance is too simple. Tolerance of intolerance is no better than “Biedermann and the Firebugs.”
I would be happy to hear from you and send you greetings from Vienna.