Manchester: Film shows children taught to be Jihadis

Manchester: Film shows children taught to be Jihadis

Interestingly enough, the incitement to 'kill the Jews' did not make it into the BBC article.


Counter-terrorism police say their discovery of a film of children being encouraged to hold guns is evidence of attempts to radicalise youngsters.

The Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) in North West England revealed they found the film during a raid in Manchester.

Officers say it shows two children, aged about three and six, playing with a pistol and a Kalashnikov rifle.

Material seized separately included the advice: "No child is ever too young to be started off on Jihad training."

The footage, which police believe was filmed in Pakistan, was uncovered on the hard drive of a computer during a raid carried out under the Terrorism Act 2000. Police have not revealed when the material was seized.

Police believe the firearms are real.

The video shows a girl and young boy playing with guns and a man's voice says: "What do you do with the weapon?"

He answers his own question: "I want to kill the infidels [non-believers]."


Police say they have also found flash cards, used to teach young children the alphabet, in another house raid.

The officer said: "We found a series of flash cards and documents on how to raise Mujahid children [who will fight for Islam]. The cards were written in English - and instead of having M for Muhammad they had M for Mujahideen..."

"They have the potential to indoctrinate. It just shows the mindset of some people and what we are up against."

Police say they also found documents downloaded from an extremist website which instructs parents to raise Mujahid children.


Anjum Anwar MBE, who works for the church as a community dialogue development officer, said the film must not be used to implicate the rest of the Muslim world.

Most of the Muslim community do not bring up their children in that way, she said.


Source: BBC

Denmark: Muslims feeling less religious, more Danish

Denmark: Muslims feeling less religious, more Danish

There are fewer strictly religious immigrants in Denmark, and more who feel Danish.  The distance between the political debate and reality is incraseing, researchers claim.

While the government is dealing with the burka ban which had come to notion and is increasing requirements for foreigners who want permanent residence in Denmark, integration is going ahead, according to new data from the Catinét analysis institute, which researched a big group of refugees and immigrants regarding their relationship to religion and Danish-ness.  Religion is taking up less space, and the percent of immigrants who feel Danish is increasing, the data shows.

Indeed the distance between the political debate and reality among immigrants is increasing, professor and integration researcher Ulf Hedetoft of Copenhagen University thinks.

"Thers is a very weak link between reality and the very marginalizing debate, in politics and in the media.  Often with an unbalanced focus on individual cases," says Ulf Hedetoft, who is also head of the Nordic Migration Research, an association for researching immigration to the Nordic countries.

According to the study, the percent of immigrant who don't feel Danish at all, dropped from 30% in 2005 to under 20% in 2009.  More and more feel both Danish and foreign or mainly Danish.

And regarding religion - about 80% of the participants were Muslims - the percentage who describe themselves as "most possibly religious" dropped from 19.8% to 10% in that period.  At the same time, the groups of "least possibly religious" and "only a bit religious" grew.

DPP's integration spokesperson Peter Skaarup, said the figures were positive.  "But one could also hope that it will become even stronger, and that we won't have these parallel societies," says Peter Skaarup.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad (Danish)

Netherlands: Center of Jihadi counterfeiting

Netherlands: Center of Jihadi counterfeiting

Jihadists in the Netherlands have been key in recent years in counterfeiting passports and other identity documents for attackers all over the world, including suicide bombers.

According to justice department researchers in the report "Jihadist terrorism in the Netherlands", master counterfeiters in the Netherlands provided counterfeit documents in preparation for the attack on a Western ally in Afghanistan and for Jihadists who prepared a bomb-attack elsewhere in Europe.

Counterfeiters in the Netherlands provided documents for Jihadists who wanted to travel to Afghanistan. Requests for forged passports even came from key figures in the notorious Moroccan terrorist organization Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group. There is also one known case of a counterfeit driver's license provided to a Spanish terror suspect.

The master counterfeiters produce to order, say the justice researchers, who based themselves on a full inspection of the files of 12 wide-scale, Dutch investigation into Jihadist activities between July 2001 and July 2005: "In addition a potential suicide terrorist asked them for very specific forgeries; possibly to get access to a foreign target."

How much the master counterfeiters operate internationally can be seen from the arrest of an Algerian on the Dutch border, who had 60 counterfeit documents. his arrest came after he visited mosques all over Europe in a short amount of time.

The master counterfeiters often use stolen documents, robbed in large-scale burglaries in government offices in neighboring countries, but they are technically able to also produce complete forgeries on their own. "Some have at their disposal mobile 'counterfeiting-workshops' or machines with which they can produce reasonably high-quality forgeries," according to the report. Other means which were found are: (municipality) seals, needles, markers and printing press molds.

The police also uncovered networks specializing in burglaries, where they specifically steal passports and credit cards. "Arrested burglars stated that they brought personal documents to a mosque which functioned as a meeting place for Jihadists."

One of the master counterfeiters in the Netherlands was a 40 year old Algerian immigrant who lived in the Netherlands illegally for years. According to detectives, this rejected asylum-seekers earned his pay within the illegals-circuit by counterfeiting and distributing documents and driver's licenses on a large scale.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

Paris: Worshipers want to fire "burka-opposing imam"

Paris: Worshipers want to fire "burka-opposing imam"

Chalghoumi says that he doesn't oppose the burka, but that he doesn't think a woman can wear the burka peacefully in France, and there are other, more real, issues to deal with. (FR)  The worshipers of the mosque, on the other hand, claim he's not an imam.


Called to explain his version of the incidents on Monday which, he says, were caused by Islamists, Hassen Chalghoumi claims to be the imam at the Drancy mosque  (Seine-Saint-Denis) and says he got death threats, hurriedly left the mosque Friday, cursed by a hundred worshipers, escorted by several policemen.

"Liar!" and other curses were shouted when Hassan Chalghoumi, who is hostile to the burqa and known for his relations with the Jewish community, took the microphone to explain himself to the numerous worshipers who had come for the weekly Muslim prayer, the first since those events.

A modern building of glass with white and brown panels, the mosque is wedged between the railway tracks and the sports facilities, erected at the site of a former beer factory: it's managed by the cultural association Al-Nour (The Light), chaired by Hassen Chalghoumi.

According to the worshipers interviewed by AFP, Chalghoumi is the president of the association, an administrative function, and not the imam, a person who is supposed to have better knowledge of the religion and who is authorized to lead the prayers and to give sermons.  In Islam, there is no clergy.

Two complaints of libel were lodged Tuesday against Hassen Chalghoumi, following the complaint against unknowns for violence and death threats which he made earlier.

Standing by the police 'boss' he assured the worshipers before starting prayers that he did not lodge a complaint, but just registered the incident, saying that the commissioner could confirm it.  He refused to give to microphone to one of his opponents who wanted to respond. 

At the end of prayers, the people involved were invited to a frank and calm discussion, respecting the place.  The mosque is not a place for controversy but for simply listening.

"I did not speak on behalf of Muslims," Hassen Chalghoumi defended himself and citing his remarks on the burqa and his agreement with the law banning this practice, accused the press of twisting his words.

"Liar!" shouted a majority of the worshipers who remained to follow this explanation.  "We recorded what you said on the radio," somebody shouted at him.  Other curses rose up.

Hassen Chalghoumi brutally put an end to the exchange and left the mosque, escorted by the police.

In the confusion, a young worshiper tried to make himself heard.  Yacine was part of the group accused of having caused the violent intrusion Monday.

"We are not a commando.  It passed off peacefully.  We came to ask our brother Hassen to explain his position.  We wanted to ask him not to speak on behalf of the Muslims of Drancy because not everybody has the same opinion on wearing the niqab."

In the confusion, Yacin invited the worshipers to go out and sign a petition demanding the resignation of Hassen Chalghoumi from the presidency of Al-Nour.  The text emphasizes that Chalghoumi is the 'administrative officer' and not the imam.

"We do not recognized the imamate of somebody who arrives accompanied by bodyguards," says the text.

Source: AFP (French)

Budapest: Somali refugees face winter struggle

Budapest: Somali refugees face winter struggle

Abdurrahman* has dodged bullets in his native Mogadishu and endured tremendous hardship to reach Europe, but he says nothing has been as bad as his experiences in the Hungarian capital.

"This has been the worst week of my life," the young Somali refugee, clutching a cup of coffee in his freezing hands, told  UNHCR visitors who ran into him sitting on a bench in a downtown Budapest square and took him to a nearby café.

Like many other Somalis granted asylum status in Hungary, Abdurrahman did not realize that European Union regulations allowed him to visit other states for up to 30 days but not to settle there. He joined relatives in Britain, but was detained and sent back to Budapest last December under the so-called Dublin II regulation. This requires asylum seekers to remain in the country where they apply for asylum, which is normally their first point of entry into Europe.

Those sent back to Budapest often find that they face difficulties finding housing and have lost some benefits, including an integration grant equivalent to about 620 euros. They can apply for social security benefit of 100 euros per month, but it takes time to process the request.

With winter upon us, time is something that many of them can't afford. UNHCR believes that up to 50 Somalis are living in a precarious situation, either forced to sleep rough or in shelters for the homeless. Many must resort to begging.

With the onset of winter, their welfare has become a matter of serious concern to UNHCR, which last month called on the Hungarian government and the city authorities to take emergency measures to help the homeless refugees.

"We need an immediate solution for the refugees in Hungary as temperatures are dropping below zero [degrees Centigrade]," warned Gottfried Köfner, UNHCR's Budapest-based regional representative. "The government has to look at the structural shortcomings of an integration system that leaves refugees in such distress, with no effective opportunity to find a job, a house or live in dignity in Hungary," he added.

Abdurrahman's experience in Europe mirrors that of many of his compatriots. After first arriving in Hungary and getting recognition as refugees, they are usually transferred to a special centre in Bicske, west of Budapest, which provides them with lessons in Hungarian and other integration support.

They spend up to six months in Bicske and then they are more or less on their own. It is at this stage that many decide to move to other countries, especially the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom. 


Source: AlertNet (English)

Germany: Universities to offer imam degrees

Germany: Universities to offer imam degrees

Germany will announce a plan on Monday to offer training programs for students who wish to become Muslim spiritual leaders, or imams, the country's top academic body said.

The German Council of Science and Humanities, composed of senior government officials and professors, called for institutes of Islamic theology to be established at two to three universities initially.

It added that the training of imams and Muslim schoolteachers should be an accepted program of study awarded with a university degree.


Germany's education minister Annette Schavan welcomed the council's decision.


"Training Moslem religion teachers and developing Islamic studies… is part of a decisive integration policy in a modern society," Schavan said.


The advisory panel had been working on a report over the last two years focused on reforming the teaching of theology at Germany universities, in particular Christian, Jewish, and Islamic theology.



Source: DW-World (English)

Catalonia: Imam charged with harassment of fellow Muslim

Catalonia: Imam charged with harassment of fellow Muslim

As T&P points out, Catalonia has a serious problem with Salafists.

See related stories:

* Catalonia: Woman abducted, sentenced by Sharia court
* Catalonia: Salafists taking over mosques
* Catalonia: Muslim 'Moral police'
* Catalonia: Imam suspected of enocuraging early marriages
* Spain: Today's Islamist Radicalization


The prosecutors are seeking a five-year jail sentence for Mohammed Benbrahim, a Moroccan, on charges of slander, coercion and menacing behaviour against fellow Moroccan Muslim Fatima Ghailan. The two live in Cunit, a town in Catalonia, a region with a sizable Muslim population.

The court filed similar charges against the president of the Islamic Association in Cunit and lesser ones against Mr Benbrahim's wife and his daughter.

In a statement to the court in the nearby town of Vendrells, Mrs Ghailan, 31, said Benbrahim had harassed her and campaigned to have her removed from her job in the town hall's cultural department purely because she had a job, dressed in a Western style, drove a car and associated with non-Muslims.

She said the imam and his supporters also pressured her husband and children.

Mrs Ghailan filed a complaint in December, 2008, after she said she and her husband were accosted in the street by the imam, who told them they would be run out of the town.

Mr Benbrahim was quoted by the Spanish daily El Pais as denying the charges and claiming Mrs Ghailan concocted the story. He said he simply felt the woman was not suitable for the job.

But the prosecutors' office said the judge investigating the case had found the woman's account credible and decided to press charges.


Source: Daily Telegraph (English)

Brussels: Attacks scare school away

Brussels: Attacks scare school away

The attacks apparently started after allegations of police abuse, which were followed by riots in the neighborhood.  See Brussels: Police abuse leads to riots in prison, suburbs and Brussels: Police get death threats following abuse charges.


After a wave of attacks, the  technical institute moved its classes from Anderlecht to the Koningstraat (in Schaarbeek) in Brussels.

The management of the Institut Supérieur Industriel de Bruxelles (Isib) in Grondelsstraat in Anderlecht moved classes for its 250 engineering students to the Koningsstraat campus. In Anderlecht it was too unsafe.  Already since December, students have been attacked by street criminals, who pin them down and then extort and steal from them.  The attackers regularly put a knife to their throat, with knife injuries as a result sometimes.  "Racketeering" it's called.

They filched the students of their phones, iPods and money.  A student who was already robbed, had to shortly after hand over his hat and glasses to another attacker.  The incidents occurred on the way from or to the Zuidstation (Brussels South train station) or Clemenceau metro station.  Despite the bad name of the neighborhood, Kuregem, it's only because so bad recently.  "The past 25 years I've gone through three attacks, in recent weeks it got to six a week," says François Debast, principal of Isib.

"Practical classes still take place in the labs in Anderlecht, but the regular courses take place in the Koningsstraat campus, though it's too small.  The trip to the Anderlecht campus with public transportation is only in a group," says Debast.

It began with one culprit, there there were three, the last time there were 8-10, mostly young North-Africans or Black-Africans, some not even 16 years old.  "The police and the municipality do what they can," says Debast, "more agents and prevention workers are patrolling.  But then the violence moves [to a different place]".

The police arrested one suspect, but he was released after interrogation.  He had an alibi.  Victims saw him a day later active as an offender.

Three suspects were arrested Monday, including two minors, all from Anderlecht.  The minors had a knife.  The adult were formally identified by the victims.  The court decided today about his fate.

It's remarkable that the youngest students, 18-19 year old, are targeted.  The older students and the teachers are left alone.  "There's more going on," thinks Debast.  He says these incidents fit with the analysis of many observers.  Criminal gangs create a climate of fear in Anderlecht, in order to keep snoopers away from their lucrative, illegal activities.

The mayor of Anderlecht, Gaëtan Van Goidsenhoven (MR), also sees it that way.  "Everything which is government, is the enemy.  Even municipal workers experience intimidation.  I hope that the court acts.  There shouldn't be impunity.  Our policemen are doing good work, they want to see the result of that."

François Debast told Le Soir that there are not enough chairs, and the students have to seat on radiators.  They're turning labs into classes, but they have no choice.  A more violent gang has recently become active.  Accoridng to the school administration, the attacks are aimed at students of European origin.

Since December, 25 attacks have been reported to the police.  "Everything began after November 21, when youth set fire to the police department in Kuregem," François Debast told

The neighboring campus of Erasmus University College hadn't noticed any incidents recently.  "We didn't hear any complaints from our students recently," says spokesperson Dorien Bouwer.  "A while back there were problems and cellphone muggings at the Delacroix metro-station, but thanks to efforts by the municipality, the police and MIVB (public transport company)(, there's no longer a problem."

Sources: De Standaard 1, 2; Brussel Nieuws (Dutch), h/t NRP

Oslo: Muslims fear swine-flu vaccine

Oslo: Muslims fear swine-flu vaccine

Many Muslims think the swine flu vaccine contains pork products.  The District Medical Officer in Alna has now started a campaign to clear up misunderstandings.
This one of the points on the posters District Medical Office Zahid Mukhtar is posting on the doors of medical centers in Furuset.  The posters are written in Urdu and are supposed to deal with the incorrect rumors in the immigrant communities, and to ge more people to get themselves vaccinated.

"As a District Medical Officer I'm surprised at how few immigrants in general, and Muslim in particular, came when we had communal vaccinations in the district.  Then found out that many are skeptical because of several theories in circulation, I thought that somebody should take the initiative to inform people," says Mukhtar.

He also met representatives from immigrant organizations, to get them to talk in mosques and other meeting places.

"We know that several immigrant groups are over-represented when it comes to diabetes and other risk factors.  Therefore it's extra important for these to get vaccinated," says Mukhtar.

Inside the doctor's office sits Muhammad Saleem Rathore (44), waiting for his turn with his wife and the couple's one year old twins.  He says that nobody in the family got vaccinated until now.

"We've gotten information, but didn't have time yet," he explains.  

Q: Did you hear the rumors that the vaccine contains pork products?

A: We know it doesn't.  But some other children in the extended family got some side-effects of the vaccine.  It's also some of the reasons that we didn't get it," says Rathore.

The district medical officer Mukhtar calls on them to get the vaccine anyway.

"We know that especially small children can be strongly affected by swine flu," he says.

The infection control officer in the Oslo municipality, Tore Steen, has also noticed that few immigrants got the vacine.

He says he's gotten reports that some schools in the Gamle Oslo district, with a high immigrant ratio, had low levels of showing up for the vaccine.  At the same time, Stovner, which is the district with the highest ratio of immigrants, is also one of the districts with the highest ratio of vaccinated children.  So he says that the picture isn't completely unambiguous

According to District Medical Officer Trude Arnesen in Gamle Oslo, it's particularly immigrants of Somali and other African background who barely got vaccinated.

District Medical Officer Mukhtar in Alna thinks that the authorities should have thought about information for immigrant group earlier.

"Now fortunately this pandemic wasn't as serious as many feared.  But it surprised me that nobody thought particularly to inform this group.  There's a lesson here for the future," he says.

Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)

Related stories:
* Malmö: Immigrants fear H1N1 vaccine
* Oslo: Students harassed after getting swine flu

UK: Media and politicians 'fuel rise in hate crimes against Muslims'

UK: Media and politicians 'fuel rise in hate crimes against Muslims'

According to the report, Muslims are being targeted by right-wing extremists, street gangs and individuals not linked to either.


A rise in the number of hate crimes against Muslims in London is being encouraged by mainstream politicians and sections of the media, a study written by a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer, published yesterday, says.

Attacks ranging from death threats and murder to persistent low-level assaults, such as spitting and name-calling, are in part whipped up by extremists and sections of mainstream society, the study says.

The document – from the University of Exeter's European Muslim research centre – was written by Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer and former special branch detective Dr Robert Lambert.

"The report provides prima facie and empirical evidence to demonstrate that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media," it says.

Lambert headed Scotland Yard's Muslim contact unit, which helped improve relations between the police and Britain's Islamic communities.

The unit won praise from even long-standing critics of the police, and Lambert was awarded an MBE.

The study mentions no newspapers or writers by name, but alleges that the book Londonistan, by the Mail writer Melanie Phillips, played a part in triggering hate crimes.

"Islamophobic, negative and unwarranted portrayals of Muslim London as Londonistan and Muslim Londoners as terrorists, sympathisers and subversives in sections of the media appear to provide the motivation for a significant number of anti-Muslim hate crimes," it says.

In his foreword, the rightwing journalist Peter Oborne writes: "The constant assault on Muslims from certain politicians, and above all in the mainstream media, has created an atmosphere where hate crimes, ranging from casual abuse to arson and even murder, are bound to occur and are even in a sense encouraged by mainstream society."

The report is based on interviews with witnesses to and victims of hate crimes, as well as police officers and former members of extremist organisations such as the British National Party.

The report cites interviews with rightwing extremists to try to prove a link between what is published in the mainstream media and the anti-Muslim views held by extremists.

It says: "An experienced BNP activist in London explains that he believes that most BNP supporters simply followed the lead set by their favourite tabloid commentators that they read every day.

"When these commentators singled out Muslims as threats to security and social cohesion, he says that it was perfectly natural for BNP supporters to adopt the same thinking."

The report says the extreme right are directing their violence more against Muslims than black or Asian Britons.

"Interviewees with long experience of extremist nationalist street violence in London are unequivocal in their assessment that Muslim Londoners are now a prime target for serious violence and intimidation in the way that Londoners from minority ethnic communities once were," it says.

"Similarly, interviewees with experience of London street gangs that have no connection or affinity with extremist nationalist politics are adamant that Muslims have become prime targets for serious attacks.

"In addition, well-informed interviewees are clear that the main perpetrators of low-level anti-Muslim hate crimes are not gangs but rather simply individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who feel licensed to abuse, assault and intimidate Muslims in terms that mirror elements of mainstream media and political comment that became commonplace during the last decade."

The report says the attacks come in part from street gangs targeting Muslims as punishment for members who have embraced Islam and left gang culture.

"Often, they know someone who has left their scene and become a devout Muslim," the document, which also drew on interviews with youth workers dealing with gangs, says.

"That is like a defection. And whether they do or don't, they say they know this or that terrorist who used to be a great person till he joined the Muslims."

The report also says gang members believe Muslims values "oppose everything these kids aspire to. Flash cars, nightclubs, expensive clothes, jewellery, drugs, alcohol, casual sex, glamour, dancing, music ...".

The study says the majority of hate crimes involve low-level incidentsand are not reported to police.


Source: Guardian

Germany/Italy: Politicians mull burqa ban following French report (UPDATED)

Germany/Italy: Politicians mull burqa ban following French report

Update 2:

In continuing parliamentary and mass media debates here between Swedish moderate conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Mona Sahlin of the Social Democratic party, the question of France's controversial suggestion of a ban on Moslem women wearing burkas in public has come up.

Sahlin told a radio public that she did not favour adding more discrimination on top of other oppression faced by immigrant women. The prime minister indicated that while he did not favor any legal ban on this clothing totally covering a woman's body, he did not want to see more women in burkas in Sweden. (EN)


The Danish government announced that burqas and niqabs don't belong in Danish society: in schools, work-places or public institutions. There is no specific ban planned, though, as the current laws are deemed sufficient to limit their use. (DA)


In a related story, a Swiss court ruled (EN) that a headscarf ban on basketball players does not breach their rights.


As their neighbours in France edged closer to a ban on burkas, German politicians on Thursday debated whether such a measure was necessary in their own country.

After a French parliamentary commission ruled this week that the enveloping garment worn by some Islamic women is unacceptable and recommended a ban in schools and public offices, former Social Democratic parliamentarian, Turkish-German Lale Akgün made as case for a similar ban in Germany.

"The burka is a full-body prison that deeply threatens human rights,"she told daily Frankfurter Rundschau. "It would be an important signal for Germany to ban the burka."

A burka ban in German should include schools, universities, and high-security zones such as banks and airports, she said.

But fellow party member and speaker for interior issues Dieter Wiefelspütz rejected the suggestion.

"We have a different understanding of freedom than the French," he told the paper, adding that an enlightened Islam could not be forced.



THE Italian government appeared divided Wednesday over a French initiative to ban the face-covering Islamic veil in many public places.

Equal Opportunity Minister Mara Carfagna said she was in 'absolute agreement with the French initiative, which will encourage other European countries, including Italy, to legislate on this issue.'

But Foreign Minister Franco Frattini opposed a 'pure and simple' legal ban as a 'matter of principle,' adding that the issue should be addressed in broader terms as part of efforts to integrate immigrants. He urged 'paying attention to respect for religious feelings on the one hand and addressing security requirements on the other.' 'We can find a compromise,' Frattini added.


Sources: The Local, Straits Times (English)

Netherlands: Integration should not be confused with assimilation

Netherlands: Integration should not be confused with assimilation

Integration should not be confused with assimilation, the Netherlands’ European affairs minister said. “You can ask people to change their attitude according to social requirements, but you cannot ask them to change who they are,” Frans Timmermans said Wednesday, speaking with press at a roundtable meeting in Ankara.


“After Sept. 11, all of a sudden, Turks, Moroccans and Somalis all became Muslims. Islam is perceived as a threat to their liberty,” Timmermans said.


Source: Hurriyet Daily News (English)

UK: Majority would agree to burqa, niqab ban

UK: Majority would agree to burqa, niqab ban

More than 70 per cent of respondents would agree with banning the burqa in public places (72%), at schools and universities (79%) and at airports (87%).

Two thirds of Britons (66%) would ban the niqab in public places, while higher proportions would forbid the use of the garment at schools and universities (75%) and airports (85%).

A majority of respondents believe the hijab should not be banned at airports (63%), schools and universities (69%) or in public places (75%).

While two thirds of Britons (67%) believe that garments that conceal a woman's face are an affront to British values, a majority of respondents (58%) claim the Government should not be allowed to tell individuals what they can and cannot wear.


Source: Angus Reid Global Monitor (and survey PDF) h/t Islamophobia Watch

France: 57% of Muslims regularly buy halal

France: 57% of Muslims regularly buy halal

The idea that supply drives demand may sound counter-intuitive, but as far as religious matters go, that is certainly true for the Jewish community.


Meanwhile, the Swedish Veterinary Association and the Swedish agricultural minister Eskil Erlandsson, are concerned that halal meat is making its way into Sweden.  EU regulations allow for slaughter without stunning, and Sweden is the only one who got an exception.  Eskil Erlandsson recommends that Swedish consumers should buy meat only from countries which stun their animals, and demand certification from the dealers.

Many Muslims and Jews accept meat from animals which were stunned prior to slaughter.  Swedish-produced halal meat fulfills the Swedish requirements.

Johan Beck-Friis of the Swedish Veterinary Association says this is not an issue of freedom of religion, but rather of animal welfare.  Just as we do not accept female genital mutilation or corporal punishments, there is no reason to accept animals suffering in a manner contrary to Swedish law.  They demand clear labeling of whether an animal was stunned before slaughter.

He says that in September EU veterinary experts and ministers met in the basement of a Brussels slaughterhouse.  There he saw that the cattle were being slaughtered without stunning, to be sold as halal meat.  The slaughterhouse foreman said that 100% of the sheep and many of the cows - probably all - were slaughtered in such a way.  All this while the EU politicians were discussing animal welfare a floor below them.  Johan Beck-Friis says he's not surprised that Swedish importers don't check their meat, since he doesn't think they have any ambition to do so.


According to an Ifop study, close to 60% of Muslims routinely buy ritually slaughtered meat.

In religious matters, supply creates demand.  Since they can easily buy ritually slaughtered meat, Muslims are eating more every day.  Close to 60% routinely buy Muslim meat, according to a new survey conducted by Ifop.  Another 15% said they do so 'most of the time'.  In total, three quarters of the sample, representative of Muslims living in France, whether foreigners or French, say they eat halal meat.

The survey, though limited, provides an outline of a well-known market.  Since halal isn't managed by a central organization,  and is taken over by various branches, multiple certifiers and a distribution network which is still traditional despite its rapid expansion.  This boom is largely based on the elderly and in particular pensioners.  The first generation immigrants, who hadn't eaten halal in the past due to lack of suppliers, are now the premier customers of religious and exotic products.  They're recreating the eating pattens of their countries of origin, re-Islamisizing their meals.  Among those, traditions are meeting up with religious practice, often intensely.
Jérôme Fourquet of  Ifop says that among the following generations, behavior is individualized.  Most believers obviously buy certified products, constantly demanding more certification.  But consumption is also an identity rite: 44% of those who never go to a mosque, always eat halal.  Especially since halal snacks are available everywhere, competing with fast-food.  Less than half of 3rd generation Muslims say they routines eat halal meat.    The Ifop expert says that the younger, more urban and more educated one is, they attach less importance to halal standards.  The Paris region, which has more professionals and children of immigrants, has less halal-food followers.  Conversely, 84% say they eat halal in the north-east, and 82% in the south-west.  A predominance of halal which yet remains to be explained.  The smaller the town, the more food is communal.  Finally, consumption varies dramatically based on country of origin.

As product lines develop, families buy sweets, ready-made meals.. and are limited only if the price is deemed high.  When they do not buy halal, they pay close attention to the ingredients.  Sites for Muslim consumers post letters demanding details on ingredients, sometimes surfing on the rumors. Pork is particularly 'hunted', as is alcohol.

With halal becoming common at home, 57% of Muslims interviewed, say they mind when they have to eat non-religious food in the cafeteria, restaurant or by friends.  Young people are more open, but still 45% regret the absence of halal food.  The imam of Bordeaux, Tariq Oubrou, says one can manage in any circumstances, and don't have to eat the meat, for example.  He advocates a discrete practice, which doesn't separate from others.  But the success of  halal is based as much on religious tradition as it is on identity-rites being observed more widely.  About 25% of respondents support a boycott of 'products of large companies, American for example, to protest their attitudes or that of their government vis-a-vis Islam and Muslim countries.

Source: SvD (Swedish), Le Figaro (French)

UK: Conservatives discuss Sharia with law students

UK: Conservatives discuss Sharia with law students

Harborough, Oadby & Wigston MP and Shadow Attorney General Edward Garnier and Leicester City Councillor and Conservative Group Leader, Ross Grant, met male and female Muslim law students attending Leicester and Warwick Universities last Friday, 22 January 2010, to discuss current legal issues including the interface between Sharia councils and the application of Sharia laws on the one hand and the law of England and Wales and its application on the other.

Edward Garnier and Ross Grant took part in a free-flowing discussion led by Rajnaara Akhtar, a post-graduate studying for her doctorate in law at Warwick University who comes from Oadby.

“Ross and I spent about an hour talking about issues such as the application of the two legal heritages in Britain, making it plain that in the courts of England the law of England was and must remain paramount but that what people did privately to sort out disputes was up to them, unless it led to oppression or unfairness or affected the rights of others under the law of the land. Sharia councils do not operate in public and may not have the same regard to the rights and interests of women in family disputes or inheritance cases. They may not though be used nearly as much by young British Muslims as some would have us believe. Amongst other issues, we also discussed the role of the Attorney General within the context of the Iraq War and more widely and the doctrine of universal jurisdiction, that is whether foreign politicians can be tried here for crimes alleged to have been committed overseas. It was a truly positive meeting and I came away encouraged by the intellectual curiosity and genuine openness and interest of those at the meeting.”

Ross Grant and Edward Garnier then spoke at a meeting organised and chaired by Ismail Patel of the Friends of Al-Aqsa attended by representatives from mosques and Muslim groups from Leicester and Oadby.


Source: Politics (English), h/t London Muslim

Denmark: Caseworker knifed to death

Denmark: Caseworker knifed to death

A 28 year old local of Somali background was arrested. He denies guilt. He was presumably there as a client. The weapon has not yet been found.

A study from 2007 showed that half of the members of the Danish Social Workers Union were subjected to violence last year. 26.5% said they suffered mental violence or threats. The last time a union member was killed was in 1991, when a social worker at the Frederiksberg municipality was killed by an Iranian. He was later sentenced to psychiatric treatment. (DA)


The 56-year-old woman caseworker who was knifed to death close to the Holstebro Job Center this morning was a recently-elected Social Democratic counsellor for Struer Council, according to the Struer Council Communications Consultant.

Birthe Christiansen died following multiple knife wounds she suffered at the hands of an attacker at around 8 a.m. near the Holstebro Job Centre.

In last November’s local elections she was elected as a counsellor in Struer and appointed to both the Culture and Leisure Committee and the Technical and Environment Committee.


Source: Politiken (English)

Netherlands: Non-Westerners becoming mothers later

Netherlands: Non-Westerners becoming mothers later

Non-Western 1st generation immigrant women are becoming mothers at a later age. In 2008, non-Western women were 27.5 years old on average when they had their first child. That is a year old than was the case in 1996. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) presented the data Wednesday.

The average age at which ethnic Dutch women gave birth to their first child went up by almost 6 months in the period 1996-2008 and is now 29.6. Of the biggest non-Western group, Iranian women became mothers last, with an average age of 31.3 in 2008.

The average number of children per women went up from 1.53 to 1.77 in the period 1996-2008. This increase is caused by ethnic Dutch women having more children on average. CBS demographer Jan Latten says this is due to the better economic situation of recent years.

The number of children of 1st generation non-Western women has decreased. Latten says there's a cultural reason: immigrant women adapt faster to Western culture and choose to have less children than in 1996.

(average number of children)
Last three rows: total 1st generation non-Western, ethnic Dutch, total

Of the four biggest non-Western group, the number of children dropped in particular among Turkish women. In 2008 they had less than 2 children, compared to 2.5 in 1996.

The number of children by non-Western asylum-seekers groups differ sharply. In 2008, Somali women had the highest number with 3.2 (down from almost 5 in 1996), Iranian women had the lowest with 1.1. The exceptionally low number of children is partially linked to the high educational level.

Of the 185,000 children who were born in 2008, a sixth were of non-Western origin. Of those 31,000 children, Moroccan were the biggest group with almost 8,000. The total number of non-Western children born every year has been decreasing slightly over the past few years.

Sources: Telegraaf, CBS (Dutch)

Sarkozy: Our country cannot let French Muslim citizens be stigmatised

Sarkozy: Our country cannot let French Muslim citizens be stigmatised

On Tuesday Mr Sarkozy sought to reassure French Muslims that their faith was not under attack, saying that freedom to practise religion was enshrined in the constitution.

"Our country, which has known not only wars of religion but also fratricidal battles due to state anti-clericalism, cannot let French Muslim citizens be stigmatised," he said in a speech at a cemetery for French Muslim soldiers at Notre Dame de Lorette cemetery, in northern France.

Most leaders of France's five-million-strong Muslim minority say a legal ban would be excessive since fewer than 2,000 women are said to wear them.

But one imam in the Paris suburb of Drancy, in Seine-Saint-Denis, received death threats after calling for a burka ban. Around 80 Islamists stormed his mosque on Monday and insulted him for half an hour.

"They wanted me dead," said Hassen Chalghoumi. But "we are resisting (them)," he told Radio Orient.. "My voice is that of the majority, I work for the future of my children and the French republic so that Islam can find its proper place and Muslims are respected."


Source: Daily Telegraph (English)

Netherlands: Muslim schools aiming to improve

Netherlands: Muslim schools aiming to improve

They are hotbeds of Muslim extremism, principals pinch tax money and students don't learn Dutch. Islamic education is known as bad. Now they themselves think it's time to clean house. "The time to stick it out is past. We'll make a clean sweep," says principal Yusuf Altuntas of ISBO, the umbrella organization of the Islamic educational system.

With 42 elementary schools and two secondary seconds, and about 10,000 children, the Muslim education is a factor of significance. Four schools as been called 'very poor' by the school inspection. A dozen are 'poor', the rest are adequate, and some even score above the average on national tests (Cito)

Altuntas says that in Turkey Islamic education even banned, while in the Netherlands it's simply allowed, and that they're extremely thankful for that. It's even more of a reason to increase the quality. In 2012 not one of their members would be 'very poor', he promises.

Tomorrow the organization will have its annual speech in which it will detail the plans for the future and in particular for education among Muslims. A year and a half ago the new administration came in. The 19 school boards were offered a drastic approach. "They could accept it or not. But if not, then we'll immediately break off. They accepted it. The previous administration were the pioneers and they achieved a lot, but now it's time for the next step."

The ISBO website has been giving a continuous overview of which schools are good, poor or very poor. "Painful, but it should also generate a healthy competition between the schools. We'll therefore also have a prize for the best school," says Altuntas.

The schools have resounding ambitions. "We want with our schools to have immigrant children excelling, and offer education in a safe environment. We are convinced that students who learn by us do not become dropouts. No, we don't celebrate Christmas, but we do educate to good citizens. Islamic education is the answer for youth hanging about and problem youth. We teach norms and values because we can reach them from within Islam."

In 2002 the AIVD (Dutch Intelligence) published a report which said that some school administration were spreading radical-Islamic ideas. Also, some schools kept direct contacts with 'foreign organizations with political-religious aspirations'. The school inspection established that same year that students were 'in danger of becoming isolated from Dutch society'. "The AIVD called Islamic education a thorn in the flesh. Dreadful. But since then such signs have disappeared. Muslim schools have absolutely nothing to do with Muslim extremism." He says as an example that 55% of the teachers are non-Muslims.

One of the first feats was the dismissing of one of the members: the As Saddieq elementary school in Amsterdam. The school did not comply with the new code for good administration. A problem with which the Muslim educational system has been contending for a while. "We could hardly find good administrators. Among other things it led to self-enrichment by the chairman of the SIBA schools in Amsterdam. But with a new approach we're going to prevent that."

One of the most important agreements is the implementation of a monitoring system linked with harsh sanctions. The foundation administrations must painstakingly follow the activities of the school principals and the quality of education. Guidelines form the criteria of the school inspection. Not only the Cito scores, but especially also good accounting of the educational budget and policy.

Altuntas: We shouldn't just wake up when the inspection is coming. It will certainly not be non-committal. It's alarming that there are many poor schools within the Islamic educational system, while Islam sets quality in everything above all.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

Switzerland: Minaret referendum was a vote against the spread of Islam

Switzerland: Minaret referendum was a vote against the spread of Islam

According to a new analysis the supporters of the minaret ban weren't voting against Muslims, they were voting against the spread of Islam. It doesn't matter whether Islam is compatible with Swiss culture or, as Tariq Ramadan claims, 'Islam is European'. I think this supports my view that the bottom line here is that the Swiss want Switzerland to be Swiss. They don't mind Muslims living there, but they do not want Muslim culture taking over.


The minaret ban vote split based on political preference. More than 80% of Leftists rejected the minaret ban proposal, compared to almost as many on the Right who supported it. 11% of the extreme left and 85% of the extreme right voted for the proposal.

Contrary to assumptions made after the referendum, just 16% of leftist women supported the ban, compared to 21% of leftist men who supported it on some level. On the other hand, 87% of right-wing women supported the ban, compared to 71% of men.

Interestingly enough, 49% of those who thought Swiss and Muslim lifestyles were very compatible supported the ban.

According to the researchers, the most common reason for supporting the ban was that it was a vote against the spread of Islam and the social model it propagates. The analysis can be downloaded as PDF (German, French, Italian), but even there there's no real breakdown of the reasons given by the supporters.

24% - The minaret is a symbol of Islamic supremacy [this does not appear in the PDF]
17% - a reaction against the discrimination of Christian churches in countries where Islam is strong.
15% - vote against Muslims in Switzerland


November’s vote against minaret construction in Switzerland can be seen as a signal by voters against the spread of Islam, according to analysis of the result.

Vox Analysis, a study regularly done after nationwide referendums to understand voter choices, found that the vote was not against Muslims or foreigners in principle.

The authors said Swiss xenophobia was not the main reason why the ban on the construction of minarets was passed by 57.5 per cent of voters on November 29. About 40 per cent of citizens who favoured equal opportunities between Swiss and foreigners also backed the minaret ban.

“For many voters it wasn’t against Muslims in Switzerland,” said political scientist Hans Hirter from Bern University at a presentation of the results on Monday.

He said the survey showed that about two-thirds of voters considered Swiss and Muslim lifestyles to be compatible.

This might appear contradictory but it becomes clearer when those who voted “yes” were asked about their motives.

“The minaret is a symbol of Islamic supremacy,” was by far the most popular argument (24 per cent) for backing a ban on future minarets. For the ban’s supporters, it was about making a “symbolic gesture” against the spread of Islam in Switzerland. A closer look by the vote analysis showed that even people who voted against the initiative agreed with this stance.

The argument that the initiative violated human rights - often heard before the vote – did not convince, the survey found. Even those who turned down the minaret ban did not agree with the argument.

Around one in six voters said their decision was a reaction against the discrimination of Christian churches in countries where Islam is strong.


Source: SwissInfo (English)

Flanders: Three girls convert every day

Flanders: Three girls convert every day

Update: Fixed typos.

The first episode of "In Godsnaam" (In God's Name) on Eén, the new show by journalist Annemie Struyf, has already caused much agitation. The episode focused on an organization which helps Flemish girls convert to Islam.

According to Al Minara, an organization of converted Muslims, three Flemish girls choose Islam every day, which comes to more than a thousand every year. One of the central figures in the organization turns out to be Nordine Taouil, the imam who turned up in the spotlights during the school headscarf ban debate.

Struyf got a view into the organization, but when she asked about the Saudi sponsor of the organization she was resolutely asked to put away the movie camera.

In addition, the city of Ghent is reopening an investigation after a man said during the show that he lied about his identity in order to marry a Flemish girl.

One of the stories on the show was that of Linsey Daman from Sint-Amandsberg, who converted and now calls herself Safiya. She married Abdelali Jahoub, an Algerian she met through

The marriage took place 12 days after their first meeting. Abdelali Jahoub has been living in Belgium for five years when the show was filmed. He admitted to the camera that he had problems with his papers. His wife, Safiya, said that he worked by a different name,a nd that he had also lied about his birth-town. "The city of Binjuskut, it doesn't exist. Therefore he can't go back to Algeria."

Abdelali Jahoub said he had to lie, though he didn't say why. He said he changed a few letters in his name.

The report shows how the marriage was performed by Catharina Segers, alderman of civil affairs. With 1,500 marriages a year, she couldn't remember the couple, but she know there's a file about them.

Segers: The marriage department of the city of Ghent concluded during the application of this marriage that there were sufficient elements to believe that this was a marriage of convenience. A file was sent to the public prosecution, but the attorney did not have enough evidence. Therefore I concluded the marriage."

Following the frankness of the young couple in "In Godsnaam" alderman Segers says that it's time to act. She updated the marriage department, they will summon these people and send a new file to the public prosecution. She says she's not going to get ahead of the case, but that it will most certainly get to court.

The alderman thinks that the couple has provided evidence of a sham marriage by their evidence. "In this case there was already a suspicion, but you can't prove anything with a suspicion. We're undertaking steps and can go back two years in order to disband a marriage and to eventually also invalidate a residence permit."

Sources: GvA, De Standaard (Dutch)

France: Parliamentary commission recommends partial burka ban

France: Parliamentary commission recommends partial burka ban

A French parliament report called Tuesday for a ban on the full Islamic veil in all schools, hospitals, public transport and government offices, saying the burqa was an affront to French values.

"The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable," the report released by a parliament commission said. "We must condemn this excess."

After six months of hearings, the panel of 32 lawmakers recommended a ban on the face-covering veil in all state-run institutions and offices, the broadest move yet to restrict Muslim dress in France.

The commission called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating that the burqa was "contrary to the values of the republic" and proclaiming that "all of France is saying 'no' to the full veil."

Women who turn up at government offices wearing the full veil should be denied services such as a work visa, residency papers or French citizenship, the report recommended.

The panel however stopped short of proposing broad legislation to outlaw the burqa on the streets or in shopping centres after cautioning that such a move would have to be reviewed by the courts to establish its legality.


Source: France24 (English)   + video segments

Malmö: Muslim antisemitism

Malmö: Muslim antisemitism

With thanks to Ilya Meyer for the translation help.


One day two classmates came up to Jacob. One called him a 'f*cking Jew'. The other said that he'll be halal slaughtered.

Jacob is in his teens and looks a little shy. He talks about that day last year. The day he was threatened due to his origins.

"And and several friends were coming into school. A boy came over and said that I would be halal slaughtered."

Jacob says the threat came without warning.

"It sounded strange and I tried not to worry."

Somewhat later the boy came back with a friends. The friend told Jacob he was a f*cking Jew and shouldn't talk crap.

He said that we said 'f*cking Muslims', but that was completely made up. Then he called out loudly 'Jew' several time when I went away.

When Jacob came home he told his mother about it. He took it up with a teacher and reported it to the police.

Jacob's mother says the teacher dealt with it immediately , and that was very good.

The school Jacob goes to is quite small. When something happens, it usually comes up. But she has more children and is concerned about the threats in school.

"You never know when it gets serious. It has taken physical expression before."

Jacob says he wasn't so scared of getting beaten up.

"Not in that situation. They were many people around us. But I felt insulted. It's wrong to pick on someone because of ethnicity."

Jacob knows he's forced to take a position in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Also from the teacher's direction. When the conflict is discussed, for example during social studies class, Jacob gets to defend Israel.

"It doesn't feel right at all."

His mother agrees.

"We aren't Israelis, but the link is there all the time. The surroundings think indirectly that we have a responsibility."

In recent years she's also been subjected to it.

One evening she went into a shop on Rönneholmsvägen. Suddenly a car came around, the windows were rolled down and a man shouted f*cking Jews. Another time two young boys cycled by her on the sidewalk and shouted 'Zionist murderers".

The mother thinks that threats often comes from young men with roots in the Middle East.

"I don't believe that it escaped anybody's attention, politician and police, that there's a problem."

She thinks that information can reduce aggression against Jews.

"I have met Muslims who had negative views of Jews, but who also see common traits, such as the exercise of faith."

"But there are also those who have the hatred against Jews from their homelands. All Jews are the same."

Source: Skånskan h/t Jihad i Malmö

See also: Sweden: Left, Muslims bigger threat to Jews

Netherlands: Politicians, Moroccans fed up with Moroccan harassment

Netherlands: Politicians, Moroccans fed up with Moroccan harassment

The mayor is getting police protection, shop-keepers don't dare open up for late shopping nights and residents get stones through their windows or threats. Zaltbommel, with 12,000 residents, is sick and tired of harassment by Moroccan youth, reports AD today.

Residents compare the situation with that of Culemborg. "There just needs to be somebody who won't take the harassment any longer, and then we'll have the same problem here."

The problem is not new in Zaltbommel, but after the mayor got police protection last Friday, feelings have been running high again.

The VVD and PVV parties want to take stronger action and more blue on the street, after it became clear that Moroccan youth threatened mayor Albert van den Bosch of Zaltbommel.

"The violence of Moroccan youth appears to become worse and worse. This will truly get out of hand," fears VVD parliamentarian De Krom, who think the cabinet is under-estimating the problem. "Social support has no meaning as long as people don't behave in the streets." The liberal demands to use the whip.

PVV parliamentarian Sietsma is also fed up. "It's a disgrace that the government doesn't better protect the citizens. We need zero tolerance, harsher punishments and the possibility to deport those criminals from the Netherlands," says Sietsma.

SP (Socialists) parliament member Karabulut thinks it's a 'disgrace' that the mayor is being threatened. The SP wants more police on the street so as to act faster. But they also want investment in the neighborhoods and to quickly remove the rotten apples from the group of trouble-youth. "I don't know if that did happen recently," says Karabulut.

Even PvdA (Labor) parliament member Dijsselbloem recognizes that the Gelderland Zuid police district doesn't have enough police to deal with the current problems. Fellow party member Minister Ter Horst (Internal Affairs) is cutting down on police. Dijsselbloem says that they certainly need reinforcements.

Neighbors of the problem group are not the only victims, the Moroccan community is also fed up with the behavior of the trouble-makers. "This harms our community and I absolutely don't approve of it," imam Mustapha Otmani told AD. He will collect signatures this week as a gesture to the municipality.

The Moroccan community in Zaltbommel is also fed up with the intimidation, according to a letter to the residents from the the Al Amal association. A spokesperson says they themselves are also threatened by the youth. "It is a relatively small group that nobody can get a grip on, and where nobody feels responsible that it's going to ruin," writes al-Amal. "The boys don't are about the legal frameworks and have no decency to keep to the norms and values of our society. It's too crazy for words that these youth are deciding and are trying to disrupt society."

The threatened mayor Albert van den Bosch of Zaltbommel is resolute. "I will not yield," he says combatively. The mayor says that the group of youth is 50-60 people. "They're aged 10 to 25. I was also certainly shocked that such young kids are involved. It's often the brothers of the older harassing youth."

Sources: AD, Telegraaf (Dutch)

Oslo: Attack on Mullah Krekar

Oslo: Attack on Mullah Krekar

The Norwegian police are treating this as attempted murder, though they don't know if the motive was murder.  The shots were fired from the entrance porch outside the 5th floor apartment.  Somebody also tried to break into the apartment just before the shots were fired.  A few minutes before the shooting, police recieved notice of a burning BMW a few hundred meters away.  They do not rule out that the two incidents are linked. (NO)


Unidentified attackers fired shots overnight at the Oslo apartment of Mullah Krekar, the founder of radical Iraqi Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, Norwegian police said on Monday.

One person, Krekar's son in law, a 27 year old British national, was injured in the attack when a bullet hit him in the hand.

"The person in question was hospitalised but he does not appear to be seriously wounded," police said in a statement.

Krekar, 53, has lived in Norway for nearly 20 years. He and four other people were in the fourth floor apartment when the attack occurred.

Investigators said they had no leads.

"Police have opened an inquiry [...] but no arrests have been made yet," the statement said.

"Two people were seen leaving the scene after the shooting but it is too early to say whether they are linked to the incident," it said.

Police were alerted to the attack at 01:54 am (0054 GMT), which took place in a working-class neighbourhood of eastern Oslo where Krekar has lived with his family since 1991.

"The whole family is shaken," Krekar's lawyer Brynjar Meling told television news station TV2 Nyhetskanalen.

"In the past, there were threats from nationalist circles that could be related to his activities in northern Iraq," he said.


Source: RNW (English)

Amsterdam: Hospital works to create trust in halal meals

Amsterdam: Hospital works to create trust in halal meals

The need for halal meals at the VU University Medical Center (VUmc) is growing due to the increase in the number of Muslim patients.   In the context of the interculturalization project, student Marije Bleumink mapped out all the factors in play between the patients and health-care personnel on the subject of nutrition.  There appears to be a lot of distrust.  Bleumink says that patients want to be sure that the halal food is really halal.

Bleumink says that there is a lot of information available about meals at VUmc, but the information about halal meals was sometimes ambiguous.  The menu form, for example, didn't explicitly say whether the meals were halal or not.  Patients didn't trust it.  Moreover, the first generation Muslim patients are used to having their family members take care of meals.  The VUmc can break this pattern by being more clear about the source and preparation of the meals.

The health-care personnel guarantees the quality of meals and the nutritional state of the patients in the care unit.  But knowledge and experience with the food regulations differs sharply between employees.  That nutrition assistants in the unit are responsible for nutrition and clearing bring up questions sometimes by patients.  And because the nurses and dietitians are also involved in nutrition, it's not always clear who has the final responsibility for meals in the unit.

Bleumink advised to improve communication with the patients and to retrain employees on the food regulations.  The recommendations have meanwhile been mostly implemented.

Source: Food Holland (Dutch)

Chechnya: Those who call for Sharia law and for jihad have never prayed

Chechnya: Those who call for Sharia law and for jihad have never prayed

Besides which, according to Kadyrov, the US is the root of all evil.


Those who call for Sharia law and for jihad have never prayed, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told RT's Sophie Shevardnadze.


SS: Mr. Kadyrov, it's been a year since the counterterrorist operation in Chechnya ended. What does a peaceful life mean to you? A new airport? A city that has been rebuilt? Or a change in people's attitudes?

RK: Every Chechen dreams of the war being over… that there be no bombs, explosions or military jets flying over their heads… that we could go visit other states, flying from the airport in Grozny… that we could receive guests, foreign athletes, cultural and political representatives. It's a dream for everyone in Chechnya, and even more so – for me.

SS: You have mentioned that the militants in the Caucasus have powerful support from the West. Who are these people?

RK: Well, I don't know the names. But there are states that fight against the sovereign state of the Russian Federation. Those are the Western states that are under American influence and their task is to tear Russia apart. Why? Because they need to have an enemy.

They know that people in the Caucuses believe in God, that we are Muslims, and they think that we are fine with resorting to terrorism. They think that the Chechens took offence with the Soviet Union, that we were made to go to Russia, and initiated the first and the second campaign.

As for Islam, it has nothing to do with it. The fathers of those who talk about stuff like the call of Islam for Shariah law and for jihad have never prayed, and their grandfathers never prayed either. They've always betrayed Islam together with our customs and traditions.

Take Umarov – he's been a criminal his entire life. Maskhadov served in the army his entire life, he never prayed and then he came here and started calling for jihad. The same about Dudaev!

SS: Do the Chechen terrorists have a link with Al Qaeda?

RK: Who founded Al Qaeda? The United States. The United States gave birth to it. America promised to give them Iraq or Afghanistan, but did not live up to its promise. That's when Bin Laden started acting against them. They sent the remaining forces to the Caucuses. That's where Al Qaeda originates from. Naturally, they represent Al Qaeda. If they were not, they would mention our people in their addresses. But they never do so. Umarov once said that Chechen people are his enemies. What is he expecting, if he declared our people his enemies? Al Qaeda has its own ideas. These are people who were offended. They fought for America – America gave birth to them, but did not fulfill its promise. That's it. That's the root cause.


SS: Terrorism is a global problem, not just in the Caucasus. The whole world is trying to fight it. Do you have a plan on how to root out terror?

RK: We've been keeping up dialogue with them for a long time now. We wanted to get back the people using TV, radio and other mass media. We managed to get back 78 people. In May 2009 we stopped doing so. But they took advantage of the situation. We got back 78 people, while they recruited another 56 people. Half of them were ill, mentally or physically, like blind people – in a word, disabled people. In addition, they turned them into suicide bombers.

They made the disabled die, exploding themselves, and go to hell. We announced then that starting from that day we would stop holding negotiations. I will not keep up dialogue any more. There is blood, where they are – that's what the prophet said. And we carry out cruel steps to fight them.

SS: OK. Now let's return to peaceful life. The Western audience is very much interested in one question. You support polygamy, don't you?

RK: Yes.

SS: Does Moscow show understanding regarding this question?

RK: I do not ask them about it, as we are not pushing through a law on multiple marriages. That's a tradition we've always had. God allows Muslims to do so. We've always had multiple marriages in our history. And I am all for it.

And there is another question here: is it better to have 20 lovers, rather than 4 lawful wives? And they know where their husband is today, where he is tomorrow and where he is the day after tomorrow. But if he has 12 or 20 lovers, nobody knows where he is, and he lies to each of them saying he is at work and stuff. That's promiscuous behavior, but everyone is fine with that, while having another lawful wife is a crime. If women are sold everywhere, and in our state as well – I mean official and unofficial brothels. And people are fine with that! Ask any father – is it OK if your daughter is sold for $50? What would he say to that?


source: RT (English)

Opinion: Why is the fear of a coming Eurabia so strong in certain quarters?

Opinion: Why is the fear of a coming Eurabia so strong in certain quarters?

Khaled Diab, a Brussels based journalist, recently wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian debunking the Eurabian invasion theory. I've discussed the issue of demographics on this blog in the past (here, here and here).

But Diab doesn't only ask whether Europe will become Muslim (his answer being a resounding no). He also asks why Europe fears the possibility.

Though it might seem obvious to some, the question is actually two-pronged:
1. Why do Europeans think that Europe might become Muslim?
2. Why do Europeans fear such a possibility?

Diab's question seems to refer to the former. Why do Europeans think there's a chance Muslims would conquer Europe? Why do they think that Muslims could become a majority? Why do Europeans believe the 'myth' that Muslims might use birth-rates, immigration, or conversion as a weapon?

I think at least one answer is that prominent Muslims keep on saying so. Those Muslims might belong to very certain schools of Islamic thought. Some, like Gaddafi, might be viewed as complete nuts. But Gaddafi [1], and certainly people like Yusuf al-Qaradawi [2] or Amr Khaled [3], are extremely influential. They run global organizations dedicated to spreading their message, and those organizations are active in Europe as well. When they announce that Islam will conquer Europe, it does not really matter whether it makes sense or not, or whether they're correct or not. It sets up an equation where Islam is the conqueror and Europe is the vanquished.

"Then, there is the plain old fear stoked by the overexposure given to the most intolerant Islamic fringe groups and individuals. Certainly, there are some European Muslims who want to live according to sharia and there is even a lunatic fringe who would like to see Europe incorporated into some fantastical global caliphate."

Is it just overexposure?

Though most of the Muslims who say that Islam would conquer Europe do not live in Europe, they are very active in Europe and some claim to represent European Muslims. Al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, heads the European Fatwa Council and runs the Islam Online website, which has a special section for European Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood does have branches in Europe. Tariq Ramadan, who is considered a very influential Muslim in his own right, never talks about it outright, but his rhetoric is full of fighting words. Needless to say, Tariq Ramadan [4] doesn't think the idea of a Muslim-dominated Europe is so 'mythical', either.

So my answer to Diab is quite simple: If you think Europe shouldn't fear an Islamic takeover, tell that to the Muslims who threaten Europe. Don't just accuse the Europeans who believe them of being phobic, or believing the 'lunatic fringe'. A decade ago, the idea that a guy could bring down the World Trade Center using box-cutters sounded outlandish to some people too, but a certain lunatic fringe believed it was possible and kept on preaching and acting on it.

After you denounce Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Amr Khaled, Tariq Ramadan, and, yes, Gaddafi too, you could start working on ways to counter their influence.


[1] Gaddafi: “There are tens of millions of Muslims in the European continent and the number is on the increase. The number of indigenous Europeans is falling drastically. This is the clear indication that the European continent will be converted to Islam. Europe will one day be a Muslim continent.”

[2] Amr Khaled: "The Muslims keep having children, while the Europeans don't. This means that within 20 years, the Muslims will be a majority, which may have an exceptional influence on the decision-making."

[3] Yusuf al-Qaradawi: "his means that Islam will come back to Europe for the third time, after it was expelled from it twice… Conquest through Da'wa [proselytizing], that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da'wa." And "This means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice - once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens."

[4] Tariq Ramadan:

Q: (..) At some point Muslims may be in the majority. I think in one sentence: How safe is multiculturalism with the people who entered Europe under the banner of multiculturalism?

A: (...) The way people are dealing with them being a majority has also to do with the way they are educated, and the way they see the other. So let us, for the time being, when you are in this situation, to go through a very deep educational process, by saying to the people: you have no right to impose your religion, you have to respect the principles of the other, you are not here to spy on people, you are not here to impose anything, you are here to be respected, to respect and to be respected. These teachings are very important. So, I think this is the only way forward. Because if we are scared of numbers, it's over. Because you know, the numbers are going to grow. [Ed: Interestingly enough, Ramadan did not answer that Islam is already European.]

Germany: "Why am I not German?"

Germany: "Why am I not German?"

In the vestibule of Germany's largest mosque, identity is complicated.

Zehra Yilmaz says her German passport will get her into a voting booth on election day, but her Turkish name and Muslim head scarf kept her out of apartments she tried to rent. She has lived in Germany since she was 2, but her home has been in Turkish enclaves segregated from the rest of Germany by language, culture and a mutual belief that one day the foreigners would go home.

"I'm not really Turkish, and I'm not really German," says Zehra Yilmaz, 46.


Children born in Germany since 2000 have an automatic right to citizenship, but they must decide between ages 18 and 23. If they choose to be German, they must give up citizenship in their parents' country.

Ken Eis, 23, is caught in the middle. Born in Nigeria to a German mother and Nigerian father, his mother's citizenship gives him the option to be German. But the Kreuzberg resident, who has lived in Germany since he was 14, doesn't plan to stay much longer.

"This is one of the few nations that still holds on to its nationalism," said Eis, who is unemployed. He plans to return to Nigeria to try to find a job. "I don't see a future for me in Germany."

Yilmaz knows the feeling.

"When I was 14, I was crying in my pillow at night, 'Why am I not German?' The Germans didn't accept me as a whole German girl. I didn't wear a head scarf at this time. I wore normal German clothes. But I have a foreign name. I am a foreigner for them," she said. In her frustration, she vowed to return to her family's roots.

Then she visited Ankara, her family's ancestral city, and saw how different gender norms affected the country's women.

"They are not like me," Yilmaz said. "In Turkey, I have no rights as a woman. I can't be active as a woman. ... My home is in Germany. It is in Duisburg."


Source: Pittsburgh Tribune Revie

Marseille: Girl awarded 2,000 euro for hymen injury

Marseille: Girl awarded 2,000 euro for hymen injury

On December 7th, 2006, a 7 year old girl was pushed by a classmate in the restroom in a school north of Marseille. She fell down to the floor thereby leading to the tearing of her hymen. A 'commonplace' accident, and of little consequence, except if you're Muslim.

This was the argument put forward by the girl's family, who claimed 10,000 euros for moral and physical damage from the insurance of the school-girl responsible for the fall. The court, and later the appeals court in Aix-en-Provence judged that a certain and direct casual link between the hymen's rupture and the inability to stay in compliance with religious beliefs was not established.

They did however grant her compensation of 2,000 euro since the tearing of the hymen not only indisputably caused physical pain, but the girl also lost the opportunity to approach her first intimate relationship under the same conditions she could claim had the accident not occurred.

Source: La Provence (French), h/t le blog laiciste

Netherlands: Mosques to participate in anti-radicalization program

Netherlands: Mosques to participate in anti-radicalization program

The administrators of 18 mosque in the Noord-Holland province will go on a study-week in April, dealing with how to better attract youth to the mosque's social activities. This would prevent young Muslims from ending up isolated and than radicalizing.

The special training is one of the first activities in the action plan: "Prevention is better than a cure" of the ACB knowledge center, the Council of Moroccan Mosques of Noord-Holland and the Union of Moroccan Muslim Organizations in the Netherlands, project leader Roemer van Oordt said on Sunday. The plans aims to prevent the polarization between various groups and the radicalization of Muslim youth.

According to the initiators, youth don't get radical ideas in the mosque, but rather from outside it, for example, on the internet. If they would be more involved in the mosque, they could get more guidance and that would prevent them from getting isolated. Thereby young Muslims would not turn as fast against society and radicalize.

During the study week the participants will learn how they could reinforce the social function of the mosque and make it more accessible for youth. They would also acquire skills in recognizing and dealing with radicalization. They would also hear how they could collaborate with other parties who deal with youth, such as social welfare institutions, neighborhood organizations or the police.

Ten of the mosques participating in the program are in Amsterdam, the rest are from other places in the Noord-Holland province. As part of the action plan, a political debate would be organized in a mosque during the Amsterdam municipal elections.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

Netherlands: Nurses Union says Muslims might not be suitable for nursing

Netherlands: Nurses Union says Muslims might not be suitable for nursing

If Muslim nurses have objections to washing the buttocks of male patients, they should ask themselves whether they're suitable for the job, says the Dutch Nurses' Association (V&VN). The organization recently wrote guidelines for conscientious Objections.

Francis Bolle of V&VN says that in general there are relatively few nurses of Muslim background working in hospitals. Bolle says that the reason might be that Muslims, and in practice it's mostly Muslim women, have difficulty with physical contact with patients, for example, during washing.

Source: AD (Dutch)

Paris: Girl beaten for chatting on MSN

Paris: Girl beaten for chatting on MSN

A 16 year old might lose her eye for chatting on MSN. Caught while on her computer in December, she was beaten and locked up at home in the Paris suburb of Saint-Gratien (Val d'oise). With their parents' permission, both strict Muslims, her two brothers (28 and 32) allegedly punished the victim. The four held a family meeting to avoid legal repercussions.

The brothers and parents [ed: according to one report, the mother was not charged] appeared before a magistrate in Pontoise yesterday, charged with willful violence, kidnapping or more than seven days and neglect.

The investigation started after the victim visited an ophthalmologist, having finally been able to leave the apartment a month after the attacks started. The teenager, who was injured in her eye, was able to consult a specialist, who did not fail to notice the bruises. The young victim risks losing her eye.

At best, according to certain reports, she would retain very diminished eyesight. Her visual acuity is less than a tenth. The specialist immediately reported the incident and the proceedings were launched.

The Enghien-les-Bains police started a preliminary investigation which culminated Wednesday in the arrests of the parents of the victim and her two brothers. The older brother is particularly suspect. They trapped her for eight days in the apartment, in harsh conditions.

The UMP mayor of Saint-Gratien, Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio, says it's unbearable that such a thing can happen in France in the 21st century, to injure your child's eye because of religion. The parents must understand that it's a very serious act.

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

Macedonia: Debate on headscarves in schools

Macedonia: Debate on headscarves in schools

Open displays of faith among Macedonia's rival Christian and Muslim youths are stoking religious tensions that have smouldered since the fall of communist Yugoslavia.

The collapse of the communist federation in the early 1990s saw a revival of interest in religion among Macedonia's mainly Slavic Orthodox Christians and predominantly Sunni Islam ethnic Albanians.

Nowadays, Christian youths openly attend church services, fast and wear crosses, while Muslim girls are donning headscarves at schools even though the custom is outlawed.

The use of religious symbols is becoming more obvious at schools, notably in the capital Skopje and the western town of Tetovo, an ethnic Albanian stronghold.

The issue came to a head early in 2009, when a Tetovo school principal, Ljatif Ismaili, was sacked after banning a girl from entering class with a headscarf several times.

"At high school, other students found it strange at the beginning, but later got used to it," says Shpresa, an ethnic Albanian student from Bogovinje village near Tetovo. "I will wear it until I get married, and if my husband tells me to take it off, I will do so.”

Macedonia has long been dogged by ethnic tensions related to its Albanian minority, who make up most of the country's Muslim population -- which represents about 30 percent of the country's 2.2 million residents. The others are Turks, Roma and Macedonian Muslims known as Torbeses.

In 2001, an ethnic Albanian rebellion brought Macedonia to the edge of civil war. The seven-month uprising was put to an end with the internationally-brokered peace accord that brought more rights to the ethnic Albanian community.

Education Minister Pero Stojanovski admits the issue of headscarves in schools is "very sensitive.”

"In the past few years, we have seen ethnic intolerance in some schools, but we also have schools which are an excellent example of multi-ethnic life," Stojanovski tells AFP. "The law clearly states any religious activity is prohibited in schools, and that is why we have separated religious education from religious activities.”

But Stojanovski stresses "rules of conduct" should not be interpreted as "discrimination.”

Namik Xhaferi of Tetovo's Islamic community says the cross is a religious symbol, while headscarves are not only that, but also a part of expressing respect for Islam.

"No-one should exclude young women of Islamic faith (from schools) because of that," he insists.

The problem first emerged soon after Macedonia's independence in 1991, when a Muslim girl attended school with her head covered for the first time.

It resurfaced when a law on religion at school entered into force in September 2008, sparking a vivid debate before the Supreme Court declared wearing headscarves to class is unconstitutional.

But the public attorney's office says "students have constitutional and legal rights for freedom of religious expression," according to spokeswoman Uranija Pirovska.

In the absence of proper monitoring, however, schools have imposed their own regulations, making the issue even more complicated.

It is estimated that up to three percent of female students wear headscarves or other Islamic apparel at high schools and universities.


Source: Expatica (English)