Monday, September 27, 2004


I’d love to talk about something else, but my rants these days seem to center around one issue. I get the impression that in due time, and maybe sooner than you think, it will become the no.1 issue for the western World.

Yesterday I had a post on Turkey’s bid to join the EU. By coincidence, our pal Chrenkoff in Down Under decided to share some thoughts on the same subject too. As you will notice he, unlike me, takes a rather moderate stance.

Rather, he’s so keen to offer us a little piece of history, namely the key role the Polish King John III Sobieski played in smashing the Turks before Vienna in 1683 with a cavalry army of a.o. Polish Hussars. I gather that Arthur’s seemingly positive inclination toward the Turks stems from the respect the Ottoman’s in later times still payed their erstwhile foe, the Polish, for after Poland was divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria by the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries (the three so-called Polish Divisions), the chef de protocol at the Ottoman Court still paid homage to a nonexistent Polish Ambassador at the occasion of the yearly summoning of the Ambassadors and consuls in Istanbul, and reportedly kept doing so till the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Nice story, Arthur. The question that stuck with me however is the one you posed at the end:

This is what's at stake here: will Europe be able to Westernise its Muslims before the Muslims succeed in Islamicising Europe.

Arthur, I think the question is answering itself already:

a.) A story from Italy, courtesy MSNBC:

ROME - An Italian woman who is married to an Arab man and converted to Islam, has been ticketed twice in the past week for wearing a burqa in her small village in the province of Como.

The dispute, which may eventually reach Italy's highest court, highlights growing unease in this staunchly Catholic country over a growing Muslim population.
Many Italians are unhappy with the impact of immigration from Islamic countries. Prior to the controversy in Como, there was a public outcry when a judge agreed last October to a Muslim activist's demand that a crucifix be removed from his son's classroom wall.

b.) A story from Belgium, a reader’s letter in some Belgian newspaper:

Jan Creemers, (CD&V) mayor of Maaseik, gets phone calls from worried citizens on the subject of several Muslim women who venture out only in burqa anymore. Are the people from Maaseik afraid of veiled women? I think not, but you can pose yourself questions on dress articles like the burqa, chador and niqab, all very covering pieces of clothing. That you want to dress demurely is something only commanding respect. But I think one should always remain recognizable. By the way, what will one do with the photo on the new identity papers? With or without burqa?

Burqas in Belgium… now already.

I don’t feel well.


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