Saturday, April 29, 2006

Are the Swedes Coming to Their Senses?

The Emirate of SwedenAn AP report in Jerusalem Post notes:

The Swedish government and moderate Muslims on Friday sharply rejected demands by an Islamic leader to enact special laws for Muslims living in the Scandinavian country.

Mahmoud Aldebe, head of Sweden’s largest Islamic organization, SMF, said Muslims should be given time off work for Friday prayers and Islamic holidays and that imams should approve all divorces between Muslim couples.

His proposals, presented in a letter Thursday to Sweden’s parliamentary parties, were rejected as “completely unacceptable” by Sweden’s Integration Minister Jens Orback.

They also elicited a flood of criticism from moderate Muslims who said they were content with living under Swedish laws.

Previous Gates of Vienna posts on this topic are here and here.

MKSheppard posted a translation of the Swedish Muslims’ demands in their entirety on the AR15 forum. It includes the cover letter, which compares favorably with LN’s earlier translation. I have posted the entire document here. It bears close and careful scrutiny.

However, here are some choice excerpts which Dymphna has selected.

The problems that exist in regards to the Swedish religious freedom is that it is a Pietistic coloured understanding of individualised religion, that lie behind the Swedish laws regarding religious freedom, whereas for the Muslim minority it is the collective expressions of the religion that are central.

Mahmoud Aldebe, the author of these demands for Muslims, exposes here his own cultural blindness. Muslim collective religious thought does not trump individual religious expression. Sorry, Mahmoud, you can’t argue against the Enlightenment.

The Muslim minority criticises this narrow definition of religion that is the basis of the Swedish laws regarding religious freedom… we can request corrections of the Swedish family law to adapt it to Islam. It is this law that is the most important to Swedish Muslims: marriage, divorce, child protection, and raising underage children.

So far, Muslims have a great record on raising children, given the aggression of young Muslim males against Swedish women. It is the Muslim attitude (read: “contempt for”) Swedish women that needs to change.

A mosque in every city or county would have significant value to the Muslims of the country… it would greatly increase the sense of loyalty towards Sweden as your new homeland, despite being a Muslim.

A little blackmail here?

We demand special legislation in this matter that is the right to two days paid vacation in connection to the celebration of these holidays and that these two days cover the need to celebrate the holidays for Sunni and Shia Muslims and it proves that our religion and culture are accepted by the community.

Historically, the Jews in Christian countries hired “Sabbath goys” to fill in for them on their religious holidays. Muslims might consider doing the same: hire some “Friday kaffirs”. Muslims could learn a great deal from Jews in Sweden about surviving in a hostile environment.

To solve the integration problem requires a true adjustment of legislation to accommodate the Muslim demand…

No. It requires Muslim accommodation. Further, what do Muslims give back in return for the satisfaction of these demands?

Despite the fact that Islam has existed for 32 years as an organised religion in Sweden, the construction of burial grounds has been constantly hampered. Other than in the forest church yard in Stockholm there are Muslim burial grounds in 20 something countries, but that is not enough. Today there are Muslims in nearly 100 counties that lack burial grounds. The biggest general problem that Muslims encounter is that their dead are to be buried as quickly as possible, according to Islamic custom, and by a Muslim burial in their home county.

What Mr. Aldebe fails to mention is the Islamic notion of waqf. Essentially, waqf means that any real estate in which Muslims have ever been buried becomes Islamic property in perpetuity. Ask the Indians about the Taj Mahal. It’s interesting how many of these demands don’t tell the full story. They can often be defined by what they leave out.

Starting Imam education in Swedish universities and colleges is a demand from the nations Muslims and from Swedish authorities. The education can be created as part theology education, part Native Language (Arabic) education. Students can get permission to function as language and theology [religion] teachers. This education can create a natural integration of Islam in Swedish schools, and reduce the demand for private schools.

What gives Muslims the right to demand private schools? Like other sectarian groups, why don’t they build their own educational system? And why should government-run universities have to support theological education of any kind?

That the Swedish legal system is democratic and non-discriminating must in practise mean that the system should protect all people and ethnicities in the country, but this isn’t always enough as the Muslims see it. People who belong to minority groups can require special rights to be able to exist on an equal footing with the majority. The biggest problem that Muslims face is the opinions of the majority. The community is responsible [or guilty] for trying to assimilate the immigrants of the nation.

Wrong again. Inside out and backwards. Immigrants are responsible for their own assimilation. This means learn the language, learn the history, and learn the culture of your hosts. Islam badly needs to evolve a less narcissistic way of being.

Fjordman has often said that Sweden has the most advanced case of multicultural rot, and could be the first to collapse in the face of the Muslim onslaught. It seems that the Swedes may be awakening at last to the danger they face.

Ironically, some of the most commonsensical observations come from a Muslim. According to the Jerusalem Post, Haqq Kielan, head of the Swedish Islamic Society…

…called the proposals “absurd,” adding that they would lead to “a sort of Mullah-rule that people are scared of.”

“If you open the gate for separate laws for different minorities, where will it end?” he said. “We have to have one law for all citizens. That is so obvious that I don’t understand how he can come up with such an idea.”



fluffy said...

"Ironically, some of the most commonsensical observations come from a Muslim."

It is also ironic that this article comes from the Jerusalem Post.

I'm glad that they are making some kind of a stand. The funeral march for Joe Van Holsbeeck was encouraging. Let's hope it is a trend, not an isolated incident.

Adaneshju said...

Interesting article.

I think it's worth pointing out that these kind of requests in a way DO show a kind of "assimilation." That is, when the nanny-state governments of Europe have the kind of control over many aspects of life that they do, it's only natural that immigrants try to bend this to their advantage. Subverting public schools and demanding that the government build religious cemetaries--hard to imagine this in the US. I call another strike against Europe's fundamental social models.

And as an aside, about the institution of waqf--it's very analagous to the trust in mortmain in the West--the terms actually have somewhat similiar etymologies even, mortmain (mortua manus iirc, meaning dead hand) and waqf meaning "stopped." Another common translation is "endowment." A muslim being buried somewhere does not automatically make a place a waqf. In addition, though waqfs are supposed to be endowed, out of public property forever, they are very frequently seized by rulers (and have been historically) who needed new property, needed more taxes, etc.

Property must be owned and then donated, declared a waqf. Waqf endowment properties would typically be things like mosques, schools, hospitals, mausoleums and soup kitchens (or some combination of the above [they could also be purely monetary, and this was a common way in the Ottoman Empire of getting around prohibitions on usury]).

Anyway, long story short, a muslim in a grave doesn't make a waqf. If a funderal complex is built and funded, it's a good chance it was endowed as a waqf. my understanding of the Taj Mahal case is that that's what happened--the complex has a mosque, gardens, fountains, etc, and a tomb--the centerpiece. I'm not sure of the exact history--ie, if it was explicitly endowed as a waqf after the building. My understand of the modern day controversy springs from "rights" granted to the "waqf board" by the Indian govt. There would have been no waqf board before recently, it's a bureaucratic creation.

XY said...

"That is, when the nanny-state governments of Europe have the kind of control over many aspects of life that they do, it's only natural that immigrants try to bend this to their advantage."

Just like any other group. Welfare statism means continual economic civil war where all sorts of groups are fighting for a bigger share of the cake (as against being focused on producing it oneself). The total tax level in Sweden is something like 2/3 of anyone's income, and it is sickening that you as a tax payer are forced to contribute to the spread of phenomena like communism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Welfare statism is a completely immoral and disgusting system, and now we are witnessing how impractical it is as well.

Adaneshju said...

I believe I saw it here...article about Dateline trying a NASCAR "sting" operation with Muslim spectators?

This link seems to follow up on that slightly.

Jack Steiner said...

They are pushing and probing to see what they can get.

XY said...

" They are pushing and probing to see what they can get."

That's my view as well. This was a trial balloon, and they happened to be asking for too much this time. But what is too much right now may not be in one year from now.

Wally Ballou said...

Are you sure it's "ironic" that the commonsensical observations came form Moslems? I know a lot of folks on this blog think a moderate Muslim is a contradiciton in terms, but if there were such a person (as I belive there are many) they would be the most directly threatened by this absurd list of demands. And we know now that the open letter was not sent by 400,000 or 70,000 moslems, or 10,000, or maybe 100 - just the leader of the group acting on his own authority. I had wondered that from the strange tone of the original letter (inasmuch as translatition revealed it).

Anotehr quote from the Jerusalem Post story:

"He is lucky if he speaks for 70 of his members," said Abd al Haqq Kielan, an imam who heads the Swedish Islamic Society, one of five national Islamic organizations"

BTW in reading through the original Swedish stories (using one of those web-page-translation sites) I found that the center-right Swedish Liberal Party (remember Hans Blix?) is making a lot of hay with this. They appear to have demanded an investigation of illegal funding of Aldebe's organization (on the grounds, I infer, that they are functioning as a political lobby instead of just a social organization)

Seems like the Jersualem Post is the only English language news source following this story.

Baron Bodissey said...

Cato --

I still think it's ironic when the only commonsensical, straightfoward, normal, non-PC Swedish response to Muslim demands has to come from a Muslim. Regardless of how big the constituency behind the demands is.

As I've said before, I believe that most Muslims are "moderate". But it doesn't take a majority, or even a large minority, to cause immense political damage. Witness the Bolsheviks -- "moderate" Russians didn't support them at all, and moderate Russians were the vast majority.

Or the Black Panthers. They certainly didn't represent black people in America. But they successfully mau-maued the establishment, and we got stuck with "Black Panther Lite" -- Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton -- as supposed representatives of black America for the last thirty years.

A minority doesn't have to be numerous to be dangerously effective. It simply has to be shrewd, persistent, and utterly ruthless.

I believe the Islamists are the Bolsheviks of the 21st century.

XY said...

I believe Lenin at an early stage said something like "there are now 4 of us that completely understands communism. Success is guaranteed."

I think there are many extremists among the Muslims (even if most aren't - but there are many Muslims...). During the cartoon issue there are whole crowds with Muslims screaming their support for Bin Ladin, and the like. And I think all moderate Muslims are potential extremists - they share the same foundation. There are extremists in Sweden that with success recruits from the moderate Muslim camp (No one here denies the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Sweden.)

Wally Ballou said...

baron - your popint is well taken, but you might qualify it as: "the only commonsensical, straightfoward, normal, non-PC Swedish response" that we have heard...

We are peeping through a very small window at this story. I got the sense, trying to wade through untranslated Swedish web pages that there was a lot of reaction to this story in Sweden.

I couldn't get any of the comments links at the bottom of the Jerusalem Post story to work (javascript error) - too bad, they look tantalizingly interesting, and many of them are from Swedes.

Dan M said...

Unfortunately, what has met with rejection today, will be the basis for discussion and negotiation tomorrow.

Situation is going to get much worse, before it begins to get better.

Dan M said...

John, that's an interesting quote from Lenin. I've never come across that one before, but it seems accurate, that would be the kind of thing he would say.

Recall how his group was in the minority, but nonetheless, he had no problem terming his group the "Bolshevicks," and his larger opponent the "Menshevicks."

Why the Tsar didn't order his Okhrana to polish him off in Switzerland is beyond me.

A-na said...

Mahmoud Aldebe's wife, Ebtisam Aldebe, is active in a political parti, in the swedish "centerpartiet".
April 28 she officially backed him and all the demands in his letter.

Interesting by the way: the e-mail address given in the letter is: aldebee-(at)
Compare that with the names...

XY said...

The quote is from my memory, but it is something like that. I think it was Dr. Peikoff who told it in a lecture making the point that it is the extremists that changes the course of history (for good or bad).

XY said...

Or actually the main point was that all big movements begin with a few dedicated individuals.

Evan said...

Historically, the Jews in Christian countries hired “Sabbath goys” to fill in for them on their religious holidays.

It was also not unknown in earlier decades in the U.S. for Jewish people to volunteer to work in places such as hospitals that had to be open on Christmas and Easter so that their Christian friends could stay home.

Of course, such cooperation supposes that members of both groups see themselves as common members of a larger family. Under some circumstances that will be true, and under others it will not.