ANDREW BOSTOM: WILDERS AGONISTES PART ONE
A review-essay on Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me by Geert Wilders, Regnery Publishing, May 1, 2012, 256 pp.
The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum’s current exhibit “Ottomania” punctuates ongoing commemorations marking four hundred years of Dutch-Turkish relations. With depressing predictability, the Turkish media erupted in fury over a 1683 print on display which celebrates the defeat of the Ottoman jihad campaign against Vienna. Consistent with disparaging images commonplace in that late 17th-century era, the print depicts Mehmed IV, the Ottoman sultan (r. 1648-1687), lying forlorn in bed following the humiliating defeat of his grand vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha at Vienna. A salient detail of the print shows the royal bedside commode adjacent to a Koran, placed, ostensibly, for use as toilet paper.
Shortly afterward, during his recent visit to the Netherlands as part of the same commemorations, Turkish President Abdullah Gul labeled Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders an “Islamophobe.” Interviewed by the Dutch mass-circulation daily De Telegraaf, Gul claimed that Wilders represents “an extreme voice, which feeds radicals.” Gul further accused Wilders of engendering “a negative us-against-them climate [that] is developing in the whole of Europe, which is laying the foundation for ethnic religious discrimination.” Responding to Gul’s denunciation, Wilders tweeted with appropriate disdain, “Turkish humor: Christian-teaser, Kurd-basher, Hamas-friend and Islamist Gul complaining about tolerance.”
Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me by Geert Wilders (Hardcover – May 1, 2012)
In 2009, Turkey declined to receive a Dutch parliamentary delegation if it included Wilders. At the time, a Turkish spokesperson insisted that Wilders was “such a fascist that besides in Turkey, he would not be welcome in other European capitals.” Wilders, in turn, this past November, 2011 observed, aptly:
Gul’s Islamic regime and his party colleague, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, are no friends of the West and therefore not of the Netherlands either. President Gul is not welcome. Turkey has no place in the community of European values and there’s no reason for a party. Anyone who looks further than their own nose can see that the regime of Gul and Erdogan is killing off Turkey’s secular constitution in order to re-Islamise the country.
On August 28, 2007, the same day that Abdullah Gul became Turkey’s president — replacing his secular predecessor, and further consolidating the ruling Islamic Adalet ve Kalkınma Party (AKP)’s hold on power — MEMRI published excerpts from a chilling, virulently Jew-hating interview given by Gul’s and Prime Minister Erdoğan’s mentor, the late (d. February 2011) former Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. The interview originally aired July 1, 2007, as part of Erbakan’s campaign efforts in support of Islamic fundamentalist political causes before the general elections of July 22, 2007 and the AKP’s resounding popular electoral victory over its closest “secularist” rival parties.
Erbakan, founder of the fundamentalist Islamic Milli Gorus (National Vision, originated 1969) movement, mentored current AKP leaders President Gul and Prime Minister Erdoğan, both of whom were previously active members of Erbakan’s assorted fundamentalist political parties, serving in mayoral, ministerial, and parliamentary posts.
The modern fundamentalist Islamic movement Erbakan founded has continued to produce the most vile strain of anti-Semitism extant in Turkey, and traditional Islamic motifs — i.e., frequent quotations from the Koran and Hadith — remain central to this hatred, nurtured by early Islam’s basic animus towards Judaism. Indeed, the shared overall Weltanschauung of Erbakan, and his mentees Gul and Erdoğan, is characterized by Jew– and other non-Muslim infidel-hatred, accompanied by rejection of Western Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment values, and the revitalization of an aggressive, Neo-Ottoman, sharia-based Islam in Turkey. Their collective movement’s “success” — the apotheosis of an Islamic fundamentalist revival fully evident within a decade of secular autocrat Kemal Ataturk’s 1938 death — can be gauged, notably, via the findings from a lengthy U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report issued March 2012.
The report recommended that the U.S. government designate Turkey as one of the world’s 16 most egregious violators of religious freedom, sharply downgrading Turkey’s status from a prior “watch” list country to the worst offender’s category, designated “Countries of Particular Concern.” Specific offenses cited included:
- interfering with “minority religious communities’ affairs; societal discrimination and occasional violence against religious minorities; limitations on religious dress; and Antisemitism in Turkish society and media.”
- denying “non-Muslim communities the rights to train clergy, offer religious education, and own and maintain places of worship.”
- continuing longstanding policies that “threaten the survivability and viability of minority religious communities in Turkey.”
- restricting the religious freedom of “the Greek, Armenian, and Syriac Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic and protestant Churches, and the Jewish community”
- regarding Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Turkey “supports numerous arbitrary regulations implemented by local Turkish Cypriot authorities…[which] limit the religious activities of all non-Muslims living in northern Cyprus, deny these religious communities the right to worship freely and restore, maintain, and utilize their religious properties, and threaten the long-term survival of non-Muslim religious communities in the area.”
The USCIRF report further suggested that the U.S. government prompt Turkey to “abolish Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code which restricts the freedom of thought and expression and negatively affects the freedom of religion or belief.” (Not mentioned by the USCIRF report was the fact that this negation of freedom of thought and expression was in accord with the mainstream dictates of Islam’s sharia — as articulated, for example, in the Cairo Declaration, to which Turkey is a signatory.) In addition, the report also acknowledged that “even starting a discussion on genocide of Christians [note: a jihad genocide] that occurred 100 years ago is a criminal offense in Turkey.” And the USCIRF concluded somberly, noting:
Every year that passes without substantial religious reform places these minorities in greater peril and helps seal their fate. In the Arab Spring, Turkey holds itself out to be an Islamist model. But it is no model for religious freedom. We have waited for ten years for the AKP to make a real difference in the Christians’ fate. We can no longer sit by and just “Watch.”
Geert Wilders’ observations regarding Gul and Erdoğan’s contemporary Turkey are validated by the USCIRF findings, and additional data indicating that Islamic “honor” murders of women increased fourteenfold since the 2002 ascendancy of the AKP. Moreover, as Wilders has also noted, based upon the reporting of Dutch investigator Emerson Vermaat, when the late Erbakan was the keynote speaker at a European “Brotherhood and Solidarity Day” in Arnheim, the Netherlands, during June 2002, he proclaimed triumphantly — if ominously — to his mainly Turkish audience of 23,000:
The whole of Europe will become Islamic. Like the army of the sultan we will conquer Rome.
Subsequently, Prime Minister Erdoğan, on two occasions within the past four years (in 2008 and 2011), while speaking to the very large Turkish expatriate community in Germany — though less blatantly chauvinistic than his mentor Erbakan — has rejected the idea that Muslim Turks assimilate within Germany’s non-Islamic society.
Notwithstanding Wilders’ irrefragably accurate, if unapologetic assessment of the consequences of contemporary Turkey’s Islamic “revival,” Turkey and President Gul were lauded, while Wilders was pilloried by uninformed, craven Dutch politicians and their witless supporters in the Dutch media. Mr. Gul was welcomed warmly to the Netherlands by Queen Beatrix on Tuesday, 4/17/12, the queen even praising Turkey as “an inspiration and an example.” In contrast, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal complained that the attitude of Wilders and his Freedom Party was “not very pleasant and not very welcoming towards a friendly head of state.” Rosenthal’s whimper was in turn criticized as somehow “inadequate compensation” for Wilders’ understandable counterattack on Gul, with Dutch Labor Party MP Frans Timmermans commenting that “[t]he cabinet is being taken hostage by Wilders.” And the Dutch press — discounting Gul’s instigating calumnies against Wilders — decried “[t]he spectre of Geert Wilders,” while wondering “… how many insults he [Gul] can be expected to take from the PVV [the Freedom Party].”
What is the explanation for this cognitive dissonance displayed by Dutch political and media elites — their simultaneous groveling obeisance to Gul’s Islamic supremacism and their vitriolic denunciation of fellow countryman and political leader Geert Wilders? These cowardly, self-flagellating reactions are pathognomonic of Western Europe’s deliberate sociopolitical transmogrification over the past four decades — processes historian Bat Ye’or has described in painstaking detail: the morphing of Europe into “Eurabia,” a cultural and political appendage of the Muslim world. Eurabia’s advent and continued all-encompassing development explains the myriad personal travails Wilders elaborates in Marked for Death.
From Europe to Eurabia
There is almost universal ignorance about the origins of the term “Eurabia,” despite its widespread usage and a meticulous documentation of the term’s genesis by historian Bat Ye’or. The intimately related Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) was born of the Arab League’s October 1973 defeat in their Yom Kippur war against Israel and the associated oil embargo. The EAD created an alphabet soup of European Community- and, later, European Union-funded organizations charged with planning joint political, cultural, social, industrial, commercial, and technical-scientific projects. It also rapidly spawned a European Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation whose members represented a broad spectrum of European Community political groups. Biannual Euro-Arab Parliamentary meetings convened alternately in Europe and the Arab nations. Roughly 100 European and Arab members of their respective parliaments attended, along with observers from the European Community/European Union Commission, the Arab League, and other international organizations. During an initial meeting in Damascus, September 14-17, 1974, the Arab delegates established their political preconditions for economic agreements with Western Europe, specifically demanding:
1. Israel’s unconditional withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines
2. Arab sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem
3. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) participation (lead by Yasser Arafat), in any negotiations
4. European Community pressure on the United States to detach it from Israel and bring its policies closer to those of the Arab states
Eurabia was the title of a journal published in the mid-1970s by the European Committee for the Coordination of Friendship Associations with the Arab World. Eurabia’s editor was Lucien Bitterlin, president of the Association of Franco-Arab Solidarity; the journal was published jointly by Euro-Arab associations in London, Paris, and Geneva. Simply put, Eurabia served as a Euro-Arab Dialogue mouthpiece.
Let me illustrate but one of the alarming Euro-Arab Dialogue’s conduit functions. During a 1974 Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Lahore, Pakistan, OIC general secretary Mohammed Hasan Mohammed al-Tohami highlighted two key related goals:
(1) Urgent [convening] of a meeting of specialists in the propagation of Islam on a world level, and the establishment of a Jihad Fund…this fund is open with no restrictions … in all fields of Jihad
(2) Caring for the affairs of cultural centers in Europe, and the establishment of [additional] cultural centers in the continent
Reflecting an insidious aspect of the jihad to which al-Tohami alluded — i.e., cultural jihadism — the Euro-Arab Dialogue introduced the educational and cultural programs of European Islamic Centers into European schools.
Already in 1978, the great historian of Medieval European Islam, Charles Emmanuel Dufourcq, was troubled by the consequences of such dangerous historical and cultural revisionist trends. He pondered, balefully, whether:
… in the waning years of our 20th century … there might be a danger of a recurrence, in the immediate future, by other modalities, of the upheaval provoked more than a thousand years ago by Islamic penetration of our continent.
Eleven years after Dufourcq’s death in 1982, Bat Ye’or (from a 1993 French interview, published in English translation in 1994) echoed his intuitive concerns about Europe’s re-Islamization, and warned more broadly:
I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in a relativization of religion, a self-critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism … we are light years away from such a development[.] … On the contrary, I think that we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking[.] … All the racist fanaticism that permeates the Arab countries and Iran has been manifested in Europe in recent years[.]
German Islamologist Karl Binswanger’s 1977 study “Investigations on the Status of Non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire of the 16th Century, With a New Definition of the Concept ‘Dhimma,'” was a pioneering examination of dhimmitude under Ottoman rule. Subsequently, he analyzed Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, in Syria, and within Germany itself.
Binswanger’s seminal 1977 analysis examined the discriminatory and degrading conditions imposed upon non-Muslim “dhimmis” — predominantly Christians — subjugated under the Ottoman Turkish sharia in the 16 th century. His study elucidated the key role played by the creation of Muslim “satellite” colonies during the Islamization of these vanquished Christian societies:
Geographic integrity is shattered by implanting Islamic nuclei.; The sectarian reference point of Dhimmi communities is removed, and further sectarian pruning occurs according to Islamic standards. The autonomy of Dhimmis is reduced to an insubstantial thing … They are driven out the moment that Islamic nuclei appear in the area. Dhimmis’ possession of their churches is granted. These are closed or razed the as soon as a mosque is established in their neighborhood[.] … Regulations in the social area … demoralize the individual: [they] are consciously instituted for their degradation. The social environment of the Dhimmis is characterized by fear, uncertainty and degradation.
During 1990, Binswanger published three remarkably prescient essays on the (primarily Turkish) Muslim immigrant community of Germany. Binswanger opens his 1990 essay, “Islamic Fundamentalism in the German Federal Republic: Development, Inventory, Prospects,” with this disturbing illustration:
“We reject reform and modernization. We will keep fighting until a godly order is established!” This quotation is not from Cemalettin Kaplan, the ‘Khomeini of Cologne’, but rather from Kadir Baran, the West German national vice-chairman of the “Idealist Associations” [“Idealistenvereine”], in other words, from a ‘Grey Wolf”. [u]ntil the Autumn of 1987 the federation’s ideology was purely nationalistic, chauvinistically Turkish. This is symptomatic of a development that one can observe among Turks in the Federal Republic of Germany, too, since Khomeini’s victory over the Shah: Islamic fundamentalism is on the march[.]
Binswanger then demonstrates how the strident reaffirmation of Islamic identity within Germany’s Turkish immigrant population engendered “… an increasingly intense demonization of the culture, legal and social order of the host society: the image of Germans as enemies.” Central to this disturbing process was the inculcation of validating Islamic (i.e., Koranic) motifs which promote hostility to non-Muslims. Arguably the most accomplished (and easily the most unapologetic) scholar of how the Ottoman Turks progressively imposed the Sharia on non-Muslims, Binswanger became alarmed by the obvious modern parallels to that phenomenon he observed in the behaviors of their contemporary Turkish descendants in Germany.
Jean-Claude Barreau’s abrupt November 1991 dismissal after the publication of his book, On Islam in General and on the Modern World in particular, was a harbinger of how the pervasive Islamophilic Eurabian mentality proscribes critical discussion of Islam. Barreau, a former Catholic priest, was relieved of his duties as director of the Office of International Migrations, an agency that oversaw the entries and departures of foreigners living in France, and enforced laws restricting employment of illegal immigrants. Barreau’s sacking was praised by the rector of a major mosque in Marseille, Hanj Alili, who gushed:
I can only rejoice in this action, because it shows that no matter who you are, you can’t say whatever you want with regard to a book as universal and sacred as the Koran.
At a news conference, Barreau defended his book and called his firing “a mistake.” He maintained that “pressure from Arab and Muslim embassies was the determining factor” in his dismissal. Barreau concluded, appositely, that the action taken against him demonstrated intellectuals were forbidden to question Islam.
It is possible for a top civil servant to doubt the divinity of Jesus Christ, but it is forbidden to ask questions about the prophet Mohammed.
Tomorrow, Part II: “Eurabia Versus Wilders Agonistes.”
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