Muslims in Europe 'menace to peace', says ambassador
Rome, 20 March(AKI) – Muslim immigrants are a serious threat to peace and democracy in Europe, according to the Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican Oded Ben-Hur.
“[Muslims] have a different agenda, and are beginning to be a real serious menace to democracy and peace in Europe,” he said during a speech at the American University of Rome.
Ben-Hur also criticised what he called the Italians' “docile, ostrich-like approach” to Muslims in Italy.
“People here in Italy should have raised hell,” he said.
Ben-Hur spoke at length about extremist Islam and what he saw as a “sharp decline in their [Islamic] culture,” following the expulsion of Muslims from European lands in the 15th century during the Spanish 'reconquista'.
He referred to leaflets that he claims to have in the Israeli embassy, that are linked to a programme by Osama bin Laden “to re-conquer Europe.”
“They (Muslims) are witnessing what they define as the death of their culture, so they have introduced the culture of death,” he told students.
“This is why those guys with explosive belts kill Israelis and Jews, for the sake of killing Jews and killing Israelis.”
Referring to media coverage, he said important material was missing from news reports.
“But [people] don't see the incitement by the imam, they don't see the incitement in the mosques.”
Ben-Hur said Israel still treated the wounded from Gaza in Israeli hospitals and that Hamas sent badly injured people to die in Israel.
“Hamas, who is in charge in the Gaza Strip, they send people that they cannot handle in their hospitals,” he said.
“Sometimes they send them to die in Israel to give us a bad image, we manage to save most of them, but nobody would write about it, nobody would be interested, this is not news!”
“Because of the fear of terrorism, we are losing, day in and day out, the war of image.”
“The problem is information wise, propaganda wise, we dont have huge numbers of casualties. That (show) we are suffering. These are not sexy figures,” said the ambassador.
The senior diplomat was pessimistic about the prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians and said there was no “partner” with which to build an accord.
“As time goes by, if these [Palestinians] are the people we are going to live with, do we trust them?” he asked. “Aren't we risking the future of our nation? We need pressure, a unified pressure.”
With regard to Iran, he said that the country's hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a very unpredictable person and Iran's Shiite revolution should frighten people around the world.
Regarding Iran's nuclear programme, he did not believe a nuclear attack on Israel would take place.
“Ahmadinejad is building his atomic capacity not to destroy Israel,” said the ambassador.
Instead, Ben-Hur focused the debate on Iran's alleged nuclear missiles and its range, which he said could reach Europe.