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January 20, 2015 0

Calling Radical Islam What It Is

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

If we want to win the war against rad­i­cal Islam — and in my view it should be the num­ber one pri­or­ity of the West­ern and Mus­lim worlds — we need to call it what it is. Too often, out of a mis­placed sense of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, polit­i­cal lead­ers, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and French Pres­i­dent Fran­coise Hol­lande, avoid iden­ti­fy­ing the extrem­ists as pro­po­nents of a rad­i­cal Islamic ideology.

The solu­tion to the threat lies pri­mar­ily within the Mus­lim world itself. Main­stream Mus­lims must on every level, start­ing with edu­ca­tion, dis­cour­age young peo­ple from tak­ing the extrem­ist path. But if we in the West are reluc­tant to explic­itly say what it is, why should Mus­lim mod­er­ates speak and act?

I address this as some­one who rep­re­sents an orga­ni­za­tion that stands up against defam­ing of Mus­lims in gen­eral or Islam as a reli­gion. When indi­vid­u­als try to show their bona fides in sup­port of Israel by claim­ing that Islam as a reli­gion is ter­ror­ist or that most Mus­lims are, we stand up to say no.

In Europe, the hes­i­tancy to say the words “rad­i­cal Islam” may largely be the prod­uct of intim­i­da­tion or the fear of vio­lent retal­i­a­tion. That is why the com­ments by French Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls before the French Par­lia­ment and in an inter­view with Jef­frey Gold­berg of the Atlantic are so important.

He pulled no punches and told it like it is. The enemy is rad­i­cal Islam. French soci­ety must stand up against the out­rage com­mit­ted by jihadists against France and against the Jews of France. The jihadist ide­ol­ogy surely does not rep­re­sent most Mus­lims and it is a hijack­ing of Islam, but the incite­ment to vio­lence and the acts of ter­ror are done in the name of Islam and influ­enced by teach­ers of fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam in schools and other insti­tu­tions through­out the Mus­lim world.

As Michael Walzer has writ­ten, it is not prej­u­dice but ratio­nal to fear Islamism, as opposed to Islam. When ele­ments within a reli­gious com­mu­nity pro­mote anti-democratic atti­tudes and anti-Semitism, and turn to ter­ror, anti-democratic atti­tudes, and anti-Semitism, it is not racist to oppose it forcefully.

There is noth­ing sim­ple about try­ing to fig­ure out how to defeat the rise of this rad­i­cal­ism within the Mus­lim world.  Social, eco­nomic and polit­i­cal forces within Mus­lim coun­tries and in rela­tions between the west and the Mus­lim world all con­tribute to it.

But what we know from past strug­gles against total­i­tar­ian move­ments, whether Nazism or Com­mu­nism, is that they require clear and prin­ci­pled think­ing to directly engage the danger.

That starts with say­ing that Islam and Mus­lims are not the enemy, they are part of the solu­tion.  We need to empha­size and acknowl­edge that there is prej­u­dice against Mus­lims because of recent events and to emphat­i­cally oppose it.

But we also must not hes­i­tate to point out that those who suf­fer the most from rad­i­cal Islam are Mus­lims them­selves. Just think of the recent news in Pak­istan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nige­ria: Mus­lims being mur­dered, mosques being attacked by extrem­ist Muslims.

The basic mes­sage from polit­i­cal, reli­gious and civic lead­ers must be that all good peo­ple are in this strug­gle together. The Islamic extrem­ists are a threat to Mus­lims, a threat to Jews, a threat to civilization.

Just like the strug­gle against Nazism and Com­mu­nism were defeated by a col­lec­tive effort and by a set of clear ideas, this 21st cen­tury strug­gle can be won as well.

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July 21, 2014 19

Hate on Display: Anti-Semitism in Anti-Israel Demonstrations Across Europe

Jews attacked. Syn­a­gogues tar­geted. Israel demo­nized. These pat­terns of anti-Semitism were seen at many anti-Israel demon­stra­tions around Europe this past weekend.

On Fri­day, a pro­tes­tor in Berlin attacked an Israeli man wear­ing a kip­pah, who hap­pened to be pass­ing the demon­stra­tion route. The same day in Lyon, France, a pro­tester hit a Jew­ish teenager in the head while yelling, “I want to kill all the Jews.” He was arrested on the spot by police. The same mur­der­ous intent was report­edly expressed in Zurich, where demon­stra­tors chanted, “Jews into the sea!”

On Fri­day, in Essen, Ger­many, anti-Israel pro­test­ers broke off from a demon­stra­tion and headed towards a syn­a­gogue, clearly intend­ing to attack it.   Police stopped them, arrested four­teen, and charged them with con­spir­acy to com­mit a crime.

On Sat­ur­day, in Sar­celles, France, anti-Israel pro­test­ers threw a Molo­tov cock­tail in the direc­tion of a syn­a­gogue, but police had kept them far enough away that the fire­bomb did no dam­age. Pro­test­ers did man­age, how­ever, to burn a kosher super­mar­ket to the ground. The same store had been attacked with an impro­vised grenade in 2012.

Syn­a­gogue in Ver­celli, Italy

Syn­a­gogue in Ver­celli, Italy

Syn­a­gogues in Italy and France were also tar­geted with anti-Israel ban­ners. “Stop Bomb­ing Gaza. Israel Assas­sins. Free Pales­tine” was hung on the syn­a­gogue in Ver­celli, Italy, on July 18, and an “Israel Assas­sins” ban­ner was placed on a syn­a­gogue in Lyon the next day.

While these ban­ners would not be con­sid­ered anti-Semitic at a demon­stra­tion, they are anti-Semitic when tar­get­ing the local Jew­ish community.

Com­par­ing Israel to the Nazis is also anti-Semitic and preva­lent at anti-Israel demon­stra­tions. On Fri­day, “Israel=Hitler” signs were held up in Brus­sels. In Lon­don, it was “Well Done Israel, Hitler would be Proud.” And in Dublin, Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu is depicted as Hitler on a sign, “Wanted: Zio Nazi”.

On Sun­day in Ams­ter­dam, one pro­tester took demo­niza­tion quite lit­er­ally: “Stop Sion­ist [sic] Demons in Gaza.”

 

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July 16, 2014 1

Vitriol and Violence in European Anti-Israel Demonstrations

While a hand­ful of vio­lent acts have tar­geted Jews in Europe dur­ing the lat­est round of Israel-Hamas fight­ing, the vit­riol has flowed freely. Unde­ni­ably anti-Semitic expres­sions have been widely reported at anti-Israel demon­stra­tions over the past week.

“You Jews are Beasts.” So read the sign at an anti-Israel demon­stra­tion in Frank­furt, Germany.

Cries of “Death to the Jews!” were heard mul­ti­ple times dur­ing a large-scale demon­stra­tion in Paris. Two groups of dozens of demon­stra­tors broke off from the march to attack two synagogues.

anti-israel hitler rally“We are all Mohamed Merah!” was chanted at a demon­stra­tion in Nice, France, refer­ring to the mur­derer of three chil­dren and a rabbi at a Jew­ish school in Toulouse in March 2012.

“Slaugh­ter the Jews!” and “Khay­bar, Khay­bar,” the anti-Semitic slo­gan evok­ing the mas­sacre of Jews in Ara­bia 1400 years ago, were repeated in Antwerp, Belgium.

“Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas!” was shouted in Gelsenkirchen, Ger­many, less than 10 miles from the Nazi camp at Hol­beck­shof, where hun­dreds of Jews were sent.

Israeli and Nazi flags were equated on signs at a demon­stra­tion in The Hague.

As French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande suc­cinctly and clearly expressed on July 14, “Anti-Semitism can­not be used because there is a con­flict between Israel and Palestine.”

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