Spot the Difference.
Last week the Austrian politician Susanne Winter caused an Alpine storm with her controversial statement that the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was “a child molester” who had married a six-year-old girl and “a warlord” who had written the Koran during “epileptic fits.” The politician, a member of the Austrian Freedom Party FPÖ, an anti-immigration party which is in opposition, added that Islam is “a totalitarian system of domination that should be cast back to its birthplace on the other side of the Mediterranean.”
Muslim organizations in Austria called Ms. Winter’s words “sickening and evil.” The Austrian Christian Democrats, Socialists, Greens and even the BZÖ, the party of former FPÖ leader Jörg Haider, strongly criticized Winter’s remarks. Erhard Busek, the leader of the Christian Democrats, called upon Cardinal Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, to “speak out clearly” against Ms. Winter, a Catholic.
Mr. Busek said Winter’s remarks were “a disaster […] the most primitive populism, which does not fit in the framework of democracy. […] I expect a real outcry and criticism from religious communities, of believing people with convictions.” There is, however, a ‘real outcry’ in other quarters. Muslim extremists have threatened to kill Susanne Winter. The Austrian authorities are taking the threats seriously and have placed the politician under police protection.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the words of another intolerant politician are hardly causing a ripple in the polders. Bouchra Ismaili, a Rotterdam councillor of Moroccan origin, sent a controversial email to Jos Parbleu, a Dutch citizen who had written her and many other politicians a polite email to communicate his concerns about the rise of the Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir in Rotterdam. Ms. Ismaili told Mr. Parbleu to either “drop dead” or “convert to Islam.” She added that Parbleu was “a dirty fool” who ought to realize that Muslims would soon be the majority in the Netherlands and that: “You are the foreigner here.” [An English translation of the Dutch politician’s email has been posted here.]
Ms. Ismaili’s words have not provoked threats to kill her, there has been no public national or international outcry, the United Nations are not worried about rising ‘Christophobia’ in Europe, and the Christian Democrats have not called upon the Dutch imams to “speak out clearly” against “the most primitive language which does not fit in the framework of democracy.”
Ms. Ismaili told the Dutch media that she wrote the email to Mr. Parbleu “in a fit of anger” because earlier that day she had heard someone say “that all Moroccans must die.” Al-Qa’eda has been saying for years that the infidels must die. But that is not regarded as an excuse for her Catholic Austrian colleague when she said that Islam should be “cast back” to where it came from.
Ismaili’s party, the Dutch Labour party, which is part of the governing coalition in the Netherlands, said it stands behind the councillor. A party spokesman acknowledged that the politician’s email had been “very stupid,” but added that she had acted in an impulsive way because she is a “warm and passionate woman” who is being harassed by the far right.
Yesterday politicians from several Europeans countries convened in Antwerp, the stronghold of the Flemish secessionist Vlaams Belang party, to establish the international organisation “Cities against Islamization” (CaI). Apart from the Vlaams Belang, the following three parties belong to the organisation: the FPÖ (Susanne Winter’s party, Austria), Alsace d’Abord (a regionalist party from Alsace, France) and Pro Köln (Germany).