Padua: Immigrants to start street patrols

Padua: Immigrants to start street patrols

Immigrants in the northern city of Padua were due late on Friday to begin street patrols, offering their own response to a recent wave of violent crime including rapes allegedly committed by immigrants against Italian women.

The patrols are the initiative of Egyptian-born journalist Ahmed Mohamed and the first ones were due to set off from the headquarters of local La9 TV station and head for Padova's high-immigrant Stanga district.

Friday's patrol was due to be led by representatives from the local Romanian, Bulgarian and Moroccan associations. Many of the rapes and other violent crimes against women that have recently shocked Italy have allegedly been committed by Romanians and Moroccans.

"It should be known that foreigners want the government to show zero tolerance to illegal immigrants and those who commit crimes - they damage the reputation of those of us who live respectably," Mohamed told Adnkronos International (AKI).

"We are among immigrants who want more security and more of a sense of identity. We don't just want rights but also a sense of duty towards our host country," he added.

"Security must be guaranteed to all and crime does not have a particular skin colour. For this reason we want more safety on the streets and more legality," Mohamed concluded.


Source: AKI (English)

Belgium: Dewinter, 'Islam is a predator'

Belgium: Dewinter, 'Islam is a predator'

Dewinter's TV interview is available online (in Dutch)


"Islamophobia is an obligation," says Filip Dewinter in his book "Insha'Allah? The Islamization of Europe" which will be out Monday.  The Antwerp head of Vlaams Belang thinks Islam is a predator which is attacking weak Europe.  He asks for cutting back on the structures of Islam which are forming in Flanders, stopping Islamization and stopping immigration from Muslim countries.

Is his book Filip Dewinter aims not at Muslims, but at Islam as an ideology.  "The moderate Muslims are many but they are not relevant.  The radical Muslims who have the mosques in their power are," he said tonight on Terzake (Canvas).  He also spoke on Nieuws of VTM.

Dewinter wants to cut off the Muslims by pursing a strict police concerning antenna dishes, internet and other digital communications.  The Flemish and local governments should conduct a stricter study of mosques for recognition and subsidies.  They must be subjected to permanent security supervision.  The structures that Islam is expanding in Flanders and Europe should be cut back.  

Filip Dewinter wrote his book under his own name, but had his party administration read it.  It seems that the points of view correspond to a large degree with those of Vlaams Belang.  Dewinter thinks that the debate about Islam should be conducted during the upcoming elections campaign.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

See also: Belgium: Filip Dewinter on immigration and integration

Rotterdam: Theater offers separate seating, no takers

Rotterdam: Theater offers separate seating, no takers

The Zuidplein Theater is reserving places for Muslim women!  There was a lot of indignation: on various internet forums hundred of condemning reactions flooded in yesterday, particularly from ethnic Dutch.  And those in question?  They shrug and have no need for separate seats.

Headscarf, loose long hair, male, female, Dutch, Moroccans. They sat yesterday evening together for the popular Salaheddine, the born-in-Morocco writer and TV maker who made his debut on the stage of the Rotterdam Zuidplein theater.

Also on the balcony, where the first five rows were reserved for women.  But the handful of young, hip women who went up to the balcony did so only because the hall beneath was full.  There were also several men standing to get a place.  Which was possible once the theater workers removed the dozens of signs.

The reserving was made by request of Salaheddine himself.  To be safe, but there appeared to be no interest in it.  "Moroccans are beginning to look more and more like Dutch," couldn't have been a better first line for his theater show.

The theater however didn't think the request by the stand-up comedian was unjust.  "We are a low-threshold, multicultural folk theater which aims at people of a vocational educational level  That is a tough group to get to a theater and therefore we adapt ourselves," said a theater spokesperson.

"So we arrange child-care of a prayer area if there's a demand for it.  And if we have community art for people from the surrounding neighborhoods, we're asked if women could sit apart.  Although that is mostly for an older generation of Muslim women than those who are coming here tonight."

Source: AD (Dutch)

Denmark: Higher risk for infant mortality among Pakistanis, Somalis, Turks

Denmark: Higher risk for infant mortality among Pakistanis, Somalis, Turks

Pakistani, Somali and Turkish immigrant women in Denmark have a higher risk for stillborn children than Danish women, according to a new study by the University of Southern Denmark.

In fact, they incidence of stillborns is almost double as by Danish women, and the same goes for infant mortality - the risk that a baby will die in its first year.

Epidemiology professor at the University of Southern Denmark Anne Marie Nybo Andersen headed the study and she says that one of the explanation for the problem might be marriage within the family.

Anne Marie Nybo Andersen told Newspaq that it's uncertain whether immigrant women get the same prenatal diagnostics of inborn deformities as Danish-born women.  Moreover, there's a tradition in these immigrant groups to marry within the family and it's been known for many years that there's an increased risk for infant mortality among such couples.

In Denmark, 40% of Pakistani couples are relatives.

On the other hand, there are no differences in the statistics between women from Denmark, Lebanon and the former Yugoslavia.

For this reason the experts in this study don't think the higher death rate among infants is caused by poorer social circumstances, since the Lebanese immigrants are on one of the lowest rungs of the social ladder.

With this new information in hand, Anne Marie Nybo Andersen says that people should be better informed of the disadvantages of having children with a family member.

She says they should ensure that there will be proper information about the risk of marriage within the family and they they should also study if the health care agencies give the same good service to everybody.

Source: Avisen (Danish)

US: Iraqi-Dutch confesses to roadside bombing

US: Iraqi-Dutch confesses to roadside bombing

An Iraqi-born Dutch suspect accused of planting roadside bombs in Iraq has pleaded guilty at his US trial.

Wesam al-Delaema, who was extradited from the Netherlands two years ago, is the first suspected Iraq insurgent to be tried in the US.

He agreed to a 25-year prison sentence on charges of conspiracy to murder Americans outside the US, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Born in Falluja, he returned to Iraq after the US-led invasion.

He was among a group that videotaped themselves planting remote-controlled explosives by a road used by US troops. The explosives did not cause any deaths.

Mr Delaema was arrested in May 2005 in the Dutch city of Amersfoort following a tip-off from US authorities.


Source: BBC (English)

Russia: Muftis call to boycott Dutch flowers

Russia: Muftis call to boycott Dutch flowers

Muslim Spiritual Directorate of the Nizhny Novgorod Region urged their believers to boycott goods from Holland in response to the movie coming in the country and insulting, as muftis believe, Prophet Muhammad's wives.

"To respond such an offence, Muslims of the world have decided to boycott goods made in Holland and film authors and an MP will bear responsibility for all consequences of this action," Deputy Head of the Regional Mufti Council on educational work Abdulbari Muslimov said in his address.

The author noted that Holland tulips and roses are very popular in Russia as many people buy them for February 23 and March 8.

"However, we have to find a substitute for this pleasant habit as our religion urge us to do good and correct evil," Muslimov said.

According to him, a legal method of "correcting evil" is "a boycott of goods, public criticism and prayer for correction." The Muftis representative urged Muslims not to buy "even a gram of goods "made in Holland" and lift prayers "to correct madmen who desecrate religious shrines."

However, when an Interfax correspondent asked the author to specify what film he opposes, he was at a loss and repeated it was about the Prophet's wives.


Head of the Coordinating Center of the Muslims of the North Caucasus Ismail Berdiyev is ironic about the appeal to boycott Holland flowers made by the Nizhny Novgorod muftis.

"When I heard that Muslims from the Nizhniy Novgorod Region urged not to buy flowers from Holland, I thought they have started growing tulips themselves," Mufti Berdiyev told Interfax-Religion.


Berdiyev noted that "to declare a boycott, you have to do something yourself."

"Thus, we can come to deport chief coach of Russian national team Guus Hiddink," the interviewee of the agency said.

According to him, if the movie, opposed by Muslims from the Nizhny Novgorod Region, really insults Islam and feelings of the believers "it should be nipped in the bud."

"However, those who grow flowers have nothing to do with it. You should address those who insults," Berdiyev said.

Source: Interfax 1, 2 (English)

UK: Islamists lecturing on political Islam

UK: Islamists lecturing on political Islam

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London is organizing a Political Islam course to be held in a few weeks.

The five day course will feature academics and people involved in the area of political Islam, but it will also feature Islamists:

* Sheikh Abdualla Anas - Fought with the Afghan Mujahideen and the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front.  Founder of the 'Office of Services', the 'forerunner of al-Qaeda'.

* Dr Ibrahim El Moussaoui - former head of the foreign department at Al-Manar TV, the official media outlet of Hizbullah in Lebanon

* Dr Kamal Helbawy - Former spokesman of the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West.  A veteran activist involved in Islamist politics worldwide. He assisted in the creation of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain.

* Professor Tariq Ramadan.

The Centre for Social Cohesion reports that the course is intended for govermnet officials and police, and participants will be paying up to £1890.

US: Connections to European Al-Qaeda

US: Connections to European Al-Qaeda


From 1993 through 1995, Paul, using various passports and names, traveled to the Balkans in Europe and fought in conflict zones such as Bosnia, establishing further contact with radical Islamic fundamentalists, and creating a master list of al Qaeda leaders and other Islamic radicals worldwide. This list and bomb-making information was seized during the execution of a search warrant at the defendant's home.

Paul returned to Columbus after fighting in the Balkans, and, in 1997, received a fax from two al Qaeda co-conspirators in Europe asking, on behalf of "the brothers," for Paul to find them a "true group and place to make jihad." While in Columbus, Paul conducted training operations in Burr Oak State Park in Ohio with several members of his local group, replicating terrorist training he had received in Afghanistan and Bosnia.

Preparing to travel again overseas, Paul obtained a new passport after claiming his old passport – in one of his other aliases – had been damaged by water. Beginning in March 31, 1999, and continuing through Jan. 31, 2000, Paul made 44 calls to an Islamic fundamentalist co-conspirator in Europe, who was arrested in 2003 and later convicted of a terrorist conspiracy.

On April 16, 1999, Paul traveled to meet with members of an Islamic terror cell in Germany, who knew him as an expert in bomb-making/detonation devices. In Germany, Paul provided explosives training to the cell knowing that it was planning to use this training to construct bombs, car bombs, and similar devices to be used against Americans while they vacationed at foreign tourist resorts. The German terrorist cell also planned to use bombs against Americans in the United States, and against U.S. facilities abroad, such as U.S. embassies, diplomatic premises and military bases in Europe.

Upon his return to Ohio from Germany, Paul had a member of his group in Columbus purchase a printer / scanner in May 1999. The printer/scanner was then sent to one of the German terror cell members in order to help the cell manufacture fraudulent documents to facilitate worldwide travel. The cell member did not claim the package in Germany and it was sent back to Paul. During this time, Paul also bought other equipment to be used by extremists, including night vision equipment and a laser range finder. Additional similar items were found during the execution of search warrants by the Columbus FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Furthermore, in November 1999, bank records show that Paul wire transferred $1,760 to one of the principal members of the German cell.


Source: FBI (English)

Denmark: Headscarf on mosque school trip

Denmark: Headscarf on mosque school trip

Everybody is so focused on the headscarf issue that nobody seems to care that the class is going on a school trip to what is considered an extremist mosque. The mosque on Dortheavej is the Islamic Faith Society's mosque, made famous by Abu Laban. Abu Laban successor, Mostafa Chendid, made headlines when he said all women should wear a headscarf, since 10% of men are sex-crazed maniacs (see Denmark: Women should stop tempting men and Denmark: The new sheik of Dortheavej).

More on the mosque and Islamic Faith Society:
* Denmark: Islamic Society connected to Muslim Brotherhood
* Denmark: Turkish Muslims oppose Islamic Society
* Denmark: Islamic Society accused of being radicals/apostates
* Copenhagen: Imams cooperating with Hizb ut-Tahrir


Danish newspaper B.T. reported today about Amanda, a Danish 3rd grader from a Copenhagen suburb school, who had to stay in class while her class visited the Dortheavej mosque, all because she refused to wear a headscarf.

Her mother, Maia Thorup, though her daughter shouldn't be forced to wear a headscarf and two more parents later complained. Maia Thorup says that her daughter refused because they oppose oppression at home. She says it's fine for them to visit a mosque and see how others live and practice their religion and it's also fine for integration, but it's not fair that a nine year old should be forced to wear a headscarf.

She says people should respect each other, and Muslims are also not forced to eat pork in hospitals or elsewhere in public.

In response teacher Semail Wanscher told her that her daughter would have to stay in school during the trip. She added that most Muslim women don't feel oppressed, though Westerners thinks they are.

All the 3rd grade teachers decided the girls should wear the headscarf. Teacher Semail told B.T. that this was so they can learn and feel what it's like to be a Muslim. The mosque visit was in the framework of a school project on Islam.

B.T. removed the article about the other complaints, but Norwegian site has a piece of it. The parents of an Iranian girl wrote the teacher that they fled Iran due to oppression and will in no way accept that their daughter would wear a headscarf. It's OK to go to a mosque, as long as it's without a headscarf.

The two other parents backed down, but Maria Thorup didn't and so Amanda was left behind.

The school told B.T. that they reject the teachers' decision. Mogens Steenbuch, the school's prinicpal says that the school doesn't think that girls should be forced to wear a headscarf if they don't want to." When B.T. called him Wed. night he also said that it's a mistake to keep a child out of class because she does not wish to wear a headscarf. He also doesn't know of any requirement in Islam for minor girls to wear a headscarf.

The chairman of the Islamic Faith Society, Bilal Assaad, says that they'll never dream of such a request and that visitors are free to decide whether they want to put on a headscarf or not. He says it is probably the teachers who wanted the students to do so. Assaad says it's completely mistaken for non-Muslims to imitate Muslims.

He says he can understand Amanda's mother, since Amanda isn't a Muslim. "You must also remember that it's not Saudi Arabia where all women are covered the whole time. We live in Denmark, and it's also our land." Assaad added that in the summer Danes come for visits in light summer clothes.

The mosque has between 150-200 visits a year of groups of 20-70 people.

Assaad says that many different people come to visit to see how Muslims act in day-to-day life, or to experience a Friday prayer.

Source: BT 1, 2, 3 (Danish), h/t

Germany: 60 terrorist training camp graduates

Germany: 60 terrorist training camp graduates

Up to 140 people from Germany have attended terrorist training camps and 60 have returned to the country, government officials told Berliner Morgenpost this week.

Head of the Interior Ministry's anti-terrorism unit Hans-Georg Maaßen told the paper on Wednesday that those 60, who include German citizens as well as immigrants with residency permits, are currently living in the country.

Maaßen argued their return was a good reason for the German upper house of parliament to pass a controversial new anti-terrorism law in the coming weeks. The law would give officials more authority to prosecute crimes that endanger the state, such as attending terrorist training camps in Afghanistan or Pakistan. After months of arguing, the grand coalition government managed to agree on a bill, and the Bundesrat will vote on it March 6.

Should it be passed by parliament as expected, any involvement with suspected terrorist groups, including contacting them, preparing for a terror attack by collecting money, financing terrorist activities, gathering bomb materials, spending time in a terrorist training camp or publishing bomb-building instructions will be punishable by up to 10 years under the new legislation. Building a bomb, even if someone does not detonate it, could mean up to three years in jail, for instance.


Source: The Local (English)

Denmark: The Danish Terrorists

Denmark: The Danish Terrorists

Danish broadcaster DR broadcast a documentary yesterday about the Danish terrorists. The documentary is available for viewing online.


Seven Danes have now been sentenced for planning terror attacks in Denmark or abroad and several are suspects. The first time viewers got to look the young Muslims in the face was when DR got access to those sentenced and those around them. They show that they seldom come from any particularly religious background. Instead they have been radicalized as youth here in Denmark.

Palestinian Mohammad Zaher (36) from Vollsmose sits in the state prison in Østjylland. He came to Denmark from Syria 10 years ago and is a Danish citizen. The high court sentenced Mohamed Zaher to 12 years in prison for attempted terrorism. He downloaded bomb manuals and prices the extremely sensitive explosive TATP.

In the documentary Mohammed Zaher tells for the first time on TV about his background and what he was doing when he was arrested in one of the biggest terror operations in Denmark's history. Mohammad Zaher tells how he first became religious, after he came to Denmark in 1998.

"When I came to Denmark I was 25 years old and just at the beginning of my adult life. I generally had no religious background then. I didn't pray to God. I was a completely normal person. But when I came to Denmark I discovered that I wasn't on the right path. People should live in accordance to their religion and pray to God. That is the most important thing."

Mohammad Zaher's background and religiosity is characteristic for all the youth who were arrested for attempted terrorism in Denmark. Altogether, 7 Danes were sentenced for terrorism and none of the sentenced or suspect came from outside. Some were born in Denmark - others were raised here in Denmark and got Danish citizenship. It is characteristic that only very few of those arrested come from any particularly religious background or family. Instead there's a dramatic upheaval in their life in Denmark when they meet other youth in the mosque. Together the youth develop in a steadily more radical direction here in Denmark.

Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish military academy analyzed on the program what gets young Danish Muslims to suddenly turn against the society they grew up in.

"They look for a strictly black-and-white answer. It's a form of rebel activity. Some will even argue that it's cool. Bin Laden became Che Guevara. This era's great revolutionary here, who opposes the USA - the youth are seeking and eventually they end up in the wrong corner."

Mohammad Zaher has denied guilt throughout the whole trial and think that he's gotten an unfair trial in conflict with the fundamental principles of law. In the program, DR reviewed the court case against him and discovered how the PET (police security service) employed a civilian agent who played an exceptionally active role.

At the same time, viewers got to see Mohammed Zaher relate to the police evidence for the first time. DR also follows Zaher's relatives and friends when they go from Vollsmose to Copenhagen, where the high court passed a historic sentence. Twelve years in prison for attempted terrorism.

Another Dane, who was sentenced for attempted terrorism is Abdulkadir Cesur from Avedøre. As a 19 year old he was arrested in an apartment in Bosnia, where police found 20kg of auburn explosive, a suicide belt and a Browning pistol with a silencer. Cesur was sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison for attempted terrorism.

Abdulkadir Cesur was born and grew up in Denmark. In the program Cesur's father tell how a boy from Avedøre suddenly ended in a terror cell in Bosnia. In Bosnia Danish Cesur met with Swedish Mirsad Bektasevic - AKA Maximus - which Cesur met three times earlier in a mosque in Copenhagen. Through Maximus Cesur got entangled in the terrorist community, which his parents had no idea suspicion that their son was part of. DR goes with the father when he visits his son in a Bosnian prison north of Sarajevo.

Not one of those whom DR met admit that they intended to blow up a bomb, either in Denmark or abroad. DR discovers instead the youth's attitudes to the society they grew up in. DR's talks in the community show that those involved see the term terrorism completely differently than the way it's descibed in the Western media. They see themselves as victims who just defend themselves - against attack in Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan or other war zones.

In a suicide video which was found in the house where the Dane Cesur and the Swede Maximus were arrested it was said as follows:

"These weapons will be used against Europe. Against those who have their forces in Iraq and in Afghanistan." (parts of the video can be seen here, I don't see that they mention Afghanistan)

To the question of what Mohammed Zaher wants to say to the youth who want to go to Iraq and fight against Denmark and the USA, he says:

"It's completely natural. Iraq is occupied by America. If anybody fights you because of your religion, for example Islam, it is natural that you retaliate to it."

Source: DR (Danish)

See also:
* Danish Jihad - a study
* Sweden: Movie on local terrorists
* Denmark: Terrorism case to be reopened
* Denmark: Three convicted in terror case
* Denmark: Missing evidence in terror trial
* Denmark: Terrorism update
* Denmark: Mohammed cartoons possible motive for terror
* Bosnia: Sentences for terrorist Swede and Dane reduced

Germany: Human rights group against headscarf ban

Germany: Human rights group against headscarf ban

Laws banning female teachers from wearing the Islamic headscarf in parts of Germany violate the rights of Muslim women, according to a report published Thursday by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The ban, in force in half of the 16 German states, "discriminates against Muslim women, excluding them from teaching and other public sector employment on the basis of their faith," the report said.

HRW said countries that forbid the wearing of the headscarf, or hijab, violate women's rights just as much as nations that force women to wear it.

"The measures effectively force women to choose between their employment and the manifestation of their religious beliefs, violating their right to freedom of religion and equal treatment," the New York-based HRW said.

The Islamic headscarf has been the subject of heated political debate in Germany, home to three million Muslims and the biggest Turkish community outside Turkey.

Following a series of court cases, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled it was up to Germany's states to decide their policy, prompting an even split amongst the 16 regions.

"The regulations are not abstract concerns. The restrictions have a profound effect on women's lives," HRW said.

Female teachers refusing to remove their headscarf have been reprimanded and in some cases dismissed, the report said, citing testimony from dozens affected by the ban.

"To renounce the headscarf is very difficult. On the first day I 'disguised' myself in the school toilet. When a colleague spoke to me, I broke down in tears," said one woman identified in the report as Rabia.

"My son asked me, 'what is more important, Allah or work?' I answered him that it is complicated," she added.


Source: AFP (English)

Paris: Graffiti artist hijabizing ads

Paris: Graffiti artist hijabizing ads

"Princess Hijab knows that L’Oréal and Dark & Lovely have been killing her little by little. With her spray paint and black marker pen, she is out to hijabize advertising. Even Kate Moss is targeted. By day, she wears a white veil, symbol of purity. By night, her black veil is the expression of her vengeful fight for a cause," states Princess Hijab ( in her manifesto.

What is that cause? In a nutshell, it is to subvert consumer images—especially of women—and to push cultural boundaries.

And few are spared the Princess' black marker and spray paint in her artistic Jihad.

In the online gallery of her "hijabizing" of ad campaigns, lightly clad models in ads for Virgin Music and various clothing companies have been re-dressed by the Princess in veils and chadors (body-length veil), their eyes popping out of face-covering hijabs.

They are striking as much as they are irreverent, and they have caused anger in both Muslim and secular circles.


Princess Hijab told MENASSAT that her hijab campaigns are not plastered on the streets of Paris as an act of "art for art's sake," but instead represent a part of what she calls "art propositions for a more global idea."

In this global idea, Princess Hijab means she pursues what she calls her "noble cause," or her "anti-advertising movement" in an attempt to fight today's mainstream and sexist consumerism.


Who is Princess Hijab?

"I created PH to be connected. I wanted to mix elements from different extractions and cultures, starting from my initial subject: the veiled woman. I believe it's the reason why PH had such an impact. She never let herself be defined by religion nor gender. It was really crucial for me,: she said.

And like other culture jammers like Banksy in the UK, Princess Hijab has chosen to remain anonymous. "I like secrets and it corresponds to something quite intimate to me," she said.

Asked whether she might reveal her identity in the future, she answered, "It's not impossible."

Not surprisingly, Princes Hijab's decision to remain anonymous has caused discussion and debate among bloggers and in online forums.

"Is she a Muslim or not? Or is Princess Hijab perhaps even a man?" are some of the questions being asked.

At one point, there was even talk about whether the Princess' first black and white hijab ad, which depicts a veiled woman with "Hijab Ad" written below it, was indeed a self-portrait of the artist.

Prince Habib's guerrilla street art has so far been featured at several art exhibitions, including one in Norway recently.

But the young artist stresses that it took a while for people to accept her alternative art, saying her hijab ads and projects were perceived quite negatively at first.


Source: Menassat (English), h/t Advice Goddess

Austria: Calls for resignation of Muslim community head

Austria: Calls for resignation of Muslim community head

The dismissal of a progressive Muslim teacher by the IGGiÖ (Islamic faith community of Austria) Wednesday provoked an outcry among politicians, who criticized the conservatism of this institution.

El Ghoubashy was punished for publishing an opinion column in Der Standard Tuesday where he said that Islam classes, as they were planned, failed to integrate Young Muslims into society [Lernen für das Leben in der Isolation (Learning for life in isolation)].  The president of the IGGiÖ, Anas Schakfeh, justified this decision, stressing that these remarks deliberately caused considerable harm to the organization.

The Social-Democrat Party of Chancellor Werner Faymaan strongly condemned the dismissal.  Punishing a religion teacher who says he supports internal reform is completely incomprehensible and contrary to the intention of the Education Ministry, they said. Unusually in agreement, the opposition Greens party, as well as FPÖ and BZÖ, both of the extreme right, called in the strongest terms for the resignation of Schakfeh.

In office since 1999, Schakfeh's position weakened in recent weeks when he tried to prevent the publication of a study by the University of Vienna which showed 22% of Islam teachers interviewed in Austria rejected democracy.  Moreover, in mid-February he was ordered by Education Minister Claudia Schmied to fire a teacher who distributed in class a list of "Jewish" multinationals to boycott.

Austria finances religious classes which, besides exemptions, are obligatory in schools.  Appointing and inspecting teachers is, however, the responsibility of the different religious communities.  Austria employs 294 Islam teachers for 50,000 Muslim students.

Source: 7sur7 (French)

Related posts:
* Vienna: Muslim community upset at teacher sacking
* Austria: Islam teachers - 22% oppose democracy, 8% support violence
* Austria: Reform of Islam lessons

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Netherlands: BREAKING: Turkish plane crashes

Netherlands: BREAKING: Turkish plane crashes

Update 3:
Jihad en Hajar Alariachi, two of the Dutch 'Halal Girls', were aboard the plane. Jihad was lightly injured. (NL)

Update 2:
Final death toll: 9 dead. 25 seriously injured and about 25 less seriously injured. (NL)

Uncertainty about the number of casualties. De Telegraaf reports seven dead, 25 seriously injured, 60 lightly injured. All those who survived the crash are off the plane. (NL)


A Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) passenger plane with 135 people aboard crashed while attempting to land at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Wednesday, authorities said.

The plane broke up when it hit the ground next to the runway.

Still images shown on Dutch television showed the plane on the ground, with the tail section of the fuselage broken off, and a wide crack in the fuselage just behind cockpit. The jetliner did not appear to be on fire.

As many as 50 passengers escaped injury, the CNBC Turkey channel said.

Officials at Istanbul's Ataturk airport said the plane had departed earlier from Istanbul.

THY was not immediately available for comment.

Source: Reuters (English)

Malmö: Advice for Oslo

Malmö: Advice for Oslo

Following up on Siv Jensen's claim that Oslo is heading in the direction of Malmö, some advice from Malmö residents:


Imam Ali Ibrahim hopes Oslo won't have neighborhoods like Rosengård.  Not one student in school has Swedish as a mother tongue.  A majority of the adults are unemployed.

He has a large, white beard and is called "Tomten" (The elf).  Ali Ibrahim (63) is Sweden's only municipally employed imam.  As cultural consultant in the Rosengård school his job is to bridge between Muslim parents and Swedish society, which they often don't understand or know anything about.

Scandinavia's most immigrant-filled neighborhood, where close to 90% have a foreign background, has against caught negative attention in the media.  Ibrahim and many other shake their heads at the assertions of Sharia laws and extremist Islam.  But Ibrahim , who's originally from Egypt, is absolutely clear that there should be a limit to how many immigrants live in one place.

"In Rosengård the school is the only link to Swedish society, but there are no Swedish students here," he says.

In Olso, immigrants are now the majority in several areas in Groruddalen and Søndre Nordstrand. Ibrahim hopes Oslo won't have neighborhoods like Rosengård.

"The best solution is to spread people better and get a mix with Swedes or Norwegians"

Many children grow up with parents who don't speak Swedish or who never had a job.  He took a group on a tour of Gothenburg.  They asked: "Are we still in Sweden?", "What language do they speak here?"

Two young, modern-dressed women under the glass-roof of a shopping center, freely tell about life, both good and bad, in the neighborhood.  Despite too much trouble, vandalism and crime, Marina Noorzai (18) and Nour Yasin (19) think it's not dangerous to live here.

"It's people from outside who are scared," says Marina.

Neither wears a hijab and Miriam played football in short shorts.  They've never noticed any religious pressure.  But they also warn against immigrant-only neighborhoods.

"Many here never learned Swedish. But we live in Sweden, we must learn the language and culture.  The best is half of each."

In the neighborhood administration, next-door to the shopping center, neighborhood head Eva Alterbeck dreams of exactly that.

"50% immigrants should be the limit both in school and the neighborhood," she says.

Her advice to Oslo is to build mixed buildings, and encourage new Norwegians to live where they can find both a job and residence.

"But many segregate themselves also.  Then there's a high price.  The children don't finish school, and it becomes difficult to get a job.  Those who don't want that life move away.  This is really becoming a welfare ghetto for those who are left," says Alterbeck.

She's aware of 'Muslim elements" who are completely against Western culture, and that there's religious fundamentalism in Rosengård.

"It's hard for many children to grow up here and meet one world-view at home and another at school. Then it's important to have 'normal religious' people like imam Ibrahim, with moderate points of view on ethics and Swedish society," says Eva Alterbeck.

Source: Aftenposten (English)

See also:
* Norway: FRP against 'sneak Islamization'
* Malmö: Rosengård report under attack
* Malmö: Rosengård 'growing more radical'

Bosnia: Islamic teaching in kindergartens causes uproar

Bosnia: Islamic teaching in kindergartens causes uproar

In a country still smarting from a 1990s war that coined the term 'ethnic cleansing,' some are worried religious teaching in classrooms will only widen the divide between Bosnians.

Sarajevo -- The tiny students, some in their first year at a Sarajevo kindergarten, are led away from their classmates by a woman peering out from a headscarf who will give them a lesson on the basics of Islam.

"Kids have been asking me why they are being separated and what a religious class is," said a teacher, who asked not to be named. "It was so difficult at the beginning."

The "bula" -- an intermediary between an imam and the family -- grabs their attention with animal pictures on a laptop. She then goes on to explain how the Prophet Mohammed travelled from Mecca to Medina.

The lesson seems innocent enough for three to six-year-olds. But the decision by the Muslim-led county council to allow religious instruction in Sarajevo kindergartens has met a chorus of outrage from critics who fear it is part of an attempt to "Islamicise" Bosnia's capita


Source: Expatica (English)

Oslo: Imam blames 9/11 on US in college lecture

Oslo: Imam blames 9/11 on US in college lecture

The lecture can be seen here (Norwegian).

The conspiracy theory is not new, and neither is the imam's claim that the US invented Bin Laden as an excuse to attack Iraq and Afghanistan, as can be seen here (Norwegian, with English subtitles). The lectures are from last May, but have only now caught national attention.


The USA was responsible for the terror attacks of 9/11, a Norwegian imam claimed during a lecture at Oslo University College.

In front of a packed lecture hall at the college, the famous Norwegian imam Zulqarnain Sakandar Madni claimed at length tat it was the American powers who were responsible for the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

The lecture, which was organized by IslamNet in May, 2008, was uploaded to YouTube.

In two weeks he is again invited to speak to Muslim students at the nation's largest college. This is taking place at the same time that PST (Norwegian security service) cautions in its new threat report against an increasing tendency to radicalization in some part of the Norwegian-Muslim community.

Imam Zulqarnain Sakandar Madni grew up in Norway but was educated in Saudi-Arabia.

In the videos, which have been uploaded to the poplar internet site, the imam, who's also known as head of Norway's united ulama (scholars), hints to young Muslim female and male students that thousands of Jews knew that the terror attacks will happen and that they escaped the attacks on the World Trade Center by not showing up for work.

"In total 4,000 Jews were away from the two towers the same day. They didn't come to work. Why not?" the imam said in the lecture.

In the videos the Norwegian imam goes very far in his efforts to convince the assembly that 9/11 was an arranged play.

"Where was the American airforce on September 11, 2001? Were they so not serious, or were they sleeping? This says that it was planned. They wanted to attack Saddam, and wanted to attack Afghanistan. The Pentagon knew exactly what happened, because it was planned," says Sakandar in the over ten minute long lecture on the terror attacks against the USA.

The video shows that the imam during the lecture almost made fun of the media's reporting that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the terrorism,and he won laughter from the hall when he repeated his version of the media's covered of the terror attack.

"They said 'bin Laden' after a few minutes," says Sakander and claims further that the media must have also known that the terror attack will happen.

"How in the world can a cameraman or a journalist find out that Osama bin Laden was responsible. The people concerned could have gotten a slip of paper in hand from before," continued the imam.

TV 2 asked the head of the Oslo University College to look at the video for a response. After having seen the segments, he said they did not plan to deny the organization which invited imam Madni by censuring his lecture. The imam will therefore participate in a new debate on March 6th, in auditorium 35 at Oslo College University.

The Islamic Network are responsible for the lectures at the college. They do not want to comment on the invitation to the imam and choose to only speak about 9/11.

Sakandar had caught attention in the past with his opinions about the terror attacks of 9/11. During a net-meeting at Aftenposten in 2006, the imam claims that the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and bin Laden were fictional.

The videos from his lecture at the Oslo University College show that the controversial imam had not changed his point of view that the attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an American led conspiracy to have an excuse to invade Muslim countries.

The videos also clearly show that he is used as a resource person in these issues by the Muslim student community in the capital.

In the videos there are no critical comments, not from the chairman, not from the hall and not from other debaters, to the imam's opinions about September 11.

Source: TV 2 (Norwegian)

See also:
* Norway: Increasing radicalization among extremist Muslims

Italy: Immigrant entrepreneurs contributing to economy

Italy: Immigrant entrepreneurs contributing to economy

The number of immigrant entrepreneurs is growing rapidly in Italy and they are making a significant contribution to the country's growth and international development. That was the finding of several speakers who met in Rome on Tuesday as Italian Catholic aid groups, Caritas and Migrantes, presented the country's first-ever report on the phenomenon.

"An important change is the number of immigrants who have set up their own businesses after working as employees for a number of years," said the coordinator of the immigration report, Antonio Riccio.

Data from the Caritas-Migrantes dossier fed into the new 'Immigrant entrepreneurs in Italy' report, published with the Ethnoland Foundation.

"There are now 165,000 immigrants who own a company in Italy and the number is rising. This is a source of development for Italy and for immigrants' countries of origin," Riccio said.

The number of immigrant-owned firms has tripled since 2003 and is growing at a rate of around 20,000 per year - while the number of Italian-owned firms is declining.


Most of the 83,578 immigrant-owned Italian companies currently operate in the industrial sector, and 65,549 are mainly Eastern European-owned building firms.

A total 77,515 entrepreneurs operate in services and 10,470 in the clothing, shoes and footwear sector, most of whom are Chinese.

Immigrant-owned firms generate employment for a total 500,000 people, a significant figure in the current economic recession, where joblessness is predicted to reach 8.2 percent this year.

Between 2003 and 2008, the number of companies owned by Romanian immigrants increased the most (61.2 percent), followed by Albanians (48.5 percent), Tunisians and Bangladeshis (38.5 and 38.0 percent respectively), Egyptians (32.2 percent) and Moroccans (27.4 percent).

The great majority of Moroccan entrepreneurs in Italy own trading companies, while Romanians and Albanians own building firms, and Chinese own manufacturing and trading businesses, according to the report.

The northeastern region of Lombardy has the greatest number of immigrant company-owners (30,000), followed by the centre-northern Emilia Romagna region (20,000), and the northern Piemonte and Veneto regions and central Lazio and Tuscany regions (with 15,000 each).

The concentration of immigrant entrepreneurs varies considerably from one region to another. The province of Milan and the province of Rome are those hosting the highest number (17,297 and 15,490 respectively), followed by the province of Turin (11,662).

Of the nearly 3.5 million foreigners who are legal residents in Italy, one in 21 is currently an entrepreneur, compared with one in ten Italians.


Source: AKI (English)

UK: Muslims first, British second

UK: Muslims first, British second

A BBC show on Muslim extremism.

To sum up in a few sentences: Muslim extremism is a problem in Britain. The government thinks inciting hatred is as bad as inciting violence and is developing a new policy to deal with it (See UK: Gov't to to widen extremism definition). Muslims fear being stigmatized, and are suspicious of government actions.

h/t Hodja

Norway: 'there is no sneak Islamization here'

Norway: 'there is no sneak Islamization here'

Sometimes one news story follows another so fast, that it's hard to keep up, much less check on events of the past.

In a recent speech Siv Jensen, head of the Norwegian Progress Party, railed against what she called 'sneak Islamization', bringing as one example sex-segregated swimming classes.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet visited Oslo school Møllergata, where they have separate swimming and gym classes, and published an articled headlined 'there is no sneak Islamization here'.  The sub-headline reads: 'Introduction of sex-segregated gym had nothing to do with Islam, says a prinicipal at an Oslo school'

From the article:

Principal Eva Kjøge tells why they have this custom.  "When this was a high school, there were girls who felt run over by the boys in gym class. Therefore we introduced girl classes."  She adds: "It had nothing to do with Islam that time."


The separate gym class arrangement was expanded when the percent of Muslim students increased.  Today about 40% of the school's 220 students are Muslims.


- do you feel that you contribute to sneak Islamization?

"The most important thing is that the student learn to swim," the principal answers diplomatically.


Møllergata school made the news several months ago when discussion flared up around sex-segregated gym and swimming classes.  This is what Eva Kjøge told Norwegian news agency NTB last August:  "As a result of immigration to the city the problem arose that Muslim girls weren't allowed to have gym and swimming together with boys.  Then the school had to find arrangements."

Granted, Eva Kjøge was then a new principal and might not have been aware of the history of the school's gym class arrangements.  Reading what she says carefully, she doesn't really contradict herself, either.  The arrangement might have been started for girls of all types, but was then expanded because Muslim girls were not allowed by their parents to join those classes.

The problem here is that Dagbladet, so eager to prove there's no 'sneak Islamization', didn't bother digging too deeply.  When Kjøge said it had nothing to do with Islam 'that time', the paper didn't want to know when such arragments did have to do with Islam. 

Sources: Dagbladet, Addressavisen (Norwegian)

See also:
* Norway: FRP against 'sneak Islamization'
* Oslo: Debate about segregated swimming classes

Netherlands: Blogosphere debate

Netherlands: Blogosphere debate

The Dagelijkse Standaard (Daily Standard) is a rather new Dutch-language blog, featuring articles by a list of Dutch writers.  Islam expert Hans Jansen was one of those writers, until he discovered that Michael van der Galien, who also writes runs PoliGazette, was a convert to Islam. 

Michael van der Galien never hid the fact, but apparently it was new to Jansen.  When Jansen discovered that his co-blogger was a convert to Islam, he emailed the blog editor in an exchange of emails (posted on the site, NL), which led to him leaving the blog.

Jansen wrote that having a covert to Islam as a co-fighter for freedom of speech in the Netherlands was something he would have to think about.  He later said that he left the blog due to differences of opinion with the chief editor, and not specifically due to this point.

For Michael van der Galien's response to this story (in English), see One man less - a minor Dutch controversy and The side that wants to destroy the West

Sources: Dagelijkse Standaard 1, 2 (Dutch)

For more on Jansen:
* Netherlands: Arabist accuses bank of Islamist propoganda
* Netherlands: Arabist Hans Jansen causes irritation among his peers
* Netherlands: Muslims upset at Jansen
* Netherlands: Tolerating Muslims excesses

Denmark: Textbook for immigrant/refugee literature

Denmark: Textbook for immigrant/refugee literature

Public school students will not longer read just Danish literature.  In the textbook "World stories - an alternative canon" [canon - a list of books and authors to be read in school] Danish publishers Gyldendal and the Danish Refugee Council expanded the established Danish literature in schools by focusing on literature coming to Denmark with refugees and immigrants.

"When 9% of the Danish population has a bilingual or multicultural background, I think, that it's no longer just enough to read literature from Denmark in Danish education.  And precisely through the literature we can get a more nuanced insight into the new cultures which are settling here in the country,' says editor Ditte Marie Munch-Hansen.

The book includes a collection of texts taken from the 12 biggest refugee and immigrant groups which are represented in the Danish elementary school: Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Iran, Croatia, Pakistan, Serbia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Turkey along with the Kurds and Palestinians.
Twelve Refugees and immigrants living in Denmark, who work with literature in their daily chose one acclaimed literature text form their homeland.  the book will be published today.

Source: BT (Danish)

BH: Serbs ordered to pay for destroyed mosques

BH: Serbs ordered to pay for destroyed mosques

Serb authorities in Bosnia-Hercegovina have been ordered to pay $42m (£26m) to local Muslims for the destruction of mosques during the Bosnian civil war.

All 16 mosques in Banja Luka, the main town of the Serb-run Republika Srpska, were destroyed in the 1992-1995 war.

A lawyer for the area's Muslim community said the local court verdict was of historic importance.

Hundreds of religious buildings were destroyed in the conflict, in which about 100,000 civilians were killed.

The local court ruling came nine years after the Bosnian Islamic Community sued the Bosnian Serb government and Banja Luka city authorities for the destruction of the shrines in 1993.

The Islamic Community said more than 1,000 of its objects were destroyed or damaged during the war.

"For us, what is far more important than material compensation is that for the first time Republika Srpska has taken complete responsibility for the destruction of the mosques," SRNA news agency quoted the Islamic Community's lawyer Esad Hrvacic as saying.


Source: BBC (English), h/t Hodja

The Integration Of Muslims In Europe

The Integration Of Muslims In Europe


Integration results. There are two standards against which the incorporation of Muslims in Europe can be judged: economic (how people are doing in terms of earnings and employment); and attitudinal (how people feel).

In both France and the United Kingdom, Muslims' economic integration has been poor. In both, unemployment is high (above 20% and sometimes approaching 40%) among Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and North Africans. Earnings are also weak: According to 2000 data, male Bangladeshis were earning about three-quarters the average wage.

As regards public attitudes, a more complex picture emerges, according to Pew data gathered in 2006, depending on the group examined:

--Non-Muslim French. Most French people were particularly positive toward French Muslims, viewing them as generous and honest; a large minority saw them as tolerant.

--Non-Muslim Britons. Attitudes toward U.K. Muslims were less positive, but better than among many other Europeans: most Britons viewed Muslims as honest, although only a minority saw them as generous and tolerant.

--French Muslims. Most French Muslims viewed non-Muslims in France as respectful of women, generous, tolerant and honest (but not devout); only a minority viewed them as arrogant, violent, greedy, immoral or fanatical. Equally importantly, almost 80% of French Muslims support secularism, one of the Republic's intellectual cornerstones.

--U.K. Muslims. Attitudes toward non-Muslim Britons were thoroughly negative: Clear majorities viewed them as selfish, arrogant, violent, greedy and immoral, and a substantial minority as fanatical. Only a minority of U.K. Muslims viewed their fellow citizens as respectful of women, tolerant, honest or devout. However, a majority thought non-Muslim Britons were generous.

--Islam and modernity. Finally, U.K. Muslims were the most likely in Europe to see a basic conflict between Islam and modernity--47%. The figure for French Muslims was 28%.

Where a common, non-religious identity unites Muslims and non-Muslims, the result is better public attitudes and a shared sense of a national project. Where religious divisions are emphasized, the result is mistrust. However, cultural integration is only one part of the equation. Economic integration, whereby Muslims enter work, earn wages and pay taxes just like their fellow citizens, is equally important; in this, both the United Kingdom and France have failed.


Source: Forbes, Oxford Analytica (English)

UK: Islamic group slams 'out of touch' imams

UK: Islamic group slams 'out of touch' imams

Young Muslims are being pushed towards extremism because their mosques are run by elderly and out-of-touch cliques, a report by an Islamic think-tank said yesterday.

The Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremist Islamic organisation, accused imams of failing to teach and preach in English and of shutting women out of their mosques.

Only about 3 per cent of Muslim clerics were born in this country and most do not have full command of English, the study said.

The report said that mosque leaderships did not promote British values and allowed young people to drift towards jihadists who speak their own language.

The group called on the Government for stricter limits on visas for Islamic clerics coming to Britain and for an end to state grants for mosques that do not have at least one imam who preaches in English and supports the principles of democracy.

The Quilliam Foundation - which has been backed with almost £1million of taxpayers' money and attacked by some Islamic groups as being a mouthpiece for the Government - also said madrassas, mosques' equivalent of Christian Sunday schools, should be fully inspected by local children's services officials.

The survey was based on responses to five questions given by 512 mosques last autumn.

It found 97 per cent of imams were born overseas and 92 per cent were trained abroad, while more than half of the Muslims in Britain were born here.

'The religious leadership in the vast majority of Britain's mosques are not in full command of the English language, and are likely to be ill-equipped to address the real concerns and everyday experiences of young British Muslims,' the report found.

Nearly half, 44 per cent, of mosques do not hold their Friday lectures or sermons in English, the survey said. A similar proportion have no space for women, and their managements take the view that it is unnecessary for women to come to pray.


Source: Daily Mail (English), h/t PI News

For more on the Quilliam Foundation:
* UK: New foundation against Islamist extremism
* UK: Muslims warn PM Gaza conflict fuelling anger

Denmark: Imam denies he's in favor of stoning

Denmark: Imam denies he's in favor of stoning

Abdul Wahid Pedersen, a Danish-born imam convert and Karen Jespersen, the Danish Welfare Minister, debated Islam and extremism on the Danish morning show Go' Morgen Danmark.

Jespersen, who wrote a book about Muslim extremism, recently criticized the Copenhagen city council for working together with Muslims in Dialogue, which she says is an extremist group. Pedersen, one of the heads of the organization, had refused in the past to condemn stoning and stated he will conduct polygamous marriage ceremonies. He had said that condemning stoning would place him outside the pale of Islam.

On the show, Pedersen was asked whether he supports stoning.

Abdul Wahid Pedersen, Imam: Let be say this very clearly, absolutely, unequivocally. I do not support stoning. I do not support stoning.

Cecilie Frøkjær, TV2: But do you disassociate yourself from stoning?

Abdul Wahid Pedersen: I do not support stoning, and what I've been accused many, many times in the media - I don't do that .. here and now I want to say, as I did a minute ago - I don't support stoning.

Danish, no subtitles: (~2:30)

Source: Uriasposten (Danish)

See also:
* Denmark: Debate about polygamy
* Denmark: DPP responds with UN imam complaint
* Denmark: The Muslim DPP supporter
* Book Review: Islamists and Naivists: An Indictment

UK: Muslim peer warns of increase in polygamy

UK: Muslim peer warns of increase in polygamy

GROWING numbers of Muslim men are "marrying" up to four wives in Britain, a leading Muslim peer warned last night.

Tory Baroness Sayeeda Warsi fears a sharp increase in polygamy in the UK is becoming a threat to community cohesion.

And she accused Labour ministers of turning a blind eye to the practice, which is common in some Islamic countries.

The Government must make it clear to Muslims that "in this country, one married man is allowed to marry one woman," she said.

Most Muslim polygamous arrangements are not illegal because the "weddings" are private religious ceremonies that are not recognised by British law.

But Baroness Warsi, Tory spokesman on community cohesion, feared that multi-wife marriages could increase tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain.

There are also concerns that some Muslim men are claiming benefits for several wives.

"There has been a failure on the part of policymakers to respond to this situation," she said.

"Some of it has been done in the name of cultural sensitivity and we've just avoided either discussing or dealing with this matter head on.

"There has to be a culture change and that has to brought about by policymakers taking a very clear stance on this issue."

She urged ministers to consider introducing a system of registration for religious "weddings" to curb the growth in polygamy.


Source: Express (English), h/t Weasel Zippers

Amsterdam: Marcouch develops gay-policy

Amsterdam: Marcouch develops gay-policy

In order to break the taboo regarding homosexuality in the Islamic community, Slotervaart is the first neighborhood of Amsterdam to develop a gay-policy.  Chairman Ahmed Marcouch (Labor Party) welcomes the arrival of a gay-cafe.

Marcouch also wants to educate heterosexuals with an Islamic background about homosexuality.  "I think that the effect is greater, if only because the fact that those who conduct the talk are not gays themselves, but do stand up for gay rights," he told Amsterdam broadcaster AT5.

"In Arabic or Moroccan positive vocabulary about homosexuality is not available," The chairman of the neighborhood, which has a large Muslim community, illustrates the taboo atmosphere concerning the topic.  Many children who start talking about the topic of homosexuality at home immediately get slapped because 'homo' is a curse and you don't utter that at home.

Marcouch will review his gay-policy with the neighborhood administration on March 17th.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

UK: Rabbis/imams to join twinning program

UK: Rabbis/imams to join twinning program

Rabbis and imams from Great Britain will visit the United States to expand to Europe a program that pairs mosques and synagogues.

The Weekend of Twinning, an initiative started by Rabbi Marc Schneier and The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, last November paired 50 mosques and 50 synagogues representing more than 100,000 Jews and Muslims in communities across North America to speak out and call for an end to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.  

Europe's planned participation in the fall of 2009 Weekend of Twinning is a result of a meeting last week in London between Schneier and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.   

Source: JTA (English)

Germany: 'Muslim community must deal with antisemitism'

Germany: 'Muslim community must deal with antisemitism'

Germany should take anti-Semitic tendencies among its Muslim population seriously, Turkish-German Green party leader Cem Özdemir warned in an interview with daily Frankfurter Rundschau on Monday.

"We must unfortunately acknowledge that there are anti-Semitic mindsets not only in the right-wing or among the so-called left-wing anti-imperialists, but also in the Muslim community – particularly among male Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish youths," Özdemir, the country's first leader of a major political party with Turkish roots, told the paper.

These young men feel "marginalised" in German society and are identifying with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he told the paper.

"Not just in Turkey, but also here there are many immigrants who try to superimpose the Middle East conflict one-to-one onto Germany and regard themselves as members of the Palestinian side," he said.

Muslim-German leaders must draw clear lines and emphasise that anyone who displays anti-Semitic sentiments will not be allowed to represent the community, Özdemir said, adding that educators should also openly address the problem.

A 2007 study by the Interior Ministry found that Muslim students were far more anti-Semitic than other students, the paper reported. Of 500 Muslim students who were raised in Germany, almost 16 percent agreed with the statement: "People of Jewish faith are arrogant and greedy for money." This rate was double that of students with immigration background and three times as high as German students, the paper reported.


Source: The Local (English)

Israel: Islam, culture and FGM

Israel: Islam, culture and FGM

A new study by Israeli doctors discovers that FGM is disappearing as a cultural phenomenon among the Bedouin tribes in the country.

The shocking conclusion? Religion and culture are not a constant.

A few months ago I wrote about a similar report from Norway:

Lidén says that boys from those communities prefer marrying a girl who isn't circumcised, and when it isn't a religious commandment the practice doesn't continue. Girls who aren't circumcised don't feel stigmatized, rather it's the circumcised girls who feel stigmatized. This shows a cultural tradition can change.

I think that the big difference between the Israeli study and the European situation is that in Europe the immigrants are not on their home turf and therefore feel the need to preserve customs they otherwise wouldn't. In many ways, the Muslim immigrant community in Europe is a 'cultural reservation', where old-time practices are still upkept despite being phased out in the 'home country'.


Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been reported in many cultures around the world. It is variously called female circumcision or female genital cutting and comes in varying degrees of severity. While it is often described in Muslim culture, it is not specifically associated with Islam. Roots of the phenomenon are difficult to define and may vary from culture to culture. In recent years the World Health Organization has mounted major efforts to reduce the prevalence of this phenomenon which can lead to genital infection, psychological trauma, and reduced sexual function in women

Ethical and legal problems have arisen as families from countries where the practice is widespread reach countries where the practice is against the law. Therefore, it is of great interest to define processes or situations that can lead to a reduction in the incidence of this phenomenon in cultures where it is practiced.


One hundred and thirty two women were examined. No cases of any scarring of the kind reported in the previous study were found on physical examination. Table 1 presents the data. Eight women reported that they had heard that FGM is still going on but only by word of mouth and we could not identify a single case that we could be referred to.


What are the causes of this change? There has been no concerted program in Israel to stop FGM, although it has been discussed on television and is viewed with disapproval by the majority of the population, both Jewish and Arab. The disappearance of FGM in this population has taken place in spite of the fact that in the 1995 study, a large number of women said that they planned to continue this custom and would perform it on their daughters. This is consistent with other findings in social psychiatry showing that people do not always do as they say. Demographic data show that the health variables in this population such as infant mortality, mean birth weight, etc., and educational variables such as percent attending school, number of school years completed, and literacy have continued to improve over the last 15 years and these may be associated with the decline in FGM.

Source: InterScience (English)

Studying Islam and Europe

Studying Islam and Europe

EU governments are increasingly interested in Islamic studies, but Islam in Europe has yet to become a distinct academic discipline.

The past decade has seen Islamic studies take on a new prominence in academic circles. Governments are demanding increasing amounts of research to inform foreign policy towards the Islamic world and to improve relations with domestic Muslim communities. Student interest in Islam also appears to be rising, whether through demand for courses or choice of PhD subjects.

But while individual academics are busy researching and teaching about Islam in the European context, it has not yet become a distinct discipline. Few European studies courses offer it as a substantial option and specialist programmes such as master's degrees are rare.

"Islam in Europe is a topic rather than a discipline," says Sara Silvestri, a specialist who teaches at City University, London. "You have different disciplines tackling this topic and, in the field of international politics, although it is a very important thing, courses on Islam in Europe or political Islam have not been offered by many universities."

Islamic studies departments have also been slow to embrace the European context, preferring the more timeless subjects of philosophy, literature and language. "The discipline of Islamic studies has really remained a closed workshop of people working on Islamic texts and translations, which are very important but are a bit detached from the interpretations of the present [Muslim] leaderships," says Silvestri.

According to Agata Nalborczyk, of the department for European Islam studies at the University of Warsaw, this attitude can sometimes be dramatically narrow-minded. "They say 'Islam is the same everywhere, so why study it in the European context?' When someone has spent his whole life studying old Arabic literary texts, he has no idea about the differences between Islam in European and Arab countries, or Pakistan, these days. It's a problem."

But recognising that Islam in Europe is a subject worthy of study does not necessarily mean that a separate discipline could or should emerge. "It's almost as if we are past the peak of interest in Islam," says Maurits Berger, professor of Islam in the contemporary West at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. He argues that academia is developing a broader focus. "The general interest is in religion and the role of religion in society."

City University in London provides a good example of how Islam in Europe can complement a broader programme of study. Silvestri was brought into the university's department of international politics as part of a strategy to recruit specialists in compelling, if non-traditional, contemporary issues that could be taught alongside mainstream international relations subjects. As well as religion, this also encompassed development, transnational networks, global health and finance.


Studying this subject in Poland may give students a different perspective from the one they might find elsewhere, Nalborczyk says. "The study of Islam in Europe is better developed in western Europe than in central Europe, but even people in the West are not always aware that Muslims have been living in Poland for 600 years," she adds.

The interaction of these long-established populations with newer Muslim communities is one of their motivations for studying the subject. "We think that the mostly Arabic majority within the [Muslim] minority will try to change the traditional Islam in Poland. So we have to study it as it is now, before it vanishes."


Source: European Voice (English)

Norway: FRP against 'sneak Islamization'

Norway: FRP against 'sneak Islamization'

Siv Jensen, head of the Norwegian Progress Party (FRP), came out hard against the government and what she calls 'sneak Islamization' in Norway, during the party's national meeting.

"The reality is that people are now in the process of allowing a form of sneak-Islamization in this society and we must put a stop to that," Jensen said in her speech.

Clearly referring to the hijab-debate, the head of the FRP came out against what she thinks is the special treatment of minority groups in Norway today.

"When we give in to demands for halal food in prisons, when we give in that Muslim girls won't be able to do sports together with Norwegian children.  This is already special treatment which I think weakens the ability to integrate people in Norwegian society and which will cause greater challenges in the next decade," she told TV2.  Jensen thinks prisoners should be very satisfied having three warm meals a day.

"We will not accept demands for more vacation days of a religious character," she said, and will neither accept that some Oslo schools practice sex-segregated sports and swimming.

- It's not possible for some demands to be legitimate, for example that Muslims will get a days off on their religious holidays?

"We set official vacation days in Norway, and I think that should apply," answers Jensen.  She adds that all who live in Norway must follow the rules and arrangements that are there.

Should the FRP get to power, Siv Jensen has clear plans.

"Then it's Norwegian law and Norwegian regulations and Norwegian rule which will underlie everything we do and we don't allow special demands from some individual groups in this society."

In her speech, Jensen compared Oslo to the notorious Rosengård neighborhood of Malmö, where ambulance drivers, fire fighters and police hesitate to turn out.

"Also Oslo approaches the development we see in Malmö," she said and described the situation in Rosengård as such: Sharia law has taken over completely.  Swedish law has been set aside.

- You fear that we will get to the Swedish state in Oslo?

"Yes, we see several signs of that already.  It's better to stop before it's too late," says Jensen to Aftenposten.

In her speech she referred to a report from Aftenposten Aften about a police operation against the premises used by the Alfredha Islamic Center and a Kurdish club.  The place was shut down after the police discovered smuggled cigarettes, amphetamines, shock weapons and possibly smuggled meat, as well as a locked emergency exist and fire extinguishers and a non-functioning fire-alarm.

"The owners and operators naturally confess to none of this.  But this happens every day. It's only the FRP which for 30 years warned against this, who are able to clean up," claims Jensen.

- Do you think that such illegality that was revealed happens only because we have immigration to Norway?

"It happens in other communities too," admits Jensen, "but in many contexts there's a total lack of control over what happens in these communities.  People hide behind a mosque - and the authorities shut their eyes to it."

- In this case the police took action?

"The police do their job.  But Norwegian politicians shut their eyes to this development happening."

- Do you think that mosques are camouflage for illegality?

"I don't know that.  But I've got many reports from people of minority background and I think people will be shocked if they heard what's going on.  I've hard rumors that people operate outside of Norwegian law when it comes to marriage and abuse of young women.  Much of what we meet - gang grime, riots in connection to demonstrations in Oslo - are clear warnings that we must do something."

Sources: TV2, Aftenposten (Norwegian)

Finland: Controversy over headscarf use

Finland: Controversy over headscarf use

Finland is having its first ever dispute over the use of the Muslim head scarf in the work place. The Service Union, PAM: stated that there is an ongoing dispute over the use of the heads scarf, but that there is no lawsuit pending.

The Aamu newspaper interviewed PAM's regional director, Niina Koivuniemi, who said that the controversy was caused mostly by Finns who have converted to Islam, and are already employed. The issue is agreed upon with immigrants in the context of job interviews.

According to the paper, the S-store chain has no common guideline on head scarves and other religious symbols. Pirkanmaa's Osuus-store will disccus the matter next week. In the Helsinki Osuus-store, in Elanno, the position is clear: employees may not use any visible religious symbols on their clothing. In K-food stores, there is no general guidance on head scarves, but each store owner is responsible for the matter independently.


Source: Tundra Tabloids (English)

Norway/Sweden: Aborting girls

Norway/Sweden: Aborting girls

In a recent case in Sweden a woman twice aborted her baby after finding out the fetus was a girl, reports Svenska Dagbladet.  The woman, who had previously given birth to several daughters, asked for an amniotic fluid check, saying she was worried and wanted to establish the sex of the fetus.  After finding out it was a girl, she aborted the pregnancy immediately.  She soon afterward got pregnant again, and again aborted the fetus once she discovered it was a girl.

The case caused strong reactions from doctors and nurses who want to know whether they're obligated to reveal the sex of the fetus.

A senior official in the industry says that there was no medical reason for the abortion, but that the nurse went ahead with the amniotic fluid check.  "They've experienced having been forced into a corner and contributing to an abortion on the grounds that the fetus had the wrong 'sex'," the official says.

Doctors and nurses are now demanding guidelines on how they should proceed with such cases.

In a previous case, a man was sentenced to a fine of 4,000 Swedish kroner for threatening to put a pistol to a doctor's head if she didn't tell him the fetus' sex, according to Svenska Dagbladet

According to Christian W. Loennecken of the Volvat Medical Center in Norway, such things don't happen in Norway.

"This is a problem that is absolutely not topical for us and which conflicts with all humanitarian, ethical and legal conduct," he told Nettavisen.

However, Swedish news site The Local reports that Norwegian women simply go to Sweden for such abortions.


These trips are a fact, according to a Swedish professor colleague.

"We know that it happens as people have told us," said director Sissel Rogne at the Biotechnology Advisory Board (Bioteknologinämnden) to Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

Rogne explains that in Norway it is forbidden to undergo an abortion on the grounds of gender.

Gynaecologist Lars Hamberger in Gothenburg confirmed to SvD that the abortion trips are a known fact. He expressed understanding for the women.

"If they have three, four girls and are from Turkey the demands on them to produce a boy are strong."

"In certain cases I can understand the problem."



Midwife Sara Kahsay says the practice is probably more common among cultures where it's especially important to have baby boys.  She says it's not uncommon for her to get calls from women who want to know the sex of their fetus very early on.

"There is no doubt that some them experience enormous pressure to have baby boys," she told VG.

Sources: SIDE2, TV2 (Norwegian), The Local (English)

Poll: Video or Text?

Poll: Video or Text?

I've recently started using YouTube to bring subtitled clips from the European media. Do you prefer such clips, or prefer I post a transcript?

Denmark: Us and them

Denmark: Us and them

In the past it was the Russian Jews. Today it's the Muslims, who are exposed to the sharp rhetoric of politicians, shows a thesis.

There are the Danes, and then are the others.  The division by politicians of the country's population into 'them' and 'us' is not new, shows a new study at Copenhagen University.

According to the PHD thesis, "Religion as strangeness in Danish politics" politicians from both sides in parliament portrayed the Russian Jews, who came to the country at the beginning of the 1900s, in as stigmatizing terms as Muslims are described today.

"There are naturally differences between the two religious minority groups.  But both groups experienced being labeled as the absolute opposite to the distinctive 'Danish values' by politicians in debate in parliament.  Either as a threat for Danish economy and workforce and/or as a cultural and national threat," says Brian Arly Jacobsen, who wrote the thesis.
He reached his results by comparisons references to Jews in the Rigsdagstidende (report of parliamentary proceedings) from 1903 to 1945 and references to Muslims in the Folketingstidende from 1967 to 2005.

Source: Fyens (Danish)