Malmö: Rosengård report under attack

Three academics who demanded to see the source material behind a controversial new report on religious and poltical extremism in the Malmö suburb of Rosengård have been told that the material no longer exists.

Researchers Leif Stenberg, Anders Ackfeldt and Dan-Erik Andersson from the Centres for Middle East Studies and Human Rights Studies at Lund University, were told by the Swedish National Defence College (SNDC) that the source material had been destroyed.

"That's bad enough. But what's worse is that the Rosengård district in Malmö has one again been the centrepoint of clichéd and poorly grounded assertions," the researchers write in an article published by newspaper Sydsvenskan.

The authors of the report, Magnus Ranstorp and Josefine Dos Santos from the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, describe how "ultra-radical" Islamists attached to basement mosques "preach isolation and act as thought controllers while also maintaining a strong culture of threats, in which women in particular are subjected to physical and psychological harassment."

The 30-page report, entitled "Threat to Democracy and Values - A Snapshot from Malmö," is based on interviews with 30 people working in the city, including the police, secret service, social services and teachers.

Lars Nicander, the investigative head of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies, confirmed on Friday that the source material had been destroyed.

"We did it because it contained sensitive information about private individuals. Even if the names were removed it would be easy to identify them," Nicander said.

The researchers had promised their subjects that the interviews would be destroyed since some of them had previously been exposed to threats, Nicander said.

He added that the report was not a scientific study but that the authors had used scientific methods.

"The primary aim was to work with tested scientific methods to give a view of the situation, as requested by the government," he said.

Nicander dismissed the Lund researchers' criticism of the report as a manifestation of "academic jealousy".

"It's clearly not allowed to problematise this. They're not attacking the facts but they immediately interpret the report as an outbreak of Islamophobia.


Source: The Local (English)

See also: Malmö: Rosengård 'growing more radical'

UK: Muslim population growing

The Muslim population in the UK is undoubtedly growing.  The question is by how much.

Barely a year ago the home secretary said that there might be as many as 2 million Muslims in the country, an increase of 400,000 in seven years.  This article claims there are now 2.4 million Muslims, an increase of 500,000 in four years.

In order to know how much of an increase there was, we need to look at how many Muslims there were four and seven years ago.  Regarding this point, the data between the two articles is quite different.  One claims that there were 1.6 million Muslims in 2001, according to the census, while this one says there were just over one million in 2004.  Did the census overestimate the number of Muslims in 2001?  


The Muslim population in Britain has grown by more than 500,000 to 2.4 million in just four years, according to official research collated for
The Times.

The population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society, the research by the Office for National Statistics reveals. In the same period the number of Christians in the country fell by more than 2 million.

Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam during the period of 2004-2008, when the data was gathered. They said that it also suggested a growing willingness among believers to describe themselves as Muslims because the western reaction to war and terrorism had strengthened their sense of identity.

Muslim leaders have welcomed the growing population of their communities as academics highlighted the implications for British society, integration and government resources.


The total number of Muslims in Great Britain:

2004: 1,087,000

2005: 2,017,000

2006: 2,142,000

2007: 2,327,000

2008: 2,422,000


Source: Times Online (English), h/t Daniel Pipes

See also: UK: Officials think Muslim population is 2 million

Germany: Terror threats by German-Muslim

This is the sinister face of Osama bin Laden's German Al-Qaeda terrorist – who is threatening to launch bomb attacks in Germany.

Bekkay Harrach (31), dubbed the 'Bonn Bomber', is considered a specialist in remote-controlled bombs, and made his alarming threats in an internet terror video.

With his face covered in a black turban and with his index finger raised, "Abu Talha the German" promises in the video to launch an attack in Germany before this year's Bundestag elections.

Speaking in perfect German, the terrorist sent a chilling message: "Our atom bomb is the car bomb."

The Al-Qaeda video was intended to spread fear around the world, and the German BKA federal police agency has talked about a "new quality".

Now BILD can tear away the veil from German-Moroccan Bekkay Harrach.

He looks like a slight young man with brown eyes, full lips and prominent ears.

The picture was taken when he was about 20, when he went to a night school in Bonn.

From 2002-2004, he studied laser technology and business mathematics in Koblenz. He was already noticeable then to the authorities, who were aware of his radical Islamist views.

In 2007, Harrach travelled to the tribal area on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. After secret training, he rose to become Al-Qaeda's chief planner of attacks abroad.

Harrach, a Morrocan who became a nationalised German in 1997, is now at the top of American most wanted lists.

They believe that he and his German wife Elisabeth (29), a convert to Islam, and their son Hamsa (2) are hiding in the inaccessible mountains in the lawless Pakistani region of Waziristan.


Source: Bild (English)

Netherlands: Tougher approach on FGM

Netherlands: Tougher approach on FGM

Parents who have their daughter circumcised in their land of origin will be prosecuted and sent to prison. 

State Secretary Bussemaker (health) wants to end this practice with this tough approach.  She wants families who visit their land of origin to sign a contact which states that genital mutilation is criminal in the Netherlands.  Bussemaker is targeting in particular risk-countries, such as Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia, where this happens frequently.

The Labor State Secretary will consult with her Justice colleagues to successfully regulate the new approach.  a contract is according to her more useful than inspecting all girls who come back from a trip to risk countries, as argued by the VVD.

Bussemaker copied the new approach from France, where according to her many girls are kept from circumcision.  the number of complaints against parents who allowed or committed female circumcision in the Netherlands is small.  In the past three years, there have only been four complaints.  Between the summer of 2007 and the spring of 2008, there have been 44 reports about girls who ran the risk of being circumcised.  Bussemaker fears that these reports might be just the tip of the iceberg.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

See also:
* Netherlands: Doctor calls to allow light form of female circumcision
* Netherlands: Imams against female circumcision
* Netherlands: restoring virginity

Netherlands: Family of criminals in the police

Netherlands: Family of criminals in the police

Some new immigrant agents of the Hollands-Midden police department appear to be family of known and repeating criminals.  This became clear from investigations in the police register by alarmed agents.

Family names of new colleagues, identical to those of known criminals, caused alarm by the experienced police officers.  One of the alarmed agents asks how it appears to detectives and police agents when the brother of a suspect works by the police and can inspect all police systems.

According to the agents, until recently it was unthinkable that a brother of sister of a notorious criminal will be accepted to the police.  The agents also fear problems if these new colleagues would have to arrest a criminal family member or record a complaint about them.  "Should you expect an agent to tack down and prosecute his own family members?"

According to commissioner Jan Stikvoort immigrants come more often from large families.  "In large families you meet somebody who has been in trouble with the police more quickly than in smaller family," writes Stikvoort on the intranet.  For the department head that is not always a reason to reject somebody.

Department head Stikvoort has meanwhile forbidden agents to investigate new colleagues on their own.  "this behavior is not honest, in conflict with the oath of office and therefore undesirable."

Henri Lenferink, in charge of the police, has given orders to investigate all agents who've been recruited in recent years.  "If you're no good, you're out".

The Hollands-Midden police has taken up a special project to recruit immigrant agents.  The department wants to be a reflection of society.  Chairman Ron Tournier of the ANPV police union speaks of "a nasty business".  "As police you must be pure and transparent.  Now you bring in potential problems through the back-door," according to Tournier.  He says he knows of cases of agents who were rightly fired because of a criminal family member.  Tournier adds that you can't do this to colleagues who do everything to arrest criminals.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

Belgium: Muslim Executive to get increased subsidy

Belgium: Muslim Executive to get increased subsidy

Parliament Member Ben Weyts (N-VA) asked Justice Minister Stefaan De clerck yesterday [Wednesday] in the justice parliamentary committee why he increased the subsidy to the Belgian Muslim Executive (EMB) from 150,000 euro to 200,000 euro, "while the operation of the executive is still faulty."  the minister answered that the executive will reorganize, reports Weyts.

De Clerck admitted that there were problems in the past years with the activity of the Muslim Executive.  But the EMB still functioned as far as Muslim teachers, Muslim consultants in penitentiaries and the recognition of a number of mosques.  "For which purpose financial means are also necessary," according to De Clerck.  The means will only be granted after the EMB submits a financial plan, according to the minister.

The Muslims were asked to formulate proposals regarding a reorganization of the Executive.  De Clerck will meet with the Executive about this issue in the near future.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

Cambridge: Study of Muslim women in Europe

Cambridge: Study of women in Europe

The study "Europe's Muslim women: potential aspirations and challenges" is available for download.


Muslim women in Europe are proud to live in and belong to Europe, despite facing a daily struggle against prejudice from both within and outside their own communities, a new research suggests.

The study, carried out at the University of Cambridge, indicates that Muslim women believe life in Europe has given them freedom, opportunities and security.

It also reveals that an emerging generation of Muslim women are becoming increasingly independent and are determined to assert their right to a full education, a career and to follow their own dreams.

The study, however, adds that many do so in the face of archaic patriarchal cultural traditions on the one hand, and discrimination and suspicion from the non-Muslim majority population on the other.

These challenges, combined with the relatively poor family backgrounds of many European Muslim women, threaten to limit their social mobility, whatever their aspirations.

The study, titled Europe's Muslim women: potential aspirations and challenges, was commissioned by the King Baudouin Foundation and carried out by Dr Sara Silvestri, a Research Associate at Cambridge University's Von Huegel Institute.


Source: Times of India (English)

BREAKING: Hizbullah terror attack in Europe thwarted

BREAKING: Hizbullah terror attack in Europe thwarted

I'll update once there's more information.


A massive Hizbullah terror attack against an Israeli target in Europe has been thwarted, Israel announced Wednesday.

Security officials said that the attack was foiled in a joint operation between Israel and a foreign intelligence agency.

Channel 2 quoted an Israeli official as saying, "We prevented a massive tragedy."


Source: JPost (English)

Malmö: Rosengård 'growing more radical'

Malmö: Rosengård 'growing more radical'

A majority of Rosengård's inhabitants believe the troubled Malmö suburb has undergone a radicalization over the past five years, a new study shows.


The vast majority of respondents were of the view that the predominantly immigrant suburb had become considerably more radical over the last five years.

Ranstorp and Dos Santos describe how "ultra-radical" Islamists attached to basement mosques "preach isolation and act as thought controllers while also maintaining a strong culture of threats, in which women in particular are subjected to physical and psychological harassment."

"Newcomer families who were never particularly traditional or religious say they lived more freely in their home countries than they do in Rosengård," the researchers write.

Rosengård district committee chairman Andreas Konstantinides (SocDem) said he shared the researchers' concerns about "thought police" controlling the climate of expression in the area.

"I actually think these radical individuals are limited in number. But they exert an influence through manipulation and exploiting the situation."

Konstantinides said he viewed the moderate Muslim majority, who are irritated and concerned by the radicals, as a resource with which to counteract their rise.

"We need to try to mobilize the forces for good. We cooperate well with the Islamic Center, for example, which runs the main mosque in Malmö," he said.

Integration and Equality Minister Nyamko Sabuni reacted strongly to the report.

"It is completely unacceptable that there are fundamentalist groups in Rosengård prescribing child marriage, harassing women who don't wear headscarves and encouraging young people to isolate themselves from society. Swedish laws, rights and equality apply to everybody, including the residents of Rosengård," Sabuni said in a statement.


Source: The Local (English)

See also:
* Malmö: Disturbances calm down
* Malmö: Disturbances continue after mosque eviction
* Malmö: Mosque evicted
* Malmö: Youth protest mosque eviction
* Grab-bag

Denmark: Demonstrators complain about police behavior

Denmark: Demonstrators complain about police behavior

On Jan. 13th about 110 demonstrators were arrested during a pro-Gaza demonstration in
Copenhagen. Police are now facing several complaints regarding their conduct.

One which garnered national attention is the case of a Danish-Palestinian who claimed the police called him 'perker' (derogatory name for Pakistanis). According to him the agent shouted at him: 'Now sit down, or I'll sit you down by force. Do you get it, perker?! Do you get it?!' The police agent claimed in response that he said 'perle' (pearl, ie, 'gem').

The incident was put up on YouTube, Facebook groups popped up about it. Anita Ågerup Jervelund of the Danish Language Committee, says 'perle' is now at its way to becoming a slang word for 'immigrants'.

T-shirt designer Martin Sundstrøm came out with several new designs, for example this one: "I'm also a perle".

According to some experts, the agent said 'perk' [I have no idea what that means..].

The second case is of Mohammed Hamad (23), a teaching student, says he was called an ape by the police. He was also arrested in the demonstration. He told a female agent that he couldn't sit on the asphalt due an injury. She brought in a male colleague and after a short discussion he told Hamad: 'sit down, you ape! Or I'll sit you down by force!'.

According to the DRC (Documentation and Advise Center on Race Discrimination) the newest case is that a girl arrested by the police was told to take her headscarf off in order to be photographed. The girl viewed this as harassment. DRC says that there are precedents for getting an ID photo taken with a headscarf on, as long as the face is visible.

Sources: Ekstrabladet 1, 2, 3, 4; Politiken; BT (Danish), h/t Hodja

Where's my commission?

Where's my commission?

Earlier I posted about the atheists' planned campaign in the Netherlands. Asked by Dutch newspaper AD if they're planning anti-Allah signs, the head of the humanistic think-tank CFI, Floris van den Berg, said that for now they're ruling it out, as it would cause fiercer reactions.

In the comments, I suggested that anti-Allah signs would not be directed at Muslims if the campaign would put up signs against all deities.

technically, atheists could have come out with an inclusive campaign mentioning Allah. For example: "there is no God, no matter what you call him: God, Yahweh, Allah etc. etc." (...) They could have a name on every bus. Luckily for them, I don't run their campaigns..

But as it turns out, I very well could have. An article in Reformatorisch Dagblad says as follows:

If it's up to him [Van den Berg] the campaign would be expanded and made more specific towards the different religions in the Netherlands. "Then there will be specific buses with an ad against God, Allah and Yahweh. We therefore aren't ruling out the arrival of anti-Allah slogans for certain. Currently the slogan will however stay: 'There is probably no God. Dare to live and enjoy this life!'"

That at first there won't be buses with anti-Allah text driving about is explained thus by Van den Berg: "The term God is also a sort of container-concept. But if the campaign goes well, more will follow. The second reason why we start with this expression is because Christians are more accustomed to it. Muslims are more likely to react fiercely. I am therefore also more afraid of angry Muslims than angry Christians."


AD had apparently decided to focus on the present and not on Van den Berg's future plans. Or in other words, yet again took a quote out of context.

Still, I'd like my commission..

See also: Netherlands: Atheist campaign doesn't plan anti-Allah signs

Italy: 600 girls in risk of FGM

At least 600 children are at risk of infibulation, an extreme form of female genital mutilation in Italy, according to conservative MP and president of Italy's Association of Moroccan Women, Souad Sbai.

"Every year in Italy there are 600 children, daughters of immigrants, that are at risk of infibulation and it all happens in total silence," said Sbai, while presenting a report by her organisation, Acmid-Donna.

"Here at Acmid-Donna have decided to sound the alarm about infibulation because unfortunately we have noticed that the practice has anything but ceased or been relegated to marginal communities of immigrants in Italy."

Sbai also spoke about the number of infibulated children after the approval of the 2006 Consolo law, enacted to prevent and prohibit female genital mutilation.

"We are particularly concerned about the rising number of infibulated children even after the Consolo law," she said.

However, Sbai said that the law was not enough to stop the cruel practice of female genital mutilation.

"Besides laws, we need to take strong action to oppose this tribal and wicked practice which has nothing to do with religions and is tied only to African cultural traditions," she said.

Sbai also accused Egyptian and Somali imams of influencing the immigrant community and the importance of making public opinion aware of the problem by starting a preventative policy.


Source: AKI (English)

See also:
* Italy: Stories of polygamous marriages
* Italy: Moroccan activist claims abuse of Muslim women

Netherlands: Geert Wilders calls to ban the Koran, reprint

Netherlands: Geert Wilders calls to ban the Koran, reprint

About a year and a half ago, Geert Wilders wrote a letter to Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant titled "Enough is Enough: Ban the Koran".  In this article he called to ban the Koran, writing that it is the 'Islamic Mein Kampf'.  At the time I posted a translation of this letter.  Since Geert Wilders is now about to be prosecuted for it, I thought people would want to see what the fuss is all about:

Wilders: Enough is enough

Belgium: Charges dropped on Israel-Nazi comparison

Belgium: Charges dropped on Israel-Nazi comparison

The Belgian court of appeals in Brussels found two of those who were responsible for the website of the Belgian Islamic Center (Centre islamique belge, CIB) guilty for inciting to racial hatred.  In total they stood trial for six charges.

29 year old Abdel R. (Rahman Ayachi) and 33 year old Raphaël G. (Gendron) each got a fine of 2000 euro, half of which is conditional.  The court dismissed two charges of Holocaust denial, as the defense attorney, Sébastien Courtoy, requested.

The judge in the first instance sentenced the accused for ten months, half conditional and a fine of 25,000 euro, for all charges.

The most important charge for Holocaust denial involved a video montage of a minute which was circulated on, the CIB website.  In it the rhetoric and gestures of the former Israeli Foreign Minister, David Levi, were compared to those of Adolf Hitler.  Parallels were also drawn between the military actions of the Nazi troops and certain operations of the Israeli army.

The document was drawn-up by Lebanese students and circulated abroad.  The two accused copied it and circulated it in Belgium.

The court took into consideration Friday that the accused "hadn't the intention at all to deny, minimize, justify or approve the genocide by the Germany national-socialist regime during World War II.  On the contrary,namely to remind and to emphasize its atrocities by a comparison which can appear shocking, and which they blame the Israeli government."

The civil charges by the Center for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CGKR), and those of two people, on an individual basis, were accepted.  34 others were rejected.  

The CGKR considers the decision "encouraging in the fight against racism on the internet".  The CGKR lodged the complaint in 2002 against unknowns and as a civilian party in 2004.

"The court of appeals clearly stated that the publication of such statements which incite to hate and violence, are unacceptable, regardless if the owners of the website are also its authors," responds Jozef De Witte, head of the center.

Since the case started, moved to Asia under a different name, which makes prosecution difficult.  "Such prosecution requires international judicial cooperation and through today there's talk of a number of initiatives in the right direction, that case demonstration that a lot of work must be done in the fight against cyber-hate." according to De Witte.

Sources: HLN 1, 2 (Dutch)

See also: Belgium: conviction for hatred site

Netherlands: Immigrants fear 'white' neighborhoods

Netherlands: Immigrants fear 'white' neighborhoods

Many Turkish and Moroccan Dutch are afraid of moving to a 'white' neighborhood, a neighborhood with mostly ethnic Dutch.  They fear being lonely there and fear that neighborhood residents will look away from them.  The hardened social climate feeds this fear.

This according to a report "You can't buy good neighbors" ('Goede buren kun je niet kopen') published Tuesday by the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (available for download as PDF)

It is partially based on group talks with Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and Antillean Dutch about their ambitions and experiences in the housing market.

The immigrants also fear that every now and then they would have to prove themselves as immigrant or Muslims in 'white' neighborhood.  Even if they have enough money to go live in another neighborhood, they decide to stay in their own neighborhood.

Their family members live there and all the facilities, such as Islamic butcher and Turkish bakery, are nearby.  Moreover the city renewal project means that housing in the old neighborhoods is becoming better and that the neighborhood is better maintained.

Despite their fear of moving to a 'white' neighborhood, more immigrants prefer a mixed neighborhood, where Dutch of all cultures live.

Experience shows that ethnic Dutch leave when immigrants come to live in their neighborhood.  Moreover 40% of the ethnic Dutch prefer not to have immigrant neighbors.  

Source: AD (Dutch)

See also:
* Netherlands: Higher risk of schizophrenia for immigrants in mixed neighborhoods
* Netherlands: Satisfaction with population composition - Dutch/immigrants
* Holland: housing by race?


People feel unsafe by what they see and hear in the media about big terror attacks, while regular Muslims detect these acts as well. Moreover, we don't know each other well and ignorance breeds contempt.

"We can't deny that for forty years we ignored the Muslims. But now we are making efforst, such as recognizing mosques. I also want to stress that roll of education. Language is a very important theme, because through language the opportunities for work, an income and a place in society increase.

Flemish minister of Integration Marino Keluen, on a study showing that half of the Flemish fear Islam and Muslims.

Source: De Standaard (Dutch), h/t LVB

Oslo: Muhammad most popular boy's name

Oslo: Muhammad most popular boy's name

Statistics Norway published the most popular names for boys and girls in Oslo in 2008.  Muhammad has been the top name for several years now.


120 boys were named Mohammad last year.  The name was written in many different ways, but these are added together in the statistics.  In 2007 Mohammad was also the most popular boy's name in the capital.

Outside the capital, however, very few were named Mohammad.  Just 56 boys got this name in the rest of the country.

Statistics Norway says that it's not a new phenomenon that many choose to name their son after the prophet Mohammad, but don't know why it's so popular.

"I tried to talk to people of Pakistani origin and got two different stories.  Some said that Mohammad is considered as a type of title.  Some said that it's relatively religious.  The more modern use it like a name like we're used to," says Jørgen Ouren of Norway Statistics to Østlandssendingen.

The next most popular boy's name in Oslo was Jakob.  76 boys got this name.

By girls Sara and Sofie are the most popular names.  75 and 73 girls got these names respectively in 2008.

Source: Nettavisen (Norwegian)

See also: Oslo: Muhammad most popular boy's name

Netherlands: Atheist campaign doesn't plan anti-Allah signs

Netherlands: Atheist campaign doesn't plan anti-Allah signs

Atheists in the UK recently came out with a bus campaign.  The campaign spread to Spain and was banned in Italy.  Now it's coming to the Netherlands.

The Catholic Church in Spain and Italy claimed that signs saying "there's probably no God" are an attack on all religions.  Though these signs don't single out any specific God, I don't think any non-Christians objected. 



"With the campaign, we don't want to make people upset, but to get them thinking," says Van den Berg [head of the humanistic think-tank CFI].  "Religion has a privileged status in our society.  We want to show in a positive manner that not believing is completely normal and that also atheists can be happy".

Van den Berg says they already received dozens of mails from sympathizers.  According to him, just one bus driver in London refused to drive an atheist bus.

For now he's ruling out that there will also be anti-Allah slogans on buses.  "That can evoke fiercer reactions."


Source: AD (Dutch)

Sweden: 9 citizens held abroad for terrorism

Sweden: 9 citizens held abroad for terrorism

More and more Swedes are being detained abroad on suspicions of involvement in terrorism, Sweden's foreign ministry reports.

Currently, nine Swedish citizens suspected or convicted of terrorism are being held in other countries.

"In recent years, we've seen an increase in a variety of such crimes. It most often involves a deprivation of liberty but can also involve information about people who've been killed in an area where terrorism is being fought or information about the finding of a Swedish passport in such an area," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs consular section deputy director Helmer Broberg to Sveriges Radio (SR).

Broberg believes the increase is a reflection of the fact that more resources are being devoted globally to fight terrorism.

He added that terrorism cases are harder to work with compared to other cases because secrecy can make it hard for the foreign ministry to get information.


Source: The Local (English)

Denmark: Brother arrested for threatening to kill sister

Denmark: Brother arrested for threatening sister

It took some doing to find an article about this case which mentioned the two are immigrants.


A 21 year old man from Esbjerg was imprisoned today for four weeks on suspicion of serious threats.

On Saturday in Esbjerg the young man threatened to kill his sister (23), and he was arrested yesterday.

The two have non-Danish backgrounds and the police know of similar cases.

"I can say as much, that the threats were connected to disagreement about a way of life.  There are some cases that we focus on, and that we take very seriously," syas deputy police commissioner Lars Bjerregaard of the South Jutland police to

He notes that the police are currently investigating the case.

Source: DR (Danish)

Wales: Support group for new Muslims

Wales: Support group for new Muslims

A CHRISTIAN who reverted to Islam has founded a support group to help newcomers to the faith tackle negative stereotypes about terrorism.

Abdur Rahman – who was brought up as a Christian in Cardiff and became a Muslim six years ago – said the scheme was aimed at helping people come to terms with the effects of their decision.

"We are helping people cope with a whole new belief system," the 57-year-old from Cathays told the Echo.

"People may find themselves with reduced social outlets because they can no longer drink. They may also have problems with their family and friends adjusting to their decision."

Mr Rahman, who founded the group in the city's central Butetown ward, calls converts to Islam "reverts" in line with the belief of many Muslims that humans are naturally born in a state of submission to Allah.

He said:"As a revert to Islam, people may have to cope with negative reactions because of the way the media often portrays Muslims as terrorists.

"As with all belief systems, you will get fanatics who interpret things badly and perhaps use religion as justification for their actions.

"But that is simply not true with the vast majority of Muslims."

Mr Rahman said the New Muslim Project Wales (NMPW) came about after a core group of reverts who meet regularly "kicked around the idea".

Based on the UK-wide New Muslim Project set up in 1993 the NMPW – an off-shoot of the Islamic Social Services Association Wales, based in the Unity Centre, Loudoun Square – aims to find and reach out to Muslim reverts across Wales who may be isolated and in need of support.

"We want to help people in their early years come to terms with Islam," said Mr Rahman.

"There can be a lot of problems, especially living in a Christian world where people have misconceptions.

"We are not converting people. These are adults who have already made that decision and just want to know where their nearest mosque is, where they can buy halal meat or if they have to wear funny clothes, which they don't."


Source: Wales Online (English)

Denmark: Danish apartheid 2

Denmark: Danish apartheid 2

Continuation of this article.


Shabani Ahmad is a Dane who's had enough with the red-white Racism.  She criticises Ålholm school for segregating the students.

"It makes the children sick," she tell Gringo.

We meet Shabani Ahmad in her home, next to Ålholm school, where she herself went.  She was one of those who protested when the school segregated its students.  

"Adults make Muslim children feel like a B-team.  Some teachers tell them that they are bad and don't want to integrate."

The school's administration answered by writing a debate contribution where they instead praised their own integration work.

"But to segregate students was certainly right!  How can people call that "good integration work"?  This segregated makes the children sick.  When they come out into society later with an illness they're seen as a problem," says Shabani Ahmad when we sat down in her living room.

"I called Danish newspapers and asked them to go into this issue, but it appears that theyre' don't think the school did anything wrong.  They are most interested in writing negative things about immigrants, not about the Danish society's shortcomings."

In Denmark the system allowed parents to freely choose a school for their children.  But that right is limited if one isn't an 'ethnic Dane'.

Shaban Ahmad's 7 year old daughter was born in Denmark, just like her mother.  But in school she's not Danish.

"I didn't want my daughter to go to Ålholm school, so I contacted another school in the area.  But I got a blank 'no', they said that it was already full.  It's a perpetual problem.  Schools want to keep down the number of Muslim children, so they won't be called ghetto schools."

Shabani Ahmad's younger sister was still going went to Ålholm school when the segregation into "ethnic Danish" and "bilingual" children was made last spring.

"I felt compelled to react. Most Muslim parents have too much respect for the school, they say nothing against it."

She found the principal and explained the consequences the school's behaviour could cause.  But he didn't listen.  The principal thought that Shabnai Ahmad's reaction was because her sister didn't do well in school and said that the sister's failure was because she 'comes from an immigrant family'.

"He said that we didn't understand how to take care of children.  But all the older siblings did well in school, so that's a lie."
Shabani Ahmad has a university degree and works as a chemist.  

Her parents pushed her and her sisters early to do well in school and work.  But the resistance against those seen as immigrants in Denmark is fierce.

"I get frustrated with the attitude around integration here in Denmark.  If you don't drink a beer and eat sausages, you're not Danish."

"I was born and raised here, there's nobody who's more integrated.  We are as family Jensen as any, except that I wear a headscarf and we have a different religion."

- In Sweden some say we should follow the "open Danish debate".

"I don't think it's right that the debate here is particularly open.  Racism increased, both in school and in society.  But if by 'open' people mean that the Danish debate climate allows politicians and the media to verbally attack Muslims and immigrants in the most unethical way, then it's right.


When parents of Muslim children called up to report discrimination at Ålholm school, they were met with lack of interest.  The only Danish newspaper to write about it was Metro.  Gringo asked Politiken news editor Anders Krab-Johansen why that was.  He says that usually such news are considered news-worthy, but that  such news have reached saturation levels.  

Anders Krab-Johansen says that there's an on-going debate about segregation of kids by ethnicity in schools, the so-called Albertslund-model. The model was called illegal several years ago,but is still being used.

He says he personally has no personal opinion on whether to segregate Muslim children in separate classes or to spread them out in different schools.  His decision on news-worthiness is based only on curiosity and an analytic sense.

Sources: Norra Skåne 1, 2

See also:
* Denmark: Danish apartheid
* Denmark: Proposal to forbid special consideration for Muslim students

France: New Muslim Women's Magazine

France: New Muslim Women's Magazine

MWM is a new French Muslim women's magazine.  Muslimah Media Watch reports:

The magazine introduces itself by saying:

Today, the Muslim woman in the media is the archetype par excellence of the woman who is oppressed and condemned to a stereotyped representation.  But what do we know of them in reality?  What are their aspirations, their preoccupations, their dreams, their visions of the world…  It appears, ultimately, that we don't know much about them.

MWM has gone to look for them and hopes to better represent those whose faith constitutes the second-largest religion in Europe.

MWM is an invitation to those who do not share their beliefs, to get to know these women better.

See Muslimah Media Watch for a review of their first issue.

Belgium: Flemings afraid of Islam

Belgium: Flemings afraid of Islam

Close to half of Flemish voters have an extremely negative opinion of Islam and Muslims.  46% think that Islam has nothing to contribute to European culture.  Barely 18% think that is the case.  Yet more voters (48%) think that Islamic values are a threat for Europe and 37% think the most Muslims have no respect for European culture and way of life.

This according to a study by ISPO (Institute for Social and Political Opinion Research) of KU Leuven.  The team, lead by Jaak Billiet and Marc Swyngedouw, interviewed 1,084 Flemish voters about their voting behavior between September 2007 and January 2008.  The concept of "Islamophobia" and the negative attitude towards Islam were surveyed in the margins of the study.

The harshest statement - Islamic history and culture are more violent than other cultures - was accepted by almost 42% of the interviewees, while barely 21% didn't accept this position.

Regarding family life, 81% of Flemish voters think that Muslim men dominate their wives too much.

The researchers also gauged the voter's attitude towards wearing a headscarf in public functions.  A majority (53%) think Muslim women shouldn't wear a headscarf in public functions.

The attitude of the Flemish voters towards Islam is more negative than the attitude towards ethnic minorities.  ISP studies the attitude towards minorities or immigrants since 1991.  The feelings of economic threat have since then continuously dropped.

From the 2007 study it appears that half of the voters think immigrants aren't a threat for employment.  At the same time, 40% of interviewees hold the view that ethnic minorities don't contribute anything to the prosperity of Belgium.

New immigration is not cheered.  38% is for, 47% are against, even if this will meet the shortage on the job market.  (..)

Since 1991, the feelings of cultural threat have first decreased, just like the feelings of an economic threat.  But since the turn of the millennium they have increased again.  The attacks of 9/11 in 2001 in the US are clearly a turning point.

Youth 18 to 34 are most positive towards immigrants, elderly are most negative.

Sources: HLN, Nieuwsblad (Dutch)

Netherlands: Mistranslation?

Netherlands: Mistranslation?

I reported about this story here and here. The Dutch media "mistranslated" Khalid Yasin's words on Geert Wilders and caused a great big controversy.

Meanwhile, the media are having a hard time investigating their own..


Whose fault was it? According to Expatica, it's clear:

During a lecture on Friday, which has since been released on YouTube, Sheikh Yasin said he hoped that Mr Wilders would be given a judicial "slap on the wrist".

According to the PVV, Mr Yasin said that Mr Wilders should be flogged, but a study of the YouTube recording has revealed that this was not so.
(Source: Expatica)


Here's news agency Novum's take on things:

In the speech, according to Fritsma [PVV parliament member], the sheik supposedly said that Geert Wilders should be flogged because he insulted Islam. According to Wilders, Fritsma bases this point of view on a report of AD. In the clip on YouTube Yasin doesn't say such words. (Source: Elsevier)


Closer to the truth, though apparently news agency Novum can't double check their own information and bring facts.

De Telegraaf says it was based on 'a newspaper report that said that the sheik had said in Rotterdam that Geert Wilders should be flogged'. (Source: Telegraaf)


DutchNews, on the other hand, has no problems pinpointing the source of the "mistranslation":

The AD newspaper reported that New Yorker Khalid Yasin had called for Wilders to be given a 'traditional punishment such as a whipping' during a speech in Rotterdam on Friday.

But later it emerged that Yasin said in English that Wilders deserved a 'juridical slap on the wrist' for making his 10-minute anti-Islam film Fitna.


The weekend mistranslation led to calls from the PVV and the Rotterdam political party Leeftbaar Rotterdam for Yasin to be expelled.

The AD has not explained how its reporter came to make such a simple translation error.

(Source: DutchNews)


But DutchNews doesn't get it fully right either. They're quoting from AD's own explanation:

A passage in the speech of the American Muslim preacher Khalid Yasin about PVV leader Geert Wilders has been interpreted wrongly by AD.

Yasin talked in the lecture, which he gave last Friday at the Islamic University of Rotterdam, in English about a 'judicial slap on the wrist'. That has been wrongly translated as a 'traditional punishment such as flogging'. Yasin actually meant that the PVV politician should get a 'judicial slap on the wrist' [now translated to Dutch].

The preacher repeated this once more during a press conference in the mosque 'Dar al-Hijra' in Rotterdam-South. Yasin regrets his statements have been wrongly interpreted. (Source: AD)


This piece above, which is titled "Yasin's speech wrongly translated", doesn't include an explanation, it doesn't even include an apology. Even worse, it's trying to rewrite the original article, which they have since removed from their site.

Thanks to Google archive here it is:

Geert Wilders moet eens ouderwets met een riem worden gegeseld. Dat bepleit de internationaal omstreden Amerikaanse moslimprediker Khalid Yasin.


De prediker zei ook dat Wilders zijn verontschuldigingen moet aanbieden aan alle moslims.

(Source: AD)

In English:

Geert Wilders should be whipped with a belt like in the old days. That argues the international controversial American Muslim preacher Khalid Yasin.


The preacher also said that Wilders should apologize to all Muslims.

[Note that this original report has no byline]


Why, you must be wondering, is this important?

First, since the public, which relies on the media, was duped. And nobody cares enough to either apologize or to explain how it happened.

Second, because there are preachers who DO say such things. AD single-handedly ensured that any such claims will be met with skepticism in the future. Are you sure? Maybe it's a mistranslation from Arabic? Maybe you didn't hear it correctly? Maybe it was taken out of context? Unless proof is produced either way, people will be faced with having to decide between believing a Muslim preacher or the media. As it stands now in the Netherlands, the preacher is much more believable.

Yasin's speech was attended by journalists, some of whom later described the speech as being very tolerant. AD's own report after the event did not say anything about whipping or flogging and instead said that Yasin 'kept far from controversial statements' and that he called for 'tolerance in the world without diffrentiating between religious denominations' (Source: AD)

So, why did AD's reporter think Yasin said Wilders should be whipped with a belt? This wasn't a 'mistranslation'. If it was, it was quite an embellished one. Did the reporter just make things up, or was he basing himself on what he was told? In either case, it's something AD should explain to the public. Particularly if it wants the public to trust them, and by extension the rest of the media, in the future.

Rotterdam: Christian school expels boy, parents sue

Rotterdam: Christian school expels boy, parents sue

The original article repeated this story twice, so here's the summary:

Mohamed Bouchkhachakhe (11) was expelled from the Protestant Christian elementary school Pniel in Rotterdam-South six weeks ago.

The school claims the expulsion was because of Mohamed's systematical misbehavior for the past year and a half.  He had 'problems in class situations and conflicts regarding the identity aspects of the school'.  Further Mohamed, "because he wants to be a good Muslim, doesn't want to participate in activities when teachers ask that," and "uses denigrating and threatening language against teachers and members of the administration."

His parents say the only reason their son was expelled was because he didn't pray together with the rest of his class.

Miloud, Mohamed's father:  "I told them that we respect their religion, but they should also respect ours.  We had already agreed that he would sit in class with folded hands during prayer, but that was apparently yet not enough."  The father claims the school intentionally made his son's life miserable, trying to get the kid to leave on his own.  Therefore, they blamed Mohamed for everything that happened.

Mohamed was first suspended for two days, but since he didn't agree with the reason for the suspension (disturbing the order in class), he showed up at school and refused to go away, until the police had to be called in.  The school claims that Mohamed's older brothers threatened the principal, Miloud says it's all a lie.

After this incident Mohamed was expelled from school and the parents were advised to take the kid to a Muslim school.  C. Tuc, of the  PCBO (the Protestant organization which runs the school)says that this was just advise, since Mohamed himself said that he wanted to be a good Muslim.  As to the question whether children can refuse to pray he remains vague, but finally says: "At our school children have a right to respectfully participate in the prayer,"

The parents called in the anti-discrimination agency Radar and the national Equal Treatment Commission.  Both bodies said the case was exceptionally interesting and the investigation more than worthwhile.

They also took a lawyer, who sent the school a letter demanding they take Mohamed back.

The school is meanwhile trying to find Mohamed another school, though they also think the parents should be involved in that as well.  The Rotterdam school inspectors think it is unacceptable that an elementary school child sits at home for so long.

Source: AD (Dutch)

Germany: Turks least integrated

Germany: Turks least integrated

A new study shows that immigrants of Turkish origin in Germany lag behind other migrant groups when it comes to education and jobs, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

The study carried out by the Berlin-based Institute for Population and Development found that 30 percent of Turks and those of Turkish origin did not finish school and only 14 percent took the Abitur, or the final secondary school exam that is the required qualification for university. But more than 50 percent of those in other migrant groups manage to do the same, the report said.

The study, which Der Spiegel reported it had seen before its Monday release, compared for the first time the successful integration of individual migrant groups including those who have been naturalized in Germany. It has compiled a ranking of federal states based on the level of integration of its immigrants.

Immigrants of Turkish origin were also found to be the least successful in the labour market: they are often jobless, the percentage of housewives is high and many are dependent on welfare, the study said. The state of Saarland was found to have the worst record – 45 percent of its Turks had no educational qualification of any kind.

Reiner Klingholz, director of the institute, said language remained the key to education and successes.

"For too long we've been used to the fact that we have primary school classes in which 80 percent of the children don't understand German," he said.


Source: The Local (English)

Netherlands: A controversial talk by a controversial speaker

Netherlands: A controversial talk by a controversial speaker

To be more precise: the talk wasn't so controversial as everybody expected, but that didn't stop the media from starting up a controversy anyway.  That's what the media is for, no?

I translate a lot and every so often, much more often than I would like, I make mistakes.  However, how the Dutch media went from "I think at least he deserves a judicial slap on the wrist" to "Wilders should be flogged with a belt" (NL) is really beyond me. 

Yasin spoke in English, and you can see what he said here: Netherlands: Khalid Yasin on Wilders

What is more interesting is that the same newspapers who published that Yasin said that Wilders should be flogged, had journalists at the talk who reported that Yasin spoke about tolerance.

On Saturday, before the controversy about the flogging broke out, Dutch Newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported that Wilders could be calm:


"Terrror Imam" Abu Muhammad Kahlid Yasin did not preach hate and discord in front of a packed hall in the Islamic University of Rotterdam - on the contrary.  The Black 'sheik' from Brooklyn/New York, impressed upon his audience of hundreds of young Muslims that they must keep the law, integrate as well as possible, and build a better Netherlands with non-Muslims.  At the end of his marathon speech he thanked the Prime Minister and Queen for the hospitality.


Islam, Khalid Yasin recited loudly, is a message of 'tolerance, respect and social reform".  Western society offers Muslims the best possibilities for development.  "Don't come to me with this nonsense that you don't want to obey the Kafirs," the Afro-American Sheik, who in the 60s was involved with the Nation of Islam of Malcolm X, thundered.  After which he paraphrased John F. Kennedy: "This nation will know what one million Dutch Muslims could do for their country."


Yasin sweeps out onto the floor with Geert Wilders: "That man who made that film.  Shame on you."  The public revels in it.  But Sheik Yasin didn't come to Rotterdam to please.  The Muslim community is also bad, he says menacingly.  No wonder that people in the Netherlands speak about 'those Moroccan youth'.  But he also doesn't spare the religious fundamentalist Muslims, telling them that Islam is not a religion of hermits, and they shouldn't only be with those who are like them.


Source: NRC (Dutch)

France: Justice minister forced to quit government

France: Justice minister forced to quit government

French justice minister Rachida Dati, a single mother and the first senior senior cabinet member of North African origin, is to quit President Nicolas Sarkozy's government, her party confirmed Friday.

Dati will stand in June's European parliamentary election and will step down if successful, officials in Sarkozy's office told AFP, just three weeks after the president's glamorous protegee gave birth to a daughter.

Since she will be the second candidate on the right-wing ruling UMP's list for the Paris region, there is no doubt she will win a seat, and Sarkozy has made it clear cabinet members have no time to also serve as Euro MPs.

The minister herself remained tight-lipped about her future, but the daily Le Figaro reported that the 43-year-old was "resigned" to leaving in exchange for Sarkozy's support in building a career in electoral politics.

Long a Sarkozy ally, Dati shot to prominence in 2007, as one of three politicians of North African descent named to the president's right-wing government and the first to hold a senior cabinet post.

But since then she has run into a string of setbacks, as aides resigned over her management style and critics accused her of bludgeoning through unpopular reforms without allowing proper debate.

She had reportedly fallen out of favour with her political mentor Sarkozy over her failure to win the support of the legal establishment for measures to streamline the judicial system.

Dati's high-profile lifestyle -- she often appears in the lifestyle press sporting expensive designer gowns and socialising with celebrities -- was also seen as out of tune with a France in economic crisis.

Amid this political storm, her refusal to name the father of three-week-old Zohra on the grounds that she has "a complicated private life" thrust her into the media spotlight and sparked an intense media guessing game.


Source: France24 (English)

Amsterdam: Study of Salafi-Jihadis

Amsterdam: Study of Salafi-Jihadis
Radicalizing Muslim youth are not irrational lunatics, say researchers who studied twelve of these youth.  They feel chosen and not understood by the rest of the world, including other Muslims.

They feel chosen, but kicked out by society, the mosque and sometimes even by their own family: the Salafi-Jihadi: who are the 'irrational lunatics' in their self-chosen isolation?

The publication "Salafi-Jiahdis in Amsterdam' was presented today at the new year's reception of Forum, Institute for multicultural development.  Researchers followed twelve radicalizing Moroccan Muslim youth because 'in order to prevent extreme action is it important to know what such youth think and why they think what they think."

Mohammed B., the murder of Theo van Gogh, was a Salafi-Jihadi.  The Hofstad group relied on this thinking: any means is permissible, even violence, in striving for Islamization.  Society has every reason to worry about youth who go towards radicalization and who are seen as 'irrational lunatics'.

The latter is not correct, say the researchers, led by political scientist Jean Tillie of the University of Amsterdam.  "Our study shows that those youth don't act out of irrational, inexplicable religious urges, but out of needs which have to do with personal and social circumstances."

In the past Tillie calculated that 2% of Amsterdam Muslims - about 1,400 youth - are susceptible for radicalization.  In the fieldwork in three Moroccan mosque they meet up with twelve youth (17-22 years old, middle to high educational level), which they followed in the radicalization process.  How they went from 'common troublemakers' with an Amsterdam dialect into religious Muslims who learn Arabic.

The researchers conclude that three motives hold for the Salafi-Jihadis: a need for meaning in life, a need for ties and acceptance and a need for justice.

Often a role in the radicalizing process of young Muslims is assigned to controversial imams in the ultra-orthodox mosques, traveling Salafist Koran teachers or recruiters for radical Islamic groups.

There was no such thing with the 'twelve of Amsterdam'.  They sought, say the researchers, by themselves a religious interpretation that would appeal to them and found pioneers in their group.  They listned to Moustapha who said again and again that "the Salafi Jihadis are the last Muslims who dare say the truth aloud and aren't afraid of ending up in jail or dead".

Radicalizing youth are socially more and more isolated.  They clash with their parents, who are first still proud of the increasing religiosity of their sons.  A religious son won't do crazy things, won't go on the wrong path, and also won't completely Dutchify, they think. But that positive feeling is upset when their son grows a beard and wears a dress.  Parents understand that that reduces the possibility of a good job.

The lack of understanding about religions is mutual. Boys look down on the beliefs of their parents.  They see their parents as habit or culture Muslims who don't follow pure Islam, but their belief mixed with tradition.  According to Islam the Salafi-Jihadis must respect their parents, but in practice they find that difficult.

The researchers saw that the youth, who went to three mosques, had barely any contact with other mosque visitors.  "Older men who complain about the increasing medical expenses," says one of the youth about them.  The difference in religious experience with the elderly, often lower-educated generation, plays a part here too.

When one of the mosques gets a visit from the security service AIVD, who follow the youth, they are called in by the administration and warned.

But the interest of the AIVD, the idea that they're seen as terrorists, fills them with pride, the researchers see.  But it also ensures that the isolation becomes more serious, causes the group to stick together and trust only each other.  They turn away from most Muslims whom they see as being lazy and only believe in what's convenient.  Older friendships disintegrate as the Salafi-Jihadis in their radicalization process radiate  that they're the last Muslims on the right path.

The twelve live in a sub-culture, the way back getting further and further away, see the researchers.  It's becoming more and more difficult to go back when great sacrifices must be made before a certain step, for example, losing many social contacts.

They feel chosen, have their own role-models, differentiate themselves externally with clothing, have their own norms and values, particularly in relation to associating with the opposite sex in this "immoral society'.

They have the idea of being the underdog.  That they, as Salafi-Jihadis, are threatened, not understood by the rest of the world, including other Muslims.  They see this as an ordeal, as their test.  The prophet Mohammad, prophesied 1400 year ago that there would be a small group of 'true Muslims' who would have difficulties and be oppressed.

By thinking of the hardships endured by the prophet and his companions, they put their own problems in perspective.  They are also living examples of Muslims who, according to the radicalizing youth, are on the path of truth.  Those are the Islamic scholars, martyrs who were killed, sit in prison or are on the run. They see Muslims such as Al Zarqawi (the Iraqi leader of al-Qaeda, killed in an American operation) and  Bin-Laden, as heroes, since they've given up worldly life in order to go fight for Islam.

They are deeply touched by the feeling that Muslims are wronged all over the world.  They think that violent actions in defense of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Algeria, are allowed.  Just like they approve of the murder of Van Gogh by Mohammed B. The victim insulted the prophet, caused social chaos and broke 'the treaty' with the Netherlands.  The treats says, according to them, that Jihad won't be conducted in countries where Muslims can live safely and not be attacked.

According to the Salafi-Jihadis the world is divided into Muslim and infidels, into dar al-Islam (house of Islam, the area where Muslim rulers reign and where the Sharia - the Islamic law - is in effect) and dar al-Harb (house of war, area where non-Muslim rulers reign).  Also in the Netherlands they sense a deep hate towards Islam, they suspect that infidels want Muslims to modernize their faith and they see that as threatening.  Still they don't conduct Jihad in the Netherlands and think that the ideal society ruled by Sharia is 'just an abstract idea'.

But more than from non-believers or believers of other faiths, the Salafi-Jihadis are annoyed at Muslims who stray: their parents, their former friends, other mosque visitors.  "Cowardly" Muslim who don't understand that the attacks on Americans in Iraq are justified, who only go for the 'easy aspects of Islam' and not for Jihad.  They want to expose them, convince others of 'the true Islam'.

Removing the feeling of injustice by groups of Muslims would help in the struggle against radicalizing youth.  Also it is important to promote the relationship of immigrants with their surroundings, offer Muslim youth democratic alternatives and pay more attention to their question for their identity.  Additionally the researchers warn of isolation.  "That the youth are kicked out of mosques for fear of a bad name and for fear of the AIVD, is from that point of view not a good development.  There must be an attempt to keep the youth as much as possible within society in order to stimulate diversity in opinions and keep the step 'back' as small as possible."

Source: Trouw (Dutch).  See also: study on Salafi-jihadi's in Amsterdam (Dutch)

Netherlands: Khalid Yasin on Wilders

Update: Clip posted again, with just the reference to Wilders.

Dutch news sites reported this week that Khalid Yasin said that Wilders should be flogged. Leefbaar Rotterdam and Wilders' party already turned to the mayor of Rotterdam, saying that if these reports are true, he should ban Yasin's next lecture (NL). Yasin is also supposed to speak in Belgium next week.

What did Yasin say about Wilders? Watch here:

For the entire clip see here.

See also: Netherlands: Controversy over arrival of preacher

Denmark: Danish apartheid

Denmark: Danish apartheid

This article appeared in a Swedish newspaper.


"What do you call the problem in Sweden?" asks Ålholm schools' principal Michael Olesen before we have time to sit down in his office.

The problem?

"Here in Denmark we say 'bilinguals' or 'Danish with a different ethnic background', but really everybody knows that it's the Muslims."

Last semester the Ålholm school decided to split up the third grade according to ethnicity. "Ethnic Danes" and some 'bilinguals' in 3a. The parallel class 3B was filled 100% with Muslim students.

The division upset several of the parents of the Muslim children, but the school isn't yielding.

"Danish parents threatened to move their children to other schools because there were too many immigrants here," says Michael Olesen.

"People are nervous about their children's upbringing. They feel that Muslims belong to a different culture. Muslims are violent and steal more, that's certainly a fact."

Why do you work here really?

"I like the challenge of working in such an environment."

Michael Olesen describes Danes as quite tolerant, "but there's a pain threshold".

"If 30% of the students are made up of immigrants, there's no danger. That's acceptable. When it becomes 40% 'it starts to hurt'. When it's over 50%, yes, then Danish parents feel a threat."

"If there are more than half Muslim students, the school is governed not by Danish, but by Muslim norms."

Michael Olesen thinks that the school's administration was forced to act.

If the ethnic Danes would leave the school it would mean that Ålholm school would turn into a 'ghetto school' for 'Muslims and poor white trash'.

"The division into Danish students and Muslim students contributed to bringing back parents of ethnic Danish children."

Ålholm school's experiment with black-white classes wasn't a new phenomenon in Denmark. Frederikssund school tested it already six years ago and more schools have done likewise since.

"We are forced to do it, otherwise there will be 100% bilinguals in such classes in any case. The Muslim parents don't want their children to go to a ghetto school either."

He did the Muslim children respond to being put into a separate class?

"I hadn't started at the school when the separation was made, so I don't know how it was explained then. but it's clear there's a risk that Muslim children would feel like a B-team."

The door stands wide-open. A receptionist and gym teacher drop by during the interview. Michael Olesen gives a secure and confident impression.

In Denmark's capital a school principal of a big school sounds sure of himself, including when he states that many Muslims in the country are "socially and culturally stagnate".

"We must not be blind to the fact that it's a group which doesn't respect us Danes. They maybe don't hate us, but they don't accept us."

How do you know that?

"I know that Muslims don't love me and my country." He adds that he keeps away from their women, as they're strictly watched and brothers keep an eye on their sisters.

Michael Olesen further gives us an example fro the school world why he thinks that 'immigrants hate Denmark'.

"It was the world championship and the school showed Denmark's matches. I was shocked to see how all the immigrant children cheered for the other country, regardless of which it was."

The Muslim children are born in Denmark. How will they feel Danish when you separate them from the rest of the children?

"But they never say that they're Danish. In most cases they call themselves something else, for example, Turk or Palestinian.

"I can respect that the Muslims are here, but not what they are. How they beat their children or look at me for example."

When will people be Danish?

"They must accept Danish values. Muslims stand for a violence and threat culture. Danes, on the other hand, are focused on dialog that rests on democratic values. For the Danes there isn't only one truth. For Muslims halal and haram rules."

Outside the window behind the principal, the students are going home. On the school's side we find an MP3 file with the "Ålholm song"

The chorus goes:

"Do you know a school with begins with Å?
Ålholm school - it's good to go there
There are many things, that we like
but the school's biggest plus is its solidarity"

Source: Norra Skåne


Today every right-minded Fleming, every right-minded man, should wear an Arafat scarf [ie, Keffiyeh]. Out of solidarity with every oppressed, out of alliance with anyone who's in danger, for those who risk their life every day. The Arafat scarf has existed longer than it's most famous wearer, Yasser Arafat. But he made the scarf world famous. It has become a symbol for Palestine, but is was never an aggressive or negative symbol. By forbidding it now, you stigmatize every wearer of it as a potential aggressive person. And that is more than exaggerated.

Bert Anciaux, Flemish Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport, responding on his blog to a decision by bus company De Lijn to remove a driver wearing the Keffiyeh.

Denmark: Mother sentenced in FGM case

Denmark: Mother sentenced in FGM case

The mother got two years in jail, though in practice it's considered time served already.


Denmark's first case involving parents allowing the genital mutilation of their daughters resulted today in a two-year sentence for the mother.

The major part of the sentence - 1 year and six months - was conditional, while six months was unconditional. The Eritrean woman will not however have to serve a sentence in prison as she has already been in detention for four-and-a-half months.

Father freed

While the mother was sentenced, the father of the girls was found not guilty. The mother's defence attorney said it had not yet been decided whether the mother would appeal her sentence as a matter of principle.

"The important thing is that my client does not have to go to prison again. Two years sounds a lot, but we will now have to think about whether to appeal," says Attorney Jane Ranum.

Third daughter

Apart from the two daughters - now 10 and 12 years old - who had been genitally mutilated, the parents were also charged with planning to have a third daughter mutilated. Both were, however, found not guilty as charged with this latter offence.

Both parents said they had not known that their daughters were to be mutilated. The mother explained in court that she had believed that her daughters were to be treated for a worm infection when her sister took them to a clinic.


Source: Politiken (English)

See also:
* Denmark: Proposal to ban child circumcision
* Denmark: Couple arrested on female circumcision charges
* Norway: First female circumcision case in court

Morocco: 81 people charged for European drug smuggling

Morocco: 81 people charged for European drug smuggling

A Moroccan prosecutor has charged a record 81 people, several of them security officials, over massive drug smuggling to Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, an official said Thursday.

"Between Wednesday and Thursday a total of 81 people including members of the gendarmerie, the auxiliary forces and the royal marines were presented before a pre-trial judge after being charged by a Casablanca court prosecutor," a justice official said.

He added that it was the largest number of people ever to be charged with such an offence in Morocco.

Police earlier this month broke up a major international network operating out of the north of the country, which was trafficking drugs to Belgium and the Netherlands via Spain.


Source: Middle East Online (English)

Italy: Minister says govt must expel immigrants who fail to integrate

Italy: Minister says govt must expel immigrants who fail to integrate

An Italian Minister said on Thursday that immigrants who did not want integrate must be deported from the country. "We must fight everything that is related to violence, because our will is to integrate, however, in order to integrate we must expel all those that do not want to take part in it," said Andrea Ronchi, Minister of Department for European Community Policies.

Ronchi made the remarks during a roundtable with members of the Italian Islamic Religious Community (COREIS) in the northern Italian city of Milan. During the meeting, Ronchi attacked the UCOII, the largest Muslim umbrella group in Italy, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

According to Ronchi, the UCOII "supports terrorism and fundamentalism."

"For example, I have always been a supporter of a register of the imams and muslim prayers in the Italian language. I also enthusiastically support the initiative by Rome's Grand mosque to publish on its website all sermons preached there ," said Ronchi.

"I am not against mosques, but I say no to those tied to the UCOII, an organisation whose sources of finance must be clarified."


Source: AKI (English)

UK: 44% of Muslims against integration

UK: 44% of Muslims against integration

MUSLIMS want to create their own communities and remain segregated from British society.

A shocking 44% think they should be free to develop along separate lines.

But critics claim Muslims will create their own ghettos if they are left to their own devices.

The poll found religion has replaced race as the biggest equality issue, with six in 10 Brits thinking it is more divisive. Mass tension has grown following terror attacks from Muslim fanatics, including the 7/7 Tube bombings in 2005.

The war in Iraq has also added to divisions leaving many communities split.

But critics are fuming Muslims are refusing to fit into our way of life.

English Democrats' chairman Robin Tilbrook said: "As far as I'm concerned, what we want to be about is having an integrated society.

"If people don't want to  integrate, they shouldn't be here.

"It's not at all right to have what's really a sort of ghetto situation developing – it's going to lead to trouble.

"We can't have a single society with lots of different rules." Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: "I'm not surprised because there are already Muslim enclaves all over the country. They keep themselves to themselves anyway."

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission poll found 67% of Muslims would not be happy for their child to marry someone of a different religion. But marrying someone from a different race bothers them less, with 61% content with the idea.

The shock results come a day after commission chairman Trevor Phillips said Britain was "by far" the least racist country in Europe.

And the commission said the poll confirmed Brits are "increasingly at ease with racial diversity".


Source: Daily Star (English) h/t Women Against Shariah

Sweden: Controversial lawyer to set new headscarf precedent

Sweden: Controversial lawyer to set new headscarf precedent

Before the handshaking controversy, she was involved in the 'condoning stoning of women' controversy


Cherin Awad, known for her work on a controversial Sveriges Television (SVT) programme, may well become the first practising attorney in Sweden to wear a headscarf.

On Monday, the 23-year-old Awad began her pioneering action at a law firm in Stockholm.

Awad gained notoriety recently for refusing to shake hands with Aftonbladet newspaper columnist Carl Hamilton in an episode of SVT's Halal TV, which features three young women born and raised in Sweden, but who have roots in different countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

While she thinks it's a shame that most Swedes likely recognize her from the much-discussed handshake incident, she remains steadfast in her belief that, as a practising Muslim, she shouldn't make physical contact with people of the opposite sex.

"We have different ways of showing one another respect; I place my right hand on my heart instead. I plan to continue with that and I don't think there will be any problems. Those who seek me out are most interested in my legal competence," Awad told the TT news agency.

She has completed her law degree and is now working as a junior lawyer at a law firm. But she has to wait a few years before passing the Swedish bar exam and becoming a full-fledged attorney.


Source: The Local (English)

See also: Sweden: Muslim show stirs controversy

Belgium: Erdogan urges Turks to integrate, but not assimilate (VIDEO)

Belgium: Erdogan urges Turks to integrate, but not assimilate (VIDEO)

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan visited Belgium this week and met with Turkish immigrants from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. He asked them to maintain their identity, but at the same time, integrate into the society where they live. "Integration brings happiness," Erdogan said.

Source: De Redactie (Dutch)

See also:
* Germany: 'Erdogan wants us to become German'
* Germany: Merkel says immigrants need to come to terms with Germany's way of life
* Germany: Erdogan calls on Turks not to assimilate
* Germany: Erdogan calls for Turkish schools and universities

Resource materials for teaching about Islam in Europe

Resource materials for teaching about Islam in Europe

Two educational resources created by Facing History and Ourselves.  There are links to download the material at the bottom of the linked page.

Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration, and Belonging in a Changing World

This resource book reflects the way that migration affects personal identity and offers educators and students the resources to examine this migration through methods of storytelling. It reveals experiences of immigrants from the individual to the collective through memoirs, journalistic accounts, and interviews. These experiences reflect a recent and global phenomenon where identity and citizenship are challenged by the greater blurring of national boundaries. By exploring the stories of young migrants and their changing communities, Stories takes into consideration the fluidity of identity.

What Do We Do with a Difference? France and the Debate over Headscarves in Schools

This resource book studies the role of religion in public life by examining the French Republican model of assimilation. This resource features a thoughtful essay that provides critical background to France's national debate over the veil as a declaration of religious practice. It offers a rich text comprised of meaningful readings to encourage classroom discussion. This book uses a national debate as a way to develop an educational framework for integration, tolerance, and cultural acceptance

Belgium: Filip Dewinter on immigration and integration

Belgium: Filip Dewinter on immigration and integration

Filip Dewinter, a Flemish parliament member for Vlaams Belang and a counsellor in the Antwerp city council, was interviewed by Belgian magazine Knack. Here are is snippet from the interview.


Your infamous 70 point plan from 1992 focused on the collective return of immigrants. What changed in your thinking since then?

DEWINTER: Nothing changed in my thinking, society changed. Meanwhile we are two decades later. And that means that a large group of people of the second and third generation grew up here. For a large part of them it's an illusion to think that they will ever go back. The situation evolved, unfortunately not in the positive meaning of the word, but well. But our starting points stayed the same.

- Does it apply then to the 2nd and 3rd generation who were born here

DEWINTER: Well, I always thought that it's a story of adapting or going back, of..

- Wait a minute. Somebody who's born here, where should he go back? To the maternity clinic?

DEWINTER: (laughs) no, no, don't make a caricature of it.

- How is it then?

DEWINTER: I think that we should say much more clearly what we demand from people, and what we don't demand from them. And this clarity doesn't exist now, on the contrary. The starting point is simple: an immigration stop, close the doors. We can't mop with the tap open. If family reunification continues and the number of illegals continues to increase and the asylum procedures are not adjusted and the number of naturalization continues to increase, and double nationality doesn't disappear - then all efforts are pointless. Then there's no point in integrating the people who are here. Thus this mass immigration must be stopped. And the the real work can begin.

- Ok, how should that go than specifically?

DEWINTER: Simple. To begin with we abolish double nationality. We let these people know that there can exist only one loyalty, the one to our community, our values and norms. Point two: that must be said in black and white, in a loyalty declaration, such as exists in the USA.

- Pardon? Whoever is born here, doesn't need to sign anything though? As Belgians they have as many rights as you and I.

DEWINTER: But also duties. And they prefer not to talk about that.

- Who prefers not to talk about it?

DEWINTER: A large part of the Muslim staying here say that. Louder and louder.

But the crushing majority of the Muslims present here live simply and neatly according to the law of the land?

DEWINTER: A large part, yes. But this majority is completely irrelevant, because they're not the boss. it's the extremists who pull the strings of Islam. Moreover, many immigrants are not urged to integrate, because they live in neighborhoods with just Moroccan shops with a mosque and Koran school on top, in a sort of imported souk. Into what should they integrate?

- You know what I think? If you would be born a Moroccan Belgian, then you would be concerned about the emancipation policy, then you would demand equal rights.

DEWINTER: But I wasn't born a Moroccan, I was born a Fleming in Bruges. Let me give you another hypothesis. If I would move to Morocco, than I would understand that I must adapt. And I don't want that. Therefore I don't move to Morocco.

- But it's not about that. It's about that the emancipation process of the immigrant community is as necessary today as that of the Flemish, the workers and the women was in the 20th century. They also had to force equal rights.

DEWINTER: There's a big difference. We play at home. On our own field.

- Whoever is born as a Moroccan Belgian also plays at home.

DEWINTER: That foreigner doesn't play at home. That foreigner is a guest here, should act like a guest. There are many guests who stay longer, but they are still guests. They must understand..

- Whoever is born here is not a guest. That is their land just as well as it's yours

DEWINTER: I always think that a cat born in a fish shop is not a fish just because of that - to express it plastically. It takes maybe a few generation before people are completely assimilated. But that is the intention in the end: Be a Fleming among Flemish. But than we should also make an effort on our side to make it clear to them . And we don't do that.

- Shouldn't we make efforts in particular to eliminate discrimination? Imagine that you were born in Antwerp to Moroccan-Belgian parents..

DEWINTER: (sighs) there you go again

- Then when you're born, you're already behind

DEWINTER: I think that I have an advantage in this society, if I were born as a Moroccan in Antwerp. A coupe of social workers would be there ready to guide me personally. I can count on positive discrimination, there's a mayor who pampers me. (Laconically) I'm set for the rest of my life.

- That's nonsense, and you know that.

DEWINTER: Those people are not the victim of our so-called racist society. End of discussion.

Source: Knack (English)