Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dear Muqtedar

Category:  [in English]  [Islamophobia]  [Freedom]  [Global Politics]

Prof. Muqtedar, a Muslim social scientist and an Islam scholar, was in Brussels recently for business, and he was shocked as he saw a scarfed Muslim women begging on the Boulevard Adolphe Max in Brussels downtown.

In his weblog called IJTIHAD (Muqtedar Khan's Column on Islam and Global Affairs) he tells this story and makes some observations on the difference between the Belgian approach to its Muslims, and the one of the US.

As I sat listening to the stories of Muslim life in Belgium, I caught myself repeatedly touching the tiny U.S. flag on my lapel. Uncle Sam sure looked mighty friendly and hospitable from cross the pond. While discrimination against Muslims in America has certainly risen after 9/11 it looked insignificant compared to what Muslims in Belgium faced routinely.
You can read the article in full here and here and here and here.
Since the article sounds awfully prejudiced, especially from an academic, I took the liberty to comment on his weblog.

Dear Muqtedar,

It's an interesting article, for sure. I am a Brussels resident, and to be frank, I never saw Muslim women begging on the streets. Most beggars are organized Eastern-European gangs and locals. My guess is that it was an imposter, using the scarf just to draw attention and get some money.

It is true that the Belgian government does a lot for Muslims. Immans are state-paid, and it's illegal to phrase anti-Muslim remarks in public. You will not be harassed if you phrase anti-Christian remarks, but you will be fined or put on trial when you admit to be anti-Muslim.

It's also true that there is a very generous social security system in Belgium, and we have a guaranteed income for those who don't work. Muslims are over-represented in that system, but only males. Women and girls find work easily, they study longer, and they are under-represented in crime statistics.

But it's also true that most street crime in Brussels and in Antwerp (another large Belgian city) is perpetrated by male Moroccan youth gangs. I myself was beaten once up into hospital at night, once robbed of my cell phone by Moroccans, and one time harassed by Algerians that were vandalizing a public railway rest room.

Those are not isolated incidents at all. Local women that walk lightly dressed in summer are often scorned as "whores" by Moroccan and Maghreb male youth, and male "Muslims" do most violent rape in Northern Europe.

I am also residing in the island of Mindanao, Philippines, 5 months per year. It's interesting to observe the difference between the position of Muslims in Mindanao on one hand, and in Eurabia on the other. We in Eurabia can draw valuable lessons from the Philippine approach.

In the Philippines, Muslims are treated as reverse-dhimmis. They can practice their religion freely, and there is no overt form of discrimination. In fact, many Muslims have well-established businesses there.
But there is no question also about the fact that Muslims in Mindanao can’t claim supremacy based on their religion. The Filipinos took it a little bit further. In Mindanao cities like Davao, Mosks were banned from the inner city and expelled to the outskirts. Catholic churches and one cathedral are now in the center. The cathedral is in front of town hall.

In Belgium and in the rest of Eurabia (like France), the situation is the opposite. By locals, Muslims are perceived as the darlings of the regime, and there is at least one Muslim group (the AEL), which predicts that we, the locals, will live under dhimmi rule in the future.

It has to do with our Christian-Jewish civilization which is driven by guilt, while Muslims (at least in Eurabia) are driven by shame and a conquering spirit.
The demography of Muslim sections of the population is much better than that of the locals.

Personally, having read some parts of the Holy Qu'ran with an infidel eye, I am convinced that "Submission" is not just a simple religion, but most of all a theocratic discriminatory (against gays and women) ideology, that should have its government-provided privileges taken away. I mean in Belgium and in France, which are the worst affected areas by the Eurabia guilt complex.

Of course Muslims can cherish their beliefs but they also should be gently pushed back into a sort of reverse dhimmi-status like in the Philippines. It's not that unusual. In Turkey for instance, Christians have freedom of religion but they can't own churches and can't function as policemen or in a responsible government position. In Malaysia and Indonesia, there are similar laws as to mixed marriages (Muslim-Christian) where the children forcibly have to be educated in an Islam environment. n Saudi Arabia, Christians can be arrested and lashed for practicing their faith in public. No non-Muslims are allowed to become Saudi citizens. (see here)

Europe is indeed a Christian Club as the Turkish leader Erdogan stated so eloquently. That’s why we wonder why Turkey, as a Muslim club, is so keen on joining the EU. We are seculars that don't want religion nor irrational beliefs and sects mingling with state affairs. That doesn’t mean "secularism" is our belief. We just think that religion, any religion, should be kept out of government business.

We claim the right to publish "blasphemous" cartoons of the Prophet (PUB), because we believe in free speech civil liberties.
We fought the Christian theocratic aspirations for centuries, and we succeeded to push them back where they belong, that is in people's private minds and hearts.
We don’t want any other religion, how noble it may be, to take its place, ever again in the government of the state.

Of course Muslims are welcome in Eurabia, that we prefer to call our beloved "Europe". Discrimination based on personal beliefs is utterly wrong. Banning the headscarf in France is just humiliating. Enjoying all our civil liberties, Muslims should be kept in a reverse dhimmi-status in Europe nevertheless, just like Christians are in predominantly Muslim countries.
They should be discreet and not claim more than mere tolerance on the religious level. As to discreetness, we saw how France's predominantly Muslim youth behaved during the torching riots. My bet is that if Christians did a similar thing in any Muslim country, they would have been beheaded. But we (that is our governments) just throw money at them; it must be our guilt complex ;-)

And if some Muslims think they possess the only true religion, well, that belief is kindly granted. But in the case they practice that belief in a way to take away our civil liberties, they don't belong in our Europe. And of course, they are always free to leave. It's our country. With all respect for other countries and how they do it there, that’s how we do it here.

Live in Europe, and behave according to our rules. Maybe this sounds harsh, but that's how it is. And I hope you enjoyed our beloved "Manneken Pis" in Brussels. Look at the photo on your weblog: he had a scarf on! ;-)

8 Comments:

Anonymous Karel Jansens said...

Am I right (Hah ! am I ?!) in concluding that Muqtedar is basically stating that Europe, and more particularly Belgium, is not a good place for Muslims to live in ?

Where's a C130 when you need one, eh ?

Or maybe we should just print out billboard-sized copies of his article and put them up in all the airports, the ports, and just about every border crossing ? Would that help ?

12:22 PM  
Blogger VH said...

That would be considered "racist" I guess. By the way, there is an interesting article of Rushdie on kifkif about multiculturalism.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Beck said...

Personally I've seen several women in headscarves begging in Brussels, but also in Rome and several other cities...
But more importantly, integration is more of a problem in Belgium than many other countries. The point raised in the article, that a middle course between westernization and traditionalism needs to be pursued with some urgency, seems to be a reasonable one, no? The public debate should be taking this in, amongst Belgians (from different cultures) as well as in exclusively Islamic circles...

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Beck said...

Personally I've seen several women in headscarves begging in Brussels, but also in Rome and several other cities...
But more importantly, integration is more of a problem in Belgium than many other countries. The point raised in the article, that a middle course between westernization and traditionalism needs to be pursued with some urgency, seems to be a reasonable one, no? The public debate should be taking this in, amongst Belgians (from different cultures) as well as in exclusively Islamic circles...

11:34 PM  
Blogger VH said...

Muslimas begging is quite unIslamic. First of all, it's about Muslimas in public, and alone. And then, the begging... One of the mandatory things in Islam is that you *should* practice charity. That's why Muqtedar was so shocked, I guess.

Actually these women place themselves outside Islam. That's why it's weird they wear a scarf, since it's a religious symbol. My bet is they still are imposters.

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) Correction: in the context you're using the word, it is not "Immans", but "Immams".
2) Immams are state-paid since a short period of time. Islam has been officially recognized in 1974, but is financed since 2005. That's one of the reasons why a lot of mosques in Belgium have turned to sponsors such as Saudi Arabia for funds, during those 31 years. And logically: that opens the way to radicalism. Integration will won't work if not fully applied. The fact that muslims in Belgium are quite divided in religious views, has only made things worse.
3) As an answer to your last comment, VH: when you are at the edge of your existence, when you are struggling to remain alive, religion becomes quite irrelevant.
Islam indeed tells muslims to practice charity. That doesn't mean islam is correctly applied.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These beggers, dressed up as Muslim women, are in fact East European woman. They dress up this way because they want to avoid being bothered and harrased by Muslim youths. I Read this in a popular Belgian magazine some months ago.

11:48 PM  
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12:20 AM  

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