Archive for Denmark

EDL Summit in Denmark Humiliated by Low Attendance

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2012 by loonwatch

EDL Aarhus demo

EDL Aarhus demo

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

EDL summit in Denmark humiliated by low attendance

Anti-fascist demonstrators outnumbered far-right supporters more than 20 to one in Denmark as an English Defence League-led attempt to form a pan-European movement was humiliated.

Estimates suggested as few as 160 defence league members from several countries gathered at the inaugural far-right summit in Aarhus for the European counter-jihad meeting, devised to “send a clear message to the leaders of Europe” that Islamism would not be tolerated.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson admitted only 15 supporters from England made the trip, despite earlier speculation that hundreds might attend. In comparison, an anti-fascist demonstration in the same city to protest against the arrival of the EDL attracted up to 4,000 people.

Fears of violence had seen local police mount their biggest operation on the Jutland peninsula with the tense atmosphere amplified by the start of the trial this month of Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist and anti-Islamist who confessed to the murder of 77 people in Norway last July.

A cohort of the Norwegian Defence League travelled to Aarhus. Although none condoned Breivik’s actions, some said they shared his frustrations. One, who would be named only as Simon, from eastern Norway, said: “He had some important points. There are people who share his thinking, if not his methods.”

The low turnout in Aarhus is in fact the second time the EDL has travelled abroad to try to forge alliances. Its first attempt, in Amsterdam in 2010, was widely dismissed as a “damp squib” attracting about 60 supporters who were met with fierce opposition from Ajax football fans and anti-racist supporters. Robinson, the main attraction at the Aarhus summit, was unrepentant despite even fewer of his followers appearing, saying: “Just wait until there are hundreds of us coming in.”

Observer, 1 April 2012

Picture: EDL leader Stephen Lennon addresses the rather thin ranks of the European “counter-jihad” movement. EDL second-in-command Kevin Carroll is on the left wearing the T-shirt proclaiming that the EDL hates Nazis – a message just ever so slightly undermined by the fact that the individual on the right is former BNP organiser and bodyguard to Nick Griffin, Stuart Bates.

Update:  See also “Far right militants fail to strike blow against Islam on their Danish awayday”, Observer, 1 April 2012

Update 2:  And “Antifascists humiliate EDL’s cronies in Aarhus, Denmark”, UAF news report, 31 March 2012

Update 3:  Over at Atlas Shrugs mad Pamela Geller has reproduced the speech delivered by Anders Gravers of Stop Islamisation of Europe at the Aarhus rally. Some excerpts:

Most of us here today know we are in a war. A war that has been fought for centuries. Even those who have not yet realised that we are in a war know we face a big enemy that plans to rule the world. This enemy of freedom is called Islam and Muslims are its soldiers….

Islam is not a religion. It is the world’s biggest hate group. Muslims choose to be members of this hate group….

Islam is in reality a political party because it has its own manifesto to rule the world. Islam is a dictatorship. Its manifesto crushes all freedom. It dictates how people should behave for every second of the day.

Islam is the opposite of freedom, just as communism is. But Islam is worse than communism. It is communism with a vicious, violent god attached. This so-called god commands Muslims to make war on the Kuffar who live around them….

The Koran should be banned for being a manual of hate, just as some European countries have banned Mein Kampf. Mein Kampf means “My struggle”. Jihad also means “My struggle”. The difference is for Muslims, the struggle is to make Islam rule the world.

Both Mein Kampf and the Koran are full of Jew-hating…. Recently we saw in Toulouse just what Islam’s Jew-hatred brings to Europe. 70% of attacks on Jews in France are done by Muslims. And this is being repeated across Europe….

Every mosque being built must be protested against. Not only must protests be held outside mosques, but also the building companies making the mosques. Also the councils allowing mosques to be built.

Whenever a woman, or even worse, a child is raped, we must protest outside the mosque closest to where it happened…. The media must be challenged to report our protests or we will accuse them of supporting the violence of the world’s biggest hate group. Islam.

All anti-Islam groups must work together to defeat our enemy and to win this war.

Victory is ours. NO SURRENDER.

European “Counter-Jihad” Meeting: A dangerous New phase in extremist politics

Posted in Loon People, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on February 28, 2012 by loonwatch

Crusader

The English Defense League (EDL) is a far-right anti-immigration, anti-Muslim organization comprised overwhelmingly of young white men deeply pessimistic about the future.

Since its founding in 2009, the group has held a series of street demonstrations deliberately targeting neighborhoods with significant Muslim populations. The protests have often been marred by violence, racism, virulant Islamophobia, and frequest arrests.

Outreach is increasingly sophisticated, and their mission is global in scope. Next month’s meeting in Denmark may usher in a dangerous new phase in their quest for a fascist, worldwide “counter-jihad.”

 

Far right unites in European initiative

by Kevin Rawlinson & Paul Cahalan, The Independent

They achieve notoriety through a mix of combustible characters and often ugly protests, yet are kept on the political margins due to infighting and ill thought-out policies. But, next month, at a meeting in Denmark, some of Europe’s most notorious right-wing groups will meet for the European Counter-Jihad Meeting.

Those attending could witness the birth of a right-wing movement, the European Defence League – and the beginning of a dangerous new phase in extremist politics.

Representatives from defence leagues in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the USA, Italy, Poland and Finland are due to attend, along with the anti-Muslim groups Stop Islamisation of Europe, Stop Islamisation of the World and the far-right European Freedom Initiative. It is feared the new umbrella organisation could co-ordinate right-wing activities across Europe while politicising and unifying disparate groups. The idea, which is being championed by the English Defence League (EDL), could be modelled on the European Union – with delegates from participating countries meeting regularly.

Weyman Bennett, spokesman for pressure group Unite Against Fascism, said the meeting in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus, was the first meaningful meeting of such groups – which were looking at the EDL model and to mimic successful right-wing political parties in Eastern Europe, some of which have made it to government. He said:

The Euro-leagues are a new danger. We should not forget that it was the Norwegian Defence League that gave us Anders Breivik. The growth of a Euro-league in a time of economic crisis threatens to resurrect fascist street armies such as those that destroyed European democracies in the 1930s. The development of this network allows fascists and right-wing populists to share ideas, finance and experience in a way that should worry us all.

Mr Bennett added the groups would be using the euro crisis as a way to pull in new members, particularly from the middle classes.

He added: “We used to have a number of disparate groups. Now we are moving to a stage where we have fewer groups but they are more organised and sophisticated.”

Some 50 EDL leaders – whose members have been involved in violent clashes with anti-fascist groups in the past – will travel to the meeting. “This is the first proper European Defence League meet. We have been building bridges for the last two years and this is going to be the launch pad,” said Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the leader of the EDL, who is also known as Tommy Robinson.

He added the leader of each national defence league would sit on a panel and would meet “every three to four months”. He said: “We will discuss tactics. Each country’s delegates will get time to describe the problems they have. We will try to pool resources. For example, if another defence league wants to run a demonstration in their own country, they are unlikely to get as much media interest as if we were involved, so we would go over there and lend some support.”

Dr Matthew Goodwin, an expert on the far-right at Nottingham University, said a Continent-wide far-right alliance would help extremist groups organise demonstrations, which carry the possibility of violence and provide access to better-resourced and organised groups in eastern and central Europe.

He said:

The strategy is to organise large marches for the media attention and to provoke anti-fascist and Muslim groups, as well as the local population. Wherever these movements go, there is a possibility of violent clashes. With the EDL, there are question marks over where the movement is heading, if not towards elections. This would be an indication of where it sees itself going.

Dr Goodwin added that, historically, the far-right has often tried to build alliances on the Continent. “If there is anything the Breivik experience taught us, it is that the European-level movements, which share ideas and resources, are very dangerous.”

Farooq Murad, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said the move was “worrying”. He added the MCB was trying to bring together Muslim groups to counter an increase in Islamophobia.

Last year, Mr Yaxley-Lennon announced that negotiations to set up a political wing of the EDL were at an advanced stage. An alliance with the far-right British Freedom Party was discussed and Mr Yaxley-Lennon said he hoped to stand candidates in the next round of local elections. That deal has not yet been concluded and it is thought that it has met with some resistance among the EDL’s grassroots.

Yesterday, about 600 people travelled to Hyde, Greater Manchester, to take part in an EDL protest against an alleged attack by Asian youths on two white teenagers in the town. Eleven were arrested for minor public order offences.

Imran Garda: Never-ending Cartoon Chaos

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by loonwatch

A thought provoking piece about the cartoon debacle by AlJazeera’s Imran Garda.

Never-ending cartoon chaos

by Imran Garda (AlJazeera)

At a meal of halal pasta at a Johannesburg restaurant in 2004 , I found myself defending my one-time work colleague, Graeme Joffe, at a table of young Muslim men, after a joke he had made on a local radio station.

“Even if he thinks he’s funny, this was insulting to us, and the brothers are right to launch a complaint,” said one.

“They should fire him. Do you even know what he said? ‘What do you call a Bangladeshi cricketer with a bacon sandwich on his head? Ham’head. And if he has two bacon sandwiches? Mo’Ham’head!’ Disgusting!”

I tried to interject diplomatically, “I know Graeme, he’s one of the most polite, least offending, self-deprecating people you can meet. It’s a light-hearted radio show, come on. I worked with him at Supersport; if anything they should fire him because the joke was so bad!”

“Garda, you don’t understand”, insisted the most annoyed. “No matter how harmless the intention” and, with the surest of conviction, he continued: “When it comes to the prophet, there are no jokes.”

Joffe and the radio station were censured after South Africa’s Broadcasting Complaints Commission saw his joke as “hate speech” that violated the constitution. And yes, it has been no joke since late 2005, when 12 cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten seemed to ignite frenetic flames of fury that just wouldn’t die down.

The very depiction of Prophet Muhammad was an affront to Muslims, who do not depict him for fear of idolatry, among numerous other theological reasons. He has been depicted before, to the annoyance of many Muslims, but not much more. What seemed to tip the saga into the epicly dangerous territory that it has occupied since is that a substantial number of the images of him had sometimes tacit, sometimes overt references to Muhammad and misogyny, Muhammad and violence, Muhammad and terrorism.

Manufacturing anger?

But was that it? Was there merely an impulsive, collective rising up, a synergy of the insulted? Had the outcry been devoid of any larger outside forces prodding, pricking, planning – manufacturing anger?

The recent WikiLeaks revelations suggest otherwise. They show that the US charge d’affaires in Damascus, Stephen Seche, believed that Syria actively encouraged violent protests in which the Danish and Norwegian embassies were attacked. The leak reminded me of another meal in another African country, Egypt, in 2008.

“Mashallah, you’re from South Africa? I do a lot of work there; we are training 600 da’ees (Muslim missionaries) to approach fans during the World Cup in 2010.”

Imam Fadel Soliman paused for another spoonful of molokhiyya, an Egyptian soup dish. He was hungry – he had been fasting all day. We shared our Ramadhan iftaar before recording an Inside Story programme later that night, where he appeared as one of our guests.

A big, friendly man, who seemed permanently out of breath, with an engaging presence, Imam Fadel was bursting with a faith he was keen to share; he later dished out DVDs on Islamic guidance to our film crew and producers, in multiple languages to boot. He was like an ambassador for Islam, but it was what he told me about another ambassador which was of infinite interest to me:

“Do you know our Egyptian ambassador to South Africa, Mona Attiah?” he asked as he wolfed down some more Iftaar.

“I can’t say I do.”

“Mashallah, she’s a good sister, has done a lot for Muslims. She doesn’t wear hijab, but she’s a good woman.”

He continued.

“Are you sure you don’t know her?”

“I’m sorry”, I said. I wasn’t sure whether it was my South African or Islamic credentials which were beginning to wane in his eyes.

“She was in Denmark before South Africa. She was the ONE ambassador who really stood up to the Danish government, and insisted on a meeting with them over those cartoons about our prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam (peace be upon him). And when they said they didn’t want to meet and can’t stop ‘freedom of expression’, she stood firm! She was the one who got the other ambassadors on board to go the Arab League in Cairo together to show our united condemnation, that the cartoons were unacceptable! Mashallah.”

It was what he said next that I’ll never forget:

“If it wasn’t for her, we may never even have heard of those cartoons.”

Two Danish imams carried the cartoon “dossier” throughout the Middle East with some extra cartoons thrown into the mix – images that were never published in Jyllands-Posten. One wasn’t even a cartoon, but a photocopied photograph of a picture lifted off the internet of a man wearing a pig-snout.

Ever since the outbreak of the crisis, it has been noted that many usually undemocratic governments, often brutal in their suppression of mass protests which call for political reform, or rally against the price of bread – suddenly wholeheartedly embraced (and maybe even sponsored) the protest fever.

CCTV footage from the building that housed the Danish embassy in Beirut shown in Karsten Kjaer’s film Bloody Cartoons even suggests that the Lebanese army allowed protesters to converge on the building, Molotov cocktails in hand.

Does it come then as any surprise that years later, with over a hundred dead since the first spasm of violence, three men have recently been charged with plotting to mow down the staff of Jyllands-Posten with machine guns?

In early 2006 even mainstream scholars, like Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, hated by many hardliners for his liberal and forward-thinking opinions on issues of Islamic jurisprudence, called for a “day of anger” around the Muslim world in response to the cartoons. He said Muslims are not “donkeys to be ridden on” but “lions that roar”.

In context, seen along with his and other scholars’ calls for an economic boycott of Denmark and strong political lobbying against the country and the newspapers that published the cartoons, many would interpret his call to “roar” metaphorically. As a call for a stern but peaceful response against a provocation from Jyllands-Posten that smacks of goading, demeaning and ostracising Muslims.

But (and it’s a big but) an obvious, glaring problem is with the rise of the far-right in Europe, where issues of Muslims veils and minarets, anti-immigration and integration dominate the discourse: will every offended Muslim interpret the call that way? Much of the post-cartoon rhetoric left ample room for subjective interpretation. Are we not seeing the fallout continuing to unfold before our eyes?

Freedom of Expression

“Freedom of Expression” – it has a post-modern, sacrosanct, warm-fuzziness about it. But are those who claim it entirely consistent?

The editor responsible for the cartoons, Flemming Rose, pledged to Christiane Amanpour in an interview that Jyllands-Postenwas attempting to make contact with the Iranian newspaper that ran cartoons about the Holocaust, and hoped to publish them too. He reneged on his promise, and was put on a short “leave of absence” by the paper.

At the time, cat-eyed Anders Fogh Rasmussen was the Danish prime minister. His devotion to “Freedom of Expression” and “Freedom of the Press” in his country was indisputable and was tested from multiple corners, diplomatic and otherwise.

He cannot have been too impressed when he went from being the head of a friendly, isolated Scandinavian country to seeing effigies of himself burnt on the streets of Pakistan.

But now, as the secretary-general of NATO, the most powerful fighting force history has ever known, RSF (Reporters Without Borders) claims his NATO forces in Afghanistan have treated “journalists working in difficult provinces … like dangerous criminals”.

Afghan journalists, like Al Jazeera cameraman Mohammed Nader, have found themselves arrested and later released without charge, on suspicion of having links with the “enemy” because of alleged links to the Taliban and their spokespersons.

This dovetails with an Afghan government order in March 2010 banning all coverage of “insurgent attacks” in the country with the threat of prosecution of any journalist who does – an ominous message to journalists there.

Is the dedication of men like Flemming Rose and Anders Fogh Rasmussen to “Freedom of Expression” relative to an ideological worldview? Are they dedicated to a complete freedom of expression only of the “good guys” – but heaven forbid you let the “bad guys” express themselves.

As Noam Chomsky put it – “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

Blame

Who’s to blame? Jyllands-Posten? The Danish government? Global Islamophobia and its racist defenders or global Islamism and its idealogues? Or the governments who may have actively encouraged their citizens to get angry?

In the five-year long cartoon crisis, anger ebbs and flows, condemnation bursts and retreats and worldviews collide. Art meets politics, satire meets the sacred, and provocation cries crocodile tears when it meets a response it claims it never expected.

Maybe, just maybe, the seemingly never-ending cartoon chaos was epitomised by the guy who held up the banner at the cartoon protest rally in London, saying “Freedom of Expression Go To Hell!”

 

Charles Johnson: Feelin’ the Love From Danish Kounterjihad Kultur Warriors

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by loonwatch
Lars is on the rightLars is on the right

Charles Johnson has made quite a transformation, from one time paragon of the anti-Muslim blogosphere into a balanced and critical libertarian. This has incited the revilement and hatred of his former friends Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller who think he is the worst person in the world and a Benedict Arnold.

Recently he put up a revealing piece about some Islamophobes or as they like to term themselves these days “Kounter jihadis” in Denmark who are calling for bizarre action against “Mooslims in their countries.”

Feelin’ the Love from Danish Kounterjihad Kultur Warriors

A few days ago a writer for the Danish weekly Weekendavisen, Jesper Vind Jensen, emailed and asked for my opinion on a Danish critic of Islam named Lars Hedegaard who’s apparently now in the midst of a controversy, over statements he made calling for a sort of paramilitary strategy of civil disobedience against Muslims in Denmark.

Jensen wrote that he had seen an image of Lars Hedegaard in a photoshop at some website that was attacking me for something, and thought I must have written something about Hedegaard that prompted it. But the name didn’t mean much to me; I searched LGF and didn’t find any posts mentioning Hedegaard, and I didn’t recall writing anything about him.

Then Jensen emailed this link to a speech in Hedegaard’s own words: The Resilience of the Commoners – Sappho.

3. We need to develop a strategy that may allow us to achieve our objectives. This means that we must develop a comprehensive and deep strategy equal to that of islam. This strategy must take into account that some of our public and private institutions may opt to side with our enemies unless we force them to side with us.

A successful defensive strategy may necessitate the creation of parallel institutions under our control accompanied by civil disobedience vis-à-vis the official, dhimmified ones – which is a classical occurrence in occupied countries.

We would undoubtedly benefit from a study of the modus operandi of primarily European resistance movements during World War 2 though our present situation is much more ominous at least long term.

Jensen also told me that Lars Hedegaard had attended the meeting in Brussels in 2007 partly sponsored by the Belgian extremist party Vlaams Belang; and so I gave him a quote through email that said:

OK, now I remember Hedegaard. He’s obviously an extremist, and anyone who consults with the neo-fascists of the Vlaams Belang should not be trusted. And talking about a “public uprising” is insane. He is associating with fascists and advocating violence, and should be shunned by decent people.

Here’s the Danish-language article Jensen and his partner Klaus Wivel wrote forWeekendavisen, in PDF form: De er alle blevet kukkuk.

Apparently this has stirred up yet another enclave of blogs that despise me, over in Denmark. I knew I felt my ears burning. LGF reader Øyvind Strømmen emailed a few links that I put through the Google translator.

For example, Character-suicide of open carpet. And get a load of the name on this blog: MonoKultur. Of course, they believe this is a war, so anything is justified.

Some of those sites are harping (again) about a photograph of Filip DeWinter of the Vlaams Belang and Markus Beisicht of Pro Koln; here are the LGF posts on this photo, because as usual these bloggers are deliberately distorting the truth:

Classic Misdirection from Spencer and Geller
How Do You Say ‘Liar’ in German?

UPDATE at 1/10/10 3:30:19 pm:

Øyvind Strømmen has written a lengthy rebuttal of the claims going around right wing blogs supporting Hedegaard; here’s the Google translation to English from Norwegian: “No fascists to see” – comment on a Danish blog war.