by Khaled Abu Toameh
European countries are certainly not the right place for Muslims who want to live under sharia law.
Muslims who are unhappy with France's recent decision to ban the veil should find a more suitable place to live, such as Sudan, Saudi Arabia or Iran. There, they would feel free to wear the burqa and the niqab and build as many mosques as they want.
Just as Saudi Arabia bans the construction of a church or synagogue in Mecca and Medina, the Italians and the Spaniards have the right to limit the number of mosques in their countries. Muslims who see the establishment of a church or synagogue in their neighborhood as a provocation have no right to complain when non-Muslims express the same sentiments about mosques.
Would it ever occur to a Christian or Jew to move to Saudi Arabia and demand the right to drink alcohol and eat pork?
Can anybody imagine what would happen to a Christian if he or she were wearing the cross on the streets of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia? Or if a Jew wearing a skullcap were seen walking in the streets of Kabul or Khartoum?
Just as most non-Muslim women do not feel comfortable living in Islamic countries where women must cover their heads and faces and are not allowed to drive a car, Muslims have no right to impose their lifestyle, culture and religion on others.
Non-Muslims who travel to Islamic countries often respect the laws, traditions and religious beliefs of their hosts. Christians who have broken sharia laws in some Islamic countries often find themselves behind bars and end up facing deportation.
But why is it that when Muslims goes to live in a France, Britain and Canada, they do not hesitate to demand that the people living in these countries accept their ways?
A Muslim woman who wants – or is forced – to wear a veil is entitled to do so – but she has no right to protest if a Western government bans her from covering her face.
The ban should not be seen as an act of hostility toward Islam; instead, it should be regarded as a move intended to prevent a phenomenon that even many Muslims see as an act of degradation against women.
Radical Muslims who are trying to impose their will on Western societies are only causing damage to their faith.
The campaign launched by some Muslims against the French ban will only alienate non-Muslims and increase their concerns about Islam.
By challenging the French ban, for example, Muslims are telling the French people that they are more interested in separation from Western culture than integration.
Muslims living in Western countries have the right to practice their religious beliefs and traditions, but they should not expect non-Muslims to accept everything they want.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -