Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali case continues

Well, even though Ayaan Hirsi Ali is now in the US, she continues to make news across the Atlantic.

In line with her (personal) crusade against Islamic fundamentalism, she warned in an editorial piece in Die Welt (in German) about the dangers of “Prada-Islam”, arguing that even moderate Muslims still pose a danger for modern societies of Europe. The original English version of the article can be found here.

According to the ostrich, very soon there shall be a European Islam, signs of which are already visible in the young women in tight jeans, high heels, black sleeveless tight tops and matching head scarves, all designed by Prada. This Prada Islam will replace the old rural one and function as a vaccine against the Wahhabi Islam of the Saudis.

Using the analogy of a (delusional) ostrich and (wise) owl, Hirsi Ali argues that to think that Muslims will adopt themselves to European values and culture is a case of “ostrich vision”.

“The ostrich sees only one thing as a setback: the xenophobia of native Europeans. If only the inherently racist white society was to overcome its fear of what is alien, it would notice how migrants have improved the cuisine, the music, the arts and the economy of Europe. The mantra of the ostrich is borrowed from Monty Python: "Always look on the bright side of life."

It is an illusion to believe that the current problems with Muslims are only temporary, and that one day we will have to reckon with radical Islam. More specifically she refers to the treatment of Muslim women, and the fact that many Muslim simply don’t want to be integrated into European societies and accept European values.

She warns of a hardening conflict between the extreme right and “Islam-fascism”, which will worsen with an quota-less immigration policy. The lack of progress in providing development aid to those very countries from which many immigrants tend to flee from to come to Europe will increase the number of illegal immigrants who are being exploited and marginalised.

In contrast, the owl doesn’t put its head in the sand and sees the dangers and injustices coming.

The owl sees that Islam is not Christianity and that not all Muslims understand or want to share in any European future based on European values of freedom, tolerance and an attitude of live and let live.

A bleak picture is painted if nothing is done:

“In a worse-case scenario, the warnings of the owl will not be heeded. The optimism of the ostrich will be abandoned. The monopoly of force that is now exclusive to states will be challenged by armed subgroups. European societies will be divided along ethnic and religious lines that are hostile to each other. An already deteriorating education system will not succeed in grooming the youth to believe in a shared past, let alone a shared future. The educating of kids will be left in the hands of their particular ethnic or religious community.

The European states will find themselves limiting civil liberties. Europeans will come to accept the de facto implementation of Sharia law in certain neighbourhoods and even cities. The exploitation of the weak, women and children will be commonplace. Those who can afford to emigrate will do so. This emigration will compound an ongoing brain drain but also an outflow of money and expertise”

The time is nigh, she says, for political leadership and will to do something about the situation. There is hope yet.

“A misguided vision brought Europe to its current predicament; an idealistic vision, convinced of the inherent superiority of enlightened values over the values of oppressive cultures, a vision steeped in individual rights, the rule of law and the equality of men and women, can help guide Europe out of it. It is possible. Europe is not yet lost and members of its immigrant communities can indeed integrate into a European society.”

And Hirsi Ali pronounces some ideas how the problematic causes, reasons and tensions between Islamic and European values can be solved.

“First, controlled or planned immigration. Second, an intervention, sometimes proactive, in countries that generate large-scale exoduses. And third, an active assimilation policy. Member nations that do not meet this or frustrate this policy will be penalized legally and financially.”

Europe must become proactive, she argues, and people should be ‘forced’ to integrate, oddly familiar to the Rousseau-sque idea of human beings having to be coerced to be free.

“EU will implement an assimilation program guided by the lessons learned from the failed policies of member states that attempted to integrate non-Western migrants based on a theory of multiculturalism. It will acknowledge that the basic tenets of Islam are a major obstacle to integration. In practice, Muslims will continue to enjoy religious freedom within the EU, as long as exercising that precious right does not infringe upon the freedoms of others, including daughters and wives.

The argument of the French is that the freedom of conscience and thus, faith, is best guaranteed by a neutral state. Much as I admire the American way of doing things, the French model seems to me to be the best in dealing with the problem of assimilation. It's geared best towards the folly of all religions that indoctrinate helpless children with the superstitions their parents subscribe to.

In a best-case scenario, there will be no schools indoctrinating poor kids with a hostile view of life. Outside school, parents may favour their religion. When a child is old enough to make one's own decisions, he or she will choose whatever faith or secular mind he or she wants to adhere to. Most important of all, he or she will have learned in school not to impose but to respect the freedoms of the other.”

In another article, Hirsi Ali writes about the plight of women worldwide, especially those living under" brutal and retrograde body of laws" in Islamic societies.

"Wherever the Islamists implement Shariah, or Islamic law, women are hounded from the public arena, denied education and forced into a life of domestic slavery.

Cultural and moral relativists sap our sense of moral outrage by claiming that human rights are a Western invention. Men who abuse women rarely fail to use the vocabulary the relativists have provided them. They claim the right to adhere to an alternative set of values - an "Asian," "African" or "Islamic" approach to human rights.

This mind-set needs to be broken. A culture that carves the genitals of young girls, hobbles their minds and justifies their physical oppression is not equal to a culture that believes women have the same rights as men"

She sketches in this article the attrocious things that happen to Muslim women, many within the European Union.

  • Four-year-old girls have their genitals mutilated: some of them so badly that they die of infections; others are traumatised for life from the experience and will later suffer recurrent infections of their reproductive and urinary systems.
  • Teenage girls are removed from school by force and kept inside the house to stop their schooling, stifle their thinking and suffocate their will.
  • Victims of incest and sexual abuse are beaten, deported or killed to prevent them from filing complaints.
  • Some pregnant victims of incest or abuse are forced by their fathers, older brothers, or uncles to have abortions in order to keep the family honour from being stained. In this era of DNA testing, the girls could demonstrate that they have been abused. Yet instead of punishing the abusers, the family treats the daughter as if she had dishonoured the family.
  • Girls and women who protest their maltreatment are beaten by their parents in order to kill their spirits and reduce them to a lifelong servitude that amounts to slavery.
  • Many girls and women who can't bear to suffer any more take their own lives or develop numerous kinds of psychological ailments, including nervous breakdown and psychosis. They are literally driven mad.
  • A Muslim girl in Europe runs more risk than girls of other faiths of being forced into marriage by her parents with a stranger. In such a marriage -- which, since it is forced, by definition starts with rape -- she conceives child after child. She is an enslaved womb. Many of her children will grow up in a household with parents who are neither bound by love nor interested in the wellbeing of their children. The daughters will go through life as subjugated as their mothers and the sons become -- in Europe -- dropouts from school, attracted to pastimes that can vary from loitering in the streets to drug abuse to radical Islamic fundamentalism.

Another way the former parliamentarian made the headlines this week: Remember last year she was ‘kicked out’ of her apartment in The Hague by her neighbours? They took the state to court, saying that because of Hirsi Ali’s profile and the death threats against her, the neighbours would be victims in the event of an attempted attack. The local court in December 2005 judged in favour of the neighbours, and said the state had acted “illegitimately” by placing Hirsi Ali in the apartment without asking the neighbours for permission. The case basically decided that there was nowhere Hirsi Ali could live, because nobody in the country would want to have her as a neighbour. The minister of Justice challenged the decision, and the Supreme Court yesterday quashed the lower court decision, and wants a further investigation into the matter.

The Supreme Court held that the interest of the state should be considered when housing certain (threatened) citizens. It was no enough that Hirsi Ali may have posed a threat to the neighbours. Stringent measures taken by the state to guarantee security and safety in the neighbourhood may have the potential to balance out the risks that the neighbours may or may not encounter. The case needs to be reevaluated, especially in future reference to other politicians or persons who face disproportionate levels of threat against their person and life.

23 Oct 2006

In contrast to Hirsi Ali's views of Islam posing a counter force in European societies, Professor of Islamic Law and the Middle East Ruud Peters at the University of Amsterdam argues the contrary:

“Listen to the migration historians, look to the long term […] Politicians can often be short-term thinkers, therefore they often do not see much. But look to the Italian immigrants in the US. They had virtue- and value patterns that strongly resemble those of our Muslim immigrants now. Those problems were also solved. It would be just like before with the Jews. In three generations the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims will exist predominantly in different names and surnames.”

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