UK: Muslims protest pet food factory

A group of Muslims have opposed plans for a pet food factory to be built as possible pork emissions will violate their religious rights.

Butchers Pet Care could shelve plans for a factory in Coton Park, near Rugby, because angry Asian families have complained to their residents' association about pork smells drifting into their garden.

Muslim residents in the area also claim the pork will effectively "rain down" on their homes and gardens after the factory's 100ft chimney has pumped the meat extracts into the atmosphere.

The Coton Park Residential Association said they have received complaints from Muslims - who are directed to not eat pork by the Qur'an - and are taking the matter very seriously.

Muslim families are worried that the pet food factory will infect the air with pork emissions and violate their religious beliefs

One family who live less than 100 yards from the proposed factory, but who did not wish to be identified, said: "A significant proportion of meats used in the pet foods processes are pig meat.

"Our religion expressly forbids us to consume pig meat in any form.

"Because of the way in which this meat material will leave the factory and give that the area can be 'rained upon' we will be consuming pork via inhalation of this 'rain'.

"Not only that but our clothes will be contaminated by pork."

Another family from the Coton Park housing estate said: "The owners of the proposed factory do not dispute the claim that meat extracts of pork will be pumped into the atmosphere via a 100ft chimney.

"They have said there will not be any chemical treatment proposed to treat the meat extracts before they leave the factory."

Association spokesperson Grant Scott said: "Several families have complained because of the smell of the pork, and also if the factory is cooking with it, pork particles and odour could rain down on them from the chimney at some point.

"It was something we hadn't taken on board before but it's definitely important and is a very delicate issue.

"If Muslims are unhappy about it, then Jews may complain for the same reason, and Hindus may complain because of their beliefs about cows being sacred animals.

"There is a significant Muslim element in our area, so there is a potential problem."

Another Muslim family added: "A Muslim is obliged to be clean spiritually, mentally and physically.

"Abstention from eating flesh of swine is one of the obligations a Muslim must observe to attain purity of the soul and of the human nature.

"Therefore, we believe that not only will we be contaminated but also our faith by the owners of this proposed pet food plant.

"In this country we are allowed the right to follow our religion and religious beliefs. By allowing this plan to go ahead our religious rights are being swept to one side for what appears to be economic greed.

"We feel sure that there are other areas where this factory could be built that would not impact on us or others like us."

The Environmental Health Agency are investigating the potential affects, with a decision about the factory's future due in September.
The pet food company said there is an 'almost 99% guarantee' the smell of pork would not reach the Coton Meadows residential area.

A statement from Butchers Pet Care said: "The majority of our natural products are beef and poultry.

"Pork ingredients account for less than 10% of our range.

"At Coton Park we plan to introduce state-of-the-art odour extraction through the chimney stack.

"An environmental impact report has already concluded that emissions at the proposed Coton Park site should not have an adverse impact on air quality and odour levels.

"We would like to reiterate that we do not burn any animal materials."

Source: Daily Mail (English)

Norway: Syrian boy to be deported

Stories such as these are never easy, and I do not doubt that the Syrian boy and his mother would prefer to stay in Norway. However, I think it is wrong to present this story as if the family only now discovered they must leave. The family knew their asylum request was rejected a year after they arrived in Norway. It was the family's decision to fight it out and to return to Norway after they had been deported once before, and it is the family's responsibility if they did not manage to convince the Norwegian authorities of their need to be refugees.

The newspapers don't mention what grounds the family used to request asylum, and it seems that even those who support the family staying are not using 'asylum' as a reason for them to stay.

"Hamodi" came to Norway with his parents in 1999. Their asylum request was denied in 2000, and for the next few years they fought against it. In 2003 his father passed away and in 2004 Hamodi and his mother were deported back to Syria, where his father's family lives. His mother says some of the family members were against the marriage and the situation was unbearable. A year later Hamodi and his mother returned to Norway and requested asylum. Their request was denied again, since they do not fulfill the requirements for refugees.

Hamodi says he cannot read or write Arabic but I would think it would be his parents responsibility to make sure he will be able to acclimate back, should their asylum request be rejected (and it was - a year after they arrived).

As a side note, this Syrian-Palestinian was born in Syria to a Syrian (Palestinian) father and a Lebanese 'state-less' (Palestinian) mother.

Despite new laws to grant asylum to children with close ties to Norway, a Syrian boy and his mother are being ordered to leave the country.

The 15-year-old Palestinian-Syrian boy, known as "Hamodi", has lived in Norway half his life. He speaks fluent Norwegian and claims to have close Norwegian friends. On top of that, his deceased father, a Palestinian-Syrian refugee, is buried in the town of Gjøvik in eastern Norway.

Still, Norwegian immigration authorities have decided not to grant "Hamodi" and his mother asylum in Norway.

This ruling came despite recent legislation to make immigration easier for children with a strong attachment to Norway.

"It seems that the ruling contradicts the new legislation. It is surprising," said "Hamodi's" lawyer Jan Erik Mellemberg to

The staff at the refugee centre in the town of Gjøvik, where "Hamodi" and his mother live, were also shocked by the decision of the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board, known as UNE (Utlendingsnemda).

"I don't remember much of my life before Norway," said "Hamodi" to

"I don't know anyone in Syria, and I cannot write or read Arabic. It will be terrible to go there," he added.

But according to UNE, the 15-year-old's attachment to Norway is not strong enough to allow him to stay. The immigration authorities argue that "Hamodi" and his mother are from a culture where family ties are strong.

"He has siblings, and a number of uncles and aunts in Syria. We are not informed that he has strong ties to Norwegian places or Norwegian friends," a statement from UNE read.

In a letter to UNE, the family's lawyer is urging the immigration authorities to review "Hamodi's" case one more time.

Sources: Aftenposten (English), Aftenposten (Norwegian)

Pope's private secretary warns of Islamization of Europe

Pope Benedict XVI's private secretary warned of the Islamization of Europe and stressed the need for the continent's Christian roots not to be ignored, in comments released Thursday.

''Attempts to Islamize the west cannot be denied,'' Monsignor Georg Gaenswein was quoted as saying in an advance copy of the weekly Sueddeutsche Magazin to be published Friday.

''The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness,'' the magazine quoted him as saying.

Gaenswein also defended a speech Benedict gave last year linking Islam and violence, saying it was an attempt by the pontiff to ''act against a certain naivety.''

Muslims around the world protested against Bendict's speech, with churches set ablaze in the West Bank and a hard-line Iranian cleric saying the pope was united with U.S. President George W. Bush to ''repeat the Crusades.''

An Italian nun was also gunned down in a Somali hospital where she worked, and the Vatican expressed concern that the attack was related to reaction to the pope's remarks.

Recently, the influential archbishop of Cologne, Joachim Meisner, said in a widely-publicized interview on Deutschlandfunk radio that the ''immigration of Muslims has created a breach in our German, European culture.''

Source: Expatica (English)

Netherlands: Health care not a problem with Muslim women

The issue of Muslim women and their requirement to be treated by female doctors was brought up in Dutch news this week, as well as in the Dutch parliament. However, some doctors don't agree such a problem exists.


Gerard Visser professor of obstetrics and gynecologist at the University Medical Center in Utrecht says it is a "non-issue". "We don't have difficulties with Muslim women and male doctors. I myself had delivered many Muslim women. Certainly by the second generation of
Moroccan and Turkish women it isn't a problem."

Muslim women do ask for a woman. Visser says they do their best to accommodate such requests but if it's not possible, the Muslim women understand. All that's needed is to inform them it's not possible because of rosters and availability. Especially by the family doctors or midwives. "From the female imam in our hospital I understand that Muslims are obligated in any case to ask if a female doctor is available. If there isn't, a male doctor is also good. Health is the main thing in the faith."

David Drexhage of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam agrees. "Naturally it can happen. Depending on ability we try to arrange a female doctor. Why not? We don't get anything if a patient is stressed." The hospital got one complaint from a female patient in the past two years, but according to Drexhage she understood later why she couldn't be helped by a woman.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Muslim women and health care

Denmark: Asylum seeker with two wives

The Danish government had recently transported 200 Iraqis - interpreters working for the Danish forces and their families - to Denmark. But now the authorities have a new challenge: one of the interpreters has brought his two wives with him.

The 41 year old interpreter, SH, has been staying together with his family at the Mariesminde asylum center in Ebeltoft since Monday. His two wives, 32 and 34 years old, and their three children, pose a "new situation". In any case, the section head in the asylum office, Birgit Petersen doesn't remember such a case.

Petersen did not want to comment on whether the family will be able to get asylum in Denmark, where polygamy is illegal, both because of the confidentiality required in such cases and because the case is not yet being handled.

Each case is handled on an individual basis, but generally there are various possibilities for a polygamous family. The first possibility is that every person individually has grounds for asylum. The next is that those married to the asylum seeker get the same status even if they are not all at risk. He would then be able to use family reunification laws, if the children request a residence permit together with their mother.

The interpreter says that they are a family and he hopes that they would all get asylum together. Formally he had requested asylum as two families: his first wife together with one kid and himself, and another family with his second wife and two children.

The children are a 2.5 years old boy, a two girls aged 1.5 years and 5 months, so SH thinks two women are not really too much. He adds jokingly that he would like to marry a third, if it was allowed.

If the whole family will get asylum status in Denmark, there would then be a question of illegal bigamy. One solution might be for the man's first marriage will be recognized by the authorities, and the other will only be recognized by Muslim law. The authorities will not intervene in how the family lives at home.

Source: Berlingske Tidende (Danish)

See also: Denmark: Debate about polygamy

Freed doctor: Upset at the Muslim world

El Hagoug is surprised that the Muslim world ignored his fate, but he really shouldn't be. He was born in Egypt, grew up in Libya since he was two years old, and he's still called a Palestinian by the world press. From the Muslim world's perspective, as long as he immigrated within the Muslim world, he was and always would be a refugee. He could never be an Egyptian or Libyan no matter how long he lived there. His story is that same story as many other "Palestinians" who came to Europe. Like him, they were Palestinian only because their parents or grandparents had once lived in Palestine, and like him, they could never become anything else as long as they lived within the Muslim world. Only in the Western World can they actually call themselves Dutch, British or Danish.


The Arab world had completely ignored the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor Ashraf Jumaa El Hagoug (al-Hazouz) while they sat in jail for 8 years. El Hagoug made the bitter accusation when he was reunited with his parents in Bulgary, several days after he was freed from Libiya. He accused the Muslim world of sitting by quietly because the five nurses were Christian.

Ashraf reunited with his father, Achmed, and his mother, Afiefa. The parents flew out of Woerden in the Netherlands, to Sofia, Bulgaria to meet their son. The last time they saw Ashraf was when they visited him in jail in 2005. Later the parents and four daughters fled to the Netherlands, afraid for their safety in Libya.

Ashraf El Hagoug will probably come back to the Netherlands with his parents, where he hopes to start off a new life. Since he received Bulgarian citizenship, he would have no problems doing so.

Source: (Dutch), International Herald Tribune (English)

Netherlands: Muslim women and health care

According to medical specialists the demand that Muslim women be treated only by female doctors brings up life threatening situations, for the doctor as well as for the patient.

"It passes all bounds. Your belief doesn't give you privileges," says Utrecht radiologist Floris Sanders. "In health care everybody is treated equally."

The professional journal "Medisch Contact" brings this week examples of acute situations in which male doctors couldn't do their job because of cultural or religious reasons. Sometimes the doctors was even physically threatened by male "guards" who had come with the veiled women to the hospital.

There were also cases when specialists had been forced to arrange transportation to hospitals where female doctors were available. That led to situations which put the lives of the women and their unborn children at risk.

According to Ben Crul, chief editor of Medisch Contact, this must be immediately dealt with, as soon patients will refuse a black, homo or Chinese doctor. The discrimination of male doctors must stop and doctors must be very clear that they're not going to play along or somebody will die.

The Labor Party will bring up the issue in parliament. Parliament member Khadija Arib says that those men put the lives of their wives at risk, and she wants to see whether it's possible to criminally prosecute them.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

France: Muslim camp closed

An Islamic holiday camp in the Vosges mountains in eastern France has been shut down due to concerns children were being subjected to a punishing religious routine, officials said Tuesday.

The camp, organised by a Turkish group from the city of Nancy, was ordered to close because of "overly present cultural practices," according to an administrative official in the town of Epinal.

"We had information allowing us to believe that children were being physically threatened," said local youth and sports official Frederic Roussel.

The 96 children taking part have been sent home to their families, in line with a July 13 ruling by the local prefecture, confirmed on appeal on July 18. The Nancy Turkish Cultural Centre was denied authorisation to hold a second camp next month.

A probe was opened early this month after a child called the local police to complain of "physical constraints" at the camp, such as being forced to wake up at night to pray.

The subsequent inquiry found the camp environment "excessively rigorous, verging on disciplinarian", focused on the "intensive and compulsory practice of Turkish religion and culture" and lacking in other educational or leisure activities, according to court documents.

"These practices are an attempt on the physical integrity of the minors placed in care of the association," the court ruling said.

Source: Expatica (English), h/t The INVESTIGATIVE PROJECT

Denmark: Middle-Eastern accent "more annoying"

Many Danes are irritated when hearing their language spoken with an accent, but a new study shows that there are big differences in how people are regarded based on their accent, regardless of how well they speak the language.

Copenhaven University has asked 232 Danes to evaluate 16 people's personality based on how they spoke. They were also asked to guess where the accent comes from. The 16 people came from 8 countries, a man and woman from each country.

The study shows that Danes were most irritated with people who spoke with an accent when they thought those people come from the Middle East - and weren't as irritated when they thought the speakers came Germanic countries such as England, Germany or Scandinavia.

The 'Germanic' speakers were seen as independent, ambitious, effective, interesting, reliable, talented, clever and pleasant. If the person was thought to come from a Middle Eastern country, such as Turkey, he was seen as uncertain, indifferent, incompetent, boring, unreliable, dumb, obnoxious and irritating. The 232 Danes agreed on this, though the 16 people had a university education and spoke Danish at a high level.

According to Danish linguist Marta Kirilova who ran the study, there was a marked difference in estimating people by their accent. Kirilova says that the study shows that it isn't inconsequential which land the accent comes from. There are distinct hierarchies. The Danes see the North Europeans as competent and people from the Middle East as dumb and incompetent, based solely on their accent.

Source: Berlingske Tidende (Danish)

Sweden: School and Sharia law

Amputating thieves' hands will cut down on crime, and killing those who are caught being sexually unfaithful with bring down the number of adultery cases. This according to a representative for an Arab-Islamic school in answering questions on Islam.

"This is Islam's answer, not mine," says Kamal Moubadder about his book "40 frågor om islam" (40 questions about Islam). He is one of two joint owners in the company that runs Al-Mustafa school in the Järfälla suburb of Stockholm and until two years ago was also the principal of the school.

Both the school and Moubadder have now been reported to the Swedish National Agency for Education for Moubadder's "barbaric opinions" which make him unsuitable to own and run a school. The report says that all school employees should abide by the Education Act and the curriculum's basic values and distance themselves from whatever goes against those values.

Kamal Moubadder says that he doesn't want capital punishment for unfaithfulness or amputations for theft to be introduced to Sweden today, bearing in mind that it would upset the overall system of justice. But he accepts Islamic sharia law in other countries and admits he can imagine them in Sweden on one condition: that Swedish citizens would vote for these laws in a democratic process.

Ragnar Eliasson, deputy director-general of the National Agency for Education, cannot remember a similar case when a school manager's or owner's personal opinions outside the school were reported and does not want to comment specifically on Al-Mustafa School. He says that generally it is remarkable if a school representative expresses such opinions since they clash directly with the values that schools are expected to protect and actively work for. This includes the sanctity of human life, equality between men and women and tolerance.

The National Agency for Education will decide, probably before school starts in August, on how to react to the reports about Kamal Moubadder and the Al-Mustafa school.

Kamal Moubadder emphasizes that the activity at the Al-Mustafa school follows the requirements of the Education Act and curriculum. The school's Arab-Islamic profile means, according to Moubadder, that the students have two extra hours of Arabic and one hour of Islam a week. Moubadder, who had written several books on Islam, also says that his book "40 questions about Islam" is not used in the school.

"The book was written in 1992, eight years before Al-Mustafa school started. It has never been printed after that, and is not used in the education."

The books contents, including the foreword, can be found on several sites on the internet. On one site it says the text was reviewed by the Association of the Islamic Unity in Sweden , which is part of the shiite Muslim umbrella organization Islamiska Shiasamfundet (Islamic Shiite Society).

Kamal Moubadder says he did not publish the text online.

Source: Dagens Nyheter (Swedish), h/t FOMI

Netherlands: Women left behind (part II)

"From one day to the other you have nothing more. No husband, no money, no papers, no identity and no future," says Laila, who with help from Stichting Steun Remigranten (SSR, help center for remigrants) can come back to the Netherlands.

Last year there were 40 reports of women, with and without children, that were left behind in Morocco. The most during the vacation period. Laila (28) was one of them. In Berkane, in the Moroccan branch of SSR, they're waiting for a new wave.

"I trusted him," says Laila. "We went on vacation in Morocco, he brought me to my parents, he continued on to his parent. When I called him up to ask if he could come collect me he was in Spain. On the way home."

And so was an exported import-bride. "I was blind. Women should be aware. I was an independent woman, but just like that married that man. Without knowing him, without one good talk. We would get married, have children. That idea, that routine, was also in my system. We women also have a head. A head to think with."

She married her cousin from the Netherlands in 2005. Her uncle and aunt are "good people" therefore her son would also be a good match. He was ten years older, but that didn't matter. And he had already been married, but that was just to get the right papers after his years of illegality.

It was a dream marriage, for a month. But the promised land soon became a prison. "I thought: he's been living for years in the Netherlands, and would be open and modern. But he truly had the old mentality, the ideas of grandfather and grandmother. The woman belongs in the kitchen or she must clean. I had to thank him for everything: for money, for food and drink. He sat next to me when I called my parents, he opened my mail, he went with me to the doctor."

It did not stop with psychological terror. Laila was also regularly mistreated. "He once hit me so hard that I couldn't sit for a week. There was always fighting. But I couldn't notify anybody, I didn't know anyone, couldn't have contact with anyone.

Dumped like a dog in the forest, since the animal didn't fit in with the vacation plans of the boss. That's how she felt. "I should naturally be happy that I'm done with him, but at first I was especially very angry. He had lied, hit, belittled, robbed and dumped me. And all unpunished. He went back nicely to the Netherlands to begin again, but what should I do?"

the former student of France and Arabic literature had resigned her good administrative job for him. On her return it wasn't as easy to find another one. She was dependent on her family and the subject of derision and gloating: the one who went to find her luck and came back deeply unhappy.

SSR arranged her return. She got a place in a woman's shelter where she stayed 5 months, the fear of her ex slowly declined and her self-confidence increased. "I'm learning the language, I will soon start training, have my own house since recently and and an independent permit with my own name on it." She sounds enthusiastic, proud, determined to make something of herself. "I got so much help, now I want to give. The Netherlands first felt like a prison. But now I am free."

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Women left behind in Morocco

Norway: Child welfare for ethnic minorities

The Norwegian child welfare is characterized by Norwegian middle class values, says Athar Ali of the Norwegian Immigrant's Forum. He wants separate child welfare institutions for ethnic minorities.

Children from minority backgrounds are overrepresented in child welfare.

"The relationship between ethnic minorities and child welfare are bad and characterized by distrust," Ali says to Aften. One of the problems is child welfare is not aware of cultural differences and minorities when it comes to respect for parents, authority and the setting of limits.

Ali says that the standard goes according to the Norwegian middle class family. If child welfare assesses care according to western criteria Ali says he is afraid of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. He points out at many immigrant families attach great importance to respect for parents.

"The relationship between father and children is often characterized by distance. Even if he empathizes with the children he won't show it, since he must uphold his authority. That can easily be misunderstood," says Ali.

"Minorities often have poor knowledge of the child welfare law and child welfare. Many are afraid and perceive child welfare as just an inspection authority or part of the police," says Ali.

Source: VG (Norwegian), h/t Hodja

Haarlem: Mosque under attack

The Turkish Selimiya Mosque in Haarlem will be guarded by volunteers 24 hours a day, according to mosque spokesperson Oktay Özcan.

Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the mosque Sunday evening. The mosque, which is under construction, was also a target of vandals on July 12th. The Selimiya mosque and a Moroccan mosque were covered with racist slogans, and stones where thrown in through the windows.

Özcan expects the guarding to continue until the building is occupied, unless those responsible will be arrested earlier. The mosque is expected to be ready in mid-October.

The aim of the surveillance is to quickly intervene if something happens. "We want to improve the reaction speed and so to prevent great damage being caused. We also hope that it would deliver a discouraging signal."

The police agreed with the mosque administration on extra patrols and said they support the move for volunteer surveillance.

Source: Volkskrant 1 , 2(Dutch)

Abdol Hamid: Support for Iraqi insurgents

Danish soldiers are attacked every day in Iraq by rockets and mortar grenades but according to Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, the Red-Green Alliance's candidate for the Danish parliament, that is ok. In the latest issue of the Socialistisk Arbejderavis (paper of the Danish International Socialists) she calls to support the Iraqi's fight against Danish and foreign forces.

Berlingske Tidende (BT) interviewed Abdol-Hamid by telephone. "In what type of fight do you support the Iraqis?"

"I support the Iraqi national movement's struggle against the occupation forces. They have a right like all others to live in a land where they decide themselves."

On Sunday BT reported that Iraqi forces are paid 1000 kroner for every time they attack Danish and British bases in Basra.

"Do you distance yourself from the Iraqis who engage in an armed struggle against Danish forces?"

"I am not opposed to an armed struggle. It is a resistance struggle and therefore it is also completely fair," she says.

Abdol-Hamid was criticized by other parties, but her own party supports her point of view. Frank Aaen, a parliament member, thinks that fighting Danish soldiers is legitimate. He says that they regret any person who dies in battle, be it Danish, Iraqi or American, "but fighting against an occupation force is completely legitimate - and we have been opposed to the war in Iraq the whole time and think that the occupation forces should go home. But at the same time we are opposed to all forms of terrorism." Aaen is sure that Asmaa agrees on that point and see nothing in what she says that points otherwise.

Source: Berlingske Tidende (Danish)

Italy: Muslim law encourages respect towards women

Amato wants to believe that fashion is the cause of evil.  Western decadence might mean that a woman wants to be at the height of fashion, but according to western standards a woman is a human being.  She can learn, work, travel, marry, drive and have her own bank account.  It is too easy for Westerns to underestimate their own high regard for women.

The Italian Interior Minister has defended the dress code of Muslim women, known as 'Hijab', saying the Islamic law 'protects them.'

Speaking at a ceremony titled "Women and Society", Giuliano Amato added that the practice of Hijab encourages respect toward women.

He pointed to the positive effects that "accrue to women from adherence to the Islamic dress code" and said "It's a shame that Italy is turning into a country where a woman is either a nice image to look at or worth nothing."

The minister said his country has reached a point where it needs laws to remind the society that women should be respected as human beings and not considered mere objects of pleasure, IRNA cited from the Italian daily 'Corriere della Sera'.

Amato announced that the government is launching a three-million-Euro campaign to promote a culture of respect for women and to establish a national organization that would implement such education policies.

Source: Press TV (English)

Norway: Low employment among Pakistani women

Barely 30% of Pakistani women who have been living in Norway for a long time have a job. The numbers for immigrant women from other countries are twice as high.

"I will go back to work when my sons are big enough, maybe three years. That depends if I have more children," says Nahid Kaosar (34) who have been outside the job market for 5 years.

Her husband holds two jobs in order to care for the little family. Kaosar says she knows many Pakistani women who prefer to be home with their kids the whole time.

"Nobody likes to have them in kindergarten, they believe they don't take good care of them. But I want to send my kids there," she says.

A new reports brings employment rates among immigrants who came to Norway before 1990, groups which are seen as established.

"The situation for Pakistani women is special. Employment among almost all immigrant groups increases the longer they live in Norway. But among Pakistani women they stop at a low level," says Hanne Kavli of Fafo.

Women who immigrated from India, China, the Philippines and Thailand have a job in over 60% of the cases, says the report, prepared by Statistics Norway.

"Some of the reason for the difference can be that many Thai and Filipino women marry Norwegian men. Then it is easier for them to integrate into society, learn the language and get a job," says Kavli.

While 56% of Pakistani men have a job, barely 30% of Pakistani women do.

Kavli says she had interviewed Pakistani family and the general characteristic is that according to the gender roles it is the women's job to take care of the children at home.

Lars Østby of Statistics Norway thinks children can explain the low employment percent.

"Half of all Pakistani women in Norway have four or more children. Since the mothers are home while the children grow up, they stay outside the job market for several decades. Then it is hard to come back in again," he says. Additionally the group has a relatively bad knowledge of Norwegian and a low level of education. Another factor is discrimination in the marketplace.

"With women from Morocco and Turkey there is low employment, but not as low as with the Pakistanis," says Østby.

Women from immigrant groups which are relatively new in Norway, likes the Somalis, also have very low employment rates. "But with Somali women we see that the longer they live in Norway, there is a higher chance that they get a job. They are also eagerly looking for work," says Østby.

The situation is different for Pakistani girls in Norway. "They mostly get a higher degree of education. Even if employment by this group is somewhat lower than the average there is reason to believe that we will get more Norwegian-Pakistani women at work in the future." says Kavli.

Social-anthropologist Inger-Lise Lien has researched Pakistanis both in Pakistan and in Norway for close to 20 years.

"Outside work the women don't get experience with being outside in society. They don't learn the codes and values that hold for interaction with Norwegians and keep themselves to their own community. The women communicate the most with other Pakistanis and live more like they did before they fled her," she says and adds that the position of these women in the family remains traditional.

"Moreover, they aren't motivated to orient themselves to what goes on here, and what people in this land do becomes less important." If they take part in the job market, they also take part in society. Then the women get to meet women from Norway and other countries. Lien thinks that work is one of the most important integrating factors.

She points out that taking part in the job market increases women's independence and power, since they get security, pension and rights. "When the women are outside the job market, men's dominance is maintained," she says.

Lien thinks that the low employment percentages show that the values immigrants bring from home are critical for the degree of integration, also in the long term.

She explains that the time dimension doesn't promote integration as was expected since the cultural factors work against it. Lien also believes that Pakistani mothers' role as educator is weakened by them being outside the job market.

"At the same time new generations are coming in all the time through marriage." That many Norwegian-Pakistanis marry somebody who is raised in Pakistan can work to preserve the traditions.

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

Denmark: More Muslim divorces

The number of divorces among Muslims is rising. Women especially are leaving arranged or badly functioning marriages. But Islamic culture creates problems for the women, who are coming to crisis centers and imams for help. Researchers, integration consultants and imams say they see more and more women who are giving up the norms and traditional gender roles in the Muslim community.

Rubya Mehdi of Copenhagen University says that there are more and more Muslim women that want divorces, even though divorce is seen as bad among Muslim and there can be strong pressure against it from the family. Many women are ignoring that pressure. Mehdi is researching the legal status of Muslim women in divorce cases and will be publishing a book about it.

Denmark's statistics bureau doesn't follow up on divorces for Muslims, but there is agreement that Muslim women in Denmark, especially the younger 2nd generation are more independent and resourceful, daring to go against the prevalent norms.

Manu Sareen of the Copenhagen municipality says it is a sign of integration and a positive development. Though divorce is not a happy process, it is better than in the past when women were forced to stay in an unhappy relationship due to family and social pressures. More women are coming in contact with Danish society, realize their rights and see how life can be different.

Islamic law and culture can prevent a woman from divorcing. A Danish divorce is not necessarily accepted by Islamic law and a husband can veto the divorce. Some imams and the national women's crisis center see more Muslim women coming for help on how to leave a marriage.

Since 2005, the national organization of crisis centers has noted a marked increase in the number of women who come seeking help and advice on divorce. Farwha Nielsen says that there are many cases where the husband has refused the women a divorce according to Islam, even if the couple was divorced according to Danish law. Other women are kicked out by their families and acquaintances since a woman is perceived as 'loose' if she asks for a divorce. Nielsen says it is important that those women who break the pattern get both judicial and social support.

Rubya Mehdi has suggested creating Danish-Islamic wedding contracts that secure a woman's judicial rights, and some imams want a Islamic advisory council in Denmark which will mediate divorces.

Source: Berlingske Tidende (Danish)

See also: Denmark: Debate about polygamy

Zurich: Services checked for Muslim discrimination

Amid a fierce debate about minarets, public services in canton Zurich are being tested to determine if they discriminate against Muslims.

The cantonal authorities commissioned the fact-finding study to provide a more solid foundation for an ongoing political debate on how Muslims practise their religion in Zurich.

The Zurich chapter of the rightwing Swiss People's Party put forward a motion last August calling for a ban on the construction of "provocative" minaret towers on Muslim centres of worship.

This was followed by a similar national initiative earlier this year that was condemned by several government ministers.

Dr Thomas Widmer from Zurich University's Institute of Political Sciences has been given the task of assessing the suitability of the canton's health, education, penal and social services for the Muslim population.

"We will try to find out if the services provided by the cantonal authorities allow religious freedom for Muslims and, also, if these religious activities are disturbing other people using these services," he told swissinfo.

The Swiss constitution guarantees religious freedom and the canton must examine that this is not being violated."

Widmer will consult experts from all four services before compiling the data and delivering recommendations towards the end of next year.

The driving force behind the study is the debate on minarets. "There is quite an ideological discussion at the moment about minarets and Islamic extremists," Widmer admitted.

"The goal of this study is to have a clearer picture of the situation and to be in a position to react accordingly. There is a desire to bring more substance into the political discussion that has so far been dominated by ideology."

Dr Hisham Maizar, president of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, welcomed the research with the proviso that it represents a genuine dialogue with Zurich's Muslim community.

"It is a good idea provided it includes the Muslim community as an equal partner from the start of the process," he told swissinfo.

"The method of conducting a study and telling people 'this is what we think and you must accept it' is highly questionable. You must give people a chance to explain their grievances from the very beginning.

"I welcome this study in principle because it is important to find out such information," Maizar said. "Until now no one has had the courage to talk about these things for fear of offending other religions."

Maizar said the general relationship between Muslims and the Zurich authorities remained good despite the proposed minaret ban. He cited the creation of a Muslim graveyard in Zurich as an example of close cooperation.

"I cannot see any Muslims in Zurich suffering because they have not been accepted. Those who make the effort to integrate into society do not feel unwelcome," he said.

Source: Swiss Info (English)

Denmark: What is a fatwa?

A fatwa is an Islamic legal ruling. It can be a "death sentence", which in today's Muslim world actually means calling for an "open season" on somebody, but it doesn't have to be. It can technically be any decision on how to act in a specific case.

When the
Danish Islamic Society lost its court case against Pia Kjærsgaard, its leaders announced they will seek a fatwa. A fatwa for what?

This was Reuter's take on the story:

"We are very disappointed with the verdict and are considering an appeal," said Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Muslim group. He added that the group would issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against Jyllands-Posten if it did not receive an apology from the paper.

"It's too early to say any details of the fatwa," Ahmad said. "The fatwa is the last step and will also satisfy Muslims in the Middle East."

The Copenhagen Post looks at it completely differently.

An Islamic organisation has indicated it will seek a fatwa to instruct it how to act after a court dismisses a libel suit against Danish People's Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard

The head of the nationalist Danish People's Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, was cleared Friday of libel charges filed by Muslim organisation Islamisk Trossamfund, prompting the organisation to seek a fatwa.

Islamisk Trossamfund also said Friday they would also seek a fatwa for Jyllands-Posten if the newspaper does not apologise for printing the cartoons or if there is no court judgement against the newspaper.

The though best-known fatwa involves was handed down to author Salman Rushdie, a fatwa does not necessarily involve a death sentence; it is the answer given by a mufti, an Islamic scholar, or an imam, to a question a Muslim poses about an interpretation of Islamic law.

Kassem Ahmad, spokesperson for the Islamisk Trossamfund, told TV2 News that he interpreted the court's ruling to mean that Kjærsgaard and others had free reign to say whatever they wanted about Muslims. He said that despite calling for a fatwa, the best way for Muslims to deal with insults against Islam is to ignore them.

'We have to ignore these types of things,' said Ahmad. 'We shouldn't waste our time on something so unreasonable. We have to silence these provocations to death.'

But, if the Danish Islamic Society is just seeking a fatwa in order to know how to act, why is it being phrased as a threat? I'm a bit unclear on the prepositions used. If the Fatwa is "for" Jylland-Posten, why isn't Jyllands-Posten asking for it themselves?

Besides, there's a little trivial issue that did not make it into either story: Didn't Jyllands-Posten already apologize?

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

See also: Denmark: Muslim group loses court case, threatens fatwa

Italy: Facing prosecution for burqa in court

The wife of a Tunisian imam serving a 10-year jail term in Italy in connection with a terrorist plot will herself face prosecution for attending his trial in a burqa, Italian press reports said.

Monia Mzougi, 37, is to be tried under 1975 public order legislation barring people from wearing clothes that conceal their identity from security personnel "without a valid reason."

The trial is to begin next January 30 in Cremona, northern Italy, and Mzougi faces a maximum of two years in prison.

Mzougi's husband, Mourad Trabelsi, was tried in Cremona in September 2005 for being a member of a radical Islamist group that was plotting to attack the city's cathedral.

The leading daily Corriere della Sera reported that Mzougi's case is the first in Italy concerning the wearing of a burqa, which conceals the entire body including the face, with a narrow opening or netting for the eyes.

Source: Middle East Times (English)

See also: UK: Confusion over hijab

Libya: Compensation deal

Up to the reader whether this is compensation, blood-money or extortion.

Several Eastern European countries would forgive Libyan debt dating to the Cold War under a proposal to compensate families whose children were infected with the AIDS virus, allegedly by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, a victims' advocate has said.
The six foreign medics have been sentenced to death in the case, and Libyan officials have said a settlement could pave the way for their release. Jailed since 1999, the six deny having infected more than 400 children and say their confessions were extracted under torture. Experts and outside scientific reports have said the children were contaminated as a result of unhygienic conditions at a hospital in the northeastern coastal city of Benghazi. Fifty of the infected children died. Libya's Supreme Court upheld the death sentences for the medics in an appeal ruling on Wednesday. But that decision could still be overturned by country's highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judiciary Council, which is set to review the case on Monday. The council could approve or reject the convictions or set lighter sentences.
Idriss Lagha, head of the Association for the Families of HIV-Infected Children, told The Associated Press on Saturday that a settlement was being finalized involving the transfer of money to a fund through the remission of debt to Bulgaria and several other Eastern European countries. Seif al-Islam, the son of longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, told a French newspaper published on Saturday that $400 million in compensation would be paid to the families. "The indemnities are financed by international contributions in the form of debt remission," the newspaper Le Figaro quoted him as saying. "The concerned countries are Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia and the Czech Republic." An agreement on the case has "not yet been reached" with the European Union, said Islam, who heads a powerful Libyan association that has worked to resolve the deadlock. Companies in the four countries are all owed money from Libya largely dating to the communist era. Bulgaria says Libya owes it $290 million, and the Czech news agency CTK put the Libyan debt to Prague at about $300 million in 2002. The spokeswoman for Slovakia's governing party Katarina Klizanova Rysova, said negotiations between the two countries were still under way, but any deal would require Libya to eventually repay the debt. Rysova said Libyan debt to her country was about $130 million, but the final sum was still being negotiated. The Libyan government is under intense international pressure to free the medics. The case has become a sticking point in the regime's attempts to rebuild ties with the United States and European countries. Source: International Herald Tribune (English)

See also: Switzerland: Hospital suspends Libyan program

Netherlands: A Judeo-Christian-Muslim state

The "Judeo-Christian" principles upon which Europe was built are not directly related to the Jews. They are related to the fact that the Christians see the Old Testament as an integral part of their religion and moral code. I suppose Minister Vogelaar is not demanding the same of Muslims.


According to Minister Ella Vogellaar, in an interview with Trouw, Muslim culture is so deeply entrenching itself in Dutch society that in the long run one would speak of a land that is based on a "Judeo-Christian-Muslim" tradition.

The minister for Housing and Integration hopes to end the 'negativity en the fear of Islam'. "I want to help Muslim feel at home here. Islam and Muslims must take root here, precisely because Muslims are also citizens of this land."

Vogelaar doesn't have problem if the (local) government supports to religious institutions of New Dutch, even financially. "So long as you subsidize social goals and not religious activities. Otherwise you cross a border."

Vogelaar is now speaking differently than various politicians in the past years. Started from the first Balkenende government in 2002, the policy stressed adaptation to Dutch norms and values.

Although the minister doesn't want to stop the obligation to naturalization and learning Dutch, she now speaks of a "mutual process", in which cultures influence and stimulate each other. "It is important that such a big group takes root in our society, and becomes an inseparable part of it," according to Vogelaar.

The minister compares it to the contribution of the Jewish community to Dutch culture. "Centuries ago the Jewish community came to the Netherlands and now we say: the Netherlands is a land formed by the Judeo-Christian traditions. I can imagine that we would get a similar process with Islam."

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Debate needed about Islam

Denmark: Muslim group loses court case, threatens fatwa

Kasem Ahmad is spokesperson for the Danish Islamic Society. He apparently wants Danes to believe what really bothers Muslims in Lebanon, Iran or Iraq is a Danish newspaper. Maybe they should boycott Jyllands-Posten. I'm sure sales will drop considerably in Saudi Arabia.

A Muslim group lost a libel case on Friday against the leader of a Danish anti-immigrant party who had accused its members of treason for publicizing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
A court ruled that Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party (DPP), did not libel the Islamic Faith Community when she accused some of its members of treason for traveling to the Middle East to publicize a Danish newspaper's publication of the drawings, which caused a worldwide uproar in 2006. The court said the term "treason" was not libelous because it was used extensively in public debate. It ordered the plaintiffs, a loose network of Danish Muslim organizations which says it represents 50,000 members, to pay Kjaersgaard 40,000 Danish crowns ($7,400) in costs. In September 2005, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the Prophet which were later reprinted elsewhere and provoked outrage among Muslims. Three Danish embassies were attacked and at least 50 people were killed in rioting in the Middle East and Asia. Most Muslims regard any depiction of the Prophet as offensive. "We are very disappointed with the verdict and are considering an appeal," said Kasem Ahmad, a spokesman for the Muslim group. He added that the group would issue a fatwa, or religious edict, against Jyllands-Posten if it did not receive an apology from the paper. "It's too early to say any details of the fatwa," Ahmad said. "The fatwa is the last step and will also satisfy Muslims in the Middle East." Kjaersgaard said she was relieved at the outcome but had expected to win. "As a politician, I have both the duty and the right to express my opinion," she said. "I am convinced that many Danes felt as I did in the hectic winter days of 2006." The DPP is not a member of the coalition government but supports it in parliament.
Source: Reuters (English)

Oslo: Taxi driver fraud suspicions spreading

Signs of widespread corruption among Oslo's taxi operators keep spreading, with drivers and taxi owners suspected of fleecing both their passengers and the city's social welfare system. A series of articles in Aftenposten has highlighted questionable practices among drivers suspected of underreporting income, charging excessive fares and engaging in welfare fraud. Tax authorities believe that more than 900 taxi owners and drivers have operated in the so-called black market, failing to report all the money they're taking in, in order to lower their tax liability. At the same time, more than 500 of these alleged tax cheats have been collecting welfare payments to which they weren't entitled. Welfare agency officials believe the alleged swindling has cost the city of Oslo more than NOK 100 million. "This is without doubt the biggest swindling case we've seen within a single industry," Magne Fladby of the social welfare agency NAV told Aftenposten. New evidence indicates some taxi drivers have also altered the meters in their cars, in order to register much larger tip income. Printed receipts have been thrown in the garbage, to destroy evidence. "This is pure tax fraud," said Erik Bergendahl, who has sold, installed and maintained taxi meters for 10 years. Oslo police, tax authorities and welfare officials are investigating the allegations against taxi drivers. Charges have already been brought against nearly 100 drivers and owners and Justice Minister Knut Storberget promises a crackdown, with possible seizure of taxi drivers' property.
Source: Aftenposten (English)

See also: Norway: Fighting the "un-culture", Oslo: Pakistani taxi drivers over-represented in tax fraud case

Odense: Daycare worker drops niqab

The controversy regarding the veiled childcare in Vollsmose in Odense has been solved. She will now take care of the children without covering her face.

While lawyers for the Odense municipality and the Consumer and Family Affairs Ministry ministry are still debating whether child care workers can be banned from wearing the niqab, the Vollsmose child care worker who had started the entire debate has now decided things on her own. She had notified the municipality that she will no longer wear the niqab while she's taking care of children.

Odense municipality had long sought for a some possibility to avoid supporting the child care worker since she was veiled while taking care of children, but hadn't found till now legal support for such a move.

Source: Jyllands Posten (Danish)

See also:Denmark: No ban on veiled daycare worker , Denmark: Burka debate

Sweden: Veils used in muggings

Over a period of four months six girls aged between 17 and 20 robbed fourteen elderly women in the Tensta, Rinkeby, Sundbyberg and Hässelby suburbs of Stockholm. On Friday four of the girls were jailed by Solna district court, reported Aftonbladet.

A 19 year old was given a two month prison sentence and further probation for robbery and falsification of documents. Three 17 year olds were sentenced to youth detention of between two years and two and a half years.

The other two girls were given suspended sentences. During the attacks the girls hid their faces behind veils. In one incident, a 71 year old woman was pushed down a staircase after three of the girls snatched her handbag. Prosecutor Viktor Carlberg said that he was largely satisfied with the verdict. "It was serious and repeated crime," he told Aftonbladet.
Source: The Local (English)

UK: Islamist terror linked to "honor" murders

"Honour" killings in Britain have been linked with extremist groups abroad by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS told a BBC investigation that Islamist terror groups were behind the murder five years ago of Heshu Yones, 16, who was stabbed to death by her father, Abdalla Yones.

It discovered that Mr Yones had associations with a Kurdish nationalist organisation which tried to secure his release on bail while he was on remand.

In a further case, a women, who is now in hiding, received a death threat from her family. The threat is said to have originated in an Egyptian terrorist group.

Nazir Afzal, the CPS's national lead on honour crime, said that such killings were not confined to the older generation and that a second generation of youths were continuing the tradition.

"We know they are bizarre and outdated but they get their identity from those traditions and they feel very strongly that how you treat your women is a demonstration of your commitment to radicalism and extremist thought," he told BBC Radio 4.

But Reefat Draboo of the Muslim Council of Britain denied the link, claiming that "honour" violence was a cultural practice, and not a matter of faith.

"This is to do with misguided notions of family honour. It has nothing to do with radicalism or terrorism," she said.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, 5,000 women a year die in honour killings. There were twelve such murders recorded in the UK last year.

Two weeks ago, three men were found guilty of the murder of 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod who was found in a suitcase buried in a garden in Birmingham last year.

Miss Mahmod had been strangled by contract killers after her father discovered she had been having an affair with a man her family did not approve of.

Source: Telegraph (English) h/t The INVESTIGATIVE PROJECT

Switzerland: Hospital suspends Libyan program

Can a hospital refuse to treat patients just because of their government's actions?


A Swiss hospital suspended a project treating rich private patients from Arab lands on Tuesday in reaction to the confirmation of the death sentences of five Bulgarian nurses in Libya.

Manager Andreas Gattiker of the regional hospital of Wetzikon said in a radio interview that he doesn't understand how nurses can be responsible for an HIV infection. The five Bulgarian nurses, together with a Palestinian doctor, were sentenced to death for knowingly infecting children with HIV. During the trial experts have declared that AIDS was around in the Benghazi hospital before the foreigners came to work.

Source: Standaard (Dutch)

UK: Islamic extremists working for police

This article "reveals" that Islamic extremists are working for the British police. However, the police have never hid that they are actively working to recruit them.

Up to eight police officers and civilian staff are suspected of links to extremist groups including Al Qaeda.
Some are even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Their names feature on a secret list of alleged radicals said to be working in the Metropolitan and other forces.

The dossier was drawn up with the help of MI5 amid fears that individuals linked to Islamic extremism are taking advantage of police attempts to increase the proportion of ethnic staff.

Astonishingly, many of the alleged jihadists have not been sacked because - it is claimed - police do not have the "legal power" to dismiss them.

We can also reveal that one suspected jihadist officer working in the South East has been allowed to keep his job despite being caught circulating Internet images of beheadings and roadside bombings in Iraq.

He is said to have argued that he was trying to "enhance" debate about the war.

Classified intelligence reports raising concerns about police staff's background cannot be used to justify their dismissal, sources said.

Instead, the staff who are under suspicion are unofficially barred from working in sensitive posts and are closely monitored. Political correctness is blamed for the decision not to sack them.

It is widely feared that "long-term" Al Qaeda sleepers are trying to infiltrate other public sector organisations in the UK.

In November last year, it was revealed that a leading member of an extremist Islamic group was working as a senior official at the Home Office.

MI5 has warned in the past that suspects with "strong links" to Osama Bin Laden's killers have tried to join the British security services and, in January, exiled radical Omar Bakri claimed that Islamic extremists were infiltrating the police and other public sector organisations.

Suspicions are growing that the gang behind the failed London bomb attacks could have received inside information about rescue procedures in the aftermath of an atrocity in the capital.

The Daily Mail can reveal that the second device parked near Haymarket was left at a designated "evacuation assembly point" where civilians and the emergency services would have gathered had the first bomb gone off.

Investigators are trying to establish whether the bombers knew the significance of the location.

Sources said it is unlikely that the Met is the only force which may have been infiltrated by Al Qaeda sympathisers.

Omar Altimimi, a failed asylum seeker jailed for nine years yesterday for hoarding manuals on how to carry out car bombings, had applied to work as a cleaner for the Greater Manchester force.

In a separate development, it is understood that a policeman was removed from his post after concerns about his conduct in the aftermath of a major anti-terrorist operation in the past two years.

For legal reasons, the Mail cannot reveal any more about the case.

The MI5 list of suspected Islamists working in the police is said to have been drawn up in the aftermath of the 7/7 terror attacks in London.

MI5 checked staff details at the Met and other forces with intelligence databases on individuals said to have attended radical Islamic schools - or Madrassas - and terror training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is thought that intelligence files on those who frequently visit pro-Jihad websites and who have associated with so-called preachers of hate were also compared to details of officers and civilian staff in the Met.

As a result of the review, eight officers and civilian staff were identified as Al Qaeda sympathisers or people of concern because of their links to Islamic extremists.

The disclosure will raise concerns about the system for vetting new recruits, each of whom is the subject of counter-terrorism checks to ensure they are suitable to join the police. Scotland Yard's vetting unit is regarded as one of the best in the country.

But sources said it is often impossible to carry out satisfactory checks on recruits who were raised overseas or who have spent considerable periods out of Britain before applying to join the Met.

In such cases, the Met has to rely on overseas agencies to carry out intelligence checks on their behalf. Privately, officials doubt whether certain countries in Africa, Middle East or the Indian sub-continent are able to carry out meaningful vetting.

As a result of the Stephen Lawrence public inquiry report, which accused the Met of being "institutionally racist", Scotland Yard has in recent years employed thousands of officers and civilian staff from the ethnic minorities in an attempt to reach recruitment targets.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "All employees upon joining the Met and during their careers undergo a range of security checks. These are robust and vary according to the type and sensitivity of individual postings.

"We take matters of security very seriously and if an issue arises, people may be subjected to further assessment.

"This may lead to restrictions in relation to where an individual works in the organisation or whether they are suitable to remain in the service."

Source: Daily Mail (English)

See also: UK police: you can't fight terror without working with extremist Muslims

UK: 'Not in Our Name' Campaign

This group is portrayed as fighting terrorism, but looking through their site, I see no such thing. Yes, they're against murder. However, their main goal is to fight the "diseases of Islamophobia and racism". I assume that they don't refer by that to those people who kill their fellow citizens in the name of Islam. That is not considered neither Islamophobia nor racism.

The Quran verse on the top of their page says that killing is forbidden in Islam. Yet they don't quote the entire verse, and for a very simple reason. The quote about comparing the killing of one man to that of mankind comes from Jewish sources.

For this reason, man [i.e. the first human being] was created alone to teach that whoever destroys a single life is as though he had destroyed an entire universe, and whoever saves a single life is as if he had saved an entire universe (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5)

You can read on the United Muslim site that the Quran says something similar:

Whoever kills an innocent soul.. it is as if he killed the whole of mankind, And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind"

But looking at the entire context, you see something slightly different:

Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allâh by committing the major sins) in the land! (Quran 5:32)

In other words:
1. This was said to the Children of Israel, not to the Muslims, and the Quran accuses them of not doing so.
2. Murder is allowed in retaliation for murder.

British Muslims are borrowing a phrase used by UK opponents of the Iraq war in a new campaign condemning attacks in this country.

The "Not in Our Name" campaign will be launched with advertisements in national newspapers on Friday under the title "Muslims United".

The move was prompted by the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow and organisers hope the campaign will emphasise how ordinary Muslims reject terrorism.

The advertisements praise the emergency services as "courageous" and laud the Government's "calm and proportionate" reaction to the crisis.

They carry a quotation from the Koran reading: "Whoever kills an innocent soul, it is as if he killed the whole of mankind.

"And whoever saves one, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind."

The advertisements claim the backing of an alphabet of supporters from accountants to youth workers.

Members of the Muslims United group behind the campaign include the Conservative Muslim Forum, Islamic Relief, the Islamic Society of Britain and groups such as the Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association.

A later phase of the campaign will see advertisements placed on billboards, London buses and the Tube carrying a similar message.

Organisers have also set up a website - on - carrying detailed information about Islamic teaching and history.

Source: Guardian (English)

Denmark: Police getting handle on "honor" killings

Police in Denmark are making a concerted effort to stop honour killings through preventive measures

The phenomenon of honour killing has made its way from Asia and Africa into Denmark in recent years through immigrant families from those continents. But police are doing their part to stop the violence before it begins by taking a more preventive approach, encouraging threatened young people to come forward and then communicating with the family members.

An honour-related crime database was established by the National Police in August 2006, and they have since issued a manual to officers on how they should react in such cases. The database was set up following the Ghazala case, where a father ordered his son to kill his sister and her boyfriend.

The National Police has received 154 reports of honour-related threats and violence since last August, a figure Kim Kliver, head of the National Police's Domestic Investigative Centre, said shows that the victims - usually young women - are reporting the problem more often and that the issue is being brought out into the open.

'The victims want police to get involved from the beginning, which is a vote of confidence for us,' Kliver told Urban newspaper. 'And the sooner we can address the situation the better.'

Just this past week, a Turkish man living in Denmark was charged with stabbing his daughter and her boyfriend, whom the father found unsuitable. But while murder and attempted murder make the headlines, Kliver said codes of honour among families range from violent acts down to threats.

'Most cases are at minimum verbal threats, but taking preventive measures - such as speaking to the families - is for us just as important and solving a crime that's already been committed,' said Kliver.

Manu Sareen, Copenhagen city council member and integration consultant, said he has experienced an increasing number of honour-related violence cases.

'It may just be that more reports are being made and girls are gaining confidence in the authorities,' he said. 'The Gualala case was unfortunate because it demonstrated police were at a loss in those situations. But today the officers know how to handle these cases, and that's sensational.'

Kliver is convinced that as more women report the problem, the incident rate will fall.
'We can always protect a daughter from her family, but it's usually at great costs to the girl. That's why it's so important for us to act preventively.'

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

See also: Denmark: Police following up on "honor" related crimes, Denmark: fighting honor crimes, Denmark: Muslim women hide rape

Copenhagen: Father stabs daughter

Police in Gladsaxe, near Copenhagen, have arrested a 61 year old Turkish man for stabbing his daughter and her boyfriend on Wednesday night.

Both were brought to a hospital in Herlev with stab wounds but have since been released, according to police.

The daughter had fallen in love with a Turkish man which her father did not approve of her marrying, says Søren Sørensen

The father had agreed to meet the daughter and get to know her new boyfriend at the daughter's apartment in Bagsværd. While he and the daughter were talking together in the kitchen, he took out a knife without provocation and stabbed her in the chest. The boyfriend came in and wrenched the knife away, but was stabbed himself and was sliced in his hands.

The father was arrested in his home.

Source: Politiken (Danish), Berlingske (Danish)

'A popular misperception'

It seems like every terror attack brings more articles on how everybody is surprised by the identity of the terrorists

The BBC talks about the popular misperception:
The news that many of the suspects in the failed car bomb attacks in Britain are medical doctors from the Middle East has shocked many and raised questions about connections between class, education and militant Islam. There is a popular misperception that only the destitute or ill-educated are drawn to the ranks of militant Islamic organisations. But nothing could be further from the known facts.
Wouldn't people know after so many years of Islamist terrorism that the "popular misperception" is false? Maybe it says more about what is popular than about Islamist terrorism. After all, were Islamist terrorists ever destitute or ill-educated?

As the Associated Press points out, even doctors as terrorists is not new.

``People often assume that terrorists are poor, disadvantaged people who are brainwashed or need the money. But the ones who actually perpetrate violence without handlers and manipulation are highly intelligent by necessity,'' said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.

``It's only the smart ones who will survive security pressures in a subversive existence. Sometimes they are doctors, a profession that provides a brilliant cover and allows entry to countries like Britain,'' he said in an interview Tuesday.

Berlingske Tiden describes the stereotype MI5 were expecting. I actually thought they were joking at first:
A young, foreign man who grew up in Great Britain, but who traveled home in his teens, for example to Pakistan, where he was radicalized by local imams . Fired more by adrenalin than intellect, they had no future in British society. If family connections didn't supply them with a job, it was very likely that would live a life without work and in relative poverty, while their bitterness against British society would slowly build up until it erupted.

A British born terrorist is the stereotype? Weren't the July 7 attacks so shocking because nobody expected Muslims born and bred in Britain to blow up his fellow citizens? Additionally, is this really the stereotype of British Islamist terrorists? Do Abu Qatada, Dhiren Barot, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay or Richard Colvin Reid fit this stereotype?

Any suggestion of profiling Muslim today is met by accusations of Islamophobia. But given the surprise that greets every new terror attack, why is it wrong to say that Islam is the only thread connecting Islamist terrorists?

Source: BBC (English), Guardian (English), Berlingske (Danish)

See also: Patterns of terrorists shifting

Norway: First Muslim homosexual (and a bit on antisemitism)

A Christian country, a Muslim homosexual.. makes you wonder what does it have to do with the Jews, doesn't it?

When I first read this article I thought that saying Muslims have an "Old Testament attitude" was quite strange, but I didn't put much into it. It's just a phrase, after all. But then I happened across Melanie Phillip's article about "Old Testament" violence and the BBC (and the BBC's responses) and realized the antisemitic connotations.

In fact, googling for the phrase "Old testament attitude" in Norwegian brought me to exactly two articles: this one, and one about the Old Testament's attitude towards the existence of God.

Nobody denies that The Old Testament has strict attitudes towards homosexuality, but do the Koran or New Testament differ in any way? More to the point, when a Christian or Muslim talk about homosexuality, do they really care what the Old Testament has to say about it? Isn't it more likely that Muslims have "Quranic attitudes" towards homosexuality?

In a politically correct world it might be wrong to imply that Muslims have a violent faith, but Jews get no such protection.


Iraqi-Norwegian Kaltham Lie is not afraid after he has become the first in Norway to officially declared himself a homosexual Muslim. "Why should i be afraid? I did not flee from Iraq in order to be afraid in Norway," says Lie.

Lie had come out both in newspapers and radio and stresses that it relates to his freedom, not on how Islam is practiced. "The imams have nothing to do with me. My tendency is between me and God," he says.

Erik Roen, deputy head of Skeiv verden - a group for homosexuals in Norway with a foreign background - believes Lie's decision to come out is very important. "I think it can have great meaning," he says. Roen compares it with the 1970s when the first Norwegian homosexual came out openly with his tendency. He stresses that some Muslim communities have an old testament attitude to homosexuality.

"We are expecting the reactions from this community," he says.

Kaltham Lie hadn't got any negative reactions to his coming out so far. He would like to see other do so as well, but stresses that Muslim homosexuals shouldn't feel pressed to do so. "It's up to every individual to decide if she or he wants to do it or not," says Lie, but he also has a demand. "We won't hide. There is no reason that we should hide. We exist and they know that we exist," he says.

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

Aarhus: Muslims attacking Greenlanders

Fjordman has quite an interesting article at Gates of Vienna about the difficult life of Greenlanders in Gellerup, a suburb of Aarhus. The Greenlanders are afraid to step outside their doors, and gatherings, football matches and the celebration of the Greenlandic national day have either stopped or can only take place under heavy security. The situation has gotten so bad that the "Greenland House" has now come out with an informative campaign, in Arabic.

Gellerup is composed of 88% immigrants. Greenlanders are an easy target in Denmark and Muslims do not have the monopoly on looking down at them. As Fjordman's article points out, they have difficulties finding housing in better neighborhoods of Aarhus. Just a year ago a woman from Greenland was sexually assaulted in Copenhagen by somebody (who is apparently very Danish), while his friends stood by and insulted Greenlanders.

As one interviewed Greenlander says:
"The Arabs practice pure racism against us. They can't understand why we can live in Denmark. Even when one tries to explain that we are Danes and were born with citizenship, then they don't understand it."

"Maybe they are envious, since often it ends in dumb discussions about who is at fault for the problems in Denmark."

I dug around for some more information and found this article. Despite everything she's suffered, the interviewed Greenlander is quite understanding.

45 year old Naasunnguaq says she is glad and thankful to live in Denmark, but she would rather flee Gellerup. "Why should I go and be afraid, just because I was born in Greenland?"

"Most Greenlanders here have been exposed to unpleasantness. One of my Greenlander guests was attacked just outside my door. He was seriously beat up and robbed."

Another, she adds, was injured in the face and yet a third doesn't dare go home alone, because she was harassed in her home by young Arabs, that attacked her and among other things threw stones at her windows. And calls on the street "Fuck home to Greenland this is our Gellerup" are completely common. It is not uncommon that Arab kids shoot at them with fireworks.

She says that they are in the greatest danger of all to be attacked.

"I don't understand the immigrants who behave like this. Maybe they think that we all drink. But then, Greenlanders are not all alcoholics. Most learn and work. We enjoy nature and love parties, yes. but we take care of our things and are peaceful. Maybe the difference is that their land has been at war for many years, and Greenland has never been. We come from expansive nature and peaceful society. But they should certainly be grateful to be allowed to be here, especially when now their own land is in chaos," says Naasunnguaq.

"The Arabs have no respect for anybody then themselves. It is humiliating to live under."

She explains that she has a great desire to understand the hostility, that she thinks is tied to ignorance.

"Greenlanders hate to hate. I would like to understand the Arab's culture and religion. It might be a good idea to arrange a meal together so we learn to know each other. Hospitality is basic for us, and I can well imagine a project of understanding," says Naasunnguaq.

"For instead of prejudice there should be care and understanding."

Sources: Stiften 1, 2 (Danish), Sermitsiak (Danish)

Brussels: Turkish army duty

Emir Kir, Undersecretary for Public Sanitation in the government of the Brussels Region, is prepared to fulfill his Turkish military duty. If he does not, he can lose his Turkish citizenship, according to Le Soir and La Dernière Heure. Kir himself denies this.

The Brussels undersecretary called the news "absurd". "Just like many Turks who live in Belgium, I have double nationality. But it is impossible that I will preform my Turkish army duty in Turkey. I am a Belgian elected, I have responsibilities and remain loyal to Belgium," according to 39 year old Kir.

According to the Turkish law every Turkish man must fulfill his military duty before his 39th birthday. If that doesn't happen, the Turkish government can take away his citizenship.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

Sarajevo: Robbing bank with Burqa

Women in burqas and men with long beards - one could wonder what is the connection between the two. Apparently Reuters is trying to make us think that Sarajevo had become more Islamist without actually saying so.

Two armed men disguised as Muslim women in burqas held up a bank in Sarajevo and got away with some $40,000, Bosnian police said on Tuesday.

They said the pair entered a Union bank branch in the capital wearing head-to-toe black dresses and veils typical of women adhering to the orthodox Islamic code and trained guns on customers. They then made customers lie on the floor while the emptied the tills, police added.

"Everything happened in a moment. Two persons in black niqabs (burqas) came into the bank. I thought they were ladies," the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje quoted bank customer Mehmedalija Komarac as saying.

Women in burqas and men with long beards have become a common sight in the Bosnian capital in recent years.

Source: Reuters (English)