Last week saw the first official mosque opening in Granada, Spain since the Spanish Inquisition. Just after the mosque opening ceremonies concluded, 2,000 Muslims from all over Europe converged on the town for an Islamic conference. There participants were told that the aim of Muslims in Europe is to overthrow the capitalist system.
According to the BBC, Spanish Muslim leader Umar Ibrahim Vadillo told the conference that Muslims should stop using Western currencies like the dollar, the euro and the pound and instead use a gold dinar. By doing so, Vadillo promised, the Muslims would cause an economic collapse of Western economies so overwhelming in its scope that it would make the 1929 stock market crash look like a minor event.
Also addressing the conference was German Muslim leader Abu Bakr Rieger. He told participants that as Muslims in Europe they must not bend in their religious practices by adapting them to European values or traditions. In Germany itself, radical Islamists dominate the leadership of the Muslim community.
Last April, French Muslims voted to give radical Islamists 14 seats on the new 50 seat national council of French Muslims. The group around the moderate imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Dalil Boubakeur won only two seats on the council. In an interview with UPI this past week, US terrorism expert Michael Radu explained that half of the young Muslims in France "reject the French identity. They see themselves not as Frenchmen but as Muslims."
Commenting on the increasing radicalization of French Muslims, French Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy said late last month, "It is irresponsible to ask whether Islam is compatible with our republic, because if you say no, what do you do then?"
Last week too saw the publication of an article by MK Azmi Bishara on the Arabic Media Internet Network Web site. The article, "Deciphering the hodna (sic.)" was distributed by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
In his article, Bishara explains that the Palestinians must not fall into a US-Israeli "trap" with their cease-fire. He argues that the US and Israel are attempting to cause a split between a Palestinian leadership and the terrorist organizations. Referring to the Palestinians as "we," the Israeli MK Bishara warns that the Palestinians must not allow for the "resistance," (as he euphemizes terrorist attacks on Israelis), to be separated from the negotiations.
Bishara argues that the Palestinians should not accept US financial assistance because it will turn the people "against the resistance, and will function simply as a way of encouraging Palestinians to give in to US and Israeli demands." Bishara continues, "There can be little hope for justice and steadfastness in Palestine if the resistance recedes from its place in public life, and if the population is held captive by those who oppose the resistance in principle."
In using the metaphor of a people held captive, Bishara is arguing that any Palestinian leadership that combats terrorism and accepts Israel is by definition illegitimate.
Finally, Bishara warns that a cease-fire by terror groups is liable to reduce their allure to young Palestinians who might decide to get a job instead of becoming human bombs. In the Israeli parliamentarian's words "Unless the Palestinians are determined to continue the struggle, the cease-fire may simply disrupt the resistance and discourage the young from joining its ranks.
"Those who join the resistance do so because of the existing momentum. Political militants have reason to fear that the cease-fire may weaken the momentum of the resistance and disrupt the link between the resistance and the youth who might have provided it with new supporters."
So Bishara, who as an MK is sworn to uphold the laws of the State of Israel, is advising the Palestinians not to give up terrorism. He is advocating that the Palestinian terrorists and PA leaders work together to formulate a consensual strategy that "coordinate[s] on matters of peace as well as of resistance."
This of course is not the first time that Bishara has gone public in his support of the Palestinian annihilationist war against the country whose laws he is sworn to uphold. We recall Bishara's presence at Hafez Assad's memorial ceremony in Syria in 2001 where he stood next to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah who had recently ordered the kidnapping and murder of three IDF soldiers stationed inside of Israel and the abduction of Israeli businessman Elhanan Tenenbaum. Standing next to Nasrallah, Bishara called for continued war against Israel.
At the UN's anti-Semitic orgy in Durban, South Africa in August 2001, Bishara led the charge against Israel, which he constantly alleged is a racist, apartheid state. His own party calls for the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state. In short, Bishara uses the organs of Israeli democracy to subvert and delegitimize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. At the same time, he publicly makes common cause with Israel's declared enemies who themselves make no bones about their intention to use genocidal means to destroy the country.
The problem with Muslim minorities in Israel and in other Western democracies is not that they do not wish to assimilate per se. There are many examples of ethnic and religious minorities, like ultra-orthodox Jews for instance, who wish to live happily and peacefully and separately from the larger national majorities in the countries where they reside. The Black Hebrew sect in Israel, like the Amish in Pennsylvania, are other examples of minorities that live peacefully while separating themselves off by tradition, lifestyle and belief from the rest of their countrymen.
The problem with Muslim and Arab minorities in Israel and other Western countries is that increasingly their leaders are not calling for separation from the majority culture. Rather they are calling for the overthrow by a mixture of violence and subversion of the majority culture. The aim of men like Bishara and Vadillo and Rieger is not to live as a separate minority group but to destroy the cultures of the countries they live in and to replace these ways of life with their own. That is, these leaders stand opposed to the right of the Jews to be Jews, the French to be French, the Americans to be Americans and the Germans to be Germans. In the name of Palestinian nationalism or Islamic purity, these men wish not to ensure their minority rights but to overturn the majorities' right as free peoples' to self-determination.
For Israel, the problem of Arab rejectionism and the demographic challenge this rejectionism raises is more acute than anywhere else in the world.
This is so because the radical Arabs and Muslims themselves have made Israel the first target in their war against Western culture and civilization. It is also true because of the numbers themselves. Without Judea and Samaria and Gaza's 3.5 million Palestinians, twenty percent of Israel's population is already Arab.
For years Israel has been alternating between denying the problem and mishandling it. Israel's leading doves argue that Israel must establish a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza immediately because if Israel does not do so it will be swallowed up by the growing Palestinian population on both sides of the 1949 armistice lines. But in so arguing, these self-styled demographic experts never stop to consider that such a state is most likely to simply exacerbate the problem.
The Palestinian state they so wish to establish will have no economic independence. Its citizens will continue to flock to Israel for work. The Palestinian state will have open borders with Jordan and Egypt and these populations will inevitably flock to Israel for work as well.
In 1995, just a ye
ar after the Palestinian Authority was established in Gaza and Jericho alone, Israel was already swamped with 50,000 Jordanians who entered the country on visitors' permits to the PA and stayed on illegally in Arab villages in the Galilee.
As well, there is an acute problem of defeatism in the ranks of Israeli policymakers. The New York Times columnist and friend of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, William Safire felt it necessary to devote his latest column to blasting President Harry Truman for his recently unearthed diary which included a virulently anti-Semitic rant from 56 years ago. While Safire understands that anti-Semitism, even that expressed over a half century ago, cannot be brushed aside or go unanswered, Sharon himself apologizes for and accepts PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas's current anti-Semitism.
In an interview with FOX News this week, Sharon was asked how he felt about the fact that Abbas devoted his doctoral thesis to denying the Holocaust. Sharon replied, "Well, I think Abu Mazen (Abbas) is a courageous man. He never hesitated to express his views in the past. Look, we have to remember, Abu Mazen is a Palestinian. He's not a member of the Zionist movement."
But that is precisely the point. For the Palestinians to be credible partners for peace with Israel they must become Zionists. For peace to hold, the Palestinian leadership must accept Israel's right to self-determination as a Jewish state. In the same vein, for Arab and Muslim minorities in the West to flourish in their adopted homes, they must be willing to accept the right of the peoples of the countries they live in to self-determination.
That the demographic threat to Israel is real cannot be ignored or denied. As a democracy, Israel, like other Western countries must contend with the matter at hand without shirking. But adopting a plan that is one part denial and two parts stupidity only worsens the situation. There is likely no silver bullet to solving this problem. But that simply means that limited remedies must be considered.
For instance, Arabs in Israel should be encouraged to assimilate. They should be allowed to do so. Arabs willing to speak Hebrew and serve in the IDF and live at peace within the Jewish state should be embraced by all Israelis.
But at the same time, those who openly advocate and demand the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state should enjoy no immunity from prosecution for treason, abetting terrorism, sedition and similar offenses. In a democracy, all citizens have the right and indeed the duty to demand equal opportunity and liberty. But in granting these rights, all nation states also have a right to demand that their peoples' right to self-determination be respected.
Orignally published in The Jerusalem Post.