Saturday, June 11, 2005

Arab Criticism of Muslim Extremist Activities in the West

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Extremist Muslims in Western countries have come under increasing criticism by moderate Muslims who are familiar with the West through living in America or Europe, either temporarily or permanently. In three recently published articles, Arab academic and intellectuals harshly criticized their extremist activities.

In his article on the reformist website, Dr. Ahmad Abu Matar, a Palestinian academic residing in Oslo, stated that Muslims in Europe foster conflict instead of coexistence. Muslims in Europe, he explained, are influenced by an extremist fundamentalist brand of Islam  and moderate Muslims are not speaking out adequately against this activity.

In the UAE daily Al-Itihad, Saudi journalist Turki Al-Dakhil, whose popular interview program on Al-Arabiyya television frequently hosts reformist Muslims, wrote about the hatred of the West that is spread by Muslims in the U.S., sharing his personal experience during his studies in the U.S. around the time of 9/11.

In the wake of Al-Dakhil's article, Tarek Hamo, a Kurdish journalist living in Germany, also criticized the actives of extremist Muslims in the West. In his article in, Hamo accused Arab and Muslim states that seek to appease the extremists and to keep them away from political activity in their own countries, as well as the European host countries that are turning a blind eye to extremist activity  on grounds of "tolerance" and "religious freedom," and more recently, on grounds of a "dialogue of civilizations."

The following are excerpts from the three articles:

Muslims in Europe Foster Conflict, Not Coexistence

Dr. Ahmad Abu Matar wrote: "The presence of Muslims of all nationalities, and especially those of Arab nationality, has become a palpable phenomenon in all of the EU countries, and in Western Europe in particular. In some of these countries, like France, for instance, they number more than five million, and in many countries they have centers, institutions, and activities that they cannot sustain in their own Arab and Muslim countries."

As an example of activities conducted in the West that are not permitted in Arab countries, Abu Matar mentioned the Islamic Liberation Party, which "announces from London its political platform  to establish the Islamic caliphate over all corners of the earth  and declares that the party will suggest to the Queen of England that she convert to Islam, and thus will not have to pay the Islamic poll tax on non-Muslims [jizya]." As another example he cited the activities of Abu Hamza Al-Masri, the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London, who called for jihad and suicide bombings in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The third example he gave is the thousands of mosques and Islamic charitable organizations in Europe and America that publicly collect contributions, and in addition, receive annual budgets from European countries.

In light of the freedom of movement and action and the freedom to proselytize enjoyed by Muslims in Europe, Abu Matar assessed the behavior of Muslims, and especially Arabs, in the continent. According to him, "the last five years have been decisive in shaping the image of the Muslim Arab in Europe. Because of the incidents and practices that the European continent has experienced, the image of the Arab Muslim in the European lexicon has become: a terrorist who murders without a conscience or any human feeling...

"The European citizen has begun to feel that Europe has become a target for Islamic terrorism, particularly of the Arab type, because of the crimes he has witnessed  in reality, and not in the imagination or in a horror movie. Even screenwriters and directors of horror movies wouldn't conceive of some of these actions.

"It doesn't help that alongside these actions, [some] say that Islam forbids such actions and that their perpetrators are damaging Islam, since the actions are accompanied by a theological doctrine [elaborated] by those who claim to speak in the name of over a billion Muslims, and especially the triumvirate of Bin Laden, Al-Zarqawi, and Al-Zawahiri.

"None of the Arab or Muslim religious legal authorities responded to them or cast doubt on their legitimacy as representatives of Islam. On the contrary, there are fatwas from scores of ulama supporting these actions..."

Abu Matar cited a number of examples of crimes committed by Muslims in Europe and pointed to the public incitement to violence in mosques. He mentioned the case of Nur Al-Din Kaplan, whom a German court in Berlin decided to deport because of his incitement to violence and suicide bombings. The latter went into hiding, and for weeks the German police have been searching for him.

Another example is an open letter published by Ayman Al-Zawahiri in the summer of 2003, encouraging Muslim youth to attack European and American targets. Abu Matar adds that the Islamic proselytizer in Denmark, Said Mansour, goes a similar path, and distributes a cassette among the Muslims encouraging them to join Al-Zarqawi in Iraq.

"This immoral incitement," says Abu Matar, prompted the murder of the Dutch cinema director Van Gogh in November, 2004, by a young Dutchman of Moroccan origin. According to Abu Matar, "the incident only occurred because of the [atmosphere of] incitement in which the young murderer lived, the incitement of sheikhs who do not fear Allah and who consider everyone whose opinion differs from theirs to be an enemy of Islam."

In conclusion, Abu Matar states that Muslims in Europe promote conflict and do not encourage coexistence. "As a result of these actions... millions of the new generation of Muslims in Europe have become a source of fear and anxiety for decision-makers in European countries. This is because the new generation has fallen under the influence of extremist fundamentalists who interpret Islam as they see fit, and also because enlightened scholars and intellectuals haven't made a parallel intellectual effort to counter the extremist and deviant intellectual efforts of the fundamentalists."

"In their extremism, [the fundamentalists] are preventing the new generation of Muslims from internalizing the principles of freedom and enlightenment that have existed in European societies for over a century.

"[This enlightenment] enabled European societies to develop in every sphere and led to the humanistic tolerance that made Muslim presence in Europe possible....

"[In contrast to] this [Western] tolerance, Christians living in Arab countries have been forbidden for generations to build churches, except within [the framework of] tiresome conditions, and especially in Egypt  the land of the [Christian] Copts.

"What will these millions [of European Muslims] do in the Arab countries if the European countries, Canada, and the U.S. were to expel them? I say 'if' since these countries cannot expel them, not because they are afraid of the Muslims, but because their laws don't allow it...

"From what has been said here, one may conclude that those who speak falsely in the name of Islam have turned the Islamic presence in Europe and America into a presence of conflict instead of coexistence..." (1)

Allah Treated Us Mercifully When He Did Not Stop the Blood in the Veins of
the Jews and Christians So They Protected Us after 9/11

In his article titled "Oh Allah, Curse Them," Turki Al-Dakhil wrote: "An American friend of Arab origin told me that he went with his 13-year-old son to a demonstration for the Palestinian cause, held in a U.S. city. Everything went well until one of the demonstrators, in the grip of enthusiasm, took the U.S. flag and set it alight. My friend said to me: This instance saddened me, but I intentionally turned a blind eye  while my son commented that it was not fitting to thus treat the flag whose citizens we are...

"As soon as I heard the story I remembered the imam of the mosque where I attended Friday prayers when I studied in the northwestern U.S. The imam was an American of Palestinian origin, and it seemed to me that he thought a sermon was pointless unless he cursed the Jews and Christians every week.

"I saw [in the congregation] native-born Americans who had joined Islam not long ago, and mused at the curse applying to them, harming their parents and sometimes their wives, and their friends and co-workers.

"A few months later came the catastrophic events of 9/11. I met with a group of students from the Gulf states in the [U.S.] city where we were studying, and we discussed what we could do regarding our apprehensions about American reactions... We agreed that we would not go anywhere alone and would wait [to go together to the mosque] until the coming Friday  the first after the events.

"[That Friday], when the young Arabs reached the street where the mosque was, their hearts were beating like that of a sprinter. Their pulses quickened when they saw groups of Americans surrounding the mosque. They drew closer in dread  to discover that the groups were Christian organizations and 'hippies' who wanted to protect the Arab and Muslim worshipers from any attack that might occur as a reaction by Americans to [the Al-Qa'ida] raid on Manhattan.

"The sight was melodramatic. Those same people whom our imam customarily cursed every Friday and whom he asked Allah to exterminate, orphan their children, and widow their wives  and, when he was really fired up, whose blood he would also ask Allah to dry up in their veins  these same people came to serve as a human shield for our prayers.

"I remember that most of the worshipers believed, like parrots, the calls of the imam who angered me. I confess that I was too cowardly to oppose them in public, settling for conversations in closed rooms with some of my colleagues.

"But I thanked Allah greatly that he did not answer the calls of our imam... The American presence [near our mosque] continued every Friday for the next five or six weeks, and the governor joined them.

"Allah treated us mercifully when he did not stop the blood in the veins [of these Jews and Christians], and did not curse them or orphan their children..."(2)

Muslim Teachers are Spreading Hatred of the Infidel West Among Immigrant Muslim Children

Tarek Hamo, a Kurdish journalist residing in Germany, writes from a personal perspective: "In my many travels connected to my job in the Arab department of the Kurdish television channel... I meet many Islamists who, the moment they identify a Middle Eastern face, run to me, motivated by lust for religious preaching and dispiritedly talk of 'the state of the Muslim nation.'

"During the conversation (which develops the moment you respond to their greeting), you see that these people are bearing a tremendous amount of hatred for Europe and its culture (in which they live in dignity). Most of them, unfortunately, supported and still support Al-Qa'ida terrorism in New York, Madrid, and Baghdad...

"Once, a Turkish imam approached me as I traveled on an express train to Brussels. After I indicated to him that he might sit down, he began to lament 'the state of the Muslim nation' and the 'deeds of the infidel West' and the Muslim rulers connected to it (who also, [in his view,] were certainly of Jewish-Crusader origin).

"When I asked him for his view on Turkey's joining the European Union and its ramifications for the Turks and their future, he stood up and said: 'This is a crusader plan, and its aim is [to change] the identity and history of the Turkish nation. Ultimately they  that is, the Westerners  want to meld the Muslims into the Christian region, and to conduct missionary activity amongst them.' In order to prevent this and to repel the 'Crusader attack,' he said, 'There is no substitute for establishing an Islamic caliphate.'

"After finishing his speech... he began to tell me about his work as a teacher of Muslim children in a German city, and how he makes them understand 'Islam and its fundamentals' and stresses to them 'the obligation not to assimilate into infidel German society, and to preserve their religion and identity'...

"This example is one of many, since many teach the children of Muslim immigrants the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam (which usually causes terrorism). They are sent from their countries by their organizations, and understand not a word of the host country's language... Their goal is to spread hostility and hatred among the Muslim workers and refugees, and to push them towards stories of religious wars and the atmosphere of 'the global conspiracy against the Muslims.'

"The ones responsible for the existence of these [extremists] are the Arab and Muslim countries that capitulated to the madness of the religious groups... and set their curricula in accordance with the desires of these groups, in order to appease them and to distance them from thinking of politics and 'earthly matters' [in their homelands].

"Also responsible for this are the European countries... that turned a blind eye to their [i.e. the extremists'] suspicious religious activity, on grounds of tolerance and religious freedom  and, more recently, on grounds of 'dialogue between civilizations.'

"Thus we see Mr. Tarek Ramadan, who participates in dialogue conferences with Muslims in the West, preaching 'European Islam.' Do you understand what European Islam is? This 'Islam' is not very different from the European Islam once offered by the Turkish fundamentalist leader Nijmuddin Erbakan [the Turkish prime minister who headed the Islamic Welfare Party] when he clarified wholeheartedly: 'Our aim is to put down roots in the European continent, and to act quietly and in accordance with the laws, so that one day we may see all of Europe Muslim!'..."(3)

(1), April 17, 2005.
(2) Al-Itihad (UAE), April 26, 2005. .
(3) April 30, 2005.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077

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