The anti-Islamization conference in Cologne that I wrote about here has been effectively thwarted by German authorities. They banned the conference and sent out the police, and then came a huge counter-demonstration, at which the photo above was taken.
The authorities and counter-protesters were focused on fighting "racism" and "Nazism," as the photo above shows. And as I explained here, there were legitimate questions about some of the participants -- although this story says that the most problematic figure, Jean-Marie LePen, who has been accused of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, never had plans to be there.
In any case, the "Nazism," if it was present among the anti-Islamization ralliers, was not of a very obvious kind: no brown shirts, no swastikas, no sieg heils, no goose-stepping hordes. Even if there were problems with some of the speakers, the issue is real -- and the speakers have a right to be heard if there is to be a free society in Cologne. Many Muslims, including the internationally renowned Sheikh Qaradawi, have stated openly their intention to Islamize Europe.
Moreover, Spiegel reported this in July about the group behind the Cologne mosque:
Even DITIB, the comparatively moderate organization behind the mosque project in Cologne, arouses mistrust. DITIB is the long arm of a religious institution in secular Turkey. "What will most likely happen," ask the residents of Cologne who take part in the protests, "if the feared Islamization of Turkey happens? Will DITIB bring it over here?"
Cologne's Archbishop Joachim Meisner is already warning people about of areas in Germany "where sharia law is increasingly spreading." In the case of DITIB, this warning might be premature or simply inaccurate. At the same time, however, the association is remotely controlled from Ankara and has a reputation for being more concerned with helping to maintain the identity of Turkish immigrants than with helping them integrate in their new homes.
Yet in Cologne the counter-protesters seemed to be equating opposition to Islamization with Nazism -- as the sign above shows. With signs such as "Temples, synagogues, churches and mosques -- everything's okay" and statements praising the city for standing up "to protect its Muslims," the city authorities and counter-protesters don't seem to have any awareness of the Islamization program, or how mosques have been used to foster jihadism and Islamic supremacism, or any understanding of the need to counter it. They just think of it as "racism," as if it is "racist" and "Nazi" to oppose the institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims, stonings, amputations, the denial of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience, and all the other features of Islamic law.
Well, it isn't. If any of the anti-Islamization protesters in Cologne really were neo-Nazis, and at this point I have no way of finding out for sure, that would be unfortunate, but it doesn't make the problem of Islamization go away. In a sane and healthy Europe interested in protecting and preserving European civilization, the huge numbers of counter-protesters would actually have been protesting against Islamization, and the mainstream parties of Europe would have been represented at the rally. Anti-jihadists in Europe should work to avoid all taint of neofascism and race supremacism -- and this is particularly in Europe, where fascism and race supremacism led to the mass murder of millions within recent memory. But to label all and any opposition to Islamization as "Nazism" and "racism," as the Cologne authorities and counter-protesters seem to be doing, is simply a ticket to national and civilizational suicide. If anyone here is behaving like a fascist, it is not the anti-Islamization demonstrators, but the city authorities who are violently clamping down on debate and dissent.
Both terms -- Islam and Nazism -- are slippery. “Nazism” is because it is a term of abuse that is hurled at any conservative, and this makes it harder to recognize real Nazis when they come along. “Islam” is also confusing to many, because people assume one is speaking about Muslim individuals when one is speaking about the ideology, and the ideology is not known or held with equal awareness and fervor by everyone who calls himself a Muslim. The term also confuses people because it makes them assume that Islam can be understood and dealt with in exactly the same way and on the same terms as Christianity or Judaism or anything else that is classified as a "religion." But Islam is not simply a religion in those terms, as I have pointed out many, many times. It is a political and social system as well, and that political system ought to be subject to scrutiny, criticism, and rejection like any other. To say that to do so is inherently "racist" or "xenophobic" is to confuse the issue (and often those who do this do it willfully). There is nothing wrong with wanting to limit immigration -- particularly of those with an avowed goal of replacing one's society and culture with their own, rather than assimilating.
La Yijad en Eurabia (thanks to Paul) has an illuminating set of pictures establishing the strong pro-jihad, anti-Israel, hard-Left (hammer-and-sickle, Che Guevara, etc.) character of the groups protesting against the anti-Islamization group. Note also the Iranian dissidents, who were no doubt on the side of the anti-Islamization protesters.
"Germans Thwart Anti-Islam Rally," from IslamOnline, September 21:
COLOGNE, Germany — Tens of thousands of Germans took to the streets of the western city of Cologne on Saturday, September 20, to protest an anti-Islam conference of European far-rightists.
"We're here to show racism the red card," Cologne Mayor Fritz Schramma told the cheering crowd, reported Reuters.
He slammed the local far-right group Pro-Koeln, which is organizing an "Anti- Islamisation Congress," as "arsonists and racists" hiding under the cloak of a citizens' movement.
Carrying banners saying: "We are Cologne -- Get rid of the Nazis!," protesters gathered outside the city's cathedral to demonstrate against the congress.
Some of the protesters carried placards reading "Nazis out of Cologne" and "Temples, synagogues, churches and mosques -- everything's okay".
Most of the protests, called by trade unions, churches and anti-racist movements, saw thousands of students, families and local businessmen and women carry signs with slogans including "No to Racism" and "Cologne is rebelling!"
They disrupted the Pro-Koeln congress, ensuring less than 50 delegates were able to return to the meeting on Saturday morning.
The two-day congress, opened on Friday, brought together 150 far-right politicians and publicists from across Europe to protest Muslim presence in Europe.
Around 150 bars in Cologne stopped selling Pro-Koeln members the local Kolsch beer.
Many taxi and bus drivers were refusing to transport delegates to the congress.
One hotel even cancelled bookings made by "undesirables."
"Racists and extremists aren't welcome," stressed Mayor Schramma.
A far-right rally to protest the construction of a mosque in Cologne was also cancelled by police Saturday after clashes with opponents.
"The rally has been cancelled," said a police spokesman.
Police said 40,000 people protested against the rally, which had been expected to attract 1,500 people but only dozens showed up.
Many protestors cheered the rally ban.
"It's a victory for the city of Cologne and a victory by the democratic forces in this city," Mayor Schramma told the DPA news agency.
On Friday, several hundred opponents of the congress formed a human chain around a mosque in solidarity with the Muslim minority.
Though Islam is Europe's second religion, European Muslims are facing campaigns from far-right groups to have stately mosques on claims that they are signs of the "Islamization" of Europe.
Armin Laschet, minister for minorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper it was the first time an entire German city "stood up to protect its Muslims."...