Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Letter from France: In Europe, Islam fills Marxism's old shoes

Letter from France: In Europe, Islam fills Marxism's old shoes
Craig S. Smith International Herald Tribune
Thursday, December 30, 2004


PARIS When Azzedine Belthoub was growing up in the shantytowns outside of Nanterre, France, 40 years ago, the people who came to take the young North African kids to swim in the community pool, to register them for school and give them candy and comic books, were Marxists. The French Communist Party offered a political voice for the working classes, including the growing number of North African immigrants imported to fill labor shortages after World War II.

Today, Islam plays that role, especially in France, where men like Belthoub, wearing long beards and short djellabas, reach out to the poor and disillusioned in the country's working-class neighborhoods.

Young Arabs and Africans here have turned to Islam with the same fervor that the idealistic youth of the 1960s turned toward Marxism.

"Now, religion has become our identity," Belthoub said last week, sitting in a friend's apartment in a largely Muslim suburb north of Paris.

The question is whether Islam in Europe will follow the same path that communism did here, shedding its revolutionary extremism, electing mayors and legislators and assimilating itself into normal democratic political life.

As with Marxism in the 1960s, Islam in Europe has its radical fringe and its pragmatic mainstream. The latter is much the broader, intent on expanding Muslims' political power in French society. It has consciously mimicked many of the tactics of the left, including organizing summer camps where urban young people learn the tenets of the movement.

The narrower stream, but in many ways the more potent one, draws its inspiration from the fundamentalist clerics of Saudi Arabia and seeks to isolate its adherents from the surrounding society. Although predominantly pacifist, it contains a militant fringe analogous to the violent Marxist groups that operated in Europe decades ago.

That militant fringe makes headlines, though, and colors the whole movement, both in the way young Muslims understand their faith and in the way the larger society sees and deals with Islam, just as the bombers and kidnappers of the Red Brigades and the Baader-Meinhof Gang did to European communism in the 1960s.

But the eventual evaporation of hard-line Marxism in Europe may offer clues to how the Islamist trend could play out. Disowned by the pragmatic left, Europe's militant Marxist fringe was isolated and repressed, while governments pursued social policies that to some measure addressed the grievances of the poor and dispossessed, which had animated the radicals.

Islam's growth in Europe as the most vibrant ideology of the downtrodden is part of a wave of religiosity that has swept the Arab world in the past 30 years, propelled by frustration over feeble economies, uneven distribution of wealth and the absence of political freedom.

Like communism, it represents for many of its devoted adherents a transnational ideology tilting toward an eventual utopian vision, in this case of a vast, if not global, caliphate governed according to sharia, the legal code based on the Koran.

But the religion's appeal reaches beyond the communities of Arab and African immigrants born to the faith. There are an estimated 50,000 Muslim converts in France alone today. Many of these people have taken up the religion as a way to define themselves against traditional European culture, whose values they reject for economic or spiritual reasons.

"Islam has replaced Marxism as the ideology of contestation," says Olivier Roy, a French scholar of European Islam. "When the left collapsed, the Islamists stepped in."

Islam's role is not entirely accidental. The political left reached out to Muslims in the 1970s as other groups moved up and out of Europe's working-class neighborhoods. In France, Socialists and Communists alike established associations in the housing projects, attracting many young, politically active Arab men.

But those alliances withered, as frustrated Arab youths turned away from politics. In France, the rupture followed several defining events, including the 1981 bulldozing of an immigrant shelter in a suburb of Paris by the local mayor, a Communist. That betrayal was followed by the disillusionment of a 1985 civil rights march that brought little concrete action.

Communist cadres, meanwhile, resisted the rise of young Arabs within their party. By the end of the decade, when a young Arab was killed during a demonstration in Paris, the left's credibility in that group was dead.

Islamic organizations soon began channeling the frustrated youth toward religion.

The map of France's Islamists today largely matches that of the country's Marxists from decades ago. Many predominantly Muslim municipalities are still under Communist-led administrations, but Islamic organizations are now the active ones.

Islam's institutional presence has since blossomed. Europe's first generation of Muslim immigrants made do without mosques, halal butchers or easy access to the pilgrimage to Mecca; the current generation has all those things, along with a plethora of educational texts, video and audio cassettes and conferences to expand their knowledge of Islam.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks only increased interest in the religion, and the growing institutions have met surging demand.

"We're rejected everywhere, and so the only place we feel at peace is in our religion," said Issam el-Zryouly, 19, whose family moved to France from Morocco when he was 6. Like many of his peers, Zryouly has redefined himself as a Muslim after a few years of drug use and petty crime.

But Islam's role as a beacon for the downtrodden may wane, in part because of its very success: The necessary compromises with the surrounding community that are inherent in economic and political participation could dull its edge and sap its momentum, as they did for Marxism.

Beyond the militant minority, the inward-looking fundamentalists are by definition politically insignificant. Once the more mainstream, upwardly mobile Arab or African young people move out of their working-class neighborhoods, "they aren't perceived as Muslim any more, and the vast majority aren't interested in using their religion as a social and political marker," says Gilles Kepel, author of "The War for Muslim Minds."

Islam as an ideology of the repressed may hold its allure only so long as immigrants' economic and political dislocation lasts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Returning jihadis new risk for Europe

Paris, France, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- As many as 7,500 foreign jihadi fighters could have joined the anti-U.S. resistance in Iraq, a well-informed French intelligence source told UPI.
Reports that many of them may be heading back to Europe are raising concerns.
Claude Moniquet of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center in Brussels, who monitors Islamist terrorism, told UPI the Europeans are not adequately prepared to handle the influx.
The former jihadis -- now armed with hardened combat experience -- may become members of active or sleeper cells on which al-Qaida could call for future terrorist operations in Europe.
Reports of returning jihadis corroborates an earlier report by U.S. military intelligence sources nearly two weeks ago that a new trend is emerging in the Iraqi resistance with insurgents trying to rid themselves of foreign elements.
One source reports recent movement of jihadis trekking across the Iraqi-Syrian border this time heading out of Iraq.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Zarqawi targets Europe for terror

The most wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is recruiting cell members in Britain and Europe.
Terrorism experts believe his is preparing his new recruits for attacks somewhere in Europe.
Zarqawi, who has a reward of $US25million ($33 million) on his head, is also thought to be using Europeans for his terror campaign against the US forces in Iraq.
Rohan Gunaratna, one of the world's leading al-Qa'ida experts with access to official intelligence, said the Jordanian terrorist was an increasing threat.
"He is the biggest recruiter in Europe," Dr Gunaratna, head of the terror unit at Singapore's Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, said last week. "He has become better known among extremists in Britain and Europe, and his group is becoming very multinational."
Between 150 and 200 European recruits are estimated to have entered Iraq, usually through Syria or Iran.
Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for a series of beheadings in Iraq, most recently the killing of British hostage Kenneth Bigley.
A western intelligence official said: "The new land of jihad is Iraq. There, they are trained, they fight and acquire a technique and the indoctrination sufficient to act on when they return."
An Iraqi resistance leader told The Sunday Times in September that three Britons were part of the beheading gang that seized Bigley, a Liverpudlian.
Abu Muawiya, who spent eight months in Zarqawi's Tawhid wal Jihad group, said the Britons were among "a handful of non-Arab foreigners" who had joined Zarqawi after being recommended by clerics abroad.
German authorities this month arrested three Iraqis with links to Zarqawi on suspicion of planning an attack on US-appointed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during his visit to the country.
Intelligence officers are also detecting new recruiting networks in eastern Europe and the Balkans, where Muslims from poorer communities are being sponsored to fight in Iraq. Terrorism experts agreed at a Washington conference this month that Europe was likely to be the target of the next big Islamic terrorist attack.
(The Sunday Times, AP, AFP, December 13, 2004)



Islamic Europe? The Rise of Eurabia

Can pacifist old Europe survive Islam? Will Islam swamp France, Germany, and the rest of the secular socialist states of old Europe?
European culture is under siege irrespective of attempts at European unification into a "Christianized" United States of Europe. Liberalization, secularization, and the need for cheap labor brought about liberal immigration policies in some European states and the inauguration of assured cultural suicide. The result is the migration of millions of Islamic workers and their families into western Europe who have no respect for nor desire to adopt its culture as their own. This has heightened anti-Semitism and cultural conflict throughout the region for Islamic culture is neither European nor Christian in its values, ideals, or mores.
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Saturday, December 11, 2004

Exodus of native-born Dutch

Dutch desert their changing country
An exodus of native-born Dutch in search of a new life abroad has reversed immigration flows for the first time since the post-war era.
Last year more people left the Netherlands than arrived as migrants or asylum seekers, even though unemployment remains low at 4.7 percent and per capita income is higher than any major country in Europe.
Lawyers, accountants, computer specialist, nurses, and businessmen are lining up for visas to the English-speaking world, looking to Australia, New Zealand and Canada as orderly societies where people have the space to breathe.
The new wave of "middle-class flight" has quickened this year following rising ethnic violence and crime committed by and against immigrants, and in response to fears that social order is breaking down. In the first six months there was a net outflow of 13,313 people.
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Friday, December 10, 2004

The Trojan Horse of Wahhabism

As international attention remains occupied with the terror murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh by an Islamic extremist, and the long-term implications of the spread of Islamic fundamentalism within Europe, Greece continues to be roiled by a debate over the proposed construction of the first state-recognized mosque in the vicinity of Athens in modern times.
The Islamic Center in the Athenian suburb of Peania, more than 15 miles northeast of Athens near the new international airport, will be financed directly by the King Fahd Foundation of Saudi Arabia. According to the Arab News, an English-language Saudi daily, some 8.5 acres were donated by the Greek government for the structure. Foreign assistance for the radicalization of Islam in Greece will inevitably be a central element of the activities at the mosque, which will be very large, intended, it is said, to accommodate all of the estimated 120,000 Muslim faithful in the capital city. The total number of Muslims in Greece is estimated at more than 500,000.
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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Europe's failed multiculturalism, tolerance under stress

Analysis: Europe's tolerance under stress
Radical Muslims are turning to prisons and mosques to recruit followers, taking advantage of Europe's traditional lenient immigration policies and tolerance toward minorities.
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Analysis: Europe's failed multiculturalism
For almost 50 years, Western Europe weathered the storm of the Cold War, living with the threat of the Soviet Union on its doorstep. Now Europe is waking up to a new threat, only this time the danger comes from within.
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Sunday, December 05, 2004

European radical muslims to launch jihad against US in Iraq

Radical Muslims in Europe are reportedly making a beeline for Iraq to launch a "jihad" against American-led occupation forces there.
The trend has sent alarm bells ringing among Europe's counter-terrorism officials as they fear that these youth will not only escalate the violence in Iraq, but also pose a major threat to continental Europe once they return from their 'jihadi' missions.
"There are cases of young Muslims from Western Europe going to Iraq to receive military training and that is an unfortunate and negative trend," the EU counter-terrorism coordinator, Gijs de Vries was quoted as saying.
Officials further acknowledge that Iraq's quick return to stability and normalcy is the only antidote for this trend.
"It is one of the reasons why it is very important to help Iraq stabilise so that peace can return and these (training) camps can be dismantled," he added.

Asian News International
Islamabad, December 4

Message Posted To Jihadist Message Board provides Instruction Booklet for Home-Made Chemical Weapon

By SITE Institute
A message entitled “The Uniquely Invented Chemical Weapon That Terrified Americans” was posted on Wednesday, December 1, 2004, to a popular Jihadist message board. The message provided a link to a download of a 12-page booklet about “the means to have the Etheric Killer reach the Stubborn Infidel,” and declared: “This is the chemical weapon that America dreaded would reach the Tawhid Wal Jihad Jamaa [Group].” The booklet (entirely in Arabic) provides thorough, step-by-step instructions for procuring required materials, assembling, and effectively deploying this chemical weapon, which it dubs “Al-Mobtakar Al-Fareed [the Unique Invention].” In typical fashion, the booklet was praised by other members of the message board, who provided suggestions to improve the weapon’s efficiency and practicability, as well as references to other resources of a similar nature.
Suite de l'article

11% des israéliens touchés directement par un acte terroriste

Des milliers d’israéliens ont été touchés directement par des attentats terroristes depuis le début des violences palestiniennes il y a quatre ans.
Une enquête universitaire dévoile des chiffres inquiétants qui montrent que la situation sécuritaire et économique ces dernières années a touché un grand nombre d’Israéliens.
Ces chiffres seront publiés lors d’un colloque sur les conséquences du terrorisme sur la société israélienne qui doit se tenir ce jeudi à l’université de Tel Aviv.
Selon cette enquête, 9% d’israéliens souffrent de troubles post-traumatiques dus à un attentat terroriste.
L’association Natal qui aide les victimes de traumatismes psychologiques subis par un acte terroriste a commandé ce sondage afin d'obtenir une plus grande aide de l’Etat pour accompagner moralement les victimes de traumatismes.
Les symptômes de traumatisme sont surtout discernables chez les personnes ayant assisté à un attentat ou ayant perdu un proche.
Les chercheurs remarquent que certains secteurs de la population sont plus sensibles aux conséquences des attentats dont les personnes faibles économiquement, les femmes et les arabes israéliens.
Mais 20% des personnes interrogées se déclarent déprimées à cause de la situation sécuritaire.
Un quart des israéliens vivent des moments de tension et de déprime en raison de la situation économique qui s’est aggravée depuis quatre ans.
Quand on leur demande les raisons de leur états d'âmes, les Israéliens évoquent d’abord leur situation financière puis le terrorisme responsable selon 20% d’entre eux des difficultés que connaît le pays.
Mais si 82% des israéliens se disent inquiets pour leur avenir personnel, plus de la moitié (56%) des personnes interrogées jugent qu’il faut être optimistes pour l’avenir du pays. LD
Source de l'article

Plus d'un millier d'uniformes de la nouvelle agence canadienne chargée de la sécurité dans les aéroports ont disparu

Plus d'un millier d'uniformes de la nouvelle agence canadienne chargée de la sécurité dans les aéroports depuis les attaques du 11 Septembre 2001 ont été perdus ou volés au cours des neuf premiers mois de 2004.
L'Administration canadienne de la sûreté du transport aérien (Acsta) a admis dans un reportage diffusé vendredi soir par la télévision publique CBC que 1.117 uniformes et 91 écussons métalliques avaient disparu. 226 de ces uniformes portaient le logo de l'agence.

Craintes dans les aéroports

Certains de ces uniformes ont même été proposés aux plus offrants sur eBay, le site américain de ventes aux enchères sur internet, soulevant la crainte qu'ils se retrouvent entre les mains de terroristes ou de membres du crime organisé, selon une enquête d'une commission sénatoriale.
L'Acsta a cherché à rassurer : « Un simple uniforme ne permet pas d'accéder aux zones restreintes de l'aéroport », a déclaré son vice-président, Kevin McGarr. Peut-être mais « si vous avez un uniforme et la bonne accréditation, vous pouvez faire tout ce que vous voulez dans un aéroport », a rétorqué un expert en terrorisme de l'université du Manitoba, Peter St. John.
« Vous pouvez presque monter dans un avion et le détourner. Il n'y a presque pas de sécurité », a ajouté cet expert.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Lyon, base terroriste

D'après les services secrets américains et français, une cinquantaine de combattants de Ben Laden sont originaires de la région lyonnaise, essentiellement des banlieues où les réseaux islamistes sont très actifs.
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TERRORISM MONITOR: THE EUROPEAN BATTLEGROUND

By Michael Taarnby
The assassination of the controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh has provoked some uncomfortable debates in Europe. The killer was not dispatched on his mission by sinister al-Qaeda masterminds scheming somewhere from their hideout in Asia. On the contrary, the assassin epitomizes the new European jihadists: a very loosely connected network with little or no organizational links to Osama bin Laden.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) noted in its 2004 annual report that support and recruitment for Islamist terrorism is increasing worldwide [1]. Any illusions that Europe would be spared a mega-terror attack were shattered with the coordinated attacks on commuter trains in Madrid in the spring of 2004. In the aftermath of that attack, European security services increased their efforts and collaboration to thwart another atrocity. While border security has been boosted significantly to deter terrorist infiltration from abroad, this measure appears to be largely irrelevant to the nature and scope of the problem. The unfortunate truth is that Europe does not need former Afghanistan veterans or skilled al-Qaeda operatives to wreak havoc. In terms of jihad, a small minority of European Muslims are more than capable of attacking their own countries.
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Assassinat de Théô Van Gogh : Le totalitarisme d’une certaine “vérité” religieuse

Par Abdallah Amami

Sur le milliard de Musulmans éparpillés de par le monde, combien on pris la peine de s’interroger et de méditer sur l’assassinat de Théô Van Gogh, ce cinéaste néerlandais égorgé en plein mois de Ramadan dans une rue d’Amsterdam par un islamiste marocain qui lui reprochait ses prises de position publiques contre l’Islam. Personne ou presque. S’il y a eu débat en terre musulmane sur la question, ce débat est resté bien feutré. C’est que l’assassinat d’intellectuels est chez nous monnaie courante. Malheur à ceux qui osent défier les vérités établies et aller à l’encontre de ce que les islamistes considèrent comme des thawabit ou constantes intangibles. Tous ceux qui s’y sont frottés l’ont payé cher. En Egypte, au Maroc, en Iran, beaucoup d’intellectuels ont payé de leur vie cette audace ; en Algérie, où la tourmente a emporté plus de cent mille morts ces dernières années, une soixantaine d’intellectuels ont fait l’objet d’assassinats ciblés, simplement pour avoir professé une vision du monde qui diverge de celle de l’Islam radical, les artistes étaient nombreux parmi de ces victimes. En Turquie, l’horreur a atteint son comble en 1993, quand 36 intellectuels et artistes, réunis en séminaire dans un hôtel de la ville de Sivas, ont été brûlés vifs dans un incendie allumé par des islamistes qui ont ensuite fait barrage aux pompiers et aux citoyens qui tentaient de porter secours aux victimes.

L’assassinat de Théô Van Gogh nous interpelle parce qu’au delà de l’acte terroriste, devenu malheureusement banal et qu’il ne faut jamais cesser de condamner, il marque le transfert en Europe d’une pratique qui perdure chez nous depuis des siècles sans jamais avoir suscité de grandes émotions.
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De jeunes Français musulmans: 'Dominons la France'

Regardez cette vidéo.

Et surtout écoutez attentivement la harangue passionnée du jeune musulman qui explique à un public de son âge, massé là pour manifester contre le Gala de Tsahal, que ce concert est illégal et qu'il est « intolérable qu'une armée d'occupation qui tue, qui pille, qui viole, vienne ici à Paris pour récolter de l'argent pour ses soldats. »

En substance, il promet : « Nous, musulmans, tout en continuant d'étudier l'Islam, nous prendrons le pouvoir pacifiquement, par les voies politiques, économiques, comme les Juifs. Nous sommes beaucoup plus nombreux qu'eux : dans quelques années, nous serons aux postes de décision et alors, ils ne feront plus ce qu'ils veulent comme aujourd'hui. »

D'autant plus effrayant que ce garçon est bien de sa personne, propre sur lui, comme on dit et qu'il parle avec un réel don de tribun !

A écouter, transcrire et faire circuler !

Menahem Macina

Al Qaeda's next target?

Europe seems increasingly likely to be the target of the next major Qaeda attack, a trend that could intensify when scores of Qaeda-affiliated militants who left European countries to fight in Iraq return home, several top terror analysts said.
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