Macedonia: "Al-Qaeda had training camps in Macedonia"

Macedonia: "Al-Qaeda had training camps in Macedonia"

Via B92:
Al-Quaeda had three training camps in Macedonia, claims retired professor of the Skopje Faculty of Security Ivan Babamovski.

(...)

Babamovski stated that 25 members of "an ethnic group" in Macedonia had undergone terrorist training in Tehran, Iran, and that one of the leaders of that community had been to Qom, the Shia spiritual center, where he was trained in leading groups related to terrorism. 
(source)

Prague: International conference on Islamic banking

Prague: International conference on Islamic banking

Via Radio Praha:
Islamic banking is today the fastest growing segment of the financial system, and is also considered a more honest and fairer alternative to conventional banking. Cihad Erginay is the Turkish ambassador to Prague, and head of the local group of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation which organized the event.

“There was great interest on the subject from our Czech colleagues, Czech bankers and journalists who kept asking us about it and expressed their interest because they saw that Islamic banks were not as affected by the economic crisis that we see today. That led us to think that it could be interesting to organize such a conference. And as you can see from the participation, there is great interest in the subject.”  
(source)

UK: MPs want curbs on 'unacceptable' religious slaughter

UK: MPs want curbs on 'unacceptable' religious slaughter


Via the BBC:
The government is facing renewed calls to curb the slaughtering of animals that have not first been rendered unconscious - a debate that pits religious sensitivities against the convictions of animal welfare campaigners.

Senior Conservative backbencher Greg Knight has told MPs that the practice of slaughtering cattle, lambs and chickens in this way is "rife".

(source)

Norway: Somalis, Afghans and Iraqis top list of new citizens

Norway: Somalis, Afghans and Iraqis top list of new citizens

The original article's headline is a bit misleading, since the three groups together make up about 30% of new citizens.

Via Views and News from Norway:
Norway attracted 14,300 new citizens last year and around 2,100 came from Somalia, which ranked as the largest single group of immigrants taking on Norwegian nationality. More than half of all Norway’s new citizens are women. 
(source)

Azerbaijan: Eurovision Terror, Assassination Plots Foiled



Azerbaijan: Eurovision Terror, Assassination Plots Foiled

The news reports don't mention when these arrests took place. 

Via Bloomberg:
Azerbaijan said its agents foiled plots by Islamic rebels to kill foreigners at the Eurovision song contest in Baku and assassinate President Ilham Aliyev.

Azeri law-enforcement officials killed two members of the armed group, including its leader, and arrested 40 more, the National Security Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today. The rebels have links to insurgents in the Dagestan region of neighboring Russia, according to the ministry. 
(source)

UK: Prisoners under pressure to convert to Muslim 'gang'




UK: Prisoners under pressure to convert to Muslim 'gang'


Via the Telegraph:
Inmates at HMP Whitemoor told researchers commissioned by the Ministry of Justice that they changed their faith for protection or because they were bullied into it.

Prison guards said they had a policy of “appeasement” towards the powerful and growing Islamic population, particularly convicted terrorists who were feared to be recruiting future extremists.

Non-believers avoided confrontation with any Muslim in case it led to retribution from the wider group, and said they even avoided cooking pork or bacon in communal kitchens or undressing in the showers in case it caused offence.  
(source)

Moscow: 'Allah's enemy!' Radio host slash-attacked for anti-Islam rant on air

Moscow: 'Allah's enemy!' Radio host slash-attacked for anti-Islam rant on air

Via RT:
A radio host has been hospitalized after being cut 15 times by an unidentified criminal. Two weeks ago the journalist ventured to criticize the founder of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, on air.

Sergey Aslanyan, 46, was brought to Moscow’s hospital with numerous non-penetrating knife wounds to the chest, neck and arm.

Switzerland: Muslim women can be religious leaders



Switzerland: Muslim women can be religious leaders



Via the Local:
A new Swiss study has found that some Muslim women have more say in their communities than many Christian or Jewish women.

Researchers from the National Science Foundation wanted to know which women had the option of taking on leadership roles within their religious communities.

Denmark: Two Somali brothers held over terror plot

Denmark: Two Somali brothers held over terror plot

Via UKPA:
Two Somalian brothers have been arrested in Denmark on suspicion of plotting a terror attack, the country's security service has said.

The pair, aged 18 and 23, were arrested late on Monday - one in the western city of Aarhus and the other as he arrived by plane at Copenhagen's international airport, said the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, or PET.

The men were suspected of "being in the process of preparing an act of terror" after they were overheard talking about methods, targets and different weapons types, PET said in a statement, suggesting the suspects had been under surveillance. 
(source)

Moscow: Muslims outraged at xenophobic graffiti

Moscow: Muslims outraged at xenophobic graffiti

Via RT:
Moscow’s mufti Albir Krganov has appealed to the capital’s Bureau for Human Rights over nationalistic slogans and graffiti which he says insult the feelings of believers and non-Russian nationals.

Krganov – vice chairman of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia – said the body had received a large number of complaints from believers over xenophobic graffiti.In particular, they reported such slogans as “Russia is for Russians” covering the walls along the railroad to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

It is worrying that in Russia – a multinational and multi-confessional country – some people allow themselves to express nationalistic statements, the mufti noted to Russian News Service.  
(source)

Italy: Moroccans in quake area return home

Italy: Moroccans in quake area return home

Via AKI:
At least 100 Moroccans are returning home after the area in northern Italy where they were residing was struck by an earthquake five days ago.

The immigrants were forced to abandon their homes in the town of Finale Emilia in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region where a 5.9-magnitude quake early Sunday morning killed seven people and left around 5,000 homeless. A Moroccan working a night shift in a factory was among the dead.
(source)

Amsterdam: Handling of sharia group criticised

Amsterdam: Sharia4Holland issue death threats against Wilders, passer-by arrested

  
(Sharia4Holland press conference, Passer-by intervened at around 4:20) 

Via Expatica
Amsterdam VVD councillor, Robert Flos, has criticised the police for the way they dealt with a hate speech on Dam Square on Friday.
On local television channel AT5, the councillor says the police failed to arrest the Sharia4Holland speakers, who made death threats aimed at Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders and arrested a passer-by who tried to enter a discussion with the speakers.
Mr Flos points out that making death threats is a criminal offence. The passer-by was heavy-handedly removed from the scene. The councillor told AT5 he was shocked but “a message of intolerance can even be made next to our monument of freedom.”
(source)

The group's spokesman was meanwhile arrested.  Via DutchNews:
Amsterdam police have arrested the 29-year-old spokesman for radical Islamic group Sharia4Holland for making threats against MP Geert Wilders.

In an impromptu press conference on Dam square in Amsterdam on Friday, the man likened Wilders to a Roman dog and warned him to learn the lesson of what happened to Theo van Gogh. Van Gog was killed by an Islamic militant.
(source)

Germany: Muslims want more burial space

Germany: Muslims want more burial space
     
Via The National:
In a sombre sign that Muslims are becoming more integrated in German society, the 300,000-strong Islamic community in Berlin has complained that it is running out of graveyard space, and is urging authorities to help solve the problem.

The shortage of sites reflects a desire by increasing numbers of Muslims to be buried in Germany rather than be taken to their countries of origin after their death. Community leaders have stepped up their campaign this month for more burial space.

"They live here in the second and third generation and they want to be buried where they lived and worked," said Ender Cetin, the chairman of the Muslim association at the Sehitlik mosque in Berlin. "This is a problem that urgently needs to be solved." 
(source)

Somalia: Al-Shabab plotting attack in Netherlands, UK

Somalia: Al-Shabab plotting attack in Netherlands, UK

Via RNW:
A former commander of the Somali Al Qaeda-linked organisation al-Shabab has said that dormant cells in the Netherlands are secretly preparing terrorist attacks.

The commander, who left al-Shabab because of a dispute with its leaders, said the militant Islamist group is actively recruiting and training members of the Somali diaspora in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States to launch attacks in the countries where they have a residence permit.
(source)

Basque Country: Debate over mosque law

Basque Country: Debate over mosque law

Via Gatestone Institute:
The Basque regional government in northern Spain is drafting a controversial new Law on Religious Institutions, which states that mosques and prayer rooms with a capacity of fewer than 300 people will no longer require the prior local government approval.

The draft law is generating considerable opposition from elected officials of all political stripes, who fear the new measure will encourage the proliferation of mosques throughout the Basque region.

'Ex Muslim extremist issues Krekar warning '

'Ex Muslim extremist issues Krekar warning '




I thought this was an interesting headline.  Anjem Choudary is a former spokesperson of Islam4UK.  In this article he threatens Norway for arresting a terrorist.  So what makes him an ex-extremist?


Poland: Agriculture minister says he won’t ban religious slaughter

Poland: Agriculture minister says he won’t ban religious slaughter

Via JTA (h/t Al-Kanz):
Poland's minister of agriculture said he will not bow to activists and ban ritual slaughter in the country.

Polish Agricultural Minister Marek Sawicki said May 16 that banning ritual slaughter would be contrary to the Polish Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.

"Under European Union law, ritual slaughter is acceptable and there is no reason to prohibit it," Sawicki also said. 
(source)

Copenhagen: Asylum seekers busy as bees

Copenhagen: Asylum seekers busy as bees


Via the Copenhagen Post:
When Joseph* and his friends collected honey in Nigeria, they wore an extra layer of clothing, lit a torch and kicked the hive from the tree to take the swarm’s sweet nectar.

Now living at Sandholm Asylum Centre, Joseph is studying a more conventional method of beekeeping alongside more than 20 other asylum seekers at Copenhagen’s Bybi (City Bee Association).

The six-month training program, which began in March, is a joint initiative between Bybi and the Danish Red Cross, with support from the Roskilde Festival Fund.

(source)

Bergen: Afghan suspect in knifing murder, claims he was attacked for being Christian

Bergen: Afghan suspect in knifing murder, claims he was attacked for being Christian

Via Aftenposten:

One man was killed and another injured following a knifing at Ny-Paradis state asylum centre in Bergen western Norway, Tuesday.  The suspect is an Afghan who made headlines last year when he was attacked with boiling water by fellow residents of his asylum center because he was a Christian convert.  A Somali man was charged for the attack, and was sentenced to five months in prison.  On appeal he was acquitted, as the court believed him it had been an accident.

"He had big problems due to his Christian faith.  There are many in the asylum center who don't accept people converting from Islam to Christianity,' Issa Hammer says of the Afghan suspect.  He's a friend of the two Christian Afghans at the center and goes with them to church.


Poland: Thugs attack Turkish kebab shop

Poland: Thugs attack Turkish kebab shop

 

Via The Austrian Times:
Black and Asian England football fans at next month's Euro 2012 are at risk from racist thugs in host country Poland after a series of attacks on ethnic fast food eateries, police fear.
In one attack - filmed on CCTV - the white thugs are seen beating the Turkish-born owners of a kebab shop in Opole with sticks and a chair in a frenzied attack.
(source)

Switzerland: Priest who runs anti-Islam website faces probe

Switzerland: Priest who runs anti-Islam website faces probe

Via the Local:
A Reformist priest from a tiny Bernese village is under investigation by church leaders after it emerged that she helped run a fanatical anti-Islamic website.

The Council of Reformist Churches for Bern, Solothurn and Jura has criticised the priest, and declared her activities on website ‘Politically Incorrect’ to be “incompatible” with her position as a priest due to the “Islam-baiting” that takes place on it, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.
(source)

Sweden: Proposed legislation to outlaw forced marriages

Sweden: Proposed legislation to outlaw forced marriages

Via The Local:
Anyone in Sweden who forces someone else to get married against their will can be sent to prison, according to proposed legislation presented Thursday which aims to criminalize forced marriages.

"We want to criminalize child marriage and forced marriage. It should also be a punishable offence to take a child out of the country and marry them off there," Göran Lambertz, who heads the government inquiry tasked with drawing up new legislation, told Sveriges Television (SVT).
(source)

Hesinki: First Mosque for Shia Muslims Opens in Finland

Hesinki: First Mosque for Shia Muslims Opens in Finland

Via ABNA:
The first mosque and cultural center for Finland’s Shi’ites was inaugurated in the capital Helsinki earlier this week.

Managers of Islamic centers from Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Muslim scholars including Hojat-ol-Islams Hakim Elahi, Khademi, and Razavi, Iranian ambassador to Finland Seyyed Rasoul Mousavi, head of Finnish prime minister’s office, and a number of cultural, religious and social personalities attended the inauguration ceremony of the center, which is named after Hazrat Fatemeh Zahra (SA). 
(source)

France: 3 mosques vandalized, Muslim group urges politicians to speak out

France: 3 mosques vandalized, Muslim group urges politicians to speak out

Via AP:
A leading French Muslim group says three mosques have been vandalized over the past week and is urging authorities to punish the perpetrators.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith, or CFCM, said racist insults and Nazi slogans were scrawled on a mosque in the southeastern town of Tarascon and another in the eastern city of Strasbourg on Tuesday and Wednesday. It said the mosque in the southern town of Draguignan was vandalized May 17. 
(source)

Immigrants in Spain feel more integrated than those in Northern Europe

Immigrants in Spain feel more integrated than those in Northern Europe

Via ThinkSpain:
According to the latest survey of immigrants carriedou by the King Balduino Foundation and the Migration Policy Group, legal immigrants in Spain feel more integrated than those in Northern Europe thanks to the ease with which they can handle bureaucratic matters, like requesting residence permits or family reunification; find work and learn the language.
(source)

Netherlands: Dual nationality and burqa bans are still on the cards, says minister

Netherlands: Dual nationality and burqa bans are still on the cards, says minister

Via DutchNews:
It is up to MPs to decide whether to drop the proposed bans on dual nationality and the burqa, not the cabinet, home affairs minister Liesbeth Spies told parliament on Tuesday evening.

Spies said two weeks ago in an interview with the Volkskrant that as far as she is concerned, both pieces of legislation can be dropped.
(source)

France: Mosque desecrated with Nazi graffiti

France: Mosque desecrated with Nazi graffiti

Via France3: The El Mouhsinine mosque in Tarascon (southern France) was tagged with Nazi graffiti Monday night.

France: Veil ban 'increased hostility towards Muslim women'

France: Veil ban 'increased hostility towards Muslim women'

Via Asian Image:
New research shows that that there is a link between the banning of the veil in France and increased levels of hostility towards veiled Muslim women.

The Research from the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester suggests that the veil ban stigmatises veiled Muslim women as ‘criminals’ and fosters Muslim ‘otherness’.

Even if not explicitly inciting hate-motivated violence, the law in its application contributes to a climate of intolerance of Islam in the West.  
(source)

Switzerland: Anti-Islam group must be protected

Switzerland: Anti-Islam group must be protected


Via the Local:
The Federal Court says an anti-Islam group has the right to give out leaflets from an information booth if it wants – and the local authorities must protect them.

Fribourg Council banned the group – The Movement Against the Islamization of Switzerland – from setting up an information booth Place Georges-Python during the anti-minaret campaign in 2009.

It said it refused to give permission because of a fear that violence and unrest would break out as a result, provoking a legal challenge.
(source)

Italy: Muslims mobilise to help quake victims in northeast

Italy: Muslims mobilise to help quake victims in northeast

Via AKI:
Muslims in Emilia Romagna have mobilised to help victims of the powerful earthquake that struck the northeastern region early on Sunday, killing at least seven people and leaving thousands homeless.

"Some 10,000 Muslims have been affected by the earthquake that hit Emilia Romagna, and last night we managed to set up a field camp of tents which can each accommodate 150 people," the president of the Italian Islamic Confederation, Wahid al-Fihri, told Adnkronos International.

"We have helped 500 people in Cento di Ferrara alone," he said.
(source)

Netherlands: Immigration minister plans speedier and tougher asylum process

Netherlands: Immigration minister plans speedier and tougher asylum process

Via DutchNews:
Immigration minister Gerd Leers is planning to tighten up the procedure for vetting asylum seekers and make it faster by cutting out several layers of the current process, he told the Volkskrant in an interview on Tuesday.

Leers wants asylum seekers to be vetted on all grounds, such as family life, medical condition and the situation in the country of origin, in one go. Their asylum claim could then be considered in one day, the minister says.
(source)

Germany: Online terrorist threat against far-right party, magazine

Germany: Online terrorist threat against far-right party, magazine

Via AP:
German officials say they’ve taken security measures at a popular German magazine and for members of a small far-right party after a known terrorist called for them to be attacked in a video online.

(...)

In it, Bonn-born Yassin Chouka, who is believed to be with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, calls for Muslims to kill Pro NRW members.

He also calls for the murder of Der Spiegel employees for printing pictures showing the cartoons.
(source)

UK: Leicester, Ealing's first Muslim mayors

UK: Leicester, Ealing's first Muslim mayors

 Via OnIslam (h/t Islam in Britain):
An Indian-origin Muslim councilor Abdul Razak Osman has been sworn in as the first ever Muslim mayor in the multi-cultural town of Leicester, the post seen as a challenge as Britain prepares for the Olympic Games.

(...)

“I'm proud to be the first Muslim councilor to hold the position – we've had Christian, Hindu, Sikh and now I'm able to bring the Islamic faith to the office which is a great honor," Osman added.

(source)

UK: Sikhs, Hindus complain of use of 'Asian' label in grooming cases







UK: Sikhs, Hindus complain of use of 'Asian' label in grooming cases


Via the BBC:
The joint statement was released by the Network of Sikh Organisations UK, The Hindu Forum of Britain, and The Sikh Media Monitoring Group UK.

It says the reluctance of the media and the government to discuss the "disproportionate representation of Muslims in such cases" and the fact victims are "almost always non-Muslim girls" is adding to the cause of far-right groups such as the BNP.

Groningen : Asylum seekers' protest camp grows

Groningen : Asylum seekers' protest camp grows

Via Expatica:
A campsite in the province of Groningen inhabited by rejected asylum seekers continues to grow as more people join the protest.

Around 300 asylum seekers are living in tents in Ter Apel. The group has gathered to protest their impending deportations; a spokesperson for the applicants said he expects the camp to continue to grow.

(source)

UK: Tory cabinet minister Baroness Warsi calls on mosques to act after Rochdale grooming gang scandal

UK: Tory cabinet minister Baroness Warsi calls on mosques to act after Rochdale grooming gang scandal

Via the Daily Mail:
Muslim cabinet minister Baroness Warsi today dramatically hit out at the 'small minority' of Pakistani men who see white girls as 'fair game' for sexual abuse.

In comments following the Rochdale grooming scandal involving nine Muslim men, the Conservative Party co-chairman admitted that race was a factor.

She urged Muslim leaders to address the issue and ensure that men who regard white women as 'third class citizens' are isolated by their communities.
(source)

EU: German sues Macedonia for rendition

 EU: German sues Macedonia for rendition

Via AP:
A German citizen took his claim that the CIA illegally whisked him to a secret prison in Afghanistan to Europe's human rights court Wednesday in what could be the final chapter of a case that has shed light on U.S. practices in the war on terror.

Khaled El-Masri, who is of Lebanese descent, says he was brutally interrogated at a secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan for more than four months after being kidnapped from Macedonia in 2003, apparently mistaken for a terror suspect. He says he went on a hunger strike for 27 days and was eventually flown back to Europe and abandoned in a mountainous area in Albania.
(source)

Turks in Germany, ‘We won’t allow a cover up’



Turks in Germany, ‘We won’t allow a cover up’


Via Hürriyet Daily News (h/t Turkish Digest):
The discovery of a neo-Nazi cell that was apparently able to go on a nationwide spree of racially motivated murders of 9 immigrants over several years, under the noses of the German intelligence services, has sent shock waves across the country.

“German ministers said they were shocked. We told them we are surprised that they are surprised,” said Hilmi Kaya Turan, deputy head of the Turkish Community in Germany, or ATT, one of the hundreds of nongovernmental organizations representing the 3 million-strong Turkish-German community. “The fact that they are surprised actually frightens us,” he told a visiting Turkish parliamentary group, invited by the German government.
(source)

Germany: Five Yazidi siblings jailed for 'honour' killing



Germany: Five Yazidi siblings jailed for 'honour' killing



I reported about this murder in the past, but I did not realize the family was Yazidi.

Via Postmedia News:
A court in Germany jailed five Kurdish siblings on Wednesday for the "honour killing" of their 18-year-old sister after she left home to live with her German boyfriend.

Switzerland: Muslim cemeteries seen as 'long-term investments'

Switzerland: Muslim cemeteries seen as 'long-term investments'

Via WRS:
TUNGER: “At one point, earlier or later, you have to tackle this question, because the Muslims are there.  They have the constitutional right for a decent burial.  What experience shows is that more than a dozen municipalities in Switzerland have found a solution by a process in which local authorities and local Muslims sit at a table and  discuss what possibilities do we have, what solutions do we have.  Almost everywhere a solution has been found.”

Cornel Suter at Lucerne’s cemetery says working with the local Muslim association has been helpful for a number of reasons—pointing out religious requirements, helping with language, or even mediating cultural differences.  He is thankful for that.

Researcher Andreas Tunger sees this example as paramount:

TUNGER: “What we have seen until now is very much goodwill on this very grassroots level, which the populist tendencies cannot so easily exploit for national campaigns.”
(source)

Sweden: PM slammed for 'ethnic Swedes' comment

Sweden: PM slammed for 'ethnic Swedes' comment


Via the Local:
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is facing a storm of criticism from several quarters after using the term "ethnic Swedes" in response to a question about Sweden's high level of unemployment.

“It is not correct to describe Sweden as a country in a situation of mass-employment. If one looks at ethnic Swedes at the prime of their life, we have very low unemployment,” Reinfeldt said to a reporter from news agency TT on Monday.

(...)

Reinfeldt's choice of words soon kicked off a political firestorm with commentators on both sides of the political spectrum questioning his use of the term "ethnic Swedes" and speculating as to what he might have meant.
(source)

Switzerland: Language programme aims to boost integration

Switzerland: Language programme aims to boost integration

Via SwissInfo:
The Federal Migration Office has launched a language training system specifically defined around the integration needs of migrants. The course will be gradually introduced in collaboration with the cantons from the summer.

Called “FIDE – learn, teach and assess French, Italian and German in Switzerland”, the training system will become the nationwide norm for immigrant language training.

Its focus will be on giving immigrants the language competence needed to undertake such ordinary tasks such as consulting a doctor or attending parent-teacher meetings.

 (source)

Sweden: Mosques advise women not to report abusive husbands

Sweden: Mosques advise women not to report abusive husbands

Via the Local:
Six out of ten mosques in Sweden gave women advice about how to deal with spousal abuse and polygamy that contradicted Swedish law, a media investigation has revealed.

Using hidden cameras and telephone recording equipment, two women posing as abused spouses visited ten of Sweden's largest mosques as part of a report put together by Sveriges Television (SVT) investigative news programme "Uppdrag granskning".

Netherlands: Turkish singer goes back home after Schiphol questioning

Netherlands: Turkish singer goes back home after Schiphol questioning

Via DutchNews:
A Dutch concert by popular Turkish singer Arif Sag was cancelled this weekend after he gave up an returned home after lengthy questioning by officials at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

According to the Telegraaf, Sag was furious at being questioned and made to wait for so long that he took the first plane back home. Turkish papers described his treatment as 'scandalous', the Telegraaf said. 
(source)

Macedonia: Protests signal surge of radical Islam

Macedonia: Protests signal surge of radical Islam

Via EurActiv:
There is widespread belief among analysts and the Macedonian public that the protests are intended to destabilise Macedonia prior to the NATO summit in Chicago on 20-21 May. Macedonia’s bid to join NATO was blocked in 2008 by Greece over the long-standing name dispute between Athens and Skopje.

Some analysts in the region now worry of renewed attempts to carve out an ethnic Albanian state in western Macedonia.
(source)

Belgium: 60% immigrants by 2060

Belgium: 60% immigrants by 2060

Via VRT:

An immigration report by think-tank Itinera says that 25% of the people in Belgium have at least one parent born abroad.

Half a million people immigrated to Belgium in the last decade, 4.5% of the population.  "There total there are about 10% foreigners, 7.5% Belgians of immigrant origin and 7.5% are 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants," says researcher Laurent Hanseeuw.  "That doesn't mean that those 25% aren't Belgians, but it's always interesting to show that the proportion is much greater than 50 years ago, and that it will certainly grow."

Italy: First Muslim televangelist show

Italy: First Muslim televangelist show

Via AKI:

Italy's first Muslim televangelist show debuted several weeks ago.  The show, named 'Min al-Dakhil Rumia' (from the Land of the Romans), is broadcast on RTB Brescia and via satellite, and targets European Muslims.  The show is hosted by Imam Abu Ammar al-Sudani, an Italian Muslim preacher and activist.

The imam wants to offer true Islamic television.  Abu Ammar says they started the show in order to talk about the role of Islam in the West and in Italy, from a a social, cultural and religious point of view.  The show also features reports on Italian Muslims from all over the country.

The show is currently funded by Gulf countries.  Abu Ammar says the upcoming episodes will also be sponsored by Italian companies.  The imam says that the first two episodes were received well, and that he got congratulatory phone calls from Morocco, Egypt and France.  

France: Hollande's Algerian advisers

France: Hollande's Algerian advisers

Via The North Africa Journal:
In Rabat, the Moroccan government showed no significant worries as François Hollande was declared the winner of the Presidential race. However, we picked up some signs of concerns as usually Morocco finds a more open-door policy among France’s right wing leaders and lot less accommodating Socialists.

(...)

Also a point of concern for the Moroccans is the people who surround François Hollande, in particular his high-powered political adviser Faouzi Lamdaoui, a native of the eastern Algerian city of Constantine. Read this associated analysis on the “Rise of North Africans in French Politics.” 

Finland: Attitudes towards immigrants soften

Finland: Attitudes towards immigrants soften


Via YLE:
A new think tank report suggests that Finnish attitudes towards immigrants have become a little more open in recent years, after a spike in negative viewpoints at the end of the last decade.

The EVA pro-market think tank found in their latest survey that although attitudes have eased, Finns are still more likely to have a negative than receptive attitude towards immigrants.
 (...)

Nearly half of all Finns consider immigration to be a culturally enriching phenomenon. On the other hand, every other Finn believes that a tentative stance towards foreigners is "wise caution" rather than racism.(source)

(source)

UK: Al-Qaeda bomb plot foiled by British double agent

UK: Al-Qaeda bomb plot foiled by British double agent

Via The Telegraph:
He was recommended by a close relative who was trusted by leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the network's Yemeni wing, according to US intelligence.

His British passport made him attractive as a recruit for a suicide mission as he would be able to board a flight to America under the visa-waiver programme.

But AQAP strategists were persuaded that he was a true believer willing to blow himself up on a plane to the US by what they believed to be his reliable family roots.

The mole, who has been moved with his family to a country outside the Middle East under Western intelligence protection, was reportedly born in the region, but grew up Europe and had British citizenship. 
(source)

Ireland: Becoming a hub for Islamic finance

Ireland: Becoming a hub for Islamic finance

Via thejournal.ie:
Ireland is one of many countries which has begun to look at Islamic finance as a way to help rebuild the financial services sector. Already Ireland is a base for 20 per cent of Islamic funds based outside of the Middle East, and the plan is to expand that even further.

“To someone like myself who has no particular expertise in the area, Islamic finance looks like a good fit for Ireland,” Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told an audience during a speech last month.

Belgium: Moroccan Expatriates to Back Development Initiatives at Home

Belgium: Moroccan Expatriates to Back Development Initiatives at Home

Via StarAfrica:
IOM and the Belgian Embassy in Rabat have signed an agreement to launch an innovative project aimed at encouraging Moroccans living in Belgium to start businesses back home in Morocco.

The EUR 1.2 million, two-year programme seeks to encourage Moroccan expatriates to invest their savings, knowledge and expertise into the setting up of private ventures that will further the development of impoverished regions in the north and east of the country.  
(source)

Denmark: Islam debate cooling down

Denmark: Islam debate cooling down

Via Aftenposten:

Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports that the Islam debate in Denmark has calmed down. The newspaper totaled the media usage of twelve words common in the immigration debate.  For example, 'Muslim' was used in 38% fewer articles and letters to the editor in 2011 than in 2001.  Usage of the word fell by 68% compared to 2006, the height of the Mohammed cartoon crisis .  'Fundamentalist', 'imam', 'halal' and 'Danishness' were also used less than a decade ago.

Culture-sociologist Mehmet Ümit Necef (University of Southern Denmark), thinks the debate cooled down because there's political agreement on the main issues.  "The sharply drawn fronts which existed in the immigration debate, fell apart," he says. 

The United Council of Muslims is happy about the figures and and thinks they show greater understanding for the situation of immigrants.

Germany: Malaysians to bring Islamic investment



Germany: Malaysians to bring Islamic investment


Via DW:
Islamic investing represents a 1.2 trillion-euro market. Now one Malaysian firm wants to bring the trend to Germany. Others have tried and failed before, so it could be a struggle.

Confident and professional, the female chief executive of Malaysia-based CIMB-Principal recently gave a press conference in Frankfurt about the only registered Islamic investment fund in Germany.

With uncovered hair, red lipstick and silver earrings, Noripah Kamso said, "I want to share the new i-word with you. It doesn't stand for iPad, iPhone or inflation–but for Islamic banking."
(source)

UK: Muslim leaders warn of far right exploitation of Rochdale child sex case

UK: Muslim leaders warn of far right exploitation of Rochdale child sex case


Via the Guardian:
Muslim groups say they have seen an upsurge in hate mail and abusive phone calls since the trial ended this week and community leaders are bracing themselves for more Islamophobic attacks on individual Muslims and mosques across the UK.

"We are already receiving hate mail and hate phone calls even though we issued a very strong statement condemning those involved," said a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain. "If it can happen to MCB, you can just imagine what ordinary Muslims are facing as they go about their day-to-day business."

(source)

Sweden: City slammed for 'special treatment' of Muslim kids

Sweden: City slammed for 'special treatment' of Muslim kids

Via the Local:
A Swedish school district has sparked outrage for striking a deal with local Muslim groups ensuring Muslim students can skip out on overnight class trips and Muslim girls don't have to be naked when showering at school.

UK: Muslim woman scared secret boyfriend would send explicit pictures to her devout parents cried rape

UK: Muslim woman scared secret boyfriend would send explicit pictures to her devout parents cried rape

Via the Daily Mail:
A Muslim woman who pretended she was raped by her boyfriend, leading to his prolonged torture by a gang, because she thought he would show explicit photos of her to her devout parents has been jailed.

Sonia Begum, 21, had complained to her cousin Shahen Ahmed, 21, that the man had sexually assaulted her.

Ahmed then rounded up a gang who kidnapped and set fire to the 22-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Germany: Cop suspended for radical Islamist beliefs

Germany: Cop suspended for radical Islamist beliefs

via the Local (h/t Jihad Watch):
Western German police chiefs have suspended an officer after they discovered he belonged to a branch of Salafist Muslim fundamentalists, and had been distributing radical religious material, it was reported on Tuesday.

“Disciplinary action is underway, with the aim to dismiss the man from the police force,” North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Ralf Jäger confirmed on Tuesday. It is the first time a policeman has been suspended for radical beliefs in Germany.

The head of the Essen police force told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that the suspended officer does not believe in the German constitution, which is required of police officers - rather he holds Islamic law to be paramount. When questioned by state security if he lived under Islamic law, he said only that “what he believed privately was his business.”

(source)

Germany: "Germany will not allow anybody to impose religious wars on us"

Germany: "Germany will not allow anybody to impose religious wars on us"

Via Reuters:
Germany is considering a legal ban on ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim groups, its interior minister said on Wednesday after violent clashes with the police, one of which was provoked by German ultra-rightists.

(...)

"We will use all the possibilities at the disposal of a constitutional state to oppose them (violent Salafists) wherever they fight against... our constitutional order," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told n-tv television.

"Germany will not allow anybody to impose religious wars on us, neither radical Salafists nor far-right parties such as the Pro NRW," he said, referring to the ultra-nationalist that clashed with the Salafists in Bonn.  
(source)

Italy: Urban warfare as Tunisian, Albanian gangs clash

Italy: Urban warfare as Tunisian, Albanian gangs clash

Via AKI:
Police have arrested two Tunisians after urban warfare broke out late Tuesday in the central city of Perugia between gangs of immigrants when a North African was stabbed.

The two Tunisians face charges of resisting arrest and of causing damage when gangs of immigrants ran amok, smashing store windows and overturning rubbish bins in one of Perugia's main shopping streets.

Witnesses reported hearing several shots being fired around midnight, shortly before the North African was stabbed in the stomach and the head. 
(source)

Germany: Foreigners can’t pick new German names, court rules

Germany: Foreigners can’t pick new German names, court rules

Via Reuters:
A German court has refused to allow a family to shed their “foreign-sounding” names for new German ones they said would protect them from discrimination and aid integration into a country becoming attractive for immigrants.

The family, living in Germany under asylum after fleeing Azerbaijan, were given the opportunity to take on German versions of their names, some of which carry Islamic associations, the administrative court in Goettingen, in the state of Lower Saxony, said in a document.

But the family refused this offer, wanting instead to pick completely new German names with the goal of preventing any discrimination in finding work that could arise from an overly complicated spelling or connection to Islam. 
(source)

Sweden: 'Immigrant kids need more schooling'

Sweden: 'Immigrant kids need more schooling'

Via the Local:
The Swedish government has revealed a new directive aimed at improving immigrant students’ education and integration into Sweden, revolving around longer compulsory schooling and a shift in lesson priorities.

(...)

Key issues regarding these foreign students, who make up nine percent of Sweden’s primary school student population, revolved around how to integrate the children and raise the quality of their education by considering lesson priorities and additional compulsory schooling.

“For recently arrived children, schooling is the key to integration. Students today are older when they come to Sweden. It puts greater demands on the Swedish schools that receive them,” wrote the government in the statement.

Only 63 percent of the foreign-born students passed their final high school exams in 2010, a trend the government indicated is worsening. 
(source)

Belgium: 1.3 million immigrant voters

Belgium: 1.3 million immigrant voters

Via Knack:

According to sociologist Jan Hertogen, about 1.3 million immigrants will participate in the next municipal elections.  They are required by law to vote because they were naturalized (1.1. million) or because they signed up for the elections (0.2 million).  In total they make up 16.7% of the voters: 9.8% in Flanders, 18.1% in Wallonia and 62.3% in the Brussels Region.  In Antwerp they make up 36.3% of the voters, in Ghent 25.8% and in Mechelen 22.8%.

Belgium: Moroccans upset at immigrant 'starter kit'

Belgium: Moroccans upset at immigrant 'starter kit'

Via HLN:

The Moroccan community is upset at Flemish Minister Geert Bourgeois. "In his new 'starter kit' for migrants he portrays Moroccans as stupid beasts," says actor Noureddine Farihi.  "The brochure and accompanying video are patronizing and full of prejudices."  Bourgeois says it's unjustified criticism.  "The majority of them happen to be very ignorant of our norms and values."

"It is forbidden to hurt someone mentally or physically, including your partner or children."  That is just one of the many remarkable - and for Moroccans, offensive - sentences from the new 'Starterskit Migrating to Flanders'.

UK: The truth about 'Asian sex gangs'


UK: The truth about 'Asian sex gangs'

Via the Guardian:
In January 2011 the Times proclaimed a "conspiracy of silence" around groups of Pakistani men sexually exploiting white British girls. Political correctness and fear of appearing racist had trumped child protection, the paper claimed.

Soon the terms "Pakistani" and "Asian" were being conflated, much to the disgruntlement of other British Asians and a heated media debate ensued around the "Asian sex gang" problem.

Switzerland: Swiss residents join jihad groups

Switzerland: Swiss residents join jihad groups

Via Swiss Info:
Several Swiss residents last year travelled abroad to join jihadist terrorist groups, the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) said on Tuesday, noting that an increase in jihad-motivated travel had been observed generally across Europe.

Releasing its annual report on Switzerland’s security situation, FIS said it was aware of several former Swiss residents who are currently in “a jihad area like Somalia or Afghanistan/Pakistan in order to take part in hostilities”.

However, the report said that while an increase in jihad-motivated travel movements had been observed across Europe – including in Switzerland – last year, the number of cases remained small, making it difficult to determine if there had been an increase in travel specifically from Switzerland. 
(source)

Amsterdam: Moroccan woman attacked in racist incident

Amsterdam: Moroccan woman attacked in racist incident

Via Parool h/t NRP:

A pregnant Moroccan woman out walking with her Surinamese boyfriend was attacked March 26th.  The attackers, five Moroccans in their twenties, followed the couple, and called the woman a 'nigger whore'.  Her boyfriend responded, which led to a fight.  The woman was also pushed, beaten and kicked.

The attackers were arrested and the woman was treated in hospital.  Her injuries seemed light, but a week later she went into premature labor and the baby did not survive.

Malmo: Man charged with shooting immigrants

Malmo: Man charged with shooting immigrants

Via the BBC:
A Swedish man accused of shooting immigrants in the city of Malmo has been charged with three accounts of murder and 12 accounts of attempted murder.

Peter Mangs, 40, was arrested following a tip-off from a member of the public and months of investigation.

Chief prosecutor Solveig Wollstad says the motive for the attacks is not clear but most of the victims had a foreign background.

The suspect denies any wrongdoing. 
(source)

Netherlands: Get rid of that 'allochtoon' word, advisory group tells government

Netherlands: Get rid of that 'allochtoon' word, advisory group tells government

Via Dutch News:
The government should stop categorising the population of the Netherlands according to ethnicity and parental birth places, according to the government's advisory group on social development RMO, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Concepts such as niet-westerse allochtoon (literally non-western non-native) should be scrapped. Instead local councils should only record the birth place of the person concerned, rather than that of their parents, the RMO says.
(source)

France: 93% of Muslims voted for Hollande

France: 93% of Muslims voted for Hollande

Via La Vie:

According to a poll by OpinionWay and Fiducial for Le Figaro, 93% of Muslims voted for Hollande.  7% voted for Sarkozy.  The poll was conducted May 6th among 1000 voters.

According to the polling agency, there are about 2 million Muslim voters.  59% of Muslims voted for Hollande in the first round.  23% voted for  Jean-Luc Melenchon (Left Front) and 7% voted for François Bayrou (Democratic Movement).  Sarkozy got 4% of the Muslim vote in the first round.

North Rhine-Westphalia: Gov't wants ban on Muhammad cartoons

North Rhine-Westphalia: Gov't wants ban on Muhammad cartoons

Via Parool:

The government of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to curtail the display of the Danish Muhammad cartoons.  Minister of the Interior Ralf Jäger (SPD) said he hoped such a ban will stand up in court.

This after a Pro NRW demonstration in Bonn displaying Muhammad cartoons led to violent clashes between police and Salafists.  Pro NRW also held demonstrations outside mosques in Aachen and Leverkusen, with calm counter-demonstrations.

France: Two elderly Muslims attacked on their way to morning prayers

France: Two elderly Muslims attacked on their way to morning prayers

Via France Soir:

Two elderly Muslims were beaten up on their way to the mosque in the northern town of Amiens.

The attack occurred early Saturday morning, when the two victims, ages 70 and 71, were on their way to morning prayers.  They were accosted by two men with short haircuts who said they were part of the extreme right.  The men were admitted to the hospital with injuries to their legs and ribs.

Germany: Foreign Minister calls for international campaign against Internet terrorism

Germany: Foreign Minister calls for international campaign against Internet terrorism

Via AFP:
Germany's foreign minister on Friday called for international efforts to eradicate "virtual hiding places" for terrorists who use the internet to plan attacks.

Speaking at a UN Security Council debate on terrorism, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "The Internet is increasingly abused by terrorist groups for incitement and recruitment."

He highlighted a case in Germany where an extremist group had used the internet "unnoticed for many years" to "plan vicious attacks and recruit supporters." 
(source)

Belgium: Belgium's integration problem

Belgium: Belgium's integration problem


Via New Europe:
In Europe, and especially in Belgium, most Muslims are part of the underclass. As immigrants, most have come from underdeveloped nations, many as economic and political refugees. As such, they have often lacked the skills necessary for success in the labour market. That reality, combined with discrimination by the native population, has led to sub-average economic conditions for Europe’s Muslims.

Austria: Kurz tackles immigration at school level

Austria: Kurz tackles immigration at school level

Via the Austrian Times:
Integration Secretary Sebastian Kurz, 26, was at the ministry of interior affairs this week discussing with educationalists whether schools were failing in their mission of integration.

(...)

Going further, he stated how: ‘In the capital, the percentage of people of migrant stock rises to 39%. Vienna like many other European capitals has 150 languages spoken in its schools. At primary school level, one in two pupils is of a migration background, mostly from the Balkans and Turkey.

Under the motto, ‘Integration through achievement’, the question of language was a major theme as schools are frequently the last bastions of community in urban settings. Some Viennese schools in districts like Brigitenau and Ottakring have a migrant intake that is over 80%. 
(source)

Belgium: Homophobic murder might be xenophobic hate crime as well

Belgium: Homophobic murder might be xenophobic hate crime as well

Update to this story: Belgium: Moroccan killed in first homophobic murder


VRT news reports as follows:
The four suspects have all been apprehended. Just like the victim, all four are of foreign descent. Three have a Belgian passport, one a Turkish passport. According to the suspects, the victim "made advances".

The judicial authorities were hesitant about the homophobic motives at first, but later during the day they changed the charges after a fourth suspect confessed that they "wanted to teach the man a lesson", Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
The four suspects are Eric Parmentier, Jeremy Wintgens, Jonathan Lekeut and Mutlu Kiziaslan. Based on their names, the suspects might be of 'foreign descent', but they are not Muslim (with the possible exclusion of the Turkish suspect).  The family thinks the murderers were both homophobic and xenophobic.

Bonn: Salafists clash with police over Muhammad cartoon protest (UPDATED)

Bonn: Salafists clash with police over Muhammad cartoon protest


Salafists in Bonn clashed with police on Saturday after a Pro-NRW protest displaying anti-Islam cartoons.  29 police agents were injured, and over 100 people were arrested.

Update: Video was mistakenly dropped from original post. English-language report: AGI.

Italy: 70, 000 converted to Islam

Italy: 70, 000 converted to Islam

Via AGI:
According to Ucoi (the Union of Islamic communities in Italy) about 70,000 Italians converted to Islam, a real boom of conversions heightened by the crisis of values but also by the economic crisis in Italy, as Elzir Izzedine commented during the Youtube programme KlausCondicio, by the anchorman Klaus Davi, who is carrying out a report on the Italians espousing Islam.
(source)

Ireland: Al-Qaeda targeting Irish for conversion

Ireland: Al-Qaeda targeting Irish for conversion

Via the Irish Examiner:
Details of the plan emerged in a letter from American al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn to an unidentified recipient. The correspondence was found in the house in Pakistan where al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was shot dead by US forces last year.

(...)

Germany: loner terrorists are greatest threat

Germany: loner terrorists are greatest threat

Via the Associated Press:
Germany's top security official said Friday the greatest terror threat to the country no longer stems from big networks like al-Qaida but from small, independent terrorist cells or "lone wolf" perpetrators.

Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told The Associated Press that terrorist activities by Muslim extremist organizations have evolved to be decentralized, making their activities harder to track for authorities.

"What worries us" is that there will likely also be more lone wolf attackers who are not directly connected to a major terror group but have radicalized themselves, often through propaganda available online, he said. "There will likely be more of them because the Islamists' propaganda networks seem to be further gearing up."
(source)

UK: 'Wrong perception of Islam big challenge for Muslims’

UK: 'Wrong perception of Islam big challenge for Muslims’

Via the Daily Times:
The core challenge that Muslim community is facing at the United Kingdom was the wrong perception of the Islam prevalent among British and other communities,” said United Kingdom Islamic Mission (UKIM) chief Dr Zahid Pervez.

Dr Pervez, who was recently on a visit to Pakistan, said this while exclusively talking to Daily Times, at a local hotel.

He said, “To combat the issue, we availed all chances to interact other communities on various dialogue forums so as to convince them that the Islam is a religion of peace and harmony, and we got very positive impacts of measures in that direction. He said that Muslim community was playing a vital role in the UK. They were contributing in business, services sector and even armed and law enforcement agencies.  
(source)

Kenya: Belgian, German seized over suspected terror links

Kenya: Belgian, German seized over suspected terror links


Via the Daily Nation:
Police in Lamu have arrested two foreigners suspected to be members of the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Lamu East police boss Samuel Obara on Wednesday said the Tunisian born men were Belgian and German citizens.
(source)

Muslims upset as Wilders promotes new book

A spokesperson for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed dismay at the publication of Wilders' new book,  “Marked for Death: Islam's War Against the West and Me." According to the OIC's website, "the new book is nothing but a repetition of Mr. Wilders campaign of hate mongering against Islam in abusing of his right of freedom of expression. Suffice it to say that his activities have been denounced and disavowed by the Dutch Government, Dutch Parliament, the European Parliament as well as the Council of Europe."
(source)

From the Net: Illegal immigrant plotted suicide bombing in Sweden, court hears

An illegal immigrant plotted to carry out a terrorist attack with a suicide bomber on a busy street in Sweden, a British court heard yesterday.
(source)

France: Islam in election debate


France: Islam in election debate


Hollande: No special treatment for Muslims
Mr Hollande, meanwhile, took a similar position to Mr Sarkozy when it came to special treatment for France's large Muslim community.

He said he would not allow separate menus in public cafeterias or separate hours in swimming pools for men and women to satisfy Muslims' demands, and also said he would firmly support France's ban on the face-covering Islamic veils.
(source)


Sarkozy: There must be an Islam "of" France and not an Islam "in" France
Sarkozy's first mention of Islam comes during a row over the left's plans to give the right to vote to non-European foreigners in municipal elections

Why do you think that non-Europeans are Muslims? Why do you say that? Why do you say people who aren't European are Muslim? asks Hollande.

Sarkozy says the right to vote for foreigners, doesn't mean Canadians, or Norwegians, but North Africans, sub-Saharan Africans, Algerians...

You're making a link with a religious identity, says Hollande.

Sarkozy warns against tribalism, citing Islam, accuses Hollande of ignoring the "reality" of the high-rise estates. He says there must be an Islam "of" France and not an Islam "in" France. Sarkozy vaunts his own ban on the niqab in France.
(source)

Admin: "In Other News" (updated)


From now on, my "In Other News" posts will be posted on my blog.  The main advantage: you can now comment on these news items as well.

There are still a few problems to work out.  I'll continue tinkering with it, and will be glad for any comments or suggestions.

Updated: I managed to separate the two feeds: one for the regular blog posts and one for the "in other news" posts.   However, I don't see a way to do this for the GoogleGroups email subscribers. 

German probe opened after Salafist clashes: police

German authorities said Wednesday they had opened a probe against 81 people after violent clashes between ultra-conservative Muslims and police outside a rally by a far-right party.

A police spokesman said 44 members of the Islamic Salafist community and another 37 people who had gathered outside a mosque in the western town of Solingen for a counter-demonstration were questioned and released.(source)

From the Net: Islamists demand 45 mln euros for hostages


An Al-Qaeda splinter group wants a total of 45 million euros in ransoms for two European women aid workers and seven Algerian diplomats taken hostage, the group's spokesman said Wednesday.(source)

From the Net: Libya seeks extradition of Kadhafi aide from France


Libya's ruling National Transitional Council on Wednesday urged France to extradite a former regime official implicated in a letter agreeing to fund the French president's 2007 election campaign.
(source)

London: Muslim voters in fraud row 'forgot how they signed registration forms'

London: Muslim voters in fraud row 'forgot how they signed registration forms'

Via the Evening Standard:
A senior official at Tower Hamlets has rejected allegations of postal vote fraud — claiming Muslim voters simply forgot how they signed registration forms.

Isabella Freeman, borough legal chief, spoke in a bid to explain a spike in rejected ballots following a by-election. The Met has launched an investigation into claims of voter fraud.

Today the £120,000-a-year monitoring officer was accused of failing to “face up to reality” and accept voter fraud is on her doorstep — ahead of tomorrow’s London-wide elections for the next Mayor and the 25-seat London Assembly. Asked about an increase in rejected postal votes from 10 per cent to 14 per cent, Ms Freeman said this was because “voters have forgotten how they signed the registered application in the first place ... this is not unusual in relation to Muslim voters.”

The council would not comment on whether she was referring to language problems, or the use of different surnames within the local community.
(source)

Norway: Anti-racists criticise musician

Norway: Anti-racists criticise musician

Via the Foreigner:
Norwegian NGOs are censuring singer-songwriter Hans Rotmo for being immigrant and Muslim-hostile following release of his new composition.

Mr Rotmo’s song, ‘Vi fra andre’, is allegedly a pastiche on a poem by Norwegian writer Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845) from 1841 called ‘Vi ere en Nation, vi med’, which advocates 17th May – Norway’s National Day – should also be for children.

However, the connections with Wergeland’s work become more clouded in the singer-songwriter’s version. Norwegian Centre Against Racism director Kari Helene Partapuoli thinks the text is mostly in “extremely bad taste” and “malicious at times.”

“The entire text is based on quite a few simplistic prejudices against immigrants and Muslims in Norway,” she tells Adresseavisen, “it is a cheerful mixture of misguided xenophobia and incorrect assumptions about the Muslim revolution.”
(source)

Netherlands: Dutch to ditch burqa ban

Netherlands: Dutch to ditch burqa ban


Via RNW:
Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies says the burqa ban she helped prepare can be scrapped along with a proposed ban on holding dual citizenship.

Now that the cabinet’s fallen, she "wouldn’t shed a tear" if parliament were to scrap the controversial Freedom Party-sponsored bill. "Now that the cabinet’s fallen, there’s no longer any payoff," she told national daily de Volkskrant on Wednesday.
(source)

Scotland: Forced marriage campaign targets mosques

Scotland: Forced marriage campaign targets mosques

Via the BBC:
A Muslim scholar has launched a groundbreaking campaign against forced marriage in Scotland.

Shaykh Amer Jamil says the practice has no place in Islam.

During the next few weeks leaflets and sermons are being given in mosques as part of an initiative to educate the community.

"In the Muslim community there's a misconception amongst some people that religion allows this, that parents have an Islamic right to choose partner of their children, and that they don't have a choice in this," says the Glasgow-based Imam.

(source)

Macedonia: radical Islamists for lake murders



Macedonia: radical Islamists for lake murders

Via EurActiv:
Police in Macedonia arrested 20 people yesterday (1 May), including radical Islamists who reportedly fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, for the murder of five men at a lake near the capital Skopje in mid-April.

On 13 April five slain Macedonian fishermen were discovered beside a lake at the village of Smiljkovci north of Skopje. Four of the victims were in their late teens or early 20s. The fifth was a man in his 40s.

Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska said 20 people had been arrested in raids involving 800 police officers at more than 20 locations around the capital. Some would be charged with terrorism, and that the motive behind the attack had been "to spread fear", Jankulovska said. Most of those arrested were Macedonian citizens, she added.
(source)

Germany:Police arrest 30 Salafists after clashes

Germany:Police arrest 30 Salafists after clashes



Police spokeswoman Anja Meis said a group of Salafists protesting against a far-right march threw stones and attacked officers separating the two rallies in the western German city of Solingen Tuesday. Three policemen and a passer-by were injured. (source)

Serbia: One dead in Pakistani-Afghan clash

Serbia: One dead in Pakistani-Afghan clash

Via B92:
A man was murdered in the early hours of Tuesday near Subotica in a fight that broke out between two groups of illegal immigrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(...)
According to the newspaper's source with the Serbian police (MUP), both groups were hiding on a farm near the northern Serbian town when the Pakistanis attacked the Afghans.

After this, the Afghans reportedly decided to retaliate, with the incident resulting in the murder.

(source)

Chechnya: Women in mortal fear as president backs Islamic honor killings

Chechnya: Women in mortal fear as president backs Islamic honor killings

Via The Washington Times (h/t Jihad Watch):
Chechnya's government is openly approving of families that kill female relatives who violate their sense of honor, as this Russian republic embraces a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam after decades of religious suppression under Soviet rule.

In the past five years, the bodies of dozens of young Chechen women have been found dumped in woods, abandoned in alleys and left along roads in the capital, Grozny, and neighboring villages.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov publicly announced that the dead women had “loose morals” and were rightfully shot by male relatives. He went on to describe women as the property of their husbands, and said their main role is to bear children.

“If a woman runs around and if a man runs around with her, both of them should be killed,” said Mr. Kadyrov, who often has stated his goal of making Chechnya “more Islamic than the Islamists.”
(source)

Flanders: Muslims upset at Danni Lowinski episode

Flanders: Muslims upset at Danni Lowinski episode


Via HBvL (h/t RR):

A recent episode of the Danni Lowinski series upset Muslims in Flanders.  In the episode, a Turkish girl wanted help as she was being forced to marry her cousin.  One of the characters, bicycle dealer Fuat, said: 'The Koran says that singles MUST marry.'

Columnist Bahattin Kocak: "It's not in the Koran!  This is fiction, but I think it's a pity that something like that is proclaimed as truth.  This way a million viewers, of whom just a minority know the Koran, get a negative opinion about its content."

VTM apologized if they didn't always show 'a nuanced image of the Turkish community'.  The broadcaster stressed that Danni Lowinski is a fictional show which exaggerates issues, people and problems.

UK: Cardiff Councillor in racism blast at Border Agency

UK: Cardiff Councillor in racism blast at Border Agency

Via Wales Online (h/t Euro-Islam.info):
A Cardiff councillor has levelled an astonishing broadside at the UK Border Agency by accusing the authority of “indirect racism”.

Riverside councillor Mohammed Islam claims officers have targeted businesses in his ward following an incident last year where another councillor passed a constituent’s tip-off to officials.

Coun Islam, who has represented the ward since June 2004, claims UKBA is “basically going to every single Asian and ethnic minority business” in the area to check whether staff are legally entitled to work.
(source)

Spain scraps health benefits for illegal immigrants

Spain scraps health benefits for illegal immigrants

Via AFP:
Spain takes pride in its universal health care but Europe's debt crisis has spurred tough budget cuts that will bring sometimes life-saving treatment for illegal immigrants to an abrupt end.

(...)

Among illegal immigrants, only children, pregnant women and emergency cases will qualify for free treatment.

"This will only put Spain on a par with other European Union countries," according to Health Minister Ana Mato.

The measure will leave half a million illegal immigrants who have been counting on Spain's health coverage with no safety net, and several organisations have been sounding alarm bells.


(source)

Germany: Al-Qaeda plans buried in porn





Germany: Al-Qaeda plans buried in porn

Via CNN:
On May 16 last year, a 22-year-old Austrian named Maqsood Lodin was being questioned by police in Berlin. He had recently returned from Pakistan via Budapest, Hungary, and then traveled overland to Germany. His interrogators were surprised to find that hidden in his underpants were a digital storage device and memory cards.

Buried inside them was a pornographic video called "Kick Ass" -- and a file marked "Sexy Tanja."

Several weeks later, after laborious efforts to crack a password and software to make the file almost invisible, German investigators discovered encoded inside the actual video a treasure trove of intelligence -- more than 100 al Qaeda documents that included an inside track on some of the terror group's most audacious plots and a road map for future operations.

Future plots include the idea of seizing cruise ships and carrying out attacks in Europe similar to the gun attacks by Pakistani militants that paralyzed the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008. Ten gunmen killed 164 people in that three-day rampage.

Terrorist training manuals in PDF format in German, English and Arabic were among the documents, too, according to intelligence sources.
(source)

Greece : Rise of far right worries mainstream

Greece : Rise of far right worries mainstream





Via AP:
Firmly on the fringe of the right since it first appeared 20 years ago, Golden Dawn garnered a meager 0.23 percent in the 2009 elections. Now, it looks set to easily win more than the 3 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament, with recent opinion polls showing support at about 5 percent.

The party has a barely veiled sinister side, and has been blamed for vicious attacks on immigrants. Members skirt questions about violence, saying they have no knowledge of such incidents.

"We don't do anything, we protect the Greeks," said Epaminondas Anyfantis, a mild-mannered, 59-year-old candidate who looks the antithesis of many of the young, muscled and shaven-headed members. "Now, if in protecting the Greeks, a foreigner might get a slap or a kick or something, I think that's in the framework of the protection of the Greeks. ... Because unfortunately the Greeks at the moment have come to the point of asking Golden Dawn for protection."
(...)
Immigrants are increasingly concerned.

"We are worried very much," said Javed Aslam, the head of the Pakistani community in Greece, during a recent anti-racist demonstration. "This is very bad. You can imagine one political party with weapons, with knives, they are going out in the roads, and this is politics? This is not politics!"

(source)