This time it centers around his recent trip to Germany where he gave a speech at a rally in Berlin. Spencer writes,
Today I spoke in Berlin at a rally against antisemitism and Islamization, sponsored by Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), the most important German human rights organization, seeking to preserve European values, freedom and democracy (emphasis added).
When ever Robert Spencer makes a claim such as some “organization is the ‘most important’ human rights group” in a particular country it throws up all kinds of red flags for us because such a statement coming from him is usually filled with a load of BS.
Spencer, of course, relies on his American audience’s ignorance about the reality of this “human rights” organization. He gives us a link to a German website that most of his readers will be unable to understand, thereby hoping they will stick to the script he formulates about it being the most important German human rights group.
The truth is that, per his track record, this is just another episode in a long list of episodes where Spencer has teamed up with anti-Muslim, Islam-obsessed haters. Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE) is far from being the premier, let alone “most important human rights organization” in Germany, in fact the claim might go down as one of the greatest oxymoron’s in Islamophobia history (on the other hand a group such as Gesellschaft für Bedrohte Völker is one of the most important and “real” human rights groups in Germany).
Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa
Looking at the BPE site reveals that it is just another organization using the title and badge of human rights to add an air of legitimacy to the real intent behind their work: demonization and marginalization of Europe’s Muslims.
Thanks to one of our German readers, Morakot, we were able to see for ourselves the true nature of this group that Spencer attempts to trump up. It is a group whose aims are undifferentiated from those of neo-Fascists like Geert Wilders and the BNP.
In “Der Verein” (The Association) section of their website they claim that they are not “anti-Muslim” but the facts speak otherwise. Similar in substance to neo-Fascists and Euro supremacist groups, they take up the mantle of proclaiming themselves to be the vanguard and champions of “European Culture.” They define this as being “exclusively committed to the preservation of the Christian-Jewish tradition of their European culture” and opposed to the so called “creeping Islamization” of Europe, which is nothing less than the perpetuation of the debunked Eurabia and Muslim Demographics conspiracy theories.
Their solutions to the so called problem of “creeping Islamization” are elucidated in a document they released titled De-Islamization program which states amongst its main points,
– Organizations of islam critics as well as of people who left islam shall be funded by the state and have an adaquate say in the media.
Lets think about this for a second. They want the state to reward critics of Islam (who defines “critics of Islam?” Would anti-Muslim Geert Wilders of “tax-the-hijab-fame” be considered an acceptable “critic?”) and people who leave Islam with funding, essentially lobbying the government to take an official position in opposition to Islam. Does this not cross the boundary of separation of Church and State, and the fundamental tenants of secularism? It seems the “Christian-Jewish values” that this organization wants to protect bears more of a resemblance to a theocratic “Holy Roman Empire” rather than a pluralistic Democracy.
-All islamic organizations following a political instead of a religious agenda and/or on behalf of a foreign governement shall be disbanded.
Who will decide if an “Islamic organization is following a political agenda?” This is really a concealed attempt to disband all Muslim organizations. Everything the BPE represents indicates that they agree with a Geert Wilder-esque concept that ‘Islam is not a 1500 year old religion at all but rather a political movement,’ so no matter what you do as an organization you will be labeled a political organization.
It also highlights the double standards they advocate: on the one hand you have the Christian Democrats (CDU) led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is “Christian-based, applying the principles of Christian Democracy and emphasizes the “Christian understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.” CDU is a political party which heads the German government, imagine the firestorm that would be created if Muslims even attempted to create a party which “emphasizes the ‘Muslim understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God.”
-Persons supporting djihad or installment of sharia in Germany shall undergo a de-islamization training or must suffer severe sanctions.
Who would define what “supporting djihad” or installing “sharia” consists of and what would be the scope of these definitions?As we well know Robert Spencer and the advocates of the conspiracy theories of Eurabia believe that many law abiding Muslims, by the very fact of their increasing presence and visibility in the West, are pushing a “stealth djihad.” For example there are people in Europe who think wearing a headscarf, or installation of footbaths is an act of “djihad,” would such acts entail implementation of the “severe sanctions” being proposed, and of what would these “severe sanctions” consist?
– Quran-schools are to be forbidden.
They should just go a step further with their fascistic ideas and follow their brethren in Europe who have called for the Quran to be banned. If in some fairyland-Democracy-minus-religious-freedom envisioned by these jokers this is okay, then why are: Bible schools, Torah schools, Bhagavad Gita schools not similarly forbidden?
– Islamic head cloths are to be banned in kindergardens, schools, campusses, workplaces, public buildings and events.
This was another predictable point, the obsession with hijab for Islamophobes is unending. Not only have laws been proposed such as the above (and passed in places like France) infringing on a woman’s right to wear what they want and follow their conscious, not only have proposals been made to tax it, but it also has led to violence such as murder and assault.
– Parents who submit their children to forced marriage or deny them proper education have to be deprived of child custody.
Everyone can agree that forced marriages are terrible and have to be fought, and many Muslims are leading the fight against the practice. It is curious though that this issue is being painted as springing from Islam, which condemns the practice. It is also a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Muslims but rather affects women and men from Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian and Gypsy backgrounds and cultures.
As far as the vague idea of “deny them proper education,” what does that mean? Knowing what we know from the above proposals, would a family that taught their children the Quran be considered as “denying a proper education?” Would they then advocate the child be ripped from their family for studying the Quran?
– Mosques are to be built only with approval of the neighbourhood. Minarettes and the call of the muezzin are to be forbidden. Sermons are to be held solely in German.
It is usually a good policy to have the involvement of a neighborhood when any religious structure is built, as it will become a major landmark bringing in more traffic and people into the area. It goes without saying that religious groups should prioritize good relations with their neighbors, something all religions believe in because they all teach the golden rule.
However, the wording in this proposal is very confrontational and seeks to legislatively limit the construction of the traditional mosque with minarets; it is an attempt to make the Muslim presence in essence invisible. What is the difference between such proposals and what goes on in some of the theocratic Muslim nations that Islamophobes regularly complain about when facts seem to indicate that they are two peas in the same pod?
Spencer then writes regarding the rally that,
Leftists and their jihadist allies marched by twice in a counterdemonstration, shouting “Nazis raus” — Nazis, get out. The people assembled for the BPE rally shouted the same thing right back at them. Of course, there were no Nazis among us, and we were standing against antisemitism and in favor of free speech, legal equality, and democratic government, but the facts never stop the Left from making the charge, as we have all learned recently from stateside libelbloggers (emphasis added).
I wonder what in the world could have made the counter-demonstrators call Robert Spencer and his BPE friends “Nazis?” Hmmmm (hint: all of the above). Of course, Robert Spencer is “never wrong,” and don’t ya know he is a “victim,” the well documented fact that he associates with racists and fascists are just accusations from “libelbloggers.” Also note how he labels some of the (presumably Muslim) counter-demonstrators, “Jihadists,” this just further exposes what Spencer thinks about any Muslim, especially Muslims who oppose his degradation of their faith; they’re all….”jihadists.”
Islamophobia the new anti-Semitism
Groups such as the BPE, claim as a cornerstone of their agenda to be opposed to anti-Semitism, that is what part of the rally Robert Spencer spoke at was supposed to be about. They hope that by doing so they will endear themselves to the public and give themselves an air of credibility while deflecting charges that they are fascists or Euro Supremacists.
In fact, one sees an emerging trend amongst some right-wing and fascist groups proclaiming their unconditional support for the state of Israel. What is likely is that many of these organizations, whose roots are steeped deep in a history of anti-Semitism are recreating themselves; dropping a now unpopular prejudice (anti-Semitism) for one more in vogue–anti-Muslim Islamophobia. Gone are the days when what they claimed to champion were the “Christian values and traditions of Europe” now they have added “Christian-Jewish” values to their slogans.
This is evidenced by politicians such as Geert Wilders who evokes Israel quite often, while at the same time also calling for taxes on hijabs, banning the Quran, denying religious freedom to Muslims, deporting Muslim immigrants–and in certain circumstances–second and third generation citizens to their countries of origin.
It also brings to mind the wacky English Defense League (EDL), who have been staging anti-Islam protests in various British cities. The EDL, you may recall, was founded by a football hooligan and is composed primarily of hooligans and individuals who bear close resemblance to skinheads. Placards reading No More Mosques and other anti-Islam signs have been pictured at the same rallies which included hooligans holding up and waving Israeli flags.
Probably the most instructional case of an organization publicly dropping their long held anti-Semitism would be the BNP or British National Party, headed by Nick Griffin. This party has a long history of anti-Semitism. If you can think of an anti-Semitic stereotype, they have held it. Ever since Nick Griffin has taken the reins of power, the BNP has gotten a face lift and pushed a PR campaign which boils down to, “we aren’t anti-Semitic anymore, we are Islamophobic.”
However, as evidence shows, it turns out that these organizations that claim to have dropped and distanced themselves from anti-Semitism are only doing so for strategic reasons and still secretly hold prejudiced views against minorities, including Jews. Bartholomew notes in a piece titled BNP After Jewish Votes,
The one quote from Nick Griffin which sums up the whole strategy – and which reveals Griffin’s true feelings towards Jews – appeared in 2006 in a report for The Forward concerning an American Renaissance conference:
Nick Griffin has been credited with trying to root out antisemitism from the British National Party, which he leads. But in answer to a question at the recent conference, he said: “The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst. The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”
By swapping open anti-Semitism for Muslim-baiting, the BNP has managed (to) appear more attractive to some – it has also enjoyed some PR assistance from the “libertarian” right.
So the truth is that these groups haven’t changed their spots over night, it isn’t out of some transformation that most of them oppose anti-Semitism. They hide their old prejudices because it is wiser and more expedient. Their strategy is to pick on Muslims, whom Griffin rightly states are an easier target for abuse than Jews because they are the “most easily” defeated in our current time, when anything associated with Islam automatically brings up negative connotations.
What is clear from this most recent Robert Spencer foray into the abyss of looniness is his readiness to collaborate with supremacist groups to bash minorities based on the Goebbelsesque argument of cultural superiority and cultural preservation. This is exactly the kind of people and logic that slowly made Nazism mainstream in Germany culminating in disaster for the then Jewish targets.
It is also, sadly the height of irony that this resurgence of the déjà vu supremacist hatred of religious and ethnic minorities in the West is this time happening with the supposed emblem of the former victims of this plague plastered all over it.
Shamelessly, Robert Spencer goes out of his way to boast about hugging and hoisting the Israeli flag as if he believes that this is his automatic redemption card out of any accusations of Euro Supremacist tendencies. Spencer writes,
Many people at our rally had Israeli flags, and as you can see from the photo, I had one also. Not long after this picture was taken I got it mounted on a flagpole and waved it around at the beginning and end of my talk…I went out front, close to the counterdemonstrators, waving the big flag, but the German police moved me back. They may also have said to put the flag away, but I have forgotten all my grad-school German, and so the flag stayed.
He is in fact announcing an interesting belief he seems to have: that the only thing to worry about with being a pro-Euro supremacist is if you get accused of being anti-Semitic as a result of it; he seems to be telling us in the picture “but look at me, I am clearly not, here’s the Israeli flag. In fact I am actually an Israeli supremacist as bonus.” Two problems with that, first he misses or refuses to acknowledge the fact that being anti-Muslim is a problem no less than anti-Semitism, even if it does not come with the political and publicity backlash–the principle is the same. Second, he fails to indicate why being pro-Israel is redemptive of his racist and bigoted ways in any shape or form or how that absolves him of hurting Jewish moral interests by conniving with Euro-Supremacists (not all Jews put Israel before principle). There are many conscientious Jews in the US, Europe, Israel and around the world who would not be impressed with his misusing and trumpeting a flag in a way that is not necessarily emblematic to them, while trampling on the issues that matter to them most: like “never again” – meaning never again to anyone.
It comes off as sleazy on the part of Spencer, and even insulting, that he thinks he has a chance of fooling anyone. At least now, his true colors are shown for all to see: A small man with a lot of over-compensating to make up for it.
Update: (hat tip: LGF and Elizabeth_Ann) There is more information on the BPE and its direct connection to fascists and Euro-Supremacists. Charles Johnson linked to us and pointed out information that we missed:
[T]he group that sponsored Spencer’s speech, Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE), is also affiliated with the Belgian fascist party Vlaams Belang. In 2007, former BPE leader Udo Ulfkotte was one of the main organizers of the “Stop Islamization” protest in Brussels, at which Vlaams Belang leader Filip DeWinter was a featured speaker.