Talking points for 28 March

Good morning, some questions on kidnapping, Islam and Zimbabwe to get us going today. And Iraq, where the government has extended by 10 days a deadline for Shia militiamen in the southern city of Basra to hand over their weapons. Is the extension proof of the government’s weakness or a sign of a desire for time to find a political solution?

The authorities in Colombia say hundreds of insurgents will be let out of prison immediately if rebel commanders free the kidnapped politician Ingrid Betancourt. A former presidential candidate, Ms Betancourt has been held hostage in the jungle for six years by the left-wing rebel group, the FARC. Her health has reportedly deteriorated sharply in recent days, but does the offer reward kidnappers? Is it right to make such a concession because of Ms Betancourt’s ill health?

Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders has posted a controversial film critical of Islam’s holy book, the Koran, on the internet. The Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, has gone on national television to denounce the film, saying it served no other purpose than to cause offence. Is he right?

And with the final day of campaigning underway in Zimbabwe’s presidential election, Hebson Makuvisa, the London representative of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, told the BBC that “Zimbabweans will defend their vote”. Is that sort of language helpful? Does it sound like a threat to you?

And here’s a suggestion from Scott, a listener in Portland, Oregon:
A theme that continually reappears on WHYS posts is one of hypocrisy. Listeners or participants repeatedly say things like “how dare America say anything about China when they are doing this… .” I propose a segment on “Does hypocrisy invalidate a criticism?”

Thansk Scott, we’ve been thinking along similar lines ourselves, asking Who has moral authority?

24 Responses to “Talking points for 28 March”

  1. 1 VictorK
    March 28, 2008 at 10:38

    I’ve just a few minutes ago finished watching ‘Fitna’.

    The film will certainly cause ‘offence’. Muslims will be outraged and angered by it. They have already called for Wilders to be murdered. But for the Dutch PM to claim that it serves no other purpose than to cause offence is simply absurd.

    The film is entirely factual. It presents us with statements from the Koran, statements from Muslim leaders and clerics, and instances of Muslim behaviour. All give the same message: Islam is a violent, anti-progressive, totalitarian political creed that aspires to dominate the world. It represents a threat to Dutch society and to Western civilisation. We in the West, with a growing Muslim population are headed for complete disaster unless we take action about the growing Muslim problem in our midst, since Islam and Western civilisation are incompatible.

    This is one topic on which I’d really like to have my say. But is WHYS capable of treating this properly? I have real concerns. There are well-informed and heavy-weight critics of Islam who are more than capable of putting the (irrefutable) case for Wilders’ film: Andrew Bostom, Hirsan Ali (sp.), Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer, and Srdja Trifkovic. It is people of this calibre that I’d hope to hear on one side of the WHYS panel. I take it for granted that Wilders (assuming he is fluent in English) will be there?

    It’s time to address the problem of Islam in the West properly.

  2. 2 VictorK
    March 28, 2008 at 11:02

    WHYS hasn’t linked to the Wilders’ film, ‘Fitna’. Why not? You’ve raised the issue and it would have seemed reasonable to give people the opportunity to find out what it’s about. You surely haven’t made up your minds already about the film? Perhaps you’ll link to it later?

    I’ve followed the link you did provide to the BBC report. It included the following statement about the film containing “…pictures appearing to show Muslim demonstrators holding up placards saying “God bless Hitler” and “Freedom go to hell” also feature.”

    Now those images came from the demonstration by Muslims in London a few years ago. The media, including the BBC, at the time carried countless images of the same pictures at the time. There is no question at all about their being authentic. But now the BBC is insinuating that these images may not be what they seem – cleverly faked, perhaps, by the ‘right wing’ Wilders and his doubtless equally ‘right wing’ associates (and ‘right wing’ is never used by the BBC in a neutral, purely descriptive sense – it generally means people with very nasty, probably racist, politics, at least as the BBC views the world).

    My confidence in the BBC’s ability to treat this story fairly is already waning.

  3. 3 steve
    March 28, 2008 at 11:39

    I’m a bit torn by the Dutch film. I do think the creator is extremist in his views. He is in favor of dress codes, such as banning islamic dress. I think people should be able to dress the way they want. He also wants to ban the Koran. The problem is not with the Koran, it’s people who take it so literally. The bible and Torah are filled with terrible things too, but fortunately virtually nobody takes it seriously. I don’t recall every smiting my enemies and enslaving their women and children, but it’s in there, fortunately, it’s not taken seriously. That said, I watched the Film, and I’ve seen virtually all of the footage before, so it’s really nothing new. What I think is happening in europe is that many on the far far left are over accomodating, and if enough muslims who are really devout are in europe and get political power, the Dutch will lose their famous liberalism as slowly, Islam gets incorporated into Dutch law. So the country that is famous for coffee shops, red light districts, and beer, could have some aspects of theocracy. Obviously there is some problem there if people get killed (like Theo van Gogh) for expressing their views. There are still threats against Hirysan Ali too. Though I cannot say I approve of the film, I don’t see how anyone can defend the things that were stated by the extremists in the film too. I think the creator’s goal is to cause an uproar, a bunch of threats, and actions against the Netherlands, so that he can say “See? I am right”. Religion really needs to be left to the church/mosque, and at home, so I really do hope the far left stops acommodating and expects some integration and secularization. You’re always free to live your private life as religious as you want to.

  4. 4 Brett
    March 28, 2008 at 11:42

    “Does hypocrisy invalidate a criticism?”

    In the case of Nancy, yes, her criticism is invalidated. A citizen of the country with no control over the actions of its government isn’t considered a hypocrite simply because of the actions of their leaders. However, when it is the leaders who are making the decisions and the hypocritical criticism, then yes; hypocritical criticism is most certainly invalidated.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  5. 5 RR
    March 28, 2008 at 11:45

    hi rabiya, why all the time when there is an expression of freedom of civic rights,there is an uproar from the opposites voice i.e (the muslims). let this people know that if they want to live and dwell in europe or other places other than their land they must abide and conform to the laws and ethics of the place they are living, the supression none muslims suffered and endured in the hands and lands of those so called muslims, are incomparable to the just pesonal view(s) of one man or some few people, live geert wilders alone, he is a citizen of a democratic society, who are they to condem the man, when they themselves are oppressors. God has power to fight for himself if he feels victimised, may peace prevail on earth.

  6. 6 Brett
    March 28, 2008 at 11:57

    “Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, has gone on national television to denounce the film, saying it served no other purpose than to cause offence. Is he right?”

    While I don’t like offending people, I’m a bit sick of hearing about this. You have PLENTY of Anti-Christian films and documentaries that either denounce or mock Christianity. “Jesus Camp”, “Dogma”, etc.
    The release of these movies didn’t cause international incidents. No one died because of them (that I know about). Everyone just needs to calm down and realize that not everyones views will fall in line with their own. If the Christians can take it with a grain of salt, the Muslims need to learn to do the same.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  7. 7 shamsuddeen musa
    March 28, 2008 at 12:12

    the delay by the iraqi government clearly shows the weakness of the iraqi government. it should completely get rid of the militiamen at this moment in time becouse they are weak and hopeless.

  8. 8 steve
    March 28, 2008 at 14:34

    @ Brett,

    It’s not PC to say it, and everyone knows it, but you cannot say it, but some people react violently to any criticism or perceived cricism. You can have a virgin mary in a bottle of urine at an art museum, or make a chocolate jesus, and you know christians aren’t going to behead people or burn embassies or issue fatwas. That’s the reason why nobody really fears insulting christians or jews, because they will just voice complaints, but won’t get violent. The Dutch PM is just being practical. I’m sure he resents having to do it, I’m sure he wish people could behave and not violently react to everything, but Dutch people will likely be killed because of the irrational reaction to this film, of people who likely will never even see the film, but were just told to be riled up because someone said something not nice about Islam.

  9. 9 Mark Sandell
    March 28, 2008 at 14:42

    We discussed the film at the meeting. We were one of the first programmes to pick up on the Danish cartoon story as we were told about an online buzz about it but we aren’t -possibly wrongly- hearing much about this. It was extensively previewed, the debate has been going for some time and maybe, just maybe, everyone’s being grown up.
    It’s hard to make it the global talking point when we’re not sure many people are, in fact, talking about it.

  10. March 28, 2008 at 14:49

    the shifting of deadline by iraqi government shows the inherent hollowness of the iraqi government and proves beyond doubt that they cant administer on their own without american support .dread to envisage the plight of common iraqis if america pulls from iraq leaving the goverence to this makeshift weak government which currently governs iraq.
    in columbia two questions will be before the columbian government clamouring for the release of the former presedential candidate .one is the human side of not letting a human being to be killed and on the other is the larger issue of countries security being undermined by the blackmailing of farc.in this utter dilemma government of columbia has to decide .in the same situation indian government in the kandahar plane hijacking incident released dreaded terrorists like maulana azar and others for the safe return of indian travellers held hostage for weeks .even the indian foreign minister jaswant singh accompanied maulana azar to kandahar by the same plane.lase week then homeminister advani was quoted as saying that he didnt know about the travel plans of jaswantsingh with terrorists to kandhahar.on these lines nothing wrong in the release of farc supporters in return of westcourt.
    dutch politicians koran representations is his artistic independence werein no one has the right to comment .but fearing the cartoon backlash as in denmark nowadays all governments have become meek in responding and rely for safer methods thats banning the artists representations rather than giving him the space to show his talent .how deep religious forces are holding whiphand can be seen from this kind of instances .also in india m.f.hussain has to flee from india because of the threat from hinduvaitha forces as hussein they say has depicted hindu god and godesses in a sleazy mode .
    in zimbawe situation is in turmoil between the natives and the colonial powers .so in some instances mugabe is right but in other whites are right end result the plight of common zimbawens has reached its nadir both on the political and economic front.

  11. 11 Will Rhodes
    March 28, 2008 at 15:02

    “Does hypocrisy invalidate a criticism?”

    In the case of Nancy, yes, her criticism is invalidated. A citizen of the country with no control over the actions of its government isn’t considered a hypocrite simply because of the actions of their leaders. However, when it is the leaders who are making the decisions and the hypocritical criticism, then yes; hypocritical criticism is most certainly invalidated.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

    Completely agree.

    In Iraq – while extending the deadline was, in my opinion a silly thing to do after being so vociferous about it, it can be a good thing if accompanied by a cease-fire. OK, keep your guns but stop using them so we can come to a negotiated peace deal, albeit in the short term.

    Geert Wilders – While he is a self proclaimed right-wing politician, and I can say I haven’t seen the film, this because I will have seen it all before somewhere or another. He is getting the justification he needs – he is, as many of us know, playing the same game but in reverse. He is bring attention to his cause with the film and inciting a response that he wants – a simple political ploy but one that works.

    The film concludes: “Stop Islamisation. Defend our freedom.”

    While this is odd, to have the freedom to put the film up in the first place, he calls to stop Islamisation – I would ask what he is scared about? All you have to do is look toward Iraq and what is happening in that very country. You have two factions of the Islamic religion fighting each other for dominance – do people really think that the western governments would give up the western life-style to go en-route to Islamisation with the will of just a very few radical Islamists?

    If you think that you have a real paranoid way of looking at your own situation in your own country and have a irrational fear of something that is, well, a boogie-man in the cupboard. IF this came down to a real fight, do you honestly think that your own people would just sit back and say “OK – now we will become Muslim! That will stop all the bloodshed and we will all go to the local Mosque build by McDonald’s!”

    It is plain silly. Yes I do agree that those of Muslim faith who are already integrated into western society would come out and condemn what is wrong in some Muslim nations such as the stoning of women and some of the other barbaric laws – but when they do say something it isn’t mass media, headline news – it is something for page 12 and is basically ignored.

    But then again, you have to look at the cultural difference between Muslim nations and western nations – that is the crux of all this – the cultures are so different people cannot see where the two blend at the edges.

    6 years for FARC to be holding a woman, or anyone, in captivity is plain daft! What has it achieved for them?

    Zimbabwe needs a vote – one that is free and doesn’t include Robert Mugabe – but we will have to wait, I am sure he is getting on a bit now.

  12. 12 Nick Coulter
    March 28, 2008 at 15:11

    I would agree with most of the comments posted here already. It seems as though most non-muslims and people like myself who have no religious affiliation, agree that Muslims need to clean their own house. Fitna just shows facts. It’s true that they are all pertaining to the bad part of the Islamic religion, but that’s the only part that anyone takes offense to. Fitna doesn’t tell people not to be Muslims, it says that Muslims need to get rid of those parts of the Qoran that promote violence. I’m not even sure why this film is so controversial. These things happened. The people who committed these acts cited the Qoran. The little girl who called Jews swine cited the Qoran. If you think people are misinterpreting the Qoran, then clarify it for them. Otherwise the links between the Qoran and terrorism won’t go anywhere because they are linked simply by the fact that terrorists think they are doing the right thing because the Qoran is not clear.

  13. 13 VictorK
    March 28, 2008 at 15:33

    Will Rhodes commented that, “Yes I do agree that those of Muslim faith who are already integrated into western society would come out and condemn what is wrong in some Muslim nations such as the stoning of women and some of the other barbaric laws.”

    This is the crux of the matter. There is a point that most people who take a liberal and optimistic line on Islam never consider, and perhaps refuse to consider: what if the stoning, ‘barbaric laws’ and violence that we have come to associate with Islam are not perversions of the religion or extreme misinterpretations of it or contrary to its essence? What if such things lie at the heart of Islam and define it? What if they represent standard, mainstream, orthodox Islam?

    This is a matter that ought to be settled by evidence, not wishful thinking or the desire to promote ‘community cohesion’ and the like by avoiding difficult issues. The Koran, the example Muhammed and 1400 years of Islamic history all support the view that, as far as non-muslims are concerned, Islam is inherently and incorrigibly violent. Not all, or even most, Muslims are violent, but for the majority who are not there are always going to be Muslims who will denounce them as religious slackers, and who will be perfectly right to do so. A religion that tells its followers to fight and kill anybody who doesn’t share their faith has laid its cards on the table. The critics of Islam, like Wilders, draw their evidence solely from Islam.

    This is why a genuine debate on Islam isn’t really possible for some people. They are committed to a view of Islam that leaves room for hope; they look forward to a ‘Muslim Reformation’; they have persuaded themselves that Islam is just one religion amongst others. The evidence that would dispel all these illusions would also point to unwelcome policy prescriptions for dealing with Islam and the problems attending it. And our Western liberals have always preferred flattering illusions to unpleasant realities.

  14. 14 Xie_Ming
    March 28, 2008 at 15:42

    It is unfair and probably in error to say that it is the Islamic faith and the Koran alone that are responsible for the attempt to suppress free speech. The tribalistic violence of the Old Testament is well known. This greatly influences the Judaic and Islamic cultures. As with the earlier Old Testament, the Koran was composed in a period of tribal fighting.

    How much of the religious ideology is translated into the daily culture? This depends on the sophistication of the hearer and on the individual rabbi or mullah.

    When he sought to make peace with the Palestinians, the Prime Minister of Israel was assassinated by a leading law student at an Orthodox university. The former student does not regret his action and maintains that it was justified by Jewish traditional law. His professors claim that the student took their teaching literally.

    Even after 9/11, leaders of the Jewish Defense League in San Francisco plotted to bomb the offices of a US Congressman- they died in prison. The JDL website celebrates them as “martyrs”.

    Such JDL violence in not typical of Zionist efforts to silence free speech within the United States. The usual tactic involves complaints to editors, character assassination and efforts to remove faculty members.

    It seems that root of the problem lies with Abrahamic tribalism of the Mid-East. The response should be to redouble efforts to publish- and to suggest that those who do not accept these values are not located in the appropriate culture.

  15. 15 steve
    March 28, 2008 at 16:04

    Xie_Ming, the examples you cite are extreme aberrations, and are so rare, those are probably the only examples you can come up with. And to compare writing letters to editors with killing people in the city streets (van gogh) is rather insulting. The WORST thing you can expect if you single out israel for criticism, and ignore everything else, is being called an antisemite. I would rather be called an antisemite than have my head cut off. Facts are, there is violence in the name of Islam EVERY day. You could walk around with a sign of the mohammed cartoons in most muslim countries and you probably wouldn’t live the day. The cartoon artist is STILL in hiding becuase people have threatened to kill him over a CARTOON!

  16. 16 Scott Millar
    March 28, 2008 at 16:09

    There are no beings or nations that are entirely clean, all have dirt. Thus no one has moral authority. If no one has it, is it possible to have less then others?

    Perhaps a distinction needs to be made between people and nations. The individual is rarely responsible for the actions of their homeland. If a politician takes a stand against another nation, this is different because they are a representative of the country as a whole and along with it comes the “moral” history.

    When dealing with a nation or person how much time must pass for a “moral” record to be cleansed? Is it ever? This is similar to parents saying don’t drink at such a young age, when they themselves did! But this does not mean the caution is unwarranted or invalid because the parent’s record is dirty? Clearly not.

    I am coming around to think, no one should ever claim moral authority in a debate, and they should also not be accused of a lack of it either. I think individual statements or criticisms should be evaluated independently of there author. As with governor Spitzer, his now somewhat questionable moral “record” doesn’t change some of the good crusades he embarked on.

    -Portland, Oregon

  17. 17 Brett
    March 28, 2008 at 16:31

    I just finished watching Fitna and I don’t see what the huge deal is about it. Until after 14:40, there is nothing but factual evidence presented. There is no analysis, nothing but picture, after video, after sound clip. The only Anti-Muslim stuff I saw in the video was the last 20 or 30 seconds of text scrolling at the end. The rest of the video highlights Muslim leaders, bombers, protesters, news articles, and their actions. If Muslims don’t like it, they need to take a stance against their hardline extremist counterparts within their own religion, not get upset for being called out on the action of their members. Its like China being upset with the western media.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  18. 18 George USA
    March 28, 2008 at 18:45

    On ultimatums from Maliki-

    Ordering the Iraqi army and police to kill the Madi insurgents without a word publicly was indicated,

    Not public ultimatums- He was extremely ill advised, probably Chenney visiting.

    Weakness was magnified, the insurgents given a shot in the arm to carry on.


    FARC has no excuse if they do not take this deal.

    The world should fully understand they are just a kidnap and drug business if they do not.

    Any pretense of “revolution” must forever be removed from FARC by this alone.

    FARC is not a political organization, just a crime organization today.


    Dutch kowtowing-

    “Everyone just needs to calm down and realize that not everyones views will fall in line with their own. If the Christians can take it with a grain of salt, the Muslims need to learn to do the same.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.”

    Brett’s remark is of course reasonable and true.

    That is the real issue, Islam is not reasonable or true, which makes the point of the film valid.

    That fundamental conflict does not appear go away with words.

    Chamberlain was wrong with appeasement to Hitler.

    Trying to appease Islamic demands is precisely the same. I wish this were not the case, but is.


    Zimbabwe has an event going on, but an election it is not.

    There is a great deal of that going round these days.

  19. 19 Will Rhodes
    March 28, 2008 at 20:03

    Victor – this is why I mentioned the cultural difference.

    If these two cultures cannot live together we have to look at this as a separate problem which will have to be addressed.

    But, as we have it now – we have to work toward a way that people can live together or we are looking at an abyss that I don’t want to go to.

    A direct question that I have to ask: What would you personally propose should happen with the people we have of Muslim faith in the western world?

    How you answer will define you – not me. I want people to find a common ground where they can live together in peace. That, I may add, would apply to both west and east. I am Christian as I have said before – I don’t call for people to be stoned or put to death for insulting my beliefs, I don’t think others should either – that is why I am a strong proponent of free speech and freedom of thought. I you wish to call that wishful thinking then I have to agree with you – I haven’t lost my faith in the human race just yet.

  20. 20 steve
    March 28, 2008 at 21:54

    Fitna the video was posted on Liveleak, and they chose to take it down after recieving death threats.

    from liveleak:

    “Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.
    This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.
    Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.
    We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.”

  21. 21 Louisa
    March 28, 2008 at 23:50

    As several of your participants noted, democracy is more than elections! It’s supposed to be government by the people, either directly or through elected representatives. There is one caveat, however: the “people” may not deny civil rights or human rights to any person. That’s why it’s essential that any developing democracy adhere to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    As to “western-style democracy,” it would be a mistake to pattern it after that in the U.S. where corporations exert unparalleled influence on the government, even to writing legislation, and corporate media control the news and direct the political discourse.

  22. 22 Alec Paterson
    March 29, 2008 at 13:08

    Jan Peter Balkenende is typical of European leadership at the current time. Appeasement in the the face of Islamic intolerance.

    The fact is that Muslim leaders and Imams in Europe have instigated the response to the film, which is factual, as they did to the Danish cartoons. Their aim is not religiuos respect but cultural change in the West. They want to prevent criticism of its Muslim minority and accord that group special privilege not available to the followers of other religions. Instead of them changing to integrate into our way of life, they want to force us to change to accept their way of life.

    The survival of the Western values of free inquiry and free expression now depend entirely on whether we have the intelligence to understand their true value and the will to face down the enemy.

  23. 23 Brett
    March 31, 2008 at 11:23

    20 steve
    March 28, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Fitna the video was posted on Liveleak, and they chose to take it down after recieving death threats.

    I saw this over the weekend when I went to show friends the video. I was pretty upset to see that free speech was interrupted through use of threats of violence and death especially by a religion / its followers.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  24. 24 VictorK
    April 1, 2008 at 09:21

    Will asked, “What would you personally propose should happen with the people we have of Muslim faith in the western world?”

    Well, before answering that question I would like to see Western governments (principally Britain and the US, and the bureaucracy of the European Union) disengage from involvement with the internal politics of Muslim countries. Withdrawal from Iraq (with a Muslim Coalition succeeding the current Western one); complete withdrawal from Afghanistan (let them grow poppies if they want). An end to all aid to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Pakistan. Western governments should no longer attempt to coerce dictatorial regimes into adopting democracy and promoting human rights: that’s an internal matter for them and their people, not us. We can set an example to them of what’s possible, but no more. We should deal with whatever governments we find ourselves faced with, including fundamentalist ones, and stop lecturing others about how they should manage their affairs (sheer imperialist arrogance on our part). Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be viewed by the West as an internal matter for the Israelis of no concern to us. We should sell arms to anyone who wants to buy them. The only reason for imposing sanctions on or using military force against a sovereign nation is that it’s been guilty of genocide or is currently engaging in the same.

    All of the above would form the background against which your question could be answered.

    The first point of my answer-cum-wishlist concerns immigration. I’d end immigration from the Muslim world into the West. I’d end the policy of accepting asylum seekers from the Muslim world too.

    The second point concerns those Muslims (like those who demonstrated in London a few years ago or our many radical imams) who are committed to Sharia, Jihad, and the Islamisation of Britain and the West. They should be stripped of their citizenship and deported to any country that will take them or to the country with which they have an ancestral connection.

    The third point regards integration. I’d compel it. No muslim schools; no burkhas; no preaching in Mosques in any language but English (I think the equivalent already happens in Germany); no more foreign spouses; no more importation of foreign and usually anti-Western imams – produce home-grown imams or let your religion die; stripping people of their citizenship if they fight for a foreign army or commit acts in anyway hostile to the British army or the armies of Britain’s allies, or if they engage in terrorist activities abroad (two of the issues here are loyalty and allegiance); no foreign funds should be permitted for the building of a mosque; no mosque should receive planning permission to be built in a style that doesn’t conform to Western architectural aestethics.

    The fourth point in my answer involves a direct attack on anti-British and anti-Western values and practices in the Muslim community: a crack down on honour killings and forced marriages ( a female Muslim is also a British Muslim and is entitled to live life with all the freedoms and safeties enjoyed by her non-Muslim sisters); immediate punishments for incitements of any kind, whether against converts from Islam, Jews, gays,or the Western way of life; the closure and demolition (beacuase of its symbolic value) of any mosque used to incite violence, preach Jihad (local or international), or support Sharia in the West.

    The fifth and final point of my answer concerns missionary activity amongst Muslims: I would like to see Christian churches actively seeking Muslim converts, especially the Roman Catholic Church (which offers the same relgious certainty that they would have known in their former faith).

    What I’d expect as a result of all of this is the slow death of Islam in the West and an increasing number of Muslims converting to other religions. It’s the ideology of Islam that I want to challenge and eradicate.

    I also believe in free speech and free thought, but unlike you I think that both are to be subordinated to the preservation and transmission of a nations’s cultural identity, and that neither are possible except in the context of the cultural traditions of Western civilisation. Remember, North Africa was once part of Mediterranean Christian civilisation and full of Christians like yourself. That Christian civilisation is now just a memory as a result of Islamisation. I don’t want that to happen in the West. As long as we respect Muslims and their way of life in their countries (the background to my answer) we are entitled to insist that Muslims respect us and our way of life in the West.

    I make no apologies for that and will rather trust to the kind of programme I’ve outlined than to wishful and optimistic thinking about all turning out for the best if we all just try to get along.

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