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European Jihad
Jewsweek ^ | April 13, 2002 | David Farer

Posted on 04/13/2002 11:29:23 AM PDT by My Identity

You think France is bad - the anti-Semites in Belgium are on the attack and they're not kidding around. From the frontlines of European anti-Semitism Jewsweek's DAVID FARER reports from the riot-filled streets of Antwerp. By the time I saw them, most of the windows had been boarded up, but broken glass still lay on the sidewalk – small pieces of glass waiting sadly for somebody to sweep them into a garbage can, but still nothing I wanted to step on; they could go through my shoe. The bus-shelters lay open and twisted on the ground as well, although several buses and a ruined tram had been carted away. I wondered why nobody had burned McDonald's, for it too was a symbol of "American cultural imperialism". Jose Bove, the French anti-globalization activist, had made McDonald's his private hate. After the Twin Towers fell, European police announced they were re-enforcing protection of synagogues and McDonald's restaurants – not as grotesque a combination of symbols as it sounded at first hearing. Those who hate McDonald's hate synagogues, too, in these crazy days.

The rioters who had broken those windows had been fired up at a pro-Palestinian rally in Antwerp, Belgium. Some of its organizers, who must have a fine if unintentional sense of humor, called this rally a "peace-rally". It was held in the Meir, a main shopping street in the city of Antwerp. Many of the finest shops in town line the Meir. Like many major European streets, it is only for pedestrians. Shoppers and young people go about their business or relax under the statue of Peter Paul Rubens, the great Flemish seventeenth-century painter whose home, now a museum, is in a street leading onto the Meir, or take in an old film at the mansion that houses Antwerp's cinematheque.

When the rally's organizers called their rally a "peace-rally," they must have been thinking more of the peaceful and pleasant street in which it took place than of the speeches they made there. Police estimated that a noisy crowd of about 3,000 people, almost all of whom were Moroccan Arabs, listened to harangues for about two hours. The content of these speeches was not detailed in Flemish newspapers the next day, because most of them were in Arabic. American and Israeli flags were burned publicly. Toward the end of this rally speakers wearing masks called for Jihad against the Jews.

Antwerp has a big Jewish population not far away. The Jewish neighborhood is conveniently located for a mob starting out from the Meir. They need only cross an avenue, enter another street, Keyserlei, and march a few hundred yards to the Antwerp Central Station. Along the streets leading from the railroad station are seventy or so jewelry shops belonging to Antwerp's community of Georgian Jews; after these shops there is another street where the diamond dealers and cutters work; and after the diamond area the mob could attack the streets where the Chassidim, most of whom are involved in some aspect of the diamond business, have their homes and synagogues. The police had kept a low profile during the demonstration in hopes of not provoking a riot. When they saw the mob moving in the direction of the Jews, however, they had to act.

CRACKED VIEW: Seen is damaged inside the Orthodox Community of Brussels synagogue after Molotov cocktails were thrown through the window, Monday April 1, 2002 in Brussels.


This mob moved along destroying as it went. The rioters threw paving stones through shop windows, turned over cars, and knocked down waiting-booths at bus stops. They destroyed one trolley-car and seven buses. Substantial damage was done to some Georgian jewelry shops, as well as to a travel agency specializing in travel to Israel, but much of the hooliganism was random, against whatever the Arabs happened to see as they marched.

The police counter-attacked with water-cannons and night-sticks. They managed to corral the mob into a narrow side street, in which the police would have the advantage of coming at the Arabs from both ends of the road. The mob fought back with paving stones, but the police were both numerous and trained, so they won the battle, arresting seventy-four rioters, of whom twenty-four were minors. One was only thirteen. A policeman was seriously injured by one of those stones, as were a number of people passing by, including a cripple in a wheelchair.

Antwerp's Jewish community has long feared a pogrom. Ordinary street muggings have risen dramatically in recent years, just as they have in France and other neighboring countries. But there have also been a number of incidents of Moroccans pushing and assaulting Jews in the street because they were Jews, and not in order to steal their money. All the Jews read accounts of French synagogues being burned and Jews under attack in Paris. Everybody knew that what happens in France can happen in Belgium as well, because both countries have large populations of Jews and larger populations of Arabs.

On the morning of the riot, the small Kloizenberg synagogue, belonging to the Chassidim of the Kloizenberger Rebbe, was struck by two firebombs. People had been waiting for the first attack on an Antwerp synagogue, but few expected it to be Kloizenberg, which is a small and inconspicuous building. There are half a dozen big synagogues in the small Jewish area, and another dozen small ones. Kloizenberg is among the smallest. The police later said that the bombs had been quite powerful; the Kloizenbergers were lucky that the bombs bounced off their synagogue's wall and exploded in the street instead of inside – not to mention how many Jews would have burned to death had the bombs exploded while the synagogue was full of praying Chassidim. The word of that morning's attack spread among the Jews. Everybody knew of the suicide bombings at the Passover seder in Netanya a few days earlier. People were worried when they heard a demonstration was planned for that night on the Meir. Events justified their fear.

Counter-measures appear to have been effective and professional, though. The police stopped the mob on the border of the Jewish neighborhood. The Antwerp city-government asked for reinforcements from Brussels, which is the Belgian federal capitol about forty-five minutes south of Antwerp. These eighty-four federal riot-control specialists arrived speedily and deployed around the Jewish neighborhood immediately. They were much in evidence in their big trucks the next day, watching over the several thousand Chassidim as they went to synagogue. Shop owners in the Meir complained that police had not told them to expect a rally, much less a riot. There is always this peculiar Belgian habit of bickering over the authority and the efficiency of politicians in Flanders versus those in the royal capitol of Brussels, but the mayor of Antwerp, Leona Detiege, defended Antwerp's finest. They did not prevent the riot, but they did contain it, and they prevented a pogrom. It could have been a lot worse.

MARCHING TO A BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: Some Pro-Palestinians demonstrators gather in front of the Bourse (the Brussels stock exchange) in Brussels, Tuesday April 2, 2002, in support of the Palestinian Authority following the current situation in Israel.


Belgium's capitol, Brussels, has also seen pro-Palestinian demonstrations during the Israeli offensive in the West Bank. These rallies have been pretty noisy, but none has degenerated into a mob action of the kind Antwerp saw. This is partly because Brussels does not have such an inviting target as a whole neighborhood full of men wearing long coats and fur hats. Chassidic clothes look like a bull's eye to some Moroccans. The Jewish neighborhood also borders one that is mainly Arab. Most of the violent incidents have happened along that border.

A Jewish reaction has been to increase the number of Jewish guards standing around synagogues and schools. These young men are mostly from the Jewish Coordination Center, an Antwerp Jewish organization headed by a guy named Jacques Wenger. Most of them are students, and quite a few of them are Israelis who have come to study at Belgian universities. These guards are not armed, but they carry mobile phones with which to call the police if they see something suspicious. None of them attacked the neighboring Moroccan area when terrorists massacred Israeli civilians, even though quite a number of Antwerp's Arabs admire suicide bombers. Most guards know the Jewish community and who belongs where in a way Belgian police do not. Jewish guards have been posted for a number of years, but usually only during Jewish festivals; now there will be more of them. These guards are mainly products of the couple of non-Chassidic schools that Antwerp has – the kind of schools where the kids learn Hebrew, and from which many immigrate to Israel. The Chassidim are non-Zionist, or, if they are Satmar, very anti-Zionist. They do not participate in that kind of guarding activity with Zionist Jewish students.

A long, troubled history
The Arab communities in European countries have different origins and histories. French Arabs are mostly Algerian, those in Amsterdam usually Egyptian Christian, and the Belgian Arabs are almost entirely Moroccan, and specifically from the Rif area of that country. They number more than 120,000, of whom the majority reside in and around Brussels. Antwerp, a city of 450,000, has about 21,000 Moroccans. The other big Moslem community in Belgium consists of Turks. They number about 70,000 nationwide. Very few Belgian Turks find time for pro-Palestinian demonstrations and riots.

Moroccans began coming to Belgium only in the 1970's. Most arrived in the context of agreements between the governments of Morocco and Belgium to import labor to work in factories and mines and to clean the streets. They were "guest workers" taking jobs that Belgians were no longer willing to do. Earlier guest workers had been Italians and Turks, but these countries stopped sending immigrants to northern European countries as their own economies developed. Moroccan guest workers brought their wives and had large families.

Today, many of the jobs Moroccans and other guest workers once took no longer exist, as heavy industry, like steel-mills and coal-mines close. Moroccans do not seem to assimilate to Belgian society as well as Turks and African blacks do, and not many Belgian Arabs seem to study and go on to university. Belgian unemployment is about ten percent for the country as a whole, but it stands at almost thirty percent for Moroccans. Because of their high birthrate, Belgian Moroccans have a low average age. Not all Moroccans are thieves and drug dealers, but a very large fraction of Belgium's criminals are Moroccan. The other big Moslem minority here, the Turks, have much lower criminal statistics, and Belgian blacks, most of whom come from the old Belgian colony of Congo, are more successful than the Turks: educated, middle-class, and frequently intermarried with whites.

WALK ON: Members of the city's Jewish community wearing traditional dress pass by a police station Thursday, April 4, 2002, in Antwerp, Belgium.


Moroccans are on the bottom of Belgian society as an ethnic group and as a social class. The Algerian Arabs in France occupy a similar position in French society. This mix of low educational achievement, high unemployment resulting in poverty, early exposure to criminality and violence, isolation from other kinds of people, and a high average of young people and adolescents – it all works to produce an explosive situation. The Arabs become marginal to a society they feel rejects them. They in turn reject the norms of that society. Arabs who are not inclined to be criminals complain of being stereotyped as criminals anyway; many are tempted to act in accordance with what they are accused of being.

Such people are easy prey to preachers with radical ideas. They all listen to radio and watch television. The Arabic-language television station Al-Jazeera, which broadcasts in Arabic to the Middle East and to the whole world, always emphasizing Israel's "crimes" against the Palestinians and the "heroics" of the suicide bombers, is a major source of disinformation for European Arabs, as it is for those living in their home countries. The Internet also plays a great role in diffusing venomous hate. A couple of weeks after the United States was attacked I sat next to an Arab in an Antwerp Internet café. He was looking at pictures of the Twin Towers burning. He appeared to be very much enjoying the show, laughing to himself as he watched and read the Arabic captions under the pictures.

This kind of thing appeals to marginalized Belgian Moroccans on a very gut level. They identify with the absolute rage and hate that Arabs feel. In Morocco, economic circumstances are much worse than they are for Moroccans in Belgium, and the unemployment figures are even higher there than they are for Arabs in Europe. People in Arab countries are alienated from corrupt governments that oppress ordinary people, but are too incompetent to hope to do anything to Israel or to help the Palestinians. Oppression and feebleness are a fatal combination. Many Belgian Moroccans accuse the police of harassing them and of treating them with suspicion. They draw a parallel between their own experience and that of the Palestinians, and also of other Arabs living under regimes they did not choose, because there is not one Arab country that is a democracy. Many Belgian Arabs conflate elementary criminality with political resistance. They erase the border between politics and hooliganism. Arab social dropouts take the Palestinian problem as a personal problem, and give their simple criminal violence a higher meaning.

This kind of thinking damages the Palestinian and Arab image in Europe. Belgians, who are really quite sympathetic to the Palestinians, will remember the riot in Antwerp longer than they will remember the cause the demonstration was intended to support. In an interview with the Flemish newspaper Morgen (April 5, 2002), Tarik Fraihi, who is a leader of an organization called The Federation of Moroccan Organizations, said, "If something happens to [Palestinian militia leader Marwan] Barghouti, it will have the same effect as the death of Arafat would have. For many Arabs, Barghouti is an absolute hero … He did more than Jordan and Syria … No, if something happens to him, the Arab youth will react very ferociously. At that moment, violence of one kind or another will overwhelm Europe." In another passage, he warns that, "If Belgium or Europe undertake nothing against Israel, there will be more violence to follow." He urges Belgium to press the United States to do something to stop Israel, because "as long as the Zionist aggression against the Palestinians continues, we will see an escalation of violence here in Europe." Fraihi also said that he and the moderate Belgian Arab leaders, one of whom he claims to be, called for calm on the night of the riot.

We might interpret statements of this kind as well-intended warnings, but we can also see them as threats. People who criticize the methods the pro-Israel lobbies in Washington employ to influence American policy might ask if they would prefer Fraihi's manner of expressing himself. The interviewer did not ask Fraihi how he felt about Palestinian terrorism against Israel; the absence of that question is conspicuous, in view of the fact that the interview was published a week after a suicide bomber killed twenty-five Israelis at a Passover seder. The interviewer did not ask Fraihi whether he favored a two-state, negotiated settlement of the Israel-Arab dispute, or if he preferred to destroy Israel as a country. Fraihi presents himself as a "moderate", but I would be curious about what credentials he has to claim that title.

Leftist politics make strange bedfellows
A moral and intellectual problem facing the European left is how to deal with the Israel-Palestine dispute, and this problem expresses itself partly in how it chooses allies and friends. At a large rally held in Rome recently, the labor unions and others who had wanted to demonstrate against Israeli military and diplomatic policy regarding Arafat and the West Bank left the rally when they saw signs equating Zionism with Nazism and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Fraihi also views Zionism as inherently racist. A generation ago, in the context of supporting Third World liberation movements, many Leftists argued and demonstrated for a Palestinian Arab state living in peace with Israel. They did not present themselves as anti-Semites, and many leftists could accurately describe themselves as "Zionists", in that they wanted a Jewish state to continue to exist.  Today, such people find themselves grouped next to vicious anti-Smites and religious fanatics. How will a Parisian feminist regard movements whose version of Feminism is for an Arab high school girl to blow herself up with an Israeli high school girl? Europeans tend to oppose Israeli policy, and they are critical of Sharon's government, but few of them want Israel to die. They are even less willing to see violence in, and even against, their own countries.

The demonstration in Antwerp had very few non-Arab participants, and the riot that followed had none at all. A young Belgian woman I know here who has quite leftist opinions and is very hostile to Israel in general and to Ariel Sharon in particular told me she had not attended the rally on the Meir, because "I was afraid to go." Only the most extreme radicals among non-Arab Europeans will go along with riots like that. It is not healthy for the integration of Moroccans into European society for them to identify themselves, and to be identified by general society, with political and religious extremism and criminal violence, and certainly not to frighten would-be supporters away from demonstrations.

The rise of the Flemish Bloc
Many Antwerp newspapers said that the party that benefited most from the riot would be the Flemish Bloc. The Flemish Bloc favors Flemish independence from Belgium. They are very hostile to immigration from Morocco and other third-world countries. The Flemish Bloc inherits the tradition of those Flemings who collaborated with the Germans during the Nazi occupation of Belgium during the Second World War. Many Jews think that they will soon follow the Moroccans out of here should the Bloc ever come to power. Their views are, in theory, about keeping Flanders Flemish, but they gain a lot of support from ordinary people who see crime, violence, and religious fanaticism growing in their cities.

“… Antwerp's Jewish community has long feared a pogrom. Ordinary street muggings have risen dramatically in recent years, just as they have in France and other neighboring countries ...”


The Flemish Bloc oppose immigrants from a right-wing, conservative, neo-Fascist perspective. Hostility to immigrant groups, and especially to Arabs, is a theme with infinite variations from country to country; another interesting one is the Dutch political party called Livable Netherlands. It's leader, Pim Fortuyn, is an openly gay man who wants to limit Moslems in Holland because their religious leaders publicly refer to homosexuals as "pigs". They are hostile to the liberal Dutch way of life that Fortuyn wants to preserve. Is Fortuyn a rightist or a leftist? Immigration and its accompanying social problems confuse political boundaries.

They also confuse personal relationships. In the middle of Antwerp's Chassidic neighborhood there is a fruit and vegetable store. Most of the shop's customers are its neighbors, the Chassidim. Its owners are brothers whose ages I would estimate as between twenty and twenty-five. They are a family of born shopkeepers, who know how to chat and charm. Every storeowner knows these qualities are as important as the quality of his merchandise; shopping is a social activity, and even more so for people as sociable as the Chassidim. They want to feel at home where they shop. The brothers have developed a good rapport with their Chassidic clients. The "shmooze" goes back and forth in Hebrew, Yiddish, Dutch, and French. We all kid around there and laugh a lot; those of us from Israel know at least a little Arabic, in which we answer the owners, who happen to be Moroccan Arabs.

These brothers are neither religious crackpots, nor anti-Semites, nor thieves. They work hard, getting out of bed in the middle of the night to buy fresh stock to sell. They were not at the riot. They were not the only Antwerp Moroccans not at the riot, either - don't forget that three-thousand people attended the anti-Israel rally on the Meir, several hundred rioted afterwards, but eighteen-thousand more Antwerp Moroccans stayed home that evening.

When I walked into that shop a couple of days after the attacks, we all greeted each other with our usual kidding banter, but this time we laughed a little louder and greeted each other a little more merrily than usual. This is the way people act when they are trying to prove they do not hate each other's guts. We wanted to show that the broken glass lying on the sidewalk down the street had not perforated our bantering friendship. And we succeeded.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: antisemitic; arab; belgium; europe; islam; jihad; palestine; palestinian; peace; semite; war
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1 posted on 04/13/2002 11:29:23 AM PDT by My Identity
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To: My Identity;knighthawk;shermy
With 27 million Muslims in Continental Europe, this is no suprise.

It's probably a suprise that it took so long for the radicals among that number to
understand that the morally-compromised socialists (and sons/daughters of the Nazis/Vichy)
would probably hardly lift a finger if they went after their common target.
2 posted on 04/13/2002 11:33:40 AM PDT by VOA
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Oops, I meant "morals-free socialists".
3 posted on 04/13/2002 11:34:35 AM PDT by VOA
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To: My Identity
Kristallnacht, c. 2002.
4 posted on 04/13/2002 11:45:16 AM PDT by financeprof
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Here is a link listing the populations of Jews in the nations of the world. Large populations in France, UK, but not many elsewhere (Hitler was pretty successful in ridding most of Europe of Jews, was he not?).

The Jewish Population of the World

They are pretty overwhelmed by the 27 million moslems.

BTW, there was a middle eastern Christian church torched out here in Los Altos Hills a week ago. They determined it was arson. Your post has a caption to a similar event. Who is after middle eastern Christians, and why?

5 posted on 04/13/2002 11:48:11 AM PDT by mcsparkie
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To: mcsparkie
OOPS.....I missed the Hebrew text in the picture of the Orthodox (synagogue?) I thought it was talking about an Eastern Orthodox church. NOT! It appears to be Orthodox Jewish?


6 posted on 04/13/2002 12:02:50 PM PDT by mcsparkie
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To: mcsparkie
Who is after middle eastern Christians, and why?

I'm not an expert on those demographics, but I believe that in general it's radical Muslims that
are either finishing off or driving Christians from the Middle East.

And I've heard that any Palestinians that dare to suggest making deals with the
Israelis don't last very long as well.
Arafat and his buddies don't want any nutty peace-talk to get in the way of
driving the Israelis into the sea.
7 posted on 04/13/2002 12:15:57 PM PDT by VOA
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To: My Identity
I can't understand why any Jewish person would live in Europe. I can understand Israel --- there's a reason to risk your life there if you're Jewish --- but to risk it to live with a bunch of Euroweenies? I don't get it.

My personal opinion is that the best place on earth for Jews --- all the Jews --- would be right here in the USA. But I understand if they don't want to leave Israel, even if it means living in a perpetual war. Which is what it means.

8 posted on 04/13/2002 12:27:01 PM PDT by samtheman
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

Thanks for the ping. It is a long read but oh so true.
10 posted on 04/13/2002 1:25:07 PM PDT by knighthawk
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And I've heard that any Palestinians that dare to suggest making deals with the Israelis don't last very long as well.

I have read where some "palestinian Christians" are siding with the islamics. This would explain why.

11 posted on 04/13/2002 2:05:35 PM PDT by mcsparkie
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To: samtheman
My personal opinion is that the best place on earth for Jews --- all the Jews --- would be right here in the USA.

According to the link I posted above, the US is the largest Jewish nation in the world. But think how it would be for them if moslems in the US were to become a greater minority than the Jews. The US would become another hell for them.

12 posted on 04/13/2002 2:09:26 PM PDT by mcsparkie
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To: My Identity
(FYI: I'm Flemish and saw the images all over our national press)

The Antwerp Jewish community has a rather ambivalent stance on the presence of Muslim immigrants. On the one hand it fears (rightly) a Jihad, yet it continues to oppose the Flemish Bloc, which is the one single political party that has the guts to oppose the liberal multiculturalist agenda (and is vilified by the other parties with the usual "nazi" and "fascist" epithets for doing that).

At one occasion a Flemish Bloc senator doubted the correctness of the 6Meg figure of Holocaust victims. The Flemish consitution doesn't contain the equivalent of the First Amendment, and "holocaust denial" is a criminal offence since 1995, "thanks" to Jewish lobbying. This event probably shaped the fear of the Jewish community to embrace the Flemish Bloc as an ally against Islam immigration.

IMHO this is a foolish stance. Even if the Holocaust law (which I also abhor, since it criminalizes free speech) is a bargaining chip which the Jewish community might need to pay, it would be a very small price to pay for real safety from Muslim terrorism and attacks. I think the source (Jewsweek) is also biased against the Flemish Bloc as the writer expressly supports multiculturalism and uses the "neo-Fascist" slander. There are other voices. Today I read an article by Prof. Dr. Henri Rosenberg in "Faxkrant 't Scheldt" (fax-newsletter) stating

"Jews who until now opposed the Flemish Bloc, because that's what they were supposed to, are much less negative and the step to pro-Bloc becomes increasingly small. Support for the Bloc becomes discussable in Jewish circles, and is effectively discussed"

13 posted on 04/13/2002 2:14:32 PM PDT by Vomit
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To: samtheman
If you were jewish and living in Crown Heights when David Dinkins was Mayor you wouldn't think living in the USA was the best place in the world. When things go wrong, the jews are ALWAYS the scapegoats....EVERYWHERE.
14 posted on 04/13/2002 2:18:10 PM PDT by OldFriend
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: My Identity
Police estimated that a noisy crowd of about 3,000 people, almost all of whom were Moroccan Arabs, listened to harangues for about two hours... Toward the end of this rally speakers wearing masks called for Jihad against the Jews.

Why don't they do the smart thing and deport these troublemakers back to their own countries, just like we do her in ..., uh..., never mind!

16 posted on 04/13/2002 3:06:13 PM PDT by Gritty
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To: Pinlighter
If you were jewish and living in Crown Heights when David Dinkins was Mayor you wouldn't think living in the USA was the best place in the world. When things go wrong, the jews are ALWAYS the scapegoats....EVERYWHERE.

And of course they still vote for the liberals and are anti gun
makes sense
17 posted on 04/13/2002 3:41:15 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: mcsparkie
the US is the largest Jewish nation in the world. But think how it would be for them if moslems in the US were to become a greater minority than the Jews. The US would become another hell for them.
Of course you are right. However, I would like to add that if the moslems become a sizeable minority in the USA (larger than the current Jewish minority) the USA is going to become a hell for all of us. Moslems are mentally unstable and socially deranged. They suffer from a vast cultural illness that is essentially uncurable. Why are we letting these people in our country? Because we suffer from a form of social/mental illness ourselves: Political Correctness.

Political Correctness will be the downfall of the USA.

18 posted on 04/13/2002 7:28:26 PM PDT by samtheman
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To: thud
19 posted on 04/13/2002 8:29:34 PM PDT by Dark Wing
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To: samtheman
The moslems like to overstate their numbers in the USA. Conveniently, they are claiming to number some 7 million, just larger than the Jewish population (Daniel Pipes thoroughly debunks this number, however). In their way of thinking, this automatically entitles them to have their way over US policy. Thus their "damands" to remove our support for Israel.
20 posted on 04/13/2002 8:53:01 PM PDT by mcsparkie
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