Nicolai Sennels’ Nazi Style Propaganda
by Sheila Musaji
Nicolai Sennels is very popular with the Islamophobia echo chamber. His articles on Muslim inbreeding, mental deficiencies, etc. sound exactly like the Nazi eugenics theories. Here are a few members of the echo chamber who have promoted his “scholarly work”:
Robert Spencer published an article titled “Denmark: Muslim cousin marriages fills schools for retarded” [sic] on his Jihad Watch site. The brief article is by Sennels, and says it was “posted by Nicolai Sennels”. Nicolai Sennels is a Danish psychologist with a history of anti-Muslim polemics. He has written numerous articles all disparaging Islam or Muslims. His work is posted on such disreputable sites as Jihad Watch, Death to Islam, Front Page magazine, Gates of Vienna, Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, etc. He is not published on any reputable sites. This is the sort of “scholar” that the Islamophobes are forced to resort to in order to continue fomenting anti-Muslim hatred. The use of the derogatory word “retarded” for people with intellectual disabilities in the title is in itself problematic.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wrote an incredibly bigoted article coming to the conclusion that American Muslims should be deported. In the article Fischer discusses a book by Nicolai Sennel and Sennel’s conclusions which Fischer says he agrees with. “His [Sennel’s] sobering conclusion, with which I agree: the integration of Muslims into Western societies is “impossible.”
Sennels did an interview with Front Page Magazine in which he posits that “The unusual thing about my work is that I found out that my Muslim clients had certain psychological characteristics that my non-Muslim – mostly Danish – clients did not have.” Just being raised in a Muslim home causes problems according to Sennels one significant conclusion was that having been raised in a Muslim environment – with Muslim parents and traditions – includes the risk of developing certain antisocial patterns. Read the interview and see if you find anything that is much different from Nazi ideas about the “mental deficiencies” of Jews. Disgusting and hateful bigotry.
Bonni at Bare Naked Islam published It’s the Muslim inbreeding, stupid! in which she introduces Sennels theory with the statement “Shhhhh, we’re not supposed to talk about the reason for the high rate of the mental illness in the Muslim world.” She goes on to say “The massive inbreeding in Muslim culture may well have done virtually irreversible damage to the Muslim gene pool, including extensive damage to its intelligence, sanity, and health. According to Sennels, close to half of all Muslims in the world are inbred. In Pakistan, the numbers approach 70%.”
Nicolai Sennels has said: Massive inbreeding within the Muslim culture during the last 1.400 years may have done catastrophic damage to their gene pool. The consequences of intermarriage between first cousins often have serious impact on the offspring’s intelligence, sanity, health and on their surroundings
It is true that some cultures within the Muslim community, as well as other non-Muslim communities, face the daunting task of educating its members about the dangers of the practice of cousin marriages. Whether is is isolated or small, social, cultural, or religious groups who want to marry from “among their own”, there are many places right here in the good old U.S. where this problem plays out. The Amish would be only one of numerous examples. In some areas of Appalachia this is also an issue or there wouldn’t be songs like “I’m my own grandpa”. There is a problem that needs a solution (primarily education), but the solution does not require demonizing, denigrating, or de-humanizing people.
What is most curious about the Islamophobes promoting Sennels and his racist theories dehumanizing Muslims is that they constantly say that “Islam is not a race, it is an ideology”. If Muslims are not part of a race, then how can any of these theories be generalized to the large category of “Muslims” in the aggregate.
SOME BACKGROUND ON SENNELS
Anna Eckstron wrote an article Why Euro-populists see Jews as traitors in the Jewish Chronicle. Here is what she said about propogandists like Sennels
A further narrative that drives populist European racism is propagated by figures such as Thilo Sarrazin, author of the Deutschland schafft sich ab, and psychologist and Danish People’s Party politician Nicolai Sennels. For Sennels, Muslims are inbred and therefore a race whose gene pool gives rise to criminal behaviour and welfare abuse. Together with the mentally handicapped, whom the Sweden Democrats want to send to distant institutions; young delinquents and their families, whom Wilders wishes to place in camps; and the Roma and other “aliens”, the Muslims are believed to contaminate the pure people.
Northern European populists initially exempted the Jews from these xenophobic and racist theories because they have an idolised image of Israel as a mono-ethnic, anti-Islam bloc and, second, because they have identified with European victims of Muslim antisemitism. Furthermore, Jews have been, and still are, useful weapons against Muslims and elites.
For these weapons to be effective, however, the Jews have to play their part. But most Jews have not turned populist.
Anger over this perceived betrayal is now evident in populist rhetoric. Frequently one hears the accusation that the “establishment Jews” defend “their” nation while trying to destroy “ours” via the media and their political influence. For instance, Kent Ekeroth, MP and international secretary for the Sweden Democrats, says: “The Jewish groups here are ultraliberal… They defend multiculturalism and mass immigration because they think it protects them. If you behave like that you alienate the nationalist parties - and then you are left without friends.”
In this way, a utopian Israel is used as a stick to beat European Jewry. This, of course, is the same “racist” image of Israel that leftist and Islamist groups use in their offensives against Jewry.
The tendency is, I believe, only the beginning of a synthesis of racisms within a growing populist movement.
Here is a Media Matters report on Sennels and his “research”
It will probably come as no surprise that Sennels has a long history of extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric. In a May 2010 interview, Sennels told online conservative magazine FrontPageMag that he is “completely convinced that Muslim integration will never happen to the necessary extent” and called for “the Western world ... to put a complete halt to Muslim immigration and non-Western immigrants who did not already receive a citizenship.” In a July 2010 open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron concerning Turkey’s campaign for EU membership, Sennels exhorted Cameron to “study the Quran” so he could learn that “t is a criminal book that forces people to do criminal things.” A gushing April 2010 interview with Sennels on Rightly Concerned, a blog run by the American Family Association, included these quotes:
The Danes spend 300,000 euros ($400,000 U.S.) a year on social problems created by Muslim immigrants. It would be a far better use of those funds, [Sennels] argues, to use them to send Muslim immigrants back to countries which share their fundamental values, where perhaps they can serve as ambassadors for more free and democratic societies in their countries of origin by taking with them some of the ideas and ideals they observed in the West.
[...] [Sennels] concludes that Muslim criminality is caused by Islam or “Muslim culture” rather than by social problems in the countries to which they immigrate.
[...] [Another] myth he explodes is that it is poverty among immigrants which leads to social problems. In reality, he says, it’s exactly the reverse. It is the social problems they create for themselves that lead to poverty. He discovered that among most Muslims there is a “very low focus on supporting one’s children in school and on one’s own education,” and a lack of motivation for creating a professional career. All this combines to produce endemic poverty among Muslim immigrants. In a word, what is missing is the Protestant work ethic. And that is because, well, they’re not Protestants. [Rightly Concerned, action.afa.net, 04/08/10]
The issue of the prevalence of cousin marriages in some Muslim communities is one that Muslims are well-aware of, It is an issue that needs to be addressed, but exploiting that issue to advance a bigoted agenda will not aid in addressing the problem.
In 2008, we published the following article on The American Muslim (TAM) Cousin Marriages and Congenital Defects by Mohammed Asmal, MD-PhD:
Taken at face value, the recent statement by British Minister Woolas about the worrisome rate of congenital defects in British Pakistani newborns and its association with the practice of cousin marriage would seem to be a statement of concern for the public health of his constituents. Unfortunately in today’s climate of escalating inter-religious tension, the statement has been misinterpreted by some as “Islamophobia”, while being used by others as ammunition for Muslim-bashing.
The knee-jerk over-reaction of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee to label MP Woolas an Islamophobe does not do justice to the intent of the MP’s statment. Even worse, however, the Sunday Times provocative headline: “Inbred Muslimsdeforming births”, grossly distorts Mr. Woolas’ words, re-framing a legitimate public health discussion into a racist indictment against an already alienated community.
Let’s take a step back, and look at the way words have been twisted to change a potentially productive dialogue into a highly confrontational one. Consanguinity refers to procreation between blood relatives. The term “inbreeding”—which is not used by the MP, but was emblazoned across the Sunday Times—is used in animal husbandry and animal laboratories, and is highly offensive when used to describe human beings.
Consanguinous marriage is hardly unique to Pakistani Muslims. The MP never appears to have implied that. It is practiced among people of South Asian descent belonging to other religions as well. It has been practiced widely in the past, and still to some extent, among other cloistered religious communities, such as Mormons and the Hasidic Jews. There is little dispute in the medical community that consanguinity is associated with an increased risk for hereditary disorders. The adverse effects of consanguinity have perhaps best been studied amongst Ashkenazi Jews, accounting for the almost unique occurrence of many lethal childhood diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Niemann Pick Disease, as well as the greatly increased occurrence of adult diseases such as hereditary breast cancer associated with the BRCA mutation, in this population. Historically, European royal families have provided us with perhaps the best examples of the dangers of consanguinity in the mental retardation of the Hapsburg’s and the hemophilia of the Russian czars.
Even if there is accumulating evidence, as the MP states, that rates of congenital defects in children of consanguinous Pakistanis are disproportionately high, and educational measures are undertaken to discourage the practice of inter-cousin marriage, the public health impact of ending consanguinous marriage in the British Pakistani community would be minuscule compared to the impact of an anti-smoking campaign, a legal ban on indoor smoking, restrictions placed on alcohol sales in pubs, or a campaign to eliminate images of graphic sex or violence from juvenile-accessible media.
Discouraging inter-cousin marriage would be to the advantage of the Pakistani community for its own long term health. However, only the most boorish of racists would use the tragedy of congenital birth defects for political gain.
Robert Spencer is still pushing this hateful racist propaganda. He has just posted an interview he did with Sennels on the psychology of Islam and Muslims.
Recently, Dr. Faheem Younus published Why ban cousin marriages in America? in which he noted:
Cousin marriages – while common in Muslim societies – are a big taboo in the US. In fact, 25 US states actually ban such marriages. And the Muslim youth, inadvertently, is buying into this idea.
On the contrary, acceptance for same-sex marriage is gaining such popularity that President Obama invoked gay rights in his inaugural address. My advice; never go to a barber shop in America while you are still mulling over such controversial topics because your mind may sputter a question like,
“Why do we smother the discussion on the topic of first cousin marriages?”
And you may get a response like,
“Well, you don’t have to be an Einstein to know that incestuous relationships lead to diseases in the babies.”
This actually happened to me last week.
In one succinct sentence, my barber spelled out the three oft repeated reasons to justify banning cousin marriages. That they cause diseases, that they are incestuous, and that banning such marriages is a no-brainer.
But there is only one problem; all three reasons should be debunked.
Let’s be clear. I don’t intent to promote cousin marriages, but when a free society supports a ban on such marriages, somebody’s got to question it.
I believe the “Disease-Incest-Einstein” line of American reasoning to ban such marriages is flawed and should be rebutted. So let’s confront them one by one.
The risk of birth defects in children born to first cousins is increased from a baseline of 3-4 percent to 4-7 percent according to the National Society of Genetic Councillors (NSGC). In this modern age, this risk could be mitigated by mandating — as the State of Maine has done — pre-marital genetic testing. The NSGC, however, considers the risk to be so insignificant that it does not recommend additional testing or screening.
But wait. It gets complicated; because the risk of birth defects increases with other scenarios too.
As the maternal age exceeds 35, the incidence of foetal abnormalities creeps up to the 4-7 percent range. Should we also ban such women from having children then?
Hereditary diseases are more prevalent in certain ethnicities; cystic fibrosis in Caucasians, beta thalassemia in Italians, sickle cell in Blacks, phenylketonuria in Irish and Tay-Sachs in Ashkenazi Jews.
Why then, allow these groups to freely marry within the same ethnicity?
As you cross the scientific hurdles, you will be confronted with a mountain of taboo cloaked in words like “gross”, “icky”, “yucky”, but where do such taboo feelings originate from? Not a single verse in the Torah, Bible or Quran - books revered by three billion followers of the three Abrahamic religions – prohibits cousin marriage, which were common in Jewish, Christian and Islamic history.
The Bible even mentions various accounts of cousin marriages, such as Jacob and Rachel, Milcah and Nahor, and Jacob and Leah, in the book of Genesis. And please don’t quote the incest prohibitions listed in Leviticus 18. It never mentions first cousins.
Granted, the fact that something is “allowed” does not always mean that it is socially accepted. So if you still feel grossed out by the thought of marrying your cousin, that’s ok.
Hold on to your personal feelings; why impose them on others?
This is the ultimate argument made in support of banning cousin marriages. It’s so obviously wrong that “you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure it out”.
In the evidence driven societies, we have a different word to describe such claims; myth.
Myths are best broken by data. The fact that 20 percent of global marriages take place between first cousins and most societies, including Europe and Canada, consider cousin marriages to be legal should give us a pause.
Muslim Americans have not taken a strong position on this issue. The youth politely decline the option of marrying their cousin and those who may have married their cousins, don’t talk about the fact as if it were a crime.
After I published this piece, a friend – who married his cousin and lives in Texas – tweeted;
“Apparently I am a felon as per the Texas penal code.”
I have learnt my lesson.
America has no appetite to have a rational conversation over the topic of cousin marriages. And I am certainly not having this discussion in the barber shop again. Because after all the research for this article, I realised that actually, you have to be an Einstein in order to believe that there is nothing wrong with cousin marriages.
Because in 1919 Albert Einstein married Elsa Löwenthal – his first cousin.
Arranged marriages under attack http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/politics/arranged-marriages-under-attack-$1200608.htm
Comment breeds antagonism ** http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_shariatmadari/2008/02/breeding_antagonism.html
Cousin marriages increase healthcare costs 2007 http://hiberniagirl.blogspot.com/2007/10/importing-immigrants-with-costly-health_16.html
First-cousin Marriages Affect Infant Mortality, But Not As Much As Short Birth Intervals http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925132335.htm
Bryan Fischer: Muslims Are Stupid and Violent Because of Inbreeding http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fischer-muslims-are-stupid-and-violent-because-inbreeding
Fury Over MP’s Muslim ‘Inbreeding’ Claim http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/newsfeed/2008/02/11/inbred-muslim-claim-fury-86908-20315572/
Genes, marriages, cousins and upset British Muslims, http://marranci.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/genes-marriages-cousins-and-upset-british-muslims/
‘Inbred Muslims deforming births’ - MP http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23194806-38199,00.html
Inbreeding ‘causing rise in birth defects’ http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/inbreeding-causing-rise-in-birth-defects-780562.html
Muslims in denial over inbreeding MP says http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=513520&in_page_id=1770
Of Nicolai Sennels and seeming stupid, Omar Shtewi http://atlantic-right.com/2011/09/25/of-nicolai-sennels-and-seeming-stupid/
Race row over birth defects http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/race-row-over-birth-defects-claim-780690.html
Recessive disorders http://www.hhmi.org/genetictrail/e110.html
Nicolai Sennels. Liar, Omar Shtewi http://atlantic-right.com/2011/08/26/nicolai-sennels-liar/
This issue has come up before - 2005 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4442646.stm
There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that they published Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle by Robert Steinback in their Summer 2011 Intelligence Report. There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured prominently in the Center for American Progress “Fear Inc.” report on the Islamophobia network in America. There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured in the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured in the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured in the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. There is a reason that Geller and Spencer are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
Originally published 11/23/2011