Archive for September 14, 2017

What’s on the Mind of a Muslim ‘Refugee’?

September 14, 2017

What’s on the Mind of a Muslim ‘Refugee’? Middle East Forum, Burak Bekdil, September 10, 2017

Last year, three Afghans stopped in front of my house on the same island and asked for drinking water. I gave them three bottles and asked if they needed anything else. Coffee? They accepted and sat down in the garden chairs.

Over coffee, they said they were glad to be hosted “not by an infidel on this infidel island” but by a Muslim. The young Afghan who was dressed like a dancer from a cheap hip-hop clip on MTV said, “One day we good Muslims will conquer their infidel lands.” I asked why he was receiving “infidel” money for living. “It’s just halal,” he answered. “They [‘infidels’] are too easy to fool.”

M., another fluently English-speaking Syrian, gave me a long lecture on the wonderful governance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “Turkey is the best country in the world!” M. said. ” Erdoğan is the leader of the ummah.” I asked why he had risked his life to cross illegally from the “best country in the world” to the “poor, infidel lands.” “I want to go to Europe to increase the Muslim population there,” he said. “I want to make a Muslim family there. I want to have plenty of children.” I reminded him that Greece, too, is a European country. No it’s not, he answered.

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The autumn of 2015 was unusual in almost every way on the north Aegean Greek island of Lesbos from which I am writing. There were tens of thousands of illegal migrants on the island, the native population of which was scarcely 100,000. New refugees arrived every day by the thousands.[1]

One evening, the blue-grey sky grumbled shortly after sunset. The thick clouds blackened and rain poured down over the city with a roar. As I ran across the slippery pavement into a friend’s bar, I heard a group of five poor souls speaking Persian with a Turkic accent and running amok, seeking shelter under the eaves of a building.

A quarter of an hour later I found them in front of my friend’s bar, totally soaked. I went out and asked them if they spoke English; they shook their heads. I asked them in Turkish if they spoke Turkish. With glittering eyes, three of them cheerfully said, “Evet!” [“Yes” in Turkish]. I told them they could come into the bar if they liked. They hesitated but politely declined. I asked if they needed food, water, or cigarettes.

The one with the most fluent Turkish stepped forward. He drew a pack of banknotes from his pocket and said, “If you really want to help, find us a hotel. The best, if possible. We have cash. Money is no problem. Find us a hotel and we’ll pay you a commission.” He explained that all the “damn” hotels on the island were full [of refugees] and they needed rooms.

I apologized and disappeared into the bar.

Nearly two years later, on a beautiful and cool summer evening, I met A. at a bar on the same island. A., a Syrian refugee, often spends his evenings bar-hopping with his Western friends. Those friends are mostly romantic European social workers who, I observed several times, sport t-shirts, bags, and laptops festooned with the Palestinian flag. They are on the island to help the unfortunate Muslim refugees who are fleeing war in their native countries.

“I’ll tell you strictly Muslim-to-Muslim,” A. said in good English after having poured down a few shots of whiskey. “These (European social workers) are funny guys. And they’re not just funny. They’re also silly. I don’t know why on earth they are in love with a Muslim cause that even some of us Muslims despise.”

Last year, three Afghans stopped in front of my house on the same island and asked for drinking water. I gave them three bottles and asked if they needed anything else. Coffee? They accepted and sat down in the garden chairs.

Over coffee, they said they were glad to be hosted “not by an infidel on this infidel island” but by a Muslim. The young Afghan who was dressed like a dancer from a cheap hip-hop clip on MTV said, “One day we good Muslims will conquer their infidel lands.” I asked why he was receiving “infidel” money for living. “It’s just halal,” he answered. “They [‘infidels’] are too easy to fool.”

M., another fluently English-speaking Syrian, gave me a long lecture on the wonderful governance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “Turkey is the best country in the world!” M. said. ” Erdoğan is the leader of the ummah.” I asked why he had risked his life to cross illegally from the “best country in the world” to the “poor, infidel lands.” “I want to go to Europe to increase the Muslim population there,” he said. “I want to make a Muslim family there. I want to have plenty of children.” I reminded him that Greece, too, is a European country. No it’s not, he answered.

Almost all the illegal migrants on that and other Greek islands want to get to Germany, where they have heard from friends and relatives that they will be the best paid for being “poor” refugees. The cliché “the-poor-souls-are-fleeing-war-in-their-native-country” is becoming less and less convincing every day. True, most Syrians fled to Turkey after the start of civil war in their country. But why did they then risk their lives to squeeze into 12-man rubber boats with 40-50 other people, including children and the elderly? Because of war in Turkey?

No. Despite political instability and insecurity for all, there is technically no war in Turkey. It is a Muslim country whose mostly Muslim migrants want to leave it as soon as possible for non-Muslim Europe.

They reach the shores of the Greek islands, which are so beautiful that people from across the world fly there for their holidays. But the islands are not good enough. They want to go to Athens. Why? Because there is war on the Greek islands? No. It’s because Athens is the start of the exit route to the Balkans.

Apply the same logic to Serbia, Hungary, and Austria. Like Greece, none of those countries will be good enough for the refugees. Why not? Because there is war in Serbia or Hungary or Austria? Or because “my cousin tells me Germans pay the best?”

Turkey’s leaders often threaten Europe that they will “open the gates” and flood Europe with millions of refugees. They should ask themselves instead why those Muslim refugees are so eager to leave the “new Turkish empire” if given the chance. Why would they choose not to live a comfortable life in a powerful and peaceful Muslim country and instead flock to the “infidel” west?

Erdoğan blames the West for the tragedy. He has criticized the West for having taken only 250,000 Syrian refugees. In 2016, then Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members (the US, Russia, Britain, France, and China), should pay the price, not Syria’s [Muslim] neighbors.

It is ironic that millions of Muslims are trying, through dangerous means, to reach the borders of a civilization they have historically blamed for all the world’s evils, including those of their own countries. The “romantic” West does not question why millions of West-hating Muslims are heading in their direction. Or is it “Islamophobic” to point out that there is no war in Greece, Serbia, Hungary, or Austria?

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based political analyst and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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[1] By the end of July 2017, the number of refugees and migrants in Greece waiting to be granted asylum or deported had fallen to 62,407. The five Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros) are presently home to 15,222 asylum-seekers and migrants.

Restoring Due Process on Our Campuses

September 14, 2017

Restoring Due Process on Our Campuses, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, September 14, 2017

(How about some due process rights re freedom of speech and religion on campus? — DM)

During the Obama administration, I was one of the academics who publicly criticized the “Dear Colleague” letter of Russlynn Ali, then assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama. Ali informed schools that they had to either strip their students and staff of due process protections or face the crippling loss of federal funding. Notably, Ali never submitted this massive policy change for “notice and comment” compliance under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Obama administration demanded more cases and more expulsions from colleges. While saying that the curtailing of rights would make it easier for women to allege assaults, it was clearly making it easier to find guilt. For example, before the change, universities generally applied standards of proof requiring a “clear preponderance” or “clear and convincing evidence.” While not as demanding as “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard assured that a student would not be expelled for a sexual assault without a solid evidentiary record.

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Below is my column on the decision of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to rescind the highly controversial “Dear Colleague letter” of the Obama Administration.  The letter, which made sweeping changes to educational policy, was never put through any notice and comment period under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).   At the time, schools and faculty objected to the stripping of basic due process protections from our students.  However, politicians are now denouncing those who want to restore due process as soft on sexual abuse.

One of those denouncing DeVos is Texas lawyer and adjunct law professor Rob Ranco who said that he would be fine with DeVos being sexually assaulted.  Ranco has now resigned from his law firm, the Carson Law Firm, after apologizing for his public statement.  Ranco is reportedly an adjunct professor of paralegal studies at Austin Community College.

I have long criticized the erosion of due process rights on our campuses, particularly the unilateral action taken by the Obama Administration.

Here is the column:

The recent announcement by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on handling sexual misconduct claims on college campuses led to a chorus of vitriolic and at times vicious attacks. Advocate Annie Clark denounced it as “a blatant attack on the civil rights of survivors.” The group Know Your IX declared that DeVos was against equality on campuses and was actively seeking to “help abusers and rapists.”

Texas lawyer Rob Ranco put it more bluntly. He proclaimed on social media that he would “be okay” if DeVos was sexually assaulted. From these comments, it would be easy to conclude that DeVos was bringing back coverture and chattel laws to our campuses. Instead, she was calling for comments on restoring minimal rules of due process for the investigation of sexual misconduct. Nevertheless, politicians and advocates have lined up to fight such “inequitable” and intolerable rules as protecting the right to counsel or allowing for a full opportunity to respond to evidence.

During the Obama administration, I was one of the academics who publicly criticized the “Dear Colleague” letter of Russlynn Ali, then assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama. Ali informed schools that they had to either strip their students and staff of due process protections or face the crippling loss of federal funding. Notably, Ali never submitted this massive policy change for “notice and comment” compliance under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Obama administration demanded more cases and more expulsions from colleges. While saying that the curtailing of rights would make it easier for women to allege assaults, it was clearly making it easier to find guilt. For example, before the change, universities generally applied standards of proof requiring a “clear preponderance” or “clear and convincing evidence.” While not as demanding as “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard assured that a student would not be expelled for a sexual assault without a solid evidentiary record.

The Obama administration demanded the reduction of the standard to a mere “preponderance of the evidence,” or just slightly above a 50-50 determination. Since these disputes are often a “he said, she said” dispute, that means that a conviction can be based on the accuser’s account with even the slightest additional support.

The Obama administration also sought to deny the accuser the right to question the accuser. Ali insisted that this right “may be traumatic or intimidating (for the victim), thereby possibly escalating or perpetuating a hostile environment.” After all, many have argued that most allegations of abuse have been found credible, so why put the accuser through such a traumatic stage of a hearing? Notably, the Supreme Court stated in 2004 that “dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with a jury trial because the defendant is obviously guilty.”

Courts have repeatedly ruled against universities and colleges for denying students due process in proceedings structured to guarantee conviction. Dozens of such cases have been filed and many shock the conscience in their open disregard for any semblance of a fair hearing. In some of these cases, not only was the accused denied an opportunity to question the accuser but also key witnesses.

In one of the most recent decisions, a court ruled against the Miami University in Ohio after finding glaring due process violations in the case of an anonymous student known as “John Nokes.” Part of the decision addresses an increasingly common practice under the new rules of treating any drinking as negating any defense of consent under university intoxication rules. While both students drank before their sexual encounter, and Nokes insisted that the women was not inebriated, Ethics Director Susan Vaughn, who headed the hearing, told Nokes that there is no threshold amount for a finding of intoxication, and thus, a lack of consent.

The court also found that Nokes was never given fair notice that he was charged with assaulting an incapacitated student. Likewise, three key witnesses never showed up for the hearing but Vaughn insisted that she must “take this as fact. That is all true.” The university insisted that Nokes did not need the witnesses to tell his story. U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett simply noted that the university officials “miss the point of cross examination” and that their “claim that no amount of cross-examination could have changed the minds of the hearing panel members arguably undercuts the fairness of the hearing Plaintiff received.”

Nevertheless, advocates like Amy Siskind of The New Agenda have demanded to know why DeVos was “taking away Title IX protections for college women.” In reality, these were not Title IV protections, but demands in a letter without any Administrative Procedure Act compliance. That was a view echoed by over two dozen Harvard professors who denounced “procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation.”

For civil libertarians, the effort to paint those favoring due process as favoring criminals is all too familiar. Rather than being accused of being “soft on crime,” critics now charge that DeVos and others are “soft on sexual abuse” by wanting basic due process rules. In reality, we can have both due process and full protection for our students. We need to maintain safe environments as well as responsive procedures to encourage victims to come forward. However, the Obama administration sought to achieve the appearance of success through a pretense of process. It associated fundamental rights with unsafe environments. Stripping rights will not bring real safety any more than rigging outcomes will bring real justice for our students.

Al-Arian and the Georgetown Gang Ride Again – Now in Turkey

September 14, 2017

Al-Arian and the Georgetown Gang Ride Again – Now in Turkey, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Teri Blumenfeld, September 14, 2017

Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member Sami Al-Arian appears to be thriving in his new environs after his 2015 deportation from the United States.

He is scheduled to speak next month at a conference in Istanbul sponsored in part by his old pals at Georgetown University’s Saudi-endowed Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Center Director John Esposito, a Muslim Brotherhood apologist, also considers himself a “very close friend” of Al-Arian’s. And as we noted last spring, family ties strengthen the Al-Arian/Georgetown connection.

Al-Arian was deported to Turkey in 2015, pursuant to terms in his 2006 guilty plea connected to his Palestinian Islamic Jihad support. A computer scientist by training, he now works as “director of the Center for Regional Politics at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University.”

His conference biography casts him as a civil rights activist and thinker. It is silent about Al-Arian’s documented role as secretary for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Majlis Shura, or board of directors. It also omits a 1991 introduction of Al-Arian captured on videotape in which he speaks after being described as the head of “the active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine” in the United States.

It may be part of a public comeback Al-Arian is staging as he starts a new life in Turkey and supports its Islamist regime. Following the failed coup attempt, Al Arian offered his analysis on its suspected instigators, twice hinting that Israel was connected to it. TRT World – Turkish Radio and Television – is an active arm of the Turkish government which incurred harsh criticism over its coverage of the coup attempt.

Al-Arian appeared on TRT World again in July, opining on the favorite Islamist topic of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque and identified as a ‘civil rights activist & writer.” First, he rationalized a terrorist attack that killed two Israel police officers, both of whom were Druze Arabs. Then he repeated the false and incendiary claim that, “This right-wing Israeli government has been trying for many years now to partition Al-Aqsa Mosque. And this is where this whole episode – this whole crisis – was created.”

Next month, Al-Arian will speak at the Istanbul “International Conference on The Muslim Ummah,” sponsored by Georgetown’s Alwaleed Center along with Qatar’s College of Islamic Sciences, Hamad Bin Khalifa University. His presentation is called, “The Challenge of Settler Colonialism in Palestine/Israel.”

He’ll be joined by his son, Abdullah Al-Arian, and son-in-law Jonathan Brown, along with Esposito and Islamist luminaries as Tariq Ramadan – grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna – and Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Kalin joined Erdogan during visits with U.S. Muslim groups last year.

Al-Arian also is slated to lead the conference’s final session, which features Ramadan, Kalin and Esposito discussing “The Muslim Ummah in Today’s World.”

The Oct. 8 conference is called, “International Conference on the Muslim Ummah: Synthesizing a New Paradigm, Analyzing Modern Challenges.” Since the Ottoman Empire’s fall, the concept of the ‘Muslim Ummah’ [community] has lost its historical meaning as many scholars and academics from many disciplines have been debating its relevance and practical manifestations in today’s world,” a conference description said. The meeting aims to “propose a new paradigm within the context of the modern world.

Al-Arian’s academic friends may not care about his work as the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)’s “active arm” in America, his service as a PIJ board member, or his efforts to keep Iranian money flowing to the terrorist group in the 1990s. This is a man who, in the wake of a horrific double suicide bombing that killed 21 people at a bus station, saw fit to write that the attack “is the best guide and witness to what the believing few can do in the face of Arab and Islamic collapse at the heels of the Zionist enemy…”

That bloodthirsty attitude makes sense, since the PIJ bylaws explicitly reject “any peaceful solution for the Palestinian Cause, and [affirms] the jihad solution and the martyrdom style as the only option for liberation.” It seeks “a state of terror, instability and panic in the souls of the Zionists” and creating “a psychological barrier between the Jews and the Muslim Palestinian people and the creation of a conviction that the coexistence is impossible…”

While the Hamas charter has always been public, officials did not know PIJ had a similar document until federal investigators found it in Al-Arian’s possession during 1995 searches of his home and offices.

None of these academics gathering in Istanbul are dumb. They know these facts about their “very close friend” and still treat him as a respected academic. Including Al-Arian in an academic conference isn’t about advancing scholarship. It’s about rehabilitating a terrorist’s reputation.

On Watch Live: Return to Benghazi

September 14, 2017

On Watch Live: Return to Benghazi, Judicial Watch via YouTube, September 14, 2017

(Everybody is out to get me. The Benghazi incident is ancient history and was due to a discredited Islamophobic YouTube video. My State Department did a great job and I deserved to be elected President — I’m a woman and it was my turn. Thus, more or less, spake Hillary. Please see also, Security Contractors: Clinton State Department Silenced Us on Benghazi Lapses. — DM)

Rewarding Terrorists in the Nordic Countries

September 14, 2017

Rewarding Terrorists in the Nordic Countries, PJ MediaBruce Bawer, September 13, 2017

Islamic state fighters removing the border between Syria and Iraq (Newscom TagID: zumaglobal333109.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

[W]hy should returning members of ISIS be entitled to move to the front of the line when it comes to collecting free stuff? The closest Larsson came to offering a justification for the policy was to say this: “No human being is born as an extremist.” There it is again: the nobody’s-really-guilty Nordic mentality that will spell the death of Sweden.

 “Kalle” (not “Muhammed”?) has a “problem” (he’s butchered any number of men, women, and children in the name of Allah, but is feeling a little worn out and has decided to look into other lifestyle options). What he needs now, above all, is to escape that “environment” (ISIS as abusive family?) and “feel good.”

And what does Kalle need? Sjöstrand explains: “It could be a residential set-up, financial help, education – it’s about investigating and looking at what the individual requires in order to quit [ISIS].” In short, it’s all about what “Kalle” needs.

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In Sweden, it’s old news: as Aftenposten reported a couple of years ago, the politicians in charge of local affairs in Stockholm had decided to offer returning ISIS members instant jobs, welfare handouts, and free homes.

This, mind you, at a time when one-fifth of young Swedes can’t find work, when schools, hospitals, and retirement homes are in decline because immigrants are taking too big a cut of the funds appropriated for social services, and when it’s virtually impossible to find a flat in the Swedish capital.

Erik Slottner, an opposition politician, called the new policy “a reward for criminals.” But Ewa Larsson, a Green Party member who’s in charge of social services in Stockholm, answered that charge by making a distinction between addressing criminal acts – which, she maintained, is the job of the police – and providing social services, which is her wheelhouse.

Fair enough. But why should returning members of ISIS be entitled to move to the front of the line when it comes to collecting free stuff? The closest Larsson came to offering a justification for the policy was to say this: “No human being is born as an extremist.” There it is again: the nobody’s-really-guilty Nordic mentality that will spell the death of Sweden.

Larsson isn’t alone. Last year, Anna Sjöstrand, a local official in Lund, Sweden, told a reporter that the question of how to treat returning ISIS members needs to be “undramatized” so that public officials can examine it in a practical way. She framed the issue as follows: “Here’s Kalle who has this problem and what does Kalle need in order to feel good and to remove himself from that environment?”

OK, let’s break that down. “Kalle” (not “Muhammed”?) has a “problem” (he’s butchered any number of men, women, and children in the name of Allah, but is feeling a little worn out and has decided to look into other lifestyle options). What he needs now, above all, is to escape that “environment” (ISIS as abusive family?) and “feel good.”

And what does Kalle need? Sjöstrand explains: “It could be a residential set-up, financial help, education – it’s about investigating and looking at what the individual requires in order to quit [ISIS].” In short, it’s all about what “Kalle” needs.

Once again, there’s classic Nordic thinking about evil in a nutshell. When confronted with a psychopathic killer who’s left a trail of mangled corpses behind him, the first question to come to the mind of the properly educated Nordic technocrat is this: what does the poor soul need to receive from the government – now – in order to put his obviously troubled life back together?

Implicit in all this is an answer to the question of why “Kalle” should go to the front of the line. Of course he should: the bigger the problem a welfare client has, the more quickly the social workers should snap into action to help him out. And what problem could be bigger than having hands soaked in the blood of innocents?

Apparently Sweden’s cockamamie policies on the treatment of returning ISIS terrorists impressed somebody in next-door Finland, because now comes the news that officials in that country, too, are thinking of letting ISIS members who’ve made their way back home cut to the front of queues for government-funded abodes and other social services.

So, while law-abiding, hard-working Finns who want to live in public housing will continue to be compelled – like their Swedish counterparts – to put their names on long lists and wait patiently (sometimes for years), ISIS members with Finnish residency who want to take a break from mowing down infidels will soon be able to head back to Helsinki and – if certain officials get their way – get set up pronto in their own cribs, where they can kick off their combat boots, switch on their brand-new sixty-inch flat-screen TVs (with full cable package!), and recharge their batteries on the taxpayers’ euro.

Anna Cantell-Forsbome, director of family services in Vantaa, Finland’s fourth largest city, rationalized such an approach in this way: “If reintegration into society is considered one of the best mechanisms against radicalization, then an apartment and work training are of paramount importance.”

She added that “the sheer danger the returnees pose justifies priority service.” In other words, if ISIS members are known to get preferred status, it could help prevent their re-radicalization. But wait a second — if the system openly favors terrorists, won’t that produce more terrorists?

That conclusion may seem pure common sense. But don’t worry: as a spokesperson for the Finnish Ministry of the Interior assured a reporter, social workers will be able to “solve this problem in practice.” Naturally they will: as we all know, there’s no problem Nordic social workers can’t solve!

A Master’s Degree in Whitewashing Islam

September 14, 2017

A Master’s Degree in Whitewashing Islam, Gatestone InstituteBruce Bawer, September 14, 2017

I routinely find the website Document.no to be more reliable on the facts than the state-owned TV and radio stations or any of the big private (but, in many cases, state-supported) dailies.

The idea that there are Muslims who seek to turn Europe into an Islamic colony is, of course, no “conspiracy theory.” Jihad and the caliphate are core Islamic doctrines. For over a decade, however, Norwegian academics and intellectuals have accused those commentators, who face up to the reality of these doctrines, of “peddling paranoia.”

I wonder if anyone asked how a statement of opinion can violate “fundamental human rights.”

In Norway, where the mainstream media systematically bury or whitewash news stories that might reflect badly on the nation’s misguided immigration policies, its failed integration policies, or on Islam, a handful of small but heavily trafficked websites serve a vital function: getting out information that is being suppressed and providing a forum for opinions that are being silenced.

Perhaps the most prominent of those websites is Document.no, founded in 2003 by Hans Rustad, who still serves as editor and publisher. It is an intelligent, serious, and responsible site, whose contributors tend to know more about the above-mentioned subjects — and to be better writers — than the staffers at the major Oslo newspapers. I have yet to read a bigoted word by a contributor to Document.no, and I routinely find the site to be more reliable on the facts than the state-owned TV and radio stations or any of the big private (but, in many cases, state-supported) dailies.

For countless Norwegian citizens, Document.no is essential reading. For the nation’s cultural elite, however, it is anathema — a major chink in an otherwise almost solid wall of pro-Islam propaganda.

So it is no surprise to learn, via Universitetsavisa, the student newspaper at the University of Oslo, that a Religious Studies student there, Royer Solheim, has written a master’s thesis on Document.no, in which he describes it as a locus of “hate rhetoric,” “Islamophobia,” and “conspiracy theories.” Nor is it a surprise that he was graded an A.

Solheim describes the thesis itself as “a qualitative study based on a critical discourse analysis of a Norwegian Islamophobic website, document.no.” His conclusion:

“The Eurabia conspiracy theory permeates the Islamophobic discourse on the website. The Eurabia theory is based on an idea that Arabs or Muslims are increasing their influence and are in the process of turning Europe into an Islamic colony.”

The idea that there are Muslims who seek to turn Europe into an Islamic colony is, of course, no “conspiracy theory.” Jihad and the Caliphate are core Islamic doctrines. For over a decade, however, Norwegian academics and intellectuals have accused those commentators, who face up to the reality of these doctrines, of “peddling paranoia.” Their useful shorthand for this is “Eurabia theory,” a term derived from the title of Bat Ye’or’s 2005 book Eurabia.

Universitetsavisa reports that after last year’s terrorist attacks in Nice and Berlin, reader comments on Document.no were “thoroughly marked by anti-Muslim prejudice, hate rhetoric, and aversion to Islam and Muslims.” I am very familiar with the comments field at Document.no. Its level of discussion is quite high. What Solheim is plainly reacting to here is the fact that the readers of Document.no have no illusion about the motives for terrorist acts such as those that took place last year in Nice and Berlin. The readers are simply not shy about acknowledging that there is a clear, straight line connecting core Islamic doctrines with repeated mass murders of infidels. If these murders sometimes lead those readers to express even outright anger at Islam, and at the reckless European governmental policies that have rendered the continent vulnerable to these atrocities, who can blame them?

In any event, the editors of Document.no are not responsible for statements made by their readers — although, as even Solheim admits, they do make an effort to “moderate the debate and do not tolerate racism.” The fact is that the opportunity Rustad’s website affords citizens to sound off on matters vital to their own (and their children’s) future is becoming increasingly valuable. Why? Because more and more Norwegian news media are closing down comments fields on their websites when the topic is Islam — precisely because they do not want to host honest, vigorous debates about this most forbidden of issues. There is a good reason why Document.nohas more than 200,000 unique readers per month — which, as Solheim acknowledges, makes it bigger in this regard than the country’s newspaper of record, Aftenposten.

“Within a discourse there are certain norms as to what is acceptable to say,” scolds Solheim. The debates on Document.no, he pronounces with dismay, are heavy on “skepticism toward authority.” Some of the contents, he insists, violate “fundamental human rights.” Well, isn’t he a good little policeman-in-training. Unfortunately, knifings, car-rammings, and abusing women, children and homosexuals would also seem to violate “fundamental human rights.” The Universitetsavisa article briefly recounts Solheim’s defense of his thesis, at which he answered questions. I wonder if anyone asked him how a statement of opinion can violate “fundamental human rights.”

I also wonder if anyone asked him any questions about basic Islamic theology. His thesis adviser, Asbjørn Dyrendal, is apparently an expert in Christianity, Satanism, Wicca, and in — surprise! — “conspiracy theories.” In his work, Dyrendal has sounded the alarm about the supposed dangers of evangelical Christianity in America — all the while dismissing as “conspiracy theorists” those who dare to sound the alarm about the dangers of Islam. In other words, he is a prototypical member of the European academic establishment.

Fortunately, Universitetsavisa, like Document.no, has a comments field for readers. One of the readers of the article about Solheim wondered what he thinks of born-and-bred Muslims who, writing for sites like Document.no, agree with pretty much everything that Rustad and others say there about the “religion of peace.” Another asked how Solheim distinguishes “between Islamophobia and entirely legitimate Islam criticism” and whether his “research” had included checking the supposedly “hateful” claims made by Document.no‘s contributors against the facts about Islam. A third wondered if Solheim was familiar with the frequent references, in the works of the popular Islamic theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to a future and fondly hoped-for Islamic conquest of Europe. As yet another reader of Universitetsavisa put it: “It stops being a conspiracy theory when you have evidence that it’s happening.”

The University of Oslo, in Oslo, Norway. (Image source: Dan Lundberg/Flickr)

Biggest war games kick off in Sweden to practice deterrent skills against Russia (VIDEOS) — RT News

September 14, 2017

Sweden is hosting its largest military games so far this century to prepare for a possible Russian attack. The number of troops involved exceeds by several thousand those participating in the concurrent Russia-Belarus Zapad 2017 drills.

Source: Biggest war games kick off in Sweden to practice deterrent skills against Russia (VIDEOS) — RT News

Sweden’s Aurora 17 military exercise, the largest in over two decades, involves a total of 19,000 Swedish troops, as well as 1,435 soldiers from the US. Non-NATO member Sweden will also host personnel from around 40 government agencies from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Lithuania, Norway and the United States, to practice active deterrence against a foreign enemy.

READ MORE: Sweden, NATO allies launch biggest military exercise in 23yrs amid ‘Russian threat’

 

“It is the greatest, the biggest, military exercise we have conducted for 23 years. We are exercising in a context where we are at home protecting our country, where we have the situation occurs when there is a military aggression towards a country,” Swedish Chief of Defense Micael Byden said Wednesday.

Sweden also says that the maneuvers are being held with an eye on Russia.

“Russia is the country that affects security in Europe right now with its actions – the annexation of the Crimea and continued battles in eastern Ukraine. So it is clear that we are watching very closely what Russia is doing,” Byden said.

Moscow reiterated, that Crimea reunited with Russia in 2014 following a referendum, in which over 96 percent of its residents approved the move.

Stockholm emphasizes that the ongoing drills, which will run until September 20, are not NATO exercises, but Swedish national defense maneuvers. Participation of foreign forces troops is welcomed in case of any potential aggression that Sweden might encounter from Russia. The drills conducted in the air, on land, and at sea are concentrated in Gotland, in areas around Stockholm, Mälardalen and Gothenburg.

“We build our security together with others. We are prepared to give support but also to receive support when needed,” Byden said. “The signal Sweden is sending right now is that we’re here, we’re prepared to take the responsibility for stability and security in the surroundings.”

“We do it by ourselves but we also do it together with international partners. That’s the message we are sending around the world,” Byden stressed.

Not everybody sees the Aurora maneuvers as good for the safety of Swedish citizens.

“Military exercises don’t make us safer,” says anti-militarist and peace activist Pelle Sunvisson. “I don’t think that military can protect us.”

All the support of a NATO presence in the country, Sunvisson believes, is due to the fact that “there’s a lot of money to be made from armament, from getting closer to NATO. There’s a lot of political careers to be done from playing on the threat.”

The drills run parallel to the Russia-Belarus Zapad 2017 exercises which kick start on Thursday.

Apart from 70 aircraft and nearly 700 land vehicles, the exercise will involve up to 12,700 troops, over 6,000 fewer than the personnel involved in Sweden’s drills.

Western officials and media outlets, however, continue to state that the drills will have over 100,000 participants. Moscow said that it was “astonished” by those “baseless figures,” and that it had provided “comprehensive information of the concept, defensive nature and true figure of the Russian troops engaged in the Zapad 2017 exercise” in a timely manner, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement earlier in September.

Moscow also reiterated that the deployment of troops for Zapad 2017 would not exceed the limits for mandatory monitoring under the 2011 Vienna document, the OSCE agreement meant to foster confidence through a number of measures to make military forces deployed in Europe more transparent. Russia and Belarus hold major joint military exercises every two years, alternately in each country.

While NATO and its partners are concerned about the exercises, Moscow has repeatedly pointed to the bloc’s own increased military activity on Russia’s borders. Moscow estimates that around 40,000 NATO troops have and will take part in various military drills in Europe between June and November.

Moscow has also warned that NATO’s military build-up close to its borders, which has intensified since the Ukraine crisis, risks undermining regional security. Yet despite the Russian concerns, EU is considering creating a free movement of troops and military hardware across Europe. The so-called ‘military Schengen’ concept was voiced during the latest EU defense ministers’ meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.