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Fear of Islamists Drives Growth of Far Right in Belgium
NY Times ^ | February 12, 2005 | CRAIG S. SMITH

Posted on 02/12/2005 6:17:20 AM PST by Pharmboy


Tomas van Houtryve for The New York Times
Jean-François Bastin, 61, a Belgian convert to Islam, in
his home in Brussels. His party is aggressively
pursuing a pro-Muslim agenda.

ANTWERP, Belgium - Filip Dewinter, a boyish man in a dark blue suit, bounds up two flights of steep stairs in his political party's 19th-century headquarters building where posters show a Muslim minaret rising menacingly above the Gothic steeple of the city's cathedral.

"The radical Muslims are organizing themselves in Europe," he declared. "Other political parties, they are very worried about the Muslim votes and say let's be tolerant, while we are saying - the new political forces in Europe are saying - no, we should defend our identity."

From the Freedom Party in Austria to the National Front in France to the Republicans in Germany, Europe's far right has made a comeback in recent years, largely on the strength of anti-immigration feelings sharpened to a fear of Islam. That fear is fed by threats of terrorism, rising crime rates among Muslim youth and mounting cultural clashes with the Continent's growing Islamic communities.

But nowhere has the right's revival been as swift or as strong as in Belgium's Dutch-speaking region of Flanders, where support for Mr. Dewinter's Vlaams Belang, or Flemish Interest, has surged from 10 percent of the electorate in 1999 to nearly a quarter today.

Vlaams Belang is now the strongest party in Flanders, with support from a third of the voters in Antwerp, the region's largest city. Many people worry that the appeal of antiIslamic politics will continue to spread as Europe's Muslim population grows.

"What they all have in common is that they use the issue of immigration and Islam to motivate and mobilize frustrated people," said Marco Martiniello, a political scientist at the University of Liège in the French-speaking part of Belgium. "In Flanders all attempts to counter the march of the Vlaams Belang have had no results, or limited results, and no one really knows what to do."

Fear of Islam's transforming presence is so strong that even many members of Antwerp's sizable Jewish community now support Mr. Dewinter's party, even though its founders included men who sympathized and collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.

Many of those supporters are Jews who feel threatened by a new wave of anti-Semitism emanating from Europe's growing Muslim communities. The friction is acutely felt in central Antwerp, where the Jewish quarter abuts the newer Muslim neighborhood of Borgerhout.

There, Hasidic diamond traders cross paths daily with Muslim youths, for many of whom conservative Islam has become an ideology of rebellion against perceived oppression. Israeli-Palestinian violence produces a dangerous echo here: anti-Israel marches have featured the burning in effigy of Hasidic Jews, and last June a Jewish teenager was critically wounded in a knife attack by a group of Muslim youths.

"Their values are not the right values," said Henri Rosenberg, a Talmudic scholar and lawyer who is an Orthodox Jew, speaking of the Muslim community. Though he is the son of concentration camp survivors and his grandparents died in camps, he campaigned on behalf of Vlaams Belang, then named Vlaams Blok, in regional elections last year.

As the right rallies beneath an anti-Muslim banner, European Muslims themselves have become increasingly politically engaged.

The community is far too divided along religious, racial and national lines to present a unified political force, so most of Europe's Muslim politicians have allied themselves with socialists or other left-leaning parties. But radical Muslims are also getting involved, and in many ways they are helping to validate the fears that keep parties like Vlaams Belang alive.

Behind the wooden door of a brick Brussels town house, Jean-François Bastin, 61, a Belgian convert to Islam, holds court before a steady stream of Islamic activists. His fledgling Young Muslims Party is one of the new groups aggressively pursuing pro-Muslim agendas in Europe.

He calls Osama bin Laden "a modern Robin Hood," and the World Trade Center attacks "a poetic act," "a pure abstraction." His 23-year-old son is in jail in Turkey on charges that he was involved in the bombings there that killed 61 people in November 2003.

But Mr. Bastin argues that his son's troubles are evidence that Muslim youths feel politically excluded in Europe. He says political engagement is an antidote to militancy.

"There is deviance because people don't find their place here," he said, a long, hennaed beard falling over the front of his Arab-style tunic, his graying hair tucked beneath a turban fashioned from a multicolored head scarf. "If we deny that political voice that can judge and determine what is good for Muslims, from the point of view of their religion and their citizenship, their children are going to look for adventures elsewhere."


Tomas van Houtryve for The New York Times
Filip Dewinter, leader of the anti-
immigrant party Vlaams Belang.

Mr. Bastin, who converted to Islam in 1972 after a spiritual quest led him to Morocco, dismisses the far right's fears of an Islamization of Europe, even if he does dream of an Islamic theocracy governing the Continent someday.

"Were not talking about Shariah now," he said, referring to the Islamic legal code that fundamentalist Muslims believe should be the foundation of society. "Were talking about Belgian Muslims being recognized on the same footing as other confessions and ideologies."

In many ways radical Islamists like Mr. Bastin are holding Europe's broader, moderate Muslim population hostage, attracting attention disproportionate to their numbers.

"You have, in the current context, people who feel legitimized being anti-Muslim," said Mr. Martiniello, the political scientist. He cited the case of a Belgian man who had received death threats for employing a woman who wore a Muslim head scarf.

Many of the extreme right's supporters see Islam's growing European presence as the latest, most powerful surge of a Muslim tide that has ebbed and flowed since the religion spread to the Continent in the eighth century. They warn that lax immigration policies, demographic trends and a strong Muslim agenda will forever alter Europe.

The Continent's Muslim population, now 20 million, grew from a postwar labor shortage that was filled with workers from North Africa and Turkey. By the 1980's economic malaise and rising unemployment had created tension between the largely Muslim immigrants and the surrounding societies.

But family reunion policies, which granted visas to family members of immigrants already in Europe, fueled another, more sustained wave of immigration that continues today.

"We were very naïve," Mr. Dewinter said of the liberal policies. He called tolerance Europe's Achilles' heel and immigration Islam's Trojan horse.

The trend is even more distressing to the far right when considering the low birthrate of Europe's traditional populations and the likelihood that more workers will need to be imported in the coming decades to broaden the tax bases of the Continent's aging societies.

Already about 4,000 to 5,000 Flemish residents are leaving Antwerp every year, while 5,000 to 6,000 non-European immigrants arrive annually in the city, Mr. Dewinter said. Within 10 years, he predicts, people of non-European backgrounds will account for more than a third of Antwerp's population.

"It's growing very, very fast," Mr. Dewinter said. "Maybe that will be the end of Europe."


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: belgium; dutch; eurabia; europeanmuslims; europenomore; farright; flanders; flemish; french; jihadineurope; muslims
You KNOW things are bad when the EuroJews are working for the "far right" Euro parties. Wake up, people!
1 posted on 02/12/2005 6:17:21 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: knighthawk; Incorrigible
Dutch ping...they still speak Dutch in Flanders, so I figured this was fair game for a ping for you folks.

And KH: does the equivalent party in Holland have as much of a following?

2 posted on 02/12/2005 6:20:03 AM PST by Pharmboy ("Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God")
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To: Pharmboy

Why do they not just STOP immigration?

We should do the same.


3 posted on 02/12/2005 6:20:39 AM PST by jocon307 (Vote George Washington for the #1 spot)
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To: jocon307
Yep...just allow it for political/religious refugees who actually want to become Americans...
4 posted on 02/12/2005 6:23:59 AM PST by Pharmboy ("Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God")
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To: Pharmboy

How come Muslim extremeists don't qualify as "far right"? They would seem to have the characteristics needed (with the exception of being Christian, which is evidently the only kind of faith that "far righters" enjoy).


5 posted on 02/12/2005 6:25:43 AM PST by John Jorsett (email: mistersandiego yahoo.com (put the at sign in between those two))
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To: Pharmboy

Of course, the murder of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh in neighboring Holland, had nothing to do with the climate there.


6 posted on 02/12/2005 6:27:20 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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Bttt.


7 posted on 02/12/2005 6:32:05 AM PST by Vigilantcitizen
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To: Pharmboy

bttt


8 posted on 02/12/2005 6:32:19 AM PST by Dark Skies ("The sleeper must awaken!")
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To: Pharmboy
From the Freedom Party in Austria to the National Front in France to the Republicans in Germany

Interesting that the Times author, Tovarisch Smith, chose to list the German Republican Party as representative of the far-right in Germany.

He listed them instead of the largest "far-right" party, the DVU, or the most active "far-right" party the NPD.

I'm sure there is nothing to it.

9 posted on 02/12/2005 6:33:39 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (Got Gas?)
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To: Pharmboy
...Europe's far right has made a comeback in recent years, largely on the strength of anti-immigration feelings sharpened to a fear of Islam.

Why doesn't Roberts, and the ultra-liberal NY Times, define the term "Far Right"?

Why are people considered "far right" when they see a threat and respond to it, and considered "moderate" when they passively accept their fate?

I see no "political label" attached to the "radical" muslims who behead Christians in this article. Perhaps Roberts sees them as "progressives".

10 posted on 02/12/2005 6:36:21 AM PST by Noachian (We're all one judge away from tyranny.)
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To: Pharmboy

It is not a fear of islamic jihadist, but the realization of the FACT that these muslim extremist murdered want all non-islam people dead or enslaved.

The word "Fear" denotes "lower" in power - the story is written as if islam was ruling the world already.


11 posted on 02/12/2005 6:37:29 AM PST by CLS
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To: Hudobna

Ciao, thought you can add something to this discussion


12 posted on 02/12/2005 6:38:10 AM PST by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: Pharmboy

"Were not talking about Shariah now," he said, referring to the Islamic legal code that fundamentalist Muslims believe should be the foundation of (all) society.

No, not now but soon, SOON.


"If we deny that political voice that can judge and determine what is good for Muslims, from the point of view of their religion and their citizenship, their children are going to look for adventures elsewhere."

Translation:
Give us what we want or our children will terrorize you.


13 posted on 02/12/2005 6:55:45 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: John Jorsett

How come Muslim extremists don't qualify as far right? Because the left loves them and the right can't stand them.


14 posted on 02/12/2005 7:16:53 AM PST by popdonnelly
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To: Pharmboy

The politics of the Islamicists is imcompatible with Western society and Western constitutional government.


15 posted on 02/12/2005 7:19:44 AM PST by popdonnelly
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To: popdonnelly
How come Muslim extremists don't qualify as far right? Because the left loves them and the right can't stand them.

If instead of the left/right continuum one thinks in terms of conservative versus liberal (i.e. sticking with traditional values versus trying new things), Islam is not only conservative but it wants to return to the 7th century. It is not only ultraconservative but regressive in the extreme.

It is so old it looks new to liberals. Which is why in their hurry to tolerate anything different, they have embraced their greatest enemy.

16 posted on 02/12/2005 7:27:31 AM PST by Dark Skies ("The sleeper must awaken!")
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To: Pharmboy; lonevoice

"Most of Europe's Muslim politicians have allied themselves with socialists or other left-leaning parties."

This should be a warning to our own leftist politicans, but they won't hear it.

"Many of the extreme right's supporters see Islam's growing European presence as the latest, most powerful surge of a Muslim tide that has ebbed and flowed since the religion spread to the Continent in the eighth century. They warn that lax immigration policies, demographic trends and a strong Muslim agenda will forever alter Europe."

Are you listening Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Polosi, Ted Kennedy and the rest of you liberal Democrats? If we keep electing liberal Dems to office, we will be faced with the same fate . . . .


17 posted on 02/12/2005 8:21:51 AM PST by Pride in the USA
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John

Thank you John,

Speaking from Italy, I can say that it is tragic that the the party most vociferous in stemming the Islamic tide is the Lega Lombarda which came to prominence on the issue of blocking the uncontrolled immigration of Southern Italians to the North. This discredits the ailing Bossi and his party in the eyes of the mainstream (as perhaps well it should).

Same goes for Le Pen, discredited for his past anti-semitism.

Now the Islamists have an excellent argument. They say "look, look at who's against us!"

Well that's a logical fallacy. If a Nazi or Kim or Bokassa says 2+2 is 4 there's nothing wrong with their math.

It is only natural that Nationalists are more sensitive and take more pride in the culture of their nation. Under normal circumstances they are paranoid, under extreme circumstances they are prescient.

Tolerance is a wonderful thing and to a degree so too is a dash and sprinkling of multi-culturalism. What is a great city without a Chinatown? That does not mean that a whole city must be surrendered to the Chinese.

Thousands, nay millions of guest workers flooded northern Europe (the population of Rotterdam is almost 50% foreign). The first were Italians, Spanish, Greeks, Portughese and Serbs... Troubles? Of course... but their ethos was such that one knew that given time, prosperity, a chance, and some generous "Christian" slack, they and their children would fit in seamlessly.

The same cannot be said of Muslims who come with a Jihading religion, one with no separatuon of church and state and with strict laws binding them to their brothers of Darul Islam (the lands of peace, as opposed to Darul Harb, the lands of war) binding them tighter, far tighter than any allegiance to their host country.

With the Muslims, along with horrendously high crime rates (to such a degree that in many Italian prisons, meat is halal - slaughtered in the Jewish / Muslim way - by default), there are also terrorism and social / cultural tensions coming from demands alien both to our cultures and to our law books.

The French banned the head scarf from their public schools and offices, not out of illiberality, but to protect the Muslimas from the harassment of their own.

Look at your America and CAIR. Ibrahim Hooper openly stated that he has plans for making Islam the dominant religion in the USA. You have plenty of Buddhist Asiatics, Indian Hindus, Sikhs, Orthodox Christians... None would dream of substituting a wonderful constitution, undoubtedly the best in the world, with their religious conception of what a state should be. All try their best to fit. That is the type of diversity that shares without imposing or scheming behind your back.

In my opinion it is indeed tragic and counter-productive that separatist movements or xenophobic groups have co-opted the "cause"... I'm sure the KKK is not too fond of Muslims either.

Here the question is far too broad and deep to be left in the hands of bigots. Because it is not a matter of bigotry. I assure you that if the Arabs were not Muslims but just different people with peaceful, albeit colorful ways, I would be on their side, or perhaps only grousing about too many, too fast... My heart would say "welcome, bring your breads, your teas, your coffees, your spices, your smiles... we'll work it out... Yes of course we will!"

Now it is a matter of fundamental human values, that cut to the core. I cannot abide by millions coming in and sitting in utter, abulic passivity as their preachers call Jews, apes and monkeys, praise suicide bombing, consider women inferior, the sight of hair sinful... who demand special facilities to separate the sexes, who demand bygamy, who feel no allegiance to my flag.

Of course a nationalist would be the first to be upset, but that does not mean we must become diehard nationalists! Anybody in his right mind can see that the ethos invading our shores is stupid and dangerous.

But now PC, instead of conscience defines what "right mind" means... and so right mind means guilt feelings, self-loathing, open arms and open borders even to Aztecs and headhunters who wish to carry on their sacrifices.

I'll take a few hearts ripped out on an altar and a few heads shrunk on the sly in the thickets of Bois du Boulogne any day to a religion that praises children who self-murder for the purpose of killing other children, a religion that promises 72 virgins with permanently self-repairing hymens for their effort.

A rebirth of nationalism is just one little facet of what is required. The real challenge facing our stupidly secularized, PC, death-loving, Arafat-kissing world is a rebirth of values.

Evil and stupidity are powerless unto themselves, but extremely cunning in filling voids. We love only our wine, but no longer care for the vine. They have no wine, but jealously guard their fruitless and poison vine.

We launch silly new Jumbo Jets too big and heavy for most airports, but worry not about empty baby carriages. We have special ambulances delivering condoms to anybody in need of them, be they straight or gay, they make children.

Our culture is derisive of anything that smacks of God, family, country... They remain close knit and faithful, praying in unison so as to be counted and when the time comes, when the critical mass is reached, CALLED to action.

We show no appreciation for the wonderful Judeo-Christian ethos that brought us out of savagery... they have Sharia laws passed by Sweden and Canada, and Christmas trees removed from Padua.

We hate ourselves and are trained to feel guilt... They are proud and shameless.

Anybody see a problem?

Ciao


18 posted on 02/12/2005 8:39:02 AM PST by Hudobna
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To: Hudobna
Thanks for your contribution! I don't know too much here about the so-called "far-right" parties in Europe. An exception being the BNP, the British National Party, who seem to be, from top to bottom, a bunch of fascist thugs.

I would imagine the next election around in various European countries, the "far-right" will do surprisingly well. Not well enough to rule, but enough where the party that forms the new government will have to either incorporate some of the "far-right" party members in the new government, or accept some of their policies in their platform.

Look for these parties to be called racist, fascist, and of course Islamophobic by the self-loathing PC left and the Islamists. However, there was nothing racist, in my opionion, with the political stands of Pim Fortuyn's List in the Netherlands. But the Islamists will attempt to link such groups to Neo Nazis, and of course the British National Party and LePen's National Front.

19 posted on 02/12/2005 10:17:43 AM PST by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: Hudobna

Mr. Bastin, who converted to Islam in 1972 after a spiritual quest led him to Morocco, dismisses the far right's fears of an Islamization of Europe, even if he does dream of an Islamic theocracy governing the Continent someday.

"Were not talking about Shariah now," he said, referring to the Islamic legal code that fundamentalist Muslims believe should be the foundation of society. "Were talking about Belgian Muslims being recognized on the same footing as other confessions and ideologies."

DON'T LET THIS MARLARKY FOOL YOU - TRANSLATION - WE ARE GOING TO USE YOUR DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS TO SLOWLY BUT SURELY IMPOSE OUR VERY UNDEMOCRATIC TOTALATARIAN THEOCRACY ON YOUR CONTINENT AND YOU EUROS WERE CO-OPERATING SO NICELY, NOW SOME OF YOU ARE WAKING UP, DAMN


20 posted on 02/12/2005 10:19:56 AM PST by llama hunter
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To: llama hunter

there is nothing wrong with multiculturalism as long as the predominant values of the culture are accepted as desirable by all groups and this is the case for most groups in the US and Canada, Mexicans, Africans, Chinese, they came to Canada and the US to escape where they came from, nothing wrong with bringing their customs and food, esp food, with them

but when you have Islamist groups calling for the introduction of Sharia in UK for example, inciting violence against the state, and you have Muslim thugs murdering European citizens when they express negative opinions about Islam or Islamists, something is wrong, we don't see any Chinese immigrants killing Canadian filmmakers because they made some film on Asian gangs etc.....

when we go to Saudi Arabia we have to abide by their cultural rules, and just try not to.....

yet we have some Muslims who insist we in North America and Europe should abide by their rules here,

hey we're open and tolerant but there are limits...

we got a good system here, esp in North America, presumably you came here because you like the fact we have an open and tolerant society, don't be surprised if we become alarmed when you use the very same openness and tolerance to try and impose your own agenda here, especially since 9-11, we've all boned up on Islam and we see the big picture now, very clearly, the global Ummah, and that deception is part of the plan......

the solution is simple, if you cannot abide by the rules and cultural values of Canada, US or Europe, you are more than welcome to move to or back to any of the wonderful Islamic paradises, like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc....

in fact some Muslims of a more moderate bent will tell you you have a social contract with your host country and you are duty bound to obey the laws of your host country esp when they allow the free practice of Islam, in other words to be a gracious guest.....

groups like al Mujaharoun and other Islamist groups in Belgium and Holland are in fact being quite rude little Muslim boys then.....


21 posted on 02/12/2005 10:35:01 AM PST by llama hunter
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To: llama hunter

Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online stated it as such, or something along these lines: The Islamists will take what they want from Western culture: Cell phones, high-speed Internet access, the ability to have sexual relations with infidel women, but maintain the right to destroy the rest of our society.


22 posted on 02/12/2005 10:46:02 AM PST by Land_of_Lincoln_John
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John

All lands belong to Allah. You are usurpers.

There are verses in the Koran that order Muslims not to take Jews and "Nazarenes" as friends.

A few days ago, the Mayor of London "partied" with an Imam who preaches Jihad against America and the Jews at Al Jazeera.

Now Imagine the top KKK dog, one who makes World televised appearances calling Blacks cockroaches and suggesting that all good people kille Japanese and Koreans.

Jolly old England or...?


23 posted on 02/12/2005 11:20:23 AM PST by Hudobna
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To: Land_of_Lincoln_John
But the Islamists will attempt to link such groups to Neo Nazis, and of course the British National Party and LePen's National Front.

There's the danger.

Hitler had a natural alliance with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, for example, because both parties hated the Jews and were, for the most part, hate-based in their general approach toward any opponents.

If the extreme right-wing groups join with the Islamists instead of fighting them, we are in for much greater trouble than originally anticipated.

24 posted on 02/12/2005 11:28:25 AM PST by Dark Skies ("The sleeper must awaken!")
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To: Pharmboy

"We're not talking about Shariah now," he said,"

That about sums it up. These people are so malignant they don't even try to hide their ultimate intentions.

At least the serfs appear to be awakening, even if the professors are terminally comatose. If Europe is to be salvaged, it will be by their burghers not their intellectualloids.


25 posted on 02/12/2005 11:30:00 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Pharmboy
Other political parties, they are very worried about the Muslim votes and say let's be tolerant, while we are saying - the new political forces in Europe are saying - no, we should defend our identity.

Thank goodness, some common sense.

26 posted on 02/12/2005 11:32:02 AM PST by The_Media_never_lie
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To: Hudobna

No offense, but you seem to be under the mistaken impression that the KKK is actually an ongoing organization in the US.

There may be about 37 self-described "KKK" members left in the whole country, on a good day. And they will most likely be sitting around getting drunk, not making statements to the World press.


27 posted on 02/12/2005 11:38:14 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: John Jorsett

Osama bin Laden builds day care centers Patty Murray (D WA)


28 posted on 02/12/2005 11:45:53 AM PST by Cold Heart
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To: hinckley buzzard

I'm glad to hear that the KKK has dwindled. I imagined them more powerful... I mean still way out on the fringe, but with a more sizeable following.

Ciao


29 posted on 02/12/2005 1:14:51 PM PST by Hudobna
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To: Pharmboy
And in a related story:

Flemish party banned as racist by Belgium's high court (Free Republic post)
30 posted on 02/12/2005 2:16:17 PM PST by Celtman (It's never right to do wrong to do right.)
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