The Unseen side of the Islamic veil
You might know that in March 2009 the French online paper Riposte Laïque (Secular Riposte) published a book entitled Les dessous du voile. 1989-2009: vingt ans d’offensive islamique contre la République laïque (The unseen side of the veil. 1989-2009 : twenty years of Islamic offensive against the secular Republic).
Indeed twenty years ago Islamists made their first attempt to send girls to school with the veil on. Thanks to the courage of teachers and militants attached to secularity a law was passed on the 15th of March 2004 banning ostentatious religious signs from schools.
The book consists of seventeen chapters written by the editor and sub-editors of the paper and some of their friends. Some names might ring a bell : Annie Sugier, chairwoman of the League of the International Women’s Rights, Anne Zelensky, chairwoman of the League of Women’s Rights, Pascal Mohamed Hilout, founder of New Islam.
Their aim was to stress the necessity of denouncing the offensive of political Islam against the Republic despite the risk of being considered fascist and racist.
They asked many questions such as : Is it normal for a secular country to let women wear the veil while in Islamic countries women are killed if they refuse to wear it? Is it normal to authorize women to wear the hijab or the burka although these outfits make it impossible to identify them?
The authors blame politicians for supporting Islamists and meeting their demands in order to get votes. They reproach them for defending secularism only when it comes to criticizing the Vatican while facilitating Islamists’ attacks on secularity. They criticize them for not understanding that the interference of religion in politics and social life means the return to the Middle Ages.
The authors’ goal is to show that our secular society, its values, rights, women’s rights in particular, traditions and customs are threatened by obscurantist fascist people who are believers and political militants at the same time and whose aim is to oppress women and establish a theocracy.
They hope people will rise against the offensive of a political and religious totalitarianism demanding more and more “reasonable arrangements” with the secular principles of our country.
I wrote a chapter about the situation in Great Britain in order to show that multiculturalism has failed and cannot be considered as the ideal model.
Here is the translation of my chapter into English.
I hope you will find it useful.
THE OFFENSIVE OF ISLAM IN MULTICULTURAL GREAT BRITAIN
In the mid-sixties the British government undertook to institutionalize multiculturalism in order to promote tolerance towards immigrants, respect for their cultures, traditions and religions, which would logically lead to their social integration. Roy Jenkins, Labour Home Secretary between 1965 and 1967, was the first politician to highlight the merits of multiculturalism.
Forty years later it has to be admitted that social peace and harmony between ethnic groups seem to be a nice dream in the face of the offensive of Islam and the gap between people of British extraction and all those who refuse assimilation, declaring themselves Muslim first and foremost and claiming their membership of the ummah, the international Muslim community, rather than their belonging to British society.
It is legitimate to wonder whether multiculturalism is not intrinsically incompatible with the notion of social peace and does not rather favour alienation, segregation and tensions.
It is not exaggerated to state that multiculturalism has failed.
Young people born and educated in Great Britain committed the murderous attacks in London in July 2005. Other plots are regularly foiled and British Islamists are given prison sentences.
It is useful to understand why a democratic and tolerant nation is threatened not by an outside enemy but by its own citizens or by immigrants and refugees whom it has welcomed magnanimously.
It is interesting to note that the offensive of Islam is increasing in scale in a system hanging on to the principles of multiculturalism which pretends not to understand that it is not simply the imprisonment of some terrorist or the expulsion of some radical preacher that will counter the Islamic attack.
Islamic terrorism, offspring of the ideology of hatred
On the 7th of July 2005 an Islamic terrorist attack committed in London killed fifty-two people and wounded seven hundred. In August 2006 twelve planes were to explode at Heathrow airport. Fortunately the plot was thwarted. In November 2006, Dhiren Barot, a member of Al-Quaida, was sentenced for attempting to kill hundreds of thousands of people in synchronized attacks in Great Britain and the United States. The 19th of August 2008 was the last day of the trial held in London which sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment an Islamist net surfer who had devoted several years of his life to creating on his computer a kind of encyclopedia containing texts inciting to violence, information about the Queen and fifteen members of the Royal Family, discussions about the creation of an Islamic secret state in Scotland, a book about explosives, a handbook on poisons. He recruited potential terrorists and encouraged them to attend terrorist training camps in Pakistan. His youngest recruit was a fifteen-year-old boy to whom he had given the mission of leading the holy war against the West, destroying western values and eliminating “Kaffirs”, which is the derogatory word used to refer to infidels, that is to say non-Muslims.
On the 8th of September 2008 the trial of eight British Islamists ended in London. They had been accused of preparing suicide attacks using liquid explosives. They intended to blow up seven planes bound for the United States or Canada.
In late September 2008 three men were arrested in the north of London. They were accused of setting fire to the house of the Gibson Square publisher after he had announced the publication of the novel The Jewel of Medina, written by the American author Sherry Jones. The main character of the book is Aïcha, Muhammad’s youngest wife.
On the 14th of October 2008 the trial of a British convert to Islam ended. He had failed his suicide attack in a restaurant in Exeter which could have killed fifty odd customers, adults and children. Documents indicating further possible targets, such as a shopping centre, were found in his home.
Fifteen plots have been foiled in Great Britain since 2000. As Melanie Phillips states in her book entitled Londonistan (1), the British capital has been “the epicentre of Islamic militancy in Europe” for over ten years. Many texts and books inciting to the hatred for and murder of infidels are published there. Melanie Phillips mentions among others Filisteen al-Muslima, the journal of Hamas, and Al-Sunnah, a magazine which calls for human bomb terror operations against the USA. She remembers that terrorists based in the United Kingdom have committed or organized terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Israel, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, Russia, Spain and the USA. One just needs to mention Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who assassinated the journalist Daniel Pearl in 2001, and Richard Reid, famous for the bombs in his shoes, which were to blow up the Paris-Miami plane in December 2001 (2).
London and Great Britain welcome numerous Islamist organizations having links with Al-Quaeda. The organization Hizb ut-Tahir, which has been made illegal in Islamic countries, has its headquarters in London (3). The Tablighi Jamaat movement has its headquarters in Dewsbury, Yorkshire (north-east of England) (4). The Dewsbury Mosque has been attended by Mohammed Sidique Khan, the person mainly responsible for the London attack in July 2005.
The group al-Muhaujiroun, based in London, which advocates the establishment of an Islamic regime, has run clandestine terrorist training camps situated in various areas in the United Kingdom (5).
Some think that youngsters are attracted by terrorism because they are the victims of discrimination, unemployment and poverty. They are wrong. Indeed most terrorists have attended university and/or have had well-paid jobs. Al-Quaeda recruits future engineers and computer scientists from wealthy backgrounds.
Others think that young people become terrorists to show their solidarity with the Iraqi people, victim of the war caused by the USA and the United Kingdom. They are wrong too. Islamic terrorism appeared long before the war in Iraq. Jihad training camps existed in Great Britain in 1997 (6) and a plot against Great Britain was foiled in 2000, that is to say long before the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. Moreover countries such as Indonesia and France, which have not sent troops to Iraq, have also been struck by Islamic terrorism. What people refuse to admit is that the incitement to jihad existed before the war in Iraq.
The Muslim Brothers, a movement created in Egypt in 1928, incited “real Muslims” to destroy human kingdoms to establish God’s kingdom on earth. It was created thanks to the help of the British and the Egyptian monarchy to block the way of the democratic and secular Wafd.
The Jamat-e-Islami movement, created in India in 1941, incited believers to establish Allah’s law on earth. Its first representative, Abu Ala Mawdudi, born in Pakistan in 1903, declared that Islam was an ideology and not simply a religion. He claimed that to please God, believers had to start an organized fight sparing neither human lives nor properties. He stated that Islam was a revolutionary doctrine which overthrew governments. According to him Muslims that confined themselves to praying, giving alms, observing Ramadan and going on a pilgrimage to Mecca were not real Muslims. Real Muslims were those who got involved in the fight for political power.
The radical organization Hizb ut-Tahir drew attention to itself in the 1960s. Its aim was to destroy democratic countries by carrying out military coups and implementing a ready-made constitution. This organization is illegal in the Arab world but legal in Great Britain. Its representatives believe that freedom and democracy are the cancer of society as they allow people to choose their own fate whereas Allah is the one who has to rule humanity. They claim that the fight for the establishment of an Islamic state is an obligation for any self-respecting Muslim. The leader of the organization in Great Britain in the 1990s was Omar Bakri, currently in exile in Lebanon. He affirmed that a state that did not enforce sharia law and failed to fight against the Jews could not proclaim itself Islamic. He called for the murder of Prime Minister John Major in 1991.
In the early 1990s another very active group called JIMAS was noticed in Britain. It was made up of bearded Wahhabis who incited women to wear the hijab and gloves and boys to attend jihad training camps in Afghanistan.
The influence of all these organizations on the minds and attitudes of the believers who attended mosques in the UK explains their radicalization. In the 1990s many youths were recruited into these organizations, entered upon armed fight for the establishment of the caliphate and started to hate Kaffirs, that is to say their classmates, the students who attended their universities, their colleagues, their neighbours, in brief the society in which they had been born, which had enabled them to get an education, climb the rungs of the social ladder, which granted them social welfare, human rights and dignity.
A society threatened by political Islam and weakened by multiculturalism
In the 1960s and 70s the massive arrival of immigrants essentially coming from former colonies such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and India started to metamorphose British society. Many workers had the impression that their environment was invaded by immigrants and they were becoming second-class citizens in their own country. They claimed that it was less easy to find council estate flats or houses as they were offered to immigrants. They declared that it was impossible to get hospital treatment because beds were taken up by immigrants.
In order to protect newcomers against racist and xenophobic demonstrations the government passed laws forbidding discrimination in fields like housing, employment and public services. As for multiculturalism it was to enable minority groups to preserve their cultures and traditions, encourage them to take part in the social life of the country without imposing assimilation on them. The aim was to allow people of different origins to live comfortably with the majority in a society made richer by the variety of cultures. The Labour Party members believed that it was necessary to take into account the differences between individuals as ignoring them and insisting on the uniformity of treatment would lead to injustice, inequality and discrimination.
A range of measures were taken to eliminate the obstacles to multiculturalism. The wearing of religious clothes and signs at work was accepted. School curricula were modified. They stopped highlighting the History and culture of Great Britain in favour of a smattering of superficial notions about different cultures and religions. The harmful effects are felt nowadays. Youngsters have neither solid knowledge nor a feeling of belonging to a nation, having unfairly been deprived of a rich heritage which school ought to transmit though.
The society has little by little changed into distinct communities, holding on to their traditions, cultures, religions, ways of seeing the world. Instead of being united around common values, children and teenagers have been incited to cultivate the values respected in the countries where their parents came from.
In the name of multiculturalism and respect for diversity, community demands were met such as the creation of Muslim prayer rooms in universities and schools, cafés reserved for Muslims in universities, separate women’s sessions in municipal swimming pools, sports halls and music halls, the permission for women to swim in municipal swimming pools with the chador on, halal meat in school canteens and even the setting up of sharia courts.
In the course of the last twenty years over a hundred Muslim schools have been created. Most of them are private but since 1998 some of them have been receiving funds from the State. Dozens of state schools are made up of 90% of Muslim pupils due to their geographical situation.
De facto the country of multiculturalism is nothing more than a constellation of communities characterized by self-segregation. More and more neighbourhoods have become no-go areas to people of British origin.
More and more young people reject society and join radical or even terrorist organizations. In mosques they are told that the society in which they live is corrupted by free love, abortion, drugs, AIDS, pornography, homosexuality and other evils for which only Islam has the solution. Of course they are also told that polygamy, arranged and forced marriages are sacred and that marrying a little girl when one is old amounts to imitating the Prophet and not paedophiles.
Why has British society been reduced to that?
As it was said above, multiculturalism favoured the implantation of customs and practices coming from other times and places. If newcomers had been obliged as from the beginning to adopt the lifestyle of the society that was welcoming them, if the values of the country had been inculcated in them, if they had been taught the History of the country rigorously and methodically, they would have considered themselves members of the great national community more easily instead of keeping holding on to their ethnic community. But, as Melanie Phillips reminds us (7), British right-thinking people, trapped by their post-colonial guilty feeling, believed that the values of the nation were necessarily racist and discriminatory. Instilling them would amount to committing the mistakes of the colonial past.
Faced with the rise of violence, the British State has done nothing.
On the 16th of February 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini launched a fatwa calling for the murder of the writer Salman Rushdie. Very violent demonstrations were staged in Great Britain by Islamic people who burnt copies of The Satanic Verses in the street chanting slogans inciting to murder. The country of freedom let them do.
The country that had abolished the death penalty in 1973 let the official of a mosque declare during a demonstration: “Muslims here would kill him and I would willingly sacrifice my own life and that of my children to carry out the Ayatollah’s wishes should the opportunity arise.” And it let the director of the Muslim Institute say at a meeting: “I would like every Muslim to raise his hand in agreement with the death sentence on Salman Rushdie. Let the world see that this man should be put away.” (8)
Bookshops and shopping centres were destroyed because their managers had dared to sell the book accused of blasphemy. The authors of the attacks were encouraged to do so by verse 61 of Chapter 9 of the Koran, which decrees: “Those who vex the Messenger of Allah will be harshly punished.” They unwittingly proved that all those who dared to criticize the Koran were right. Bomb attacks were foiled in London after the 15th of June 2007, when Salman Rushdie received a Knighthood for services rendered to Literature.
The British State has let for many years and still lets radical preachers incite believers to the hatred for Kaffirs and to jihad in mosques, centres of Islamic research, universities and Internet sites.
In his book entitled The Islamist (9), Ed Husain, a former British Islamist born of an Indian father and a Pakistani mother, remembers the meetings, gatherings and conferences held in various British schools and universities in the 1980s and 90s. He wrote: “Majid or I would stand on a bench at the college steps […] and then someone would shout from the back, ‘Takbeeeer!’ To which the crowd responded with a resounding ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (page 143). The authorities did nothing.
Then he remembers: “One lunchtime we gathered about seventy students outside the prayer room, gave the loud call to prayer, the adhan, and prayed in the open space in the centre of the campus […] Management provided us with a larger room, and even agreed to clear the furniture for us before Friday prayers. We had won.” (page 62)
He recalls the conference at the London School of Economics, where the leader of Hizb ut-Tahir, Omar Bakri, came for a speech one day (page 79). He admits: “On campuses we used the platform of the Islamic Society to call for the destruction of Israel and the rejection of the West, and to promote an Islamist alternative.” (page 104). The authorities did nothing.
To conclude he evokes the slogans chanted during the demonstrations against the caricatures of Muhammad outside the Danish embassy in London: “Behead the Kafir. Bomb, bomb Denmark. Bomb, bomb USA.” (page 276). The authorities did nothing.
Mosques such as those of East London, Finsbury Park, Dewsbury and many others were (and lots of them still are) political activity centres from where youths would leave for training sessions in clandestine camps in Britain, Afghanistan or Pakistan after being convinced of the necessity and beauty of “martyrdom”.
Weapons were hidden in mosques, where they sold and still sell books and DVDs which would be forbidden in any country which cares for the safety of citizens and the preservation of democracy and human rights. One only needs to mention the title of one of the books one can buy there: The Virtues of the Assassination of a Non-believer.
Terrorist attacks were organized there. Richard Reid has been mentioned above, but one should not forget people like Zacarias Moussaoui, accused of having organized the 9/11 attacks, who has confessed to having planned an attack against The White House; Abu Hamza, who wanted to assassinate President Bush at the G8 Summit in Genoa; and Kamel Bourgass, who prepared ricin attacks.
One only needs to watch the excellent documentary entitled Undercover Mosque, broadcast on Channel 4 on the 16th of January 2007 (10) to wonder why all these places where they preach sexism, misogyny, honour killings, forced marriages, paedophilia, disguised as marriage, hatred for non-Muslims, jihad, martyrdom and the destruction of democratic regimes are not closed down by the authorities.
Most of these places are funded by Saudi Arabia, which certainly does not distinguish itself by its democratic practices and respect for women’s rights.
Imams are heard declaring that women are created deficient, that they must wear the hijab as from the age of ten, that they must be beaten if they do not, that homosexuals must be killed, that children must be hit if they do not pray, that Jews must be eliminated, that Muslims must not recognize the legislative authority of Great Britain and that they must live as if they were a state within the State (which means self-segregation) until the seizure of power, that infidels must be considered as second-class citizens.
Yet such speeches are delivered in mosques and Islamic centres which are appreciated by the government for their activities promoting multiculturalism and inter-faith exchanges. The Islamic Mission of the United Kingdom, which was praised by the government for its activities aiming at drawing religions together, runs mosques and schools and its veritable goal is to convert non-Muslims to Islam and call for the holy war.
The Deobandi sect, close to the Talibans, runs about six hundred mosques and seventeen of the twenty-six Islamic seminaries in Great Britain. Its members scorn all the Muslims who declare they are proud of being British, state that being a Jew’s friend or a Christian’s friend amounts to dishonouring Allah and incite believers to martyrdom. Yet they have representatives at the Muslim Council of Great Britain.
The Tablighi Jamaat group (the preaching party) is a branch of the Deobandi sect. Its aim is to save the ummah from the culture and civilisation of Jews, Christians and other “enemies” of Islam by arousing in Muslims’ minds as much hatred for infidels as human beings feel disgust for urine and excrements. They warn parents against non-Muslim schools, which allegedly change youths into animals; sending them there amounts to hurling them into hell. Several terrorists have been in contact with this group, whose ambition is the building of a mega mosque near the site where the Olympic Games will be held in 2012, which should hold between 40,000 and 70,000 believers.
In the 1990s the British State granted political asylum to thousands of radical Algerians who claimed they were repressed in their countries and immediately got involved in propaganda activities and even terrorist activities in Great Britain and Europe. One needs to remember Rachid Ramda, accused of having financed the attack on the Saint-Michel underground station in Paris, where eight people were killed and a hundred and fifty wounded.
As it was stated by the Algerian journalist Reda Hussaine, quoted by Melanie Phillips (11), they chose the UK because it was “the only country that gave asylum and didn’t ask a lot of questions”.
Other radicals accused of having organized attacks in their own countries (Tunisia, Egypt, etc.) have been welcomed to Great Britain, where they have received like any refugee a £300 weekly integration allowance and where their families have taken advantage of free education and social security.
Melanie Phillips quotes imam Abu Baseer, close to Al-Quaida (12), who affirmed that: “One of the goals of immigration is the revival of the duty of jihad.”
The British State waited for the July 2005 terrorist attacks to weigh up the threat represented by the radical groups that acted in the country. As Melanie Phillips stated (13), the government did not take them seriously in the 1980s and 90s or it was reluctant to target the Muslim community not to compromise British interests around the world and in Saudi Arabia in particular, to preserve its democratic aura or it naively thought that the Islamists would never attack the country that gave them asylum and social welfare.
Consequently they were let to live in peace as long as the targets of their terrorist attacks were situated abroad.
The British State decided to ignore a book entitled Muslim Communities in Non-Muslim States (14), published in 1980 by the Islamic Council of Europe, which explained to Muslims that they had to set up mosques, community centres, Islamic schools and get organized to reach power and run the country in the end.
In the name of respect for cultures and religions, the government tolerated the wearing of the Islamic veil. In the name of respect for veiled women, nobody dared to ask a veiled woman to show her face for inspection at Heathrow airport. Only later did the authorities learn that the woman was in fact a man suspected of the murder of a policeman and that he had managed to flee to Somalia by simply showing his sister’s passport (15).
Ed Hussain maintains in his book (16): “The hijab became a symbol of defiance of Western values and of a return to Islam”, but the authorities only preferred to consider it as the expression of the piety and modesty of Muslim women and believed that banning it would amount to attacking individuals’ freedom. The banning of the wearing of the bikini in the streets of a town is not an attack on individuals’ freedom, but the banning of the wearing of the symbol of the oppression of women, of self-discrimination, of self-alienation and obscurantism is.
In 2008 more and more numerous British people wonder how “rich national diversity” can be celebrated in a country welcoming individuals and communities who plan to kill them, to overturn the government, or simply feel closer not to their neighbours, colleagues and classmates but to Muslims of Palestine (Hamas), of Afghanistan (Talibans), of Iran, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya.
They wonder whether it is possible to trust individuals who alienate themselves, who are accountable only to Allah or their imam, thus refusing any allegiance to the system democratically set up of which they take advantage though. They wonder whether social harmony is possible with Muslims who refuse to mix with or marry infidels. They wonder whether islamophobia (the fear of Islam), a word invented by the promoters of multiculturalism, is not a legitimate and justified phenomenon.
After the July 2005 terrorist attacks Tony Blair, who had praised the merits of multiculturalism, started to deliver speeches explaining to immigrants that they had the duty to integrate and conform to British society, otherwise they had to give up settling down there. The former Prime Minister just like all his predecessors pretended not to understand that the enemy had been within the society for decades.
There are good times ahead for Multiculturalism. For the offensive of Islam too
It is easy to understand that the threat that really endangers the lives, safety, public and private properties of British people does not come from atheistic, agnostic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or Protestant immigrants or immigrants’ children. The July 2005 attacks and the numerous plots foiled since 2000 were organized by the Islamists who punish those who dare to criticize the Koran and aim at establishing Allah’s law on earth.
Some think that the IRA was a Catholic terrorist organization that caused the death of about one thousand eight hundred people and incalculable damage.
It is useful to underline that the members of the IRA were first and foremost Irish republicans and nationalists.
In the 12th century the English King Henry II proclaimed himself sovereign of Ireland. In the 16th century the English confiscated Irish people’s lands and repressed the Catholic Church. The Irish were deprived of their rights, including the right to speak their own language, Gaelic, and practice their religion. The Irish experienced misery. One million and a half people died between 1846 and 1849 because of the Potato Famine. The survivors ate berries, roots, dogs and cats.
When the IRA was created in 1916 its aim was the independence of the country. In 1922 Ireland was divided into two. The industrial north stayed British, the south became a Free State. In the north peaceful demonstrations were staged in 1968 by people of Irish origin to denounce the discrimination they suffered from. They demanded the right to vote for everybody, jobs and housing. The IRA started to draw attention when England sent troops to Ulster allegedly to maintain order. When the British army killed thirteen peaceful demonstrators in 1972 the attacks increased.
These killings can only be condemned, but one must also understand the grievances of a maltreated people.
Islamic terrorists and radicals have none of those grievances to put forward. To defend their parents’ rights and protect them against discrimination, the British government adopted a set of laws and allowed them to enjoy the same social benefits as people of British extraction. Islamic terrorists and radicals have never been maltreated by the government of the United Kingdom. However their big dream is the destruction of the democratic regime.
Some will say that despite the measures taken by the government, immigrants and their children were victims of racial prejudice all the same, that Asian children have often been called “Paki” and that the riots such as the one in Bradford in July 2001 were triggered by the provocations of the far-right British National Party, which is racist and xenophobic.
It is appropriate to stress that other immigrants in other times and places experienced racism and fascist provocations but never put the areas in which they lived to fire and sword, never set cars, buses, shops and schools on fire.
The total cost of the damage caused by the Bradford riots amounted to twenty-seven million pounds. Two people were stabbed and hundreds injured, including three hundred policemen.
The young people involved in the riots had changed their neighbourhoods into no-go areas to non-Muslims and practiced all sorts of illegal activities such as drug dealing. In those areas youngsters had often indicated their support for Hamas.
Their goal was certainly not the end of segregation or rather self-segregation, but maintaining a state within the State. The Home Secretary David Blunkett declared: “too many of our towns and cities lack any sense of civic identity or shared values. Young people in particular are alienated and disengaged from much of the society around them, including the leadership of their communities.” (17). Yet the minister encouraged the creation of sectarian schools, consequently the perpetuation of segregation! According to him “if some religions could have faith schools, it was unfair not to allow other communities their desire to follow suit.”
Some will argue that young radicals attracted by Islamist terrorism are not different from those who were tempted by the terrorism of the Red Brigades, Direct Action and other groups. That is questionable, of course. Those groups were certainly violent, sectarian, blind and characterized by totalitarian practices, however their political plan aimed at putting an end to the exploitation of the proletariat whereas Islamists are driven by a theocratic plan in which there is no room for the defense of the interests of the working class and even less of women; in which non-Muslims are considered as second-class citizens.
Since the London attacks and each time a plot is foiled, the authorities have persuaded themselves that the Muslim community is the first victim of the violence as it is stigmatized because of it whereas numerous Muslims have never been in contact with terrorists. They have persuaded themselves that terrorists have nothing to do with Islam.
The authorities and political parties multiply the actions to give the Muslim community the role of collaborator in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately the results are far from being convincing. Although some imams or Muslim Members of Parliament condemn violence, there are virtually no Muslims ready to go and give their “brothers” away to the police; the terrorists may be murderers and outlaws, they are nevertheless brothers, members of the great ummah. Verbal denunciations of terrorism have never been followed by demonstrations and even less by concrete measures targeting families, mosques and neighbourhoods to make mentalities change for good. All that allegedly moderate Muslims do is explain to the government that if some of their youths become martyrs is because they want to show their solidarity with the Iraqis. They lobby for getting the withdrawal of the troops from Iraq and make the authorities feel responsible for the situation in the country.
After the London attacks the chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque declared that there was no evidence that the terrorists were Muslim, called Tony Blair a liar and claimed that “Muslims all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qaeda.” (18).
The authorities persuade themselves that if Muslims join radical or terrorists movements, it is because their needs are disregarded, their culture, religion and mentality are not sufficiently respected. Consequently they are granted more and more things. In some cases this may cause great mirth among British and Western people, in other cases it arouses fear and alarm. A few examples may be necessary.
Piggybanks have been removed from banks and other public places not to hurt Muslims’ sensitivities.
It has been decreed that when the police must search a Muslim suspect’s place with a police dog, the animal must wear socks because Muslims consider dogs as unclean animals.
A Muslim taxi driver refused to allow into the car a blind man with his dog (19). After the trial he declared that he would be ready to do it again, but his licence was not taken away.
In July 2008 the police of Dundee (Scotland) apologized to Islamic leaders about the postcard advertising a new non-emergency telephone number. The card featured a puppy called Rebel. Britons love dogs, but they should forbid themselves to represent them not to annoy Muslims, who consider that dogs are the most unclean animals and that any person having touched one must wash seven times the body part which was in contact with it. A Muslim Councillor, who was also a member of the Tayside Joint Police Board, reassured the Muslim community when he announced that the cards had been withdrawn.
The words Christmas and Easter have been banned from school calendars in many regions for the Muslims not to have the feeling that they live in a Christian country.
In September 2008 the “Chief of the Democratic Services” of Tower Hamlets (east of London) asked all the town councillors, whether they were Anglican, Catholic, Jewish or Atheistic, to observe Ramadan in order to show solidarity with Muslim councillors. They were to have a break for the Muslim prayer, postpone the Council for forty-five minutes for the breaking of the fast and even avoid eating and drinking before sunset. Britons’ social life is supposed to get organized according to the diktats of Islam.
In June 2008 the manager of a hairdressing salon was sentenced by the court to pay a Muslim hairdresser £4000 damages for moral wrong. The hairdresser had informed the employer that she would not take off the veil at work. As her job application had not been accepted, she had lodged a complaint for discrimination, claiming £34000 damages. The sensible arguments of the accused were not convincing enough. She explained that a hairdresser’s hair is in a way the brand image of a hairdressing salon. She stressed that she would have acted in the same way towards a woman wearing a cap and refusing to take it off to work. She could prove that she was not racist as she had a Muslim accountant of foreign origin.
Shia Muslims are allowed to celebrate Ashura in the streets of Great Britain even if this celebration includes self-flagellation, a barbaric practice coming from other times and other places. A forty-four-year-old Muslim was tried in August 2008. He had ordered two boys aged thirteen and fifteen to flog themselves in the streets of Manchester with a whip made of chains and blades (zanjeer). The two boys, whose backs were bleeding, had to be taken to hospital. The banning of such a ceremony is unthinkable in the country of multiculturalism.
More and more Islamic and Arabic-speaking TV channels are authorized in Britain. The El-Hiwar channel does not conceal its radical stand and its support for terrorists.
In September 2008 it was announced that the toilets of the future London Olympic Park will be built by taking into account their orientation facing Mecca. Muslims are not allowed to face the kiblah, the direction of the prayer, when they are in the toilet. Special sanitary facilities for ablutions before the prayers are also planned.
In 2007 thousands of pounds were spent for the Brixton prison (London) to be equipped with toilets for Muslim inmates. The tax-payer paid for that!
The former Prime Minister Tony Blair had appointed Tariq Ramadan adviser of the government knowing that the man was the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brothers, and that he had questionable views to say the least. We all remember his declaration about the moratorium on stoning, as if this cruel, barbaric and hideous practice still needed discussing before opting for a possible abolition.
We also remember that in 2004 the same Tariq Ramadan was invited to the European Forum for Fatwa and Research that took place in the London City Hall. He and the former mayor Ken Livingstone criticized the 2004 March 15th law banning ostentatious religious signs from schools in France.
Tariq Ramadan is currently a researcher at Oxford University thanks to the intervention of the Labour government.
In January 2008 the government decreed that the terrorist attacks committed by Islamists would be from then on referred to as “anti-Islamic activity”. The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith declared that the extremists were behaving contrary to their faith. They were not acting in the name of Islam. The authorities believe that establishing a relation between terrorism and Islam is inflammatory. The authorities have still not understood that if it is inflammatory, that proves that there is a link between terrorism and Islam! The Home Secretary still pretends to believe that: “There is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorise, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief.” (20)
The former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey would only disagree with Jacqui Smith. Melanie Phillips quotes the remarks he had made one day: “In the long history of Christian or Jewish martyrdom, there wasn’t one person who killed another to be a martyr. But here was a theology of Muslim martyrdom where you kill innocent people and go to heaven and God will bless a terrible act like that. I have said to Muslims, “You’ve got to condemn it” and they say “I have condemned it.” But they don’t condemn the theology behind it.” (21)
The authorities do not understand that when Muslims associations and MPs ask the government to withdraw the troops from Iraq for violence to cease in Great Britain, they practice a kind of disguised blackmail. They simply reiterate the demands of the terrorists, who take the war in Iraq as a pretext to wage holy war against a democratically elected system.
Demands are more and more numerous. The authorities are prisoners of a vicious circle. They think that if they grant the Muslims’wish (sharia courts, Muslim schools and so on), terrorism will stop. Of course they have not withdrawn the soldiers fighting beside the Americans, but they are yielding in extremely sensitive fields, namely Justice and Education.
The five sharia courts that exist in London, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Nuneaton (east of London) are establishing a parallel legal system and widening the gap that separates the Muslim community from the State. For the moment being the sharia courts rule on cases concerning divorce, inheritance, simple damage, domestic violence, but later on they could be invested with broader powers.
Of course the first victims are women. The Nuneaton sharia court recently made a decision concerning the sharing of the property of a man between his three daughters and his two sons. The two sons got twice as much as the three sisters as sharia law has it! If the five children had gone to an ordinary tribunal, the property would have been divided into five equal parts as women are not discriminated against by the British Judiciary whereas Muslim women are by the Koran.
In the six cases of domestic violence recently dealt with, the husbands have only been told to attend anger control sessions and talks with their elders. Each time the women withdrew their complaints (22).
As for schools, the government incites headteachers to invite imams and Muslim intellectuals supposed to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and love. It is the State that pays the plane fare when the contributors come from abroad (23).
In March 2008 the NUT (National Union of Teachers) advocated the appointment in state schools of Islamic preachers specialized in reciting the Koran. According to the General Secretary Steve Sinnott the presence of imams in schools would make it possible to bridge the gap between the communities. The NUT seems to have forgotten some abuses like the one denounced by the Daily Mail in July 2008 concerning a Religious Education teacher who had obliged the pupils of a non-denominational secondary school to kneel on prayer mats and pray Allah in the middle of the lesson.
Ed Husain says (24) that today in British schools, even non-Islamic ones, RE teachers are still using a book entitled Islam: Beliefs and Teachings by Gulam Sarwar, who states: “Religion and politics are one and the same in Islam […] Just as Islam teaches us to pray, fast, pay charity and perform the Haj, it also teaches us how to run a state, form a government, elect councilors and members of parliament, make treaties and conduct business and commerce.” Sarwar deplores the lack of a really Islamic state in the world and praises the efforts of organizations “working for the ‘establishment of Allah’s law in Allah’s land’”, such as Jamat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brothers.
The rejection of secularity makes the United Kingdom a country in an impasse.
As long as religion interferes with politics, as long as prayers are recited in schools, where religious belonging is displayed even though it may hurt the sensitivity of those who have no religion or believe in another God, there will be tensions. As long as people do not have the courage to recognize that Islamic violence is linked to Islam, there will be no evolution.
As long as the authorities have talks with the Muslim Council of Great Britain, which still has links with Jamat-e-Islami, the Muslim Brothers and Hamas, they will go astray.
As long as people do not understand that the 1740 mosques present in the country are not simply places for praying and that building new ones will only facilitate the activity of radicals who hawk hatred, easily-led youths will not be helped to avoid traps.
As long as politicians (Labour Party, Muslim Labour Movement, Socialist Workers’ Party, Respect and so on) seek allies in the Muslim community, whose aim is to obtain specific rights, the working class will be weak, divided and vulnerable.
One should know that Muslims vote for the one whose political platform represents their interests, which have nothing to do with the interests of the working class, of employees or farmers.
During the 2005 electoral campaign, the Labour minister Mike O’Brien, quoted by Melanie Phillips, tried to dissuade Muslims from voting for the conservative Michael Howard saying: “Ask yourself, what will Michael Howard do for British Muslims? Will his foreign policy aim to help Palestine? Will he give you the choice of sending your children to a faith school? Will he stand up for the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab? Will he really fight for Turkey, a Muslim country, to join the EU?” (25)
As long as politicians favour a minority group and discriminate against the majority to be politically correct and flaunt their anti-racist and anti-islamophobic stance, they will cause disillusion and bitterness and even the resurgence of fascism and xenophobia.
Islamic and Sikh religious clothes are allowed at work, but Melanie Phillips reminds us the scandal caused by the suspension of a British Airways employee “wearing a small cross on a chain round her neck.”(26)
As long as it is not understood that Muslims will always find a pretext to present themselves as victims (Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan) and demand more and more rights in the country of tolerance, it will not be possible to get out of the spiral of manipulation.
As long as the British State meets community demands, it will maintain segregation and alienation, will discourage social cohesion and will be responsible for the gradual, insidious and harmful establishment of a more and more hardened Islamic system.
Except for the Sikhs, who have demanded and obtained the wearing of religious clothes at work, only the Muslims multiply their community claims and demand that the system of the country should adapt itself to their own customs.
When the State gives in, a whole nation loses its identity, togetherness is more and more compromised, western values are trodden, democracy is threatened, women and girls are oppressed.
Multiculturalism is the notion that the citizen is as an ethnic being and a religious being rather than a social being.
Chapitre 7, Les dessous du voile, éditions Riposte Laïque
1 Phillips, Melanie. Londonistan. Londres : Gibson Square, mai 2007, p. 11-12
2 Idem, p.38-39
3 Idem, p.41
4 Idem, p.42
5 Idem, p.83
6 Idem, p.290-291
7 Idem, p.24
8 Idem, p.46
9 Husain, Ed. The Islamist. Londres : Penguin Books, 2007
11 Londonistan, p.49
12 Idem, p. 58
13 Idem, p. 55
14 Idem, p. 157
15 Idem, p.299
16 The Islamist, p. 65
17 Race segregation caused riots (consulté le 10 septembre 2008). BBC News World Edition. 11 décembre 2001.
18 Londonistan, p.135
19 Idem, p. 296
20 Slack, James (consulté le 29 août 2008). Government renames Islamic terrorism as ‘anti-Islamic activity’ to woo Muslims. Mail Online. 17 janvier 2008.
21 Londonistan, p.219
22 Edwards, Richard. (Consulté le 16 septembre 2008). Sharia courts operating in Britain. Telegraph.co.uk. 15 septembre 2008.
23 Londonistan, p.300
24 The Islamist, p. 21
25 Londonistan, p. 249
26 Idem, p. 297