Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Response to Tariq Ramadan

“Fear was first caused by some planes entering buildings, tourists and locals being blown up on Bali and risky transport in Madrid and London. Fear was not caused by polarizing politicians.”

Our Dutch correspondent Michiel Mans also writes for the prominent online magazine Het Vrije Volk. He usually writes in Dutch, but today he has posted a response in English to a January 1st interview with Tariq Ramadan. His article is in the format of an open letter:


To: Tariq Ramadan
CC: redactie@em.eur.nl

Ref: interview erasmusmagazine (page 37 — .pdf file)

Dear Professor,

I would like to comment on the things you said in your Erasmus University interview. You talked about the ongoing debate on immigration and integration. You said:

Tariq RamadanWe are still far from peaceful statements, and there are still those who try to polarize the political debate. However, there is a difference between the national rhetoric and the local reality. At the local level, people are more used to dealing with problems, with tensions. The people that polarize the political discourse do so to acquire votes. It’s built on fear. I’m always saying that we are dealing with a revolution of fear, while we need a revolution of trust.

I’m afraid you turn things around a bit. Or get them in the wrong order. Fear was first caused by some planes entering buildings, tourists and locals being blown up on Bali and risky transport in Madrid and London. Fear was not caused by polarizing politicians. In Holland the murder of van Gogh and the threats made to Ayan Hirsi Ali and others didn’t help either. That started the polarization. Since the attacks and murders, polarization got worse because of the differences in opinion about how to deal with Islamic terrorism, the immigration and integration of Muslims. It is not just a matter of polarization between Muslims and non-Muslims, but also between roughly speaking, adherers of left wing and right wing sentiments and thoughts. Polarization isn’t a means to an end, or to get votes for anyone, but it is the product of differences in opinion and the way the debates, or lack of, are held.

It’s quite logical in fact. You have a great majority at a local level living together with very little tension - though it’s not perfect. But there is a tiny minority of people who are radical, who live in isolation, and who behave in a way which is not in the general interest.

Actually, it is not a tiny minority. More and more Muslims decide they don’t want to become Dutch and look and behave western. Most of the second and third generation still don’t speak proper Dutch (or a local Dutch accent), but speak with a heavy Moroccan or Turkish accent. Ever met a third generation American with Dutch grandparents who still spoke pigeon English? Where does this desire to wrap yourself in a Hijaab come from? From the native Dutch or out of the Mosque? How does insisting on speaking, behaving and dressing differently helps in depolarisation?

These people are in the discourse because of its exceptional media coverage. The media report on the destructive few not on the many who live in peace with each other. It’s a vicious circle, because through talking about these examples, these exceptions, we forget about the reality of the great majority.

Most live apart in peace, not in peace together. A significant difference. It is not the few religious idiots with guns whom are most feared, it’s the rapidly expanding religious masses, and very recognisably so, who are feared. Not butchering each other (yet), can be called ‘peace’. However, is it peaceful in the true sense of the word? I don’t think so.

What then happens is that this is used by some politicians who say ‘look we have a problem with integration because of these people’. We are no longer dealing with ideologies, but with negativism: ‘I know an Arab, I know a black, I know a Muslim’… and you build a whole community from this. This is exactly the meaning of populism. Populism is an ideology built on fear.

I’m sorry Professor but this is bollocks. Populism is rhetoric in which things are said in a somewhat over simplistic, superfluous and demagogue way. Calling it an ideology built on fear is demagogic language. If not populism.
- - - - - - - - -
Populism is indeed always built on something. So we have to look with a sharp eye and mind at the reality. There is a sense of alienation, marginalization and even self-isolation sometimes. And there is the magnitude of the problem which is completely new, with millions still to arrive.

And who invites these fresh millions? It seems inevitable with our current governments, but we can and should stop the flow of these millions. We cannot absorb those already here, while more keep coming in large numbers. Why come over here anyway? Why not make a decent life over there? We had to do it ourselves as well. Even a few times. Actually, my parents did the last time everything lay in ruins. Besides, in most cases the countries of origin of these millions have a lot more room than we have. And we are horrible people as well, let’s not forget that. No? So why on earth do all these people want to come over here?

So you can’t deny there is an ‘us against them’. However, the question is: do we just continue saying this, or do we say there is a future as a common society? How do we come from us and them to ‘us together’, that’s the question?

You forgot one option. The ‘living apart together’ option. It works fine for many couples, why shouldn’t it work for Muslims and non-Muslims as well? Come to think of it, I think it is a marvellous idea. The desired respect, exchange of ideas and recipes can also come from a distance. Westerners in Europe doing their stuff, Muslims in Muslim countries doing Muslim stuff. We have no trouble with other people except Muslims (and not all Muslims at that). Not really.

The ‘us together’ means accepting that we are in a society and in this society there are rules. It means we say we know where you come from and we respect your memories and who you are. This respect should be shown in the common legal framework. It’s a two-way-process. The newcomers should accept the legal system of the society in which they choose to live.

I’m a bit weary of this respect word. Our Prime Minister is in the habit of using the word just about every other sentence. Respect is earned, not given beforehand or a pre-requisite. Acceptance of the legal system by a newcomer with the intention of becoming a citizen, a native, is the very beginning of acceptance, not the end goal. Certainly your children have to assimilate, otherwise nonacceptance as a native is inevitable. See e.g. a Scotsman in London. He’s British, but not English. It’s the ‘clan gene’ in all people.

The point is to say ‘I am an insider, this is my society and this is where I belong’. An old concept like citizenship should be replaced by a new one like a sense of belonging. It’s the psychological component of integration; to feel at home and confident.

It’s all psychology indeed. Somewhat instinctive even at times. Apart from ‘to feel at home’ for the newcomers, don’t forget the ‘still feels like home’ for the natives. Some parts of Amsterdam, or The Hague, don’t feel or look like home anymore.

But be careful with confidence: real confidence means that one is also able to be self-critical. People do not always understand that. A genuinely confident person is critical towards himself, towards people from his own religion and society; not unifying and not thinking of himself as a member in a superficial way. A critical mind is very important. So we need to add critical loyalty, that’s essential. Critical loyalty is based both on self-confidence and an open mind. Self-confidence means I know what my values are, but I see that not all the people in my society behave according to them.

In an ideal world, where all are ‘genuinely confident’, this may perhaps work. Unfortunately, many are not genuinely confident. Not taking these people into consideration, or dismiss them as being wrong, is not realistic and can lead to disaster. Then, he who starts the throwing of stones, or why, becomes irrelevant. The throwing must be avoided at all cost. Looking at Paris, or on a smaller scale at home in Amsterdam -Sloten, stones are already regularly flying.

So in Holland people are not self confident but Holland is regarded as liberal and the Dutch values are great. However, a number of people fail to see that even in Holland, though it has equal rights for all, when a person is black he has “less equal” rights then others. Exactly the same applies to the Muslims.

Bollocks Professor, bollocks. And you have a seat at the Erasmus University? Dutch Law is ‘firmly’ colour-blind. What individuals or some enterprises do, is something else. Discrimination regrettably exists, but it exists among all. Whites, blacks, natives and Muslims. You actually discriminate us Dutch natives by suggesting we are the only discriminating people in Holland.

There is no discrimination between women and men in the Islam, but in Muslim communities there is discrimination.

No discrimination between men and women in the Islam? Ever read the Quraan Professor? Either you haven’t and your lack of knowledge makes you state this, or you missed something. Quite a lot actually. The third option is that you are a liar. It is that simple. The Quraan discriminates between men and women many times over. It’s there in black and white. For the sake of argument, if this discrimination doesn’t come from Islam, where does it come from in the Muslim world? From Iran to Pakistan, from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, women are more suppressed than outside the Muslim world. And most of it is done with the Quraan in hand.

The fears are logical and they are legitimate. They are scared of people coming here who will change society. It has always been like this; we were always scared of newcomers. So the newcomers have to respect the concerns of the people.

Because it has always been like this everywhere, newcomers only should come when invited and when they are welcome. As with guests at home in your own house, it is also not much appreciated when the guests after arrival, invite all of their family to come over as well. Plus half the village. It’s not just a matter of attitude, it’s also a matter of numbers and speed of numbers.

But having said that; how do we get beyond that? Fears themselves are not right or wrong, it’s what people do with their fears. As Nietzsche said about suffering: suffering is not the issue, it is what you do with your suffering. The only thing that helps is a critical mind. We are reducing Islam to the Arab world; countries like Senegal, Turkey Malaysia, all Muslim countries, are in a way following the democratic pattern. Of course, countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia do have a problem. Having said this, one can ask oneself if these countries are undemocratic because they are Muslim or because of other parameters.

How about ‘both’ instead of ‘or’? They have problems because of Islam and because of other causes. Just a thought. It also doesn’t address the root cause of most of the troubles in these countries as well as over here. The Islam is the root cause. It is utterly mad. It is a sick and perverse doctrine full of hatred to non-Muslims. Believers live in constant fear of Allah’s wrath. It is totally ridiculous that one billion people believe that the perceived words of a man who was dead for more than a hundred years before his so called visions were written down, are the literal utterances of Allah, spoken to Mohammed via an angel. When written after a hundred years, it wasn’t even in Arabic. That came later yet again. To respect it, is to respect imbecility. Apart from historical, logical and other reasons why it is lunacy, there is no evidence for the existence of God. Any God. There are about two thousand ‘Gods’ world wide, all being the real deal you know. Allah has a lot of competition.

And look at what is happening now: we are talking about the most powerful democracy in the world, the United States of America, initiating wars everywhere.

Everywhere? And all these peaceful locals were just walking down the street minding their own business when these damn Yankees invaded? The Iraq invasion was wrong, agreed, what else justifies ‘everywhere’ (for no reason)?

Democracy is not a guarantee of peace. So don’t over simplify. There are no simple answers for complex situations. I may also lack answers, but I need to form a clearer picture of the complexity.

Agreed. Democracy is no guarantee for peace.

Another big gap is that between academic success and being successful in society. I earned a degree, but the guy next door without one, selling drugs or whatever, is getting more money then I’m ever going to earn. Here we have another gap to fill. So these are both practical and theoretical questions.

Is the Erasmus University paying that bad? Besides, not all non-academics are into drugs or make good money. Perhaps you should get out some more. As I’m a poor non-academic myself, not into drugs, we might have a drink one day and talk shop.

I have many concerns about the present situation, but I am optimistic in the long run. At the same time, we have to be realistic. I think the solutions are probably two generations from now. In fact, tensions will not be less active with second and third generation immigrants living in Europe,. These tensions are very, very strong. So I think it will take no less then 50 years of us living together, dealing with tensions, and with people working on building bridges.

Ella VogelaarAahh, that is where our Minister Ella Vogelaar has her ‘fifty years to integrate’ from. So, fifty more years of doom and gloom with those already here, and ‘millions more to come’. Perhaps our leaders are mad, it certainly looks that way, but a lot of Europeans do not like the idea of hara kiri. Neither cultural, nor economical, nor the katana way.

My work, like many people in the West, is that of a temporary bridge builder. For the time being, we’ve people on both sides saying: look at them, they are betraying us. We need at least two generations to understand what we are doing. We don’t need people who try to divide us and polarize the debate. But I am not naïve, I know that political forces are acting on both sides. One has to be patient and has to resist these forces that can take over because of the fear of people. This is a long process because we are changing mentalities, not only political systems. It’s a rather difficult task.

I’m afraid there are only four options. They have all been described before by others.

1. Muslims assimilate.
   This means taking the Islam about as serious as most European Christians take the Bible. In practice this means e.g. that Muslim women (18+) can dress up, or down, in mini skirts when they feel like it. They can have a drink or two, or perhaps one too many occasionally. Good heavens, they might even have a one night stand with lots of casual sex after such booze up. This doesn’t happen every day I hope, but they can if they want to and nobody will lock them up, stone them or give them the lash. They can marry whom they love, not who their fathers love. You get the picture.
 
2. Europeans become Muslims.
  Personally, I rather die but it is indeed an option.
 
3. No one gives in.
  Neither side is willing to give up their way of life and inevitably this leads to civil war. Muslims do their best to increase their numbers. However, for the time being if that happens, you do the math. I’m afraid we are going to see more of this option sooner or later.
 
4. See ‘living apart together’
  We decide that war is not in either group’s interest and we split.

Kindest regards,
Michiel Mans

7 comments:

Homophobic Horse said...

Yawn. So much wasted breath. At least bombs are honest and 'to the point'.

Zenster said...

More and more Muslims decide they don’t want to become Dutch and look and behave western. Most of the second and third generation still don’t speak proper Dutch (or a local Dutch accent), but speak with a heavy Moroccan or Turkish accent. Ever met a third generation American with Dutch grandparents who still spoke pigeon English? Where does this desire to wrap yourself in a Hijaab come from? From the native Dutch or out of the Mosque? How does insisting on speaking, behaving and dressing differently helps in depolarisation?
[emphasis added]

So much for assimilation. Amidst all their cries of "Islamophobia!" and "Racism!", it is the Muslims that pursue a "separate but equal" arrangement. This is Islamic bigotry, be it religiously inspired or culturally driven. Such self-imposed segregation should not fool anyone.

Respect is earned, not given beforehand or a pre-requisite. Acceptance of the legal system by a newcomer with the intention of becoming a citizen, a native, is the very beginning of acceptance, not the end goal.

Unfortunately, Michiel Mans does not account for Islam's monumental sense of entitlement. It is part of an insidious scheme whereby Islam demands recognition of its religious status as a lever to gain respect for its political framework as well. Thus, does theocratic shari'a ride along on the Koran's coattails, slithering past and going mostly unnoticed. The Muslim concept of tribute, called jizya, epitomizes this notion and is a solid indicator of how such unwarranted regard is demanded up front, even before there has been any demonstration of good faith.

Most rational persons are willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Islam's use of taqiyya and kitman is teaching people to distrust Muslims and not award them any credibility. This is Islam's fault and something that Muslims need to remedy. Such a burden of proof lies in direct opposition to the well-established Muslim sense of victimhood and is the source of much anger for them. Again, this tension is solely of their own making but Muslims nonetheless feel compelled to take that hostility out upon non-believers rather than ever confront their own lack of sincerity as being the actual root cause. It seems as though Islam has an exceptionally difficult time in dealing with root causes. This problem constitutes the basis for nearly every dispute or conflict between Islam and the West. Muslim failure to take responsibility for their own actions represents a huge percentage of the existing issues.

Infidels have not forced Muslims to dissemble and intentionally misstate their goals. This is something that Islam has injected into its own doctrine. The West has no obligation to demonstrate the slightest respect for such a gross violation of ethics and moral integrity. Quite the opposite is true. Such offensive and deceitful behavior should inspire derision and condemnation at all turns. This is only begining to happen, yet already the Muslims are, literally, up in arms over what is really a legitimate response to their predatory ways.

An old concept like citizenship should be replaced by a new one like a sense of belonging.

Here, Ramadan tries to slip one past the casual observer. Conservative Swede has already given us a dramatic object lesson as to what can be expected when the concept of nationality and citizenship are diluted through a sense of mere "belonging".

But be careful with confidence: real confidence means that one is also able to be self-critical.

By Ramadan's own definition Muslims must be completely lacking in confidence. Few other cultures demonstrate such a profound distaste for self-criticism. This is easily traced back to Islam closing the door on ijtihad, whereby any independent reasoning and interpretation ended in 900 CE.

However, a number of people fail to see that even in Holland, though it has equal rights for all, when a person is black he has “less equal” rights then others. Exactly the same applies to the Muslims.

Ramadan shamelessly plays the race card. Al Sharpton would be proud.

There is no discrimination between women and men in the Islam

The mind boggles. Aren't peoples' heads supposed to explode when they utter this sort of nonsense? More importantly, why aren't they? This is cognitive dissonance writ large.

Having said this, one can ask oneself if these countries are undemocratic because they are Muslim or because of other parameters.

Pure taqiyya. Islam regards democracy as utter blasphemy. In no way can the rule of Allah be superceded by manmade laws.

So I think it will take no less then 50 years of us living together, dealing with tensions, and with people working on building bridges.

This whole problem is going to be sorted out long before FIVE DECADES have passed. Most likely, to the distinct displeasure of one particular party. Which one is still open to debate but peaceful coexistence simply isn't in Islam's playbook. Rather forebodingly, Mans also foresees civil war as a third and likely option. Never forget one thing:

Islam will not have it any other way.

Laine said...

Tariq Ramadan is a master of taquiya. Although Mans and Zenster have no trouble deconstructing it, the education of most westerners on things Islamic has not proceeded far enough to follow suit.

Western media, as the handmaiden of leftists colludes in promoting the Ramadan type oleaginous BS without any critical analysis. How to reach the common man, who is too busy distracted by earning his daily bread and the circuses with which he fills his discretionary time?

How can we get people to notice the complete lack of reciprocity with so-called multiculturalism? Western countries must accept becoming "mini-globes" or Towers of Babel and even celebrate this never-worked-before formula but non-western countries that are the source of the immigration stay resolutely monocultural.

The logical end result is that the most successful countries/cultures are being made over at the demand of and in the image of countless failed countries/cultures while the sinking ships the mice are deserting are not being required to change.

It is Orwellian to call multicult a strength as it is being sold. It is turning out instead to be a weakness, a Trojan horse that brings in too many dissonant cultures and demands to meld into a unified and productive population.

The grand experiment of multicult did not do fatal damage as long as newcomer numbers and habits did not overwhelm the ability to assimilate them. Now it's like overloading the lifeboats.

The unprecedented movement into the west of millions in a short time frame who are themselves from a very intolerant culture that refuses to assimilate and is therefore more interested in colonizing is creating a dangerous situation for all.

I don't think that it is overstating the case to say that a new Dark Ages could come out of this, with a giant step backward for collective civilization.

When losers can change the make-up of winners through multicult, while winners are proscribed from trying to improve the make-up of losers (see world attitude on America in Iraq) then surely the end result is a world full of losers?

If the West goes down, who's going to feed Africa for example? The Arab/Muslim world, Russia nor China have not stepped up to the plate. Instead, they are aggravating Africa's pathologies.

Zenster said...

Laine: Western countries must accept becoming "mini-globes" or Towers of Babel and even celebrate this never-worked-before formula but non-western countries that are the source of the immigration stay resolutely monocultural.

Excellent post overall. The above quote's reference to "mini-globes" is a real keeper. A rather concise unmasking of multiculturalism with respect to lack of reciprocity in the MME (Muslim Middle East).

If the West goes down, who's going to feed Africa for example? The Arab/Muslim world, Russia nor China have not stepped up to the plate. Instead, they are aggravating Africa's pathologies.

Your last paragraph is the real corker. Congratulations on catching something that eludes most everybody in the West and is steadfastly ignored by Islam. I've already covered this in other posts, so I'll merely recap some of the high points.

Water poverty is endemic throughout the MME (Muslim Middle East). As populations grow, increasing amounts of water previously used for agricultural purposes are diverted into municipal drinking supplies. Deep aquifers are being pumped out at unsustainable rates and corrupt Arab governments are not willing to expend the massive amounts of money required to build expensive desalination plants or the nuclear reactors needed to power them.

One ton of grain requires ONE THOUSAND tons of water to grow. The average human diet consumes one third of a ton of grain per year, requiring over 300 tons of water. A Western diet rich in livestock can see that number rise to 800 tons of water needed to sustain such intake. Iran recently overtook Japan as the world’s largest grain importer. The MENA (Middle East North Africa) region ranks as the fastest growing market for imported grain. The water needed to accommodate this region’s combined consumption requires a volume roughly equivalent to the entire annual flow of the NILE RIVER. Bringing in foreign grain is just another way of importing water.

An immediate halt to exports of grain by America, Canada and Australia to the MME would bring about mass starvation in a matter of months, if not weeks. It borders on the ludicrous to consider how Islam continues antagonizing the West even as it is helplessly dependent upon it for their daily bread. An embargo of food shipments is one strategy that Russia and China—both major food importers—could not possibly triangulate against. One or two terrorist nuclear atrocities against the West could easily help it overcome any moral compunction about halting food shipments. No amount of money or any other lever could make the needed food magically appear. Even an oil embargo would not impact the West soon enough to counter the almost immediate onset of starvation.

U.K. TODAY. said...

I spent some time reading the full interview, and it seems Tariq Ramadan, in his own words sees himself as no more than a "temporary bridge builder", between the Islamic "Ummah" and the infidels of Europe.

These words, and the fact that he went on to say that the assimilation of Islam would not be complete for at least fifty years, convinces me that, his own personal overview of Europe,is that it would take half a century to usurp or indoctrinate the dhimmi populations, so in the meantime he had proclaimed himself as the moderately sounding, besuited fifth colomner of Mohammed, to deal with Islamic grievences in the meantime.

Bully for him!!!.

Laine said...

Is UK today really cheering on the takiyya-meister Ramadan who is merely misdirecting the West until he has enough "troops" in place through unchecked immigration and the inevitable procreation to declare Eurabia?

U.K. TODAY. said...

laine,

I know at once your not from the U.K.

Irony, is our hangmans noose.

We use it on occasions when we are totally exasperated by the situation at hand. Ramadan and his weasle words,exasperated me.

My appologies if you thought otherwise.