Friday, January 18, 2019

The upcoming European elections - Peter Skurkiss

by Peter Skurkiss

A good performance by the Euroskeptics would be a nightmare scenario for the EU.

Elections will be held May 23 - May 26 among the 27 countries of the European Union to select 705 members to the European Parliament. These elections happen every five years, and 2019 is one of those years.

The number of countries represented in this parliament was 28, but with Great Britain leaving it will now be 27. 

In the past, these elections were humdrum affairs. After all, who could you vote for, Tweedledee or Tweedledum? But not this time. A lot has happened in Europe to change the political environment, and this election could have profound effect on the European Union itself. As the German newspaper Der Spiegel says:
Right-wing populists have become a feature in the political landscape of almost every European member state, while in Italy, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Denmark, and Finland, they are either part of the government or support the government. They are no longer merely a fringe phenomenon or a passing anomaly. Rather, they are a movement that could continue to grow -- and they are doing all they can to position themselves as such.
It's not accurate to call these parties right-wing. Some are, some aren't. They're a diverse group. What they are, however, is Euroskeptics who are united in their anger towards the cosmopolitan elite, the liberal opinion leaders in the media, and overbearing bureaucrats in Brussels. Not surprisingly, the two greatest villains in their eyes are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Euroskeptics loath Macron for his call for deeper European integration which they equate with further loss of their freedom. They chaff from directives pushed on them from Brussels like political correctness, smoking bans, homosexual marriages, costly environmental regulations, and most of all, immigration from the Third World into their countries.

Euroskeptics hope to transform the upcoming European elections into a kind of plebiscite: What kind of Europe do people want? Should the EU be a political union with a corresponding dilution of national sovereignty or should it merely be a free-trade bloc where each individual country can chart its own course? 

According to Der Spiegel, polls show the Euroskeptics capturing 20 percent of the vote in the May elections. Although this would not be a majority, it could be enough to throw a monkey wrench into the workings of Brussels. When Nigel Farage was a member of the European Parliament, he would harangue his fellow members on the dangers inherent in the EU. His rants went nowhere, as he was a lone voice crying out. But imagine how effective such a message would resonate when one-fifth of the Parliament is in agreement. 

A good performance by the Euroskeptics would be a nightmare scenario for the EU. It could stop further integration in Europe and actually turn back the clock. Marine Le Pen of France says, "Wild globalization is coming to an end." These are important elections. Keep your eye on them.

Peter Skurkiss


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Cracks in the Democrats’ Wall Opposition - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Freshman House members and others demand Pelosi return to the negotiating table with the president.

Some Democrat lawmakers are losing their will to fight on in the ongoing stalemate with President Trump over border wall funding that has partially shuttered the federal government since before Christmas.

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted 217 to 185 on Dec. 20 for a spending bill with $5.7 billion for the wall. The measure floundered in the Senate and the partial shutdown began Dec. 22. The Senate remains in Republican hands but the House is now controlled by Democrats.

The president’s negotiations with Democrats over the $5 billion needed to begin construction of the border wall have gone nowhere largely because of Democrat intransigence –leadership in the House refuses even to meet with the president at the White House—and the federal government continues to be partially shut down for lack of appropriated funds. Although pressure on Trump has been growing, the president has vowed to keep the shutdown going as long as it takes to secure funding for the wall.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who barely won the House speakership after an internal party revolt, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), vow to prevent Trump from securing any funding for a wall along the nation’s multi-state border with Mexico.

Pelosi’s lieutenant, House Majority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), said Democrats are solid in their opposition to negotiating with the president on the wall. “We are totally united — totally,” Hoyer reportedly said.

But that claim of unity is nonsense, according to Matthew Boyle of Breitbart News.

“In fact, many Democrats–particularly the newly elected freshmen–want to negotiate with Trump on the wall, and they are saying so publicly while expressing their disdain for Pelosi and her fellow leaders,” Boyle writes.

Freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Me.), is urging his party’s leaders to negotiate with Trump and the Republicans. Democrat leaders and Trump need “to stop hiding and show a little leadership” to bring the longest-lasting federal government shutdown in the nation’s history to an end, he said.

Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) said “there’s a number of us on the Democratic side who are quite concerned that we’re not working on negotiated positions and taking the bull by the horns and trying to think about what it would look like.”

Freshman Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) told local media he was “sick and tired” of government shutdowns being used “as a form of brinksmanship—a tool of negotiation.”

“All we’ve done in the House is repass the Senate bill,” he said. “Now that will allow us some freedom, some space, some real debate. The Senate though has to show their independence. I just got out of a bruising fight with my House leadership … Let’s open the government back up and let’s get back to work.”

Freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), acknowledged he has been defying Pelosi and negotiating directly with GOP lawmakers.

“I’ve been meeting with several representatives from across the country, both Democrats and Republicans,” Brindisi said. “And I’ve been trying to force leadership on both sides of the aisle to work out a compromise to this shutdown.”

“If you listen to all the experts, they’ll say some elements of physical barriers where it makes sense are in order,” he said. “We need more border agents, we need more technology at our border crossings and ports of entries so trucks and shipping containers are inspected before coming into our country.”

Freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), is taking heat from her constituents.

“If I am getting comments and contact from my constituents expressing concern that the Democrats are not prioritizing security, then I think we can do better,” she said.

Freshman Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), said he would consider supporting appropriations needed to build the wall.

“I’m not going to rule anything out, I really am not,” he said.

Freshman Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), said she is optimistic a deal can be brokered.

“I hope that we can all come to a compromise because that’s the way things get done,” she said. “If we don’t compromise, the American people are the ones who get hurt. Right now, they are hanging in the balance.”

Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) said he would vote for wall funding.

“If I had the opportunity to vote for some sort of a deal, I would,” he said. “I think if we work on the border security, in my opinion, the president would be willing to work on some of these other issues.”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) told Vice News that plenty of Democrats outside the freshman cohort are bucking Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate.

“I think we all want to see DACA protections, so I think there’s an opportunity to, if they give something — it’s called negotiation, right?” Bera said. “Give us a chance to protect the Dreamers; maybe we can give something on border security.”

Some in the House Democrat leadership are also diverging from Pelosi’s position.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said some kind of border barrier is necessary.

“If we have a partial wall, if we have fencing, if we have technology used to keep our border safe, all of that is fine,” Bustos, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), said on CNN last week.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), vice chairman of the House Democrat conference, said on MSNBC that a barrier of some kind would work in parts of the U.S.-Mexico border. “You know, I think there are parts of the border that would benefit from repairing fencing and other barricades that already exist there,” she said.

For his part, President Trump has said he is willing to fulfill his signature campaign promise by declaring a national emergency under federal law so the government can finally move forward with building a desperately needed wall on the nation’s porous southern boundary with Mexico.

Legal experts say the president has the authority to declare an emergency and invoke a federal statute called the National Emergencies Act that President Gerald Ford signed into law on Sept. 14, 1976.

President Trump has already invoked the National Emergencies Act three times in his tenure, according to ABC News. President Barack Obama invoked the statute no fewer than 10 times.

But the next move belongs to House Democrats.

Matthew Vadum, formerly senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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Is UNRWA’s hereditary refugee status for Palestinians unique? - Kohelet Policy Forum

by Kohelet Policy Forum

A large number of ‘refugees’ who live in the 'West Bank' and Gaza strip are citizens of the ‘Palestinian Authority’ or ‘State of Palestine’ and at the same time claim to be ‘refugees from Palestine’.

Excecutive summary: UNRWA’s claim that their hereditary refugee status for Palestinians is not unique is simply untrue. There is no parallel and no precedent, even in protracted conflict situations, for the manner in which UNRWA transfers the “registered refugee” status, automatically, through the generations, while refusing to take any actions that would end this status. While UNHCR provides certain services on a case-by-case basis to the children of refugees, it does not make refugee status hereditary. This is one of many differences in UNRWA’s treatment of its population from the general practices used by UNHCR. All these differences are designed by UNRWA to maximize the population counted as “Palestine Refugees” and perpetuate their status.

For almost 70 years, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has created a unique category of “registered refugee” status - one that is automatically passed down to one’s descendants. Under UNRWA’s rules, the children and grandchildren of a Palestine refugee, and all their descendants thereof, are automatically considered ‘refugees from Palestine’. Amid ongoing criticism of UNRWA’s role in purposefully perpetuating the Palestinian “refugee” problem, the agency has attempted to obfuscate its policy.

UNRWA has claimed that its hereditary refugee practice is not unique, and is also practiced by the main international refugee agency, UNHCR. This background paper aims to clarify this issue.

There are two separate UN agencies in charge of aiding refugees: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). UNRWA was established in December 1949 and UNHCR in December 1950. UNHCR is responsible for all refugees except those from Mandatory Palestine, who fall with UNRWA’s exclusive jurisdiction.

The UNHCR determines refugee status based on criteria from international law, in particular, the Refugee Convention from 1951, which defines a refugee as “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”

In certain cases, UNHCR gives refugee services - but not status - to the immediate family of a refugee but it does so in a manner that significantly differs from UNRWA’s policy:

It is not automatic - it is based on a case-by-case review of whether the actual situation merits it. When it does, UNHCR gives certain services to the children of refugees. UNHCR does not automatically add the children and grandchildren of refugees to the count of refugees and does not automatically define them as refugees. Even if a child of refugees is given refugee services, the grandchild will not be eligible for status or services. UNRWA, on the other hand, automatically grants such children refugee status, resulting in exponential growth of refugee numbers. 

UNHCR does not define as refugees people who acquired new citizenship. The Refugee Convention of 1951 has a cessation clause, which clearly says that a person ceases to be a refugee if he acquires a new citizenship. UNRWA acts differently: More than 2 million ‘Palestine Refugees’ hold Jordanian citizenship, most of whom have been born in Jordan and have lived there their entire lives and are still called ‘refugees’. In addition, based on recent official census, probably 2/3 to ¾ of the 1 million refugees registered by UNRWA in Lebanon and Syria have left those countries over the decades, with many acquiring citizenships of western countries. Yet, UNRWA refuses to check their situation and take them off its registration rolls. UNHCR tracks individual refugees and takes them off its rolls as soon as they have acquired a status, such as third country citizenship, that ends their refugee status. This is another reason UNRWA’s numbers never decline.  

UNHCR does not define as ‘refugees’ people who are internally displaced, that is, who have moved within the same territory. “Palestine refugees” living in the 'West Bank' or Gaza Strip were in fact internally displaced since they have never crossed the internationally recognized border of Mandatory Palestine. UNRWA considers these people as refugees, and their children and grandchildren, and all their descendants, as well.

UNHCR makes efforts to ensure refugees are resettled or locally integrated where they are staying, thereby ending their refugee status. UNHCR does not exclusively promote repatriation as sole solution, as UNRWA does, but also rehabilitation in country of refuge or in third countries.

Repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement are considered equally legitimate means of ending a refugee status. They are promoted based on expediency – that is which could achieve the goal of ending the refugee status most quickly. UNRWA refuses to promote local rehabilitation and resettlement, and actually makes no effort to end the individual refugee status of the Palestinians, arguing that “it’s not in its mandate”. It actually is. This is the main reason that UNRWA’s numbers grow exponentially whereas the numbers of refugees in other, shorter duration, protracted refugee situations, decline over time.

UNHCR’s longest significant number of recorded refugees is from Afghanistan - from the early 1980s. UNHCR does not have in its records refugees that have been defined as such for 70 years. UNRWA does. Such persistence of refugee status has no parallel.

UNRWA reports of 5.5 million refugees. These are the descendants of roughly 700,000 registered Palestine refugees from the war of 1948. These numbers include more than 2 million ‘refugees’ who hold Jordanian citizenship. They also include a larger number of ‘refugees’ who live in the 'West Bank' and Gaza strip: They are citizens of the ‘Palestinian Authority’ or ‘State of Palestine’ and at the same time claim to be ‘refugees from Palestine’.

According to the rules applied by UNHCR, these people are not refugees.

UNRWA’s claim that their policy is identical to UNHCR’s is a lie and shows that they are not a neutral humanitarian organization but rather a political actor aimed at perpetuating the palestinian refugee problem.

Kohelet Policy Forum is an Israeli nonprofit think tank founded in January 2012 by Professor Moshe Koppel, who now serves as the Forum’s chairman, together with several Israeli academics such as Avraham Diskin, Avi Bell, Emmanuel Navon and Yitzhak Klein, public figures, intellectuals and activists.


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2,000 Muslim Child Marriage Immigration Cases in 10 Years - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

378 petitions were filed to marry 10-year-old girls and younger.

Naila Amin was only thirteen years old when she was married off to her Pakistani first cousin twice her age who beat and raped her. “He dragged me about twenty feet - the whole length of the house - by my hair,” she relates. “He began kicking me in the head and it was so hard I saw stars.”

She described how, “My mother would watch my husband and my father kick me together in the head.”

Even though Nalia was a United States citizen, she was engaged to be married when she was eight years old.  And at thirteen, her application to bring her rapist to the United States was approved by USCIS.

By the age of fifteen, she was being raped and beaten in Pakistan.

While Nalia is the youngest of the “child brides” in the Senate report, “How the U.S. Immigration System Encourages Child Marriages”, the young abused American citizen is one of thousands of young girls who are either trafficked into this country or who are used to bring their older “husbands” to America.

Between 2007 and 2017, there were 8,686 petitions for spousal or fiancé visas for or on behalf of minors. And during that same period, 4,749 minors on spousal or fiancé visas got green cards. Even while the United States was claiming to fight sex trafficking in underage girls, our own immigration system was rewarding and promoting the sexual trafficking of girls as young as thirteen.

While the Senate report reveals that is the leading child marriage trafficking country, with 3,297 spousal visa petitions filed and 3,123 approved is Mexico, most of the countries in the top 10 list are Muslim.

580 petitions were filed and 554 approved from Nalia's Pakistan. Another 541 filed and 509 approved from Jordan, 277 filed and 233 approved from Yemen, and 227 filed and 207 approved from Iraq.

Mexico once again tops the list of fiancé petitions with 444 filed and 338 approved, but Pakistan is once again in second place with 237 filed and 189 approved. Yemen accounts for 97 filed and 51 approved, Iraq had 94 filed and 72 approved, Jordan had 78 filed and 63 approved, Lebanon had 69 filed and 49 approved, Syria had 67 filed and 50 approved, and Afghanistan had 66 filed and 49 approved.

2,152 spousal and fiancé petitions for or on behalf of minors from Muslim countries were approved.

These numbers are extremely incomplete. No country is listed for over 3,000 of the petitions. But Muslim countries still make up 13 of the top 20 destination countries for child marriage trafficking.

The Senate report also reveals a more disturbing statistic. While Mexico had the highest number of underage petitions, that’s because it has a high rate of immigration to the United States. When the report evaluated the percentage of child marriage petitions among visa petitions in general, Muslim countries entirely dominated the list with 3% of Jordanian petitions, 2.8% of Iraqi petitions, 1.6% of Yemeni petitions, 1.4% of Lebanese petitions and 1.2% of Pakistani spousal petitions involving minors.

No non-Muslim country was ranked higher than Muslim countries.

4.1% of Yemeni fiancé petitions, 3.2% of Jordanian petitions, 3.2% of Iraqi petitions, 2.6% of Pakistani petitions, 2.2% of Lebanese petitions, 2.1% of Syrian petitions and 1.8% of Afghan petitions involved minors.

These numbers show how prevalent child marriage is in Muslim countries and how much of a role our immigration system plays in importing child sexual abuse under the guise of marriage into America.

As Muslim immigration to America increases, the rate of child marriage trafficking will rise along with it.

Nalia’s case is unique because there were only two 13-year-olds who had spousal and fiancé petitions approved by our immigration system.  The other 13-year-old was due to marry a 55-year-old man.

38 more petitions were approved for 14-year-olds. And 269 petitions were approved for 15-year-olds.

The overwhelming majority of minors featured on these child marriage petitions were girls.

But that’s not the most disturbing statistic in the report. While USCIS limited itself to approving child sex trafficking visa petitions for children as young as thirteen, no age was too young for the petition filers.

63 petitions had been filed for thirteen-year-olds, 44 petitions for twelve-year-olds, 60 petitions for eleven-year-olds, and 71 petitions had been filed for ten-year-olds.

69 petitions had been filed for nine-year-olds.

In a truly disturbing trend, there were more spousal and fiancé petitions filed for nine-year-olds than thirteen-year-olds. The number of petitions sometimes increased as the ages of the children dropped.

61 petitions were filed for eight-year-olds, 45 petitions for seven-year-olds, 31 for six-year-olds, 43 for five-year-olds, and 40 petitions were filed for four-year- olds.

27 petitions were filed for three- year-olds, 37 petitions for two-year-olds, and 17 petitions for one-year-olds.

A total of 545 petitions were filed to sexually abuse girls under the age of thirteen.

378 petitions were filed to marry 10-year-old girls and younger.

While none of these petitions were approved, it’s important to remember that all of them represent at least one person in the United States petitioning the government to permit the sexual abuse of a child.

These statistics represent 1,102 cases of attempted child rape in which the child was either in the United States or abroad. Since these cases could not be happening without the parents, thousands of adults were involved in these proposed efforts to use the immigration system to rape children.

And yet these numbers are the inevitable outcome of our immigration system.

Pakistan has a 21% child marriage rate. In Iraq, it’s 15%. In Jordan, it’s 8%. In Afghanistan, it’s 57%. In Yemen, it’s more than two-thirds.

These numbers invariably bleed over into immigration from countries where child marriage is normal.

Child marriage is an inescapable part of Islam.

Mohammed married Aisha when she was six years old. While Mohammed had many wives and sex slaves, his sexual abuse of that young girl is the pillar on which the empire of Islam was built.

In a tribal culture, Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha created a new familial alliance and expanded his power base. With his daughter’s sexual abuse, Aisha’s father was able to become the first caliph, succeeding Mohammed, and he ordered the assembly of the book that we know today as the Koran.

As long as child marriage remains a part of Islam, Islamic immigration will continue to be a vector for the sexual abuse of children in the United States.   

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


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What happens when the caravan gets to Mexico? - Silvio Canto, Jr.

by Silvio Canto, Jr.

Are the Mexicans changing their minds about illegal immigration?

We will know very soon. The latest caravan crossed into Guatemala, according to news reports:
About 500 people, including dozens of children, lined up to show their documents to a first line of unarmed security personnel at the Agua Caliente border crossing Tuesday night. Riot police formed a second line to contain any possible disturbance.
Edilberto Hernandez, a former police officer, stood with his wife and four children to cross into Guatemala. After losing his job, he could find only low-paid construction work, and he decided to travel with his whole family to the United States.
So what happens to Edilberto, wife, and kids when they reach Mexico?

According to other news reports and my own conversation with Mexicans in Mexico, there is no appetite to admit more "caravans":

Juan Palomina remarked: “Now look, let’s see if whacko [Mexican President} Lopez Obrador mobilizes the Marines and keeps these idiots from coming to Mexico. Give them enough to eat, at least.”
Some urged the migrants not to be blindly optimistic.
“People of Honduras, all of you who are spinning these grand illusions and getting ready to come on this caravan and in any future others, before you leave your country, please inform yourself about how people who’ve already come on previous caravans are faring in Tijuana,” said Belem Gonzales.
“Mexico is just like your country,” Gonzales added. “There are many problems and needs, and you’re not going to be much better off than you were in Honduras. Please don’t trust these manipulative agitators who are encouraging you to risk everything for nothing.”
Luis Mendez was far more unwelcoming. “We do not want caravans of (emojis of rats). Fight conditions in your own country. You are not welcome here.”
By Tuesday afternoon, a caravan that started with about 500 people grew to about 2,000, according to a representative from the Honduras National Commission of Human Rights, which travels with the caravan.
I cannot say whether these views represent a majority opinion. I have no scientific survey to link to. Nevertheless, I am hearing the same thing from friends and business associates.

After a few phone calls, I've concluded that Mexicans are sympathetic or understand that the violence is driving people out. At the same time, they don't like their country to act as "el camino" the highway, to the U.S. 

What will President Lopez-Obrador do? He has to block the caravan or face serious political backlash. Lopez-Obrador is already at war with his countrymen over gas shortages. He does not need another headache!

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Silvio Canto, Jr.


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Groundbreaking Report: EAPPI and the World Council of Churches’ Training Camp for Anti-Israel Advocacy - NGO Monitor

by NGO Monitor

 Upon returning to their home countries, many activists engage in anti-Israel demonization including promoting BDS campaigns and comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany.

On Monday, January 14, NGO Monitor published a new report on the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Our research details the funding for and activities of EAPPI, a program that markets itself as focusing on human rights, but in reality emphasizes anti-Israel political advocacy.

NGO Monitor research documents the ways EAPPI misuses tourist visas to enter Israel, where the group has no legal statusUpon returning to their home countries, many activists engage in anti-Israel demonization including promoting BDS campaigns and comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. EAPPI rhetoric at times draws upon theological rejection of Israel’s existence as the Jewish state, and crosses into overt antisemitism.

Our analysis shows that government donors for EAPPI have included the UK, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and Japan. In 2017-2019, Norway contributed nearly $2 million, while in 2017-2018 Sweden gave $500,000. Support is also provided by UNICEF and by church organizations.

In response to our exposure of the WCC’s promotion of antisemitism and BDS, the WCC absurdly sought to shift the focus, and falsely deflected by stating that “the definition of antisemitism adopted and promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which is described by the IHRA as a ‘non-legally binding working definition’…WCC does not promote boycotts based on nationality in this or any other context. Nor does WCC promote economic measures against Israel.” WCC published its response in seven languages (including Hebrew!), but none actually addresses the evidence of antisemitism and BDS raised in NGO Monitor’s report.

NGO Monitor’s report was featured in The Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom (Hebrew), JNS, Audiatur (German), Dagen (Norwegian), Enlacejudio (Spanish), and Christian Broadcast Network (English). Our experts were interviewed on a number of Israeli and international platforms including Israel’s Galatz radio (Hebrew), Israel’s Kan radio (English), Israel’s Channel 20 (Hebrew), and ILTV (English). The Christian Broadcast Network also featured the story in a detailed TV nightly news segment viewed by millions of people around the world.

Watch NGO Monitor Vice President Olga Deutsch on ILTV and Senior Researcher Shaun Sacks on Israel’s Channel 20:

On this week's episode of Human Rights and Hot Coffee, Prof. Gerald Steinberg discusses our report on EAPPI in detail. To listen, click here.

NGO Monitor


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Strasbourg: Capital of the EU and "The Future of Europe" - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

"Strasbourg -- embodies the fundamental values ​​of Europe". But if the current trend continues, these values will be the opposite of those, such as freedom of expression, on which Europe was founded.

  • A quarter of the Strasbourg's public school students choose the halal menu in school cafeterias.
  • In October, from Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the shameful conviction of an Austrian woman for what the court called an "abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam" -- just like that, in a stroke, accepting and legitimizing Islam's blasphemy laws. It was, as one news analyst, born in Iran, took note, "the day free speech died in Europe."
  • "Strasbourg," according to the city's official website, "embodies the fundamental values ​​of Europe". But if the current trend continues, these values will be the opposite of those, such as freedom of expression, on which Europe was founded.

According to the official website of Strasbourg, France, the city "embodies the fundamental values ​​of Europe". But if the current trend continues, these values will be the opposite of those, such as freedom of expression, on which Europe was founded. Pictured: The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, one of Europe's most famous Christian sites. (Image source: Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons)

"New York, Geneva and Strasbourg are the only cities in the world which are home to international institutions without being national capitals", an official page of the French city proudly proclaims. "The choice of Strasbourg as the European capital following the Second World War is no accident. The city stands as a shining symbol of reconciliation between peoples and of the future of Europe".

Last December, however, Strasbourg was shocked by a new terrorist attack. Cherif Chekatt, shouting "Allahu Akbar", murdered five people, before being neutralized in a two-day manhunt. Among Chekatt's victims were Italian, Polish and French citizens. Unfortunately, Strasbourg has become one of Europe's hotbeds of jihadism, an ideology seemingly aimed at destroying Europe's people, not conciliating with them.

The weekly Valeurs Actuelles called Strasbourg a "French bastion of jihadism". Seven men from Strasbourg, who went to Syria between December 2013 and April 2014, have already been sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to nine years. The heaviest sentence was handed to Karim Mohamed-Aggad, the brother of the Bataclan Theater suicide bomber Foued Mohamed-Aggad. The weekly L'Obs called Strasbourg "land of jihad".

"It's true that we have statistically more 'S-Files' [individuals labelled by authorities as a threat to national security] here in Strasbourg and in the Bas-Rhin department than the national average", the mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, said. Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist and director of studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, explained:
"Strasbourg is one of those leading cities of what could be called 'jihadogenic urban areas', such as the suburbs of Paris, Toulouse, Nice or Lyon in the past... Strasbourg is at the crossroads of Europe, all you have to do is cross the Rhine to be in Germany and you are not very far from Switzerland."
There is not only violent terrorism. Pope Francis, in a 2014 address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, said:
"In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a 'grandmother', no longer fertile and vibrant. As a result, the great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions."
Islamists dream of replacing this aging Europe, and it they are doing quite well. The Archbishop of Strasbourg, Luc Ravel, nominated by Pope Francis in February 2017, declared in July that year:
"Muslim believers know very well that their fertility is such that today, what do they call it?... the Great Replacement; they tell you in a very calm, very positive way, 'but anyway, one day all this will be ours...'"
Strasbourg not only hosts one of the two wings of the European Parliament. The city is known for one of Europe's most famous Christian sites, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, which has been called a "Gothic masterpiece". The writer Victor Hugo called it a "gigantic and delicate marvel". Its construction began in 1015. Robert Schuman, the French statesman and one of the founding fathers of what would become the European Union, thought about the project of a European Union meditating inside that cathedral, "the highest church of Christendom".

"France is a privileged target in the plan of global Islamization conceived of by various states and Islamic organizations", the Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal recently said. For years, Strasbourg has been a magnet for political Islam. There is not only the Great Mosque designed by the Italian architect Paolo Portoghesi, which, as Le Monde reported, has been financed by Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the last two countries known for financing and spreading radical Islam in Europe. In 2012, then Minister of Interior Manuel Valls attended the inauguration of the Great Mosque, which also received funds from the municipal and regional governments. The Moroccan imam Abdellah Boussof called it "an Alsatian mosque with a European vocation".

"European vocation"?

The city councilors of Strasbourg recently granted another building permit for a new mega-mosque paid for by Turks and less than two kilometers from the Great Mosque. The building will be one of the largest mosques in Europe. The groundbreaking ceremony for what is being called the "Great Turkish Mosque", with two 36-meter-tall minarets, was attended by Turkish government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister. In a new report, Foreign Policy dubbed it "mosque diplomacy". French authorities have facilitated the construction of not one, but two Great Mosques in Strasbourg.

The first Muslim public cemetery in France was also opened in Strasbourg; and a French-Turkish campus is being built in Strasbourg's outskirts, including a high school and a faculty for training imams. Fully funded by Ankara, it is "the most ambitious project ever for France's Muslim community of Turkish origins". "The scale and ambition of the project have taken everyone by surprise", the daily Libération reported. The purpose of the high school is apparently to offer a curriculum based on the Turkish one. Saban Kiper, a local Turkish leader, did not hide the goal: "The high school will be a pole of excellence and influence for Islam in France and Europe".

Speaking of influence, it is from Strasbourg that the Turkish government has launched the Equality and Justice Party, which is part of the network wanted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to influence Europe through its Muslim population. Erdogan held an election rally in Strasbourg in 2015, and the crowd chanted "Allahu Akbar". Strasbourg has been called "the AKP's laboratory", the initials of the Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party.

Contravening the famous French principle of secularism, the city of Strasbourg, led by the socialist mayor Roland Ries, offered four different menus in the school cafeterias. A quarter of the Strasbourg's public school students choose the halal Islamic menu. Schools, mosques, cemeteries, political parties: Strasbourg appears to have been chosen as the French laboratory of the Islamic secession in the heart of Europe. Political Islam is nurtured by this "separation", as the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut recently noted. "France," he said, "is falling apart and, faced with the strength of numbers, there are no recipes to reduce the fracture".

"Strasbourg," according to the city's official website, "embodies the fundamental values ​​of Europe". This is true. Strasbourg has been the cradle of Christian humanism and the site of the French-German reconciliation after 1945. In the future, Strasbourg will continue to embody the "values of Europe". But if the current trend continues, these values will be the opposite of those, such as freedom of expression, on which Europe was founded.

On October 25, 2018, in Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the shameful conviction of an Austrian woman, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, for what the ECHR called an "abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam" -- just like that, in a stroke, accepting and legitimizing Islam's blasphemy laws. It was, as one news analyst, born in Iran, took note, "the day free speech died in Europe."

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


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