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Did Merkel Warn Us About Breivik? – OpEd

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By Porya Mohajer Soltani

The thoughts of Anders Behring Breivik, the “Christian fundamentalist” as media has been quick to label him, who on Friday’s terror attacks in Norway took the life of 92 innocent Norwegians, display the increasing right-wing sentiments taking place in Europe.

Breivik expressed his thoughts on several extreme right-wing and anti-Islamic online forums. He explained how multiculturalism has “systematically deconstructed the Western civilization,” claiming that no country in which Islam is involved is successful. He further compared Muslims to Nazis, adding that a peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims is not possible and that such a situation is “catastrophic” for the non-Muslims.

In the midst of all the darkness, however, Breivik did express some optimism, saying that the future patriotic state would not make the same mistake of believing in multiculturalism and would “manage to save the West before it is too late.”

Coincidentally, less than a year ago the German Chancellor Angela Merkel had expressed her dismay with multiculturalism.

In a speech to her young Christian Democratic Union members in October last year she explained how at “the beginning of the 1960s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country …We kidded ourselves a while. We said: ‘They won’t stay, [after some time] they will be gone,’ but this isn’t reality. And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side by side and to enjoy each other … has failed, utterly failed.”

In the months after, several other politicians from across the European continent gave similar shocking remarks.

Expressing the views of their people? Statistics and people’s votes tell it all!

In the past decade, the European countries have been hit by a wave of right-wing parties winning all sorts of elections. And now, an increasing number of parliament seats are held by racist/fascist parties. While the average Europeans may not strike you as the stereotypical racists, many of them seem to sympathize with the statements of these racist parties. After all, if this would not have been the case, then an increasing number of people would not have voted for them or in line with their goals.

Does it not surprise anyone that the 3rd leading party of the much liberal and reform-loving Netherlands is the Dutch Party for Freedom, headed by the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Wilders became globally known after the release of his short film ‘Fitna,’ where he shares his views on the religion of Islam. Anyone can find this film as it’s only a Google search away. In short, the film showed how Islam as a religion, and Muslims as its followers, are all terrorists, and are all a threat to the European and Western security.

Misleading indeed, as a 2010 Europol report showed that only 0.4% of terrorist activities in Europe are committed by individuals claiming to be Muslims, and a 2008 CNN report showed that only 6% of terror acts in the US are committed by the same group of people.

In line with his short film, Wilders suggested a special tax, named as the ‘head-rag tax,’ for women wearing headscarf. The headscarf worn by women has been a hot topic in most European countries in recent years. Or no it hasn’t. A nun is allowed to wear what she wants. It’s only the Islamic veil that seems to be a topic of interest.

France recently banned the Islamic Burqa. And if a woman is seen wearing one now, she is fined. This even goes for non-French citizens visiting the country; talking about an effective way of avoiding Muslim women entering your country.

The country’s interior minister has further suggested making praying in streets for Muslims illegal. This is as Muslims only have one Mosque in Paris, so they are forced to pray outside as there is not enough room inside for everyone. The country’s 1905 secularism law is used by politicians reasoning that the taxpaying Muslims cannot be financially assisted by the government to build mosques. Meanwhile, France has the largest Muslim population in Europe.

Muslims in Italy have the same problem with only one mosque in Rome. The country’s Muslims have continuously been looking for an approval to build a new Mosque in the city to meet the demand of the growing number of Muslims. But their requests have so far been blocked by the municipal and national authorities. Additionally, the Italian President has been seeking ways to outlaw the construction of Mosques all over the country.

Racism in the Italian parliament, however, is not that uncommon when statesmen such as the Italian minister of reform Umberto Bossi calls the African immigrants ‘bingo-bongos,’ referring to the traditional drums they play.

One cannot really blame a minister talking like that while having Berlusconi as the Prime Minister. This guy has for instance ridiculed the Holocaust. When Obama entered the White House as the new US president, Berlusconi commented on Obama’s skin color calling it a ‘suntan.’ After his first meeting with Obama’s wife, he went back to Italy and told the Italians how she also has got tan.

Belgium feeling left out, days ago, became the second country to ban the Burqa. There, you are not only fined if you are seen wearing one in the streets, but you could end up spending 7 days in jail.

And it’s not just authorities; it’s the attitude in an increasing number of people against different cultures.

Only months ago, a young Muslim woman was attacked in London for wearing the Islamic veil. A couple of British girls walked up to her, called her names and forced her to remove her veil. When she refused, they attacked her.

No wonder, the British Prime Minister criticized “state multiculturalism” earlier this year and called for different cultures to live separate lives. And even though he was referring to Muslims when he said “Do they believe in universal human rights – including for women and people of other faiths? Do they believe in equality of all before the law?” the British girls who attacked the young Muslim woman should have been on his mind.

Further, Baroness Warsi, the UK’s only Muslim Cabinet Minister explained that Islamophobia has grown so much that it is now socially accepted, and that Muslims are categorized as either ‘extreme’ or ‘moderate.’

Attacks on Muslims and foreigners in general have increased all over the Europe. Last year, Sweden gave birth to the ‘new Laser Man.’ A guy walking around shooting innocent immigrants. He was named after his predecessor who also shot immigrants for no apparent reason two decades earlier.

The new Laser Man came around the same time of the Swedish elections last year, where the nationalist party, the Swedish Democrats entered the parliament. While they were quickly condemned during and after the election for their extreme views by all other parties, being almost a year in parliament has shown that they in fact have a healthy cooperation with the rest of the parties on most matters. This is despite their belief that the social and economical problems that Sweden is facing today are all caused by immigrants, and be solved only by sending them back.

It should also be noted that most Swedes believe there are too many foreigners in the country. And if you have a foreign last name, you have a 50 percent less chance of being accepted for a job interview.

Switzerland is also a party where racism is growing and Islamic customs and traditions are being banned. In their last election for the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, the Swiss People’s Party received an overwhelming 29%, the highest share any party has ever received.

Many of their members have openly declared themselves as against Islam and have suggested that racism penalties and the anti-racism commission should be abolished in the name of free speech. They also promote stricter immigration laws, as if these laws in Switzerland are already not too extreme.

Last year, they put forward the proposal to ban minarets, a bid that received 57% of the votes. Some months later they also proposed to send back convicted immigrants, another proposal welcomed by the Swiss people.

One of their arguments for the proposal was that over 70% of the inmates are foreigners this comes while foreigners account for only 23% of their population. These numbers are pretty much even across the European continent, but just throwing people out of your country would not solve such a complex issue. Surely, there are certain socioeconomic and racial underlying factors for these numbers, or even hidden operations and agendas by their elite.

This would explain why there was no public outrage whenever the party used pure racist posters to promote their proposals. For the latter proposal they used different types of offensive poster. One of the posters however, showed three white lambs kicking a black one out of the Swiss flag with the slogan ‘To Create Security.’

Nevertheless, just before Merkel gave her speech on multiculturalism, a survey was conducted in Germany, showing a rather concerning figure of how Germans view immigrants. 30 percent of the population believed that the country is overrun by foreigners, 60 percent believed the government should restrict all practices of Islam, 17 percent believed Jews have absolutely too much power in the country and 17 percent wants a new ‘Führer’ in power, a word for leader explicitly describing Hitler.

So did Merkel warn us about the consequences of Europe’s failure to openness for various cultures? And who is really to blame, the foreigners or the natives?

Furthermore, NATO members have in the past responded to terrorist attacks by waging wars. As how the US responded to the 9/11 attacks on its soil.

How will Norway, also a NATO member, respond to Friday’s horrible terror attacks?

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