Sunday, January 08, 2006

Clash of Civilizations Hits Denmark

Today's NY Times ran a shorter (and almost censored-sounding) version of Dan Bilefsky's International Herald Tribune article about the rise of Islamist extremism in Copenhagen:
In a secluded community center a few blocks from the school, Fadi Abdul Latif, the spokesman of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Denmark, said in an interview that the ban on school prayer was just the latest outrage from a political establishment that was trying to criminalize Islam in order to discredit the religion.

'The government says it's O.K. to make jokes about urinating on the Koran,' Abdul Latif said. 'They are inciting violence and provocation so that they can make new laws that discriminate even more against Muslims.'

He added that the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the Danish People's Party had contributed to a swelling of Hizb ut-Tahrir's ranks in recent months.

'When Muslims see the discrimination here, they begin to listen,' Abdul Latif said.

In 2002, Abdul Latif was charged with distributing hate literature that attacked Jews and praised suicide bombers as martyrs. A leaflet quoted a verse from the Koran: 'And kill them from wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.' He received a 60-day suspended sentence.

In 2004, Abdul Latif distributed a flyer exhorting Muslims to 'go help your brothers in Falluja and exterminate your rulers if they block your way.'
The story struck my eye because when I lived in Uzbekistan, the media reported claims that the authoritarian regime of Islam Karimov drove young people to join Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Strangely, now the NY Times and International Herald Tribune report claims that liberal Danish democracy and freedom of speech are driving people to join the same Islamist extremist group.

My guess is that it has more to do with the Bush administration's failure to catch Osama Bin Laden or secure a decisive victory in Iraq. People like to bet on a winner. And right now, it looks like Bush is a loser. Which may be why people from Tashkent to Copenhagen are flocking to join extremist groups.

Crush them decisively, and the membership will decline dramatically. There's a precedent from the USA, in the case of a domestic terror group, not so very long ago--anyone remember the Michigan Militia?