Nonsense first, as usual.
Spain will no longer burn effigies of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslim armies occupied Spain from 711 to 1492. For the past five centuries the Spanish have traditionally celebrated the 1492 liberation from the Moors (as the Muslims were locally called) with local village festivals during which the battles against the Moors were reenacted and effigies of the Muslim prophet – the so-called “la Mahoma” – were mocked, thrown from the windows, and burned.
Last year the town of Bocairent near Valencia decided to discontinue the tradition of centuries. The town did not want to risk becoming the target of Islamic suicide bombers. On Monday the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that this year the other Valencian towns are also abolishing ancient traditions which are perceived to be offensive to Muslims. The people of Beneixama used to stuff the head of the Mahoma with firecrackers which went off as the onlookers applauded. This year Beneixama decided to abolish this part of the celebration. Antonio Valdés, the local mayor, told El Pais: “This was not an essential part of the festivities. It could hurt the sensitivities of some. We decided to avoid that.” The reconquista will still be commemmorated, but without “aggression” towards Muhammad.
The former Moorish provinces of Spain, or “Al-Andalus” as Islamists call it, are the only part of the world besides the Balkans and Israel which was once Muslim territory but was lost to Islam. Osama bin Laden dreams of recapturing it. By renouncing their ancient traditions the Spanish seem to indicate that they deserve the return of the Moors.
Seven French police officers were hurt late last Sunday during clashes with scores of Muslim youths. The fighting broke out after a car chase in Les Mureaux, in the western outskirts of Paris. Les Mureaux gained notoriety last year when it became the first municipality in France to offer benefits for second wives in polygamous immigrant families. The incident followed the arrest of a man who drove his car into a police vehicle after being chased for a traffic offense. As the man was being taken to the police station in another vehicle, the latter was set upon by a crowd. “There were around 250 people – very angry and very hostile,” police officials said. One of the police cars was gutted by fire. There were no arrests.
A similar story from the Netherlands. Two police officers were wounded last Saturday night in Vlaardingen near Rotterdam when they came to the rescue of an ambulance which was attacked by a group of some 250 youths. One of the officers was hit by glass, the other was hit in the face. The ambulance was attacked when paramedics tried to take a man to hospital.
Lastly, the commoner’s point of view.
Recently almost 10,000 youngsters of 16 and 17 years in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of Belgium, were polled by a joint research team from Leuven University and the Canadian McGill University, led by Prof Mark Hooghe. Last Friday the latter presented the results of his research. Over half the Flemish youngsters are convinced that their way of life and prosperity are being threatened by immigrants. Prof Hooghe described the scepticism of his young compatriots towards (Islamic) immigrants as “intolerance.” Kathleen Van Brempt, the Flemish minister for Equal Opportunities, is also shocked. The Socialist politician opined that the “intolerance is caused by ignorance about other religions and cultures.”