Geert Wilders Confidante and Former Far-Right Politician Arnoud Van Doorn Converts to Islam

 

Far-right Dutch Politician Reverts to Islam

Is Van Doorn’s conversion sincere or a Far-Right political stunt? He claims it is sincere and confirmed the speculation regarding his conversion to AlJazeera.

The Dutch anti-hate site Krapuul.nl has also carried the story, (original DutchEnglish translation).

This will really rattle the “counterjihadists,” no doubt Geert Wilders is shaken, as everything he stands for has been undermined by an individual who used to be a close confidante.

Far-right Dutch Politician Finds Islam

(OnIslam)

AMSTERDAM – A leading member in far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party has reverted to Islam after an extensive study about the Islamic religion and Muslims.

“I can understand people are skeptic, especially that it is unexpected for many of them,” Arnoud Van Doorn told Al-Jazeera English satellite channel.

“This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly.”

The news about Doorn’s reversion first came to the surface last month when he tweeted “new beginning”.

He later posted a tweet in Arab pronouncing the Shahadah (proclamation of faith).

The politician later announced that he reverted to Islam, giving no more information about the reasons behind the decision.

“In my own close circle people have known that I have been actively researching the Qur’an, Hadith, Sunnah and other writings for almost a year now,” he said.

“In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Muslims about the religion.”

Driven by his party’s anti-Islam discourse, Doorn decided to dig in for the truth about the religion himself.

“I have heard so many negative stories about Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research,” he said.

“Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of the Islam out of curiosity.

“My colleague Aboe Khoulani from the City Council in The Hague has brought me further into contact with the as-Soennah mosque, which has guided me even further.”

A member of the Dutch parliament and The Hague city council, Doorn’s name has long been associated with Wilders’ anti-Islam, far-right PVV party.

A member of the Dutch parliament and The Hague city council, Doorn’s name has long been associated with anti-Islam rhetoric by Wilders’ PVV party.

Wilders himself is known for his rants against Islam, Muslims and the Noble Qur’an.

New Beginning

Doorn’s decision to embrace Islam has won mixed reactions in the Netherlands.

“According to some people I am a traitor, but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision,” he told Aljazeera.

“The reactions are generally positive and I also received quite some support via twitter.

“It feels good that people who do not know me personally have understanding of my situation and support me in my choice.”

For the Dutch politician, finding Islam was finally guiding him to the true path in his life.

“I have made mistakes in life as many others. From these mistakes I have learned a lot,” Doorn said.

“And by my conversion to Islam I have the feeling that I finally found my path.

“I realize that this is a new start and that I still have much to learn as well.”

Departing from his earlier life as a PVV member, Doorn expects much resistance in his political life.

“The expectation is that I will continue to face much resistance, also from certain government institutions,” he said.

“I have all faith in Allah to support me and to guide me through these moments.”

EVF anti-Islam protest Birmingham

EVF Birmingham protest 4

EVF anti-Islam protest Birmingham

The decline and break-up of the English Defence League has prompted a number of extremist groupings to try and establish a replacement anti-Islam street movement. While their stated aim is invariably to unite the far right, all they have succeeded in doing so far, thankfully, is contributing to its further fragmentation.

One of these groups is the English Volunteer Force, which was launched in July last year. It shares the EDL’s rabid Islamophobia along with its lightminded attitude to the English language. As the EVF’s mission statement explains: “We are convinced this country is currently being Islamified, This is apparant with recent immigration pattern’s over the past 20 years, Also our food chain is being exploited & overran by the flood of cheap Halal meat being covertly sold in most supermarket’s, In our opinion this need’s to be governed much stronger.”

Yesterday the EVF held its first public event, a demonstration in Birmingham “against the Islamification of Great Britain”, which featured Tony Curtis, formerly a leading figure in the EDL, as a guest speaker. Reports by far-right sympathisers claimed an attendance of 150-200, although photographic evidence suggests that the actual figure was much smaller. The police estimate was 50.

Nor did the demonstration last very long. The Birmingham Mail reported: “The group continued their protest for 30 minutes until a cry of ‘Let’s all go to the Brasshouse’ – a pub on Birmingham’s Broad Street – was heard, and the demonstrators dispersed.”

Britain’s Far Right to Focus on Anti-Islamic Policy

A follow up to our lead story.

Britain’s far right to focus on anti-Islamic policy

The head of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, will be named deputy leader of the British Freedom party this week after proposing that the group adopt virulent anti-Islamic policies as its central strategy.

Confirmation that Robinson is to be offered a political platform within the BFP is contained in internal documents revealing that he has forwarded a number of “potential policy suggestions” that suggest the party will widen its attacks on Muslims.

The document suggests the BFP with Robinson would “focus on non-Islamic population, not white/black population”, a move that critics describe as an attempt to antagonise relations between Muslims and other Britons. Other proposed areas of campaigning for the party, which will contest several seats in this week’s local elections, include calls for regulation of all mosques and religious schools and the banning of the burqa and niqab.

The unveiling of Robinson as deputy leader of the British Freedom Party will take place in Luton ahead of an EDL demo in the town, during which supporters will be banned from its centre by police, following previous disturbances.

Last week, a BFP member tweeted his support for Norwegian killer Anders Breivik, while an EDL member defended the 34-year-old, currently on trial in Oslo after confessing to the murder of 77 people last July, and said that if he had “singled out the muslim filth” he would be viewed as a hero.

Internal notes of a meeting held in a Luton hotel between senior EDL and BFP figures on 14 April, which have been seen by the Observer, reveal that participants believe the alliance is a development that “will change the direction of British politics”.

However Nick Lowles of campaign group Hope not Hate said: “Although this shows the new face of the far right, a move that further marginalises the BNP, their agenda is so hate-filled that it will remain a minority message.”

Robinson and the BFP have yet to comment, but the documents show that he backs a ban on the building of mosques and madrassas, an end to mass immigration, withdrawal from the EU, and promotion of “Christian values”.

Last week a report by Amnesty International warned of the rise of extremist political movements targeting Muslim practices in Europe, a development evidenced by the surprisingly strong showing of support for the French Front National, the far-right party led by Marine Le Pen, in France’s presidential election. It also said that European laws on what girls and women could wear on their heads were encouraging discrimination against Muslims.

Observer, 29 April 2012

European Far-right Stage anti-Islam Rally

Danish_Anti-Islam_Demo

The Israeli flag makes a regular appearance next to the flags of other European countries in such anti-Islam and anti-Muslim protests.

The above anti-Islam meeting organized by the Danish Defense League attracted 300 people.

Anti-Racists who protested the DDL attracted 5,000.

European far-right stage anti-Islam rally

Hundreds of far-right sympathisers are holding a rally in Denmark against what they call the Islamisation of Europe, starting with a moment of silence for the seven people who were killed by an al-Qaeda-inspired gunman in France.

Saturday’s “European Counter-Jihad Meeting” was organised by the Danish Defence League – an anti-Muslim movement claiming to have no neo-Nazis ties.

It has drawn participants from several European countries, including Britain, Germany, Poland and Sweden.

The rally is being held in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, 200km northwest of Copenhagen, the capital. Police spokesman Georg Husted says 300 people are taking part.

Nearby, a much larger group – about 2,500 people – marched in a counter-demonstration, under the banner “Aarhus For Diversity”.

‘No Breivik ties’

The rally takes place a few weeks before the start of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist who murdered 77 people in Norway last July.

Breivik claimed to have had contact with the English Defence League (EDL) ahead of the attacks, adding that he had “spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders”.

In response to the killings, the league condemned the killings and added that it had no contact with Breivik.

In a statement on its website, the EDL said it would not associate with any individual or group who did not reject “extremism” and said “racists, neo-Nazis and any other extremists” were not welcome.

It said it had called on participating groups to sign a memorandum declaring that they were “anti-extremist, anti-fascist, and anti-racist”.

“We will protest peacefully, but we will defend ourselves if need be. We will be loud, and we will not back down,” the memorandum states.

EDL leader Stephen Lennon said: “We hope it [the rally] will be the start of a European movement that will continue to grow.”

Various far-right groups have been in Aarhus since Wednesday where they have had a chance to hold meetings and discuss ideas.

Counter-demonstration

Anti-racist groups are worried that hardline anti-Islamic groups are mobilising and gathering support in Europe.

Police in Aarhus said the rally would be kept apart from an expected counter-demonstration by anti-racism campaigners.

Projekt Antifa, a Danish coalition of anti-fascist groups, had booked coaches to take protesters from Copenhagen to Aarhus.

Police Superintendent Mogens Brondum said: “The police can and will handle this situation. We will be out massively.”

Last week, several thousands people turned out for an open-air concert organised to protest against the far-right rally.

A statement issued by city officials said the concert was organised because ”Aarhus does not want to be associated with extremist groups” that represent “everything we want to distance ourselves from”.

Far Right on Rise in Europe, Says Report

Far right on rise in Europe, says report

The far right is on the rise across Europe as a new generation of young, web-based supporters embrace hardline nationalist and anti-immigrant groups, a study has revealed ahead of a meeting of politicians and academics in Brussels to examine the phenomenon.

Research by the British thinktank Demos for the first time examines attitudes among supporters of the far right online. Using advertisements on Facebook group pages, they persuaded more than 10,000 followers of 14 parties and street organisations in 11 countries to fill in detailed questionnaires.

The study reveals a continent-wide spread of hardline nationalist sentiment among the young, mainly men. Deeply cynical about their own governments and the EU, their generalised fear about the future is focused on cultural identity, with immigration – particularly a perceived spread of Islamic influence – a concern.

“We’re at a crossroads in European history,” said Emine Bozkurt, a Dutch MEP who heads the anti-racism lobby at the European parliament. “In five years’ time we will either see an increase in the forces of hatred and division in society, including ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and antisemitism, or we will be able to fight this horrific tendency.”

The report comes just over three months after Anders Breivik, a supporter of hard right groups, shot dead 69 people at youth camp near Oslo. While he was disowned by the parties, police examination of his contacts highlighted the Europe-wide online discussion of anti-immigrant and nationalist ideas.

Data in the study was mainly collected in July and August, before the worsening of the eurozone crisis. The report highlights the prevalence of anti-immigrant feeling, especially suspicion of Muslims. “As antisemitism was a unifying factor for far-right parties in the 1910s, 20s and 30s, Islamophobia has become the unifying factor in the early decades of the 21st century,” said Thomas Klau from the European Council on Foreign Relations, who will speak at Monday’s conference.

Parties touting anti-immigrant and Islamophobic ideas have spread beyond established strongholds in France, Italy and Austria to the traditionally liberal Netherlands and Scandinavia, and now have significant parliamentary blocs in eight countries. Other nations have seen the rise of nationalist street movements like the English Defence League (EDL). But, experts say, polling booths and demos are only part of the picture: online, a new generation is following these organisations and swapping ideas, particularly through Facebook. For most parties the numbers online are significantly bigger than their formal membership.

The phenomenon is sometimes difficult to pin down given the guises under which such groups operate. At one end are parties like France’s National Front, a significant force in the country’s politics for 25 years and seen as a realistic challenger in next year’s presidential election. At the other are semi-organised street movements like the EDL, which struggles to muster more than a few hundred supporters for occasional demonstrations, or France’s Muslim-baiting Bloc Indentitaire, best known for serving a pork-based “identity soup” to homeless people.

Others still take an almost pick-and-mix approach to ideology; a number of the Scandinavian parties which have flourished in recent years combine decidedly left-leaning views on welfare with vehement opposition to all forms of multiculturalism.

Youth, Demos found, was a common factor. Facebook’s own advertising tool let Demos crunch data from almost 450,000 supporters of the 14 organisations. Almost two-thirds were aged under 30, against half of Facebook users overall. Threequarters were male, and more likely than average to be unemployed.

The separate anonymous surveys showed a repeated focus on immigration, specifically a perceived threat from Muslim populations. This rose with younger supporters, contrary to most previous surveys which found greater opposition to immigration among older people. An open-ended question about what first drew respondents to the parties saw Islam and immigration listed far more often than economic worries. Answers were sometimes crude – “The foreigners are slowly suffocating our lovely country. They have all these children and raise them so badly,” went one from a supporter of the Danish People’s Party. Others argued that Islam is simply antithetical to a liberal democracy, a view espoused most vocally by Geert Wilders, the Dutch leader of the Party for Freedom, which only six years after it was founded is the third-biggest force in the country’s parliament.

This is a “key point” for the new populist-nationalists, said Matthew Goodwin from Nottingham University, an expert on the far right. “As an appeal to voters, it marks a very significant departure from the old, toxic far-right like the BNP. What some parties are trying to do is frame opposition to immigration in a way that is acceptable to large numbers of people. Voters now are turned off by crude, blatant racism – we know that from a series of surveys and polls.

“[These groups are] saying to voters: it’s not racist to oppose these groups if you’re doing it from the point of view of defending your domestic traditions. This is the reason why people like Geert Wilders have not only attracted a lot of support but have generated allies in the mainstream political establishment and the media.”

While the poll shows economics playing a minimal role, analysts believe the eurozone crisis is likely to boost recruitment to anti-EU populist parties which are keen to play up national divisions. “Why do the Austrians, as well as the Germans or the Dutch, constantly have to pay for the bottomless pit of the southern European countries?” asked Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Freedom Party of Austria, once led by the late Jörg Haider. Such parties have well over doubled their MPs around western Europe in a decade. “What we have seen over the past five years is the emergence of parties in countries which were traditionally seen as immune to the trend – the Sweden Democrats, the True Finns, the resurgence of support for the radical right in the Netherlands, and our own experience with the EDL,” said Goodwin.

The phenomenon was now far beyond a mere protest vote, he said, with many supporters expressing worries about national identity thus far largely ignored by mainstream parties.

Gavan Titley, an expert on the politics of racism in Europe and co-author of the recent book The Crises of Multiculturalism, said these mainstream politicians had another responsibility for the rise of the new groups, by too readily adopting casual Islamophobia.

“The language and attitudes of many mainstream parties across Europe during the ‘war on terror’, especially in its early years, laid the groundwork for much of the language and justifications that these groups are now using around the whole idea of defending liberal values – from gender to freedom of speech,” he said.

“Racist strategies constantly adapt to political conditions, and seek new sets of values, language and arguments to make claims to political legitimacy. Over the past decade, Muslim populations around Europe, whatever their backgrounds, have been represented as the enemy within or at least as legitimately under suspicion. It is this very mainstream political repertoire that newer movements have appropriated.”

Jamie Bartlett of Demos, the principal author of the report, said it was vital to track the spread of such attitudes among the new generation of online activists far more numerous than formal membership of such parties. “There are hundreds of thousands of them across Europe. They are disillusioned with mainstream politics and European political institutions and worried about the erosion of their cultural and national identity, and are turning to populist movements, who they feel speak to these concerns.

“These activists are largely out of sight of mainstream politicians, but they are motivated, active, and growing in size. Politicians across the continent need to sit up, listen and respond.”

Voting trends

As a political party, having tens of thousands of online supporters is one thing but translating these into actual votes can be quite another. However, the Demos survey found that 67% of the Facebook fans of the nationalist-populist groups which put up candidates – some are street movements only – said they had voted for them at the most recent election.

Further analysis found that female supporters were more likely to turn support into a vote, as were those who were employed.

Friends of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller: The Far Right Sweden Democrats

Charles Johnson of LGF has a good post on the direct links between the recently victorious “Sweden Democracts” and Pamela Geller/Robert Spencer. This is more proof of the diabolical alignment between American Islamophobes and xenophobic, racist, anti-Muslim hate parties such as the Sweden Democrats.

Friends of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller

One of the European allies of American anti-Muslim demagogues Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer is a political party called the “Sweden Democrats” — a party with roots inoutright Nazism.

Last week a Sweden Democrats politician was forced to quit after posting an ugly racist rant at his blog, claiming thatAfricans have ‘rape genes’.

politician has quit a far right party in Sweden after his blog, in which he claimed black Africans are genetically predisposed towards rape, caused outrage across the country. Per T K Wahlberg of the Sweden Democrats party has been forced to stand down from his position after claiming that people of African descent have been raping women and children for centuries.

Wahlberg currently holds 26th place on the party’s list for municipal election in Landskrona, southern Sweden. At the last elections in 2006, the Sweden Democrats, who are attempting to distance themselves from open racism, claimed 11 seats in the area.

In his blog entitled “Landskronabackspege”, meaning Landskrona rear view mirror, 76-year-old retiree Wahlberg wrote about what he sees as the “genetic characteristics” of black Africans.

“For many thousands of years, the Negro could chill out in the heat, eat some bananas, rape some passing woman or child, fight with other negro males and eat them up, play the drums a little, run around a bit, catch an antelope, eat a few bananas, f**k a bit, get drunk on fermented fruits or herbs, and so on. This has been going on for millennia without any evolutionary pressure in the form of environmental factors forcing the Negro to develop in another direction,” the blog read.

Speaking to The Local on Friday, Wahlberg refused to completely distance himself from the controversy and said the “ironically” written quotes were taken from Sweden’s provocative political and media forum Flashback. “You could say that some parts have some truth to them. But generally speaking it is written with irony,” he said.

However, in an earlier interview with local paper Helsingborgs Dagblad, Wahlberg insisted, “I think that it was quite an accurate description. If we look at history, then humanity began in Africa once upon a time, and then there were some who emigrated to Europe and Asia. But at what level are they now? Not much has happened over these thousands of years.”

Wahlberg claims that the Sweden Democrats have never been critical about his blog, which also contains posts which are disparaging towards Muslims. He has, however, since left the party in the wake of increased attention from the country’s mainstream media.