Understanding Muslim minorities today!

My good friend Professor Tahir Abbas delivered a great lecture at Fatih University in Istanbul – Turkey on 13 May 2013.

In his presentation, he talked about Muslim minority issues in Britain and in Western Europe, and how notions of identity are shaped by immigration history, memory, politics, patterns of racism, integration and assimilation, and the role of policy.

He stated the importance of Muslims finding the middle path as a way forward, one that balances the best of all intellectual, cultural and spiritual worlds, and to look beyond the horizons to achieve that poise and harmony.

His thoughts are very much in line with the vast majority of Muslim communities in the Western world.

Thanks Tahir for this excellent presentation.

Minoriteternes Grundlovsdag 2014 på Christiania

Large gathering Herr. Bonnichsen 2

Minoriteterne er majoriteten!!!

Gennem årene har jeg hvert år oplevet, at der fejres Grundlovsdag med politiske taler rundt om i landet. Ledende politikere har – via deres respektive organisationer – foretrukne steder, hvor de traditionelt afleverer deres budskaber, der både handler om demokratiets principper og om aktuelle politiske problemstillinger. 5. juni får alle danske politikere – store som små – en chance for at sige, hvad deres vision for Danmark er.

Som politisk aktiv person elsker jeg gode taler, specielt når de kommer fra karismatiske og inspirerende ledere.

I år var jeg i Christiania for at lytte til en vidunderlig dansker, Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, fhv. operativ chef for PET og debattør. Hans tale hed: 
‘Når Råbene bliver Høje’. Han var hovedtaler ved 5. juni-festlighederne. På Christiania afvikles Grundlovsdag i samarbejde mellem Christianias Kulturforening og forskellige repræsentanter for minoritetsgrupper, i de sidste par år især sammen med Landsforeningen Lediges Vilkår.

De mener, at Grundlovsdag handler om Grundloven:
- om demokrati og menneskerettigheder
- om de grupper det går ud over, når Grundloven tilsidesættes. Minoriteternes Grundlovsdag har alle årene haft fokus på menneskerettighederne, som de er tænkt ind i den danske grundlov, og som de misligeholdes i den virkelige verden.

Jeg har stor respekt for Hans Jørgen Bonnichsens humanisme og kamp for menneskerettigheder for alle, og hans budskab var klart. ”Grundloven hviler på værdier, som vi holder meget af. Den sikrer vores demokrati, vores frihedsrettigheder og vores retssikkerhed. Den giver os kort sagt et Danmark, der er et trygt hjem for os alle – arbejdsløse, arabere, bøsser, christianitter, ensomme, flexjobbere, flygtninge m.fl.”

Om aftenen hørte jeg taler af de 3 vigtigste danske politiske personligheder: Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Lars Løkke Rasmussen og Kristian Thulesen Dahl.

Fr. Thorning-Schmidt talte om EU og Danmark, Slaget om Normandiet og D-dag, 70 år tilbage, og det danske demokrati som et godt eksempel for andre.

Hr. Rasmussen talte om sine politiske vanskeligheder, mediernes manipulation af hans bilagssag, dansk demokrati og rullepølse.

Hr. Thulesen Dahl talte i bidende og aggressiv tone og angreb non-stop statsministeren og hendes parti.

I sammenligning med hr. Bonnichsen lød det til, at disse 3 danske politikere ganske glemte at tale om det gavnlige, det inklusive og det opløftende.

Negative views on Muslims in EU

 

Muslims-negative-views-in-EU

30th May 2014

Many people in the seven European Union nations surveyed express negative views about minority groups in their country, according to Pew Research published on May 12. In particular, negative attitudes toward Roma (sometimes also known as Gypsies) are common, while many also give Muslims unfavorable ratings. Negative attitudes toward Jews are less pervasive. Negative sentiments about all three groups are consistently more common among people on the ideological right.

At least half of those surveyed in Italy, Greece and Poland say they have a negative opinion of the Muslims who live in their country. Public opinion is divided on this question in Spain, while in Germany and the UK a majority says they have positive views of Muslims. The most favourable ratings are registered in France (72% favourable), which among the seven nations surveyed has the highest percentage of Muslims in the national population.

As is the case with attitudes toward Roma, views about Muslims are tied to ideology. While 47% of Germans on the political right give Muslims an unfavourable rating, just 20% on the left do so. The gap between left and right is also more than 20 percentage points in France, Italy and Greece. And significant differences are found in Spain and the UK as well.

Attitudes are also linked to age, with negative sentiments more pervasive among older respondents. In Spain, about half of those age 50 and older (51%) give Muslims in their country an unfavorable rating; only a third of people under age 30 say the same. Significant differences between people 50 and older and 18- to 29-year-olds are also found in France (a gap of 12 percentage points), Germany (13 points), Italy (12 points) and the UK (9 points).

Many people in the seven European Union nations surveyed express negative views about minority groups in their country, according to Pew Research published on May 12. In particular, negative attitudes toward Roma (sometimes also known as Gypsies) are common, while many also give Muslims unfavourable ratings. Negative attitudes toward Jews are less pervasive. Negative sentiments about all three groups are consistently more common among people on the ideological right.

At least half of those surveyed in Italy, Greece and Poland say they have a negative opinion of the Muslims who live in their country. Public opinion is divided on this question in Spain, while in Germany and the UK a majority says they have positive views of Muslims. The most favourable ratings are registered in France (72% favourable), which among the seven nations surveyed has the highest percentage of Muslims in the national population.

As is the case with attitudes toward Roma, views about Muslims are tied to ideology. While 47% of Germans on the political right give Muslims an unfavourable rating, just 20% on the left do so. The gap between left and right is also more than 20 percentage points in France, Italy and Greece. And significant differences are found in Spain and the UK as well.

Attitudes are also linked to age, with negative sentiments more pervasive among older respondents. In Spain, about half of those age 50 and older (51%) give Muslims in their country an unfavourable rating; only a third of people under age 30 say the same. Significant differences between people 50 and older and 18- to 29-year-olds are also found in France (a gap of 12 percentage points), Germany (13 points), Italy (12 points) and the UK (9 points).

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/newspaper/islamophobia/negative-views-muslims-eu

European Parliament Elections 2014 resulted in big gains for extreme far right and anti-EU parties

Germany European Elections _74992160_euflagsafp _75099223_75099220 _75099227_75099224

When in the late nineties, I started working as President of ENAR- the European Network Against Racism, I was hopeful that the struggle for human rights, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination would go from strength to strength in the future.

For a while it did go in the right direction but slowly and steadily, anti-migrants, anti-asylum and religious discrimination started taking hold. More and more political movements and parties started using propaganda tools against ethnic and religious minorities and the atmosphere became poisonous.

Progressive people and NGOs warned the European and national decision makers that something was going wrong. Unfortunately, the mainstream parties were afraid to be seen by public as listening to anti-racist worries.

The 2014 EU Parliament election of today has proven us right. In most EU countries from Finland to Greece and UK to Hungry, far right parties have won more than 25% votes.

For example, in UK, UKIP got 30%, in Denmark, DPP got 27%, and in France, Front National received 26% votes. In Germany, even a New Nazi candidate was elected.

The far right-wing populist and anti-Islam Danish People’s Party won the largest share of Danish votes, 26.7%, party’s best-ever European showing.

Of the Front National’s victory in France, Martin Schulz, the former Socialist president of the European Parliament said: “It’s a bad day for the European Union, when a party with a racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic program gets 25% of the vote.”

Mr. Schulz should have added anti-Islam and anti-Arab to this racist party’s titles.

This tilt to the far right will effect the national elections in many EU countries and will hugely influence the mainstream parties and would force these to make compromises on humanistic policies.

It is a sad day for democracy in Europe, because it is now firmly marching in the wrong direction.

 

 

 

 

TV interviews on “Bashy’s Corner”

2014-05-12 10.05.17

Dear friends

Last week, I interviewed two very interesting and knowledgeable persons for my TV program; Bashy’s Corner. They both talk about Denmark, its national crisis, discrimination and lack of accept for ethnic and religious minorities.

First guest is Mrutyuanjai Mishra – a Human Rights expert, politician, commentator at Politiken Newspaper.

We talked about the issue of freedom of speech, respect for human rights of minorities, his own journey – from being an opponent of integration, a supporter of DF and SD and a rightwing intellectual to become a humanist and defender of minority rights. He explained the reasons for this change of heart and mind and why he thinks, that Denmark will be a good place to live and work if it respects and accepts minorities?

The second guest was Lene Andersen- a philosopher, author and economist. Her two recent books; Danmark 2030 and Globalt Gearskift are worth reading because she is on to something important about Danish society.

We discussed, how she sees Denmark in the future and if Danes are mentally ready for inter-cultural society and how we can change the paradigm from Them and Us to only US or We?

I am sure that commentators, especially those who are anti-minorities, would have plenty to ponder about after watching these two interviews.

Here are the links:

Mrutyuanjai Mishra.

http://tv-gladsaxe.webstream.dk/embed_video/77,1280,640×360,001100

Lene Andersen

http://tv-gladsaxe.webstream.dk/embed_video/77,1292,640×360,001100

  ‘Your Vote Can Unite, You Choose ’Campaign against racism in the European Parliament

Press release:

 mg_4214

In the next days citizens all over the EU will vote for a new European Parliament. The elections for the European Parliament from 22-25 May could prove a turning point for the future of the EU. Populist, and racist parties are spreading hate, blaming migrants and minorities for whatever goes wrong, dividing societies in many of the EU member states. This campaign asks all EU citizens to use their right to vote. And we ask all to vote against racism in the European Parliament; to choose for unity, instead of division.

Already these elections have been called historical. The European Parliament elections come in the middle of a crisis that struck Europe hard. Everywhere people have lost their jobs, lost their income, and lost hope. These are circumstances some political parties and movements are trying to take advantage of. Far-right, and racist parties are combining forces and trying to win more seats. They are manipulating peoples’ fears to build support for their dividing policies. Inciting hate against minorities is a classic strategy to gain visibility and win votes, especially in times of economic crisis. Migrants are the easiest targets.

The two largest European anti-racism organisations, ENAR and UNITED for intercultural actions, together with UK based Hope not Hate run a campaign to prevent far-right, racist candidates from being elected. The message of this EU-wide campaign “Your Vote Can Unite” is spread in 28 EU countries and several neighbouring countries. More intensive, local campaigns are organised in Hungary, France, Italy and Greece. The main goal is to motivate people to not stay silent, but use their voting rights.

We want to reach voters in a direct way. In Hungary, campaigners from the organisation Subjective Values go to small villages and ask Roma people to go vote. Campaigners from the young migrants organisation Generation 2.0 in Greece go to friends, family and others and explain why they need to vote. In France, Les Indivisibles produced a special newspaper and video, which are spread in a suburb of Paris. Campaigners from Centro d’Iniziativa per l’Europa del Piemonte in Italy reach out to young people and discuss the importance of the European Parliament elections.

The initiators of the campaign ask citizens to use their right to vote and to choose non-racist candidates. “Many people in the EU do not want parties that spread racism and poison society but they don’t use their voting rights. The public interest for the elections is low. At the same time racist parties do activate their voters, leading to a higher number of seats for far-right, racist parties. That is a bad development. So we ask people to go the ballot box and to vote, to show they care about what happens in their society,” argues Ralph du Long.

The organisers call upon everyone with voting rights to use their vote and not let racists come into the parliament. To choose for unity, instead of division.

For more information, please, contact UNITED for Intercultural Action, www.unitedagainstracism.org, info@yourvotecanunite.eu

Project Coordinator: Ralph du Long: email: ralph@dulong.eu, phone +31652314091

Facebook: YourVoteCanUnite

Twitter: #nohateEP2014

https://www.facebook.com/YourVoteCanUnite

 

EU TV debates in Denmark

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For the past few days, I have been watching various TV debates among candidates for the European Parliament elections giving their opinions on diverse subjects, right from, free movement of labor, goods and services, social dumping, foreign energy supplies, financial health of EU, legislative powers of the Parliament and every thing else between heaven and earth.

Although many Danish politicians and journalists have a localized and nationalist perspective on issues, their use of ill-considered language is often horrendous and leaves a lot to be desired. I do not know if it is because of arrogance or ignorance but it is pathetic.

Let me give you two recent examples;

On 20th May 2014, there was a long late evening program: EU Election on DR2, with Jens Olaf Jersild. Many politicians and Danish Foreign Minster were discussing EU dependence on foreign oil and gas. The Minster and all the candidates from ultra right wing Danish Peoples Party to anti-EU Peoples Movement were using phrases like; we need to create alternative European sources of energy to be free from Oil Sheiks and Putin’s gas.

Collectively, EU member states are the world’s largest energy importer, importing about 55% of their energy supply—approximately 84% of their oil and 64% of their natural gas. EU imports oil from various sources such Saudi Arabia, UAE, Libya, Nigeria, Brazil, Iraq and many other countries. Most countries on this list have nothing to do with Oil Sheiks. Gas from Russia is not owned by President Putin but by the Russian State.

Then there was a news item on 20th May on TV2 News with Lotte Mejlhede

, where she were talking about the increasing success of anti-EU and far right parties and the possibilities of their great advance in the coming EU Parliament election. While talking about Front National in France, she said; “It is going to capture 27% votes but people still are skeptical of its history and the anti-Semitic and homophobic statements of its founder Jean- Marie Le Pen”.

Why did she totally ignored the fact that most of Jean- Marie Le Pen’s racist statements were directed towards Islam, Muslims and Arabs is anybody’s guess?

 

Prominent Danish organisations warn : Do not vote for Morton Messerschmidt

Morton

By Anders Bæksgaard

May 18, 2014 – Belingske

Danish People’s Party’s success in the European elections is likely to cripple the Danish influence in the EU. That is the warning from a range of socio-professional organizations. It is a highly unusual direct warning against voting for the Danish Peoples Party.

While the Danish People’s Party plough through in the polls ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections , there is a growing concern among both employers and employees for a minimum Danish influence in the EU.

The party’s top candidate, Morten Messerschmidt , stand to receive more than one in four votes , and that has forced a number of socio-professional organizations to form a united front to warn the public against voting for Danish People’s Party.

A vote for Messerschmidt and Danish People’s Party will cost Danish influence and make it harder to protect and Danish interests in Brussels, is the warning from the organizations. They encourage Danes to vote for ” the constructive parties ‘.

http://www.b.dk/politiko/fremtraedende-organisationer-advarer-stem-ikke-paa-messerschmidt

What Europe thinks of Muslims, Jews and Roma?

What Europe thinks of Muslims, Jews and Roma?

By Adam Taylor

May 13 at 11:55 am

Ahead of the upcoming European Union parliamentary elections, the Pew Research Center released its latest survey data for France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. There are a number of interesting points in the report, but one striking section shows the varied views about minorities in the region. And while perspectives on Muslims and Jews are largely mixed, the mostly negative views about the Roma people are striking.   Here’s a rundown:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/05/13/what-europe-thinks-of-muslims-jews-and-roma/

Bashys Photos