Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Muslim politicians in the Western world come in two general varieties: those rare ones who are candid about their desire to transform the West in accordance with the dictates of their faith, and those, far greater in number, who prefer to disguise that ambition. The first category includes people like Abdirizak Waberi, a Swedish MP turned Islamic school principal who has actually admitted he believes in “banning music and dancing, prohibiting boys and girls from socializing, and allowing men to beat their four wives with sticks when they became disobedient,” and Brussels city councilman Redouane Ahrouch, who openly advocates for sharia government and recently called for a separation of the sexes on that city’s public transport.

In the second category are Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, who while striving to pose as a progressive allows his mask to slip now and then (recently, he told an interviewer that “every Muslim is a bit of a salafist”), and London mayor Sadiq Khan, another faux liberal who has, in fact, ordered police to put less emphasis on monitoring potential terrorists and more emphasis on harassing Islam critics. And let’s not forget Minnesota’s (and the DNC’s) own Keith Ellison, who poses as a standard-issue Democrat but belonged for a decade to the Nation of Islam, speaks at CAIR events, and has ties to several pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic groups.

Also belonging to the latter category is Somali-born Bashe Musse, a Norwegian Labor Party politician who has been a member of the Oslo City Council since 2011. During the last couple of weeks he’s been making headlines because of a Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) report on “dumping.” What’s dumping? Like honor killing and female genital mutilation, it’s a common practice in Europe’s Muslims communities. Instead of sending their kids to regular neighborhood schools, many Muslim parents in Europe send their children off to madrasses – Koran schools – in the countries from which they, the parents, emigrated. The children stay in these schools for years at a time, memorizing the Islamic holy book while their agemates back in Europe learn math, science, and literature.

“Dumping” is eyebrow-raising for more than one reason. Many of these kids’ parents were allowed into Europe in the first place because they professed to be refugees from oppression in their homelands. The fact that they’re shipping their kids off to schools in those same countries gives the lie to those claims. The parents also often maintain that they’re proud to be French, Swedish, or whatever, and that they’re striving to assimilate into their adopted nations. But the whole point of sending these kids to madrasses in the Muslim world is to shield them from what the parents consider the baleful influence of Western civilization.

Last year, NRK produced, as noted, a report on Somali madrasses in which children from Norway have been enrolled. Many viewers considered the revelations eye-popping. In fact it was old news. In a 2004 study, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Norway’s Human Rights Service (HRS) documented, in extraordinary and devastating detail, the grim reality of daily life in these institutions, where the conditions are almost always primitive and where the atmosphere is less that of a First World school than of a Third World prison. NRK’s report, which contained interviews with children living in Norway who had attended the Somali madrasses, confirmed HRS’s findings: at those “schools,” the children had been tied up, whipped, beaten, and subjected to other sorts of brutal treatment that would ordinarily be considered torture.

Which brings us to Bashe Musse, who in addition to being an Oslo city councilman is also the official chief spokesperson for Norway’s Somali community, the largest non-Western immigrant group in the country. After NRK’s report aired last year, he claimed to be shocked by its contents. But on May 29 of this year, NRK reported that in an interview aired on Somali TV, Musse had dismissed the children’s testimony about the madrasses and regretted that such lies, as he called them, had been “sold to the Norwegian people” by the Norwegian media, which he characterized as “one-sided.”

When confronted by NRK with a transcript of his comments to Somali TV, Musse insisted that the person who had translated his words from Somali into Norwegian had fouled up, entirely misrepresenting his views. NRK thereupon engaged the services of another translator, whose product was essentially identical to that of the first translator. It then presented the transcript to various government officials. Frode Jacobsen, head of the Oslo Labor Party, said he was “surprised and shocked” by Musse’s “double communication,” which he described as “very unfortunate.” Norway’s Minister of Integration, Jan Tore Sanner, also expressed concern, but did not call for any action against Musse. The Progress Party’s immigration spokesman, Jon Helgheim, went quite a bit further, scorning Musse as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and urging that the Labour Party discipline him in some way. But as far as I have been able to determine, no one in a position of power has demanded Musse’s resignation or removal from the City Council.

Lying to infidels, of course, has a name in Arabic – taqiyya – and it is one of the chief weapons of Islam in its eternal conflict with non-believers. Among its more celebrated practitioners is “Euro-Islam” proponent, Oxford professor, accused serial rapist, and current jailbird Tariq Ramadan, who is known to routinely say one thing to Western audiences in French or English and another to Muslim audiences n Arabic. Indeed, Caroline Fourest’s book about him is entitled Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan. To employ taqiyya, as Musse appears to have done, is to demonstrate definitively that one is not on the side of the West but that one is a double agent – a partisan, a person whose true loyalty lies, shall we say, elsewhere.

Within a few hours of being caught dead to rights on NRK as a practitioner of doublespeak, Musse made an announcement. Did he resign? Of course not. He declared that NRK had represented him to the Norwegian public as a liar and, what’s more, had painted an unflattering picture of Somalia.  Accordingly, he had contacted a lawyer, Arild Humlen, to ascertain what legal rights he had in the matter. 

What makes this story important, needless to say, is that Musse is not an outlier. Far from it. Increasingly, all over the West, Muslims hold elected positions, some of them at a very high level. It is considered to be racist, or at the very least to be in terribly bad taste, to question whether they can be loyal at once to their totalizing, all-encompassing religion and to their officially secular country and its (still) mostly non-Muslim inhabitants. Once those poiticians are caught engaging in taqiyya, of course, there is no further reason for doubt on this score.

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Seattle-Based Businesses Push Back Against Job-Killing Head Tax

Earlier this week, Seattle’s city council voted unanimously for a harmful tax increase on businesses grossing $20 million a year.

Described as a “literal tax on jobs” and a “head tax,” under the new law, nearly 600 large Seattle companies, including Amazon and Starbucks, will be required to pay an annual tax of $275 per “head,” or full-time employees, for the next five years.

The Seattle city council stated its intention to use funds from the tax hike to pay for low-income housing and homeless services.

While well-intended, the policy is flawed and will ultimately hurt those it was intended to help. The tax increase will burden businesses and ultimately drive away future investors and job creators, leading to fewer jobs and opportunities for those who need them most.

Seattle-Based Businesses Fire Back

More than 100 business executives, entrepreneurs and investors responded with a letter opposing the tax, on the grounds that it would stifle future economic growth.

The group stated that the tax increase would send the message to businesses that “if you create too many jobs in Seattle, you will be punished.”

The head-tax plan also led Amazon to suspend construction on an expansion project in Seattle which would serve as an office for 7,000 employees, pending the city council’s decision.

Imposing a head tax punishes businesses for their success and discourages economic growth, hiring and future investment in the city. As the Seattle Times notes,

Amazon’s actions implied that the technology and commerce giant would add 7,000 fewer jobs in Seattle if the tax were implemented.

An economic-impact study commissioned by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce found that those 7,000 jobs represent $908 million in direct wages a year, hundreds of millions more in lost compensation for employees at businesses that sell to Amazon and reduced economic activity more broadly.

Amazon’s decision to push back against the city council’s tax hike did not go unnoticed. One union-backed activist group, Working Washington, responded to Amazon’s actions by comparing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to “a subprime mob boss lording it over a company town.”

In an extreme reaction, the progressive group then argued that Amazon should be charged with a felony and accused Amazon of violating a state law which makes it illegal to threaten politicians or public employees.

A Hostile Environment for Businesses
The Seattle city council’s head-tax plan originally called for businesses to pay $500 per employee annually, but after pushback from Amazon, Starbucks and other Seattle-based companies, the council reduced the proposed tax increase to $275.

After pausing its 17-story Block 18 expansion project until after the city council decision, Amazon ultimately decided to resume construction, but Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener stated,

We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs. … While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.

Herdener also highlighted Seattle’s revenue growth over the past seven years, stating, “the city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem.”

Starbucks Senior Vice president of Public Affairs and Social Impact John Kelly also criticized the tax and pointed to the city’s reckless spending, stating,

This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside. If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five-year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction.

Seattle-based businesses recognize how detrimental the head tax will be, not only for their companies, but for the future economic climate in Seattle as a whole.

Head Tax Repealed in Chicago

The head tax has historically been a flop — and a nightmare for both businesses and consumers.

Chicago’s $4-per-employee head tax on employers with more than 50 full-time workers seems quaint when contrasted with Seattle’s $275 head tax. But for medium- to large-sized companies across Chicago, that $4-per-employee tax added up.

The head tax was in place from 1973 to 2012 and proved so detrimental to employers that it was eventually ended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel called the head tax “a job killer,” stating in 2011 that “eliminating the head tax is the right thing to do for businesses big and small.” In 2012, the tax was reduced to $2 per employee and was repealed by 2014.

The Head Tax’s Impact in the Future

In the future, cities should look to cut spending rather than raise revenue through harmful and misguided policies like a head tax.

Rather than impose tax increases, lawmakers should support competitive, pro-growth policies that will foster innovation, competition and economic growth in their city or state.

In Seattle’s case, rather than help the poor find jobs, raising taxes on businesses will do the opposite by driving job-creators out of the city and discouraging future investment. Washington State has a unique advantage as a state with no income tax, but Seattle’s new head tax significantly undermines that benefit.

High state tax rates are already driving residents away from California and New York, which economists predict will lose millions of residents in the coming years.

Businesses react similarly when faced with high taxes and adverse economic conditions. Imposing massive new tax increases on businesses will ultimately lead to fewer jobs, fewer opportunities and stifled economic growth for everyday Americans.

Seattle businesses and workers will unfortunately pay the price for their local lawmakers’ foolish decision, but hopefully it will serve as a warning for leaders elsewhere to avoid making the same costly mistake.

Read more about Seattle’s new tax on businesses here.

The post Seattle-Based Businesses Push Back Against Job-Killing Head Tax appeared first on Americans for Prosperity.

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