The Crusades Have Finally Started Again Commentary-Truth! & Fiction!

The Crusades Have Finally Started Again-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
The Crusades Have Finally Started Again, a forwarded email and forum post making the rounds online since 2016, makes a number of claims about foreign countries cracking down on Muslims and urges similar steps in the United States.
The Truth:
The Crusades Have Finally Started Again commentary makes a series of claims about steps supposedly being taken around the world to curb the spread of Islam that we have found to be equal parts truth, fiction and misleading.
It’s not clear exactly where The Crusades Have Finally Started Again began, but many of its claims are based on reports and developments from 2014. The commentary compiles a long list of claims about “how the rest of the world is acting fast on the threat posted by Islam and its barbaric Sharia Law.” The ultimate goal is for those who read the commentary to contact their government representatives to demand similar action be taken in America.
We’ll take a look at each of the claims made in the Crusades Have Finally Started Again post to determine, to the best of our ability, whether they’re truth or fiction. We’ve already investigated and reported on a number of these claims and will provide a brief summary and link to previous articles in those cases.

Japan Refuses Permanent Muslim Citizens-Fiction! 

Claims made in The Crusades Have Finally Started commentary that Japan does not allow permanent Muslim citizens, or Islamic schools or mosques, in the country have been circulating for years — but they’re fiction.
The Japan Ministry of Justice does not ask people applying to become naturalized citizens to identify their religion, so it’s unable to publish statistics about the religious beliefs of those who become naturalized citizens, Becoming Legally Japanese, a blog site devoted to Japanese immigration, reports:

“Because there is no place on the written online application for one’s religion, the Ministry of Justice can’t publish statistics showing the religions (or races) of naturalization candidates; they can only publish sex and former nationality statistics,” the blog reports. “However, looking at the nationality statistics, we can find hundreds of examples of people from Islamic states (ex. Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan) as well as people from nation-states where the official state religion is Islam (ex. Egypt) and greater than 90 percent of the population is Muslim. Doing a quick web search, I can find Japanese immigration lawyers who specialize in people from Indonesia and brag of a 100 percent success rate.”

We investigated this one as part of a larger report on Japan’s treatment of Muslims in 2014. Click here for the full report.

Cuba Rejects Plans for First Mosque-Fiction! 

Fidel Castro prohibited the public practicing of all religions, including Christianity and Islam, when he established his communist regime on the island in 1957 — but those restrictions were loosened over the years.
Cuba has a small Muslim population, but a mosque was founded there in 2015 with funding from the president of Turkey, USA Today reports:

Pedro Lazo Torres, known as the Imam Yahya, said there used to be so few Muslims in Cuba that they could hold their prayers inside someone’s home. As they grew, their prayers spilled out into the street. Torres is now president of Cuba’s Islamic League and says the number of Cubans asking to convert continues to increase.

He now operates out of a mosque that was inaugurated in June of 2015 thanks to funding from Turkey’s president, Recep Erdoğan. Located in Old Havana, the mosque sits next to an Islamic museum, known as The Arab House, and has brand new Spanish-Arabic copies of the Koran.

So, claims that Cuba rejected plans for the country’s first mosque are fiction.

Angola Has Officially Banned Islam-Mostly Truth!

Religious groups must register with the Angolan government and meet specific criteria in order to openly practice their religions — and Angola does not legally recognize Islam.

Despite claims from Angolan government officials that the government protected religious groups without legal status and did not intentionally close mosques and other Islamic facilities, the U.S. State Department reported that the government’s claims were false:

In September the leader of CISA stated that the government had closed or destroyed at least nine mosques throughout the country during the year. He said that when members of the Muslim community asked for an explanation the authorities cited “superior orders” and sometimes simply flashed a piece of paper. He stated the authorities never allowed community leaders to keep a copy of the orders or, in most cases, even read them. Luanda police destroyed a mosque in the Zango neighborhood of Luanda in October. According to official government statements, the local Islamic community had illegally acquired the land on which they had built the mosque. According to CISA, the Islamic community legally acquired the land in 2008, began construction in 2010, and finished the mosque during the year. Police first informed the mosque leaders of the illegality of the mosque on September 26 and arrived to destroy it on October 3.

So, while Islam is not officially banned in Angola — but Islam is not registered with the government and reports indicate that steps have been taken to destroy mosques and other Islamic facilities there.

We investigated reports about Angola banning Islam in 2015; click here for our full report.

Norway Deports Record Number of Muslims, Crime Drops-Fiction! 

Norway has taken steps to reform its immigration system, but those reforms aren’t designed to crack down on Muslims, and crime rates haven’t dropped because of them, as the Crusades Have Finally Started Again commentary reports.

Norway’s immigration reforms has been to deport foreign citizens who are serving prison time there. The country has limited prisons, and as many as 30% of its prisoners were from foreign countries at one time; most from Poland, Lithuania, Nigeria, Iraq and Romania, the U.S. Library of Congress reports.

The country has also cracked down on the number of new immigrants allowed into the country by denying more requests for asylum — but that move doesn’t specifically target Muslims, either. 

Besides that, Norway has always had relatively low crime rates, and data doesn’t indicate that there have been any major flections as a result of the country’s immigration reforms.

81 Violent Attacks Targeting Mosques in Germany Last Year-Mostly Fiction!

There were 81 attacks on mosques and Germany between 2012 and 2014 — not 81 attacks on mosques in one year, as The Crusades Have Finally Started Again reports.

Turkish delegation comprised of officials from Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Committee and head of Turks Abroad and Related Communities directorate of the Turkish Prime Ministry reported in 2014 that the attacks were the result of growing Islamaphoia in Europe:

In Germany alone, apart from three recent attacks, 78 attacks targeting mosques have been carried out since 2012 and 219 attacks were carried out between 2001 and 2012. Although arson attacks remain rare, hate crimes targeting Muslims in Europe have spread.

So there were 81 attacks on mosques in Germany between 2012-2014 — but not 81 attacks in one year, as the rumor claimed.

Australian Police Arrest 13 Suspected Jihad Recruiters-Truth! 

It was widely reported in 2014 that Australian authorities had detained 13 men who were suspected of recruiting young Australians to join ISIS  forces in Syria.

The bust made international news, with reports of the arrest being picked up by the BBC:

Police in Austria have arrested 13 people suspected of radicalising young people and recruiting them to fight in Syria, prosecutors say.

Reports in the Austrian media said 500 police were involved in searches at mosques, flats and prayer rooms in Vienna and the cities of Linz and Graz.

Authorities also seized “terrorist propaganda material”, prosecutors said.

It comes amid a European crackdown on fighters who have joined jihadist forces in Syria and Iraq.

A statement from Austria’s state prosecutor’s office said 16 people had been questioned following the searches in the early hours of Friday.

Given that, we’re calling that one “truth.”

China Has Cracked Down on Islam, Sending 22 Imams to Jail-Truth! 

China has cracked down on religious radicalism, and that led to 22 Imams being sentenced to jail — but China has also cracked down on Christianity as it identifies religion as a threat to national security.
Reports about 22 Imams being sentenced jail date back to 2015. At the time, a related rumor that we investigated (and found to be true) also noted that China had cracked down on men with long beards and head coverings. Click here for our full coverage of that.
As we reported earlier, China’s religious crackdowns are necessarily “new” — or good.  Officially, China declared itself as an atheist country in 1949 and “widespread religious repression” followed in Mainland China, the Council on Foreign Relations reports:

In 2014, party officials in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang’s city of Wenzhou, known for its large Christian population, ordered the removal of hundreds of crosses and demolition of dozens of churches that allegedly violated construction regulations. In February 2015, Zhejiang party officials announced that the party would enforce a ban on religious belief among party members to prevent the ‘penetration of Western hostile forces.’ These campaigns raised fears of possible widespread action against Christianity, but they seem to have been isolated cases.

So, claims about religious crackdowns in China are true — but they apply to all religions practiced there, not just Islam.

British Home Secretary Prepares Anti-Social Behavior Order-Truth! 

In 2014, former Former British Home Secretary and Current Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to introduce new measures targeting British jihadists which were viewed as akin to “anti-social behavior orders” previously used to combat things like graffiti and youth smoking.
Additionally, measures have been put in place that allow Theresa May to strip dual citizens of citizenship on terror-related grounds without prior court authorization. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that she’s done so 33 times:

In 2015 Home Secretary Theresa May deprived five people of their British citizenship on terror related grounds, according to new figures obtained by the Bureau.

In total May has stripped 33 individuals of British nationality on these grounds since becoming Home Secretary in 2010. All of the individuals were dual nationals.

May can strip a person of citizenship without prior approval from a judge or parliament, and the individual’s only recourse is to quickly launch a long and costly appeal in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, a specialist court in London which deals with evidence deemed so sensitive to national security that it is heard in secret.

So we’re calling this one “truth.”

Czech Republic Blatantly Refuses Islam-Fiction! 

It’s not true that the Czech Republic “blatantly refuses” Islam on grounds that it is evil — but the country does have the smallest Muslim population of all European nations.
The World Atlas reports that there are about 4,000 Muslims in the Czech Republic, accounting for about 0.1% of the country’s population. The Gatestone Institute International Policy Council reports that the country’s Muslim population is small but growing, with some estimating that it’s now reached 10,000 people:

The Czech Republic is home to a small but rapidly growing Muslim population. Although reliable figures do not exist, it is estimated that the number of Muslims in the country now exceeds 10,000 (some say the figure is closer to 5,000, while others say it exceeds 15,000), up from 3,699 in the 2001 census, and 495 in the 1991 census.

Using 10,000 as the baseline figure, the Muslim population currently comprises around 0.1% of the total Czech population of 10.4 million. This percentage is far lower than most European countries, but the rate of increase is nearly 2,000% since 1991, and 170% since 2001.

Most Muslims in the Czech Republic are immigrants from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Turkey. But a study produced for the Czech Interior Ministry in 2007 (it estimated there were a total of 11,235 Muslims in the country in 2005) found that there were also a large number of Czech converts to Islam.

It is estimated that at least 2,000 Czechs have converted to Islam since the end of Communist rule in 1989. Many are women who have married Muslims, but just as many are young males who are “looking to Islam in their search for spirituality,” according to Radio Free Europe.

The Interior Ministry report says the majority of Muslims in the Czech Republic are well educated and economically successful. “Muslims who belong to the core of the community are often university-educated people. Among them are doctors, architects, teachers, economists, businessmen and others,” the report says.

The Czech government has refused Muslim immigrants, with its president claiming that “It’s practically impossible to integrate Muslims into Western Europe.” Still, the notion that the Czech Republic refuses Islam made by The Crusades Have Finally Started Again commentary are fiction.  

Many Muslims Announce Plans to Leave Northern Ireland-Truth! & Misleading! 

Reports that Muslims have announced plans to leave Northern Ireland out of fear of violence or retaliation are technically true — but only two Muslims announced plans to leave, and that was back in 2014.
The BBC reports that two Pakistani men who were “targeted in a racist attack” at their north Belfast home in 2014 said they planned to leave Northern Ireland:

Two men targeted in a racist attack at their north Belfast home on Sunday have left their home and said they plan to leave Northern Ireland.

One of the Pakistani men was treated in hospital after being attacked at the house in Parkmount Street.

Earlier a north Belfast pastor who made controversial comments about Muslims visited the men.

James McConnell said he had told them there was “no justification for such an attack” whatever their religion.

One of the men, Muhammad Asif Khattak, said he had been warned by friends not to leave London to go to Northern Ireland.

“I’m regretting what happened to me. The friends told me yesterday ‘we were right what we told you before, not to go, not to leave London’,” he said.

Mr McConnell said he had offered to help pay for damage caused to their home on Sunday.

Last month, the pastor described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”, and said he did not trust Muslims.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson came under fire for defending Mr McConnell’s remarks, telling the Irish News he would not trust Muslims involved in violence or those devoted to Sharia law.

However, the DUP leader said he would “trust them to go to the shops” for him. Mr Robinson later said his remarks had been misinterpreted, and met Muslim leaders in Belfast to apologise.

So, while it’s true that two Muslim men said they would leave Northern Ireland after an attack — claims implying that untold number of Muslims were fleeing the country are misleading at best.

Polish Defense League Issues Warning to Muslims-Truth!

The Polish Defense League issued warnings to Muslims multiple times  — but that’s not necessarily a surprise since the Polish Defense League has been reported to be a far-right, anti-Islamic group.

Polish newspapers have even reported on Polish Defense League members patrolling local bars to prevent Islamic men from “chatting up” Polish women:

The far-right Polish Defence League (PLO) has launched “patriotic patrols” in Poland’s bars and nightclubs in a bid, it says, to protect Polish women from being chatted up by Muslims.

The Polish Defence League, which describes itself as “showing the true face of Islam and acting against the Islamisation of Europe,” started the operation in December in cities including Warsaw, Poznan and Krakow.

“We are there to observe how Muslims behave and to intervene,” the league stated on its official web site.

“In the space of one evening, in hundreds of places across the country, incidents occur involving the seduction of our female compatriots,” the league claims.

“This is a fight for the future of our country and our women,” the PLO claims.

“Because one of these girls, unwittingly charmed by an exotic prince could, along with her offspring, end up very badly in the Islamic world, which is advancing on us with great strides.”

According to the PLO, which currently has 3600 fans on its Facebook page, Polish women are warned during the patrols about the “threats” of getting involved with Muslim men, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily reports.

So, claims about the Polish Defense League are true — but they’re not surprising, either.

Dutch MPs Call for Removal of All Mosques-Truth! & Fiction! 

Members of an anti-immigration, anti-Islam political party from the Netherlands called for the destruction of mosques — but claims that “Dutch MPs,” or military police, called for the removal of mosques is fiction.

The claim comes from a 2014 newspaper article from The Hague about a Dutch right-wing political party demanding that the Netherlands be cleared of mosques:

Machiel de Graaf, a member of Dutch anti-immigration and anti-Islam Party for Freedom (PVV), asked all mosques in the country to be shut down while speaking during a debate on integration in the House of Representatives.

Emphasizing that a Netherlands without mosques would be better, the parliamentarian said “We want to clean Netherlands of Islam.”

In addition to not being integrated into Dutch society and refuse to be assimilated, Muslims living in the country threaten Dutch identity and culture by giving more birth, according to de Graaf.

De Graaf’s remarks drew harsh criticism from members of social democratic parties attending the debate.

So, while it’s true that somebody called for mosques to be removed from the Netherlands — it wasn’t a Dutch MP. That’s why we’re calling this one truth and fiction.