The racist sentiments of “moderate” Muslims
by Henrik Ræder Clausen
In the Danish pro-Palestine demonstration in central Copenhagen (Rådhuspladsen), January 10th 2009, Gülay Kocbay and her sister Havva Kocbay were participating. They used to be in the board of directors of Muslimer i Dialog, a supposedly moderate organization for Danish Muslims. This article details why they resigned.
The sisters are first seen here, interrupting a pro-Israel rally with a siren.
The police react as can be expected, telling the Muslims that disturbing a legal demonstration is against the law, and firmly requesting them to leave the center of the square and get out of sight behind a nearby building. At 2:02 the first of several Nazi salutes during this demonstration can be seen.
Havva Kocbay protests the police intervention here (sound only, Danish).
After the Palestinians and their supporters have been relegated to behind the black building, a more extensive display of Nazi sympathy follows. Right arm salutes, shouting the praises of Hitler, Allah and Muhammad (one thought that only Allah had the right to be worshipped?) and calls for indiscriminate killing of Jews is recorded on video here:
A transcript and English translation of this video, which is patched together from several scenes, can be found at Europe News.
Apart from the Nazi references, other noteworthy parts are:
Muhammad Rasul Allah! [Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah!]
And (later on in the demonstration):
Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad sawfa yaoud.
Which translates into “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” That is a reference to Muhammad’s genocide on the Jews of Khaybar, and thus an implicit threat against Jews in general.
In between the first Hitler salutes in this video and the march with the Khaybar references are several short speeches, captured on video here:
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A transcript and translation into English follows at the end of this article. It can be difficult to distinguish who is who among Islamic women wearing headscarves, but since she admits to having disturbed the pro-Israel rally (by activating a siren — see video above), it is reasonable to assume that it is Gülay Kocbay making the first of these speeches. The speech is given after the right-arm salutes and the praises of Hitler, Allah, and Muhammad a few meters away from her. That has not made her abandon the demonstration, and her radical anti-Jewish speech is fully in line with the sentiments expressed some minutes earlier.
After her anti-Jewish speech follows an agitated man. He praises Sheik Osama bin Laden, calls for more terrorist acts in the style of September 11th, and threatens obliteration of Israel.
The next man speaking is more composed, asking the crowd to calm down and take it easy, calls for Israel to be tried for criminal behavior. He seems not to fully understand the details of international law that justify the Israeli attacks on Hamas.
So much for the demonstration itself. Now for some investigation into Gülay Kocbay’s resignation from Muslimer i Dialog, what she states and regrets, and what she does not mention. First, the official announcement of their resignation from MiD is here.
Resignations from the board
The board of MiD has received a notice from two board members who wish to resign from the board. The reason can be read at this link.
The board is taking their resignations ad notam, and thanks them for their valuable contribution to the boards’ work.
Muslimer i Dialog
How ‘moderate’ is Muslimer i Dialog actually?
Muslimer i Dialog is one of the best-known Danish Muslim organizations. It was created to give an alternative to the fundamentalist Islamic teachers such as Abu Laban from Islamisk Trossamfund, who openly declared themselves as ‘Salafi’-oriented, that is, fundamentalists. However, Muslimer i Dialog initially turned out not to be significantly less fundamentalist than Islamisk Trossamfund, as exemplified by these present and previous board members (most links in Danish), who all express fundamentalist Islamic points of view. Most of the persons below are ex-members of the board. Relatively little is known about the persons who currently constitute the board of directors:
- Co-founder and current chairman Fatih Alev, who advocates using democracy to implement Sharia law and abandon secular legislation.
- Founder Naveed Baig, previous member of Minhaj-ul-Quran.
- Abdul Wahid Pedersen, a convicted drug dealer, who supports stoning for adultery, with the famous quote: “It says so in my holy book. What can I do?”:
- Helen Latifi, who also refuses to condemn the practice of stoning to death. She is not particularly fond of facing up to the details of the Sirat (mixed Danish-English).
- Safia Aoude, who after toying with holocaust denial and ‘Photoshop libel’ was forced to leave the Danish Conservative party. She also refuses to condemn capital punishment by stoning. She has the nickname “Sword of Ghadaffi” for her ardent support of the Libyan dictator. Her position on the Bulgarian nurses earned her a ‘racist’ label even in the Danish left wing.
Now, having board members hold anti-Jewish speeches at a demonstration praising Hitler and endorsing genocide is obviously too much even for an organization with fundamentalist ties and leanings. It is hardly any wonder that the Kocbay sisters were forced to leave.
But what is the official position of MiD on the quite vocal pro-Palestine rallies? It can be found here in an undated announcement, probably published January 11th or 12th 2009, after the news of the demonstration in Copenhagen.
Reactions to the Israeli mass killing of civilians in Gaza
Many are currently demonstrating these days against the unrestrained conduct of Israel in Gaza. The cause of the demonstrators is 100% just and their anger is 100% justified. In spite of the terrible events that anyone can follow in television and newspapers, most demonstrations so far — with a few exceptions — have been peaceful and cooperating with the law. The organizers deserve great praises for their efforts and meticulous instructions to the demonstrators. The media should be ashamed of usually only covering the demonstrations when trouble was brewing.
When many are assembled and emotions are already stirred by the passivity of the international society, it takes little for a demonstration to develop in unfortunate directions. As a demonstrator, one is easily caught by the emotion where the greater community around a just cause may make one do things that later become cause for regret.
Muslimer i Dialog encourages everyone to stay calm and to keep their dignity during these demonstrations. This goes for members and non-members of Muslimer i Dialog, board members as well as plain members. Muslimer i Dialog strongly discourages participation in unannounced and thus illegal demonstrations.
The last paragraph clearly alludes to the Hitler-endorsing demonstration documented in the videos. But some important points are not addressed in their announcement:
- What is the attitude of Muslimer i Dialog towards open anti-Jewish sentiment?
- Where is the unconditional condemnation of incitement to violence and terrorism?
- Where is the unconditional condemnation of Nazi symbology and endorsement of Hitler?
- Where is the reaction to Muslims quoting the Khaybar events towards the Jews?
- Where is the shame over Muslims openly announcing their Nazi sympathies and call to genocide?
This quite vague statement leaves one to draw one’s own conclusions. The central issues are, as usual, not addressed directly. Sure, they are embarrassing. But this is the exact moment where moral clarity is needed, and a clear condemnation of Palestinians using of some of the most vile symbolism and ideology the world has ever faced.
As for Gülay Kocbay and her sister Havva — how do they deal with the Nazi sympathy displayed?
There are two announcements on Gülay’s blog: first and second.
Gülay, with her sister, deeply regrets their presence at the demonstration, which has caused them much trouble, and in particular the fact that she disturbed the legal pro-Israel demonstration by use of the siren (as in the video above).
She does not mention the speech, which was the cause for the rebuke from MiD and their later resignation. She does, however, deny having given the Nazi salute or that she hates Jews as such. She does not condemn the use of Nazi salutes at the demonstration, the calls for killing of Jews, nor the references to Muhammad at Khaybar as a threat against the Jews.
Her quoted reason to resign from MiD is the fact that she disturbed a legally announced demonstration. As in the announcement from MiD, we are left wanting for a reaction to the Nazi sympathy and the incitements to genocide.
Finally, the translated transcript of the speeches held in Copenhagen, Saturday 10th 2009:
The Israeli military is trying to earn themselves a country by killing infants, innocent women, by killing innocent men.
Is this a way to earn a country, in spite of Hamas being elected in a democratic fashion, by the people?
Is this what they are representing? Is this how you earn yourself a country, by killing innocents?
They were themselves subject to this, many years ago. And now they do the same to the Palestinian people. Why did they not do so in Europe when they were undesired?
Why does this have to harm lots of innocent Palestinians? This is not what I call ‘democracy’.
And now I wish to ask our dear policemen, who stand here surrounding us, in spite of us initially being peaceful, to … where we initially just meant to … to have a look, take a couple of pictures, but then they confronted us.
[Translator’s note: They were, appropriately, cordoned off for disturbing the pro-Israel rally, as shown here.]
Is the conduct of war, is this the democracy that the Israelis execute on … that the Danish policemen advocate? I’m asking!? Imagine that these were your children. Imagine that these were your own … daughters! Your own sons! Members of your family killed in spite of … ehm … that Hamas has been elected in a democratic fashion.
Is this what you call humanity? But, of course, we will not get a response to that, and we never will, because the righteous will always be repressed.
And we see this, we are surrounded by more policemen.
Shout: Allah-hu Akbar
02:10: Palestinian man takes over the megaphone. He shouts in Arabic, and the crowd repeats after him “Allah-hu Akbar”.
Then he speaks:
September 11th, this shall continue! Sheik Osama bin Laden has used a telephone, to kill 3000 persons. Israel spends thousands of billions to kill Palestinians.
This mobile phone, it can obliterate Israel! It can obliterate Israel! It can obliterate Israel! Hamas know this very well.
All Hamas members can obliterate Israel. [Shouts: Allah-hu Akbar] This mobile phone here, it can obliterate Israel! We can obliterate Israel!
We can kill a thousand … a thousand Jews! A thousand terrorists. You must never forget. That on September 11th there (…) used only a knife against (…) passengers.
We can use, we can use, mobile phones. To ibliterate, ehm, obliterate, Israel, bomb their busses.
But Israel uses thousands of bombs. Just like Jews, ehm, … just like Hitler.
You must never forget! Never forget!
[He continues shouting without the megaphone, which is taken by a man wearing a keffiyeh.]
Now we take it, now we take it, now we take it easy. I want, I want, I actually just want to, I just want to say a word, ehm, concerning what is happening in Gaza.
Imagine a Danish policeman’s farmer, a Danish farmer, acting like this towards his cattle. Would you not punish him in Denmark? Would he not be taken to court?
If you treat animals, here in Denmark, the way you treat people down in Gaza, then you will be taken to court.
What is happening to international justice? What is happen to humanity? What is happening to democracy? Is this democracy?
[Interruption:] Then I’ll explain what happens to the new ones.
[Speaker again:] What happens to a democracy that does not understand, that to tell Jews, and Zionists, that children, that children are not firing rockets from Gaza, children are being starved.