Jussi Halla-aho is a Finnish writer and an MEP for the Finns Party who has been publicly demonized, tried, and convicted of “hate speech” for his opposition to mass immigration into Finland. For the full background on the persecution against him, see the Jussi Halla-aho archives.
The following essay about the Charlie Hebdo massacre was published yesterday on Jussi Halla-aho’s website. Many thanks to Heikki Polojärvi for the translation
A few words about Paris
by Jussi Halla-aho
Three Islamists, offended for mockery directed at their prophet Muhammad, attacked the editorial office of a French magazine and killed, with assault rifles, twelve people, including two police officers, the head editor and several cartoonists. One of the perpetrators surrendered to the police and, as I’m writing this, two more are being hunted.
As always, when an Islamist shoots, blows up or beheads innocents, the most interesting thing is to observe the reactions of the media, politicians and ordinary citizens. What is characteristic of these reactions is the closing of their eyes to the phenomenon. Each and every case is an isolated and singular event; none are in any way linked to each other. This regardless of declaration of jihad by the perpetrators themselves, the common denominator with their Allahu akhbars. Especially these deeds are not admitted to be in any way linked with Islam, but rather social exclusion, racism or the perpetrators’ psychological problems. However, the perpetrators themselves do not declare that they are avenging racism or social exclusion. They are defending the honor of the prophet Muhammad.
Of course it’s clear that a person who shoots, blows up or beheads innocent people does not give the impression of being mentally balanced. However, explaining all violent acts committed in the name of Islam is about the same as, for example, explaining away Nazi Germany and the Holocaust as Germans’ psychological problems. We all probably agree that it is not a healthy sign to gas innocent men, women and children at death camps.
Most Germans who participated in the Holocaust were perfectly normal people. Their actions were logical and normal activity from the point of view of the prevalent national socialist ideology, and in exactly the same way the activities of Islamic throat-cutters are normal and logical activities, as seen from their (in his case, religious) point of view.
It is also interesting to compare these reactions with the discussion that took place in 2011 in the aftermath of the massacre in Norway. In those times riding with corpses, milking them for political advantage, and using Breivik to brand his entire “reference group” — that is, anti-Islamists, nationalists, and immigration critics — was downright mainstream. “Not a stone must be left unturned,” commented the Helsingin Sanomat [major newspaper and MSM outlet], drawing lines from Breivik to the Finns Party, and to the author. This regardless of Breivik’s having acted, from beginning to the end, alone, and his having had hardly any sympathies from any group whatsoever.
At the time, social democrat and leftist groups in Finland demanded immediate action against “hate speech” spreading on Finnish internet sites, as well as the resignations of the leaders of the Finns Party, “riding on anti-immigrationism”. Editors insisted that Breivik’s deeds “should not be seen as one lunatic’s actions”; the foreign minister wanted zero tolerance for the Finns’ hate speech. Hufvudstadsbladet [Finnish Swedish-language newspaper] guessed, and hoped, that the events in Norway would reduce support for the Finns. The Greens minister urged Timo Soini [then the leader of the Finns] to put his extreme nationalists in order. Et cetera, et cetera.
Islamists’ actions are seen in a very different manner. Today Finnish party leaders have declared that no-one should try to gain any political advantage from the events in France.
It’s a rather interesting thought that the negative consequences of immigration could not be used as an argument when discussing immigration policies. It seems that the limits of good taste have moved somewhat during these past three and a half years.
I don’t make these comparisons to gripe about unfair treatment towards the Finns Party. I really think the special role Islam and Muslims, and the construction of a “tolerant” identity, have in the Western mindset is very interesting indeed, as well as what kind of a knot a critic is willing to twist himself into to be able to explain away, or at least to interpret in the best possible way, anything negative that happens in the name of Islam.
A YLE [Finnish version of the BBC] correspondent writes: “Among journalists, thinkers, activists and cartoonists in the Near East there is a deep consensus that the murders at Charlie Hebdo were repulsive, deserve condemnation, and represent only the perpetrators’ own twisted point of view.”
Undoubtedly the culprits’ world view is twisted, but is it really their own? For example, the Madrid and London bombers, the Toulouse shooter, the Brussels shooter, the murderer of Theo van Gogh, the Sydney cafeteria jihadist, or the persons who just before Christmas rammed a car to a crowd in France and stabbed three police officers, screaming Allahu akhbar, or those who have tried to murder Swedish and Danish cartoonists, or firebombed newspaper editorial offices — they all probably have a similar worldview. In many Islamic countries, also in those where governments are democratically elected, blasphemy is punishable by death.
The Paris shooters punished the staff of a satirical newspaper by death, for lampooning their holy values. In what way is their world view more twisted than the prevalent one in the Muslim countries? This is what I mean by saying, that in their own culture, and religious frame of reference their deed is not deranged but logical.
The Indian party leader and state politician Yakub Qureshi promises a reward to the Paris shooters, and says: “Those who dare to insult the prophet Muhammad deserve death without a trial,” and adds: “The prophet spread the message of peace and love.”
Are Qureshi and all his voters isolated, deranged people, who have nothing at all to do with each other or with Islam?
In Britain the extreme Islamist Anjem Choudary, who recently visited Finland too, rushed to defend the Paris attack: “Freedom of expression does not extend to insulting the prophet Muhammad”
Are Choudary — and all his audience in Finland, and in Britain — isolated, deranged people who have nothing to do with each other or with Islam?
After Breivik’s deed no-one was concerned over whether or not the incident would increase prejudice and fears toward nationalists. When Islamists kill, the greatest concern of researchers is whether the incident increases negative attitudes towards Islam. Undoubtedly it does but, in my opinion, Islam, as it is, giving inspiration to so many people to commit massacres, is a much greater concern than whatever others are thinking about Islam.
There are many kinds of Muslims; there’s no arguing that. However, the interpretation of Islam that can be characterized as a fascistic death cult, that, according to its own words, aims for world conquest and the destruction of Western, secular, free society, and whose means are in accordance, enjoys considerable support, both in Muslim-majority countries and also in Europe. Most Muslims surely would not take part in violent acts, or directly approve of them, but the pitch-black stagnation and intolerance that the Islamist violence stems from is not a marginal phenomenon. According to a poll conducted last year, 16% of French Muslims are favorably disposed towards ISIS, and among those aged 18-22, 27% sympatised with it. German research in 2013 pointed out that half of Muslims in Europe can be called fundamentalists.
The evil world is not far from us either; that can be seen in the fact that persons like Choudary are being invited to Finland to preach their teachings. In proportion to the population, more people have left Finland for Iraq and Syria than from most countries in the western Europe. In Sweden which has the largest (proportional to population) or (after France) the largest and most swiftly growing Muslim minority, Islamists have, in their closed forums, gloated about the attack: “Now the pigs will think twice before offending Allah and his prophet.”
Islamism is an ideology enjoying wide popularity or at least passive acceptance, internally coherent and well-networked. Because the incentives are religious, and the rewards in the hereafter, they hardly can be negotiated, or compromised with. Guns and bombs will bang, throats will be cut in the future, because no society can continuously maintain such surveillance that every attack can be tracked and prevented.
After the Paris attack it has been declared, as usual, that the Western society is strong, and the pen is the mightiest of weapons. On this one can hold two opinions. The cartoonist, with his pen, does not stop a man with an assault rifle. Instead, the man with the assault rifle stops the cartoonist. Because no-one is eager to die, fear of terrorism forces society into deeper and deeper self-censorship. This is practical Islamisation: dancing to the Islamists’ tune. For that they need no majority.
However, if there’s no readiness for other actions, we can always march against Islamophobia, and denounce the Finns Party’s tweets.