Isle of Man: Muslims set up Facebook group for mosque campaign

Isle of Man: Muslims set up Facebook group for mosque campaign

AN internet group set up by the Island's Muslim community has sparked fiercely anti-Islamic opposition.   The group on social networking site Facebook, outlining their campaign for a new mosque to replace the converted garage used at present, has attracted almost 100 members.

But 360 people have joined an opposition group claiming to be non-racist but carrying comments such as: 'Thay (sic) can **** right off!!!!!! thay come over and don't respect are (sic) way of life.

'Thay belive (sic) if you are not a muslam (sic) you should die wots (sic) all that about!!! thay have one (a mosque) as it is so why do thay need a new one **** off i say !!!'

This is the second Facebook row centred in the Isle of Man to come to light in the past week.

iomtoday reported on Friday that high school students had joined a group called 'Keep the Isle of Man White & Free from Foreigners', which was shut down.

The creator of the group 'New Mosque for Isle of Man' explains the Muslim community, thought to number around 70, has been using a small converted garage as a mosque for more than 20 years.

He claims Islamic worshippers are 'at a disadvantage' as the mosque is too small to hold them all for Jumuah salah, a Friday afternoon prayer considered the most important of the week.

He adds: 'This group was not created with the intention of building a vast new mosque that dominates the skyline of Douglas.

'It is intended to raise awareness, motivation, money and community support — whatever it takes to get an appropriately-sized mosque built so that Muslims can practise their religion without hindrance.'

Meanwhile, contributors to the opposition group 'No to Mosque in the Isle of Man' urge members to 'keep your Island free of the alien invaders'.

One member accuses the Island's Muslims of 'taking education, jobs and a better way of life and throwing it back in our faces'.

Another writes: 'You can't say you are Muslim and not expect suspicion from the world . . . you have earned it.'

Those who have left messages condemning such comments are described as 'white traitors'.


Source: iomtoday (English), h/t Islamophobia Watch

Netherlands: The mosque that used to be a church

Netherlands: The mosque that used to be a church

Selma Noort, an author of children's book, recently came out with a new book titled "Dat spel van jou en mij" (that game of you and me).

Marta was raised by a strict father, who belonged to a strict church. When she met Sjonnie her father forbade her to associate with him, since he was a boy, belonged to a different church and was a trouble-maker to boot. Her brother had to leave home and move in by a strict uncle.

Today Marta is a teacher. She sits with her former student, Turkish girl Ehliman, across from the mosque which used to be her church. She tells Ehliman of her story, how difficult it was sometimes, when she was Ehliman's age, to be obedient to the rules of that church, and how she found a way to deal with her problems.

Sources: Selma Noort, Zoek Kinderboek (Dutch)

France: Muslim association aiming for Muslim-only cemetery

France: Muslim association aiming for Muslim-only cemetery

More and more Muslims want to be buried in France in a Muslim cemetery, which contradicts the law.  Still, one association is making the request.

The initiative is unique in France and risks offending the defenders of secularism.  An association of Muslims in Limoges has been actively seeking already for several months an area in the Haute-Vienne department which would accommodate a cemetery reserved only for Muslims.
The members of AMLF (assocation of Muslims in Limoges for brotherhood) are well aware that  French law prohibits religious cemeteries and allows only plots within municipal cemeteries.  But president Fethi Belabdelli expects to find a legal way to create it.  He says they hope their approach will one day succeed.

Meanwhile the association is approaching the municipalities in the department. They've found an area in Mézières-sur-Issoire.  The mayor of Mézières, Pascal Godrie, says that the area belonged to an individual and that the transaction could not be completed.

In Limoges there's a Muslim cemetery in the Louyat cemetery.  But the old people, like Mohamed Anfouh, refuse to be buried there.  The 62 year old man says that he's lived in Limoges, his children and grandchildren live in France.  He wants to be buried here, but only in an area reserved for Muslims.

The secretary of the AMLF, Mohammed Ouladmoussa explains that many of the older people don't want to be buried next to Jews, Christians and even less, atheists.  Earlier this month, the radical position of this association earned it scathing criticism from Ni Putes Ni Soumises and SOS Racism who accused it of sexism and antisemitism.

Fethi Belabdelli says that for them, secularism means to respect religion, not to reject it.  They don't want to provoke anybody.  They're only responding to a growing demand from the elderly, who've lived their life in France and who increasingly don't want to be buried back home, but rather in French territory, in Muslim cemeteries.

Source: Le Parisien (French), h/t Bivouac-ID

France: Muslim is Beautiful (VIDEO)

France: Muslim is Beautiful (VIDEO)

A new video "Muslim is Beautiful" attacks the prejudices against Muslims (in French)

Source: Saphir news (French) h/t Bivouac-ID

Utrecht: Extreme right-wing Turkish party invited to congress

Utrecht: Extreme right-wing Turkish party invited to congress

The Turkish Federation in the Netherlands (TFN) will be holding a congress in Utrecht this Sunday.  A special guest during the gathering is Devlet Baheli, leader of the Turkish extreme right-wing party MHP (Nationalist Movement Party).  The supporters of this party are called the Grey Wolves.

The gathering will take place in the De Vechtsebanen halls.  About 2,000 people are expected.  The Leftist organization Doorbraak (breakthrough) warned the municipality of this gathering.  According to Doorbraak, MHP is a party with fascist and anti-Semitic inclinations and has public links with the criminal community in Turkey and Europe.

The Utrecht municipality informed Doorbraak that the gathering may take place since everybody in the Netherlands has a right to assembly.  According to a spokesperson of the municipality they will take security measures as expected for any assembly of 2,000 people.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

Netherlands: 40% of Somali/Ethiopian/Egyptian women undergo FGM

Netherlands: 40% of Somali/Ethiopian/Egyptian women undergo FGM

The study looked at women who gave birth in the Netherlands, so it is unclear where and when they suffered the procedure.  Previous estimates for Somali women in the Netherlands were up to about 80%.  According to De Volkskrant, 470 out of 1,200 women from risk-countries (Somalia, Ethiopia and Egypt) had been found to have undergone FGM.  This includes both the more serious and lighter forms.  I could not find a breakdown by country, though.


Four out of ten Somali and Ethiopian women who give birth in the Netherlands have been genitally mutilated. This is relatively few, Health State Secretary Jet Bussemaker wrote to the Lower House on Friday.

The figures were recorded by research organisation TNO after questioning midwives. The number of cases of female circumcision is fairly low, since nine out of ten women in the countries of origin have been circumcised, Bussemaker reasoned.

To obtain a better picture of female circumcision, the state secretary previously announced that midwives would be registering this form of mutilation. They will also be trained in how to discuss circumcision with families.

Source: NIS (English), h/t Islamization Watch

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

Somalia: Three Swedish citizens die in Jihad

Somalia: Three Swedish citizens die in Jihad

According to Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda three Swedish citizens have died fighting Jihad in Somalia.  It is known that a couple of Swedish-Somalis are heading the Hizb ul-Islam group.  According to this article there are about 20 Swedish citizens fighting Jihad in Somalia.  Previous news reports mentioned at least 15 Danish and 60 British citizens involved in the fighting.  Tundra Tabloid reportsthat many of today's leaders in Somalia are Finnish citizens.

The news story below adds another interesting fact: not all the JIhadists are Somalis.


Several young men who left Sweden to join the radical Islamic militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia have been killed in battle, according to Sweden's security service Säpo.

Säpo estimates that about 20 people have left Sweden to train and fight with al-Shabaab, a militant group with alleged ties to al-Qaeda.

So far, a handful of people with Swedish passports have also been killed in the fighting, Säpo reports.

"For the time being, it is believed there are ten or so Swedes on the ground in Somalia. They are either taking part in the violence or in training camps, but there may be more as of yet unknown cases. What worries us is that it's ongoing and growing," said Säpo counterterrorism analyst Malena Rembe to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The recruits aren't only Swedes with Somali backgrounds, but are also individuals of mixed ethnicity, according to Rembe.


Source: The Local (English)

See also:
* UK: 60 British youth fighting Jihad in Somalia
* Somalia: Discussions of Swedish-Somali terrorism
* Somalia: Somali-Swedes heading terror group
* Denmark: Somalis leaving to fight in Somalia

Cairo: Russian, European Muslim students arrested in pre-Obama visit sweeps

Cairo: Russian, European Muslim students arrested in pre-Obama visit sweeps

According to one report, almost 200 Russian students were arrested.

Two Tajik and at least four Russian students arrested among 34 people in a sweep of a Cairo university this week have been released, officials said Saturday.

The Tajik Foreign Ministry said its ambassador in Egypt had confirmed its two students were free. RIA Novosti reported the four Russian students also were released.

Egyptian authorities have not revealed any explanations for the arrests at Cairo's Al Azhar University, in which students from Britain, Denmark, France, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as some Arab countries, were swept up.

Russian Vice Consul Yusup Abakarov told RIA Novosti that members of the Russian embassy in Cairo were trying to set up a meeting with the dozens of students still being held.

Source: UPI (English)

Spain: Attacks planned on Andalucia, Britain, Germany, France, Portugal

Spain: Attacks planned on Andalucia, Britain, Germany, France, Portugal

A Taliban-trained terrorist was part of a cell sent to bomb Britain as revenge for their presence in Afghanistan, it has emerged.

The terrorist informant has told prosecutors he was trained by Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taliban, and was planning a series of suicide attacks with 11 other men.

The informant, known as "Ahmed", told investigators the bombers were to work in pairs using a "device carried in a backpack with a third person to detonate a remote control" in order to ensure the bombers went through with their mission.

Details of the attempted attacks emerged in papers submitted to the Spanish authorities in a case against the alleged bombers, who were arrested in raids in the Raval district of Barcelona in January last year.

It is claimed the attacks were to begin on the Barcelona underground system and then spread to the other European countries with a presence in Afghanistan, thought to include Britain, according to new documents.

The information echoed claims made by British security services that a terrorist cell was sent to Manchester from the Taliban heartland in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

British investigators believe that the cell, which was allegedly planning attacks on the Trafford and Arndale shopping centres over the Easter holidays, had connections with al-Qaeda, and Spanish prosecutors say their cell may also have had links with al-Qaeda.

The terrorist group is believed to have formed a "holy alliance" with the Taliban to launch terrorist attacks on foreign soil.

Instead of relying on British-born men travelling to Pakistan for training, al-Qaeda is now recruiting "ready made" terrorists from among the Taliban, investigators believe.

The 10 men arrested in the north west are fighting deportation on national security grounds after Government lawyers accused them of being members of a "UK-based network linked to al-Qaeda involved in attack planning".

Spanish police found chemicals including nitrocellulose and potassium perchlorate along with batteries, timers and cables in the raids.

They also found "materials for indoctrination" relating to attacks against Nato forces in Afghanistan and books and DVDs.

Spanish prosecutors submitted documents laying out their case earlier this month and Dolores Delgado Garcia, a prosecutor at Spain's National Court, told the Daily Telegraph she believed the Barcelona cell was inspired by speeches by Osama bin Laden about the "loss of Andalucia" once part of the Muslim Ottoman empire.

"Al-Qaeda has been targeting Spain because of its historic associations with Andalucia," she said. "But other cities in Europe where countries have troops in Afghanistan were also targets."


Source: Telegraph (English), h/t NRP  

Luton: Moderate Muslims turn on extremist protest

Luton: Moderate Muslims turn on extremist protest

The Muslim community turned on extremists in their midst yesterday, telling them they were 'sick and tired' of their behaviour.

The angry confrontation came in Luton, where anti-Islamist protesters brandished England flags last Sunday, before clashing with police.

The latest violence erupted as arguments raged between fellow Muslims shortly after Friday morning prayers in the Bury Park area of the town.

Passing traffic ground to a halt as the large group of moderates confronted about a dozen extremists.

As the radical Muslims began to set up their stall, they were surrounded by a crowd shouting 'we don't want you here' and 'move on, move on'.

Angry words were exchanged and scuffles broke out between members of both groups, with the extremists shouting 'Shame on you' and 'Get back to your synagogue'.

The moderates chanted 'Out, Out, Out', and after an uneasy stand-off, police officers were able to persuade the extremist group to leave the area.


Farasat Latif, of the Islamic Centre in Luton, which was firebombed after the protest against the soldiers, said moderate members of his community took action because police had failed to move the group on.

During the protest against the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian regiment in March, the extremists had shouted 'baby killers' and 'butchers of Basra' as well as brandishing placards against the Iraq war.

He said the extremists, who follow the militant group led by Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammed, had fuelled feelings against the Muslim community which led to a march last Sunday in Luton which was disrupted by white, right-wing extremists.

Mr Latif said: 'We have been fighting these Muslim extremists for you. They represent nobody but themselves.


Source: Daily Mail (English), h/t Islamophobia Watch

See also: Luton: Anti-Islamist protesters clash with police

Netherlands: Muslim with headscarf features in province campaign

Netherlands: Muslim with headscarf features in province campaign

Campaign website here.


In bus stops in Kampen (Overijssel), unknown people put stickers with anti-Islamic slogans.

The stickers with the text 'Overijssel is not Islamic' cover an ad poster of the Overijssel province. The billboard shows an Islamic woman with a headscarf, with pictures of the Overijsel nature in the background.

The photo of the young Muslim woman is part of a publicity campaign for the Overijssel province, which draws attention to the qualities of the Overijssel landscape. Besides the woman with the headscarf, other residents of the province also figure in the campaign.

Anonymous critics told that the campaign is 'disrespectful'. 'What does Overijssel have to do with Islam? Particularly when it comes to the landscape and culture of Overijssel," wrote one critic in an e-mail.

The province, which will investigate the case, has no idea who's behind the anti-Islamic stickers. According to a spokesperson they have received more negative responses to the campaign.

The photo of the Muslim woman was also printed in brochures which were handed out house to house.

"That yielded us about twenty critical responses," says a province spokesperson. "We explained to those people that it's not models, but actual residents of our province. Also the lady with the headscarf lives in Overijssel. Than they understood it."

A similar sticker was put at a bus-stop with a ad by telecom provider Ben, which also shows a Muslim woman with a headscarf. Ben says they know nothing about it.

At a request of the province, the administration of the bus-stops removed the slogans. The bus-stop campaign is meanwhile over.

Source: Elsevier (Dutch)

See also: Norway: Impressions of Norway

Athens: Muslims/leftists demonstrate against Koran insult

Athens: Muslims/leftists demonstrate against Koran insult

More than 1,000 Muslim migrants and leftists demonstrated in Athens Friday over an alleged police insult to the Koran, a week after two similar protests degenerated into clashes with anti-riot police.

The protest was called by leftist and anti-racist groups after a police officer allegedly tore up some sheets of paper with extracts from the Muslim holy book belonging to an Iraqi migrant during an identity check last week.

"We want this officer put on trial, and we ask the government to protect our prayer sites in Athens," said Zuri, a Moroccan protester.

"But we intend to set a good example and refrain from violence, Islam is a religion of peace," he said.

Scores of police on foot and on motorbikes were mobilised to maintain order and keep the migrants who marched on parliament from coming into contact with a few dozen neo-Nazi militants staging a street gathering a few blocks away.

The far-right group was commemorating the fall of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

Greece's main Muslim and migrant organisations distanced themselves from the migrant demonstration, preferring to take judicial action instead.

"Our problems can be solved by dialogue, not demonstrations," said Ahmet Moavia, head of the Greek Migrants' Forum.

"The real agenda is migrants' rights in Greece which include issues of religion," he told AFP.

"Muslim Arabs will not participate because there is a political agenda which has nothing to do with Islam," said Naim El Gadour, chairman of the Muslim Union of Greece.

"We filed a complaint against the officer, we chose the path of justice and peace and we will adhere to it."


Source: AFP (English)

Italy: First hijab-wearing politician to run in local elections

Italy: First hijab-wearing politician to run in local elections

An Italian Muslim woman wearing the veil, or hijab, in the central city of Perugia will for the first time run for local elections, on 6 and 7 June. Maymouna Abdel Qader, an Italian of Palestinian descent, is a political science graduate of the University of Perugia.

She is running for Perugia's communal council for the Sinistra e Liberta coalition, which is made up of mainly socialist, anti-war and secular parties.

"Though being the first veiled Muslim woman that has ever run for elections in Italy, until now I have received a positive response from the people, who have also appreciated my choice, and look at me as a novelty of the local political scene," said Abdel Qader in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

Abdel Qader - who is the daughter of the imam of Perugia Mohammed Abdel Qader and is also one of the founders of the Young Italian Muslims association - said she is personally campaigning and distributing fliers to promote her candidacy.

"These days I am personally distributing fliers for my candidacy in order to ask the citzens of Perugia for their vote. Many have wished me well, after they see that I am Italian and not a foreigner," she told AKI.

Abdel Qader also said her objective is to represent Italy's second generation of Muslim immigrants in Italy, that are now what she calls "The new Italians".

Among the things she wants to promote if elected, is that Perugia's public pool can be reserved solely for women, at least once a week.

"It is a battle that it not just limited to Muslim women. The pool will be open to all women, and I count with the support of many women about this."

Source: AKI (English)

Oslo: Mosque visited by Queen connected to Jamaat-e-Islami

Oslo: Mosque visited by Queen connected to Jamaat-e-Islami

The Islamic Cultural Center mosque has never hidden where they get their ideological inspiration: from Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, an organization considered to be an extreme group on the extremist side of the religious and political landscape.

When the Norwegian royal family wanted to visit a Muslim community in Norway for the first time ever Monday, they chose the Islamic Cultural Center. It's unclear if Queen Sonja was aware of the links between the Islamic Cultural Center in Oslo and religious extremist groups in Pakistan.

Spokesperson at the palace Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen says that the Queen was there after having received an invitation to open an exhibition, and added that generally that Royal family doesn't comment on the reasons for their appearances.

Per Sandberg, Deputy head of the Frp (Progress Party), thinks the royal family can naturally visit whomever they want.  But, he says, he would have wished the queen didn't legitimize a mosque with radical attitudes.  She could have visited a mosque with moderate points of view.  It's a paradox that so many Muslims in Norway follow radical movements within Islam after they come to Norway.

Laila Bokhari, researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, says that Jamaat-e-Islami is a fundamentalist and conservative movement. One of the movement's top leaders, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, is, at best, unclear about his attitude towards al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden, according to Bokhari.

Ahmad was invited by the Islamic Cultural Center in Oslo in 2004 to give a speech.  Fahrat Taj, originally from Pakistan, is writing a doctoral dissertation on human rights and Islam.  She say that the Islamic Cultural Center, via its ideological links to Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, puts itself on the fundamentalist wing.

Taj says that in Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami is considered to have connections with al-Qaida.  It's typical that Jamaat-e-Islami is now one of three political groups who don't support the army's operations against extremism in the Swat area.

According to the Pakistani press, around 1990 Qazi Hussain Ahmad has several meetings with bin Laden.  After the terror attack against the US on September 11, 2001, he said the Jews were responsible.  When one of the top leaders of al-Qaeda, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, was arrested in 2003, he was found in the home of then important member of Jamaat-e-Islami.  Several experts consulted by Aftenposten emphasize, however, that Jamaat-e-Islami was never a part of bin Laden's terrorist network.

Mehboob ur-Rehman, an imam at the Islamic Cultural Center, sits on the European Fatwa Council headed by Egytpian Yusuf al-Qaradawi.  Earlier this year al-Qaradawi congratulated Adolf Hitler for punishing the Jews during WWII.

Jamaat-e-Islami was founded in British India in the 1940s and is based on the ideas of Sayyid Maududi.  The main idea was an Islamic state which will be pure of Western influence.  At the end of the 1970s, Jamaat-e-Islamic was a mainstay for Zia ul-Haq's ultra-reactionary regime, which introduced Islamic law in large parts of Pakistani society.

Jamaat-e-Islamic and the Islamic Cultural Center threaten women's rights, thinks Hege Storhaug, spokesperson for Human Rights Service.

"Queen Sonja could hardly have been aware of which ideological platform ICC supports when on Monday she, with a scarf over her head, spoke to the sex-segregated assembly," she says.

Storhaug points out that ICC's ideological leaders is Sayyid Maududi.  He particularly infamous for the book "Purdah and the Status of Women" from 1939.  It degrades women to second-class citizens.  He writes that women's eyes are an 'erogenous zone' that can lead to adultery.  The same holds for a woman's voice, which Maudud characterizes as 'agent of the devil'.

She refers to an article in Aftenposten from 2004 where the Islamic Cultural Center proposed polygamy.  Even after Aftenposten's revelation the pamphlets were available in ICC's premises.
Storhaug says that it involved a careful defense of man's right to have four wives.

The Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) sees in Jamaat-e-Islami a religious and ideological starting point.

"Yes, it's correct that we see in Jamaat-e-Islamic our source of inspiration," says a spokesman.

ICC is an independent community in Norway without organizational links to Jamaat-e-Islami in Paksitan.  But when ICC sends humanitarian help, the money goes through organizations related to Jamaat-e-Islami. 

Q: Five years ago the ICC in Oslo invited Jamaat-e-Islami head Qazi Hussain Ahmad. What position do you take to Ahmad's points of view on Osmaa bin-Laden?

A: "The opinions on Osama bin Laden are his personally.  We invite many, and they all get to promote their points of view," the mosque answers.

Q: Is it relevant to reconsider membership in the European Fatwa Council after president Yusuf al-Qaradawi's honoring of Adolf Hitler?

A: "No, it's not relevant at all.  In the Fatwa Council there are members with many different opinions.  What they do there, is to discuss the problems Muslims meet in their every day lives."

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

See also:
* Norway: Islamic Council rejects Qaradawi
* Oslo: Queen visits mosque
* Oslo: Imam blames 9/11 on US in college lecture

Sweden: Iraqi-Swede teen solves Bernoulli math puzzle

Sweden: Iraqi-Swede teen solves Bernoulli math puzzle

A 16-year-old Iraqi immigrant living in central Sweden has figured out a formula that has challenged great mathematicial minds for 300 hundred years, earning him praise from professors at prestigious Uppsala University.

Mohamed Altoumaimi, who moved with his family to Sweden six years ago, is a first year student at the Falu Frigymnasium high school in Falun in central Sweden.

Long interested in mathematics, Altoumaimi has spent the last four months toiling over his notebook in an attempt to write a formula to explain the calculation of Bernoulli numbers.

The numbers are named for the 17th century Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli and consist of a sequence of rational numbers which are important for number theory.

Needless to say, Altoumaimi's teachers were more than sceptical when he showed up to school recently claiming he had come up with a formula.

"When I first presented it to my teachers, none of them believed that the formula I had written down really worked," he told the Falu Kuriren newspaper.

Undeterred by the doubts of his teachers, Altoumaimi decided to contact professors at Uppsala University in hopes they would validate his work.

"Right away they wanted to take a look at all my calculations and the documents where I show that the formula really works," said Altoumaimi.

While it's not the first time that someone has come up with a formula for Bernoulli numbers, it's highly unusual for a first year high school student to make his way through the complicated calculations.

After verifying the calculations, Uppsala University senior maths lecturer Lars-Åke Lindahl then contacted Altoumaimi's teachers to tell them what a gifted student he was.


Source: The Local (English)

EU: 1/3 of Muslims report discrimination

EU: 1/3 of Muslims report discrimination

A month ago the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights published its European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS).  Now they're publishing a focused report on Muslims.  Some key findings:

1 in 3 Muslim respondents were discriminated against in the past 12 months and 11% experienced a racist crime. The highest levels of discrimination occurred in employment (when looking for work 18%; at work 13%), and in private services (at a bar restaurant, shop, by a landlord; total 14%). In comparison, of all ethnic groups surveyed within EU-MIDIS, 37% experienced discrimination, and 12% had been a victim of a racist crime.

Muslims aged 16-24 experience more discrimination in comparison with other age groups, with overall discrimination rates declining with age.

Lower discrimination of Muslims with citizenship and longer period of residence

The length of stay in the country also affected levels of discrimination experienced. Those who have lived in a country for longer experienced less discrimination. On average 45% of those who lived in the country for 1-4 years experienced discrimination in contrast to 25% of those born in the country. 29% of youths aged 16-24 who are citizens of the Member States in question experienced discrimination, in contrast to 48% of youths who are not citizens.

On the whole, there are only small differences between Muslim men and women's experiences of discrimination.

Overwhelming majority do not report their experiences of racism

On average, 79% of Muslim respondents, particularly youths, did not report their experiences of discrimination. This means that thousands of cases of discrimination and racist crime remain invisible, and are therefore not recorded in official complaints and criminal justice data collection mechanisms. People without citizenship and those who have lived in the country for the shortest period of time are less likely to report discrimination.

Regarding the reasons for not reporting incidents, 59% of Muslim respondents believe that 'nothing would happen or change by reporting', and 38% say that 'it happens all the time' and therefore they do not make the effort to report incidents.


Ethnicity is the main reason for discrimination

Of those Muslim respondents who experienced discrimination in the past 12 months, the majority believed that this was mainly due to their ethnic background. Only 10% stated that they thought that the discrimination they experienced was based solely on their religion. However, 51% of Muslims compared to 20% of non-Muslim ethnic minorities surveyed believe that discrimination on grounds of religion or belief is "very" or "fairly" widespread.

Wearing traditional or religious clothing does not influence discrimination

Wearing traditional or religious clothing (such as a headscarf) does not appear to increase the likelihood of being discriminated against. This finding contradicts common assumptions about the negative impact of wearing traditional/religious clothing, such as headscarves.


Source: FRA

See also: EU: Ethnic groups feel discrimination is widespread

Brussels: On regional elections

Brussels: On regional elections

Samira at Hungarian-language blog a fátyol alatt reports (in French) that election posters in the Brussels Region for the regional Belgian elections, particularly in Molenbeek and Ixelles (Elsene), feature many North African and Turkish names.

The posters in these areas belong mostly to the Francophone Reformist Movement (RM), Humanist Democratic Party (cdH), and Socialist party (PS).

In 2007 Muslims were estimated to be 7.5% of the French Community and 11.8% in Brussels, and on the increase. This electorate is potentially more imporatnt, since youth make up 32%, compared with 23% elsewhere.

Muslims are voting Left - in recent elections the Socialists got 43% and the CdH 18.7%, which between 2004 and 2007 got an infusion fo votes from MR. Today the Socialists get most of the Muslim votes, despite having an atheist ideology, while traditional ethical values play a fundmanetal role in voting for CdH, whch was founded on religious identity.

Just a third of the Muslim electorate of 2007 attended a mosque regularly. Two thirds said they were not practicing.

Samira says that Musilms vote for the Left for socio-demographic causes. Muslims belong to the disadvantaged group: workers, employed and unemployed, and women, who make up just 6.6% of the Muslim electorate, tend to vote Left.

Dutch language blog In Flanders Field looked at the Socialist Party and published a list of the apparently Muslim candidates. 26 of the 72 PS candidates (36%) are Muslim.

Meanwhile, the Francophone Humanist Democratic Party tried to hide (1, 2 NL) the Muslim headscarf of one of their canddiates - Mahinur Ozdemir, number 21 on the list.

In the election poster: Ozdemir, bottom left
Below: Ozdemir with headscarf

The party denies that it asked to hide the headscarf and says that the poster was prepared by outside sources. Ozdemir first said that she's deeply shocked and insulted, but later spoke to the publishers and agreed that it is not the party's fault.

However, Belgian broadcaster RTBF says that this is not the first time and that the CdH also tried to hide Ozdemir's headscarf in the municipal elections of 2006.

Norway: Police expects more religious, ethnic, national conflicts

Norway: Police expects more religious, ethnic, national conflicts

Two points:
1. Why would Norway take in people who agree with the Taliban?
2. Since when do Neo-Nazis justify themselves with Christianity?


Conflicts based on religion, ethnicity and nationality will increase in the next decade, the police believes. This appears in the police annual report for 2008, which was recently published by the Police Directorate.

"Those who come to Norway, try to integrate here, but they also have their own culture. They can bring with them conflicts from the homeland to Norway. This is something we must be attentive to," says the the head for the project in the Police Directorate, Knut Kværner, to Vårt Land.

Integration researcher Inger Lise Lien believes some criminals justify crime with religion, and that enmity can be brought to Norway.

"If, for example, we both take in people who agree with the Taliban and people who've escaped from the Taliban, this can cause conflicts between the groups," says Lien, who is a researcher for NKVTS (Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies)

"If Muslim boys will explain crime with Islam or Neo-Nazi boys justify themselves with Christianity, we will get conflicts of a completely different type than we have now," she says.

Source: Hegnar Online (Norwegian), h/t R.

Netherlands: Islam contributing to delinquent behavior

Netherlands: Islam contributing to delinquent behavior

The knowledge base is available on the Justice Ministry site (in Dutch)


The Dutch justice ministry is investigating which approach to youth criminality works.  Using this information, the cabinet will deal with the problematics of Moroccan youth.

Islam is possibly one of the causes of delinquent behavior of Moroccan youth, suggests Corine de Ruiter, professor of forensic psychology in Maastricht who - together with others - mapped out for the justice ministry ways to deal with criminal Moroccan youth.  According to De Ruiter, Moroccan (and Turkish) youth are 'backwards in their moral development'.

This backwardness is one of the factors which can cause criminal behavior: it's been scientifically shown that delinquents often have decreased moral functions, less emphatic abilities and less aggression controls.  This less well developed 'moral reasoning' of Moroccan and Turkish youth is explained, according to De Ruiter and her coworker Kim van Oorsouw, by the Islamic background of these minority groups.

"In Islam the emphasis is on obedience and respect for the parents.  Individualism and independence are less important - and these are exactly the qualities which can bring moral development to a higher level,' according to the co-authors of the knowledge base for dealing with criminal Moroccan youth.

Children in Dutch families grow up with a 'democratic negotiation style' and much consultation with the parents, where they learn to decide.  Islamic children often grow up in a family structure in which they 'must only follow orders'.  There is yet no empiric evidence that this goes together with antisocial or criminal behavior, but the authors think it's 'plausible' that it goes like that.


Moroccan youth deal with different background factors than Turkish youth.  Morocco is less industrialized and less democratic than Turkey and in Morocco women have less political rights, which goes together with illiteracy, to enumerate some differences.

Accordingto the researchers programmes such as the Glenn Mills school for Moroccan youth are also 'not effective in increasing moral maturity, since repression is often already the dominate upbringing style".  They see much more benefit in teaching a different style of thinking.  Studies abroad show that this approach actually leads to less recidivism.  It is also known that Moroccans suffer more than average from schizophrenia.  This might well have to do with the frequent cousin marriages, according to researcher Trees Pels, who also worked on the report.

The knowledge base is the basis of the 'Moroccan policy' that the cabinet is now developing.  The WODC (Research and Documentation Center) of the Justice Ministry asked various researchers to write down what is already known and established about the approach of youth crime and antisocial behavior in general, and of immigrant/Moroccan youth in particular.

They are looking for which interventions and regulations have been shown to really work.  There are only a few, conclude the researchers.  What is available as far as scientific evidence is based mostly on American studies; research of the workings of (foreign) interventions in the Dutch context is highly necessary, argue the authors.  Thus it is unknown whether youth in justice youth institutes who don't show problem behavior any more also keep to it after their release.  Probably not, think the researchers.


An important recommendation from the report is that schools should play a bigger role in fighting nuisances and criminality of Moroccan youth.  Immigrant parents turn to the (psychological) social worker slower than ethnic Dutch parents, also due to a cultural taboo.  Informing the parents is therefore of great importance, say the authors of the knowledge base.

The researchers recommend that schools (school doctors, youth health care, teachers) play a more important role in observing.  Teachers, for example, could be encouraged to screen for behavior problems in their class.  There's a test with simple questions ('can the child sit still? Does he lie often?') which can signal problem behavior and behavior disorders very early.
When immigrant parents are referred to social workers by the school it can help overcome the hurdle, argue the researchers.  It would be better if the social help would be offered at or via the school.  That would be seen as a smaller hurdle and less stigmatizing by immigrant parents, but also by parents with a low social-economic status, than when they must go on their own to the youth social care, according to the writers of the knowledge base.
The expectation is that if parents find their way more easily to the volunteer social workers, immigrant over-representation in the non-volunteer, more serious help (youth care) will also decrease.


The increase of 'social binding' among ethnic minorities can also work as a 'buffer against criminal behavior', the researchers, who worked for WODC, think.  The social binding can be reinforced by strengthening the social cohesion within the (Moroccan) families.

"Parent training can already be done during the elementary school period.  Moroccan parents appear to have problems recognizing their child shows difficult manageability behavior."  Teachers do recognize this behavior, a reason to already offer 'preventive intervention' in school.

Other findings of the researchers: the creation of places to hang out for at-risk youth often has a contrary effect; setting up a curfew is not effective in fighting crime, but improving street lighting is.  More random 'blue' on the street is not beneficial, but directing extra patrols at certain times and areas works demonstrably well.

Source: Binnenlands Bestuur (Dutch), h/t Wij Blijven Hier

See also:
* Denmark: 'Muslim culture plays role in criminality'
* Copenhagen: Crime and religion

Copenhagen: Police drops case against anti-Jewish chanter

Copenhagen: Police drops case against anti-Jewish chanter

The video was posted online by Ted Ekeroth, who quotes the man, who led the crowd in Danish and Arabic chants, as saying "we want to kill all the Jews, all they Jews should be slain, they have no right to exist!" (h/t Dan Ritto)

The same man is also seen giving the Nazi salute while shouting "Down, down Israel, viva, viva Palestina."


"We will kill the Jews all over the world" and "All Jews will be butchered" were chants shouted during a demonstration in front of the Copenhagen city hall in January and the man doing so can be both seen and heard on video tape. And yet, the statements will not have any immediate consequences. Copenhagen Police has decided to drop the case on transgression of article 266b of the penal code, also called the 'racism paragraph'.

The reason for the decision is that police couldn't find out the perpetrator's identity.

"There exists only one video clip in the case, where the perpetrator can be seen and the statements can be heard, and this hasn't been sufficient to find out the perpetrator's identity," according to the decision.

This surprises the Documentation Centre Racism and Discrimination (DRC), since the video clip shows that the police stood by and could have intervened.

DRC head Niels-Erik Hansen says that they could have certainly arrested and charged him. But they didn't do so and didn't ask for his identity either. This means, he says, that we have rules, but they aren't maintained.

Two demonstrations were held in front of city hall on Saturday, January 10. One in support of Israel and a counter-demonstration, which supported the Palestinians, and the atmosphere was strained.

Source: TV 2 (Danish)

See also:
* Denmark: 'The Jews are Allah's enemies'
* Denmark: More protests
* Denmark: Demonstrators complain about police behavior

Oslo: Queen visits mosque

Oslo: Queen visits mosque

Never before had a member of the Norwegian royal family visited a Norwegian mosque. but yesterday Queen Sonja visited the mosque of the Islamic Cultural Centre Norway (ICCN) in Grønland in Oslo. The Queen toured the mosque and looked at old, handwritten Korans and Islamic art. (Exhibition site, NO)

Midway through her visit the Queen officially opened "Islam Exhibition 2009". The exhibition makes an introdcution to Islamic life and teachings by among others: posters, Arab calligraphy, old Korans and design hijabs.

"We wish to give people an introdcution to Islam. We we live in a multicultural society, it's important to know about everybody who lives in it," says Ikklaq Ahmad of the ICCN.

Aaminah Woqas (8) and Shahzaib Amad Khan (10) welcomed the Queen to the mosque and gave her flouwers. They thought it was fun to shake the Queen's hand, but for Shahzaib not everything went as expected. "

"I thought she would come in a big limousine and have a big escort with her. She didn't do that. But it was very good to meet her," he says.

One of the ICCN's goals is to increase understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. For close to three years they've planned the big exhibition on ISlam, which will be open until Saturday, May 30th.

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

Netherlands: Turks most generous among immigrants

Netherlands: Turks most generous among immigrants

For the first time ever researchers studied the charity behavior of immigrants (in the Netherlands).  Surinamese give the most often to Dutch good causes, Turks the most.

Of the immigrants, Turks give the most money to good cause in the Netherlands: on average 263 euro.  In addition they send an average 348 euro per household to Turkey.  Most to family (85%), but also to friends (9%).

Surinamese give most often to good causes in the Netherlands  They also send the most money on average to Paramaribo: 447 euro in 2007.

These are some of the results of the study "Solidarity with the land of origin: charity behavior of non-Western immigrants in 2007'.  This study is presented today, for NCDO (National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development).  The study was conducted by Christine Carabain of the Philanthropic Studies work group in the Free University in Amsterdam.

Immigrants don't do less than ethnic Dutch when it comes to charity, it appears from Carabain's study.  They are even more generous than the rest of the Dutch.  If the gifts to good causes and gifts to relatives are counted together, immigrants give on average 200 euro more.

Carabain says that giving to one's relatives, which immigrants do a lot, is also a form of altruism.  "We're inclined to look at the term philanthropy with Western eyes.  The most common Western definition of philanthropy is giving to institutes for the common good.  But you could also interpret the definition more broadly, the financial support of family is also an unselfish act."

All together immigrants gave in 2007 almost 400 million euro to Dutch good causes and to people in their land of origin.  About 60% of the 400 million went over the border.

Turks and Moroccans gave the most money in the Netherlands to faith institute.  this means that they gave money especially to the mosque.  The obligatory contribution (zakat) of Muslims to the mosque is not counted since obligatory gifts doesn't count as philanthropy.  The voluntary charity (sadaqah) is counted.  Dutch Muslims gave on average 113 euro sadaqah.  The obligatory contribution of the Muslims to the mosque in 2007 was on average 124 euro.

Immigrants almost didn't give to good causes related to the environment and nature reservations, protection of animals, culture, sport and recreation.  The study also shows that immigrants volunteer less often.  Among Turks and Antilleans, 18% volunteer, among ethnic Dutch that's about 55%.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

Sweden: Girl wins compensation for FGM

Sweden: Girl wins compensation for FGM

The story below is a bit unclear.  From what I understand, the mother was previously sentenced to three years in prison and for damages of 450,000 kroner.  The mother appealed the sentence, and the Victim Compensation and Support Authority now made a final ruling on the matter.  (Source: DN, SE)

Sweden, like other European countries, does not deport people who might face torture or execution in their homelands.  If the Swedish authorities decide to define FGM as 'torture', I suppose girls facing this risk should at least have the same level of protection.


A 19-year-old girl in Gothenburg has been awarded compensation after having been subjected to genital mutilation in Somalia as an 11-year-old.

The girl was awarded 390,000 kronor ($52,000) in damages for abuse and gross violation of integrity (grov fridskränkning), the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Brottsoffermyndigheten) has announced.

Then 11-years-old, the girl was taken on holiday to Somalia in 2001. While there she was subjected to genital mutilation.

She was held down by her mother and two other women while her clitoris and inner labia were removed by a man in return for payment.

The girl's vagina was then sewn up down to the opening of her urethra. The whole procedure was conducted without anaesthetic.

For several years after the violation the girl was subjected to repeated examinations by her mother who forced her fingers into her vagina to check that her virginity remained intact.

She also repeatedly assaulted her daughter with various implements including books, a curtain rail and a belt.

The girl's mother later explained in her court trial that the girl was taken to Somalia to be "cleansed".

The mother was later convicted for the violation in the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) and ordered to pay her daughter 450,000 kronor in compensation.

In its decision to award the damages to the 19-year-old the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority wrote that the "genital mutilation resembled torture and was intended to limit her possibilities to have a normal sex life."


Source: The Local (English)

Denmark: 1/3 of schools prepared to show special consideration for religious sensitivities

Denmark: 1/3 of schools prepared to show special consideration for religious sensitivities

Almost a third of all state schools in Denmark say they are prepared to show consideration for their pupils' religious sensitivities, but experts question whether it is a good idea.

A survey carried out by Politiken Research shows that both urban and rural schools are prepared to consider their pupils' religions in daily activities, but politicians and experts say schools must be careful.

"In Denmark we have a certain set of values, and state schools are a good place to learn them, so there should be no special conditions," says Danish People's Party Education Spokeswoman Marlene Harpsøe.

The Danish People's Party is not alone in raising a warning flag.

" The state schooling system is, in principle, a non-religious space," says Social Democratic Education Spokeswoman Christine Antorini.

Integration Consultant Esma Birdi says that there are now so many religious minorities, that it is not a good idea to give special consideration to all of them.


The Headmasters Association Chairman Anders Balle says that consideration is just a sign that schools are adapting to a multicultural society. He accepts that religious considerations can get out of hand, but says that they have not done so.

"It is a balance. You can of course become so considerate that it becomes difficult to run a school – but we are able to take basic considerations into account," says Balle.

Education Minister Bertel Haarder is not prepared to interfere in what individual schools decide to do.


Source: Politiken (English)

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

Luton: Anti-Islamist protesters clash with police

Luton: Anti-Islamist protesters clash with police

Nine people have been arrested after hundreds of anti-Islamist protesters clashed with police yesterday.

The streets of Luton descended into violence after demonstrators, many hiding their faces behind balaclavas, brandished England flags and chanted at officers.

A group called March for England was said to have organised the rally as a peaceful protest against Muslim extremists. They were joined by a local group United People of Luton.
Demonstrators gathered in George Square in Luton town centre yesterday


During the protest, the mob, which included teenagers and women, held banners with slogans such as 'No Sharia Law in the UK' and 'Respect our Troops'.

Some protesters wore masks with the horned face of Sayful Islam, a local hardline political agitator who led Muslim demonstrators in an anti-war protest during the Royal Anglian Regiment's homecoming parade in Luton in March.

But chaos broke out when a crowd of around 500 ran away from police who had been escorting the protest along its route, and ran down side streets towards the town centre.

Officers on horseback and police dogs were deployed, and policemen drew batons to defend themselves.

Groups of young men in balaclavas and England shirts chanted outside the city centre and one balacava-clad protester held a Rottweiler on a chain, while others clashed with police in riot gear.

One Asian man was hit across the face with a banner and left with a bloody nose.

Last night Luton town centre was calm as police maintained a presence on the streets.

A spokesman for United People of Luton, Wayne King, said many people in Luton were concerned and annoyed that the Muslim community in the town had not taken steps to deal with Sayful Islam's 'hate-filled preachings'.

The 24-year-old, who wore a T-shirt with the words 'No surrender to Al-Qaeda' on it, said: 'We decided enough was enough after the soldiers got heckled as they marched through the town centre by the Muslim extremists.

'Our community has been racially attacked for the last 10 years.

'A mosque in the town got set on fire a few weeks ago and it made national news but churches in Luton are regularly being set fire to.

'We want laws brought in to stop preachers of hate operating here.'


Source: Daily Mail (English)

Egypt: French, Belgian, British citizens among al-Qaeda cell arrests

Egypt: French, Belgian, British citizens among al-Qaeda cell arrests

This might be the first terror cell to train in Gaza while intending to commit attacks in Europe.


Egypt said on Saturday that police have arrested seven members of an alleged Al-Qaeda-affiliated cell over a Cairo bazaar bombing three months ago that killed a teenaged French tourist.

The interior ministry said those arrested over the February attack were a French woman of Albanian origin, a British man of Egyptian descent, two Palestinians, a Belgian man of Tunisian descent and two Egyptians.

"(Police) were able, through information received and surveillance, to identify a group, some of them Egyptians and others foreigners, affiliated with Al-Qaeda... and seven of them were arrested," it said in a statement.

An Egyptian minister had on Monday announced the arrest of suspects over the February 22 attack in the famed Khan al-Khalili bazaar, but gave no details on the number detained.

A French girl was killed and 24 people, mostly tourists, were injured in the bombing, the first deadly attack on tourists in Egypt since 2006.

The ministry said members of the cell, which called itself the Islamic Army of Palestine and was led by two Egyptians living abroad, were found in possession of weapons and explosives.


The Belgian suspect told police during interrogation that he had been instructed to accompany Al-Qaeda operatives from Belgium to France to launch an attack there, it said.

The ministry said some cell members had travelled to the Gaza Strip through cross-border smuggling tunnels to receive military training there.

Some suspects said they had also been instructed to attack tourist resorts and fuel pipelines in the Sinai peninsula, the statement said.


"This is a big issue, it's the first time we can say Al-Qaeda is in Egypt," he said.

Montassar al-Zayat, a former Islamist who has represented suspects in terrorism cases, dismissed the accusation of links between the cell and the loose network of Islamist militants led by the Saudi-born Osama Bin Laden.

"Can you say what exactly is Al-Qaeda, to speak of Al-Qaeda links?" he asked.


Source: AFP (English)

Norway: Pakistani organization accused of membership fraud

Norway: Pakistani organization accused of membership fraud

Norway's largest immigrant organization received large grants.  When TV 2 called a number of members, 80% said they weren't members.  The association, which has been in existence since 1974, is very powerful in the Norwegian-Pakistani community, and over the past ten years received more than a million kroner in support from the Oslo municipality. In February they sent a new application with 506 names of members.

But though the Pakistan Workers Welfare Union received a lot of money from the Oslo municipality, the members lists were never checked.

Rowena Teodocio, the head of the department for integration and multiculturalism (EMI) says that they didn't inspect this organization this year or before that.

Well-known Labor Party politician, Khalid Mahmood, was a central activist in the Pakistan Workers Welfare Union since the 70s.  All these years he had central administrative positions. In the last application to the municipality in February, Khalid Mahmood is listed as secretary.

when TV 2 wanted to check the member lists they were refused by the Oslo municipality and only got a censored version. With help of the national population register, tax lists and other databases, they managed to reconstruct many of the names.

And when they rang those listed as members, one after another answered that they weren't members and didn't pay union dues in 2008.

Of the 34 randomly selected people, 28 answered they weren't members.  TV2 also found a member who died two years ago.  Several said they didn't know or remembers, but they are not counted in the sample

For several days Khalid Mahmood refused to explain why 80% of a sample in the organization say they aren't members.  He was presented with TV 2's findings both in writing and orally, but did not wish to explain.  Khalid Mahmood wrote in an email to TV 2 that he thinks it's much better if they take it up with the head of the organizatoin, since he's the spokesperson and they'll get everythign from him.

The famous immigration spokesperson, who's also a parliament candidate for the Labor Party from Oslo, says he resigned as secretary in March.  It's was just one month after the last application to the Oslo municipality for financial support.

Mahmood directed TV2 to Fazal Hussain, who's the head of the organization.  And his explanation for having 80% of the sample deny membership is that people lie.

Q: So the members lie?

A: Yes!  You know how many crazies there are in the association.  One day  they're against you and the next they're against me.  It isn't easy to head the association," Hussain told TV 2 Nyhetene (News)

Q: Do you have confirmation today from all 506 of your members?

A: No, but I say that we have different people who recruit members.  Some recruit everybody in their family, for example, 50 people.  And they collect the names, birth dates, addresses and money and come to the administration," says Husaain.

The members of the Pakistan Workers Welfare Union join the same day and the membership dues are paid immediately to the organization's account.  According to the guidelines, funds can't be paid out unless every single member paid membership dues.

Hussain, who denies that they inflate the numbers, says that they're not the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions and they're just a simple and little welfare union.  They're not professional.

Certainly, the more members the  Pakistan Workers Welfare Union has on their list, the more money they get from the authorities.  the union also uses its size to seek other support.  In February they received 265,000 kroner from the foreign ministry for a seminar on Islam and democracy in Oslo.

Rowena Teodocio is head of the department at Oslo municipality which hands out millions of kroner every year to immigrant groups.  Despite TV 2's survey she doesn't suspect the Norwegian-Pakistani organization.  Teodocio says that their starting point is not to start a dialog with organizations by saying that they cheat.  It would be wrong.

After more than an hour of interviewing the head of the organization admits that what is supposed to be Norway's biggest immigrant association maybe doesn't have the most membership activity.

Q: How many come to your membership meetings?

A: Sometimes one or two.  but there aren't many who come, says Hussain.

Abid Q. Raja (Liberal Party) is Khalid Mhamood's political opponent.  he says that it's completely unacceptable that an elected politician as Khalid Mahmood doesn't answer a critical question. 

Raja says there have been membership frauds in many other organization. It's an un-culture which must be fought.  If they don't answer the questions, Oslo municipality should be brought into it, then the politicians in the municipal council, and maybe even the police, to investigate what's happening in these organizations.

Raja believes other organizations might have cheated to get money from the municipality.  He thinks it might be just the tip of the iceberg, and therefore he thinks it's important that the Oslo municipality gets involved and not just accept the membership lists which are sent in.  There must be a full open review of this.  This is cheating with the community's means.

He says taht according to the rumors in the community, this is the top of the iceberg and if one goes deeper into it, he will find big financial misconduct, including embezzlement,  lack of loyalty and fraud.

Raja says that these are such grave accusations that he thinks people should answer the questions, in particularly when they're elected.  This should be cleaned up.  These types of cases hurt the reputation of all immigrants, he says.

Source: Tv 2 1, 2 (Norwegian)

Norway: Frp proposes ban on hijab in schools, deportation for parents of girls who wear hijab

Norway: Frp proposes ban on hijab in schools, deportation for parents of girls who wear hijab

In VG's online poll, about 70% support a ban on hijab in school


The Frp (Norwegian Progress Party) wants to ban all hijab in schools in Norway.  If they introduced this, they want to send parents to small girls who wear the hijab back to their original homelands.

Frp deputy Per Sandberg says that people who come to Norway must drop their women-oppressive and children-oppressive culture which is wearing the hijab.  In school it should be forbidden to wear the hijab and if the parents don't accept our democratic rights, they will be sent straight home.

Q: But it isn't illegal to wear the hijab in Norway today. How can you think then that parents to girls with a hijab will be sent home?

A: It will be illegal to wear the hijab in school, if the Progress Party gets what it wants.  It is oppressing for small girls to put a hijab on them.  What adult women do, they can choose on their own.  But if parents don't respect the law, they will be sent home, answers Sandberg.

With the Progress Party in government, Sandberg promises that the party will work for completely new laws for new countrymen:

* All asylum seekers will be sent straight back to their homeland.  No new asylum seekers will not get residence in Norway.

* A five year test period will be introduced where anybody with legal residence, who does not follow Norwegian laws, norms or rules, will be sent back to their homeland.

* Anybody who has gotten legal residence in Norway will be evaluated after five years.  If they sufficiently adapted to Norway by the Frp's demand list, they will have another ten years before they can become Norwegian citizens.

* During these ten years, the Norwegian authorities will send back to their homeland anybody who commits crimes with a punishment of more than three months in prison.

* All together it will take 15 years before becoming a citizens.  Then people will not be sent back to their homeland - regardless of any eventual crimes.

* It will take five years before one gets permanent residence in Norway.  People who continue to oppress women with forced marriage, female genital mutilation and hijab have nothing to do here anymore.  They can go back, says Sandberg.

Sandberg expects the police to carry out the deportations.  It will also be the police who will evaluate whether people act according to Norwegian norms and rules the first five years.

"People who come to Norway must accept our democracy, freedom of speech and human rights.  They must conform and adapt to the Norwegian rules and norms we have.  They must get a job and contribute," he says.

He spent a large part of his program speech during the national convention to tell delegates that he thinks everybody has a choice - and that who don't like Norway's laws and rules can choose to go back to their homeland.

"You have a choice.  They have a choice too.  Go home!  Or they can choose to stay.  But there are some norms which underlie accepting them being here.  Those who live at the expense of others have nothing to do here.  Those who still have ambitions to stay in Norway have some norms to adopt.  And those who don't do so will go home as soon as possible," Sandberg told the crowded hall, which cheered and clapped.

Source: VG (Norwegian)

Copenhagen: Priest suggests joint Muslim/Christian prayer

Copenhagen: Priest suggests joint Muslim/Christian prayer

The priest at Brorson Church in Copenhagen is preparing for joint prayers of Muslims and Christians during church service.  Priest Per Ramsdal wants to involve the 60 to-be-deported Iraqi asylum seekers in the church service and make their situation the subject of the service next Friday.

Per Ramsdal told Danish news agency Ritzau that he would like to hear some of their life stories during the service and possible have joint prayer of Muslims and Christians.

This proposal comes in response to the negative response by the youth choir.  The church is a youth church without a Sunday service.  Since Sunday about 25 youth from the youth choir asked to leave the church, though after talking to them, Per Ramsdal doubts that all of them will actually do so.  Other members had, on the other hand, asked to disconnect the choir from the church, tells the priest.  He's received over 100 positive comments since the Iraqis came.

A large group of youth collected money for food and medicines for the rejected asylum seekers, who are due to be sent to Iraq after Denmark got to an agreement about it with Iraq's government.

the priest says that the Iraqis in the church are extremely respectful and their best to inconvenience as little as possible with their mattresses and bags.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad 1, 2 (Danish)

See also:
* Copenhagen: Iraqis seek shelter in church
* Quote: On Muslim asylum seekers in church

Belgium: Belgian cell discovers Islamic resistance is expensive

Belgium: Belgian cell discovers Islamic resistance is expensive

More on the Belgian al-Qaeda cell.  Moez Garsallaoui, mentioned in the last sentence as the leader of the group, is married to Malika el-Aroud.  Both of them were arrested last year in Belgium on charges of terrorism.  Before that they lived in Switzerland, where they were sentenced for running a website inciting to Jihad.

At the time there was a lot of speculation as to what prompted the operation against the group  Turns out it was an email by one of the group's member, taking leave of his girlfriend.

For more on the Belgian al-Qaeda cell and Malika el-Aroud see:
* Belgium: "Mother of al-Qaeda in Europe" saved by Belgian secret service
* Antwerp: The Jihadis of Antwerp North (1)
* Antwerp: The Jihadis of Antwerp North (2)
* Belgium: Al-Qaeda cell apprehended
* Switzerland: Islamist website owners found guilty
* France/Italy: Al-Qaeda cell investigation
* Belgium: Report on Belgian al-Qaeda
* Italy: Police charges suspected terrorists with planning France/UK attacks


Determined to die as martyrs, the French and Belgian militants bought hiking boots and thermal underwear and journeyed to the wilds of Waziristan.

After getting ripped off in Turkey and staggering through waist-deep snow in Iran, the little band arrived in Al Qaeda's lair in Pakistan last year, ready for a triumphant reception.

"We were expecting at least a welcome for 'our brothers from Europe' and a warm atmosphere of hospitality," Walid Othmani, a 25-year-old Frenchman from Lyon, recalled during an overnight interrogation in January.

Instead, the Europeans -- and at least one American -- learned that life in the shadow of the Predator is nasty, brutish and short.

Wary of spies, suspicious Al Qaeda chiefs grilled the half-dozen Belgians and French. They charged them $1,200 each for AK-47 rifles, ammunition and grenades. They made them fill out forms listing next of kin and their preference: guerrilla fighting, or suicide attacks?

Then the trainees dodged missile strikes for months. They endured disease, quarrels and boredom, huddling in cramped compounds that defied heroic images of camps full of fraternal warriors.

"What you see in videos on the Net, we realized that was a lie," Othmani told police. "[Our chief] told us the videos . . . served to impress the enemy and incite people to come fight, and he knew this was a scam and propaganda."


Police in Europe tracked the group's radicalization and travel with the help of real-time U.S. intercepts that corroborate the confessions, and they exploited the men's reliance on the Internet. Fear of an imminent attack spurred their arrests here in December after Hicham Beyayo, 25, a Belgian just back from Pakistan, sent a troubling e-mail to his girlfriend.

"I am leaving for an O [operation] and I don't think I will return," Beyayo wrote Dec. 6, according to investigative documents. "My request has been accepted. You will get a video from me to you from the [organization]."

Beyayo told police that he was boasting to impress his girlfriend. But investigators believe the group may have been groomed for missions at home.

"They were much more valuable for operations in Europe," said the Belgian anti-terrorism official, who, like others interviewed, requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing. "Al Qaeda does not need Belgians and French to fight in Afghanistan."

Beyayo is about 5-foot-5, chubby and bespectacled. Like the others, he is of North African descent. He grew up in the tough Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels, and his brothers have done time for robbery and arms trafficking. But he does not have a criminal record. He interspersed college courses with fundamentalist Islam.

"He is the intellectual of the family," said his lawyer, Christophe Marchand. "He bears no ill will against Belgium. He went to Afghanistan to join an Islamic resistance movement."

Islamic resistance is expensive. The unemployed Beyayo scrounged together about $5,000 for the trip.

The Frenchman Othmani, a father of two, had to borrow about $1,000 from his mother, and he spent hundreds on hiking boots, a sleeping bag, thermal underwear and a "big Columbia-brand jacket for the cold."

The leader was Moez Garsalloui, 42, a Tunisian married to the Belgian widow of a militant who killed Ahmed Shah Massoud, an anti-Taliban warlord, in a suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11 attacks. The balding, bearded Garsalloui sought recruits among visitors to a radical website run by his wife, who is revered in militant circles.


Source: Los Angeles Times (English)

Athens: Second day of clashes, mosque firebombed

Athens: Second day of clashes, mosque firebombed

At least three people were hospitalized in Athens on Saturday morning after a firebomb attack on a shop used as a Muslim prayer center for immigrants.

Police said unknown assailants smashed the shop's windows and poured gasoline inside before igniting it, a police source said.

The attack came a day after clashes between more than 1,000 Muslim protesters and Greek police in central Athens prompted by the alleged desecration of a copy of the Koran by police.

The march was organized by leftist, immigrant and anti-racism groups. Violence broke out after the rally when a group of protesters began throwing projectiles at police.



Muslim immigrants clashed again with Greek police Friday during a second day of protests in Athens over charges that officers tore up a Quran during an identity check of immigrants.

About 1,500 Muslim protesters, mainly men in their 20s and 30s from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria and Somalia marched through Athens to protest against the incident, chanting "Allah is great", carrying banners reading "Hands off immigrants" and holding up copies of Islam's holy book.

The Greek capital's main streets were closed amid a heavy police presence.

Violence broke out at the end of the demonstration as around 120 protesters threw projectiles at police, who tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas.

"They started throwing rocks and sticks at police guarding parliament and the officers responded with tear gas and percussion bombs," a police official said.

The protesters pulled up pavements, smashed about a dozen shop windows and damaged cars, leaving some overturned in the middle of streets. Bus stops and traffic lights were destroyed and shocked tourists ran into hotels on the central Syndagma Square for cover.

Police said 46 protesters were arrested. Seven Muslims and another seven policemen were injured and brought to hospital for treatment. About 75 cars, five stores and one bank were damaged, according to a police statement.


Sources: DW-WORLD, Al-Arabiya

See also: Athens: Muslims protest alleged Koran destruction

UK: MI5 accused of blackmailing and harassing Muslims

UK: MI5 accused of blackmailing and harassing Muslims

Five Muslim community workers have accused MI5 of waging a campaign of blackmail and harassment in an attempt to recruit them as informants.

The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas.

They have made official complaints to the police, to the body which oversees the work of the Security Service and to their local MP Frank Dobson. Now they have decided to speak publicly about their experiences in the hope that publicity will stop similar tactics being used in the future.

Intelligence gathered by informers is crucial to stopping further terror outrages, but the men's allegations raise concerns about the coercion of young Muslim men by the Security Service and the damage this does to the gathering of information in the future.

Three of the men say they were detained at foreign airports on the orders of MI5 after leaving Britain on family holidays last year.

After they were sent back to the UK, they were interviewed by MI5 officers who, they say, falsely accused them of links to Islamic extremism. On each occasion the agents said they would lift the travel restrictions and threat of detention in return for their co-operation. When the men refused some of them received what they say were intimidating phone calls and threats.

Two other Muslim men say they were approached by MI5 at their homes after police officers posed as postmen. Each of the five men, aged between 19 and 25, was warned that if he did not help the security services he would be considered a terror suspect. A sixth man was held by MI5 for three hours after returning from his honeymoon in Saudi Arabia. He too claims he was threatened with travel restrictions if he tried to leave the UK.

An agent who gave her name as Katherine is alleged to have made direct threats to Adydarus Elmi, a 25-year-old cinema worker from north London. In one telephone call she rang him at 7am to congratulate him on the birth of his baby girl. His wife was still seven months' pregnant and the couple had expressly told the hospital that they did not want to know the sex of their child.

Mr Elmi further alleges: "Katherine tried to threaten me by saying, and it still runs through my mind now: 'Remember, this won't be the last time we ever meet.' And then during our last conversation she explained: 'If you do not want anything to happen to your family you will co-operate.'"

Madhi Hashi, a 19-year-old care worker from Camden, claims he was held for 16 hours in a cell in Djibouti airport on the orders of MI5. He alleges that when he was returned to the UK on 9 April this year he was met by an MI5 agent who told him his terror suspect status would remain until he agreed to work for the Security Service. He alleges that he was to be given the job of informing on his friends by encouraging them to talk about jihad.

Mohamed Nur, 25, a community youth worker from north London, claims he was threatened by the Security Service after an agent gained access to his home accompanied by a police officer posing as a postman.

"The MI5 agent said, 'Mohamed if you do not work for us we will tell any foreign country you try to travel to that you are a suspected terrorist.'"

Mohamed Aden, 25, a community youth worker from Camden, was also approached by someone disguised as a postman in August last year. He alleges an agent told him: "We're going to make your travelling harder for you if you don't co-operate."

None of the six men, who work with disadvantaged youths at the Kentish Town Community Organisation (KTCO), has ever been arrested for terrorism or a terrorism-related offence.


Last night MI5 and the police refused to discuss the men's complaints with The Independent. But on its website, MI5 says it is untrue that the Security Service harasses Muslims.

The organisation says: "We do not investigate any individuals on the grounds of ethnicity or religious beliefs. Countering the threat from international terrorists, including those who claim to be acting for Islam, is the Security Service's highest priority.

"We know that attacks are being considered and planned for the UK by al-Qai'da and associated networks. International terrorists in this country threaten us directly through violence and indirectly through supporting violence overseas."

It adds: "Muslims are often themselves the victims of this violence – the series of terrorist attacks in Casablanca in May 2003 and Riyadh in May and November 2003 illustrate this.

"The service also employs staff of all religions, including Muslims. We are committed to recruiting a diverse range of staff from all backgrounds so that we can benefit from their different perspectives and experience."


Source: Independent (English)

Athens: Muslims protest alleged Koran destruction

Athens: Muslims protest alleged Koran destruction

Hundreds of Muslims marched through central Athens on Thursday, damaging shops and cars, to protest what they said was the destruction of a Koran by a Greek policeman.

The president of the Muslim Union of Greece, Naim Elghandour, said that during police checks at a Syrian-owned coffee shop on Wednesday, an officer took a customer's Koran, tore it up, threw it on the floor and stomped on it.

In response, about 1,000 immigrants, many from Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, marched to central Omonia Square, smashing several shop windows and five cars, a police official said.

Police sources said an internal investigation was launched into the Koran incident.

"We were told by police we will be given the name of the policeman who did this so we can press charges," Elghandour said.


Source: Reuters (English), h/t NRP

Quote: On Muslim asylum seekers in church

Quote: On Muslim asylum seekers in church


"I don't understand why they don't seek shelter in the mosque.  I don't understand why the church council of Brorson Church don't ask why they don't seek shelter in the mosque.  It's very odd for me that Muslims, who belong to a people who persecute Christians, come and seek shelter in a Christian Church."

"We're in a situation where most of the Christian asylum seekers who come to Denmark from Iraq get asylum, because the Iraqis persecute them."

- Birthe Rønn Hornbech (DA), Liberal Party, Danish Minister for Refugees, Immigrants and Integration and for Ecclesiastical Affairs


"We sought refuge in the church because we feel safe here."

"It's inconsequential for me whether it's a church or a mosque.  The Church is God's home.  A place one can come in contact with God regardless of religion.  And that's enough for me."

"In Denmark's it's the tradition that one respects the ground of the church and we hope the police also does so we can stay in the country."

"I've lived in an asylum center in Denmark for nine years. I can spend the rest of my life here in the church. In any case it's better than being in Iraq."

- H-Muhammad Jaaf (DA), one of about 60 Iraqi asylum seekers currently protesting their deportation, by seeking shelter in Brorson Church


See also: Copenhagen: Iraqis seek shelter in church