Sunday, July 29, 2007

Winds of War: Cuckoo Clocks and Jihadists

We know that the Muslim Brotherhood, responsible for the re-establishment of fundamentalist Islam and the spread of its ideological arm called Islamism, was founded in the early part of the last century. But when and where was the ideology of Islamism introduced in Europe? According to Olivier Guitta, it was, of all countries, Switzerland.

The influential Geneva Islamic Center was founded as long ago as 1961, with roots in the international Islamist movement. Its leader, Said Ramadan, had been expelled from Nasser's Egypt for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, founded by his father-in-law, Hassan al-Banna. Ramadan also helped create the World Muslim League, funded by the Saudi establishment for the purpose of spreading Wahhabism around the world. Today, Ramadan's sons Tariq, intellectual superstar of European Islamism, and Hani, head of the Geneva Islamic Center, continue to serve the cause.

It seems that Switzerland has produce more than just cuckoo clocks.

But the Islamic Center is not the only Islamist institution in the Swiss capital. There is also the Grand Mosque of Geneva, which has undergone sweeping leadership changes in recent months. It has a new director, fresh from Jeddah, who suddenly fired four executives at the end of March. The Swiss daily Le Temps reported that the firings were initiated by the Saudi consul general in Geneva. The fired executives have sued, claiming they lost their jobs for being too moderate.

The new imam at the mosque is Youssef Ibram, a Moroccan who studied Islamic law for six years in Saudi Arabia. He is remembered in Switzerland for his part in a public controversy about the stoning of adulterers. In 2004, in an interview with the Swiss French magazine Coopération, he said, "Regarding stoning, I cannot be against it since it is included in the Islamic law."


There’s what one poster said on the ‘On Faith’ discussion board, “Islam is about peace and Syariah is about fairness”.

The ensuing flap prompted Ibram to resign from his position as imam of the Islamic Center in Zurich. Ibram is also a member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a transnational group made up mostly of non-European Islamists close to the Muslim Brotherhood and headed by Al Jazeera star Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi. This body takes upon itself to assess the conformity of European laws to Islam.

Unlike many European nations, Switzerland has seen the danger signs.

As jihadist plots continue to be uncovered from Glasgow to New Jersey, it is plain that no place can be considered entirely safe. That includes placid, would-be neutral Switzerland, where a series of incidents and controversies in recent months points to a small but untiring Saudi-sponsored Islamist presence--and to a growing determination to resist its excesses on the part of some Swiss citizens and the Swiss authorities.

Others, too, are challenging the Islamists. A proposal to ban minarets in Switzerland has been floated by Ulrich Schluer, a member of parliament from the right-wing UDC (Union Démocratique du Centre). The idea has been featured in the Arabic media and was discussed recently on Al Jazeera's website, where some net surfers proposed boycotting Swiss banks (which hold a lot of Saudi and other Arab money) if the ban is enacted. Al Hayat and Al Arabiya television also expressed concern. Annoyed, Schluer told Le Temps: "Al Jazeera states that Switzerland wants to ban 'mosques or putting Islamic religious symbols on buildings,' but we never said this! We are against minarets, which we consider a symbol of political conquest, but not against mosques, because we respect the freedom of religion."


The Swiss get it. They can see the insidious non-violent tactics of Political Islam. When will the rest of Europe wake up to that fact? But Switzerland has much more work to do in this regard.

In its May 31, 2006, Swiss Domestic Security Report, the Federal Police stated plainly that violent Islamists are using Swiss soil as a strategic location from which to spread propaganda and provide financial and logistical support to people abroad. The report also underlined Geneva's growing importance as a transit point for volunteers from French-speaking Switzerland and France going to join the jihad in Iraq.

And is this a foreshadowing of the future of Europe?

Coincidentally, the largest synagogue in Geneva was gutted by fire on May 24, in what has been ruled a case of criminal arson. As of now, no arrests have been made. But any illusion that Switzerland was somehow immune to the fires of intolerance is long since gone.

Quo Vadis Europe?

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1 Comments:

  • Minor quibble...
    Cuckoo clocks aren't a Switzerland product, they come from the Black Forest of Germany...

    By Anonymous suek, at 9:28 AM  

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