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August 19, 2006
Alarm at EU call for 'European Islam'
Franco Frattini, the Vice President of the European Commission, has been castigated for making racist and Islamophobic remarks about Muslims, while creating alarm by suggesting that the EU wants to impose its own interpretation of Islam.
"Talks about creating a 'European Islam' not only indictes that the EU is planning to impose their own version of Islam on Muslims but will create more anti-Western and anti-Christian feeling in the Muslim community," said the Ahmed Versi, Editor of The Muslim News.
"It seems that the EC Vice-President is proposing a new back-door method of the continuation of Christian missionary work to weaken Islam," Versi said.
Speaking at a joint press conference with EU interior ministers in London on Wednesday, Frattini, who is responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security, outlined a plan to organize meetings of Muslim teachers to "eradicate violence from inside."
He also suggested that governments may also work to train imams to attempt to prevent the development of militancy. "We do want a European Islam," the former Italian Foreign Minister said. "That is very important, not only to show to the Muslim communities that we fully respect other religions, other faiths, but we also want them to respect national laws, European laws and fundamental rights, and first of all the right to life," he said.
The Muslim News Editor also accused the Commissioner of being "racist and Islamophobic," saying that he was suggesting Muslims should obey the law and had no care for the right to life. "This is highly insulting to the Muslim community," he said. "What proof does Frattini have as 99.99 per cent of Muslims in the west obey the laws and like other communities only a tiny number do not, but EU leaders never say the same thing about Jews, or Christians or people of other faith," he said.
Versi was also critical of the tone adopted by Home Secretary John Reid at the EU meeting, when he suggested that European Christians and Muslims had different basic values. "It was reminiscent of the rhetoric used by Bush and Blair, claiming that there were 'us and them and that either you are with us or against us'," he said. "In effect, they supporting Huntingdon's theory of clash of civilisations."
At the new conference, Reid said at the moment, there are two fundamentally different sets of values in play in Europe. One is the values of the European Union, including "democracy, freedom and justice to all." The second is the values of totalitarianism," which hopes to "subvert a religion whose very name stands for peace," he said, referring to Islam.
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