In the beginning of April this year the official webpage of the State Security Department of Lithuania (SSD) published a report by Danish intelligence service, which states that threat of terror attacks in the Danish state remains high in 2021. The document, published by the Terror analysis centre under the Danish security and intelligence service, states that ‘radical Islamists, willing and capable of organizing attacks’ are still the biggest threat to the Kingdom of Denmark. Allegedly they plan to carry out terror attacks using both firearms and explosives.
Of course, not only radical Islamists, but also far right extremists, believing complicated theories about ‘Sionist plot’ or worried about ‘the fate of the suffering white race’ are also mentioned among the threats. But the Danish document focuses on Islamic fanatics, who, for example, are irritated by the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, which published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed, and Quran burnings, initiated by Danish radical political party ‘Stram Kurs’.
Why did I remember this Danish document? It does not include a deep, serious analysis on who is responsible for emerging of ‘radical Islamists’. Those several short arguments, that, let’s say, one side considers caricatures of Prophet Muhammed as personal insult, and others understand such images as ‘freedom of expression’, – are too straightforward, too primitive. If we look at it like this (we are all understanding good people, they are baddies, who don‘t understand anything) we will not understand the real reasons of the confrontation.
We should take a deeper look at the topic of ‘radical Islamists’. Not only Danish, we all should. Those caricatures are only a striking case among many examples, of how wrongly we act communicating with Muslim states and later we are surprised why Muslims are angered, disappointed, insulted (raising this issue I do not justify killing, because taking a life is one of the worst crimes).
This is how the Paris tragedy in 2015 was reported in the portal slaptai.lt, then edited by me:
What happened in France is a horrible example of intolerance. Unfortunately, intolerance from both sides. Some of the caricatures, published in the journal, which has become tragically famous across the world, are simply disgusting, insulting, inciting religious enmity. What did their authors seek? Double standards are obvious. Insulting some is allowed, but not the others? Christians are allowed to mourn genocide, while Muslim victims are too few to be considered as genocide?
Bill Donohue, leader of Catholic League – a US organization ‘defending Catholic rights’ – made a press release called ‘Muslims have reasons to be angry’. In it, Donohue criticizes the journal’s tendency to insult believers across the world, including not only Muslims. ‘Murdered editor of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Stephane Charbonnier ‘did not understand the role, with which he contribute to his own tragic death’, reads the statement.
So intelligence services of the European Union, in my understanding, should talk not only about consequences of ‘radical Islam’. Such reports should include the causes of this phenomena. Let’s analyze not only Muslim mistakes, let’s start seriously analyzing our own sins. What are our, European, mistakes? Saying this I do not invite to become submissive, abject. Let‘s not allow others climb onto our hears. Let‘s not allow our churches be turned into mosques. But if we want Muslims to respect us, we must respect their traditions, religion, symbols. If we see that they are irritated by the disgusting caricatures, maybe we should refuse them, even if freedom of expression provides a right to draw them?
But now it is chaos. We demand them to respect us, but we do not have to respect them?
By there are many more cases, when we act unacceptably. The disgusting ‘Charlie Hebdo’ caricatures of public burning of Quran are only the tip of the iceberg. We are demonstrating double standards much more often and more subtly. Not only Denmark or France. Let’s have a wider, deeper look. For example, I mean a successful victory of Azerbaijan (in the end of 2020 Muslim country in 44 days managed to reclaim most of the territories of Nagorno Karabakh, lost in 1992-1994). Did we congratulate Azerbaijan with this impressive victory (so far it is the only republic of the former Soviet Union, who managed to restore its territorial integrity, Georgians, Moldavians and Ukrainians are still struggling)?
We did not congratulate them. It seems we cannot turn our tongue to rejoice in Azerbaijan’s achievements, because Azeri’s opponents are Armenian, that is Christian, separatists. Having not congratulated Azerbaijan, we also did not condemn Armenia, when it opened fire to civilian Azeri cities, which are not related to Nagorno Karabakh. Have we forgotten how in the second half of 2020 Armenian armed forces used powerful cannons to bomb Azerbaijan‘s old capital Gence and two smaller Azeri cities – Barda and Terter?! Women and children were killed in these attacks. Many residential buildings were destroyed. Did the great European capitals express sympathies to Azerbaijan over these attacks, organized by the Armenian armed forces? No, they did not. Why? Because Armenians are Christians?
Why didn’t we commend Turkey, who helped Azerbaijan take back its Nagorno Karabakh territories? It is also Ankara’s merit, that Baku managed to restore its territorial integrity. We did not congratulate or commend. Of course, such subtle silence and ignorance are not as disgusting as caricatures, but they are still painful. European tactlessness is the most obvious. Muslim world sees it, feels and analyzes it.
European tendencies regarding Turkey are obvious too. We did not commend Turkey when it helped Azerbaijan to forcefully drive out Armenian troops, neither when Ankara strongly defends Ukraine’s right to Crimea, Donbas and Luhansk and supplies Ukrainian troops with arms. Instead of commending Turkish government for principles in respecting territorial integrity of other countries, we criticize Ankara for real and imagined sins – for not sharing sea with Greece, making high EU official sit not in a central chair during an official reception, when democracy level does not comply with Brussel’s and Strasbourg’s standards. Muslim world sees, how tendentiously EU supports Greece and Armenia, conflicting with Turkey.
Here is another example, that does not make us more honorable.
We all know what UNESCO is. UNESCO is the specialized agency of the United Nations, aiming to contribute to strengthening peace and security in the world by developing cooperation among nations in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.
But does this organization always act correctly? Let’s look at the South Caucasus region. In the end of 2020, when Azerbaijan, helped by Turkey, in a military way took back Nagorno Karabakh, which belongs to it by international law, from Armenian separatists, UNESCO representatives started criticizing Azeri, saying they should not dare to destroy Armenian cultural, historical and architectural monuments. Looking from aside, such warning by an influential international organization is understandable. Carefulness does not harm.
However, throwing such suspicions at Azerbaijan is immoral, because those who know at least a bit about the history of this Muslim country, clearly know: Azeri have always been tolerant to other nations and other religions. Suspecting that after reclaiming Nagorno Karabakh, called the Black Garden, they would necessarily start avenging, that is destroying objects of Armenian culture, is primitive. By the way, as soon as it started liberation operation in 2020, official Baku, without any urges, stated that it would protect all Armenian, all Christian signs of architecture, history, culture. Azeri have never been vandals.
Official Baku also stated that it was not against UNESCO’s plan to send a special expert delegation to Nagorno Karabakh, which would follow how culturally, historically valuable Christian objects are protected in this region.
However, such energetic concern of UNESCO, whether Azeri would destroy, figuratively speaking, Armenian churches, is ambiguous. It speaks about the unsound morality of this organization, lack of principles, about applied ugly double standards. Why do I think so? A moral international organization, before starting to search for so called ‘cases of Azeri barbarism’ in the end of 2020-beginning of 2021 (not even a year has passed), firstly should examine how Armenian forces acted in this region for three decades (from 1994 to autumn of 2020). It firstly had to raise a question – how many of Muslim, Azeri heritage objects have been destroyed by Armenian supported separatists.
But UNESCO organization has never been interested in Armenian actions in Nagorno Karabakh in 1994-2020. While Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh was in the hands of Armenian separatists, Azeri government many times applied to UNESCO. It requested sending delegations, which would examine how Azeri cultural and historical objects are taken care of there. UNESCO ignored all Azeri requests. It would diplomatically steer away or justify itself saying it cannot intervene to issues of the international politics.
However, in 2020, when Yerevan started causing noise about allegedly endangered Christian masterpieces, UNESCO immediately expressed wish to examine ‘the real situation’. Double standard, not suitable for a solid international organization, are obvious. If efforts to examine objects of Azeri heritage in Nagorno Karabakh is politics, then concern about Armenian cultural objects in Nagorno Karabakh should be politics too? But UNESCO cares, it seems, not about seeing ‘the whole picture’ but only about finding at least a single example of unacceptable action by Azerbaijan.
But Azerbaijan is rejoicing that eventually UNESCO got concerned about Nagorno Karabakh and, let’s hope, seven nearby regions (which were also occupied by Armenian separatists). Because there are many cases of Armenian vandalism, when mosques were destroyed there, museums were robbed, Caucasian and Albanian architectural monuments were remade into Armenians, Agdam and Fizuli cities were destroyed to dust.
Despite indifference of the international community to the three decades of erasing Muslim heritage in Nagorno Karabakh, all that time Azerbaijan carefully recorded every case of Armenian vandalism. All barbarisms are registered in two catalogues: ‘Losses of historical and cultural monuments in occupied Azeri territories’ and ‘Catalogue of Azeri cultural monuments in Nagorno Karabakh’. These encyclopedias are translated to Azeri, English, Russian and French languages.
So it will not be difficult for sirs from UNESCO, arriving to Nagorno Karabakh, to search for the real vandals. But will they want to sincerely establish, how many architectural, historical, cultural monuments were destroyed by Armenian separatists?
Do you think the Muslim world does not see these slaps in the faces Do you think such European hypocrisy does not disappoint, irritate them?
The Danish intelligence‘s reports somehow does not include a single word about possible attacks of Armenian terrorist organizations in 2021. Today situation is complicated in Armenia. There are powers there that urge the countrymen to take arms and avenge, avenge, avenge. Azerbaijan and Turkey are the targets of Armenian paramilitary terrorist groups. You ask, what Denmark has to do with it?
Let‘s remember 1981, when an explosion took place in Copenhagen, near the office of Turkish transport company ‘THY’, and two Danish persons were seriously injured. One of Armenian terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for this attack. This was their alleged revenge to Turks for tragic events in 1915. Focus here – they took revenge not in Turkish, but in Danish territory, without any concerns that not only Turks, but also innocent Danish could be harmed.
That 1981 attack in Copenhagen is only one of the terror attacks, organized by Armenian terrorists in the West in 1973-2002, which claimed 70 lives, injured 524, where 105 were taken hostage and 12 of them were killed. Not only Turkish diplomats are among the murdered and crippled. Those were revenge acts by ASALA, Dasnakcutiun, Gncak and their related organizations against Turks in Denmark, France, Switzerland, Italy, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Great Britain.
Aren’t such terrorist actions by ASALA, Sasnakcutiun, Gncak, which shook Europe for almost three decades, impossible today?
One of the last disgusting slaps in the face was the words, uttered by the 46th US President Joe Biden on 24 April this year, allegedly that the 1915 wars in the territories of then Ottoman Empire were ‘Armenian genocide’. Maybe. But we do not know. We cannot know. Armenia, unlike Turkey, does not allow researches into its archives. Therefore, I am surprised: how can one say there was or there wasn’t ‘Armenian genocide’ without thoroughly researching Armenian archives? For example, Bruce Fein, former law advisor to the US President Ronald Reagan, admits that during the administration of Raegan, Washington started researching the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. However, this research was not finished. And still, from what they managed to collect, Fein came to conclusion: ‘if the archives are opened, Armenians will have to apologize for misleading the world’ (it is reported in publications ‘Turkiye and Caucasus Online’).
So my beloved and respected America made the biggest mistake by underlining strong reproaches to Turks – they should have waited until Yerevan opens its archives.
Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mantas Adomėnas also made a bad mistake, by flying to Yerevan on the even of 24 April to pay respects to the victims of ‘Armenian genocide’. How could Adomėnas not know: Armenian archives are still carefully protected from foreign researchers. Member of Seimas Raimundas Lopata also made a mistake on 24 April, by urging states, who have not done so yet, to recognize the 1915 tragedy as ‘Armenian genocide’. Prof. Lopata, who in the past had an important position in the International relations and political sciences institute, must know: historians, scientists, politicians, who seriously look at history, firstly analyze archives of the conflicting side and only then make resolutions, decisions and publish laws.
Mr. Adomėnas and Lopata should listen to at least what Latvian Vice Minister and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks has written on his personal social network profile: ‘The position of the US President on the issue of the Armenian genocide will only complicate cooperation between two NATO countries when it is most needed. I can give similar advise to those Latvian parliamentarians who want to buy indulgences for themselves by sacrificing national interests’.
These are only several examples when we act without tact in communication with Muslim countries.