Robert Spencer, sporting a “fine” 80’s gray sweater over his porcine belly, feels that it is safe enough to go into the lair of the Mooslim beasts: the Mosque. However, it does look like he is drenched in perspiration, balling up his fists in anticipation of the Mooslim hordes who will no doubt fill the Mosque soon and exact “creeping-stealth-shariah-jihad” upon him…Spencer you might be waiting a while, there is a chair behind you take a seat.
In a grisly article, the LA Times reports via the AP that thousands of African children have been tortured and murdered in the name of Christianity because they were thought to be witches. The burning and murdering of “witches” is something that was thought to have died out in the 17th century with the Salem Witch Trials but it is all too real in some places around the world, especially in Africa where Evangelicalism has been on the rise.
Rest assured Robert Spencer won’t be reporting on this any time soon, nor will the mainstream media say (rightly so) “Christianity” is to blame for this because it is not; human beings are the cause. This highlights a double standard, the continuing saga of “what if they were Muslim?” If we replaced the word Christian here with Muslim and the word Churches with Mosques, we know very well that this would be plastered all over the internet in a second. The anti-Muslim blogosphere would be erupting in delirium and pundits would be pontificating on how Islam is the cause, Islam is barbaric, Islam is irreconcilable to modernity and must be stopped, etc.
by, Katharine Hourfeld
EKET, Nigeria (AP) — The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.
His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.
A month later, he died.
Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.
Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
“It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,” said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria.
For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.
“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”
The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.
Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.
Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.
“Poverty must catch fire,” insists the Born 2 Rule Crusade on one of Uyo’s main streets.
“Where little shots become big shots in a short time,” promises the Winner’s Chapel down the road.
“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.
It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.
Nwanaokwo said he knew the pastor who accused him only as Pastor King. Mount Zion Lighthouse in Nigeria at first confirmed that a Pastor King worked for them, then denied that they knew any such person.
Bishop A.D. Ayakndue, the head of the church in Nigeria, said pastors were encouraged to pray about witchcraft, but not to abuse children.
“We pray over that problem (of witchcraft) very powerfully,” he said. “But we can never hurt a child.”
The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago.
“I had no idea,” said church elder Carrie King by phone from Tracy, Calif. “I knew people believed in witchcraft over there but we believe in the power of prayer, not physically harming people.”
The Mount Zion Lighthouse — also named by three other families as the accuser of their children — is part of the powerful Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The Fellowship’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, said the Fellowship was the fastest-growing religious group in Nigeria, with more than 30 million members.
“We have grown so much in the past few years we cannot keep an eye on everybody,” he explained.
But Foxcroft, the head of Stepping Stones, said if the organization was able to collect membership fees, it could also police its members better. He had already written to the organization twice to alert it to the abuse, he said. He suggested the fellowship ask members to sign forms denouncing abuse or hold meetings to educate pastors about the new child rights law in the state of Akwa Ibom, which makes it illegal to denounce children as witches. Similar laws and education were needed in other states, he said.
Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network said it is the most vulnerable children — the orphaned, sick, disabled or poor — who are most often denounced. In Nwanaokwo’s case, his poor father and dead mother made him an easy target.
“Even churches who didn’t use to ‘find’ child witches are being forced into it by the competition,” said Itauma. “They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism.”
That’s what Margaret Eyekang did when her 8-year-old daughter Abigail was accused by a “prophet” from the Apostolic Church, because the girl liked to sleep outside on hot nights — interpreted as meaning she might be flying off to join a coven. A series of exorcisms cost Eyekang eight months’ wages, or US$270. The payments bankrupted her.
Neighbors also attacked her daughter.
“They beat her with sticks and asked me why I was bringing them a witch child,” she said. A relative offered Eyekang floor space but Abigail was not welcome and had to sleep in the streets.
Members of two other families said pastors from the Apostolic Church had accused their children of witchcraft, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
The Nigeria Apostolic Church refused repeated requests made by phone, e-mail and in person for comment.
At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about the laughing, grubby kids playing hopscotch or reading from a tattered Dick and Jane book by the graffiti-scrawled cinderblock house. But this is where children like Abigail end up after being labeled witches by churches and abandoned or tortured by their families.
There’s a scar above Jane’s shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn’t cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism.
Israel’s cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa’s father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor’s wife cheered it on.
The children at the home run by Itauma’s organization have been mutilated as casually as the praying mantises they play with. Home officials asked for the children’s last names not to be used to protect them from retaliation.
The home was founded in 2003 with seven children; it now has 120 to 200 at any given time as children are reconciled with their families and new victims arrive.
Helen Ukpabio is one of the few evangelists publicly linked to the denunciation of child witches. She heads the enormous Liberty Gospel church in Calabar, where Nwanaokwo used to live. Ukpabio makes and distributes popular books and DVDs on witchcraft; in one film, a group of child witches pull out a man’s eyeballs. In another book, she advises that 60 percent of the inability to bear children is caused by witchcraft.
In an interview with the AP, Ukpabio is accompanied by her lawyer, church officials and personal film crew.
“Witchcraft is real,” Ukpabio insisted, before denouncing the physical abuse of children. Ukpabio says she performs non-abusive exorcisms for free and was not aware of or responsible for any misinterpretation of her materials.
“I don’t know about that,” she declared.
However, she then acknowledged that she had seen a pastor from the Apostolic Church break a girl’s jaw during an exorcism. Ukpabio said she prayed over her that night and cast out the demon. She did not respond to questions on whether she took the girl to hospital or complained about the injury to church authorities.
After activists publicly identified Liberty Gospel as denouncing “child witches,” armed police arrived at Itauma’s home accompanied by a church lawyer. Three children were injured in the fracas. Itauma asked that other churches identified by children not be named to protect their victims.
“We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” he said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”
Just mentioning the name of a church is enough to frighten a group of bubbly children at the home.
“Please stop the pastors who hurt us,” said Jerry quietly, touching the scars on his face. “I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”
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.
You may have recalled recently that LW contributor Danios did an excellent rebuttal exposing the vapid pseudo-scholarship of self-declared “Islamic scholar” Bat Ye’or. Bat Ye’or’s principle contribution has been the propagation of the wild conspiracy theory known as Eurabia. She argues with the fervor of a misguided zealot that “Europe will be vassal [state], a satellite of the Arab world.” Her “Eurabia” conspiracy theory as summed up by Danios:
[T]he theory is that Arab and Muslim immigration (of “stealth jihadists”) will soon overwhelm Europe, destroy Western culture and civilization forever, and replace the democratic governments with Taliban style theocracies. While that does sound like an interesting plot for a fictional movie, it is pure insanity to take this seriously.
(By “stealth jihadists,” Bat Ye’or and her pet proxies like Robert Spencer intend to capture the notion of a cadre of evil Muslims who are nonetheless non-violent and work through the system. That of course opens a pandora’s box. It gives them the freedom to redefine who is good and who is bad by mere allegation alone, since they have cancelled out any universally acceptable standard for illict behavior, standards such as “illegal” or “violent.” That raises the ironic question: would Bat Ye’or and her minion Robert Spencer characterize their campaign against Muslims by the pen and keyboard as “subversive stealth propaganda”? Could their infatuation with a “stealth Muslim” operation perhaps be little more than classic projection?)
Even more ironically, other Islamophobes have latched onto transforming Bat Ye’or’s paranoid theories of a “stealth Muslim” take over through “stealth propaganda videos” distributed on unassuming public social networks.
On YouTube, there is a video production worthy of Goebbels, that has gone viral. The video, titled simply Muslim Demographics, couples inaccurate facts about Muslim immigration and growth in Europe with ominous foreign sounding music meant to keep you on edge. Who created it remains unknown, but as of today it can be found on other video sharing sites and has received close to 11 million hits on Youtube alone, more than some of Michael Jackson’s most famous music videos.
The video can be summed up by the paranoid guy in our logo on the upper left of your screen, screaming “The Mooslims! They’re here!” As you can see the video makes wild (and patently false as will come to see) claims, such as “Muslims are reproducing a staggering 8 babies for every 1 French baby,” that “Europe as we know it will cease to exist” giving way to a “Europe dominated by Mooslims and Islamic Republics. ”
Seriously? Are they going to get rid of Sauerkraut in Germany? Are they going to tear down the Louvre or Big Ben? Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa going to be replaced by the “The Leaning Minaret?” Are books going to be burned in Amsterdam, next to the shops that sell cannibas?
I digress though, the thought that anyone can believe what is in this video should give people pause. What purpose does it serve at all if not to increase paranoia, ignorance and fear of the “other” scary “Mooslims?”
It is altogether depressing that Muslims immigrating to a society should automatically be viewed as a negative. It is the same right-wing tactic that was used to smear Barack Obama as being a “Mooslim.” The thinking went: if you convince enough people he is a Muslim then no one will vote for him because everyone knows being a Muslim is bad. Instead of viewing Muslim immigration to Europe as reason to fill the demands of Europe’s economy, it is automatically assumed to be evil — that my friends is classic text book Islamophobia.
BBC Radio did a pretty decent job in rebutting the arguments made by the video.
Watch it here:
The most thorough rebuttal of this inaccurate, racist, Islamophobic equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion has come from a site called Tiny Frog, which laid bear all the inaccuracies,
Claim: “Historically, no culture has ever reversed a 1.9 fertility rate.”
They provide no source for this claim. However, birth rates do vary over time, and have increased. For example, here’s an image of France’s population over the past two centuries. As you can see, the population size barely changes between 1890 and 1945. Since 1945, the population has grown by 50%. The current fertility rate in France is about 2 children per person.
After 1947 however, France suddenly underwent a demographic recovery that no one could have foreseen. It is a fact that in the 1930s the French government, alarmed by the decline of France’s population, had passed laws to boost the birth rate, giving state benefits to families with children. Nonetheless, no one can quite satisfactorily explain this sudden and unexpected recovery in the demography of France, which was often portrayed as a “miracle” inside France. This demographic recovery was again atypical in the Western World, in the sense that although the rest of the Western World experienced a baby boom immediately after the war, the baby boom in France was much stronger, and above all it lasted longer than in most other countries of the Western World (the United States being one of the few exceptions). In the 1950s and 1960s France enjoyed a population growth of 1% a year, which is the highest growth in the history of France, not even matched in the best periods of the 18th or 19th centuries.
Claim: “A rate of 1.3: impossible to reverse… There is no economic model that can sustain itself during that time.”
It’s true that declining birth rates cause a lot of problems for nations; it’s difficult for workers to pay enough taxes to support the retired generation. A lot of countries (including east-asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) are very worried about this problem.
These numbers are almost right. It’s true that these nations are declining in population. According to nationmaster (which took it’s numbers from the CIA World Factbook), the actual fertility rates are:
France 1.98 England 1.66 Greece 1.36 Germany 1.41 Italy 1.3 Spain 1.3
It’s also worth noting that the fertility rates of these nations have been rising slightly over the past five years. Here’s a look at the historical data:
2003 1.26 2004 1.27 2005 1.28 2006 1.28 2007 1.29 2008 1.3
France, historical fertility rates: (*note: France reversed a fertility rate that dropped below 1.9)
2003 1.85 2004 1.85 2005 1.85 2006 1.84 2007 1.98 2008 1.98
2003 1.37 2004 1.38 2005 1.39 2006 1.39 2007 1.4 2008 1.41
2003 1.26 2004 1.27 2005 1.28 2006 1.28 2007 1.29 2008 1.3
(According to the nationmaster numbers, the UK’s and Greece’ fertility rate stayed relatively constant across the 2003-2008 time period.)
1.3-1.5 sounds approximately right. The highest fertility rate in Europe is 2.02 (Albania), and eastern Europe has some of the lowest fertility rates (Poland 1.27, Ukraine 1.25, Lithuania 1.22).
Claim: “France: 1.8 Children per family, Muslims: 8.1.”
They list of source for this claim, but it’s too small to read. This claim is almost certainly false. First, there isn’t a country in the whole world that has a fertility rate of 8 children, so I doubt that millions of Muslims in France’s are having that many children.
While it’s true that many Muslim nations have high fertility rates (Yemen 6.41, Gaza Strip 5.19, Saudi Arabia 3.89), not all of them do. While I have no source for Muslim birthrates in France, I do know where most of France’s immigrants come from: they come from France’s former colonies. Here’s a map of French immigration by nation:
You can quickly pick out that France’s Muslim immigration comes mainly from four countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
What are the fertility rates in these countries?
Morocco 2.57 Algeria 1.82 Tunisia 1.73 Turkey 1.87
Now, it looks very suspicious when they claim French Muslims are averaging 8.1 children per person. In fact, the birthrates in their original countries are lower than birthrates in France. I have a hard time believing that they suddenly become hyperfertile when they live in France.
I had actually read an article a few years ago (again, by an Christian-Right author). He talked about how he met a Palestinian woman living in Paris who was raising her 6 children. He then implied that all French Muslims were having this many children. Of course, that was a huge generalization. It’s true that Palestinians (on average) have a lot of children, but it’s false to claim that most Muslims living in France (most of them not from Palestine) were having this many children. Yet, he tried to slide this claim past his readers.
Claim: “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
That same article I read a few years ago claimed that 50% of all newborns within a particular Dutch city were Muslim (which may or may not be accurate). I have to wonder if that claim was generalized to “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
There are approximately 1 million Muslims in the Netherlands, a nation of 16.6 million people. So Muslims makeup about 6% of the total population. Yet, we’re supposed to believe 50% of the children born in the Netherlands are Muslim? The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.66 children per person. Mathematically, Muslims in the Netherlands would need to have 26 children to makeup 50% of the births in the country.
Further, if we look at the countries of origin of these Muslims, we find that 2/3rds immigrated from Turkey (1.87 fertility rate) or Morocco (2.57 fertility rate).
Claim: “In only 15 years, half of the population of the Netherlands will be Muslim.”
It makes my head hurt to figure out how 1 million Muslims will outnumber 15.6 million non-Muslims in 15 years.
Claim: “In Russia, there are over 23 million Muslims, that’s 1 out of 5 Russians.”
According to Wikipedia:
According to the most recent estimates by the R&F Agency, there are more than 20 million officially self-identified Muslims in Russia, a number that has risen by 40% in the last 15 years, though no more than 6 million are truly orthodox. Roman Silantyev, a Russian Islamologist has estimated that there are only between 7 and 9 million people who practise Islam in Russia, and that the rest are only Muslims by ethnicity.
Also, Russia’s population is 140 million. Even if “23 million muslims” was accurate, that’s 16.4%, not 1 out of 5 (or 20%).
Claim: “Currently in Belgium, 25% of the population and 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
An 2008 estimation shows that 6% of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim (98% Sunni). Muslims cover 25.5% of the population of Brussels, 4.0% of Wallonia and 3.9% of Flanders.
Maybe they mixed up “Brussels” and “Belgium”. Regardless, they inflated the percentage of Muslims in Belgium from 6% to 25%.
Again, we see the same pattern of immigration as we saw in the Netherlands – 2/3rds are Moroccans and Turkish immigrants – whose home countries have relatively low birthrates (2.57 and 1.87, respectively).
Claim: “1/3rd of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025, just 17 years away.”
That doesn’t seem very likely considering that Muslims currently makeup “4 percent of the European Union’s population” (Source). This particular claim about “1/3rd of all European children” appears to come from the Right-wing Brussel’s Journal.
Claim: “The German Government, the first to talk about this publicly, recently released a public saying, ‘the fall in the German population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible… It will be a Muslim state by 2050.”
Considering that Muslims makeup 4.0% of the German population, that statement seems over the top. More than 90% of them are Turkish (fertility rate in Turkey: 1.87). A quick google search credits Walter Rademacher, vice-president of the German statistics office, with the quote.
So, do you believe that the “German Government” issued that statement? Are you wondering what Walter Rademacher actually said?
BERLIN, Germany, November 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Germany’s downward spiral in population is no longer reversible, the country’s federal statistics office said Tuesday. The birthrate has dropped so low that immigration numbers cannot compensate.
“The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse.
Germany has the lowest birthrate in Europe, with an average of 1.36 children per woman. Despite government incentives to encourage larger families, the population is dropping rapidly and that trend will continue, with an expected loss of as much as 12 million by 2050. That would mean about a 15 percent drop from the country’s current population of 82.4 million, the German news source Deutsche Welle reported today.
Germany has one of the largest populations of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, with a Muslim community of over 3 million. That trend is expected to continue, leading some demographic trend-watchers to warn that the country is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050, Deutsche Welle reported.
The [Right Wing] Brussels Journal reported last month that one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025. There are an estimated 50 million Muslims living in Europe today–that number is expected to double over the next twenty years.
Wow. There’s two major distortions here:
(1) They credit the “Germany Federal Statistics Office” with the statement that “[Germany] will be a Muslim state by 2050″, when it was actually a statement made by a vague group identified as “some demographic trend-watchers”. Immediately, in the next paragraph, they mention the right-wing Brussels Journal – leading me to suspect that they are the “demographic trend-watchers”.
(2) The quote was twisted from “is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050″ into “It will be a Muslim state by 2050″.
Claim: “There are currently 52 million Muslims in Europe. The German government said that number is expected to double in the next 20 years to 104 million.”
The EU population is 491 million, 4% (19.6 million) of which are Muslim (Source).
Claim: “In the United States, the current fertility rate of American citizens is 1.6. With the influx of the latino nations, the rate increases to 2.11; the bare minimum needed to sustain a culture.”
Considering that latinos makeup only 13% of the US population, it’s hard to believe they can single-handedly bring-up the fertility rate from 1.6 to 2.11.
White 2.05 Black 2.03 American Indian 1.73 Asian 1.89 Hispanic 2.82 Total 2.04
(I think the “White” category includes “non-hispanic white” and “hispanic white” into the same category. If that’s true, then the non-hispanic white fertility rate would be around 1.8-1.9.)
Claim: “Today, there are over 9 million [muslims in the United States]“.
Reality? No one really knows. Estimates vary between 1.1 million and 8 million.
Not very likely.
This wasn’t specifically argued in the video, but I should also add that the fertility rates among Muslims (in their own countries) is also declining.
2003 6.15 (* is this accurate?) 2004 4.11 2005 4.05 2006 4 2007 3.94 2008 3.89
And the three largest Muslim countries:
2003 2.5 2004 2.47 2005 2.44 2006 2.4 2007 2.38 2008 2.34
2003 4.1 2004 4.29 2005 4.14 2006 4 2007 3.71 2008 3.73
2003 3.17 2004 3.15 2005 3.13 2006 3.11 2007 3.09 2008 3.08
And let’s not forget that some Muslim countries have already fallen below the replacement number of 2.11 (and, supposedly, below the mythical 1.9 fertility rate that the video says is very, very bad). When you look at the three most populous countries of the Middle East (Egypt, 79 million; Turkey, 70 million; Iran, 69 million), you find that Turkey and Iran have already dropped below a fertility rate of 2.0. Egypt recently dropped below a fertility rate of 3.0, and the Egyptian government is aiming to get it down to 2.0 within 8 years. All three are experiencing a decline in their fertility rates.
2003 3.02 2004 2.95 2005 2.88 2006 2.83 2007 2.77 2008 2.72
2003 2.03 2004 1.98 2005 1.94 2006 1.92 2007 1.89 2008 1.87
2003 1.99 2004 1.93 2005 1.82 2006 1.8 2007 1.71 2008 1.71
As you can see the video is littered with a number of factual errors, inflation and conflation of data on the pretext of furthering the makers’ odious agenda. It seems to be geared towards consumption by an American audience, for all effects and purposes attempting to scare the audience by saying, look what happened to Europe, it is going to happen to us if we don’t stop Muslims from coming here.
These sentiments are expressed by right-wing Christian Brenda Walker who writes in a piece Orwellianly titled, Dead Culture Walking: Muslim Immigration Should Frighten America that,
If there is anything that should make Americans’ blood run cold about immigration, it is the sight of Europe—and Britain, the home of Western civilization—being buried by millions of Muslim colonists. Europe is just hoping against hope that Islam isn’t going to explode into massive rioting (or worse), or impose total cultural Islamification.
Now the triumphs of Tours and Vienna are being trampled by immigrants, entering mostly legally. It’s a wonder the Muslims bother with terrorism at all when demography is working so well for them.
Europe’s swirl down the toilet bowl is little reported in this country largely because the Main Stream Media is not interested in showing it. The top media elites are still stuck on multiculturalism. But the European experience shows what a bogus ideology that is.
This smear against Muslims is nothing new and it really was only a matter of time before right-wingers here tried to employ the Muslim Demographic bogeyman to further their xenophobic nonsense. The truth is that Muslims in both Europe and especially America are largely integrating into their new societies. American Muslims for instance are considered the second most affluent and upwardly mobile community in America, only behind Jews. They also tend to be more educated than other citizens.
In Europe, as Dr. Tariq Ramadan noted there is a silent revolution in which Muslims have already integrated and reconciled their identities as Europeans. He says the important issue now is to move from the “integration dialogue” to a “post integration” dialogue. He also points out a double standard that Muslims are frequently subjected to, “when you do something good and positive like Zinadine Zidane no one sees that you’re a Muslim, they see you as one of them but when they see something bad from a Muslim all of a sudden they question what you are doing here and say ‘you are not from here.’”
It is important to note that propaganda videos such as these will only increase as the visibility of Muslims in the West increases. Groups that previously saw themselves as part of the elite, such as the right-wing will paint the new multi-cultural societies they live in as oppressive, ghetto and backward. They will, and already have proclaimed victim status, and with that victim status will come a doubling of the efforts to advance one of the last accepted forms of bigotry and hate: Islamophobia.