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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ayyan Hirsi Ali, 25 May 2010
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This review is from: Nomad: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations (Paperback)
Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in muslim societies in Somalia, Saudi etc, and fled to Holland when her father tried to wed her to a man in Canada. Hirsi Ali is today one of the most prominent critics of islam. And the price for this is living with bodyguards under constant threat of death. If you want a feel-good or PC description of life under islam, this book is not for you.

After an introduction "Nomad" deals with Hirsi Alis' family, and the problematic relations with her father and mother after she chose to become an "infidel". This part is very interesting as it provides glimpses of life in a muslim family and culture. It is also a story of opression of women, physical violence, sexual taboos and the fear of hell.

The following part is about her move to USA. She really likes the US, but sees it as threatened from the inside by the rise of fundamentalist islam. She is met by angry muslims when holding speeches at universities (in one case, a girl in headscarf cried out "Who in hell gives you the right to talk about islam?". And another student replied: "The first amendment!". "That was inspiring", Hirsi Ali comments (p 135).) She also comments on how there are student activist groups for everything, but nothing for the right of muslim women, women fleeing islam or against violence in the name of islam.

She also delivers in depth criticism of islam as an opressive system where women are reduced to breeding machines under sex apartheid, and where people are taught to be submissive, afraid of allah, and not to question religious authority. This has created docile subjects, easily manipulated by radical imams.

The temperature rises when Hirsi Ali confronts western feminists who have failed to criticise the opression of women under islam. She also accuses multiculturalists to deny muslim children the opportunity break free from the shackles of religion and superstition. "In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic /.../ It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance and abuse." (p 261). The remedies she proposes are increased exposure of muslims to open debate and enlightenment values, and more active spread of christianity, which she sees as a more humane religion. This can seem surprising as Hirsi Ali declares herself to be an atheist.

Hirsi Ali has got many valid points and insights into the problem of islam, and islam in the West. After all, it is not those who criticise christianity or western values who have to use body guards 24-7, and live in fear. It is those who dare to criticise islam, like Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Soorah Hera, Irshad Manji, Salman Rushdie, Theo van Gogh, Lars Vilks and Kurt Westergaard. Just for voicing their opinions. Ayyan Hirsi Ali is a bright and very courageous human, the very opposite of those who condemn her. I recommend everyone to buy and read her book.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 May 2010 14:44:21 BDT
Anon says:
'Those who dare to criticize Islam...like Theo van Gogh.' Are his anti-Semitic remarks worth celebrating too, or is it just the ones where today's ethnic minorities are libelled that we are expected to applaud? And no, he didn't deserve to die just for making the world a worse place for Dutch Muslims, but neither does his death dignify or validate his obscenities.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2010 15:05:33 BDT
MarkusG says:
Well, Anon, I don't see islam as an "ethnic minority". Islam is a political ideology, a totalitarian one as well, with billions of people and several states behind, some of them very rich and with leaders who like to take an aggressive stance towards the west. This is not a weak minority but rather a loud and demanding voice on the global level.

Recently, Elton John was refused to play in Egypt because of his homosexuality. And if you read the alternative statement of human rights made by muslim states, 1990, in opposition to the UN universal declaration, you can see how humans are graded (and degraded) and how islam is considered the only truth. Just two relatively harmless examples. These are products of islam as a broader movement and ideology, not just a small clique of fundamentalists. This ideology must be criticised, it has no special rights not to be criticised. Hirsi Ali does a good job at that. If someone made Holland a worse place for muslims, it must be the one who killed van Gogh.

Btw: I suppose you have no problem with critics of sionism, right?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 May 2010 20:49:47 BDT
Anon says:
OK, Islam isn't an `ethnicity' (if such a thing exists), but its adherents are usually members of the `ethnic minorities' - the language of discrimination tends to fluctuate, so Hirsi Ali, for example, could have been (probably was) labelled as immigrant, asylum seeker, bogus asylum seeker, black, Muslim, `allochtoon', or `import Dutch'. None of the labels would have been to her advantage. My confusion is obviously shared by Hirsi Ali, who in `Nomad' is under the mistaken impression that Theo's delightful `goatf***ers' quote referred to `Moroccan youth' rather than Muslims. Or is that discrimination on the basis of nationality rather than ethnicity? And then that anti-Semitism - as we know that Nazi `racism' was based on malignant fantasy rather than reality, perhaps that isn't racism either. Whatever you call it - Theo van Gogh preyed on vulnerable minority groups in the most repellent and indefensible way. Look it up - I can't believe you are seriously defending his mockery of Holocaust victims, even if somehow you think it is acceptable to describe Dutch Muslims as a knife-wielding Fifth Column. Yes, Bouyeri's action was infinitely worse and much more damaging to Dutch Muslims than Theo van Gogh's sickening hate; though you might ask yourself why Bouyeri's killing was seen as reflecting issues within the Muslim community, while Volkert van der Graaf's assassination of Pim Fortuyn or Karst Tates' murder of seven bystanders in his failed attack on the Dutch Royal family last year didn't damage the indigenous white community. THE ISLAMIC TAKEOVER OF THE WEST AND THE IMPOSITION OF SHARIA LAW IN EUROPE IS A FANTASY, CIVIL STRIFE IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ALONG FRAGMENTED RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS LINES IS THE DANGER WE FACE. Sorry for the capitals.

I'm not sure where the critics of Zionism bit came in, but since you ask:
(1) Criticism of Israeli government/policy, long-term, short-term, is fine;
(2) Seeking the (peaceful) dismantling of the Jewish state in favour of some form of secular, or binational arrangement, or whatever, is a perfectly acceptable viewpoint to argue;
(3) Invoking the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and claiming that Jews are responsible for all the evils in the world is absolutely unacceptable, and politically as well as morally crass - I don't know whether you agree with me on this, but I do know Hirsi Ali most definitely would;
(4) That kind of anti-Zionist specialism indulged in by some people in the West who think they are very progressive, who were (justifiably) outraged by last year's Israeli attacks on Gaza, but neither noticed nor cared that the Sri Lankan army at the same time was killing roughly ten times that number of Tamils - not necessarily anti-Semitic, but if all you care about it is the iniquities of Zionism, and nod the rest through, it's definitely a little suspect.

I don't know if any of that helps. Theo van Gogh - not, repeat not, any kind of hero in the cause of anything except his own ghastly self-image.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2010 11:48:34 BDT
MarkusG says:
Anon,
reason I asked about Zionism is that people who are most angered when islam is criticised is often very harsh in their criticism of zioism and Israel, and forgiving when it comes to anti-semitic remarks. At least, the debate here in Sweden has been polarised that way.

Now it's time to shed the PC eyewear. About islams' "takeover of the west", I could tell you some chilling stories about the development, again in Sweden. If we go back a little more than a decade, islam was almost unknown. Today, islam is the most heated subject for political debate. In an advanced industrial country with a history of fighting back the power of the priests and the king, where secularism rules and where gender equality and human rights are sacred! Why?

Suddenly, we have a large mouthed bigot minority demanding religious laws (sharia), "respect" for a homophobic prophet dead since 1300 years, censorship, gender apartheid, burqas and special schools of indoctrination. And what do the secular, feminist, socialist establishment say about this? Well, they have a hard time not to be labelled "racist" or "islamophobic". So, in the last decade we have seen the most peculiar development. For instance:

1) swedish flags being put away not to "offend" foreigners (at the same time the swedish flag is burned in public by angry mobs in the middle east),

2) festivities when school ends cannot, as usual, be held in churches, because churches may "offend" muslims,

3) works of art taken down in the name of "blasphemy" when bigots raise their voices or threaten with violence (this includes art made by muslim women criticising the treatment of women under islam. For example Louzla Darabis' paintings called "Scène d´amour" depicting sex and verses from the quran (oh, in a secular country, how dare she!!!), censored after criticism from muslim groups (but of course: no such censorship when Jesus was depicted as gay in the artwork "Ecce Homo", that time the left found criticism of religion PC),

4) muslim groups demanding gender apartheid in schools, sharia courts for marriages, and forbidding the showing of old (very old) pictures of muhammad in history books,

5) jewish people fleeing the city of Malmö because of persecution from immigrant muslims (this was first reported outside Sweden, here it is an embarrasment for all "multiculturalists" who try to cover it up),

6) women in suburbs with large muslim populations being persecuted for not wearing religiously correct clothes, being spat upon and hindered by violence for trying to enter a disco - by self proclaimed religious police, this in "secular" and "liberal" Sweden,

7) young women being sent away for gender mutilation, killings of daughters and their boyfriends, and forced marriages ("feminists" and leftists are constantly denying that it exists, but today it is hard to ignore as immigrants are calling attention to it),

8) young men going abroad to africa and the middle east to fight for sharia and islam against the government (ordered to do so by radical imams), then they come back armed with total fundamentalism and knowledge of weapons (any attempt to find out more about this is met by cries of "racism", so media ignores),

9) imams preaching "peace" when swedes are listening, but preaching anti semitism and homophobia to muslim audiences (the ones exposing this denounced as "islamophobes", of course),

10) PUBLIC bath houses with gender apartheid certain days in the week, to please men who think women should be invisible,

11) the association "Young Swedish Muslims" invites a homophobic imam from abroad (the UK?) to enlighten them on how to treat homosexuals the sharia way (this sparked at least some controversy in the media, and they retracted the invitation after trying to defend it),

12) an exhibition at the Nobel (as in 'Nobel Prize') Museum about "freedom of speech" consults an imam who advises them to censor the showing of geert wilders movie (and of course they obey the priest and censor the "freedom of speech" exhibition, without problematising this - very high brow...),

13) clashes in the suburbs between muslims and other immigrant groups like arab christians or secular persians (in a country where ethnicity and religion was neutralised decades ago...),

14) hate speeches held and books/pamphlets written by swedish leftists labelling the swedish (and danish) population "racists" and "islamophobes", VERY glorified in leftist media as the Truth,

15) the artist Lars Vilks who made a drawing of a dog with the head of muhammad has been assaulted, beaten, almost had his house burnt down and so on, just for a silly drawing!

Number (15) is today the most heated and sensitive of topics in public debate. A month ago, Lars Vilks (who is an artist but also professor of art) was holding a lecture in Uppsala University (est 1477) about art and religion. For some reason, this academic lecture interested many muslims without the slightest interest in academic debate or research. After a few minutes, Lars was physically assaulted and the police had to fight several young muslims who tried to kill him. The crowd shouted "allah al'akbar" and managed to stop the lecture. What made them so angry? Not when Lars showed "Piss Christ" or other blasphemous art (as examples illustrating what he was talking about), no, it was when Soorah Heras' (iranian-dutch artist) video "Allah gay bar" was shown that hell broke loose (homosexuality is not the favourite subject for some). The same day, the streets of the same old university town was filled with muslims demanding "respect"... Really? "Respect" for what? For that dead homophobic, anti semitic and women-hating patriarch prophet? Joking, of course... (There are many films taken of this occation and they are not fun to watch, people in the audience being harassed and spat upon, physical threats and violence and the constant cries of intolerance deafening everything. I could give you uncensored links, but I'm not sure amazon approves). What is the next step? Imams given the power to decide upon what can be taught at Swedish universities? I tell you, the protests and the violence will not stop at anything less. And the leftist establishment will have an even harder time trying not to be "islamophobic".

Our leftist establishment seems to think it's a bigger problem that Lars Vilks can hold lectures about art and religion, than the fact that his life is under constant threat and that fundamentalist groups using violence can decide what should be taught at swedish universities. This is not the first time a lecture was stopped because of muslim outrage, but the first time it came to physical violence and in one of our old and established universities.

Physical violence seems to be an effective method today in Sweden, used by the new priests to silence opposition.

Most interesting is that the harshest critics of this development in Sweden are young women with immigrant/muslim background. They are in some ways similar to Hirsi Ali, and they are very bright and outspoken. The leftists and "feminists" hate them and label then "houseniggers" (it is hard to call them "racists").

So, these are some examples (not including a similar development in denmark) that maybe can make you understand why I, when reading Hirsi Alis book, recognise what she is talking about. And I agree with her. Does anyone think that this development will stop, that the demands for sharia and "respect" and blasphemy laws will dwindle? I see no such tendency, on the contrary. These incidents happen more often, and the perception of what is "normal" and "acceptable" is transformed. Today we have leftists who simply don't dare to defend the freedom of speech and the freedom of criticising religious bigotry, and "feminists" who demand more burqas in Sweden (this is true)! Imagine what hat Karl Marx would think of that!

The only way to handle it is the same way the priests were handled during the building of democracy: not to take these demands seriously, and to continue to criticise them, expose them to enlightenment and human rights. Expose the trolls to sunlight. If democrats don't do this, anti-liberals will do it their way.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2010 16:01:01 BDT
Anon says:
Dear Markus,
Perhaps we shouldn't take up too much of Amazon's space, but let's reply to this one:

`when Islam is criticized' - I have absolutely no problem with Islam being criticized, I do very much have a problem with the likes of playground bullies like Theo van Gogh victimizing Muslims, Jews, or any other minority. I don't get the impression that you've checked out the material on him, but I may be wrong about this. Please check it out. I didn't reply in the first place to your general points, I suggested you should not have enlisted Theo van Gogh in your team.

I think it should have been clear when I talked about the anti-Semitism in the first place that I have a general aversion to racial/religious/ethnic/whatever intolerance; I don't know whether my views on what is and isn't acceptable in discussion of Zionism meet with your approval - for what it's worth, I tend to take a relatively pro-Israeli stance, and would go for the usual two-state/secure borders kind of thing that most Western politicians would want to get a Nobel Prize for helping to engineer.

I'll try to shed my PC eyewear - as I've spent the last ten years of my life working in a large school where 90%+ of the pupils and a considerable number of the staff are Muslim, I'd like to think of myself as reasonably clear-sighted, but I'm always ready to listen and learn. By the way - `PC' is not necessarily a helpful term, as it far too often is just a derogatory term for good manners. It's not just `PC' not to use the expression `c***Moroccan', a depressingly common term now in the Netherlands.

`Suddenly, we have a large mouthed bigot minority demanding religious laws (sharia)' - yes, but we both know that that minority are a minority, will remain a minority, and are almost certainly a minority even within their own community. Here in England at least we also have a minority who vote for neo-Nazi parties, and 10% of the population of my own civilized laidback city of Leeds vote for the BNP. That's a much scarier prospect than some fantasy Islamic takeover.

1) Pity about the Swedish flags - most of the kids in my school will be waving the English flag, cross and all, during the World Cup

2) I sometimes wonder who decides what will offend Muslims - if in doubt I check with a Muslim colleague, but at Christmas our mostly Muslim kids sing Christmas carols. A lot of Christmas carols. I make sure they don't sing anything that proclaims Jesus as `Son of God', because I don't want to upset anyone by asking them to blaspheme against their own religious beliefs. More often ideas on `what upsets Muslims' comes from rumours from the popular press, over-aggressive secularists in the Dawkins mould who are intolerant towards any form of religious expression, or people who are trying too hard to be polite and avoid anything they think might cause offence, without actually asking the people they are trying to be nice to. A bit of kindness and tolerance goes a long way.

3) I'm with you all the way on the art, including Hirsi Ali's right to show her not-very-good film - unfortunately in the UK Christian groups seem to me to have started the trend, protesting against `Life of Brian' and `The last temptation of Christ' - to what extent that encouraged the `Satanic verses' controversy I'm not sure. It seems to me that if you are a religious believer it shows a clear lack of faith if you think your God needs a helping hand against the slanders of the wicked.

4) Gender apartheid - we don't have it, certainly not in state schools - the answer just has to be `No'. Which our parents certainly accept absolutely, and it is applied absolutely by Muslim staff as much as anyone else. Sharia marriage - I don't know the situation in Sweden, but in England religious marriage is commonplace, and if you are married in the church or the synagogue you don't need a civil wedding as well. The legal status is the same, but there is of course no religious divorce, that is handled by the courts regardless of whether you had a religious or civil marriage. Sharia divorce would seem to me to be the key issue here, and surely it should simply be possible to say `No'? Equality under the law for everybody has to be a prerequisite for a civilized society. Pictures of Mohammed - judgement and commonsense here too - don't introduce any new school textbooks with anything that will cause offence, but don't ransack the libraries to get rid of what might upset people. Treat others with the same consideration with which you would like to be treated.

5) It's not that long of course since a large part of the indigenous white population of Europe was engaged in a nearly successful effort to eradicate Jews from the continent of Europe, but it is certainly clear that anti-Semitic attacks in Western Europe at least come mostly from Muslims. I have no glib readymade answers for tackling this problem, and given that Western Europe didn't finally realize that Jew-hatred was a bad idea until the concentration camps were opened and 6 million had died I am not optimistic about a quick answer. Education seems like a good idea to me, and abuse and slander of Muslims a la Van Gogh probably not, but it's a problem. Definitely.

6) Vigilante groups are generally not tolerated in civilized societies, so it shouldn't be too hard to remove the `self-proclaimed religious police' - domestic pressure from within the home and less obvious pressures are obviously going to be harder to deal with.

7) Gender mutilation - shocking and unforgivable, though it is not a general Muslim problem, it is mainly a North African Muslim one, and UK Muslims are mainly from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. `Honour' killings - again, unforgivable, though hardly part of daily Muslim experience. Not to be ignored - far from it. Forced marriage - depending on how you define `forced' on a continuum that will stretch from at one end parental approval or disapproval of a choice made, through arranged marriages, all the way to what amounts to abduction and rape, is likely to be more of a problem, and increasingly Muslim women (and men) will want to choose their own partners. The tensions and conflicts that will arise, are arising, will be and are very unpleasant for those involved. That choice will prevail I at least have no doubt - as a parent it has become clear to me that your children generally have more sticking power than you do, and they grind you down. The home culture will lose out to the surrounding culture in the end, every time.

8) Do you have lots of young men going off to terrorist training camps/madrassas/etc?
We have some - some of them were involved in blowing up Tube trains in London a few years ago, but really it's a tiny proportion of the Muslim population. I'm not saying it's not a problem - it's a big one, but getting some perspective in terms of numbers and percentages is vital here. One million Dutch Muslims - one assassin. One assassin too many, but one out of a million.

9) Yes, although I have noticed how much more circumspect Dutch anti-Muslim websites are on their English pages than their Dutch ones (obviously to spare those of us still wearing PC eyewear), and even the serene Ayaan doesn't bother to enlighten her English-speaking audiences about the more lurid declamations of Theo van Gogh...Trivial examples, I know, against the kind of hate that is being preached in radical mosques. It will disappear, because young Muslim men (and women) are better educated than those who wish to indoctrinate them, and sex now is a more attractive prospect than 72 virgins in paradise, and their favourite TV programmes advertise a lifestyle of romance, lust and consumer durables that has more pulling power than strict observance of religious practices they are streetwise enough to know often have more to do with their parents'culture than the Koran. Sexual domination will end, because the test of sexual proficiency in the West has shifted from conquering virginity and siring boys to the altogether knottier issue of giving satisfaction to the woman, and Muslim men in general (I'm making assumptions here, by the way, it's not a regular topic of conversation of mine with friends of any colour or religious persuasion) will want the assurance that the woman they are with is actually having fun, and might even feel like providing extra fun for him. I don't want to be blasé about what are clearly difficult issues, but I am very skeptical about the long-term future of radical Islam in the West. It will be longer if Muslims are not sufficiently integrated into society as a whole, but (I say it again) abuse and slander is not a way to make friends, or to get people to do what you want.

10) A bit loaded this one - Indian trains I believe still have `Ladies' carriages' - is this `gender apartheid', or is it just a way of making women feel more comfortable? Your assumption that any request for single-sex provision is automatically because men want women to be invisible is a very sweeping one - the Muslim women I know are perfectly capable of making up their own minds about what they want, and making sure they get it.

11) Homophobia (perhaps a term that lacks close definition, but I'll go with however you choose to define it) is wrong. Responsible groups shouldn't be inviting homophobes. Exactly how you prevent them doing that would be a very difficult area indeed for the law to handle, but I'd be happy if an attempt was made.

12) Geert Wilders' film - I'm happy to see it banned, for what it's worth, just as I was happy to see him refused entry to the UK. No ideological justification for denying him the right to freedom of speech, but as his raison d'etre is denying it to others I wouldn't get out of my chair to protect his. If you haven't seen 'Fitna', it's bound to be still on the Internet somewhere, and watch for the moment it switches to explain that the Muslim atrocities he's just shown are about to happen in Holland, illustrating just how by showing a picture of a Muslim woman and child in a pushchair. The word `Nazi' should not be used indiscriminately, especially about someone with a Jewish wife, but this is really on a 1930s level as far as propaganda goes. Wilders `Freedom' party wants to ban the Koran, stop the building of mosques and ban headscarves. I'm not sure if he's got any plans for what you or I should or shouldn't be able to read/say/worship or wear when we visit the Netherlands. Don't have Wilders as one of your heroes - even Hirsi Ali has rejected him now.

13) Not a good thing - what do you think the causes are, and what do you think should happen? Unhappily in society just like in the school playground the one who is nearly at the bottom of the pecking order lashes out at the person beneath. Shouldn't happen, it does, we need to find a solution, as neither your country, nor mine, nor the Netherlands is going to be able to operate a policy of ethnic cleansing, even if we were ridiculous enough to believe that that could possibly be a good thing.

14) Leftist media/Rightist media - forgive me, but it's one of the downsides that we who live in Enlightened societies have to put up with. One of our biggest selling papers, the fairly Rightwing anti-European `Daily Mail', was kind enough to point out to its readers during the election campaign that the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has a Dutch mother, a Spanish wife and a Russian grandparent , leaving its readers to draw their own conclusions as to the suitably of someone so genetically compromised to take part in the governing of his country. I don't know how much of a problem the Swedish left are to you, but you'd better hang on to their right to political expression, because if you don't you'll find yours disappears soon afterwards. Yes, I'd love to see the headquarters of the `Daily Mail' (and the `Sun', and the `News of the world') collapse some quiet weekend when nobody could get hurt, but you just have to put up with that kind of thing. Democracy and freedom of expression, it's called.

15) Shouldn't happen - like I said, no easy answer.
`Physical violence seems to be an effective method today in Sweden, used by the new priests to silence opposition.' - really? How often? How many perpetrators? How many victims? There are some, obviously - what proportion of the population?

Sorry, time is pressing on - I'll just jump to the end if I may and say that I absolutely 100% agree that `The only way to handle it is... not to take these demands seriously' (I don't - I don't think they have any serious backing, or staying power); as far as criticizing is concerned, know what and if applicable who you are criticizing (and if it's a who, count them, rather than making wild assertions about an entire population group); expose them to enlightenment (yes, but Enlightenment doesn't mean slandering whole groups of people and denying their civic and religious freedoms) and human rights. Expose the trolls to sunlight - here I have to defer to your Scandinavian expertise - if sunlight is the remedy for trolls, then sunlight let it be. Democracy - that's good too.

Nice to chat, though doubtless we both have things we ought to be doing instead. I'll just go and do the English thing and put the kettle on.

John (Anon)

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2010 19:00:20 BDT
MarkusG says:
John,
Ok, I don't think our opinions differ very much. I'll try to be brief as I agree that amazon is not the place for lengthy exchanges:

1) I'm certainly no expert on Theo van Gogh, and I may not approve of his views. I'm not defending him, I'm just concluding that those who critisice islam in the west - even up here in Sweden - will live in danger. But you may well be right in what you say.

2) You write about those who are "trying too hard to be polite", and yes: this is part of the problem in Sweden today. Some people or interests claim to know when muslims are "offended" or may be "offended". We have a lot of people on the left who are in constant anger about the "repression" and "persecution" of muslims in Sweden. Hard to see what they are talking about as Sweden has opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of muslims (in a country with 8-9 million people we have about 500 000 immigrants, surely because we are racists...).

3) You mention the protests against `Life of Brian' and `The last temptation of Christ'. Exactly: we shouldn't take those protests too seriously, right? The same with the protests against the Satanic verses and Lars Vilks artworks. But still: I don't see Monty Python or Martin Scorsese having to hide and live with body guards, slandered by the press as "christianophobes". And still: we live in the Christianity/the West.

4) Gender apartheid is here already, and it will probably get worse. The leader of the Feminist party in Sweden recently argued that women wearing burqa should be encouraged to flee from fascist countries like Belgium and France, to Sweden. Here she want more burqas. (Luckily the feminist party is very very small, but still: this shows how strange the debate can be). I'm not for a general ban on burqa, but to me it's incredible how a feminist can choose not to see the obvious here: that this is a tool for repression.

5) I agree.

6) Phenomena like religious police is hard to combat. Especially as anyone mentioning the problem will be labeled "islamophobe" or "racist". The question is how many males are doing this police work.

7) You say that "The home culture will lose out to the surrounding culture in the end, every time.". Maybe so. At least that is what I thought for a long time. But I'm not so sure anymore, as we see the rise of radical islam in the west, and repeated demands for religious laws and "respect" for the strangest things. I don't see any signs that this problem is about to diminish. But of course I hope that democracy and openness will win.

8) The number of young men going abroad to train as militants is of course unknown. Any attempt at estimating this will be met by outrage from the multicultural left. There are a few journalists informing about the phenomenon on blogs, and about swedes involved in terror attacjs abroad. Of course it is very few people, but regarding how easily offended this group obviously is, I think it is problematic if they aquire combat and weapon skills.

9) Yes, but education and opportunities of a western lifestyle didn't prevent muslims born in england to commit terror attacks. And to put an end to sexual domination more people have to first of all admit it's existence, and maybe not see more burqas as a goal of western society. I agree that radical islam has no long term future, because if it spreads too much there will be a disaster.

10) Yes, gender apartheid is a loaded question. Or should be. Especially in a country like Sweden where we have been proud of our gender equality. People suggesting a return to medieval fantasy should be heavily criticised and challenged, not protected from ctiticism as if they were children.

11) agree.

12) I haven't seen Geert Wilders film, and I have no illusions there. But I see no reason to prevent him from entering the UK as a citizen of EU. Especially as long as the UK is tolerant of imams preaching antisemitism, homophobia and death of the west on it's territory.

13) It is the reality of "multiculturalism" that is beginning to show itself. It's a sad story, and "multiculturalism" is in reality monoculturalism and intolerance. People seek to live in ethnically pure enclaves. And ethnic and religious conflicts are becoming more common. When the different monocultures are mixed, the result can be explosive (as in the example of muslims entering the university listening to Lars Vilks talking about art...).

14) Leftist media: actually the "left" today is very confusing and consists of fractions in conflict. On the one side are traditionalists concerned with classes and economic equality. On the other side are urban intellectuals concerned about multiculturalism, minority rights and criticism of the West. The latter group is what I call "leftist media", but the reality is of course complex. Anyway, these leftists have a tendency to label many things "racist", "islamophobic" and "fascist". Now these concepts are beginning to lose meaning as they seem to include everyone who wants to discuss the problems.

15) " How often? How many perpetrators? How many victims? There are some, obviously - what proportion of the population?". The most prominent victims have been the ones openly criticising islam in any way. First of all artists like Lars Vilks and Louzla Darabis, but of course freedom of speech is itself a victim when art institutions, museums and the press is conducting self-censorship. And the problem is of course not Swedish but global. Suddenly we cannot view the latest season of South Park, just because they make fun of religion. It is ok to make fun with all religions...but one. I don't see any protests by offended hindus, buddhists or catholics demanding to change Swedish society according to their whims. Everybody knows this, and today people are afraid to seem like "islamophobes" or "racists", better to shut up than say what is obvious to every democrat. I think the scene at Uppsala university came as a shock to many, seeing how a central institution of the west and enlightenment was desecrated. And how violence prevailed. In minutes, the voice of reason swithed to the triumphant cries of the mob: "allah akbar...allah u akbar....allah u akbar!!!!".

(Actually just a few days ago the university declared that the lecture would take place again in the fall, with special security arrangements and maybe only for students and researchers. A victory? Well, I'm glad they didn't give in totally to the fundamentalist mob, but a future where university professors must be guarded with guns is not what I prefer. Better get rid of the fundamentalists, what are they doing in Sweden anyway? There are lots of countries where they would feel at home. Why choose to live somewhere you are constantly "offended" by the culture?).

Finally: I hope that there are a majority of more liberal enlightened muslims, and that they see this development as an offense to muslims in general. And that they start to raise their voices against the radicals. Otherwise someone else with less respect for democracy will do that.

Nice to chat with you John,
Best wishes!
Markus

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2010 20:38:53 BDT
Anon says:
Best wishes to you - and thanks for enlightening me on some of the views in Sweden. It's always good to learn.

John

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2015 03:23:58 GMT
Seedbell says:
Got a bit of a bee in your bonnet, haven't you.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2015 03:31:55 GMT
Seedbell says:
Well said MarkusG. It sounds really bad in Sweden and it's bad enough here (UK).
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