Eurabia Alert. “European Socialists decide to tackle Islamophobia,” by SelÃ§uk GÃ¼ltaşli for Today’s Zaman:
European socialist organizations have decided to stem the increasing Islamophobia in Europe by breaking the monopoly on the debate which has, up until now, primarily belonged to far-right and ultranationalist groups.
The above labels are often introduced in an attempt to marginalize all who speak critically of Islam and Muslims as fringe-element wackos who couldn’t possibly possess any element of truth, and from whom this group believes they will somehow rescue the subject:
The Party of European Socialists (PES) — a caucus representing 214 members of
the European Parliament (MEPs) drawn from 33 socialist and social democratic parties — has created a committee to seek ways to combat Islamophobia. Believing that Islam is now a European religion, the 25-member committee wants to “listen” to the 20 million Muslims now living in Europe in a bid to understand their problems, as well as provide solutions to alleviate their grievances.
Once again, we see the discussion proceeding on an assumption that Muslims around the world can only react to problems that must be the fault of the West, and thus that the onus is entirely on Westerners to bend over backwards to fix it all.
Though all the member parties have been invited to send delegations to the committee, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has not responded to the request, while the
Greek Social Democratic Party (PASOK) has sent two representatives.
Prejudices against Islam and Muslims, who have sometimes been referred to as
the “enemy within” by far-right elements, have been on the rise since Sept. 11, and also exacerbated in the wake of the al-Qaeda inspired terrorist attacks of March 11 in Spain and July 7 in Britain. An Islamophobic backlash was perceived in the publication of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, with Pope Benedict XVI”s much publicized statement on the “violent” nature of Islam, for which he later apologized, further stoking the flames of anger.
“Al-Qaeda inspired”: In other words, having nothing to do with Islam, and to suggest otherwise would be “Islamophobic.”
PES says it resents the fact that the tone, nature and timing of the debate on
Muslims in Europe have so far been set by ultranationalist and far-right parties. They also
complain about the lack of serious answers given to parties that have flourished on enmity toward the Islamic religion.
Gee whiz, and Muslims acting on Islamic teachings have never harmed Europe in any way. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)
The committee will be headed by Gary Titley, a British MEP, and Emine Bozkurt,
Dutch MEP of Turkish origin, will be the vice chairwoman. Together with the other committee
members they have proposed a one year mandate — May 2007 to May 2008 — during which they will focus on such topics as diversity, integration and inclusion; secularism and rule of
law; young Muslims and the place of women, democracies, representation and citizenship; and
multiculturalism versus integration.
Speaking to Today”s Zaman, Bozkurt said she believes Islam is already a part of
European culture. Drawing attention to the generally accepted definition of European culture as “Judaeo-Christian”, Bozkurt thinks it will soon be “Judaeo-Christian-Islamic.”
“Muslims lived together with Christians in Spain and Bosnia for centuries. Nevertheless, they are still looked upon as foreigners — they are not deemed real citizens,” said Bozkurt, stressing that the words European and Muslim are still not used in the same sentence. Bozkurt strongly complains that the stage for the debate on Islam has been left totally to ultranationalist parties. She added that the debate on Islam in Europe is closely intertwined with Turkey”s EU accession bid.