Every day the front pages of the European mainstream media (MSM) report ad nauseam about the alleged threat that the CIA poses to Europe. Not a single European, however, – unless they are terrorists, radical Muslims or the extremist Left – is worried about the CIA. The MSM are creating their own hype, endlessly parroting each other, and creating “consensus outrage” about a non-issue.
What really worries Europeans is illustrated in this article with contributions from Paul Belien on the situation in Flanders, Edwin Jacobs on the Netherlands and Hjörtur Gudmundsson on Denmark. It is the explicit refusal of some who have settled in Europe to assimilate into European society.
Yesterday, Gazet van Antwerpen, a local Antwerp newspaper, published the results of a poll among a representative group of 495 Muslim youths between 15 and 25 years of age, who live in the Flemish harbour town. 89% of these youths respond that religion occupies a “very important” place in their lives. 41% attend the mosque at least once a week (while 12% never does). 85% say they will raise their children in the Muslim faith. This in itself would not be a bad thing (on the contrary), except for the fact that 48% of Antwerp’s Muslim youths are convinced that the Quran should be taken literally and 21% readily admit that they have already heard their imam preach a hate sermon.
In addition, 21% of the young Antwerp Muslims say that they find it “problematic” that the majority of Antwerp’s citizens are non-Muslims, while less than half (47%) do not regard this as a problem. 22% of the Muslim girls prefer to marry a man who has lived in a Muslim country all his life.
Many of the young Muslims are unwilling to become Flemish. 40% say that Islamic values are incompatible with Flemish values. A teacher of Antwerp’s Muslim high school explains that children from families that arrived during the past decade integrate less easily because their knowledge of Dutch is worse than that of the children of immigrant families who arrived two or three decades ago. The cause of this, he explains, are the satellite dishes, which allow immigrant families today to watch the television programs of their home countries, “whereas in the 1980s we could only watch Flemish television.”
While there are no young Muslims converting to Christianity, some 400 young Belgians (in both Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia) convert to Islam each year. One of the latter was Muriel Degauque, the Walloon woman who last month became the first ever Western suicide bomber. Professor Johan Leman, an anthropologist at Leuven University and the former head of Belgium’s taxpayer-funded pro-immigration Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism, said in a recent (Dutch language) interview that “the most fanatic Muslims are the female converts.”
This is also the opinion of the authorities in the Netherlands. Last week, the bureau of the National Coordinator to Fight Terrorism (NCT) issued a report stating that Muslim converts very often become extremists. Young female converts especially end up in circles of Muslim extremists. This happens mostly through marriage. The marriages never seem to last long and are disbanded once the women have been recruited for the Islamist cause. This has prompted Piet Hein Donner and Johan Remkes, the Dutch ministers of Justice and Home Affairs, to compare these marriages to the recruiting methods of so-called “loverboys” who marry young girls with the sole purpose of tricking them into prostitution.
Last week, the Amsterdam police lost a court case against a female convert of Dutch origin, whom the police suspect of being a contact of the Hofstadgroep, the network surrounding Mohammed Bouyeri, who assassinated Theo van Gogh. Police officers had been shadowing the woman since October 19. They phoned her once a day, her house was under constant police surveillance, and she was followed when she went out.
The woman, a single mother of three, went to court, complaining that the police was violating her privacy because she took her religion very seriously. The court ruled in favour of the woman and ordered the police to stop harassing her. The Amsterdam police is considering whether to appeal against the court decision or not.
In Denmark, meanwhile, young Muslim women are still forced into marriages in spite of the recent actions taken by the country’s Liberal-Conservative government to prevent this. The government decided that Danish residents are no longer allowed to bring foreign spouses into the country unless both partners are at least 24 years old.
Despite the measure, however, a growing number of immigrant parents in Denmark force their daughters to move to their homelands or to Sweden where they are pressed into arranged marriages with people from their countries of origin. “Families are increasingly using physical and psychological violence to force a spouse upon their daughters. We experience more and more that parents threaten to kill their children if they do not agree,” says Leif Randeris, the head of the Immigrants’ Counselling Services in Copenhagen and Århus.
Every week Randeris’s services are called upon to help girls who feel their lives are in danger after rejecting an arranged marriage. The services give them secret hiding places. Randeris says the 24-year age limit has resulted in parents forcing their daughters to move to their countries of origin. Rikke Hvilshøj, the Danish Minister of Refugee, Immigration, and Integration Affairs, says the government has never claimed that the measure would put an end to forced marriages. She adds, however, that there is plenty of evidence that the rule is making it harder to impose forced marriages on girls.
The Danish government also intends to clamp down on another, similar practice. It has ordered local authorities to report the slightest suspicion of immigrant families forcing their children on reconditioning trips to their countries of origin in order to prevent them from becoming too Westernized. The government intends to deport families that engage in such practices. “Obviously, it's a very drastic measure we are introducing, but it is simply an expression that we will not tolerate reconditioning trips,” says Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister. “When you come to Denmark to live here, you are expected to do everything in your power to be integrated.” According to the Danish Social Appeals Board, an independent administrative authority with judicial powers, at least one thousand children have been forced to undertake such reconditioning trips since 2002.