Wednesday, 9 December 2009

"Invisible minarets"

The minarets vote just won't go away.  One day there's a pro-ban article (eg Ross Douthat yesterday ) and next day there's anti-ban one, such as Peter Stamm's today .  It's good that it gets publicity, for the more it does, the more the baleful doctrines of Islam get publicity.  And the more publicity there is for the symbolism of the minarets to Islam.
“The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.”
---  Ziya Gökalp, a 1912 poem, quoted by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 1997 (Erdoğan was then mayor of a small town; today he is, of course, Turkish Prime Minister and pushing a resurgent Islamist line for Turkey, as well as pushing for the accession of Turkey into the EU, which would, in my view, be a major tragedy for Europe and its values).

There are some counter arguments to my points below. First, is my argument simply tu quoque?  To some extent, yes, but then it does also show up a major hypocrisy, especially in those such as Saudi Arabia and Iran who have criticised the ban, while they allow no freedom of religion at all.  But then again, do we want to be measured by their own low standards?  Of course not, so let's put aside tu quoque and look at the ban on its own, without the prism of hypocrisy, real or imagined.  And as a stand-alone action, in my view the ban is justified, as it does draw highlight concern about Islam and the Islamic program.  This program, the aim of Islam in Europe, indeed the world, is not a secret (hence it is not a "conspiracy"!).
Openly and repeatedly proponents of Islam have said that they want to Islamify society, to bring in Sharia law to Europe and the world.  Majorities of Muslims in all European countries, ranging from 55-80% say that they want Sharia law to take over from European laws.  That's logical, because that is Islamic doctrine.  Now, if you know anything about Sharia, that would chill your blood.  But that's what's demanded, and that's what's being worked towards by the growing number of Muslims in Europe and that's what the ban say "NO" to.
So, my letter to IHT, number three in three days, and as much to "educate" the editors of said paper as to expect publication, although they occasionaly do publish anti-Islam letters; about one anti in ten pro-islam, by my rough calculation.  But it's still worth writing to the editors, and there are many other bloggers who do too, with the aim of trying to wake up more of the MSM editors and writers to the dangers of Islamic sharia.
Letter to International Herald Tribune, below:

I get it: Iran tolerant; Switzerland intolerant.  So judges Peter Stamm (Invisible minarets, Dec 09).  Stamm visited Iran and was feted with “hospitality and tolerance” at a sheep-slaughtering festival.  Meantime in Switzerland, his compatriots were “alarmingly intolerant” by voting for a ban on minarets.  Right, got it. 
This is an extreme example of moral equivalence.  In Stamm’s view, the following are equivalent (or indeed, the Swiss worse):  In Iran, stonings of women, executions of homosexuals, expropriation of non-Muslims’ property, forced closure of churches, and persecution of Christians.  In Switzerland, a single symbolic ban of a potent Islamic symbol (Turkish president Erdoğan reminded us in 1997: “the minarets are our bayonets”). 
The fact that Mr Stamm met some congenial and hospitable Muslims on his Iran visit is irrelevant to the doctrines of Islam.  It is these doctrines – fearful and baleful that they are --- which explain the clear-sighted Swiss vote.  It may be, as Stamm claims, that the Islam in Switzerland is not like that in other European countries, where we have, as your correspondent Ross Douthat noted on 8 Dec: “… polygamy in Sweden; radical mosques in Britain’s fading industrial cities; riots over affronts to the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark; and religiously inspired murder in the Netherlands. It means terrorism, and the threat of terrorism, from London to Madrid.” 
And that is precisely what his compatriots are voting against.   “Alarmingly intolerant”?  Hardly.  Stunningly sensible, more like.
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Postscript: I note that the translation above about the minarets as "bayonets" is a little different to the one I posted below .  Purely a translation thing, I'm guessing, and not relevant to the crux of the issue, that they are seen as a potent symbol.