Angst about Islamist groups goes mainstream in Germany

By Kirsten Grieshaber The Washington Post:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY – The 200 robed and bearded men gathered at dusk on the market square, rolled out their prayer rugs and intoned Allah’s praises as dismayed townspeople looked on.

It was Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month, and the group that calls itself Invitation to Paradise was mounting a defiant response to weeks of public protests against plans to construct a religious school to teach its austere, militant interpretation of Islam.

In Germany, where the racial crimes of the Nazis have bred extreme sensitivity toward the rights of minorities, such confrontations would until recently have been limited to the far-right margins. But the weekly rallies in this city of 250,000 near the Dutch border these days look decidedly mainstream.

It’s part of a trend seen across Europe. Spooked by what many see as a terrorism threat, ordinary people are becoming increasingly vocal in opposing radical Muslims. They are ditching traditions of tolerance and saying no to cultures that do not share their democratic values. Some lament the decline of multiculturalism – “Utterly failed,” in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel – and others say Europe is defending its way of life against those who would destroy it.

In the Netherlands, anti-immigrant sentiment has risen steadily since the 2004 murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic. In elections last year, the anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders emerged as the country’s third-largest political force and is helping a conservative government keep campaign promises to ban the burqa, cut immigration and imprison illegal aliens.

Swiss voters have approved a ban on minarets; an anti-Islamic party has gotten into the Swedish parliament for the first time; and France’s ban on wearing face-covering veils in public has broad popular support.
Germans are even more negative toward Muslims than their European neighbors, according to a survey published last month.

The majority of the Dutch (62 percent), French (56 percent) and Danes (55 percent) think positively of Muslims, compared with only 34 percent in western Germany and 26 percent in the formerly communist east, the poll by the University of Muenster said.

The pollsters said they questioned 1,000 people in western Germany, 1,000 in eastern Germany and 1,000 in each of the other European countries surveyed. They gave a margin of error of three percentage points.

The local opposition

The man leading the opposition to the religious school in Moenchengladbach is Wilfried Schultz, 60, an Internet consultant. His organization, Citizens for Moenchengladbach, points to online videos of the Muslim group that call for the execution of secular Muslims, demand that women never leave home without male chaperons and say people who have sex before marriage will go to hell.

“We are not going to tolerate that these Islamists undermine our liberal German values,” Schultz said.

Some Muslims in Germany also are dismayed and are trying to recruit community leaders to blunt the hard-liners’ appeal.

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

One Reply to “Angst about Islamist groups goes mainstream in Germany”

  1. “Moderate” Muslims or “Radical” Muslims is not the issue. It is total number of Muslims in an Infidel nation that counts.

    My view, long held, is a separation from the islamic world. As a start one needs to take them at their own words and agree wholeheartedly that there is indeed a dar ul islam and a dar ul harb, and for the good of humanity, infidels and muslims alike, it is better to live apart in respective dars.

    It is a sad fact that muslim presence anywhere leads to discomfort of other already established communities. Soon the established community will leave or forced out by Jihad by mob violence, and yet another region becomes dar ul islam.

    For years I felt that a peaceful exchange of populations might just be possible, and thus avoid a global war – Christians in Muslim nations in exchange for Muslims living in the West. That option is no more, as Christians are being chased out of Muslim nations. Anyway, it was politically impossible, just as limiting or reversing Muslim immigration is now.

    That leaves “Separation”, which can be done in a humane manner, leaves hope for the future for everybody, as Muslim population pressure within dar ul Islam will acuse famines, and then hopefully the dumping of Islam. Politically impossible at the moment? – Yes. Yet precedents are there in recent history, where separation of two mutually antagonist peoples or ideologies, was considered the only way to secure a reasonably peaceful outcome.

    If we do nothing, then we are thus headed towards an exchange of power ie power to be handed over to Islam or wrested by Islam by force. As power is never ceded peacefully, specially to an alien culture, this will inevitably lead to violence – a world civil war.

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