Belgium: Teacher dismissed for racist email

A teacher from Denderleeuw was fired after he received a racist email and sent it on to his friends. The email got to the school board, the Royal Atheneum in Anderlecht, where 60& of the student body is of an ethnic minority.

The teacher admits he's made a mistake, but think that firing him is blowing things out of proportion.

Source: De Morgen (Dutch)

Terrorist arrests - France, Belgium, England

  1. A 27 year old man was arrested in Paris, in relation to the Belgian suicide terrorist that blew herself up in Iraq November 9th. The man is thought to have ties to a cell that sent Muslims fighters to Iraq, mostly from Belgium, but also from France. According to another source, the man is an acquaintance of the woman's husband.
  2. The Belgian federal police arrested 14 people in Brussels, Antwerp, Carleroi and Tongeren. Most of those arrested are Belgian, two of Moroccan origin and one from Tunisia. They are suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization in Belgium.
  3. British police arrested a 28-year old man suspected of buying weapons to commit a terror attack. The man was arrested in South Mimms, Hertfodshire.

De Morgen (Dutch) - 1, 2, 3

Belgian police raid homes in probe of Iraq suicide bomber

Belgian police raided a number of homes early on Wednesday of people suspected of links to a woman thought to be the first European female suicide bomber in Iraq, the federal prosecutors office said.

"Searches have been carried in connection with an investigation into a Belgian woman who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq," said Leive Pellens, a spokesman for the prosecutors office. She declined to give more details.

She said that sweeps were underway in the capital Brussels, Antwerp to the north, Charleroi in the south and Tongres in the east. At least one person was detained in Brussels.

According to Belgian media, up to six people were killed in the suicide attack in the Baghdad region a few weeks ago. The woman is believed to have converted to Islam shortly after marrying a religous extremist.

Police are believed to have been watching the woman's family for some time but apparently speeded up their operation after information about her was revealed on French radio on Tuesday.

Pellens said the bomber was not previously known to police.

A man was also arrested in the Paris region in connection with the probe, sources close to the case said in the French capital. Two other people living with the man were detained.
The man is suspected of being "in contact with a cell" helping to send potential fighters or bombers to Iraq, where attacks on US troops and civilians are a daily occurrence almost two years after the war to oust Saddam Hussein.

The woman, who had married a Muslim, had travelled with him to Iraq. She was trying to blow up a US army convoy, but no soldiers were killed in the attack.

IC Publications (English)
De Standaard (Dutch)

Alleged Jihad recruiter denies accusations

The man accused of recruiting three Dutch kids to join the Jihad is denying those accusations. The man, 35 years old, is known only as Ibrahim.

"I talk a lot with young people, and if you call somebody who tells kids that they should stay on the right path, a recruiter, yes, than I'm a recruiter.

According to him, he doesn't give Koran lessons. He merely translates the holy book into Dutch.

And that he speaks to kids?

"I do that, because parents ask me to. Their son has no work, goes around with girls, drinks or uses drugs. They ask me to explain that that is not good for them."

He spoke to the three kids just a day before they disappeared. Meanwhile, he's as concerned about them as their parents. "My heart is open to them. I am curious how it goes with them."

Related articles:
Three Dutch recruited for Jihad
Missing kids learned Koran by terror suspect

France: Gov't wants to tighten immigration laws

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin proposes tightening immigration laws. For example: foreigners marrying a French citizen will have to be married longer before attaining French nationality. He also wants to toughen requirements on giving visas for students and family members of foreigners working in France. He called to fight polygamy.

Source: Volkskrant (Dutch)

Radical Muslims arrested in France

In an action against Muslim radicals, French police have arrested around ten people in western and central France this morning. Among them, two former chaplains and a guard in Muslim prisons(*). They are accused of money laundering and were questioned as well about trips taken to lands such as Pakistan, and activities such as conversion. The arrested are members of the Tabligh movement.

(*) Are there special prisons in France for Muslims?

New anti-smoking campaign

“If you smoke, you’re a man,” a man says at a Turkish coffee house. And another adds: “All Turkish man smoke, because you’re being offered cigarettes all the time. Going around with a packet, that gives status.” A status which is today achieved with a cell-phone by many of the younger generation.

Among the Dutch, both men and women, about 33% smoke. Smoking among Turks stands at around 60% by the man, and 30% by the women (coming to a general average of 45%). In Turkey, only about 15% of women smoke.

Many times, smokers have no idea about the dangers of smoking, and the damage they cause, for example, to fetuses. STIVORO, an anti-smoking organization, has therefore decided to pay special attention to non-ethnic Dutch, and especially to Turks. They have put out 150 people to explain to the non-Dutch community about the dangers of smoking.

3200 non-ethnic Dutch have participated in STIVORO sponsored meetings so far, 2500 of which were Turkish. Several hundreds said they’ll stop smoking, though it’s unknown how many succeeded.

Missing kids learned Koran by terror suspect

The three kids who disappeared, apparently on their way to Iraq or Chechnya to join in Jihad, took Koran lessons by a man who's been accused in the past of terror activities. The man had been arrested in 2003 along with 12 others for recruiting for Jihad, but has since been released due to lack of evidence.

He was not allowed to speak in the As-Sunna Mosque, where two of the kids used to pray. The man is now denied entrance to the mosque. The man gives Koran lessons especially to young, unbalanced Moroccan kids.

The three kids disappeared, taking with them only their passports and money.

Iraq: Belgian blows herself up in Iraq

A Belgian woman, who converted to Islam after her marriage to a Muslim, recently blew herself up in Iraq.

More women are joining the fight in Iraq, and apparently - they're non-Iraqi. In the past 25 years, about 10% of suicide attacks were committed by women. Till now by women exclusively from the Middle East or South East Asia.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

Norway: 'Immigrants More Accpeted'

Norwegians have gradually become more positive towards immigrants in recent years, according to a new study from Statistics Norway (SSB).

The percentage who believe that it should become more difficult for refugees and asylum seekers to gain residency in Norway has declines by 8 percent points in the past year.
Now 39 percent believe that there should be stricter admission regulations to gain entry to Norway. The number who want it to become easier to live in Norway has risen from 6 to 9 percent while 49 percent are happy with the way things are.

The percentage who feel that immigrants enrich Norway's cultural life has increased by five points, with 71 percent now partly or completely in agreement with this sentiment.

Those who believe that most immigrants abuse Norway's social welfare system are down three percent points to 37 percent.

New terrorist group in the Netherlands

A new movement of young Muslim extremists is starting off, in the wake of the Hofstad group. The so called “Tafkif-light movement”, that deviates little ideologically from the original Hofstad group, is very active on the internet.

Unlike the Hofstad group, however, the new movement is much easier to join.

The flexible admission requirements and the quick online distribution of Jihadic material provides feeding grounds for potential terrorists. Documents such as those by Mohammed Bouyeri are quickly translated and spread

According to various sources, Samir Azzouz worked together with representatives of the new movement.

The group consists of about a hundred youth, living especially in Amsterdam. Some meet together to learn radical theology, others meet each other in chatgroups and via email.

According to Ruud Peters, an Arabist that analyzed documents for the Hofstad trial, the new movement is circulating new material. For example: 45 appeals for the fights of the Dutch Muslim Oem Qataadah and material validating the fight against Americans outside Iraq.

Samir Azzouz asked Belgian to commit suicide attack

Samir Azzouz, who was recently exonerated by the Dutch courts of terrorism charges (he wasn’t yet ready to carry out an attack), has apparently asked a Belgian Moroccan to commit a suicide attack on the Dutch security service, AIVD.

The Belgian was recently arrested in Morocco for trying to establish a terrorist organization there. The terror network was set up to prepare attacks against American and Jewish targets in Morocco.

Netherlands: Imam training leads to disagreement among Muslims

Imam training at the InHolland college in Amsterdam is leading to a rift between the different Muslim groups. Diyanet, a Turkish organization representing 130 mosques, withdrew at the last minute.

Two liberal groups, CGI and SIK, are furious that they couldn’t join. The imam course is supported by a number of Sunni organization that belong to CMO and that represent 200 mosques.

CGI is upset at Minister Verdonk. Hikmat Mahawat Khan, the president says it was his initiative. However, when problems arose between CMO and CGI, CGI got the boot. According to him: “How is it possible that this gov’t is always going on about the liberal voice of Muslims, and is now cooperating in killing it off?”

SIK is also upset, saying this is the second time Verdonk “beheads liberal Islam”. The first time by recognizing the ‘intolerant and fundamentalist’ CMO, and now by letting them take over imam education.

Verdonk thinks the establishment of imam education is “an historic event for the Netherlands and Europe” and calls on Muslim organizations to come up with suggestions for imam courses.

Related Articles:
Muslim organizations fighting over imam appointments - CMO and CGI fighting over who is to provide imams for the Dutch army.

Surinamers prefer Surinam

A recent survey by Dutch Surinamese shows that a majority think the political and economical situation in Suriname is bad. However, when asked if they would like to return to Suriname, about 50% said they would like to return immediately and another 25% weren't sure. Only 25% said they want to stay in Holland. The reasons for re-migration were mostly due to old age, family reasons and homesickness. 66% would like to see the Dutch gov't formulate a remigration policy.

About 75% of the interviewees preferred the Surinamese multi-cultural society over the Dutch one, though they do find that Dutch society enables free expression.

The majority don't like minister Verdonk's path. About 60% think that her policy sharpens the sentiments on race, religion and culture among native Dutch.

Related link: Why are there still all those questions - A Dutch-Turkish woman explains why she's going back to Turkey.

Utrecht: Turkish Community to help Pakistani victims

The Turkish community in Utrecht is holding a bazaar to help out victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. The event was set up by the Foundation for help organization in Utrecht (SHU). The foundation also supports a school in Niger with monthly donations.

The goal of the foundation is twofold - help people in need and make people in the Netherlands aware that you need each other.

Rotterdam: Mosque goers intimidated by administration

Muslims at the Essalaam Mosque who criticize the mosque administration are being intimidated and threatened.

One person claimed he was almost ran over in the vicinity of the mosque. "A day earlier I'd asked why our women were being chased out of the mosque. This was apparently his answer."

Many of the mosque goers are unsatisfied with the fact that three out of the six administrators are workers of the Arab financier from Dubai, as well as with the fact that donations have been misappropriated. The vice-president is accused of trying to intimidate the mosque goers, rounding up people around town in order to do so.

The police are apparently aware of the goings-on and will speak with the people involved. The mosque spokesman claimed to have no knowledge of the incident. The vice president of the mosque was unreachable.

Signs to Mecca? Has the Netherlands gone mad?, the website which reported Brahim Bourzik's idea to set up signs around Rotterdam showing the way to Mecca, were swamped with reader responses.

"I'll pull them one by one out of the ground" warns a reader. And: "Are we going to set up signs also to Rome?"

Moslim readers were also incensed at the idea: "A good Muslim really doesn't need such a sign" was a common criticism. Many Muslims felt insulted, "Maybe he feels that we Muslims are dumb"

Other readers suggested: "Buy yourself a compass".

40,000 illegal immigrants stopped by Libya

The Libyan Minister of the Interior and Security says that Libya has stopped 40,000 illegal immigrants that tried to reach Europe this year. The Libyans have also stopped 40 criminals accused of smuggling immigrants and organizing Mediterranean Sea crossings.

Three Dutch recruited for Jihad

Three Muslims from the Hague have disappeared after having apparently been recruited to the Jihad in Iraq.

At least one of them had contact with Samir Azzouz. The Dutch security services, AIVD, are conducting an investigation, but will not say for what.

The three are two Moroccans and one Turk, aged 18-21. A Turkish visa application was found in a search by the house of one of those missing, showing that he apparently intended to go through Turkey, a route already used in the past.

The AIVD knows of tens of Dutch Jihad fighters currently in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Two Dutch from Eindhoven had been killed on Jihad in Kashmir in 2002. They had been recruited in the Al Fourqaan Mosque.

Mecca signs in Rotterdam

Brahim Bourzik, a councillor on the Rotterdam council, thinks it will be a good idea to place signs around the city, pointing towards Mecca. The councillor got the idea while traveling around Saudi Arabia. He is considering bringing it up as a motion.

He believes that the Mecca signs will bring great pleasure to the Muslims of Rotterdam. "Rotterdam is for everybody who lives there, no? If you do this, Muslims will feel appreciated."

Belgium: 90 people caught smuggling illegal aliens

Ninety people were arrested in several police sweeps, 66 of which were illegal aliens and the rest suspected of belonging to an organization that smuggled illegal aliens into Belgium.

The organization smuggled people mainly from Pakistan and India into Belgium and from there to the UK. They were first brought to safe houses in Brussels and then hidden in trucks heading for the UK.

Belgium selling F-16 planes to Pakistan

Belgium and the Netherlands will sell 26 fighter planes to Pakistan. The deal will not be concluded directly with Pakistan. Both countries will sell the planes to the US, which in turn had already announced that it will sell them on to Pakistan.

Belgium has been trying to sell off their old planes to NATO countries in the Eastern Block, but so far without success.

Muslim discrimination

Snouck reports that Dutch police stations are specifically encouraging Muslim residents to report discrimination against them.

This might be due to the efforts of the Arab European League (AEL) in the Netherlands to give special attention to Muslim complaints of discrimination. According to them such complaints were routinely ignored by the anti-discrimination bodies.

Vlaams Belang supports 'guest workers'

In several new brochures put out by Vlaams Belang, the party is allowing for possible immigration from outside the EU.

A brochure titled "Aging and the job market" says: "Of course we want to uphold the migration freeze of 1974, but it is possible that non-EU citizens will fill in 'bottleneck vacancies' on the long term". Such vacancies are defined as jobs for which no other worker could be found, either because the working conditions are unfavorable and do not attract Flemish unemployed, or because there are no qualified natives.

The brochure goes on to demand testing of the language as well as knowledge of Flemish norms before the application is considered.

The brochure goes on to say that "people with a criminal record or political extremism are not welcome." A note taken to be directed at Muslims.

Pardon for asylum seekers

A new motion in the Dutch parliament is asking to pardon asylum seekers which have been 'in process' for a long time.

The motion, brought up by the labor party, will affect asylum seekers which have been in the Netherlands for more than 9 years, estimated to be 11% of the 33,000 people currently in asylum processes.

Netherlands: Muslim organizations fighting over imam appointments

Two Muslim organizations are fighting over the commissioning of imams to the Dutch army.
CGI (Contact Group Islam) and CMO (Contact Body Muslims and Government). Both groups claim they're the best party to provide imams.

The army wants to appoint another imam this year and overall to appoint at least two imams to care for the spiritual needs of Muslims in the army. The army had contacted both organizations in order to recruit imams, but that decision seems to be backfiring. An army spokesman is quoted as saying:"They don't agree with each other.. but because they're both officially recognized, we're continuing consultations with both parties."

Both organizations are accusing the other of trying to sabotage the deliberations. CMO wants to fill the two imam slots with one Sunni and one Shiite, leaving CGI with a "half position" to fill. CGI claim that they represent all Muslim streams and that they can provide however many imams are needed for every stream - Sunni, Shiite, Ahmadiyya and Alewites.

There are several hundred to a thousand Muslims in the Dutch military.

New racism complaint against Vlaams Belang

Filip DeWinter, head of Vlaams Belang, is being accused of racism. The complaint comes after an interview in the US newspaper "Jewish Week" in which Filip is quoted as saying the following:

Q: There are those who fear that first you will go after the Moroccans and then the Jews. How do you respond?

A: This is ridiculous. You could say the same about president Bush or Tony Blair: “First they are going after radical Islam, then they will go after the Jews.” As if Judaïsm were an extension of Islam. In our view, Judaïsm and Islam are absolute not two of the same kind. On the contrary, they are foes. One has to choose sides. Which side are you on in the “war on terror”? The side of western democracy and western civilization, with its Judeo-Christian roots, or the side of radical Islam? The side of Great-Britain, America and Israel, or the side of Iran, Sudan and the Taliban?

Q: There are those who say Jews should not be voting for a party that espouses xenophobia. Your reaction?

A: “Xenophobia” is not the word a would use. If it absolutely must be a “phobia” let it be “islamophobia”. Yes, we’re afraid of Islam. The islamisation of Europe is a frightening thing. Even distinguished Jewish scholars as Bat Ye’or and Bernard Lewis warned for this. If this historical process continues, the Jews will be the first victims. Europe will became as dangerous for them as Egypt or Algeria. So, I return your question. Should Jews vote for a party that wants to stop the spread of Islam in Europe?

Kif-Kif, a multicultural site created by Morrocan youth, and MRAX, an anti-racism movement turned to the Belgium prosecution claiming that these statements inspire to racist hate. They want the Belgian government to withdraw DeWinter's parliamentary immunity and to stop all grants to Vlaams Belang.

Integration is stagnating

Jan Latten, a social-demographic researcher working for the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS), says that integration is stagnating. The main cause is that both the 'upper white class' and the lower, mostly non-Dutch, class are marrying only within their own social groups.

The contrast between rich and poor is growing. According to the CBS, 80% of young Dutch of Turkish or Moroccan origin want to marry within their own religious group. According to Latten, this will cause the differences between the various groups, in education and income, to pass on to the next generation.

If most drop-outs of today marry each other, the parents will have few chances and will pass on their situation to their kids. In twenty years the new generation will be falling behind.

This "hereditary" of education, income and social class is denied in the Netherlands. But it's clear to see that a kid whose father doesn't earn much, will have twice as much chances to have low income as well.

Unemployment among youth is 12%, but for Moroccans it stands at 28%. Differences in education levels lead to differences in earning power. These lead to differences in buying power, and to the different social classes living in different areas.

The different social classes have their own schools, and operate in their own parts of the job market, live in their own streets and move almost entirely within their own social network.

In Amsterdam, the chances of a Dutch meeting a Moroccan fell from 61% in 1995, to 45% in 2004. According to Latten, the less people meet, the less chances they have to socialize, the more the chances of conflict grow.

Political Correctness

A recent post by The Religious Policeman ("One small step") bring an article from the Guardian.

Police are investigating claims that tapes and DVDs inciting Muslims to violence were left at mosques in the town where one of the July 7 bombers lived during last weekend's Eid celebrations.

Some of the local mosque members reported these tapes and DVDs to the police. And so the Guardian brings us a (rare?) example of UK Political Correctness:

A spokeswoman for the force said: "Members of the local Asian community brought this matter to our attention. We have received a copy of a video which is currently being looked at. The inquiry is at an early stage."

It is obvious that the Japanese and Korean communities were not those who contacted the police. It is impossible for them to say "Members of the local Muslim community"? Is "Muslim" such a bad word?

Schiphol Fire: Algerian terror suspect escapes

The Dutch TV program NOVA reports that an Algerian terror suspect was among the detainees who escaped during the Schiphol fire. Eleven detainees had escaped, five of which are still on the loose.

The man, Mustafa A., was picked up by Dutch Intelligence Services (AIVD) since he appeared in a "database of terrorists". He held many identities and had previously been deported by Germany. Since there was no concrete evidence against him it was decided to deport him back to Algiers. However, he escaped during the fire and has not been picked up since.

Britain: Cop killed

A policewoman was shot dead in Britain when she came upon an armed hold-up. The story is big news in a country where many police are not armed.

The 38-year-old was shot dead and her colleague Pc Teresa Milburn, 37, injured during the raid at a travel agency in Morley Street on Friday.

Six people are still being questioned in West Yorkshire over the shootings. The five men - all Somalians - and a woman, whose nationality is not known, were arrested in London over the weekend and brought to police stations in West Yorkshire.

A related news story bring a different description of the attackers.
Eyewitnesses said an Asian man and two black men armed with guns fired shots as they escaped with cash from the premises in Morley Street shortly after 1525 GMT.

Significant amounts of cash are handed in at travel agencies by people arranging money transfers for relatives in Pakistan.

Shahid Bhatti, owner of Bradford Travel on Lumb Lane in Bradford city centre, said: "Over the past 10 years a pattern has been established of robberies on travel agencies in Bradford.
"We have been targeted because people know about the money transfers.

"My brother was robbed outside our office in 1997 and since then we have increased our security. We have installed CCTV cameras and we report any unusual behaviour on Lumb Lane.

"This incident is a horrible tragedy but we've been expecting something like this."

Man dies in French riots

The riots in France continue, though they don’t open the news.

While the violence has abated, sporadic arson attacks continue, as they did before the rioting. Police say dozens of cars are torched each night on average in France's depressed suburbs where frustrations over unemployment and discrimination often run high, especially among youths from immigrant families.

That is, there is no reason to worry. It is simply a fact in life in France that your car might be torched. It just “happens”.

A high school guard suffered a heart attack and died Monday while trying to extinguish cars set aflame by vandals in the latest unrest in troubled French suburbs, police said.

AP is really outdoing itself here. Should somebody not ‘in the know’ read this, they could not guess that Muslims are involved in the violence. Muslims are only mentioned as victims.

Several mosques have been attacked or vandalized - in what Muslim leaders fear is a possible anti-immigrant backlash from the rioting.

Thus, we can only assume the anti-immigrant backlash is attacking mosques since the immigrants involved are Muslims.

And, in the last paragraph, AP lumps together attackers and victims. In fact, reading the last paragraph somebody might get the impression that these vandals simply have something against places of worship.

During the urban unrest, the worst in four decades in France, rioters torched more than 9,000 vehicles and several hundred buildings and repeatedly clashed with police. Several mosques, churches and a synagogue were also targeted.

Study: women are to blame for rape

I have already seen several articles on the percentage of immigrants among rapists. Fjordman has several good articles on the subject. However, a new study, conducted among 1000 British men and women, reveals that Muslims are not the only ones who tend to blame women for their own rapes.

More than 33% of Britons think women are wholly or partially to blame for rape if they behaved in a flirtatious manner. Even worse, 22% think they’re to blame if the victim was alone in a dangerous or deserted area. That is, you can somehow claim that a woman dressing flirtatiously is asking for men to take interest in her, the question being only ‘what kind of interest is appropriate’. However, a woman walking alone is not, supposedly, broadcasting that she wants men to approach.

So maybe the difference between Muslims and Christians is the definition of “flirtatious”?

Petition for kids of asylum seekers

A new petition signed by 264 Dutch school boards and managements asks the government not to evict kids of asylum seekers during the school year. The petition was also signed by around 600 teachers, 200 parents and 3000 kids. The petition asks to let kids of asylum seekers finish they school year before being deported. According to the petition, such deportations have an "unbelievably great impact" on the victims and the school community that is left behind.

Several educational organizations also support the initiative.

Why are there still all those questions?

Ayter Köse is a 2nd generation Dutch Turk. She was born in the Netherlands and grew up there. Marrying a Turk, she came back to live in the Netherlands, though her husband would have preferred staying in Turkey. Now, they are going back.

She feels Dutch and see the Netherlands as her home. It is the only place she really knows. But she doesn't feel the Netherlands accepts her.

“I’m not truly discriminated against. Naturally I’ve been cursed at, but I’m accustomed to that. It’s more the feeling that I’m not accepted as a full Dutch citizen.”

“Why should I still have to explain after 31 years what’s involved with the Ramadan? Why do people react with surprise when they hear me speaking Dutch or when they see me driving a car? Why was I denied an internship because I wear a veil?”

“I live here for 31 years, I’m Dutch. Why are there still all those questions, and why still that lack of comprehension? That feels strange. I see myself as Dutch, this is my land. A Pole that barely speaks Dutch is considered more Dutch than I.”

Ayter is in a very difficult situation. She was born in the Netherlands, but her entire existence is that of an immigrant. Europe, whether she would like to admit it or not, is Christian and the Ramadan is not part of the normal European experience. Jews have been living in Europe for hundreds of years, and yet do not expect that the general population will understand their customs and traditions.

She is studying for a teacher's license, and that's where she realized she is not at home. Her first meeting with the principal of the school where she was asking to intern went extremely well. The following day, though, she got a call.

“If I don’t take off my veil, I can’t come to intern. I was shocked and did not know what to say. I looked for another school, since I’m not a little kid anymore. I wear a veil consciously, as I’ve chosen when I was 15."

Another incident completely broke her:
“I was biking with my son through a street where a couple of teenagers were playing soccer. They shouted the usual things, such as “Holland – volland” (Holland is full). I would normally react… I didn’t want that my son would feel anything like discrimination. By not saying anything, I had come up short again.”

That same evenings Ayter announced that she wants to go to Turkey.

“I fully realize it’s not going to be easy there. It’s hard for me to leave, and I’d rather stay here. This is my land, but if in 31 years I can’t reach the stage where I’m considered fullly Dutch, then my kids will also not succeed in it.”

“I’m not demanding. I have just one goal, that my kids would be accepted as full citizens. I don’t want them to get the same feeling here that I did. That they don’t count. If it doesn’t succeed, we’ll come back. We all have Dutch passports.”

Ayter says she's not demanding, but she wants the impossible - she wants the Dutch to accept her as a Muslim, but as a full Dutch citizen as well. She wants to flaunt her religion (putting on a veil) and yet be accepted as any Christian (ie, a Pole). However, she is not willing to put the effort into it.

"I think that Dutch is my mother tongue. I catch myself, that I often think in Dutch."

She grew up in a Turkish speaking home, and yet feels annoyed when people are surprised she speaks Dutch.

Ayter stresses the language - she speaks Dutch - and her feeling of home - she knows no other country - but her family has come to live in a country with a different culture and different religious norms. As long as she insists on being different, as long as she insists on being a minority, which is her right, she can not insist on being "accepted" as part of the majority. Being 'accepted' as Dutch would not happen tomorrow, if ever.

She can just ask the Jews, who have much experience with being the outsiders. Or the French Algerians who were chased out of their homes after 3 and 4 generations of being born on Algerian soil. It simply takes more than 31 years to turn an immigrant from another culture into a native. The more that immigrant wants to uphold his own culture and identity, the longer it's going to take.

Belgium: 11 residence permits are stolen every day

119,717 documents were stolen during the past year from Belgian town halls. 31 documents go missing every day, including 11 residence permits, identity cards and 10 empty driver's license.

However, in the past ten years, the number of stolen documents have gone down by half. The 'favorites' are Schaerbeek (17,852), Antwerp (4,662) and Liege (4,350).

Belgian terrorist caught in Morocco

Moroccan security service have recently arrested 17 terrorists suspected of belonging to the Al-Qaeda network. Among them is one Belgian national of Moroccan origin.

The security services have been following a Moroccan who went to study theology in Syria. In September he met up with another suspect, a Belgian. The Belgian had stayed in Syria as well and had strong connections with Maghreb Islamists in Europe. They had returned together to Morocco in order to recruit members and establish a terrorist cell.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch)

Muslim Communities Participating in Society: A Belgian-US Dialogue

Last week US and Belgian Muslims convened in order to discuss their mutual concerns and foster mutual understanding and cooperation.

Europe and the United States increasingly acknowledge the political, economic, and security value of building productive relationships with both domestic and international Muslim communities. It is time to catalyze these relationships – to increase enfranchisement, ease alienation, and foster cross-cultural understanding. Muslims on both sides are natural interlocutors who share the aspiration and challenge of participating fully in their respective societies while honoring their faith and identity. This is a prototype initiative, beginning in Belgium. If successful, it could become a model for use across Europe.

The meeting was convened by Belgium’s Royal Institute for International Relations and The United States Embassy in Belgium.

Equality and the Veil

When Samira Haddad applied for a job as an Arabic teacher at the Islamic College Amsterdam, she was turned down because she, as a Muslim woman, did not wear a headscarf. The Dutch Equal Treatment Commission, an organisation offering legal advice, has decided that the rejection of Ms Haddad is unjust, because non-Muslim teachers at the school are not obliged to wear headscarves; there is now talk of discrimination.

A non-public school in the Netherlands can enforce a dress code, but it must be uniform. In this case, the school was only forcing Muslim teachers to wear a veil, and so was discriminating against those Muslims who preferred not wearing one.

Belgium: Anonymous job applications

The following is a general translation:

According to Naima Charkaoui, coordinator for Minority Forum, the umbrella organization for minorities in Flanders, there is very high racism in Belgium. Employers going to the Flemish employment service site are five times less likely to click on "minority" names than to click on "native" Belgian names. By pushing for anonymous job applications the forum is hoping to give immigrants a fair chance at getting the job.

Charkaoui admits that many minorities have other problems, such as insufficient knowledge of the language or lack of education, but says that the government should be more helpful and pro-active. She says companies should follow up on the percentage of 'minorities' within their workforce in order to show whether there is organized discrimination.

The government is a reflection of society, she says, and as such should be first in line for changing the attitude towards foreigners. Native Belgian are not required to learn the language, but immigrants are - regardless of whether they need it for their job or not. It can come to a point where parents don't send their kids to school as they need to learn the language first.

There is no real problem with the suggestion of anonymous applications, per se. An applicant should be judged based on his credentials and not on race or creed, just as all employees should be given the same rights, regardless of race or creed.

However, it seems as though Charkaoui is concerned with more than racism. She wants the Flemish government to take a pro-active approach. She's not only concerned with the situation of 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants, who came at Belgium's invitation. She's also concerned with newcomers who just got off the boat. At a time when the government is demanding more from immigrants, she wants to cut down on requirements.

The big question is: Why?

It is no secret that Belgium, and Europe, have a high rate of unemployment. Many citizens do not have a job. Should the Flemish government really be concerned with enabling foreigners to work in Belgium? Its first and foremost concern should be the Flemish citizens who were born in the country.

This is not racism - this is the responsibility of the government. The government should only be responsible for immigrants which it brings in of its own initiative.

Belgium: Vlaams Belang leader attacked with water and beer

Filip Dewinter, chairman of Vlaams Belang, was pelted with a beer bottle and water cups. The incident occurred at a hall in Genk at a meeting of Vlaams Belang. A crowd of about 65 people, immigrants aged 13 to 18, booed Dewinter when he arrived and then threw beer and water at him.

Local police have identified the perpetrator.

Samir Azzouz acquitted

A court in the Hague acquitted Samir Azzouz on appeal of preparing a terror attack. The court does not doubt Azzouz's terroristic intentions, but found no proof that he was ready to carry out an attack. The manufacturing of an explosive device was at such an early stage that there was no real threat, according to the court.

The decision was received with surprise by Dutch politicians. Verhagen, chairman of the CDA party, called the acquittal "unacceptable". According to him, the big question now is whether the new anti-terrorism law applies also to terroristic intentions. If not, the law should be made so.

Prime Minister Balkenende was also suprised with the acquittal, "but we are a law-abiding country. The laws and procedures of the Dutch crimminal law will be enforced. " He added, though, that that it's a question whether the current laws accept the possibility of terrorism.

The PvdA party thinks that people with terroristic intentions should be punishable, if they go through with their plans, no matter how successful.

The public prosectution was disappointed with the judgement. "We interpret the law differently. We think that acts of preparation show enough intent to commit an assault and there was enough evidence that an explosive device was being prepared."

Azzouz had not yet been freed and is imprisoned on other suspicions (ie, trying to shoot down an El-Al plane). The public prosecution did not announce yet if it will appeal the decision.

Azzouz had already been acquitted in the past of armed robbery and planning terrorist attacks due to lack of evidence.

How many times does Azzouz need to plan terror attacks before the Dutch people wake up to the fact that he wants to kill them? Should the Dutch be penalized just because police caught the terrorist before he managed to get to a more advanced stage in planning and preparation?

Azzouz himself does not hide his intentions. To quote his message to the Dutch people, left in a taped statement: You are considered like fighters because you have chosen this government. Your fortune and your blood are permitted to us.

That is, for Azzouz the Dutch are not merely civilians. They are guilty by association and are therefore liable for punishment.

Amsterdam: Islamic school must submit to inspection

The court found the school administration of three schools of the Foundation of Islamic Education in Amsterdam (SIBA), broke the law when it did not consult with the parents and the school personnel. The school must submit the merger plans, the formation plans and the financial situation of the school for inspection or face penalties.

Around 600 kids learn in the three schools. The parents and staff have been so discontent that they have already asked Van der Hoeven, Minister of Education, to dismiss the board.

Belgian fight

A fight in Beveren between Belgian and immigrant kids ended with two beaten up officers. The officers intervened in the fight and were attacked by two girls when they came to arrest one of the Belgian kids.

Norway: Children Smuggling

More than 200 children have been smuggled this year into Norway. Norwegian authorities suppose parents are sending those kids either so they'll have a better future or in order to come themselves under family re-unification laws.

Regardless what their parents may have done, these children are innocent and have the same rights as Norwegian children without their parents, says the Children's Ombudsmann, Reidar Hjermann.

Would Mr Hjermann feel the same way if he was talking about Norwegian children smuggled into Morocco? Or would he then be demanding that these kids be returned to their parents? Does Mr Hjermann think that it is in these kids' interests to be in Norway as compared with growing up with their parents?

The children are of course innocent in the sense that they probably weren't given an option, but they are not Norwegian and should not be treated as such. The only rights these kids should have is to be sent back to their home country so they can be re-unified with their parents. If needed, UNICEF should take an active part in this important undertaking.

Language Test for 4-year Olds

Meanwhile, Norway is given a language proficiency exam to pre-school kids in an attempt to boost integration. The test, which will be given in high-immigrant areas will help pinpoint problems and improve language training.

Visiting Morocco

Marking the 400 year anniversary of Dutch-Moroccan diplomatic relations, Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princess Máxima, paid a royal visit to Morocco. Their 4-day trip included meetings about water management, micro-credit and culture. with various included talks with the Moroccans on water treatment. The royal couple was accompanied by 12 Dutch kids, 6 of whom of Moroccan descent.

On the last day of their trip, the couple were approached by a Moroccan boy who apologized for his countryman's assasination of Theo van Gogh.

Meanwhile, Vlaams Belang is organizing a trip of its own to Morocco, to warn Moroccans of the fate that aways them in Belgium and that life in Belgium is not as rosy as it seems.

DeWinter, leader of Vlaams Belang in the Flemish parliaments is quotes as saying: "We call on the Moroccan government to cut the ties with the Moroccans in Belgium.. as that prevents the integration process."

DeWinter refused to give much details on the proposed trip, saying that the Moroccan governement is under pressure not to receive the Vlaams Belang delegation.

The Belgian Route

With new laws in the Netherlands making family reunification harder, Belgium is fast becoming the option of choice for Dutch wanting to bring in partners from outside the EU. An article in De Standaard brings several websites that detail how to make such a move.

All that's needed is a six month stay in Belgium, and then the Dutch couple can move back to the Netherlands.

Belgian politicians are calling to tighten the Belgian family reunification laws to match those of the Netherlands. Currently the Netherlands requires the immigrant partner to be at least 21 years old, and for the Dutch partner to earn 1300 euro a month (120% the minimum salary). In Belgium the age limit is set at 18, and the income requirement is around 800 euro.

The case for asylum seekers

What does a Western country say when it accepts an asylum seeker? An asylum seeker is more than just a refugee. He is not saying "I have no place to live, please let me come in". Rather, he is saying, "I will be immorally punished in my home country."

There are two issues here:
1. The asylum seeker will be punished for something the West does not consider punishable. For example, a political view.

2. The asylum seeker will be punished in a way that the West does not view as fitting the crime. For example, tortured or executed.

In both cases, the receiving Western country is actually saying: we are more moral than your home country. Your home country does not fit our standards. We are better.

The asylum seeker, in seeking asylum in such a country, is accepting upon himself the his new host country is indeed better. He is accepting their moral values.

The host country should not have it any other way. If an asylum seeker comes into the country, but admits openly that his own country's norms are ok by him, then there is no reason he should be given asylum.

For example, there was a case recently in the Netherlands when a person came in seeking asylum, and a couple of years later killed his sister in order to protect his family's honor. The man was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Putting aside the discussion on whether or not such a punishment fits the crime, as well as the discussion on whether the Dutch taxpayer should now be paying for this murderer's welfare - what will happen in 12 years' time?

This man has already shown that he does not think the Netherlands is a more moral country and that he accepts his own country's moral norms. In other words, he has abrogated his right to asylum.

Will the Netherlands kick him out?

Belgium: Immigrants to pay for their integration course

Flemish Integration Minister Marino Keulen is drawing up new integration legislation in which immigrant students will need to personally pay for their courses.

Employment Minister Frank Vandenbroucke is also moving to significantly boost the means with which employer associations can stimulate the recruitment of immigrant workers.

The most important change is that Keulen wants to make students pay for their integration course. The amount will depend on the student's financial means or those of his or her partner.

Whoever starts but fails to finish the course — which is designed to reduce social tension by integrating newcomers into Flemish society — will have to pay more.

Keulen also intends to make it compulsory for family unification and marriage immigrants to undergo an integration course.

The previous Flemish government thought such a regulation breached European and international treaties, but Keulen is of another opinion.

The Liberal VLD minister is also targeting immigrants who have been in Belgium for an
extended period of time. If they are unemployed, the immigrants will be offered an integration course.

Moreover, he will also urge parents to send their children to Flemish schools and not always to a vocational or technical school. He also wants to boost the number of immigrant children at non-compulsory pre-schools.

Meanwhile, Socialist SP.A Employment Minister Vandenbroucke said the employment level of immigrants in Flanders is disappointing and that the government had to invest more. He proposed strongly boosting the budgets of employers associations Voka and Unizo so that they can convince more companies to take on immigrant workers.

Hirsi Ali is ready with Submission II

The film will bring up the role of homosexuality in Islam, and will come out during 2006. Besides Ali herself, all workers and actors in the film will remain anonymous.

Ali's neighbors are recently complained of being inconvenienced by her security measures, which include an armored car and security cameras. One of her neighbors, who preferred to stay anonymous, was quotes as saying: "Day in and day out there are guards walking around, there's a car outside our window with the motor continuously running. I've had enough of it."

Italy arrests three terror suspects

Italian authorities have arrested three Algerians suspected of links to an Algerian militant group that has allied itself with Osama bin Laden, news agency ANSA has reported.

Investigators believe the three were "potential objectives" -- ready to attack -- and weren't merely in Italy to provide logistical support such as false documents, which has been a common accusation against terrorism suspects in Italy.

ANSA identified the three as Yamine Bouhrama, Khaled Serai and Mohamed Larbi.

ANSA said Bouhrama and Serai had lived in Norway with false documents obtained in France.

Netherlands: Police will register ethnic descent for family violence cases

Starting January, Dutch police will run an experimental program in two districts, recording the parentage of offenders and victims of domestic violence. The program will be run for half a year and is intended to check whether there is more violence by non-ethnic Dutch. If deemed successful, it will be extended to the entire country.

Police currently record only the country of birth, and do not record whether it is a case of 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants.

According to Dutch law, a woman who comes to the Netherlands for marriage and is later abused can get a residence permit, divorce her husband and still stay in the Netherlands.

Tariq Ramadan's Interview in Der Spiegel

Fjordman in his blog brings an interview by Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Muslim scholar.

Below is my analysis:

SPIEGEL: Is a tendency toward violence inherent to Islam? Isn't it true that many Muslims view jihad as an elementary part of Islamic identity?

Ramadan: Are the Crusades an elementary part of Christianity? No. Every community has the right to self-defense.

Ramadan doesn't answer the question and doesn't deny the 'accusation'. The answer ("no") is given to a completely different question ("Are the crusades an elementary part of Christianity?"). The next statement has no relation to the question.

SPIEGEL: Your words are like those of a rationalist, an enlightened theologian with purely intellectual ambitions. But in political reality, in France, Great Britain and the United States, you are suspected of secretly promoting the expansion of Islam and sympathizing with violence. Have you been eating chalk? Are you speaking with a forked tongue?

Ramadan: Oh yes, I am one of the most maligned Muslim intellectuals. Tariq Ramadan, the slippery trickster. They talk about people like me the way they used to talk about the Jews: He is Swiss and European, but his loyalties also lie elsewhere. He says one thing and thinks something else. He is a member of an international organization -- in the past, it was world Jewry, today it's world Islam. I am disparaged as if I were a Muslim Jew.

Again, Ramadan doesn't answer the question. He makes fun of it instead.

SPIEGEL: Could that have something to do with your family history? Your grandfather, Hassan al-Banna, was the founder of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, an organization that envisioned an Islamic fundamentalist transformation.

Ramadan: Thoughts are not genetically inherited traits. I admire my grandfather for his anti-colonial fight against the British. He was very involved in education for girls and women. His five daughters -- my aunts and my mother -- all attended university. And the organization he founded was very progressive for its time. However, I am highly critical of the Brotherhood, with its affected, conspiratorial behavior, its hierarchical structures and its oversimplified slogans.

Here we finally get an opinion from Ramadan - he's highly critical of the Muslim Brotherhood.

I will try to have the full interview analyzed within the next few days.

Amsterdam: Muslims demand explanations from police

Two Muslims who were detained on a train in Amsterdam on suspicion of terrorism are demanding explanations from the police. The two were detained, bound and blindfolded when fellow travelers called up police to report their strange behavior (ie, Muslim dress, preparations for prayer) and were released an hour later without any further explanation.

Ten of thousands of train travelers were inconvenienced by the incident as all train traffic in the area was stopped.

According to them: "A Muslim is assumed to be a terrorist and is handled as such. So we have seen, felt and experienced it now for real."

Fact and Fiction

In the “Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, Douglas Adams introduces the Ruler of the Universe. The perfect ruler, he does not want to rule the Universe. This man also has a very interesting view of “what is real”. He will not believe anything he does not see for himself. He even doubts his own memory.

Questioned about his method of ruling he answers thus:

"I only decide about my Universe," continued the man quietly. "My Universe is my eyes and my ears. Anything else is hearsay."

"But don't you believe in anything?"

The man shrugged and picked up his cat.

"I don't understand what you mean," he said.

"You don't understand that what you decide in this shack of yours affects the lives and fates of millions of people? This is all monstrously wrong!"

"I don't know. I've never met all these people you speak of. And neither, I suspect, have you. They only exist in words we hear. It is folly to say you know what is happening to other people. Only they know, if they exist. They have their own Universes of their own eyes and ears."

In today’s world, we usually have the feeling that we know everything. We have access to information that just a century ago would have been considered out of reach of most people. Events around the world are broadcast live for anybody to see.

And yet.. do we really know what’s happening?

In the blogsphere we inhibit - news come up fast, and once it hits one blog it spreads like wildfire. It is not always possible to trace down the source and sometimes it is impossible. How do we know what we read is true? Snouck asked me about my source for an article, but can I really verify that a news article is true? Can (or would) you believe me, if I did?

To take a case in point.. A recent article in the Sunday Times, for example, announced that a small town in the UK had decided to pass on Christmas lights this year in order not to offend other cultures. But the town’s site says this is a case of complete misunderstanding.

Was it really? It is impossible to know. One small item of “news” can roll on to extreme paranoia.

I try as much as possible to verify my facts. But on the internet, and however much we reach – we will always rely on others for our basic facts and information.

Happenings in Belgium

Belgium is still smoldering with various arson attacks taking place across the country over the past few days. Following is a partial list:

In Liege several cars were set aflame.

In Mouscron a school and butcher's shop sustained damage, while a truck was attacked with a molotov cocktail.

In Charleroi nine cars were set aflame, among them a hearse. Elsewhere a nursery was burned down.

A church was destroyed in Hainaut. The church will be closed till the damage is repaired. Three weeks ago posters at the entrance to the church were set on fire.

In Brussels last night, as part of the planned riots, five cars and two buses were burned down, as well as various trash cans.

Dutch Imam condems violence in France

In his Friday sermon Fawwaz, an Imam in The Hague, harshly condemned the violence in France. Comparing the situation of the Muslims to that of the enslaved Israel in Egypt, when Moses told the nation to be patient despite all the hardships and put their trust in God.

Racist actions on the side of the French police are no reason for violence, he said, and reminded his followers that in Muslim countries the government would have already responded with extreme violence to quell riots.

The imam condemned the riots not only on religious grounds, saying the riots were spreading destruction in the land, but also on logical grounds. Muslims should remember they're a minority and can be as easily injured by riots as well. They are also in danger of being kicked out of their host countries. The French might be racist - banning headscarves - but the Muslims can't complain of racism while they are themselves racist, dividing up according to their land of origin.

The imam accused the Muslim organizations of not dealing with the problems of the Muslim youth, saying those same organizations put more emphasis on getting subsidies from the government than on dealing with the real problems of the Muslim community.

The youth don't listen to the fatwas against the riots since those same organization have never spoken with the youth before.

Discrimination in Zwolle

A 37 year old resident of Zwolle complained of discrimination. Going out with friends to a cafe she was refused service. The cafe's house rules prohibit wearing hats, and the group had arrived with muslim head covering. The woman felt she was discriminated for her beliefs and religious convictions and therefore complained of discrimination. Police will be looking into the matter.

Cars burned in Rotterdam

Car burning has reached the Netherlands. Two cars were burned down in Rotterdam Saturday night, and another had a stone thrown through its window.

12 year sentence for "family honor" murder

A court in Arnhem, the Netherlands, sentenced an Iraqi-Kurdish man to 12 years in prison for murdering his younger sister. The sister, who has lived in the Netherlands since she was six, had a baby by a non-Muslim, which infuriated her family back in Iraq. Her brother, who came to the Netherlands as asylum seeker, threatend her and her boyfriend repeatedly, causing her to turn to the police for protection.

Murder in the Netherlands carries a punishment of up to 20 years. During the trial the court did take the murderer's 'background' into account.

Riots in Brussels

Around a hundred youth are rioting now in the center of Brussels. Two cars were set aflame, and 15 people were detained.

Calls these riots set to be on Saturday night had been circulating on the internet for the past week.


A recent conference in Bucharest dealt with the issues of integrating Islam into Europe. It is indeed a worthy goal, but it is a question: what do the organizers mean by 'integration'? A quick look through their schedule shows more of a push to teach Europeans about Islam rather than to explain to Muslims about the European society - its demands and expectations.

From the press release:
If we want to work on a Europe which is fit to live in for everyone, not only Muslims should become more active participants in society, but also European societies should open up more. We should somehow over think our self-image of Europe as a tolerant, liberal and secular union and realize how the situation really is today. It’s indispensable that we demand comparable rights for all religions, fight discrimination against minorities and create a righteous image about what ‘Europe’ or ‘Islam’ really means is and how they played their roles through history.

The final conference was meant as closing up of the project, but the team realised that they can not stop their efforts yet. Too many people are still interested to learn more about Islam and its integration in Europe and ideas for new events are still floating in. That means that our destiny is not fulfilled yet, or maybe we are still at the beginning. But hopefully all those initiatives will keep the project going for the next year(s)!

Arsonists were Belgian

Belgium is still suffering from nightly arson attacks - 15 cars were set on fire on Friday night - but it seems that not only the 'immigrant' community is involved. Two Belgians in their 30s were arrested for setting fire to a car in the East Flanders town of Sint-Niklaas.

Rotterdam councilman resigns over anti-Muslim comments

Rotterdam councilman Marco Pastors resigned after making anti-Muslim comments in an interview. Asked why he concentrated on Muslims and not on Christian immigrants such as those coming from the Dutch Antilles, Pastors said in the interview that Muslims use their religion as an excuse for criminal behavior and implied that Muslims only steal from non-Muslims.

He added that it was hard to deal with such issues due to the separation of Church and State and that he sees by Muslims an organized resistance to accepting Western norms and morals.

Islam, according to Pastors, has therefore earned special attention, and the Muslim immigrants are not just “regular people from another land”.

Criminologists and Islam scholars came out against Pastors’ claims, saying Islam forbids theft of any kind.

According to criminologist Hans Werdmijlder, Moroccans who don’t steal from other Moroccans do so because of greater social supervision inside their own communities, citing young criminals who said “I listen only to Allah and to my father.” Additionally, Moroccans who feel discriminated against by ‘whites’ might feel they’re repaying in kind by stealing only from whites. However, such behavior is considered racist by other Moroccans as well.

Islam scholar, Herman Beck concurs that Islams forbids theft, but adds that religion can be a handy excuse to mitigate your own mistakes.

The Dutch Police Institute will be undertaking a study to examine victimization in the non-Dutch community, thereby answering the question whether stealing is confined only outside the ethnic community.

Holland: housing by race?

A new study commissioned by the Housing ministry suggests reserving residences in different neigborhoods according to the applicant's ethnicity.

According to the study the probability that an immigrant out of non-Western countries - Marroco, Turky and Surinam - will end up in a a backwards neighborhood (ie, 'black') is more than twice that of an ethnic Dutch. Their chances of getting entrance to a mixed neighborhood are lower and their chances of finding a place in a 'white' neighborhood are negligble. The study suggests reserving residences in 'black' neighborhoods for ethnic Dutch, and reserving residences in mixed neighborhoods for immigrants.

Today, housing corporations choose candidates on the basis of income, time on the waiting list and family circumstances. Attempts to progress integration according to these criteria have proven unsuccessful. Ministry sources report that this study cannot be implemented in today's political climate.

Muslim school given last warning

Amsterdam based elementary school As-Siddieq received warning from the Education Minister that if it will lose government financing if it doesn't contribute more to integration and improve its management.

The warning came after parliamentary discusson on the book "Haram", a book written by a former teacher describing her experiences in the school. According to the book, the conservative and orthodox-Muslim management discourages any signs of Western of Christian culture, and all behavior is considered "haram" (ie, sinful). Christian holidays such as Sinterklas and Christmas were forbidden, as was make-up and flowers laid out in crosses.

The school inspector has already inspected the school and found the school follows the current regulations. However she found that too little thought was given to integration, which could later lead the kids to more radicalization.

A new law to come into effect on January 1st, 2006 requires schools to take an active part in forming social cohesion and integration, or lose financing.

President Rachit Bal of the Islamic School organization ISBO was surprised at the minister's threatening tone as the law is not yet in effect. According to him the school will make sure to follow the law and fulfill all requirements. He also expressed surprise that no mention of financial sanctions was made in discussions with the Education Ministry a month earlier.

Isolated fires in Belgium

Several cars and trucks were set on fire in Belgium Wednesday night. In Brussels three cars were burned with molotov cocktails. In Antwerp a truck was burned down. Witnesses described the culprits four North Africans and one Belgian. Several molotov cocktails were thrown at a metro ticket window but caused no damage. The fire department also had to deal with burning trash and several prank calls.

Cars were also burned down in Lokeren, in East Flanders.

In Gent the police picked up six suspects in the arson of the last days. The six admitted to arson and claimed they were inspired by the happenings in France.

Immigrants in the Netherlands - Fact and Figures

General Numbers

There are around 1.1 million 'traditional immigrants' in the Netherlands and around 560,000 asylum seekers. By 'traditional immigrants' the Dutch mean people from Turkey, Morocco, Surinam, Dutch Antilles and Aruba. Overall this comes to around 10% of the total population.

The numbers breakdown given is as follows:
Turkey - 32% of immigrants (359,000), 45% of which are second-generation
Morocco - 29% of immigrants (316,000), 47% of which are second-generation

Of the asylum seekers:
Iran - 37,000 (12% second-generation)
Afghanistan - 29,000 (17% second-generation)

Originally coming for jobs, most immigrants coming in from these countries are now immigrating for marriage. Of 55,600 requests for a residence permit, 75% gave family reunification as a reason. A quarter of those were from Turks and Moroccans. The total requests for this year stand now at 32,000, probably due to the stricter demands. In order to get a residence permit for family reunification reasons you must now be 21, and your Dutch partner must earn at least 120% of the minimum wage.

Both groups are on the average younger than native Dutch, for two different reasons. Turks and Moroccans have more kids, while most asylum seekers are themselves young, being between the ages of 20 and 35.


While the total number of children born in the Netherlands is steadily going down, the number of 'immigrant' kids is going up.

Numbers were first published in 2002. In that year there were 33,000 babies of 'non-Western' descent, divided as follows:
25% - Moroccan
20% - Turkish
14% - Surinamese
7% - Dutch Antilles or Aruba

2/3 of all non-western babies were born in the 25 big cities. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague almost half of the babies were non-western. In Leiden and Enschede 20% of the babies were of non-western descent. In Emmen only 7% were.

However, birth rates are going down by the immigrant population as well. The average kids per Moroccan woman went from 4.9 in 1990 to 23.28 in 2004. By Turkish women the average went from 3.2 to 2.26. Immigrant women are also having kids later. By Moroccan women the average age for a first child is now 25.5 (up from 23.5 in 1990) while for Turkish women the average is 24.2 (up from 21.8)

In 1996 47% of 16-year old mothers were of Dutch descent. In 2004 this number went up to 58%. By immigrants young motherhood is an exclusive phenomenon by immigrants from the Dutch Antilles or Surinam).

Traditional Opinions

Is there a problem for women to combine work with kids?

There was not much difference over this question between native Dutch and immigrants. Overall 25% of men think that there is, leaving 75% who disagree. Women don't think there's a problem with combining work and raising children:
Of Dutch women, 84% see no problem with it, by Moroccans - 86%, and by Turkish - 83%

The differences between the groups come with other traditional views.

Are women more suitable to raise kids?
By men:
Dutch - 49%
Turks - 72%
Marrocans - 64%

By women:
Dutch - less than 25%
Turks - 52%
Moroccans - 41%

Would you say it's obvious that you want kids? Answering in the affirmative:
Dutch - men 25%, women 14%
Turks - men 68%, women 56%
Moroccans - men 64%, women 40%

Family violence

Most women seeking refuge are of non-Dutch origin. In 2001 59% of those seeking refuge were non-Dutch.

However, 'Muslim violence' does not fully account for this. The breakdown according to groups:
Dutch - 41%
Moroccan - 13%
Turks - 8%
Surinam and Dutch Antilles - 11% (this last group being generally non-Muslim)

The violence by Dutch is going down while by the Turks and Moroccans it's going up.

In the past 6 years, 8 women were reported killed in cases of 'honor killings' (breakdown: 3 Turks, 4 Afghans, 1 Iraqi)

'Honor killings', unlike other types of violence, are not condemned by the society. According to this article, this was a common phenomenon also in Roman Catholic lands around the Mediterranean before 'modernization'.

Last fall, police conducted a study in two regions (Haaglanden and Zuid Holland Zuid) to see how many times "family honor" was involved in cases in which police were called in. Overall "family honor" was the reason 79 times. In 30 cases violence was threatened, in 26 cases violence used, and 11 cases ended in death.

About 1.5 million people live in those two regions, which is about 10% of all Dutch. Taking into account the percentage of immigrants living in those areas, this comes out to an approximation that yearly in the Netherlands there are 22 cases of violence due to 'family honor' ending with death.


In 1996, the Van Traa commission undertook a study to see if there is a link between non-Dutch and organized crime. It found that 75% of such criminal activity in the Netherlands was foreign, but this comes out to only 25 cases a year. Prostitution in most cases is not forced.

Just as the average Italian immigrant was in the past a victim of the mafia and not an ally, the commission found this true for other ethnic groups.

It also found that drug trade goes 'in general' by the minorities, Turks dealing with heroine, Moroccans with marijuana and immigrants from Surinam and the Dutch Antilles importing Cocaine from South America. Most of the immigrants dealing with drugs are not drug kingpins, but rather the couriers, street sellers, runners etc.

Today criminality by immigrants is seen as a sign of defective integrations. In 2005 the CBS first gave out numbers criminals and income/education.

For example, a young person who dropped out of school is 2.5 times more likely to come into contact with police due to a violent crime.

Contact with police:
Dutch - 1 percent
non-Dutch - 2.2%

Women - less than 1%

Dutch men - 1.6%, though from the 18-24 year olds the figure is 2.2%.
From the non-Dutch 18-24 year olds - 4.4% come into contact with police.

Split by 'source groups':
2nd generation Moroccans - 10.7%
Antilleans - 10.1%
1st generation Moroccans - 9.6%

Moroccans generally deal more with property crimes while Antilleans deal with women and drugs.

37.5% of crime suspects in 2002 were non-Dutch (up by 5% from the last statistical data), which is two times the normal population


Overall non-Dutch kids do worse in school than their Dutch counterparts. Drop-out rate by immigrants is 20% compared to 8% for Dutch kids.

Non-Dutch students have lower scores than their Dutch classmates. Figures from 2003 show a difference in 8 points for higher education and 12 points in vocational training schools.

95% of Dutch students taking pre-university education passed their exams while only 83% of Moroccans did so and only 73% of the Turks. Students from the Dutch Antilles passed at a rate of 90%.

Most non-Dutch go for vocational training, with 45% of students in that track being non-Dutch. 96% of Dutch students passed their exams. By 2nd generation Moroccans this was 89% and by Turks - 85%

In general women are more successful in school, getting scores higher by up to 6 points than their male counterparts.

Of those who chose to go into pre-university education, 90% of non-Dutch passed successfully while only 80% of the Dutch did the same. However, this did not mean that the immigrants continued on to higher studies. In the 18-20 year olds group, 53% of the Dutch are students, by Turks - 28% and by Moroccans - 23%.

Once starting university, success rates are not high, especially by the men. 60% of Moroccan women starting studies in 1995 had a diploma 6 years later, almost like the figures for Dutch men. By Moroccan men this was only 40%.

For Turkish women - 50% finished their studies, while less than 40% of men did.

Problems at the Foundation of Islamic Schools in Amsterdam

The staff and parents at three Muslim schools in Amsterdam, part of the Foundation of Islamic Schools in Amsterdam (Siba) network, have asked the Dutch Education Minister for help in either dismissing the school boards or otherwise stopping their subsidies. They are complaining about the lacking quality of education, with unqualified teachers often teaching classes and jobs being given by nepotism.

Siba was involved in a scandal last year when the foundation's president was held on suspicion of embezzeling half a milion euro of school subsidies.

There are 30 Muslim schools in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam there are 6 schools with around 2200 students.

Another night of unrest in Belgium

"A couple of small blazes do not make Gent into another Paris."

Newspapers in Belgium are still counting the cases of nightly violence, which has begun to spread from Brussels to other areas in the country. In ten separate incidents, cars and trucks were put on fire in Gent, Antwerp, Brussels and Liege. A couple of cellars were also put to flame. A molotov cocktail was thrown at a car in central Brussels, but did not catch fire.

Two 'foreign-minority' Belgian youngsters of 17 and 19, apparently injured by their own fire bomb, were arrested in Antwerp. Police are calling on people not to panic and not to overreact.

According to new sources, the 'incidents' in Belgium started after a Marrocan kid was shot dead on Saturday, having waved a pistol, later found to be a dummy, at police.

The French Way

The Arab European League is an extremist Arab group working in France, Belgium and Holland and claiming to be fighting only for the rights of Muslims and Arabs to be treated equally.

Dyab Abou Jahjah, its founder and leader, posted several days ago his thoughts on the riots in France, comparing them to the French revolution. The rioters, after all, only want Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

The needs of a person, or a society, can be divided into two – the physical and the spiritual. The physical needs, such as food and shelter, are a pre-requisite to the spiritual needs, such as dignity and respect. The most basic spiritual need is identity. Identity is not just a name, it's a sense of "belonging" to a certain group - family, culture, nation etc.- that rewards that person with a "station" in society, a form of respect, which is a basic need.

A person, and a society, can give only after its basic needs are met.

In "Western", ie liberal, culture, a person's identity is respected exclusive of his political citizenry. Even when countries like France, Spain or Britain control numerous peoples with unique identities, each one can live in "its area" and retain a measure of identity and freedom, as long as the government doesn't feel threatened. The problem with immigrants is that they come with a "baggage" of non-aboriginal culture. Any immigrant should feel thankful for the opportunity to be accepted into his new country of residence. He should realize that, at least for a while, he'd be a burden on society. This is true whether the immigrant is coming to fill low-paying temporary jobs, or whether the immigrant is coming as a knowledge-worker.

In addition, some segments of the native population will perceive the newcomers as taking jobs from the locals, irrelevant if that is a justified accusation or not. For these reasons and many more, an immigrant has less rights socially, irrelevant of the spirit of the law.

Society justly views its nation as its family; its country as its home - it expects that its guests won’t abuse their hospitality. An immigrant may season the French culture with "ethnic" foods, but altogether they're expected to assimilate. The problem with a massive influx of immigrants is that they inevitably threaten the identity of the host society. The problem with a massive influx of Moslem immigrants is that they don't care. Abou Jahjah calls these riots a “soft expression” and threatens with a “harder” response, however a normal person who’s threatened won't give to his threatener.

But in France of today, you can find no Liberty, certainly no equality and anything but fraternity. France betrayed its republican values and embraced the values of oppression, social exclusion and internal war mongering.

According to Webster’s, fraternity is defined as: "a group of people with the same beliefs or joined together by common interests". Immigrants who do not want to share the same beliefs as the French people and who do not have common interests with them, do not fit into this category.

Abou Jahjah claims that Islamic culture upholds liberty and equality. That it believes in "respect of others and their ideals" or practices "a context where discrimination is a total absurdity; exclusion is unheard of and racial hierarchy a crime". However, he gives no example of such a Moslim country, either in the past or present. He can’t, as it doesn’t exist.

By equating the riots to the French Revolution, Abou Jahjah does a disservice to the virtuous issue he claims to be defending - the social acceptance of Muslims by the French people. This equation is nothing less then sacrilege, it is spitting on an icon of French culture.

"Rights" given by a government is its obligation; those given by society are an act of benevolence. They cannot be forced. It is a statement of acceptance into that society when that society is willing to treat an immigrant as their own. But a society cannot do that unless the immigrant aspires to be part of his host community.

Brussels Unrest

In various places in and around Brussels there were 'incidents' tonight.

In Brussels a car was overturned. A police and bus station were attacked with molotov-cocktails. Three cars were burned in Sint-Gillis and Sint-Niklaas. There were also reports of other 'incidents' in Schaarbeek, Sint-Joost, Vorst and Molenbeek as well as Liège.

These include burning or otherwise assaulting cars, throwing stones at buses.

A molotov-cocktail was thrown at a Vlaams Belang office in Brugge

Sweden: You Muslims may need our support, but we need your Jihad

Ahmed Rami, a Morrocan who gained political asylum in Sweden, has already served six months in prison for incitement against Jews. His website is host to anti-Jewish rhetoric, though Swedish prosecutors could not prove his responsibility for the site.

In a recent interview on Al-Manar, Rami quotes Jan Myrdal, a Swedish author, as saying: 'You Muslims may need our support, but we need your Jihad. Otherwise, whom will we support?'

Rami was interviewed by the European Jewish Press, and in that interview Rami expressed support for Ahmadinejad, who had called to "wipe Israel off the map".

Rami said he supports the Iranian leader’s ideas but would have formulated it in “a more diplomatic way”.

"I do not have problems with the Swedish justice but rather with the Jews," he said. "I think Judaism is criminal and racist. You are the new Nazis.”

Rami also said that he supported Osama Bin Laden adding that, "Bin Laden made a big mistake by attacking America. I would have personally attacked Tel Aviv because the American people are innocent, they are just victims of the Jews."

His words echo similar comments made in an interview broadcast on 30 September on the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar.

In the interview he stated that "Judaism is not a religion and that it is a criminal and dangerous mafia."

He also said that he is “fighting for freedom of speech for everybody in Sweden”.

“The Koran says that our battle is with the Jews. Zionism is not mentioned in the Koran. Our war is against the Jews,” he added.

European Intifada? (update)

Riots raged on for the 11th night in a row in France, including pellet gun shots at police. To the North, five cars were torched in a Brussels suburb and five more in Berlin.

Meanwhile, in Germany and Italy politicians are warning the riots might spread to their countries as well.

And while in France politicians are discussing what can be done:
On Thursday evening, local officials complained loudly about dithering and politicking among national officials after Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin briefed them about an "action plan for the suburbs" he aimed to present later this month.

"Many of us told him this isn't the time for an umpteenth plan," said Jean-Christophe Lagarde, mayor of Drancy in the riot-hit region. "All we need is one death and I think it will get out of control."

A man in his sixities died of his wounds tonight, after being beaten by the rioters on Friday.

Who's Responsible?

Hint: It can't be the Muslims

UOIF's chairman Lhaj Thami Breze cast doubt over the parties behind the accelerating violence.

He accused several parties, including far-rightists and Zionist lobby, of fishing in the troubled water to "smear the image of Muslims and Arabs".

The Muslim leader said many of the incidents involving the burning of public properties remain ambiguous.

"The rioting, which started as a spontaneous reaction, is not like that anymore. Some parties are feeding these incidents," Breze charged.

"The perpetrators of such actions can never be Muslims," he averred.

The good memories

An Israeli who had lived in a Paris suburb tells of her memories, and of why she understands the youth rioting.

Living almost a decade ago in a suburb where 60% of the residents were Muslim, most of North-African descent, she reminisces of the warm and welcoming community she had found there. Living in a rather large Jewish community, she felt no hatred and always found help and respect by her Muslim neighbors. The hatred that had finally caused her to return to Israel, came from the French.

However, she says, the youth were always a problem. A 'ticking bomb' with no employment opportunities, and it was only a question of when that bomb would blow up.

Working in the center of Paris, she witnessed many demonstrations. Every demonstration ended with broken shop windows, stones thrown on cars, damage to parked motorcycles and turned-over garbage cans, along with plundering (of course). It went on for years, but the French government did nothing to take care of the problem. Now many in France wonder where the hatred and anger are coming from.

She does understand the anger. According to her, the writing was on the wall. The problem was that nobody wanted to even look at it, much less read it.

Molotov cocktail factory found near Paris

French police discovered a molotov cocktail factory next to Paris. According to the Bangkok Post police found there 50 molotov cocktails ready for use, 100 emtpy bottles and 60 liters of gasoline. The factory was found in a closed down police station.

Fire at Schiphol Airport - Arson

A fire at a Schiphol Airport detention center seems to have been caused deliberately. The suspected arsonist is a young Libiyan who was set to be deported the next day.

The French Intifada

For the 10th night in a row, Muslims rioted in France. Cars, shopping malls and schools were torched.


Reading the news sites, the answer is obvious. The immigrants are suffering from poverty, unemployment and discrimmination. Makes sense, until you realize that France had several massive strikes just this last month, to protest unemployment. Organized by the workers' unions, these protests had the support of more than 80% of the French.

The government, however, is starting to suspect the riots are organized by crimminals and Islamic militants.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, when police stopped a man on the street, nearby youths threated police with France-like riots if the police did not leave.

Birmingham Muslim graves desecrated

At least 45 Muslim grave stones have been smashed and pushed over in a cemetery in the British city of Birmingham.

It is interesting to see what the local MP says about it:
Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood was also at the cemetery. He said: "These are disgraceful events, deliberately done to entice people. They are definitely trying to cause more problems particularly on this day when Muslim people are coming to pay their respects."

The graves were desecrated not to insult or hurt the Muslim community, but to entice them. Entice them to what?

Plot in Holland - Shoot Down El-Al Plane

Dutch TV program Nova reports Samir Azzouz, 19-year-old son of Moroccan immigrants, allegedly plotted to shoot down an El-Al airliner at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. In video transcription on Nova’s website, Azzouz quoted as calling Dutch government ‘crusaders who supported Bush; we will, by Allah, take revenge - we will spill your blood here as you helped steal the riches of Muslims in Israel’

Samir has taped a testament where he leaves messages for his family, co-terrorists, the Dutch government and the Dutch people. The following is translated from the Nova site:

Another part of his testament is addressed to the government. "I say to you that between you and us only the language of the sword will count till you will leave Muslims in peace and choose the way of peace," so says Samir.

At the end of his taped testament Samir addresses the Dutch: "You are considered like fighters because you have chosen this government. Your fortune and your blood are permitted to us."