Tübingen, Germany: When German comedian, Jan Böhmermann, did a satirical sketch on state run ZDF TV this month, accusing the Turkish president of “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds and slapping Christians” as well as suggesting he has “sex with sheep and goats,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan went ballistic and called for the satirist to be prosecuted under a little known German defamation law. The row has opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for German Chancellor Angela Merkel: should the law be scrapped; how far does free speech and satire go; what grip does the Turkish president have around the Chancellor’s throat?
Imams who tell young children they will turn into pigs and go to Hell if they listen to music; public bus drivers who refuse to drive a vehicle after a woman had driven it; airport baggage handlers who want to stop work several times a day to pray; project thugs who aggress girls not wearing a headscarf; men with several undeclared wives collecting generous family allotments for the children: just a few of the manifestations of Islamic fundamentalism those on both the left and the right claim is sweeping France.
Are hardline islamists, known as Salafists, promoting the recruitment of young French Muslims for terrorism through their preaching? The question is important because the debate in France this week could lead to the banning of a form of religious thought. Although “not all Salafists are Jihadists, all Jihadists are culturally Salafists,” said the French researcher on Islam, Gilles Kepel.
France’s Minister for Family and Women’s Affairs this week lambasted fashion houses for proposing Islamic clothing for women. Laurence Rossignol said it is “irresponsible” for major brands like Marks & Spencer’s to promote the “confining of women’s bodies.” At question is everything from the ‘burkini’ bathing suit to high-end head scarves.
There are hundreds of no-go zones in France where criminal gangs and Islamic Salafists impose their law, according to statements by leading politicians and police.
The EU must pressure foreign governments to punish parents who send their children on the perilous and illegal journey to Europe or face financial consequences. All too many parents in poverty stricken countries readily send their under-age children on the dangerous trek to Europe knowing that, if they make it, Europeans will care for them. These parents hope their children get papers and that they can join them in Europe later under Europe’s liberal family regroupment rules and that one day they get work and send money home. Europeans are alarmed that about 10,000 of these children are unaccounted for.
I angered one of the softest and nicest guys I know so much that, if he were a boxer, he would have punched me out with the simple American-style question of “when did you arrive in Europe?” It was another rude lesson in Europe is not the United States.
The Friday the 13th Massacre has led France to declare itself at war. A 90 day state of emergency is in effect and many basic liberties are suspended. Magistrates are sidelined while the police call the shots. Only six out of 577 Members of Parliament voted against the emergency measures. This is the result of Frenchmen, born and raised in France, who took up arms against their compatriots. While France bombs Syria in a bid to deflect the real problem the debate we should be having is not being held: ‘Why did this happen?’ and yes, ‘Does Islam have anything to do with it?’
In the 1960s, France brought in hundreds of thousands of Muslim North African immigrants to fill their factories and keep wages down. The more illiterate they were, the better. These immigrants were supposed to go home. They did not.
The debate in France this week centers on Islamophobia and is sparked by the publishing of two books. The first by Charb (1), one of the artists killed in the January 7 Charlie Hebdo attack and the second by a Journalist, Caroline Fourest(2).
Both reject attempts to stifle debate on Islam by labeling any who criticize the religion of Mohammed as “Islamophobes.” They write that in reality, the crusade against Islamaphobia is an attempt to weaken secularism; to put religion above the laws of the land.