Tuesday, August 10, 2004


A.) There are those who like to make fun of Belgians in general and Belgian aircrews in particular, when fate has it that some stoopid cat manages to enter a cockpit and attack the co-pilot.

Curiously enough, one will NEVER hear those jokers when Belgian aircrews perform feats of remarkable courage and competence. Even more curious, these same people complain day and night about perceived bias when mainstream media allegedly puts a spin to matters of their concern.

In a situation reminiscent of the United Airlines DC-10 landing without hydraulics in Iowa in 1989, the crew of a DHL A300 hit by a missile relied solely on engine power without flight controls to land at Baghdad.

Pierre Ghyoot, secretary general of the Belgian Cockpit Assn. (BeCA), told Aviation Week & Space Technology that the pilots were able to guide the aircraft to a safe landing on Nov. 22 using only engine power settings. The aircraft lost all three hydraulic systems and all flight controls. Ghyoot said his organization is already planning to give the crew a safety award.

DHL was carrying U.S. mail to troops in Baghdad but shut down this operation for about a week after the missile attack. The 1979 vintage A300B4-203F was operated by DHL/EAT with two Belgian pilots and a British flight engineer. DHL offficials said the aircraft will eventually be repaired.

‘Nuff said, except that the Belgian pilots on the DHL flight were very likely Flemings and those on the flight to Vienna either Wallonians or Smurfs.

B.) The First Islamic Bank of Britain – but not the last - is a fact.

The British financial watchdog FSA (Financial Services Authority) yesterday gave the let-go for the first British Islamic bank based on the principles of the Sharia, the Islamic law. The do-gooders over at the IBB will invest deposits only in ethically responsible companies, and not in enterprises selling, e.g., tobacco, alcohol and pornography. As could be expected, it will also work according to the "lease" principle instead of with interests. A special committee with Islamic scholars will approve of the IBB’s banking services, investments and other activities. "Of course" it will also fall under the FSA’s scrutiny, "just like the other British banks".

My ass. In Belgium there’s a lot of Islamic-run companies in Brussels. I know firsthand from Tax Controllers that they are threatened when they demand to inspect the books. As a result many of these companies only get "controlled" every ten years, or even not. I have no immediate info on the British situation but I bet that FSA scrutiny will be even a worse joke than that cat story.

Anyway, the IBB will provide financial services to around 1,8 million British muslims. Its Headquarters, to be operational in September, will be in Birmingham, where there have never been the slightest problems with Muslim youths as long as they went off to Pakistan to do a bombing in Kashmir. The first London branch opens shortly after. In October further branches in Birmingham and Leicester follow.

Well, Europe counts millions upon millions of Congolese, Chinese, Polish, Thai, Indians, Jews, Buddhists and what not. Somehow they fail to attract my ears or eyes with stories of inbred development of own facilities meant to compete with the Belgian facilities instead of simply using these last ones. Of course I live in the province, but even reading about Brussels or Antwerp I’m never struck by initiatives from these communities to create a self-sustaining network that provides, say, sports, health care, cultural events or financial services. It’s safe to say that Chinese for example either use Belgian banks or else, if they don’t, make no fuss of whatever else they sluice their money through and to.

This latest Islamic banking initiative though brings again that uneasy awareness of the growing presence of a heavily religiously motivated group of citizens which stubbornly refuses to link itself, out of some sick and racist-in-itself disdain for the West, into the existing social, cultural and financial framework. In Paris last month the authorities recognized the growing problem of a subsociety which is literally developing into a state-within-a-state, with e.g. an own social network, own police, an own Sharia-based judicial system...

Multiculturalists will of course hail this development. I say it’s one more divisive issue. The Muslim Community does NOT want to integrate. It ultimately wants to IMPOSE. We should not be fooled by the slow pace at which this problem is unfolding. Stand still for a moment and watch Islam getting an ever sturdier foothold in the Western World, with demographics reciprocal to ours and a firm policy of keeping the distance. If this goes on like that, we will wake up one day in 2030 to ask ourselves bewildered how the hell Islam succeeded without the sword where it failed in 1683 before Vienna by the sword. We Westerners think in time intervals of days, months or a couple of years. They think in decades and centuries. I am utterly convinced that even the so-called moderate Muslim leaders aspire to have Islam ultimately imposed as the dominating religion in Europe… and elsewhere. If you think I’m grossly exaggerating, follow Islam’s timeline in Europe over just the past two decades. See where they come from and see where they have got.

Stay vigilant and start thinking of strategies.

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