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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > The problem of militant Islam in Europe by Emerson Vermaat

The problem of militant Islam in Europe by Emerson Vermaat

March 22, 2006

Emerson Vermaat:

The Problem of Militant Islam in Europe

On March 7, 2006, local (municipal) elections were held in the Netherlands. Though they were local, the outcome of the elections was also important on the national level – as an indication whether the policies of the ruling rightist Christian-Democrat and liberal coalition were appreciated by the electorate or not. The local elections were won by the leftist Labor Party (PvdA) and the Socialist Party (SP). The Labor Party now expects to win the national elections next year. In the past three years tough measures were taken by the Dutch government to curb illegal immigation. Rita Verdonk (‘Iron Rita'), the conservative liberal Minister of Immigration, presented new laws which were approved by parliament: immigrants now have to learn the Dutch language and acquaint themselves with Dutch society, history and culture before they can apply for full citizenship. For years, immigrants from Muslim countries traveled to their home countries to find a bride, marry her and take her to the Netherlands. Usually these brides came from rural areas and did not know anything about the Netherlands, in a number of cases they could not even read and write. The new Dutch immigration laws seek to control these kind of practices.

Many Muslims in the Netherlands are anything but happy about the new regulations, and openly dislike the Minister of Immigration. Much stronger is their aversion to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim from Somalia who fled to the Nertherlands and later became an influential member of parliament. She belongs to the same political party as Minister Rita Verdonk. Ayaan Hirsi Ali repeatedly warned that militant Islam is a danger society can only neglect at its peril. After she and Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh made the film ‘Submission' (on the suppression of women in Islamic culture) in August 2001, she received numerous death threats. Theo van Gogh was killed by Mohammed Bouyeri, a radical Muslim from Amsterdam. Although both Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh can be critized for some of their statements or for the way ‘Submission' tried to shock public opinion in and outside the Muslim world, there is no justification at all for killing or threatening to kill the makers of that film. Fortunately, the killing of Van Gogh was condemned by many Muslims. Most Muslims strongly disagreed with the policies of the Dutch government also because of the government's pro-American positions such as support for the American military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But in February/March 2006 something happened which was unprecedented in Dutch history. A number of Dutch Muslims and Islamic clerics (‘imams') – most of whom were Moroccans – contacted Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East asking them if it was allowed for a Muslim to vote in a country where sharia law is not applied. They also explained the local political situation in the Netherlands suggesting that the present government was giving Muslims a hard time. Their Middle Eastern friends said something along these lines: ‘Yes, you are allowed to vote, but if you do, vote for one of the leftist parties (something many Moroccan immigrants already do). Four days before the local elections many imams in mosques raised the issue of the elections during the Friday afternoon prayers and openly called on Muslims to vote for one of the leftist parties to teach the ruling coalition of Christian Democrats and liberals a lesson. This is what most Muslims did. It partly explained the clear victory of the Labor Party in the local elections. It shows the growing impact Muslims are making in Dutch society. But it is very worrying because Muslim leaders and clerics from totalitarian coutries like Saudi Arabia where there are no free elections are advising our Muslims here on how to vote. Will this also be the case next year when national elections are being held? In a major city like Rotterdam influential members of the Labor party visited mosques explaining Muslims should not vote for the Christian Democrats but for the Labor Party and this is precisely what many local Muslims did. Paul Scheffer, an authority on immigration in the Netherlands, and Dutch columnist Sylvain Ephimenco recently issued a warning against the danger of ‘clientelism' (Something quite common in countries where many of these migrants have their roots.) From now on, Muslims may ask the Labor Party to reward them by meeting their demands. Is the Labor Party now going to be the party of the mosques, and if this is the case, what kind of demands will be made? Ephimenco asked. Scheffer is worried about the lack of ‘cultural emancipation' which in his view is as important as social and economic emancipation. It will not serve the cause of cultural integration and emancipation if a major political party is subject to pressure by immigrant groups.

Of course, there is nothing against Muslims taking part in the voting process. If they are Dutch citizens, it is their right. But as we said, we should not ignore the possibility of interference by powerful forces in the Middle East into our local affairs, or the problem of clientelism.

The battle between militants and moderates

There is the additional problem of the growing impact militant Islam is making on Europe. This does not refer to most ordinary Muslim voters but to a minority of very vocal militants who have an agenda of their own. There is some similarity between today's militant Muslims and the Nazis who came into power more than seventy years ago. Both are inspired by the same kind of anti-Semitism, they adore obscure conspiration theories like ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' describing secret plans for the creation of a world government controlled by Jews. Islam is by no means the same as National Socialism, yet the growing number of extremist Muslims nowadays may not pose a lesser threat to us, especially if they receive the backing of a state. This applies to many militant or extremist Muslims, certainly not to all Muslims, of course. Indeed, there are numerous Muslims who want live in peace with their neighbor, there are numerous Muslims in Iraq who tremble with fear as they see how extremist elements are increasingly successful in provoking a bloody civil war between Sunnites and Shiites. There are moderate Muslim rulers like king Mohamed VI of Morocco, king Abdullah of Jordan and Sultan Qaboos of Oman who have a pro-Western orientation. They are responsible for the introduction of important political and social reforms. Militant and extremist Muslims demand that these reforms be replaced by the traditional and ultraconservative ‘Sharia' law.

There are other examples of countries or lands where the hope for liberalization and reform was dashed by conservative forces who prevailed in the end. Look at Iran, look at the election victory of Hamas in the Palestinian territories. In stable societies, democracy and free elections are good thing, in countries and societies ripped apart by instability and corruption free elections may result in the ideologically committed pushing aside the more moderate forces. This is what the Nazis did after the collapse of the Weimar Republic, this is what Hamas did after the secular minded Palestinian leaders refused to tackle the vast problem of corruption, this is what happened in Iran when the fairly moderate president Khatemi was replaced by the hardliner Ahmedinejad, a former member of the notorious revolutionary guard (a man who was also directly resonsible for the tortuous death of numerous prisoners), this is what nearly happened in Algeria in 1991 had the army not intervened. And this is what could happen in Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood would easily win any future election once the ban has been lifted. And what about Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan? He led a miltary coup against an elected government, yet many Western leaders are happy they are dealing with the secular minded Musharraf rather than with a government controlled by extremists. Musharraf is by no means perfect and he is not as powerful as some claim he is but what Pakistan needs at the moment is a more or less stable leader.

It is obvious that the stage is set in the Muslim world for a fierce battle between the militant and the moderate forces. At the moment, the militants seem to prevail at in countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. This undoubtedly is making an impact on the Muslims living in Europe. Many of them reject the radical interpretation of Islam, but a relatively high number of angry young Muslims idolize Osama bin Laden or Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and other contemporary Islamic ‘Che Guevaras.'


And then we have quite a few Muslims whose statements in private or when they are among people they trust, fully contradict their statements to reporters from Western media. Take the attacks in London on July 7, 2005, when three metro trains and a double decker bus were targeted by suicide bombers. In media interviews, Hamid Ali, a leading imam in the Al-Madina Masjid mosque in Beeston, Leeds, where the July 7 bombers worshipped, condemned the attacks. ‘The perpetrators ought to be punished,' he told newspapers a week after the attack. But some months later he was visited by a ‘Sunday Times' undercover reporter of Bangladeshi origin posing as a student. In a secretly taped conversation imam Hamid Ali said: ‘What they (the bombers) did was good. They have warned that we are here, we Muslims. People have taken notice. They died so that people would take notice... Big meetings and conferences make no change at all. With this, at least people's ears have pricked up.' In his view, the terrorist attacks in London sort of reflected the growing impact of Islam in Britain. And keep in mind, the same imam had previously publicly condemned these attacks. The ‘Sunday Times' undercover operation in Beeston found that radical views had not subsided in the months after the London bombings. Many Muslims, particularly younger men, expressed admiration for the bombers' "martyrdom".'

On 19 February 2006, the ‘Sunday Telegraph' published the results of a poll conducted by ICM Research which revealed that 40 percent of the British Muslims want sharia law in ‘predominantly Muslim areas of Britain.' Sharia law is a very strict legal system which justifies, among other things, the discrimination of women and the killing of ‘apostate' Muslims (Muslims who no longer consider themselves Muslims, that is). The same newspaper interviewed Patrick Sookhdeo, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and subsequently did a PhD at London University on the religion of Islam. He is director of the ‘Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity.' Sookhdeo pointed out that ‘some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed to have four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time – and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.' British laws do not allow polygamy, but these Muslims do not care. What matters to them is sharia law only, they do not recognize the laws on marriage and divorce prescribed by the secular state and they think they are allowed to circumvent them.

Sookhdeo further refers to a strategy laid out by the ‘Islamic Council of Europe.' Part of the strategy is to ‘concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures (...) The next step will be pushing the Government to recognize sharia law for Muslim communities – which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.' Sookhdeo believes that ‘in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law. It's already starting to happen.'

Sookhdeo makes a clear distinction between ‘ordinary Muslims and their self-appointed leaders.' The latter refer to those Islamic clerics who believe Islam must be the dominant religion. ‘The best hope for our collective future is that the majority of Muslims who have grown up here have accepted the secular nature of the British state and society, the division between religion and politics, and the importance of allowing people to choose freely how they will live.'

Yet, there is a growing radicalism among Muslim communities. According to the ICM poll, ‘twenty percent of the British Muslims feel sympathy with the July 7 bombers' feelings and motives, seventy five percent, however, does not. One percent feels the attacks were ‘right.'

Sookhdeo claims that the British government, and especially prime minister Tony Blair, do not know enough about the nature of radical Islam. Making concessions to its leaders and ‘apeasement' is an approach that does not work. The results are the opposite from what you expect. The militant leaders' only response to our attitude of appreciation and understanding is their making even fiercer demands and preaching even more hatred against Jews, Americans or westerners in their mosques. Our attitude of understanding is inerpreted by them as weakness. Sookhdeo refers to a book that is available in Muslim bookshops which openly calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, ‘the government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred yet they do nothing about the book.'

Europe's policy of ‘appeasement' did not work in the case of the Palestinians either. The corrupt Palestinian Authority cannot survive without massive European aid money, all the European donations, though, did not deter the Palestinian radical clerics from lashing out against the West and preaching hatred of the Jews in their mosques. European aid did not prevent many angry Palestinians from voting for Hamas, a terrorist organization. We in Europe supported corrupt Palestinian leaders who embezzled European taxpayers' money and for that very reason were hated by the bulk of the population. When I was in Gaza I heard Palestinians complain about Suha, the wife of the late Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat. She was living in luxury in Paris having millions in her bank accounts whereas ordinary Palestinians could hardly feed their own children The voters decided to vote for Hamas which so far had not been associated with corruption. So, indirectly, Europe is responsible for the victory of Hamas. The West's good intentions were not properly appreciated and had a contrary effect.

Danish Cartoons

The same applies to the uproar over the cartoons about Mohammed and militant Islam published first in the Danish newspaper ‘Jyllands Posten' (on September 30, 2005) and subsequently in 143 other newspapers in 56 countries. If I were a newspaper editor I myself would not have published these cartoons. Not because I would be afraid of the repercussions but simply because I do not like cartoons which can be considered offensive to any religion, be it the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu religion. The problem, however, is that European newspaper editors should never apologize to Muslim states where the media are sort of encouraged to depict the Jews as bloodthirsty monsters – we are talking here about cartoons often much worse and offensive than the ones which first appeared in ‘Jyllands Posten.' I have seen quite a few of these Arab cartoons myself. One cartoon shows the Israeli flag over the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. A sign says GAZA NOW!!

Ahmed Abu Laban, a Palestinian imam living in Denmark traveled to the Middle East in December 2005 with a 43 page dossier on ‘racial discrimination' and hatred of Muslims in the very country which granted him asylum in 1993 (Egypt and the United Arab Emirates considered him too radical and kicked him out, the Danish were then kind enough to let him in). Not only did he show his friends in the Arab world all the ‘Jyllands Posten' cartoons, but also other more offensive cartoons which never appeared in any Danish newspaper. Acccording to John C. Thompson from the Canadian ‘Mackenzie Institute' ‘a photograph of the winner of a French hog-calling contest in a pig mask was represented as being another slur of Mohammed in Denmark.'

At the end of January 2006 violent protests began to spread over the Middle East and the Muslim world. In a number of Muslim countries Danish citizens were threatened to death. Danish and Norwegian flags were burned (a small Christian newspaper in Norway had also published the cartoons), Danish embassies and consulates were attacked by violent mobs, even in a country as far away as Indonesia. In an interview with the Arab TV channel ‘Al-Jazeera' Ahmed Abu Laban – speaking Arab – called for a boycott of Danish products. He said: ‘If the Arab countries decide in favor of a boycott and Muslims all over the world feel it is their duty to defend the honor of the prophet, this will be a sign then that the Muslim community is taking the right decision.'

But to journalists from the Western media he said exactly the oppostie: No, he was not in favor of a boycott, in fact he had even called on the Arab world to end it. Saying one thing to Arab audiences, friends or people you trust and quite another thing to Western journalists, is not so rare among Muslim leaders or self-appointed spokesmen. We already mentioned the imam from Beeston, Leeds, who publicly condemned the terrorrist attacks of July 7, 2005, but lauded the attackers in a private conversation. Another example was Yassir Arafat. In interviews in English with Western media he consistently condemned suicide attacks in Israel, but in a speech in Arab to a trusted audience he praised Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber. In addition, Arafat personally signed documents authorizing payments to individuals who were preparing suicide attacks.


Muslim extremists suspected of links to terrorism have been on trial in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy. In all these trials there was a common pattern of denials or lame excuses by most terrorist suspects. They usually claim it is not they who are on trial but their Islamic beliefs. It is simply a question of religious freedom. Intelligence services, police investigators and prosecuters collected a lot of information showing the reverse is true: many of those on trial did have links to terrorist networks and a number of them were indeed planning a terrorist attack. Due to timely arrests their plans were frustrated, sometimes shortly before these plans were to be carried out. A good example is Samir Azzouz from the Netherlands. In his apartment the police found sketches of and personal notes regarding the headquarters of the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), Schiphol Airport, the Dutch Parliament (Second Chamber), the nuclear powerplant at Borssele and the Ministry of Defense building. In addition, he was in the process of obtaining explosives but he obviously lacked the technological skills to make a real bomb. A lower court in Rotterdam acquitted Samir Azzouz for lack of evidence. The Appeals Court in The Hague ruled in November 2005 that Samir Azzouz was planning something evil, yet they also acquitted him. It was not a very wise decision. On one of his sketches Samir had written down the word ‘Silaa7,' and initially the prosecutors did not know what he meant by this. Later they found out it simply meant ‘my weapon.' During the court sessions Samir's lawyer Victor Koppe argued that his client was nothing else but some sort of do-it-yourselver, a tinker, he was not as dangerous as the prosecutor and the media claimed he was.

Another example is Zacaria Taybi, one of those on trial in Amsterdam as a suspected member of the so-called Hofstadgroup, a loose network of young Muslim militants in the Netherlands. Taybi was the trusted friend of Mohammed Bouyeri's, a prominent menber of the Hofstadgroup. On November 2, 2004, the latter would kill the Dutch filmmaker and columnist Theo van Gogh. Taybi was often present at house meetings in Bouyeri's small house in Amsterdam-West. Taybi accompanied Jason Walters, another friend of his, on a trip to Pakistan the purpose of which was probably to receive training in a terrorist training camp (after a warning from the Dutch Intelligence and Security Service AIVD, the Pakistani intelligence service put them under heavy serveillance, so these plans came to nothing). Four months earlier Walters, had also been in Pakistan, possibly for training in a camp run by ‘Jaish-e-Mohammed,' a Kashmiri terrorist network linked to Al-Qaeda. After he returned from Pakistan Walters boasted in internet chat conversations about having received weapons training in a camp. But in court he denied ever to have been in such a camp. He was just boasting to impress others, nothing else, he said. The judges of the court did not believe him. Walters has an American father and a Dutch mother. He converted to Islam when he was still a teenager. When the police tried to arrest him on November 10, 2004, he threw a grenade at them thereby wounding five policemen.

When Zacaria Taybi was arrested in November 2004, he told the police:

‘You still have time to convert to Islam. Know that ultimately Islam will be victorious. If you don't become Muslims, you still have three years before you will perish.'

But in court Taybi said: ‘I am not a terrorist nor am I a strict Muslim. I do not agreee with the views of Bouyeri nor of those of the strict believers.'

In the court session of 24 February 2006, public prosecutor Koos Plooy summarized what was really going in the minds of most members of the Hofstadgroup as follows:

‘These suspects followed only one radical political interpretation of Islam, it stimulated and urged them to a violent jihad against the unbelievers and the apostates, against anyone offending the prophet. By rejecting democracy they aimed at creating an Islamic state based on sharia law, using violence in the process.'

These words, Plooy, argued, also applied to Zacaria Taybi.


There about 200 000 Muslims in Denmark. Most of them are peaceful citizens. The problems are asually caused by radical Islamic clerics such as Ahmed Abu Laban who turn Muslims against the western secular state. In 1999/2000 Abu Laban was quoted as saying that he wanted Muslims in Denmark to produce more children in order to become so numerous that they could take over the country. After the September 11 attacks in America, he was quoted as saying that he considers Osama bin Laden to be a holy man, an ascetic, a man he looks up to.

Like in other European countries something is brewing, it actually started some time ago and it has to do with the Jews living in Denmark. (Mind you, in the years of the Nazi occupation the Danes protected their Jews by giving them a place to hide or sending them to neutral Sweden.) In August 2002, a Muslim group in Denmark announced that a thirty-thousand dollar bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews. In 2004 a university lecturer of Moroccan-Jewish descent was kidnapped by a group of Arab Muslims. He was a lecturer at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies of the University of Copenhagen. During one his lectures he was citing from the

Koran, just to show the students what a Koran recital would consist of. He was quite familiar with classic Arabic. Later he was picked up in the streets, taken into a car in broad daylight and beaten up severely. The reason they attacked him was for citing the Koran. Rediculous of course, but a Jew or an infidel, his attackers felt, was not allowed to do that.

‘Nothing similar has happened during Copenhagen's University's more than 500 year long history,' says Lars Hedegaard from ‘The Free Press Society' in Denmark. And he adds:

‘Is it known that Jewish children are advised not to attend public schools for fear that their presence might cause offence to pupils of Arab or Muslim descent? Or that Denmark's only Jewish school has to be protected by a double ring of barbed wire and elaborate electronic surveillance?'

Nasar Khader, a moderate Muslim and a member of Parliament, has to fear for his life after he gave his daughter the Christian first name of Sophie. He also happens to be a strong advocate of the secular state, another reason, of course, to target him. Nothing was heard from Ahmed Abu Laban when these incidents happened. On the contrary, during one of his Friday prayers he referred to Nasar Khader and his supporters in the Muslim community as ‘rats in a hole.'


What happens in France, may be even worse. The suburbs of the big cities are hotbests of crime and Islamic extremism, a very deadly mix indeed. Many suburbs of Paris are partly controlled by gangs consisting of people from North African or African descend. It was only after the riots in the suburbs in October/November 2005, that the media really began to pay attention to this problem but the explosion of aggressive violence against ‘white Europeans' (a Belgian television team was told: ‘We don't want you here, only journalists from Arab countries are wellcome') did not come out of the blue. It was in the air for some time, especially in Paris.

One of the gangs called itself ‘the Barbarians.' On January 27, 2006, they kidnapped a young Jewish man named Ilan Halimi. The gang expected Jews to have enough money to pay the ransom, but in the end they were motivated by their hatred of the Jews rather than by the prospect of receiving money. In phonecalls they recited verses from the Koran. According to the Israeli newspaper ‘Ha'aretz' they tortured their victim, cut him and poured flammable liquid on him and set him alight. Three weeks after the kidnapping Ilan was found near a suburban train station south of Paris, naked, handcuffed and gagged, with burns covering 80 percent of his body. He died on the way to the hospital. ‘We don't call for revenge, we call for justice,' somebody from the Jewish community said. ‘We want to know if a French Jew can live a normal life when he is on the territory of France.' It was not the first time a Jew was killed in Paris simply because he was a Jew. In 2004 the 23-year old Sebastien Selam was brutally murdered by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam's throat was cut twice. Adel yelled: ‘I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven.'

The leader of the ‘gang of the Barbarians' was Youssouf Fofana, a Muslim immigrant from Ivory Coast and a French citizen as well. In February 2006 he fled to his country of origin where he expected to be safe from prosecution. He stayed in a hotel under his own name (‘Fofana, Youssouf, Paris, nationality: French') and did not take any precautions as he drove through the streets of Abidjan, the capital of this African state. But it did not take long for him to be arrested at the request of the French authorities. About one week before he was expelled to France, Fofana gave a TV interview from his prison prison cell in Abidjan. The interview shocked France. Fofana looked relaxed and smiled, he displayed an attitude of arrogance. (The French weekly ‘Paris Match' published five photos showing how a smiling prisoner Fofana was kissed and embraced by a local girlfriend – a behavior and a display of arrogance which was, ‘Paris Match' correctly notes, highly offensive to the relatives of his victim.) On television he admitted to have kidnapped Halimi, but it had nothing to do with anti-Semitism he said, and he denied he was responsible for Halimi's death. He claimed he had read in the newspapers that Halimi had died, then he took the decision to travel Ivory Coast to join his brothers in the expectation of being safe there. Then, so he claimed in the interview, he noticed that the killing of Halimi had become a political issue –‘and then I was scared.' Fofana showed no regrets over what he had done, on the contrary, rather was he afraid of what could happen to himself once Halimi's murder had received massive media attention. He is also held responsible for six previous kidnapping attempts. Moderate Muslims and moderate Muslim leaders were also upset by what the ‘gang of the barbarians' had done and expressed solidarity with Halimi's relatives and friends. In the homes of gang members police found Salafist writings and pro-Palestinian propaganda. Salafism is an ultraconservative movement within Islam. Part of it is nonviolent. The other part of the Salafist movement is extremist and violent and provides some of the ideological background to people belonging to Al-Qaeda, the Hofstadgroup and other terrorist networks. The terrorists who struck in Madrid in March 2004, were Salafists. You also find Salafists in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Britain where a number of imams propagate its extremist version in their mosques.

In June 2004, the French ‘Central Directorate of General Intelligence' (DCRG) of the police issued a report about 630 problematic suburbs and areas. About 300 suburbs were evolving into real ghettos and some 200 suburbs were increasingly dominated by militant Islamic clerics who declared war on democracy, the secular state and the Jews. There are parallel societies which allow practices of polygamy. (This practice is also very popular among immigrants from sub-Saharan countries, especially Mali.) Members of a French State commission investigated the problem of the so-called headscarf worn by conservative Muslim women. They discovered that behind the scenes much more was going on than was apparent just from such an innocent piece of textile. They heard stories about Jewish and female teachers who had been subjected to harassment by Muslim pupils. Teaching about the holocaust was virtually made impossible. In one French school a Muslim pupil threatened that a Jewish pupil who would dare to arrive with a yarmulke on his head would be lynched immediately.

What is happening in France is the arrival of a new kind of anti-Semitism which is not less militant than that of the Nazis some sixty years ago.

Apart from Jews, female teachers are also targeted by pupils who show no respect for western values and normal rules of behavior. In most cases the problems are caused by pupils of African or North African descent. In September 2005, Karen-Montet-Toutain, a young and pretty female teacher in a school in Étampes (South of Paris) was confronted by a pupil from another classroom who threatened to rape her. She informed the school principals about the threat, but nothing happened. Early December, a few pupils told her: ‘We can find out where you live and then you'll have a bullet in your head.' Karen informed the French school inspector, and again there was no response. On December 15, she suspended a pupil whom she had given warnings on three previous occasions. The next day he returned to the classroom with a knife and stabbed her down. She had to undergo surgery in a hospital and barely survived. The school inspectors told the press that Karen Montet-Toutain had been telling the truth, but they refused to blame the school for what had happened. About the incident in September they lamely said: ‘It was a verbal sexual aggression but not a concrete threat.' And shortly after Karen Montet-Toutain was almost stabbed to death in her classroom, Gilles de Robien, the Minister of Education, said that the school principals had not made any mistakes. Karen Montet-Toutain did not agree, of course. She had repeatedly informed her superiors about the threats issued against her urging them to intervene but they simply failed to act. Most of the incidents occur in schools located in the migrant rich suburbs of Paris and other big cities. In the schoolyear 2004-2005 there were some 80 000 violence related incidents in French schools.

In 2002, Samira Bellil, a courageous young second generation immigrant from Algeria, published a shocking book on what was going on in the suburbs of Paris where she grew up herself. She refers to cruel fathers who beat up their daughters, group rapes by young men belonging to armed gangs and she describes a culture of revenge. She writes about the ‘Kabylian smile,' a term popular among North African youth gangs and meaning slicing your throat. The authorities are, so it seems, completely powersless and overwhelmed, at least they fail to take effective action. Apparently, they do not want to be accused of ‘racism.' There was no way of accusing young French-Algerian woman like Samira Bellil of racism. She and her friends founded a movement of women who challenged the macho culture and the atmosphere of intolerance in the suburbs of the big cities. Of course, many Muslims condemn violent behavior and group rapes, on the other hand they often keep silent about the crimes committed by people who claim to be Muslims as well. Unfortunately, media attention is usually limited to a few spectacular crimes like the killing of Halimi.

Another problem is the war in Iraq. Al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks are recruitings young Muslims in Europe.


The massive migration from Muslims to Europe has not just brought us good and pleasant things such as cultural enrichment. These immigrants have also imported cultural habits like honor crimes and crime in general. The Dutch criminologists Cyrille Fijnaut and Frank Bovenkerk pointed out that Turkish, Kurdish and Moroccan immigrant groups play a significant role in the drugs trade in the Netherlands. Kurds from Turkey, for example, ‘play a large role in the herion trade because they come from the east and southeast of the country and have ties with neighboring countries from which the opium comes.'

A Dutch government report issued in December 2005 notes that prisons are used by terrorists to recruit criminals (especially if they have a Muslim background, but there are also many cases of so-called converts to Islam). The contacts between criminals and followers of radical Islam are a matter of corcern, the report says. It may be an indication that radical preachers have something to offer them: another career using the same criminal methods but now in the service of Allah. This is also happening in Belgium and Spain.

A relatively new phenonemon is the fact that an increasing number of Muslim immigrants in Europe are attracted by radicalism and even terrorism, particularly after the September 11 attacks in America. Especially Europe's second generation Muslims are susceptible to recruitment by extremists. The militants now benefit from the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan (which they themselves, to a large extend, helped to create) and repeated and not always unfounded allegations of human rights abuses linked to the so-called ‘war on terror' (‘See what the Americans and their friends are doing!'). The militants and extremists have one agenda only: they seek to gradually take over Europe. Spokesmen for Al-Qaeda already announced that they want to restore Islamic rule in large parts of Spain. For centuries Muslims were in control of Southern Spain but they were driven out at the end of the Middle Ages. The militants refer to the glorious times of ‘Al-Andalus' which must return. The extremists also want to cut off the transfer of oil to the West in order to force it on its knees. That is why they frequently attack pipelines and oil installations in Iraq. On February 24, 2006, suicide terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda targeted the largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia. Two cars from the Saudi company ‘Aramco' loaded with explosives were approaching the outer gates but security guards opened fire just in time and the cars exploded. In oil rich Nigeria a civil war between the Muslims in the north and the Christians in the south is about to break out. Such a conflict will only benefit terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda. Oil from Nigeria will no longer flow to the West. There is an urgent need for getting rid of our dependence on the massive consumption of oil, replacing it by an economy based on renewable sources of energy.

The biggest threat to peace and stability in Europe is the presence of relatively large numbers of militant and angry young Muslims who seek to impose their will on state and society. It seems the rulers of Europe do not know how to respond to this new challenge. Such fatal hesitation will only contribute to worsening the situation. Recently, a number of Dutch Muslim organizations decided to legally challenge all those who ‘offend' Islam or the Muslims. Their lawyer Nico Steijnen announced he would even appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. Killing freedom of speech in the name of other freedoms is a means to the end, and those who love sharia law and hate the West like to go to the utmost to exploit the western legal system they so utterly abhor. Dutch immigation authorities are trying to cope with radical Muslims from other countries who are legally fighting their extradition. One case is already before the European Court of Human Rights. This militant Muslim who tried to recruit others has been declared an undesirable alien, yet he cannot be expelled because he appealed to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.')

March 2006



Talpa TV (Netherlands), ‘Barend en Van Dorp,' 7 March 2006 (remarks by Dutch Moroccan Ali Eddaoui on the role of Islamic scholars from the Middle East advising Dutch Muslims on how to vote).

Paul Scheffer, De sputterende emancipatiemachine, in: NRC Handelsblad, 18 March 2006.

Sylvain Ephimenco, PvdA gevangen in haar eigen strategie, in; Trouw, 14 March 2006.

Sunday Times, 12 February 2006, p. 1 ‘(British imam praises London Tube bombers').

Sunday Telegraph, 19 February 2006, p. 1, 4 (poll), 15 (Patrick Sookhdeo).

Volzin. Opineblad voor Geloof en Samenleving, 24 February 2006 (examples of anti-Semitic cartoons in Arab media, ‘Israeli flag over Auschwitz'). Also an interview with the Dutch theologian Hans Jansen, an expert on anti-Semitism (not to be confused with professor J.J.G. (‘Hans') Jansen, a wellknown Dutch expert on Islam and the Koran.

Hans Jansen, Van Jodenhaat naar Zelfmoordterrorisme. Islamisering van het Europees Antisemitisme in het Midden-Oosten (Heerenveen: Uitgeverij Groen, 2006).

Netwerk, 7 februari 2006 (quote Ahmed Abu Laban in Al-Jazeera).

Rechtbank Rotterdam, Zitting 10 February 2006, Pleitnota V.L. Koppe en B. Böhler inzake Ahmed Hamdi en Zakaria Taybi tegen het Openbaar Ministerie, p. 81.

Notes by the author during ‘Hofstad Trial' in Amsterdam (Rechtbank Rotterdam), 24 February 2006 (‘laatste woord' Zacaria Taybi).

Landelijk Parket, Repliek van de Officier van Justitie in de Zaak ‘Arles' ter Terechtzitting van de arrondissementsrechtbank van Rotterdam zitting houdend te Amsterdam, 24 February 2006, p. 14.

John C. Thompson, The Cartoon Jihad, in: Mackenzie Briefing Notes, Issue 22, February 2006, p. 3, 4 (French hog-calling contest), p. 11, 12 (examples of anti-Jewish cartoons in the Arab press).

The author is in possession of a CD-rom full of speeches from Yassir Arafat praising (suicide) terrorists, including Wafa Idris.

Twee Vandaag, 12 April 2002: Dutch TV newsreport from Emerson Vermaat and Joop Meyers on Arafat authorizing payments to Palestinians who were preparing suicide attacks.

Daniel Pipes en Lars Hedegard, Something rotten in Denmark?, in: New York Post, 27 August 2002 (‘A Muslim group in Denmark announced a few days ago that a thirty-thousand dollar bounty would be paid for the murder of several prominent Danish Jews.')

Lars Hedegaard, Parallel societies in light of the Danish experience (The Hague: Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Europe and Islam, 19 February 2006). See also: author's interview with Lars Hedegaard, The Hague, 19 February 2006 and: Emerson Vermaat, ‘Deense imam is bewonderaar van Osama bin Laden,' in: Reformatorisch Dagblad, 22 February 2006, p. 7.

www.haaretz.com, 19 February 2006 (09:32): ‘France arrests gang suspected in killing of Parisian Jew.' ‘They cut him and in the end pured flammable liquid on him and set him alight.'

Le Figaro, 24 February 2005 (‘Cérémonie nationale en homage à Ilan Halimi') ‘Nous ne crions pas vengeance...'

Chicago Sun-Times, 26 February 2006 (‘Needing to wake up, West just closes its eyes'). ‘I have killed my Jew.'

iTélé (France), 27 February 2006 (interview with Youssouf Fofana).

Paris Match, 25 February 2006, p. 38, 39 (photos of Youssouf Fofana and a local girlfriend).

L'Express, 9 March 2006, p. 86-93 (‘Fofana, Histoire d'une longue Trague'). Between January 2000 and June 2003, Fofana has been to prison five times.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 February 2006, p. 3 (‘Die Barbaren aus der Vorstadt') (‘Bei Hausdurchsuchungen wurden propalästinensische Propaganda und salafistische Schriften gefunden.' Zie tevens: El País, 24 februari 2006, p. 14 (‘Detenido el hombre que mató a un empresario judío en París'): ‘En poder de la banda fue hallada además propaganda salafista.'

Emerson Vermaat, Misdaad, migratie en cultuur (Soesterberg: Uitgeverij Aspekt, 2004), p. 22, 27 (rapport DCRG; Rapport Commissie-Stasi). Militant Islam in the suburbs.

Algemeen Dagblad, 18 January 20-06, p. 17 (‘Actie tegen geweldsgolf in Franse klaslokalen'). Karen Montet-Toutain.

De Volkskrant, 20 January 2006, p. 3 (‘Relschoppers in de Franse klas').

Trouw, 18 January 2006, p. 8 (‘Lerares werd niet echt bedreigd'). Samira Bellil, Dans l'Enfer des Tournantes (Paris: Éditions Denoël. 2002), p. 47-51 (gangs and group rapes), p. 175 (women are the victims), p. 190, 191 (guns), p. 198, 199 (revenge), p. 208 (‘Kabylian smile'), p. 204 (macho culture) p. 281 (group rapes).

Cyrille Fijnaut, Frank Bovenkerk, Gerben Bruinsma and Henk van de Bunt, Organized Crime in the Netherlands (The Hague/London/Boston; Kulwer Law International, 1998). On ethnic related crime, see also: Frank Bovenkerk, Misdaad-profielen (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 2001, p. 122-159 (‘the multicultural underworld').

Brief van de ministers van Justitie en Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties aan de Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 5 December 2005, Terrorismebestrijding, 29754, No. 60, p. 2 (prisons as recruiting grounds for terrorists, links between criminals and terrorists), p . 10 (illegal aliens and undesibale persons appealing to European Court of Human Rights).

Emerson Vermaat, a law graduate and an investigative reporter from the Netherlands, reported from many war zones and crises areas (Latin America, Central America, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Westbank, Pakistan, Philippines, China, South East Asia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Albania, former East Germany, former Soviet Union). He is specialized in foreign policy, terrorism and crime. His minidocumentary ‘The Making of a Suicide Bomber' (1996) was on television all over the world. In 1997 he published a Dutch book on Islamic terrorism being the first book in Europe which discussed the role of Osama bin Laden in international terrorism. He recently published a book on the ‘Hofstadgroep,' a network of Muslim radicals in the Netherlands. His website is: www.emersonvermaat.com.

Emerson Vermaat:

De radicale Islam in Europa

( A shorter version in Dutch)

Op 7 maart 2006 waren er in Nederland gemeenteraadsverkiezingen. Er was met enige spanning naar uitgekeken omdat deze lokale verkiezingen tegelijk konden worden beschowd als een soort landelijke peiling van hoe de bevolking dacht over het beleid van het kabinet-Balkenende.

Vooral onder moslims is er veel weerzien tegen het strenge migratiebeleid van de laatste jaren. De wetten zijn door minister Rita Verdonk van Vreemdelingenzaken en Integratie behoorlijk aangescherpt, het halen van veelal ongeletterde ‘importbruiden' uit Turkije of Marokko is ernstig bemoeilijkt. Migranten moeten nu eerst een inburgeringsexamen afleggen willen zij de Nederlandse nationaliteit verkrijgen.

In het TV-programa ‘Barend en Van Dorp' kwam op 7 maart naar voren dat imams tijdens het vrijdagmiddaggebed in moskeeën maasaal hebben opgeroepen om op linkse partijen te stemmen. De Marokkaanse Nederlander Ali Eddaoui vertelde dat Moslimgeleerden uit het Midden-Oosten om advies was gevraagd of en zo ja hoe moslims in Nederland moesten stemmen. Een van de landen die Eddaoui noemde was Saoedi-Arabië. De Nederlandse moslims kregen vanuit het Midden-Oosten het advies: ‘Ga wel stemmen, maar stem dan links.' Daarna riepen imams op vrijdag 3 maart – vier dagen voor de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen – op om links te gaan stemmen om zo met het huidige kabinet af te rekenen. Hun gehoor volgde die oproep massaal op. Men kan dit zien als een ongewenste vorm van inmenging door personen uit landen waar geen vrije verkiezingen zijn. Het bepaalt ons wel bij de groeiende invloed van moslims in Europa.

Nog veel meer zorgen baart de invloed van de militante moslims onder hen. Het gaat hier om de radicale of extremistische moslims en níet om alle moslims. Er zijn tal van moslims die in vrede met hun naaste willen leven, er zijn ook in Irak tal van moslims die met angst en beven zien hoe radicale krachten met toenemend succes een bloedige burgeroorlog succes tussen soennieten en sjiieten uitlokken. Er zijn gematigde vorsten zoals koning Mohammed VI van Marokko, de Jordaanse koning Abdullah en Sultan Qaboos van Oman die op het Westen zijn georiënteerd en die ingrijpende hervormingen hebben doorgevoerd. Extremistische moslims eisen juist dat die hervormingen worden teruggedraaid en de Islamitische wet of sharia wordt ingevoerd. Er zijn ook voorbeelden van landen of gebieden waar eerst hoop op liberalisering en hervorming was, maar waar de tegenkrachten het toch wonnen. Kijk naar Iran, kijk naar de verkiezingsoverwinning van Hamas. Invoering van de democratie en vrije verkiezingen mogen misschien wenselijk zijn, maar het kan er ook toe leiden dat krachten aan de macht komen die beter niet aan de macht hadden komen, vooral in landen met een grote interne instabiliteit waar de ideologisch gedrevenen de gematigde krachten opzij schuiven. De nazi's kwamen via verkiezingen aan de macht. Hamas eveneens, en als er nu in Egypte echt vrije verkiezingen zouden worden gehouden, zouden die waarschijnlijk door de Moslimbroederschap worden gewonnen. In Algerije waren de fundamentalisten via verkiezingen vijftien jaar geleden bijna aan de macht gekomen. Er woedt in de moslimwereld een felle strijd tussen radicale en gematigde krachten en het lijkt er nu op dat de radicale krachten de overhand beginnen te krijgen. Kijk naar Irak, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. En dat straalt uit naar de moslims in Europa. Velen van hen willen de radicale versie van de Islam niet, maar een relatief groot aantal boze moslimjongeren dweept met Osama bin Laden of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of andere Islamitische ‘Che Guevara's' van deze tijd.

En dan zijn er nogal wat moslims die in eigen kring precies het tegenovergestelde zeggen als in interviews met westerse media. Op 7 juli 2005 pleegden extremistische moslims in Londen aanslagen op de metro en een dubbeldekkerbus. Imam Hamid Ali van de Al-Madina Masjid-moskee in Beeston, vlakbij Leeds, veroordeelde de aanslagen publiekelijk. Zijn moskee werd door daders van de aanslagen van 7 juli regelmatig bezocht. Toen kwam er een undercoverjournalist van Bengaalse afkomst bij hem langs die zich voordeed als vriend en medestander en die hem eens persoonlijk wilde spreken. En toen zei de imam heel andere dingen over de aanslagen. ‘Wat zij (de daders van de aanslagen) deden, was goed,' zei hij. ‘Zij hebben zo een waarschuwing afgegeven, de mensen weten nu dat wij, moslims, hier zijn.' In zijn visie lieten de aanslagen de groeiende invloed van de Islam in Engeland zien. Let wel, naar buiten toe had diezelfde imam de aanslagen nadrukkelijk veroordeeld. De undercoverjournalist van de Sunday Times ontdekte verder dat er in Beeston nogal wat jonge moslims waren die eveneens uitdrukking gaven aan hun bewondering voor de plegers van de aanslagen, die zij als ‘martelaren' aanduidden.

Op 19 februari 2006 publiceerde de Sunday Telegraph een enquête. Daaruit bleek dat veertig procent van de moslims in Engeland voor de invoering van het shariarecht is in die gemeenschappen waar moslims in de meerderheid zijn. Het gaat om het strenge Islamitische recht dat vrouwen discrimineert en dat eist dat afvallige moslims worden gedood. Volgens de Islamkenner Patrick Sookhdeo zijn er in Engeland moslims die willen afdwingen dat het hen wordt toegestaan vier vrouwen te hebben – volgens het shariarecht kan dat namelijk wel, maar natuurlijk niet volgens het geldende Engelse recht. Polygamie is bij wet verboden. Er zijn nu moslimmannen die het geldende Engelse recht omzeilen door drie keer te trouwen en drie keer te scheiden en die vervolgens een vierde vrouw trouwen. Het shariarecht erkent scheidingen volgens het Engelse recht niet, en die mannen kunnen zo drie of vier vrouwen hebben. Al in 1980 ontwikkelde de Islamic Council for Europe een strategie. Onderdeel van die strategie was om in bepaalde gebieden de meerderheid te verkrijgen waardoor moslims het in de plaatselijke bestuursorganen voor het zeggen krijgen. Patrick Sookhdeo voorspelt dat er over tien jaar een situatie intreedt waarbij delen van Engelse steden onder controle staan van moslimgeestelijken voor wie niet de gewone wetten, maar het Islamtische recht richtinggevend zijn. ‘Dit nu al begonnen,' merkt Sookhdeo op. In Frankrijk en België zijn soortgelijke processen aan de gang.

Er is binnen de Engelse moslimgemeenschap een tendens tot radicalisering. Volgens de enquête sympahiseert een op de vijf Britse moslims met de ‘gevoelens en motieven' van de zelfmoordterroristen die op 7 juli 2005 in Londen toesloegen, hoewel 99 procent de aanslagen zelf veroordeelt. Sookhdeo stelt dat de Britse regering onvoldoende kennis van de Islam en vooral van de extremistische moslims heeft. Wie toegeeft en hen hun gang laat gaan, krijgt geen waardering terug, maar er volgen juist nieuwe eisen, de predikers van de haat zetten hun gehoor nog meer tegen het Westen en de Joden op. In Islamitische boekhandels zijn boeken verkrijgbaar waarin wordt opgeroepen tot het doden van Joden en christenen, er is niemand die er iets van zegt. ‘Appeasement,' zo stelt Sookhdeo, werkt ook hier niet, integendeel, zo'n beleid heeft een averechts effect. Je ziet het aan de Palestijnen. De Palestijnse Autoriteit wordt vrijwel helemaal met Europees geld in het zadel gehouden, toch lieten de Palestijnse leiders toe dat imams in moskeeën felle haatredes hielden. Alle internationale hulpgelden hebben niet kunnen voorkomen dat de Palestijnen kozen voor de terroristische organisatie Hamas. Het Palestijnse bestuur van achtereenvolgens Jassir Arafat en Mahmoud Abbas was en is zo corrupt dat een groot deel van het geld verkeerd besteed werd en tijdens de verkiezingen besloten de Palestijnen dan maar massaal op het niet-corrupte Hamas te stemmen.

De goede bedoelingen van het Westen werden misbruikt en bleken een averechts effect te hebben. Een averechts effect heeft ook het toegeven in de kwestie rond de publicatie van de spotprenten van Mohammed die eerst verschenen in de Deense krant Jyllands Posten en later in andere Europese kranten. Ik zou zelf zulke prenten nooit hebben afgedrukt, maar excuses aanbieden aan landen waar in de media met de regelmaat van de klok Joden als monsters worden afgebeeld, gaat mij toch te ver. De Palestijnse imam Ahmed Abu Laban had de 12 spotprenten meegenomen naar het Midden-Oosten samen met nog andere veel ergere spotprenten die nooit in Deense kranten hadden gestaan. Ooit had Denemarken hem als politiek vluchteling toegelaten – in Egypte vond men hem te radicaal –, nu misbruikte hij de Deense gastvrijheid om tegen zijn nieuwe vaderland te ageren. Eind januari 2006 verspreidden de protesten zich over het hele Midden-Oosten. In een aantal moslimlanden worden Denen met de dood bedreigd. Deense ambasades – tot in het verre Indonesië toe – en consulaten zijn door woedende menigten aangevallen. In een interview met de Arabische TV-zender Al-Jazeera had Abu Laban in het Arabisch opgeroepen tot een boycot van Deense producten:

‘Als de Arabische landen tot een boycot beslissen en moslims wereldwijd voelen dat het hun plicht is om op te komen voor de waardigheid van de profeet dan is dat een teken dat de moslimgemeenschap op het juiste pad is.'

Maar in interviews met westerse media beweerde hij precies het tegendeel: nee, hij was niet voor een boycot, hij had er in de Arabische wereld zelfs toe opgeroepen om de boycot te beëindigen. Het spreken met dubbele tong komt bij radicale moslims wel meer voor. We noemden al de imam uit Leeds die in interviews met westerse media de aanslagen veroordeelde, maar tegen mensen die hij vertrouwde precies het tegendeel verklaarde. Een ander voorbeeld is Jassir Arafat. In interviews met westerse media veroordeelde hij steevast zelfmoordaanslagen in Israël, intussen riep hij de eerste vrouwelijke zelfmoordenares tot heldin uit en zette hij zijn handtekening onder machtigingsformulieren om geld te geven aan personen die zelfmoordaanslagen voorbereidden.

In processen tegen moslimextremisten in Duitsland, België, Nederland, Frankrijk, Spanje en Italië is er een gemeenschappelijk patroon van verdachten die zich in de rechtszaal presenteren als gematigde moslims die vanwege ‘hun geloof' vervolgd worden. Uit door inlichtingendiensten, de politie en de openbare aanklagers verzameld materiaal blijkt echter het tegendeel: een aantal verdachten was wel degelijk bezig met het voorbereiden van aanslagen, soms konden die aanslagen door tijdige arrestaties op het nippertje worden voorkomen. In Nederland is een bekend voorbeeld Samir Azzouz. Hij had plattegronden met verdachte aantekeningen bij zich van het AIVD-gebouw, Schiphol, de Tweede Kamer, de kerncentrale Borssele en het gebouw van Defensie en probeerde aan explosieven te komen. In november 2005 oordeelde het Gerechtshof in Den Haag dat alles erop wees Samir Azzouz wel degelijks iets kwaads in de zin had, toch werd hij vrijgesproken. Op één van zijn plattegronden stond nota bene de aantekening: Silaa7 (‘mijn wapen'). In de rechtszaal deden hij en zijn advocaat het voorkomen alsof het allemaal maar onschuldig knutselwerk was.

Een ander voorbeeld is Zakaria Taybi, een van de verdachten uit het proces tegen de Hofstadgroep. Taybi was een vriend en vertrouweling van Mohammed Bouyeri, de moordenaar van Theo van Gogh. Hij was bij hem kind aan huis. Ook was hij een keer met zijn vriend Jason Walters, een ander prominent lid van de Hofstadgroep, naar Pakistan geweest, vermoedelijk om in een kamp voor terroristen te worden opgeleid. Walters zelf had vier maanden eerder ook al Pakistan bezocht. Na terugkeer schepte hij op over de wapentrainingen die hij had ondergaan, maar in de rechtszaal ontkende Walters ooit in een trainingskamp te zijn geweest. Toen Zacaria Taybi in november 2004 werd gearresteerd zei hij tegen de politieambtenaren:

‘Jullie kunnen je nu nog bekeren tot de Islam. Weet dat de Islam uiteindelijk zal overwinnen. Doen jullie dit niet dan zullen jullie binnen nu en drie jaar de ondergang tegemoet gaan.'

Maar in rechtszaal liet Taybi weten: ‘Ik ben geen terrorist en ook geen strenge moslim. Ik ben het niet eens met de gedachten van Bouyeri en van de strenge gelovigen.'

Een goede samenvatting van hoe de Hofstadgroep feitelijk opereerde en dacht gaf officier van justitie Koos Plooy tijdens de rechtszitting van 24 februari jl.:

‘Deze verdachten leefden volgens één radicaalpolitieke uitleg van de Islam, die hen stimuleerde en van binnen drong tot een gewelddadige jihad tegen ongelovigen en afvalligen, tegen ieder die de profeet beledigt. Met verwerping van de democratie streefden zij langs de weg van geweld naar een Islamitische staat op de grondslag van de sharia.'

Volgens Plooy hebben deze woorden ook betrekking op Zaracia Taybi.

In Denemarken zijn er ongeveer 200 000 moslims. De meesten van hen zijn vredelievend. Het gaat om islamitische geestelijken als de hierboven genoemde Ahmed Abu Laban die groepen moslims opstoken. Zo verklaarde Abu Laban in 1999 dat moslims in Denemarken zoveel kinderen moeten krijgen dat ze op een gegeven in het land de macht kunnen opeisen. Na de aanslagen van 11 september sprak hij zijn bewondering uit voor Osama bin Laden. Net als in andere Europese landen broeit het in Denemarken al een tijdje langer. In augustus 2002 beloofde een groep radicale moslims in Denemarken een geldbedrag van 30 000 dollar te zullen geven aan degene die enkele prominente Deense Joden zou vermoorden. In 2004 werd een Marokkaanse jood in Kopenhagen op klaarlichte dag door moslimjongeren in elkaar geslagen. De Marokkaanse Jood was docent Middeleeuwse geschiedenis aan de universiteit van Kopenhagen. In de vijfhonderdjarige geschiedenis van de unveristeit was zoiets nog nooit voorgekomen. Joodse leerlingen kunnen in Kopenhagen niet naar openbare scholen omdat ze daar door moslimleerlingen worden uitgescholden. De enige joodse school in Kopenhagen moet worden beschermd door een dubbele ring prikkeldraad en veiligheidscamera's. Een gematigde moslim die zijn dochter de christelijke voornaam ‘Sofie' gaf, werd onlangs met de dood bedreigd.

In Frankrijk gebeuren dingen die zelfs nog erger zijn. Een aantal buitenwijken van Parijs wordt deels gecontroleerd door criminele bendes samengesteld uit migranten uit Noord-Afrika en Afrikaanse landen ten zuiden van de Sahara. Een levensgevaarlijke mix van moslimradicalisme en misdaad. Pas na de rellen van vorig jaar kreeg dit probleem ruime aandacht in de media maar het smeulde al veel langer in Parijs. Een van die bendes noemde zich ‘de barbaren'. Zij ontvoerden een joodse jongeman die Ilan Halimi heette. De bende dacht dat er bij Joden wel geld te halen was, maar het ging in feite meer om puur antisemitisme dan om losgeld. In telefoongesprekken met een familielid citeerden de ontvoerders verzen uit de Koran. Halimi werd eerst bijna doodgemarteld. Tenslotte werd hij nog eens met een brandbare vloeistof overgoten en in brand gestoken. Toen de politie hem aantrof, zat hij voor 80 procent onder de brandwonden. Hij overleed onderweg naar het ziekenhuis. ‘Wij roepen niet om wraak, wij vragen om gerechtigheid,' verklaarde een vertegenwoordiger van de rooms-katholieke gemeenschap. ‘Wij willen weten of een Franse Jood op Franse bodem een normaal leven kan leiden,' zei hij. De bende had al eerder zeker vier Joden als doelwit uitgekozen. En in 2004 sneed een moslim een Franse Jood de keel door, waarna de dader riep: ‘Ik heb mijn Jood gedood, nu ga ik naar de hemel.' Diezelfde dag werd in Parijs een joodse vrouw vermoord door een andere moslim.

De leider van de bende die Ilan Halimi had vermoord, was een Franse moslim gemaand Youssef Fofona. Oorspronkelijk kwam hij uit Ivoorkust en daar vluchtte hij kort na de moord heen om op 22 februari 2006 op Frans verzoek te worden gearresteerd. Vanuit zijn cel gaf een tv-interview dat in Frankrijk werd uitgezonden en waarin hij geen enkele spijt betoonde over zijn daden. In woningen van bendeleden trof de politie salafistische geschriften en pro-Palestijnse propaganda aan. Het salafisme is een oerconservatieve richting binnen de Islam die bestaat uit een gematigde en een extremistische stroming. De extremistische variant, die zeer gewelddadig is. treft men ook aan bij leden van de Hofstadgroep en bij Al-Qaida. De plegers van de aanslagen in Madrid in maart 2004 hingen dit gedachtengoed eveneens aan. In Nederland, België, Frankrijk, Spanje, Italië en Engeland zijn er imans die de gewelddadige variant van het salafisme propageren en in hun moskeeën uitdragen.

In juni 2004 bracht de inlichtingendienst van de Franse politie, de ‘Direction Centrale des Renseignements Généraux' (DCRG) een rapport uit over liefst 630 probleemwijken in Franse steden. Zo'n 300 wijken ontwikkelden zich tot regelrechte getto's. In zeker 200 wijken kregen radicale islamitische predikers steeds meer invloed. Die hebben de oorlog verklaard aan de democratie en de rechtsstaat. Er zijn parallelle maatschappijen ontstaan waar heel andere wetten gelden en waar polygame praktijken worden gedoogd. Deze imams wakkeren anti-joodse sentimenten aan. Leden van een Franse staatscommissie stelden in 2003 onderzoek in naar de kwestie van het zogenaamde hoofddoekje. Ze ontdekten dat er achter de schermen veel meer speelde dan wat ogenschijnlijk een onschuldig stukje textiel was. Ze kregen te horen dat joodse en vrouwelijke leerkrachten en leerlingen op scholen werden lastiggevallen. Lesgeven over de holocaust werd bemoeilijkt, zo niet onmogelijk gemaakt door moslimleerlingen. Op een Franse school verklaarde een leerling dat een joodse medeleerling die een keppeltje zou dragen onmiddellijk zou worden gelyncht. Er is een nieuw en militant antisemitisme in opkomst dat niet minder militant is dan dat van de nazi's meer dan zestig jaar geleden. In 2005 werd een Franse lerarares door een leerling neergestoken. Eerder hadden leerlingen tegen haar gezegd: ‘We weten je adres te vinden en dan krijg je een kogel door haar hoofd.' Het is een van de vele voorbeelden en het gaat vaak om leeringen met een moslimachtergrond van Noord-Afrikaanse afkomst. In het schooljaar 2004- 2005 vonden er op Franse scholen 80 000 geweldsincidenten plaats. De autoriteiten en de schooldirecties durven de problemen niet te benoemen uit angst voor ‘racist' te worden uitgemaakt of om de reputatie van de school niet te schaden.

In 2002 heeft Samira Bellil, een tweedegeneratiemigrant van Algerijse afkomst, de toestanden in de buitenwijken van Parijs beschreven. Zij schetst een beeld van wrede vaders die hun dochters slaan, groepsverkachtingen door gewapende bendes en geweld jegens vrouwen. Het gaat vaak om bendes van Noord-Afrikaanse afkomst waartegen de autoriteiten onvoldoende opgewassen blijken te zijn. Om er wat aan te doen richtte ze met enkele geestverwanten een tegenbeweging op en werd prompt met de dood bedreigd. Natuurlijk keuren veel moslims zulke wantoestanden af, maar er wordt ook vaak gezwegen en gedoogd.

De massale migratie van moslims naar Europa heeft niet alleen zegeningen en voordelen gebracht. Er zijn ook schaduwzijden zoals misdaad en terrorisme. Het is te simpel alle kritiek op wat tegenwoordig de ‘multiculturele samenleving' heet, af te doen als ‘racisme' of ‘discriminatie'. De radicale moslims hebben een agenda: zij willen Europa stukje bij beetje in handen krijgen. Woordvoerders van Al-Qaeda hebben al gezegd dat zij grote delen van Spanje willen terugwinnen voor de Islam. Eeuwenlang hadden moslims het in het midden en zuiden van Spanje voor het zeggen. Radicale moslims spreken over ‘Andalus', de glorietijden van weleer moeten in ere worden hersteld. Extremistische moslims willen de olietoevoer naar het Westen afsnijden om het zo op de knieën te krijgen. Vandaar dat er regelmatig aanslagen op olieinstallaties in Irak worden uitgevoerd en onlangs (op 24 februari 2006) 's werelds grootste olieraffinaderij in Saoedi-Arabië als doelwit werd uitgekozen. Twee met explosieven geladen auto's van het Saoedische bedrijf Aramco naderden het terrein, maar bewakers konden de beide auto's net op tijd onder vuur nemen waarna ze explodeerden. In het olierijke land Nigeria dreigt een bloedige burgeroorlog tussen moslims en christenen. Van zo'n conflict zullen alleen netwerken als die van Al-Qaida profiteren. We moeten van onze verslaving aan de steeds duurdere olie af en liefst zo snel mogelijk.

Het grootste gevaar voor de vrede en stabiliteit vormt de aanwezigheid van relatief grote groepen radicale en boze moslims in Europa die hier hun macht willen doen gelden. Europese regeringen en de Europese Unie hebben er geen antwoord op. Maar de problemen zullen daardoor alleen maar verergeren. Onlangs besloot een aantal organisaties van moslims in Nederland iedereen aan te klagen die zich kwetsend over de Islam of moslims uitlaat. Hun advocaat Nico Steijnen heeft al aangekondigd dat hij desnoods tot aan het Europese Hof in Straatsburg zal doorprocederen.

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