“Problems with illegal immigrants are well known, but I must stress that this is the first time a comprehensive plan is being forwarded, aiming at restraining and managing their flow” said Deputy Minister for Citizen Protection Mr. Michalis Othonas.
The plan has been approved and will be co-founded by the European Commission in an attempt of controlling the delicate issues of illegal immigration and human trafficking flowing into the EU from the Greek-Turkish borders along the Evros River, in Northeastern Greece.
Via the Local:
Foreigners living in Switzerland had reasons to be cheerful and discontented after two separate votes on Sunday.
In Basel, an SVP initiative to toughen naturalisation requirements was rejected, even though foreigners will now have to prove to the authorities that they have an adequate command of German.
In Lucerne, meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of voters rejected an initiative to grant foreigners the right to vote in local elections. The initiative, launched by the second-generation immigrants' organization Secondos Plus, resulted in 83,773 ‘no’ and 16,006 ‘yes’ votes. 39.3 percent of registered voters participated in the referendum.
Via TF1 (French):
Desecration Muslim and Jewish cemeteries and places of worship is, proportionally to their numbers, higher than that of Christian sites, according to a new study by the 'study group on the prevent and fight against desecration of places of worship and cemeteries'.
Percentage wise, 1.30% of Christian sites were violated, compared with 2.85% of Muslim sites and 2.8% of Jewish sites. 621 such cases of desecration were recorded in 2010, affecting just a small minority of sites. The break down: 522 were Christian, 57 Muslim and 42 Jewish.
Experts are warning that Germany faces a shortage of skilled labor that could become an increasingly serious threat to its economy in years to come. Companies in certain industrial sectors are already struggling to fill vacant positions. Demographic developments will only make that worse, as the German population ages and the labor force shrinks. But current immigration law makes it hard for German companies to employ foreign specialists.
Earlier this year, a consortium of German foundations and charities set up a cross-party commission to look at the problem. The commission is headed by Armin Laschet, former state integration minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, and former German Defense Minister Peter Struck. It also includes industry and union representatives, as well as politicians from Germany's main parties. The body will present its findings to the heads of the party groups in the German parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday.
Via Deutsche Welle:
It is estimated that some 20,000 girls in the UK could be subjected to FGM. Each year, 6,500 girls in central London alone could face FGM, making it the city with the highest number of girls at risk in Europe.
Now London hopes to curb the practice by raising awareness through the integration of FGM education in secondary school curriculum. The London Metropolitan Police have teamed up with the agency Kids Taskforce and the local Lilian Baylis School to create a video featuring young girls learning about FGM's consequences through interviewing various authorities. The video is part of an FGM resource pack for teachers and students, and can be downloaded by schools using a password.
"I think it's absolutely vital that boys and girls know about this subject," said Detective Sergeant Vicky Washington from the London Metropolitan Police. "It may not be that they are at risk, but they could be exposed to someone who is. It's also about educating young people that this is happening and that it's child abuse and violence against women and has horrific debilitating effects, both short and long-term."
Via Knack (Dutch):
A 42 year old from Ghent appeared today in court for violating the anti-discrimination law. The man swore at a female tram operator because she was white, female and not a Muslim.
The incident happened last May, on a De Lijn tram next to the Gent-Sint-Pieters station. The 42 year old was aggressive towards the operator for no clear reason. He swore at the woman for being White. He also took offense at the fact that she was a woman and non-Muslim. The other passengers witnessed the incident. The police were called in, but the man refused to be handled by a female agent. The man was ticketed, but refused to pay the fine.
Via the Guardian:
A 'Walk of Faith', linking a church, mosque and synagogue in the Toxteth area of Liverpool, has been under the auspices of Merseyside Police in an effort to increase links between people holding different religious beliefs.
Bill McAdam, the community engagement sergeant, who heads the force's interfaith group, says: "It's all about community cohesion."
Via the Local:
Swedish society is failing its "immigrants", many of whom, such as football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, are forced to look elsewhere to build successful careers, social commentator and author Tove Lifvendahl argues.
Turks lined up next to the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam to sign up for a 21-day military service, before a new law forces them to pay more for an exemption. Some people stood in line for 12 hours.
Via Kristeligt Dagblad:
Last yer Copenhagen reported a man to the police for conducting an Islamic marriage for a 14-year old Danish girl behind her parents back. But nothing happened and the authorities were criticized for leaving the young girls and their families to their fate. The Minister of Social Affairs now formed a working group to look into the issue and see how the young girls can be helped.
Via Vårt Land (Norwegian):
The experience of Muslim employees is that Norwegians don't accept abstaining from alcohol for religious reasons.
Counselors at the Advisory Center for issues related to alcohol, drugs and addictive gambling in the workplace (AKAN) spoke with employees who said that there are basically only two acceptable reasons for abstaining from alcohol when meeting with colleagues: being pregnant or driving.
Via the Daily Mail:
Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain's leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.
Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion.
Via Deutsche Welle:
International scholars met last week in Stuttgart to consider the question: What's the ideal form of Islam for a European context, if there is one?
An estimated 20 million Muslims live in Western Europe. In many countries, the presence of a large Muslim minority has led to intense national discussions. The September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States stoked arguments in Europe that Islam was not reconcilable with European values, and that Islam was not adaptable to democracy.
With such debates raging about Muslim "integration," many are looking to the way Islam is practiced in Bosnia-Herzegovina for the answers.
Via the Copenhagen Post:
Highly educated immigrants bring skills to Denmark, creating a high yield investment
Following years of strident debate about whether immigration will be the death of Denmark’s welfare system, the irony is that certain immigrants could soon be seen as its saviours.
Facts presented in a just-released research study show that highly educated immigrants – whether they come from developed ‘Western’ countries or under-developed ‘non-Western’ ones – are putting far more money into the state’s coffers than they are taking out.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) study – which is co-funded by Microsoft and Dansk Industri (DI), an association representing more than 10,000 Danish companies – is the first of its kind to measure Denmark’s net profit from highly educated foreign workers.
Via Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish):
An imam's statement that a single Muslim woman shouldn't have children will now be dealt with by the National Social Appeals Board.
The Holbæk municipality used the imam's verdict to stop social benefits to a single mother. The Social Commission already rejected the justification and the municipality appealed their decision.
Via the Guardian:
Offenders from ethnic minorities are more likely than their white counterparts to be sentenced to prison for certain categories of crimes, according to an analysis of more than one million court records.
The study, carried out by the Guardian, found black offenders were 44% more likely than white offenders to be sentenced to prison for driving offences, 38% more likely to be imprisoned for public disorder or possession of a weapon and 27% more likely for drugs possession.
Asian offenders were 41% more likely to be sent to prison for drugs offences than their white counterparts and 19% more likely to go to jail for shoplifting.
The findings, which accord with a history of academic research into disparities, suggest wider variations in sentencing than in some previous studies and also show variation between courts.
Via Österbottens Tidning (Swedish):
More Islam teachers are needed in elementary schools in Finland, although according to the National Board of Education, the situation is about to get better.
The board of education estimates there are more Muslim than Orthodox students. They each make up about 1% of the total number of students. Today Islam teachers are a diverse group, according to the University of Helsinki.
Immigrants in Helsinki use the public health system less than the general population. According to a fresh survey, though, many mental and physical problems go untreated among the immigration population.
More than 500 Helsinki residents of Russian, Somali and Kurdish background took part in the study, released on Wednesday by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).
Via the Local:
Non-EU workers and their relatives will have to prove knowledge of one of Switzerland's national languages if they want to stay in the country.
Immigration permits for non-European Union citizens will be harder to get in Switzerland, but the country will also have to improve its efforts to integrate the newly arrived. Those are the two main goals of the proposed new Immigration and Integration Act presented on Wednesday by the Federal Council, in agreement with the cantons.
Via the JC:
A parliamentary group to tackle Islamophobia has been re-launched at Westminster, with the support of MPs from across the political divide. The group originally sparked controversy after it was revealed that an anti-Zionist organisation was to act as its secretariat.
The newly reformed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia was set up last week and will begin work immediately on an inquiry into the extent of anti-Muslim prejudice in Britain today.
Via Deutsche Welle:
For years, German authorities made no connections between the murders of nine migrant shopkeepers and a neo-Nazi terror cell. Migrant groups say it's because the state failed to recognize the far-right threat.
Following the recent revelations of neo-Nazi involvement in a series of hate-motivated murders in Germany, migrant communities in the country are demanding that authorities implement stronger prevention measures to restore the people's trust.
Migrant communities say authorities have underestimated the danger of right-wing radicals, who were recently discovered to allegedly be responsible for a string of 10 murders over the past decade.
Via La Dépêche (French, via Bivouac-ID):
A young man (23) was shot in the street yesterday in the Reynerie neighborhood of Toulouse. Several people were arrested.
There was a lot of tension in Reynerie after the death of a young man, executed with 9mm bullets in the middle of the street. Samir Chorfi, a resident of the neighborhood known to the police, was mortally wounded by several bullets shot in cold-blood and died in hospital. Large police forces were deployed to prevent hot-headed responses.
Police later arrested two relatives of the victim and more arrests followed. Samir Chorfi had been in prison for robbery. He was released October 19th with electronic monitoring.
The residents are shocked and concerned about the increasing violence. "We do not want our children to die in our neighborhoods.. recently a youth was wounded in the legs, we're not going to turn into Chicago!". In order to calm the situation, a loudspeaker broadcast passages from the Koran.
The study is available here (in English).
Via Fyens Stiftstidende (Danish):
Norwegian TV2 reports that according to a Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) study, 40% of Iraqi asylum seekers who came to Norway and then returned voluntarily, are sorry about coming to Norway.
Pål Lønseth, state secretary at the Justice Ministry, says that the asylum seekers see that conditions at home are good, and that while in Norway they've put their life on standby.
Via VG (Norwegian):
A 33-year old Iraqi suspected of multiple rapes has fled Norway, but is in regular contact with the police, saying he wants to come back.
The Iraqi came to Norway in 2005 as an asylum seeker. He is suspected of six attack rapes in Oslo. He fled to his homeland after he came to the police's attention in a rape case in 2010.
Via Today's Zaman:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the details of the much-awaited paid military service on Tuesday, saying that people who are over 29 years old will be eligible. Speaking at his party's group meeting in Parliament, Erdoğan said those over 29 when the law on paid military service is published in the official gazette would be eligible.
The law also simplifies military service for Turkish citizens living abroad. Provided that they were abroad for at least three years, Turkish citizens used to pay 5,000 to 7,500 euros, depending their age, and had to come to Turkey for a 21-day military service. With the new law, they will be completely exempted from military service in return for paying 10,000 euros, regardless of their age.
Via the Local:
Norway and other Northern European countries have begun negotiations aimed at returning teenage Afghan asylum seekers to their home country.
Just “a few details” and “approval” from authorities in Kabul appear to remain, news agency NTP reported Justice Minister Pål Lønseth saying. The discussion appears to have gone on for many months.
Sweden has led the talks embarked on by Britain, Denmark, Norway and The Netherlands. The stated aim is to send back kids whose application for asylum has failed because they have not demonstrated a need for “protection” against being sent back to war-torn Afghanistan.
The Russian republic of Tatarstan held an Islamic graffiti contest. All designs were approved in advance by the Muslim Religious Board and could not include humans and animals. The winning creations will be used as logos for future activities. (Via Diario de Navarra, Kazan Times, KP)
Via Politiken (Danish):
Somalis in Gullestrup feel persecuted following the rape of a 10 year old.
A 10-year-old girl was raped Saturday evening in a wooded area in the town of Gullestrup, north of Herning. She had been playing with a 9-year-old friend in a playground by the kindergarten when a man threatened them to go with him into the woods. The 9-year-old friend escaped and ran to get help, but the rapist disappeared before the girl's parents and police showed up. The girl described the rapist as African, 16-18 years old, with short, curly hair.
Via the Daily Telegraph:
Germany has pledged to compensate families of victims of neo-Nazi killings and hold a memorial service, moving to calm anger over suspicions a far-right cell killed at least 10 people over a decade without being caught.
Government officials pledged at the weekend to get to the bottom of the killings and improve co-ordination to prevent what Chancellor Angela Merkel called a national disgrace from happening again.
This story was originally reported by the Belgian antisemitisme site and translated by the Philosemetism blog. See both for more details.
Via La Libre and Le Soir (French):
Océane, a 13-year old Jewish girl, was beat up Friday by five girls of Moroccan origin after a gym class at Neder-Over-Heembeek (Brussels).
Via Frederiksborg Amts Avis (Danish):
The Ørnevang kindergarten will not participate in the traditional Christmas service at Lillerød church this year. The kindergarten decided to cancel its participation out of consideration for the non-Christian children.
Via the Daily Mail:
British Muslims feel a greater sense of national pride than the average UK citizen, according to the results of a new poll.
While 79 per cent of the Britons quizzed said they agreed with the statement 'I am proud to be a British citizen', the figure rose to 83 per cent among Muslims.
And Muslim Britons were also found to be significantly more optimistic than most with just 31 per cent agreeing with the notion that Britain's best days are in the past compared to an average of 45 per cent.
Previous articles on Lieksa:Finland: Immigrants spontaneously flocking to small town, Finland: Racial tensions heighten between Finns, Somalis in small town
Police have detained several people in Lieksa, eastern Finland, who are suspected of incitement against an ethnic group. Police have launched an investigation regarding a Facebook group founded by several town residents, which features threats and insults aimed at immigrants.
The group’s name approximately translates to Immigration debate without censorship. Some of the writings include outright threats to shoot black people.
Via ENGAGE (h/t The LibertyPhile):
Academics at Lancaster University have completed an ESRC financed research project on ‘The representation of Muslims in the British press 1998-2009'. The researchers analysed over 200,000 media articles written on Islam and Muslim over the eleven year period.
The number of dumped women has doubled since 2007.
Around 80 Moroccan-Dutch women a year report that they have been dumped in Morocco during a visit from the Netherlands, Amsterdam-based daily Het Parool reports. Accompanying them are more than 100 children.
The women have previously emigrated to the Netherlands and acquired a Dutch residence permit through marriage to a spouse with Dutch citizenship. But when the marriage fails, their husband lures them to Morocco under false pretences only to leave them behind, stranded with neither a passport or residence permit.
Via Russia Beyond the Headlines:
Sociologist Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Center polling agency, believes that as many as 60 percent of Russians support the nationalist slogan, "Russia for the Russians,” while about 50 percent of Moscow residents support limiting the flow of migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia to the city. “The problem is not even the spread of xenophobic sentiment from the lower classes to the general public, but the fact that social resistance to xenophobia is weakening,” Gudkov said.
A writer who last month won the EU’s literature prize on behalf of the Netherlands has failed his citizenship test and now has to go through a complete integration course, NRC.next reports.
Rodaan Al Galidi came to the Netherlands in 1998 as a refugee from Iraq and was allowed to take the fast-track test to prove he had mastered all aspects of Dutch society.
Right-wing extremists in Denmark are getting ready for a "race war" and are conducting weapons training in preparation, the country's PET intelligence agency said Thursday.
A small minority of Denmark's far-right group members "are involved in registering political adversaries and are trying among other things to acquire skills in weapons use and martial arts," PET said in a report on political extremism.
"It is our evaluation that this part of the far-right community is preparing for a future race war in Denmark and in that context is willing to use violence."
The Swedish Security Service still think he was alone.
Via the Local:
Taimour Abdulwahab called a mobile telephone in Iraq the same day that he blew himself up in Stockholm, and received 60,000 kronor ($8,800) from backers in Scotland, according to British prosecutors.
Three members of the Dutch-Moroccan community have made an official complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee against anti-Islam Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. They accuse him of inciting hatred against Muslims.
They are being represented by Ties Prakken, the lawyer who represented a number of minority groups in the Dutch trial earlier this year of Mr Wilders for inciting hatred, discriminating against Muslims and insulting immigrants.
European culture and Islamic culture have different ethos and both are bound to collide unless there is assimilation and compromise.
Anwar Shaheen of the University of Karachi’s Pakistan Study Centre said this here on Thursday on the second day of a two-day international conference on ‘Islam in Europe’ while speaking on the topic of hijab and burqa in Europe. The seminar was organised by KU’s Area Study Centre for Europe in association with the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
Via De Morgen, VRT (Dutch):
25% of the residents of Brussels are of Muslim origin, which makes Brussels one of the European cities with the largest Muslim presence, comparable to Birmingham in the UK. This according to a sociological study ('L'Iris et le Croissant' - the Iris and the Crescent) by UCL. The study was conducted by Sociologist Felice Dassetto, who has been researching Muslims, radicalization and intercultural ism for more than 30 years.
Via Tageblatt 1, 2 (German, h/t Politically Incorrect)
A new draft proposal by the Luxembourg Ministry of Education proposes allowing headscarves, prayer rooms, and separate gym classes for boys and girls. The proposal was sent to school principals for peer review, and was leaked by the local humanist association.
Via Deutsche Welle:
Three men accused of plotting to bomb the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, for printing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed pleaded not guilty in a Norwegian court on Tuesday.
The trio of Norwegian citizens, believed to have ties to al-Qaeda, is suspected of planning an attack and acquiring ingredients to make explosives to bomb the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper for printing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, which is considered blasphemous in Islam.
They have been charged with "conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack." If convicted, the men face up to 20 years in prison.
New arrivals to the Netherlands will be able to borrow up to €10,000 in a soft loan to pay for their compulsory integration (inburgering) course, the government has decided.
Immigrants will have up to three years to pass the course, which will include a centrally-organised examination, or lose their residency permit.
Via the Local:
Children born in Sweden of immigrants parents, enjoy as good mental health as children with Swedish-born parents, a new study shows.
“Our thesis I would say was in line with the common conception in our society that children of immigrated parents would have an extra stress factor in life and be affected negatively by that,” researcher Linda Dekeyser, PhD doctoral candidate at the faculty of health sciences (Hälsouniversitetet) at Linköping University, told The Local.
“But we were positively surprised to find that that is not the case.”
Via the Daily Telegraph:
Four men have been arrested in connection with an investigation into an alleged suicide bomb plot in Birmingham.
The four men – three aged 19 and one aged 24 - are accused of raising funds for terrorism and travelling to Pakistan for terrorist training.
The men were arrested in connection with a “major counter-terrorism investigation” known as Operation Pitsford.
Christianity’s waning relevance in modern Europe is well documented. But even as church pews remain empty, there is an odd twist unfolding in Cologne, a city rich in Catholic history, where a new mosque is being built amidst the whiff of an ancient conspiracy theory.
The details are these. The architect of a near-completed mosque was fired by his client, the Turkish Islamic association DITIB. One of the reasons given was that he had hidden Christian symbols in the building – little crosses, for example, or “Chi-Rho” (XP), the Greek monogram for Christ.
Yesterday, flandersnews.be reported that there were a total of four violent incidents on the Brussels metro on Saturday evening. One of the incidents quoted was a fight involving a group of British tourists and North African youths.
Having read yesterday's article, Mr Calum Sellars of Glasgow, Scotland has given us his account of Saturday evening’s incident on the platform of the Clemenceau metro station in Anderlecht.
Around 300 Tajik citizens will be deported from Russia in response to the jailing of a Russian pilot in Tajikistan.
"We have started working on the issue, and extradition will occur in days," said Federal Migration Service Director, Konstantin Romodanovsky.
Finland is finding it difficult to take in all of its so-called quota refugees, as municipalities are reluctant to accept them. About 400 refugees are awaiting entry to Finland at refugee camps abroad.
Municipalities receive money from state coffers for several years to cover their costs after accepting quota refugees. Nonetheless, the majority of municipalities have not taken in any despite the Parliament-approved annual quota of 750, which has been in Linkplace since 2001.
Earlier this week a mosque was tagged with anti-Muslim graffiti in Saint Armand les Eau in north-eastern France.
A mosque in eastern France was damaged after unknown attackers set fire to the building using a burning rubbish bin early Thursday, France 3 television reported.
One wall was badly damaged. The attack on the mosque is the second in a month, according to France 3.
A group calling itself Les Echappees Belles (The Lucky Escapes) claimed responsibility for the incident in tracts left near the mosque. The group - believed to be a group of women loosely influenced by right-wing extremists, according to France 3 - had claimed responsibility for setting fire to the mosque's van in October.
One person has been killed and two wounded during a clash between ethic Serbs and Albanians in northern Kosovo. The incident can raise ethnic animosities that turned violent earlier this year.
A Serb died of gunshot wounds during fighting that broke out at around 8 pm Wednesday in the city of Mitrovica. Two Serbs were injured, one of them a policeman, are reported to be in serious condition.
Via Fyens Stiftstidende & Politiken (Danish, published a couple of weeks ago):
In his liberation speech, Libyan interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said that sharia law will be the basis of legislation.
Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal (SF) said in response that they mean Sharia-lite ('soft Sharia'). "When they say Sharia, they don't mean stoning women, the death sentence or veiled women", Søvndal said. "I think moreover that it can be compared with Catholic parties in Europe calling themselves Christian. It doesn't mean hardcore Christianity, but that this is their basic orientation in life."
Via NOS (Dutch):
Moroccan-Dutch politicians met in Utrecht recently to discuss the position of Muslims in the Netherlands. They discusses the ban on ritual slaughter, the threat of a ban on circumcision and wearing a headscarf. They also discussed their role as Moroccan-Dutch politicians in this debate. The politicians have a dilemma, on the one hand they want to stand up for the interests of their supporters, on the other they want to follow their party's political line.
Via the Local:
Nearly half of those in forced marriages or in danger of such in Germany are German citizens, while around a third are minors, according to the most detailed study of the practice to date.
The study, commissioned by the Ministry for Family Affairs, threw up a number of surprises, as well as confirming much that is already known about forced marriages, said the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday which had advance access to the report, due to be launched the same day.
The daily Helsingin Sanomat reported Wednesday that an ongoing investigation into the country's first-ever terrorism case has turned up evidence of human trafficking.
"A plan was prepared to transport people abroad without their knowledge of the real purpose of the journey. There is reason to suspect that they would have been taken to a training camp. The preparations targeted individuals residing in Finland. We are currently investigating the matter," said the head of the investigation, Kaj Björkqvist.
Via HLN (Dutch):
Geert Bourgeois, the Flemish minister for Internal Affairs, recognized an additional seven mosques on October 24th. Four of the mosques are in Limburg, two in Antwerp, and one in Ghent.
All together, 24 mosques are now officially recognized by the Flemish government and are eligible for subsidies. An additional four mosques are currently awaiting the decision of the security service. 537,929 euro will be given this year to 14 of the 17 already reocgnized mosques.
Via the Daily Mail:
French cabin crews have no right to tell Muslim women to remove their burqa aboard Air France flights - despite a nationwide ban on full face veils, the airline has ruled.
Islamic passengers can be ordered to remove the garment while waiting in French airports to board the plane at the gate.
But once on board, they are free to put their burqa back on, according to an internal memo to staff from Air France's legal department.
Via the Copenhagen Post:
Schools with high proportions of bilingual and non-ethnic Danish children will receive extra funding to help raise students' language skills.
The initiative, outlined in the government’s new budget, will deliver one million kroner per year over three years to each of 14 national schools whose student make-up is comprised of at least 40 percent non-ethnic Danes.
“It’s incredibly important to strengthen our integration efforts,” Christine Antorini, the children and teaching minister, told Politiken newspaper. “Schools with high proportions of children from non-Danish ethnic backgrounds need extra economic help.”