Moroccan media report a boy was killed in Melilla by Spanish police. Via Middle East Online:
A 16 year old boy was killed during a protest against unemployment in the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, where dozens of demonstrators and Spanish security forces were wounded, according to a Spanish source.
The source said Spanish security forces fired on a 16 year old teenager named Younis during a demonstration that swept the city and caused considerable material damage.
According to the Moroccan media, the boy is a Muslim Moroccan. Spanish authorities say nobody was killed (ES) in the protests. They also point out that the Melilla riots started at the same time as very similar protests in the Western Sahara, currently occupied by Morocco, and that earlier this week the Moroccans killed a 14 year old there.
Police in Gothenburg arrested four men Saturday, who supposedly planned to detonate a bomb in the city that day. The men are all Syrian family-members (SE): Two brothers (28 and 33 years old), their cousin (39) and their uncle (48). All four are married with children, and had come to Sweden about 20 years ago. The two brothers are highly educated, the other two run their own service company. On Fridays they all go together to the Gårdsten mosque.
A few days ago Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People's Party (DPP), criticized Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen in an opinion piece in Berlingske Tidende. Pia Kjærsgaard said that the government's new plan against the ghetto problem is avoiding the basic element of Islam.
No comment from the Swedish minister for Swedes abroad.
Turkey's government accuses Prime Minister Mark Rutte of discriminating Turks in the Netherlands for opposing cabinet ministers with a dual Dutch-Turkish nationality.
In an interview with the newspaper De Volkskrant, Turkish minister Faruk Çelik criticises Prime Minister Rutte for remarks he made during the parliamentary debate on the government policy statement earlier this week.
The prime minister argued they are different cases. He claimed Turkey and Morocco "influence their citizens", which could lead to conflicting loyalties, whereas Sweden, a member of the European Union, does not.
Mr Çelik, who is responsible for Turks abroad, told De Volkskrant he did "not see how such a discriminatory remark fostered the integration of foreigners in the Netherlands". "The right to vote", the Turkish minister empasises, "and be chosen are fundamental human rights".
Demands that Muslim groups do more to assimilate in Europe are worsening ethnic tensions and aggravating the problems they are meant to solve, a top human rights official said on Thursday in a veiled warning to Germany and the Netherlands.
"The diverse groups of Muslims are now blamed by politicians in some countries for not 'assimilating'.
"However ... anti-Muslim bigotry has in fact become a major obstacle to respectful relationships," Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg wrote.
The Dutch Labor party (PvdA) says that the headscarf policy in the Gerrit Rietveld College, a secondary-school in Utrecht, is too strict. The Party turned to the Education Alderman after students complained they were inspected with a ruler.
In June the school introduced dress regulations, one of which says that headscarves are permitted, but should leave 90% of the face visible.
The students say that the atmosphere in the school is very pressured due to the strict inspections. PvdA councillor Gadiza Bouazani says that measuring the headscarf with a ruler is going too far, and that they understand the agitation of the students and parents.
Bouazani and classmates say that one student was banished from class since she refused to move her headscarf. Rector Tjeerd Talsma told AD that the student left the school for her own reasons, since she didn't want to participate in class. The school is helping her find another school. Talsma doesn't understand the agitation. Many other secondary schools ban headscarves. The school is simply going by the norm for passport photos.
Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)
Immigrant males frequently find it hard to strike up friendships with Finnish men. Such friendships facilitate better integration both for the men themselves and for their families. Helsinki City officials plan to increase programmes targeted at the immigrant male population.
Two organisations aimed at the social empowerment of men, Miessakit and Semo, organise conversation groups which bring together immigrant and Finnish men. Many topical issues are discussed and it is also an opportunity to learn Finnish.
”Here we have the time to talk and exchange views. There isn’t normally time for that at work or college. We can talk about many things here–prejudices disappear and we also get to understand each other’s culture,” says Ali Hussein from Semo.
There are still very few activities for male immigrants in Finland. Such programmes are nevertheless needed, as men’s issues can differ significantly from those of their female counterparts.
The Dutch parliament passed a motion (NL) today saying that the government should 'proclaim in word and deed that fighting Islamization is not a goal of the [gov't] policy." The only parties voting against the motion were the PVV and Christian SGP.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also denies she's anti-Islam. Via The Local:
The Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on Wednesday angered German Chancellor Angela Merkel by provocatively praising her recent attack on multiculturalism.
Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had taken “leadership in the area of Islam criticism,” Wilders told the Dutch parliament.
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, angrily replied to Wilders’ speech by saying that that the Chancellor had in no way expressed “criticism of Islam.”
“That is not true. You cannot interpret the Chancellor as a critic of Islam because she naturally has respect for an important world religion,” Seibert said in Berlin.
Prime minister Mark Rutte told MPs on Wednesday he would have had a different attitude to the dual nationality of one of his junior ministers if she had had a Turkish, rather than a Swedish passport as well as a Dutch one.
There is a difference between Turkey and Sweden because Sweden does not try to interfere with its natives who live abroad. But Turkey, for example, calls up Dutch Turks to do their military service, the prime minister said.
‘But ultimately, the only test is one of loyalty, and she answered positively,’ Rutte said during the second day of debate on the new government’s plans.
Young Muslims in the European Union are not more violent than the majority, according to a report on the findings of a study released Wednesday, which found that discrimination rather than religion fosters violence.
To compare attitudes between Muslim and non-Muslim youths, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) polled a total of 3,000 children in Britain, France and Spain, countries that have experienced terrorist attacks or youth riots in recent years.
Those who are poorer, discriminated against, or are victims of violence were more likely to become violent themselves, regardless of their religious beliefs, the study found.
'However, Muslim youth in our survey reported having experienced more discrimination and social marginalisation than non-Muslim youth,' said Morten Kjaerum, the director of the Vienna-based FRA.
In 2006, there were 5,991 Mohammeds (adding togther 14 variations). In 2008, the Daily Mail counted 7,576, using just 8 variations.
This year, the Daily Mail counted 7,549 for 2009 with 12 different variations. This means there were less 'Mohammeds', but that it placed #1 as a block. The Guardian, on the other hand, only counted 6,255, adding Mohammed (16th place), with Muhammed (36th place) and Mohammad (62nd place), giving the combined 'Mohammeds' a top five spot. And yet.. I don't see how the Daily Mail and Guardian numbers match up, even when I compare the same exact spelling variations.
In other news: Mohammed tops the boys' list in the West Midlands, unaided by other spellings.
The new party is called Svartskalledemokraterna (Svartskalle Democrats, Svartskalle is a derogatory word for non-Western immigrants), which might be the reason why it took a bit of digging to find it.
Following the success in September elections of a far-right populist party in the country, a Swedish immigrant has formed a party working to protect immigrants' interests. The new party is being founded amidst a wave of violent crime against foreigners in the southern city of Malmö last week.
Finland has decided not to regulate male circumcision. A bill legalising the practice has been in the works for seven years, but Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko has decided not to bring it before Parliament.
In Finland circumcisions are carried out for religious purposes by members of the Jewish, Muslim and Tartar communities. Estimates are that currently about 200 operations are performed annually.
While Finnish law classifies female genital mutilation as serious abuse, no legislation has been passed on the practice concerning boys.
A working group under Migration Minister Astrid Thors is now faced with drawing up guidelines on circumcision for public health clinics. The main questions are where circumcisions should be carried out and who should pay.
Dutch Labour leader Job Cohen and anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders clashed today in parliament during a debate on integration legislation for new immigrants.
Mr Wilders claimed Mr Cohen's Labour Party does nothing to tackle immigrants who show a "half-hearted attitude" towards the mandatory integration course. Mr Cohen said deportation of immigrants who don't fully participate in the course should be a last resort and that the current system of fining those who fail to attend the courses should be given a chance first.
Mr Wilders then took a hard line with the Labour leader. "If you don't want to integrate, turn to Mr Cohen. He'll say: 'Just pay a small fine, then go back to your lazy bed.' The Freedom Party and the cabinet want to implement the ultimate sanction, one that's only reasonable. If you want to go back to sleep instead of attending your integration course, then you'll not merely have to get out of bed, you'll have to get out of the country," the PVV leader said.
Refugees and immigrants from non-Western countries wouldn't be allowed to get public housing in the 29 neighborhoods designed as ghettos by the government, according to the most important initiative in the government's new plan "The ghetto back to society".
The government wants to change the population composition in the ghettos by forcing municipalities to find housing for refugees and immigrants from outside the EU and Scandinavia, outside the ghettos.
Some people in the taxi business report young immigrant women and jeopardize their safety.
"Our experience is that many of the girls are afraid to take a taxi. They say that the family works in the taxi business. If the women are seen in the city, it's reported back to the family," Gunnar Svensson of the Oslo police told NRK.
Svensson is the police representative in the government's team against forced marriages. He knows of 1,5000 cases in recent years where young women escaped forced marriages or honor-related violence.
"We have examples of girls who left the family, and got a phone call from family abroad who know where the women are," says Svensson.
In some cases the police advises the women to keep away from taxis. "In cases where people are exposed to threats, our advice is not to take a taxi. It's simply a security risk," says Svensson.
A Danish-Pakistani woman was shot and killed by her brother in Slagelse, Denmark, in 2005. The women was tracked down by a network of Danish-Pakistani taxi drivers after she chose her boyfriend.
Source: VG (Norwegian)
Secret Garden, an organization of Muslim gays and lesbians, says they've received 158 complaints in the past 18 months from gay asylum seekers who have been abused in asylum centers in the Netherlands.
Via the Local:
Ex-members of criminal gangs in Malmö in southern Sweden have taken up the hunt for an unknown gunman thought to be responsible for nearly 20 shootings targeting people with immigrant backgrounds.
According to the local Sydsvenskan newspaper, the former leader of one of the town’s largest criminal networks is among a group of “old friends who have stuck together” and who are now actively looking for the gunman which has left Malmö’s immigrant community gripped with fear.
“He had better hope that we don’t find him first,” a man who referred to himself as “Leo” told the newspaper during an interview in his apartment in the city’s Rosengård neighbourhood.
Asked if they're armed (SE) when they're on patrol, Leo answered: I can't answer that, but you can think for yourself. He's armed and is shooting at people. What should we do, we can't just try to speak with him.
Swiss Muslim groups have taken a first step towards a greater and more united voice in the wake of a shock anti-minaret vote in Switzerland last year, officials said on Monday.
About 20 groups representing the country's disparate Muslim population met over the weekend to discuss forming an umbrella group under the auspices of the official anti-racism watchdog and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation and Europe (OSCE).
"The meeting was a premiere," Doris Angst, executive director of the Federal Commission Against Racism told AFP, although no decisions were taken.
Muslim pupils and parents in France are increasingly making religious demands on the state school system that teachers should rebuff by explaining the country's secular principles, according to an official report.
The High Council for Integration (HCI) reported growing problems with pupils of immigrant backgrounds who object to courses about the Holocaust, the Crusades or evolution, demand halal meals and "reject French culture and its values."
"It is becoming difficult for teachers to resist religious pressures," said the report, published in draft form by the newspaper Journal du Dimanche over the weekend. The final report will be presented to the government next month.
Lors Doukaev, the one-legged Belgian bomber-boxer who was caught in Copenhagen after trying to mail letter bombs to Jyllands Posten, had very close links to big names among the Islamist terror-supporters in Germany. Several of them were recently arrested and charged with recruiting for al-Qaeda.
Moscow's Southeastern District has decided not to build a new mosque in a park after numerous complaints by local residents concerned about the potential increase in traffic and loss of green space, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
"We have looked through the petitions sent by residents and came to the conclusion that there's a possibility to relocate the [location of the planned] mosque," Maria Yermakova, spokeswoman for Moscow's Southeastern District, told RFE/RL. "There's still no information about how and when -- a final decision about the construction of the mosque will be made following public hearings."
CATALUNYA'S regional government is considering banning the burkha in schools, but allowing Muslim girls to continue to wear a hiyab if they wish.
Whilst the burkha covers the entire face – leaving just a thin strip for the eyes – a hiyab only covers wearer's hair and leaves her face on display.
The Generalitat says this is the best possible solution to allow pupils to continue to follow their religious beliefs, but without 'impeding intercommunication between students'.
Politicians say headscarves that cover the entire faces 'make vision and head movement difficult' and can even 'impede hand and arm movements'.
A report from the Immigrant Clinic at Odense University Hospital lists an array of serious problems that have occurred as a result of immigrant patients not getting the interpreting help they need in order to fully understand their treatment process.
The report not only addresses the problem of bad interpreting, but also the fact that immigrant patients do not always get the interpreting help they are entitled to.
“We often see that interpreters have not been present during consultations, examinations and treatment. Immigrants become insecure and don’t know what to do,” Immigrant Clinic Chief Physician Morten Sodemann tells Avisen.dk.
The report says that in some cases, general practitioners have told interpreters to leave the room during consultations because the doctor has felt that the patient’s Danish was good enough – despite protests from the patient. Some interpreters have reported that staff talks to the patient in Danish without using the interpreter.
Netherlands: "If we are at all subjects, we are subjects of Queen Beatrix, not of the Moroccan king"
A group of Dutch citizens of Moroccan descent has formed an organisation which openly distances itself from the Moroccan government and argues in favour of making a clear choice for Dutch citizenship.
Coordinator Abdelghafour Ahalli of the Netwerk Vrijzinnige Marokkaanse Nederlanders (NVMN - Network of free-thinking Moroccan Dutch people) says many Dutch Moroccans feel a stronger bond with the Netherlands than with their country of origin. “If we are at all subjects, we are subjects of Queen Beatrix, not of the Moroccan king”. The group is free-thinking in a religious sense.
A Dutch court ordered a retrial Friday for anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, sending the closely-watched hate speech case back to square one before a whole new panel of judges.
The far-right politician faces charges of inciting hatred against Muslims for many remarks, including some equating Islam with fascism and violence and others calling for a ban on the Quran and a tax on Muslim headscarves.
Wilders accused judges at the Amsterdam District Court of bias and called for their dismissal after they refused to recall a defense witness who wrote on a weblog that a member of an appeals panel directly involved in the case had improperly contacted him.
A hastily convened substitute panel ruled Friday that Wilders' objections were valid, which means the trial that began in January must restart from the beginning with new judges.
Wilders welcomed the decision.
Via The Local:
Police in Malmö issued a warning on Thursday urging residents with immigrant backgrounds to be extra careful when out alone at night or in the evenings.
The warning comes following information released by the police on Wednesday indicating that residents with immigrant backgrounds have been targeted in a number of recent shootings, up to 15 of which the police believe may be related.
Police also cautioned members of the public not to try to intervene if they witness a new shooting.
“You shouldn’t give chase. The first think you should think about is your own safety, then call the police,” J-B Cederholm of the Skåne County police said at a Thursday press conference, according to the Kvällsposten newspaper.
Via Swindon Advertiser:
The chief constable of Wiltshire Police visited a youth group in Swindon last night that encourages young Muslims to be good community leaders.
Brian Moore was at the youth club at the Drove People’s Centre to see for himself the valuable work that is being done there.
Up to 40 young people from the Muslim community, aged between 11 and 17, regularly attend the weekly youth club, with the aim of promoting British citizenship and leadership skills.
Via The Local:
The minister told broadcaster ZDF it was a “sign of respect,” to immigrants, when the German government and employers accepted the value of their professions.
(full show, in Dutch, with some English interviews)
Via CBS News:
German federal prosecutors said Tuesday they have charged eight people with supporting al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations by allegedly spreading propaganda on the Internet.
The suspects, aged between 17 and 30, were members of the German section of the Global Islamic Media Front, the federal prosecutors said. The charges were filed in a Munich court on Sept. 22. There was no immediate word on when a trial might open.
Authorities say the group used blogs and Internet forums to spread propaganda, some of which was aimed at securing new members or supporters for al-Qaida. The alleged offenses were committed between August 2006 and March 2008.
Four of them - German citizens identified only as Tarek Alexander H., Daniel P., Renee Marc S. and Jonas T. - face charges of supporting al-Qaida, al-Qaida in Iraq and Ansar al-Islam, and membership in a criminal organization.
Recently various Turkish and German leaders have been telling Turks to learn German. Turns out speaking German is not the (only) problem.
Via Deutsche Welle:
Germans are embroiled in a debate on how well integration has functioned in the country. Children and teenagers with immigrant backgrounds live and learn side-by-side with Germans - the potential for conflict is huge.
The Saudi Arabian government and wealthy Saudi individuals want to build mosques in Norway for tens of millions. They are legally entitled to do so, according to Norwegian law for financially supporting religious communities, but the large sum means that the government will have to approve the financial support.
The foreign office is not only refusing to approve the funding. In a response to the Tawfiiq Islamic Center, the ministry wrote that it would be 'a paradox and unnatural to approve funding from sources in a country which is not open to religious freedom."
Norwegian Justice Minister Knut Storberget (Ap) is ready with a plan to prevent youth and marginalized people from being recruited by extreme, religious communities. The minister spoke in a debate on religious extremism. The plan includes 30 measures and is based on efforts against Nazi and extreme-right wing communities.
"We need to prevent extremism, and among the means we want to use are the same ones we used against Vigrid and other extreme right-wing communities," Storberget told the NTB news agency. He thinks both communities are ideologically not-nuanced and dogmatic, and rely on being seen publicly to get new members.
"Some of our experiences we got when working against right-wing extremism in southern and eastern Norway will also be useful against extremist religious groups."
The Justice Minister is careful to emphasize that the goal is to prevent recruiting and provide a so-called exit-strategy to people who are entering extremist, religious communities. "We already have a lot of tools for police and law enforcement. It's not where we want to direct measures at now. This is a pure prevention plan," he says.
Storberget highlights the increasing use of 'concern talks', which had good results after the violent demonstrations against Israel's war in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of the year. He also wants to use mediation and police council, which is available in all municipalities, and there will also be public meetings, as well as dialog meetings by the police.
Source: Dagbladet (Norwegian)
See also: Germany: Exit programme for Islamists
Saudi security services warned several days ago about an Al-Qaeda threat to Europe and in particular France, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Sunday.
Several days ago European intelligence agencies received "a new message from the Saudi services which indicated that Al-Qaeda's branch on the Arabian Peninsula was possibly active or planned to be active" and was targeting "the European continent and in particular France", Hortefeux said in a radio and television interview.
"The threat is real and we remain alert," said the minister, adding that France's security threat level remains at one level below the highest level of scarlet.
In the next 40 years, an unprecedented number of women will be in positions of power, Muslim immigration to the West will rise, and office workers will be unchained from their cubicles, a report released last week says.
South America will see sustained economic growth and the Middle East will become "a tangle of religions, sects and ethnicities," says the report by Toffler Associates, a consultancy set up by the author of the 1970s blockbuster "Future Shock."
Christianity will rise rapidly in the global South, while Muslims will migrate in increasing numbers to the West, where their presence will reshape public attitudes and government policies.
Via The Local:
Having seen the disastrous consequences of virulent anti-Semitism firsthand, Germany must lead the fight against Europe’s rising intolerance towards Muslims, writes The Local’s Marc Young.
Pedants never tire of pointing out that the term anti-Semitism should not solely apply to prejudice against Jews, but also other Semitic peoples like the Arabs.
For once, I’m for backing such Semitic semantics in light of the increasingly acrid debate about the integration of Arab and Turkish immigrants in Germany. In recent weeks, it’s become rather apparent that bigotry towards Muslims is Europe’s new anti-Semitism.
Dutch prosecutors have recommended acquitting leading anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on all five charges of hate speech.
They said his comments had targeted Islam, not Muslims, and he had the right to comment on social issues.
The trial will continue next week and judges may still disagree with the prosecution and convict Mr Wilders.
See also: Netherlands: Prosecutors seek acquittal for Koran-Mein Kampf comparison
Via Life in Italy:
Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday urged governments to deal with immigration, saying laws and rules were needed to foster the integration of immigrants in Western countries.
In a message addressed to a meeting of Catholics involved in social issues, the German pope said it was important to work on "programmes and regulations which foster the integration of newcomers".
"The faithful and all men of goodwill are called upon to do their best to eradicate injustice, poverty and conflicts which give many no option but to leave their homes," he said.
Farid Azarkan, chairman of the Cooperation Association of Moroccans in the Netherlands (SNM), wants to meet with Ivo Opstelten, the new minister of Public Safety and Justice, as soon as possible regarding incidents of violence against mosques.
Azarkan says that the Muslims in the Netherlands are getting restless about the graffiti and arson. A mosque in Dordrecht was shot at least week, and there were several cases when dead animals were left next to mosques.
Azarkan says that the politicians should respond with more intensity, as they do when such incidents occur to Jews or gays. He says that Muslims lodge relatively few complaints of arson due to fear of reprisals.
Source: NOS (Dutch)
See also: Netherlands: Moroccans want more attention for discrimination against Moroccans, Muslims
German weekly Focus reports that the German coalition partners, CDU/CSU and FDP want to change the penal code and make forced marriages a criminal offense. Forcing anybody to marry by threat of violence will lead to a prison sentence of six months to five years. Under the current law, such cases are charged as threats coupled with violence, which can also be punished by up to five years in prison.
According to the new law, an immigrant who marries a German citizen will get an independent residence permit after three years, instead of the current two years.
Source: Trouw (Dutch)
* Germany: Teachers to get guidelines on forced marriage
* Germany: Lawmakers wants laws against FGM, forced marriage
The Turks talk about language, but the Germans are worried about values.
Asked whether the growing negative sentiments (DE) against Muslims is endangering the chances of Turkey joining the EU, Gül answered that the EU, with half a billion people, should not fear a country of 60-70 million citizens.
But that's comparing apples to oranges. A country with "60-70 million citizens" (in fact, Turkey has more than 70 million residents) would be the 2nd biggest country in the EU, after Germany. And if German demographics continue the way they're going, Turkey will soon surpass them.
A school of 300 students in the Norwegian town of Tromsø introduced segregated gym and swimming class because of one Muslim student.
The parents of the Muslim students asked the Borgtun school to exempt the girl from gym and swimming due to the family's religious beliefs. In response the school decided to segregate boys and girls for these two classes in that specific grade level, reports Nordlys.
Via the Telegraph:
Opponents of the veil claim it oppresses women and presents a barrier between those who wear traditional dress and the rest of society.
But in a new report from think-tank Civitas, Alveena Malik, a former faith adviser to the last Labour government, said the test of whether religious symbols are appropriate should be based on whether they are practical.
A new study shows that psychological problems in refugees coming to Sweden often go undiagnosed by Swedish authorities. And those psychological problems can lead to physical health issues down the line, say researchers.
Refugees who arrive in Sweden are given a routine health evaluation by The National Board of Health and Welfare. It includes a 30-minute interview which is often conducted through an interpreter. But the interview often isn't enough to uncover afflictions like severe anxiety, depression, or post traumatic stress disorder. More than 50 percent of those interviewed had considerable anxiety, the study claims.
Mr Wilders' Freedom Party isn't officially part of the new cabinet - they're supporting the government from parliament - but they've got an agenda and they're not afraid to push it. In this case, the issue being pushed is Wilders' ambition to combat the spread of Islam and, even as Mark Rutte was sworn in as prime minister, one of the senior figures in the Freedom Party, MEP Barry Madlener, said this cabinet's policies are meant to do just that.
Prime Minister Rutte disagrees.
Germany announced Thursday it would establish and help fund departments for Islamic studies at three universities, a move aimed at assisting the integration of its four million Muslims.
The centres, designed to educate a new generation of imams and students of Islam, will be based at the universities of Tuebingen, Muenster and Osnabrueck, Education Minister Annette Schavan said at a news conference.
"The new centres will not only create an outstanding framework for better theological debate in our universities. We also want to contribute to making the four million Muslims in Germany feel more at home," added the minister.
Immigrants are much more likely to start their own businesses compared to Swedes who are born here according to a new report from IFS, an organization which protects and promotes migrant entrepreneurs.
Since 2005 the number of immigrants, defined as any person born outside of Sweden, who chose to start their own businesses increased by 22 percent. Seven out of ten business owners today were born in another country and the businesses, big or small, employ an estimated 200.000 people across the country.
According to Maroun Aoun, CEO of the organisation, the increase is due to relatively new possibilities for immigrants to get financial backing and counselling.
According to Sayeed, non-consensual sex in marriage is a minor aggression, compared to the major aggression of actually prosecuting the husband for it and sending him to jail.
Via the Independent:
A senior Muslim cleric who runs the country's largest network of sharia courts has sparked controversy by claiming that there is no such thing as rape within marriage.
Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain, said that men who rape their wives should not be prosecuted because "sex is part of marriage". And he claimed that many married women who alleged rape were lying.
Via The Local:
Schools should consider compelling students to speak German not just in classes but also in the playground, the head of the pro-business Free Democrats has said.
Christian Lindner, chairman of governing coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP), told daily Bild’s Wednesday edition that having students speak a common language whenever on school grounds would help stop certain groups becoming isolated.
“In some schools Germans are by now the minority. It helps integration if German spoken there not only in the classroom, but also in the playground,” Lindner told the paper.
There must be “no exclusion in any direction,” he said.
At some schools, there had already been an agreement between teachers, parents and students to make speaking German a responsibility, he said.
As part of his plea agreement, al Delaema admitted to making "how-to" videos and documenting his intentions to kill Americans in Iraq. The US thinks this deserves 25 years in jail. The Netherlands thinks it deserves 8, with time off for US prison conditions.
A man sentenced by a US court to 25 years in jail for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq was freed Wednesday after Dutch judges slashed his jail term citing poor US prison conditions.
The district court in the port city of Rotterdam said it converted the sentence of Wesam al-Delaema, an Iraqi-born Dutch citizen, to eight years.
This was closer to the applicable penalty for the same crime under Dutch law, prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin said.
Delaema, 37, had already been in prison for more than two-thirds of the new sentence and thus "he was released" under Dutch parole regulations, he said.
Via the Guardian:
A media company based in the Middle East is launching a London-based weekly newspaper aimed at Muslim people across the world.
The paper, which is backed by the Pakistani pay-TV operator ARY Digital and will be able to tap its network of reporters covering south Asia, is earmarked to launch early in the new year.
The paper, which does not yet have a name, will be edited by Burhan Wazir, a former deputy features editor at the Times who was named young journalist of the year in 1999.
Wazir said the title, which will also be published in Pakistan and several Gulf states, will serve the Muslim diaspora in the countries where it is available.
It will be a liberal title aimed at a young and relatively affluent readership aged between 20 and 45, including second- or third-generation British Muslims.
German children are harassed by their Muslim classmates, but principals and researchers in Denmark say the problem is much smaller there.
According to the "Copenhagen barometer" (Københavnerbarometeret) study of schoolchildren in Copenhagen, Muslim immigrant children are more involved in bullying than Danish children, but there's no issues of general discrimination. In fact, non-Danish children are subjected to bullying more than Danish children, and the studies don't show who bullies who.
Norwegian authorities got 49 complaints of forced marriages in the first six months of the year, compared with 25 complaints in the same period in 2009.
The Integration and Diversity Ministry (IMDi) says this because more people know they can get help, and where to turn to. Police inspector Terje Bjøranger says that forced marriages are widespread, and that youth are afraid to seek help.
Lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill to strip foreign-born criminals of their French nationality and expel EU citizens for certain crimes, part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's law and order crackdown.
Members of the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, passed the measure after a first reading by 294 votes to 239 in a vote overshadowed by mass strikes and demonstrations against Sarkozy's pensions reforms.
The law would strip French nationality from foreigners who had acquired citizenship and who were convicted of violent crimes against police and other officials. This punishment currently applies only to terrorism charges.
Of those who see integration and immigration as a very big problem, 65% think the experts don't have the necessary knowledge to handle those issues (SE). More than 90% of Sweden Democrats voters think the same.
Dutch prosecutors asked judges on Tuesday to acquit anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders of a charge of giving offense to Muslims and not to award damages to his hate speech accusers.
"Comparing the Koran and Islam to Mein Kampf, national socialism, fascism and communism can without a doubt be hurtful. But hurting feelings as such is not a punishable insult" under Dutch law, prosecutor Paul Velleman told the Amsterdam district court.
Wilders, set to become a shadow partner of the new Dutch government, went on trial last Monday for calling Islam "fascist" and likening the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf".
(Ghettos in Denmark are defined as areas with at least 50% immigrants, at least 40% who are unemployed and not studying, and with more than 270 convicts per 10,000 residents)
Source: brusselnieuws (Dutch)
Honor-related crime victims are sexually abused more often than previously thought. That is one of the most remarkable conclusions of a study by the social services organization Fier Fryslân.
Of the 89 women who turned to Fier Fryslân between January 2008 and March 2010, 45 were sexually abused by family members, sometimes by several people.
Fier Fryslân, which is running an an honor-crime shelter pilot for the Justice Ministry and the VWS, published the results in a publication named "Daughters of Zahir". Zahir is the name of the shelter for victims of honor-related violence. The book will be presented Tuesday.
Recently there's been a few cases of publicized Koran burnings - starting with an American pastor who threatened to burn the Koran, and ending with a couple of cases in France and the UK in which police started an investigation into YouTube videos.
A famous line by Heinrich Heine is often quoted in this context: "Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also." The 'proof' being the Nazis, who burned books, and then burned people.
The problem with this logic is that the Nazis did not burn books in order to burn books. They burned books in order to censor ideas and opinions.
Headscarves will not be banned in schools in Fribourg.
The cantonal Parliament has voted against the proposal.
The Social Democrat who wrote the proposal, Erika Schnyder, told the Fribourg Parliament, “No matter what you decide, this debate is just the beginning.”
Muslim holidays are celebrated in many Danish public schools just like Danish holidays like Christmas and Easter. A study by the Copenhagen Municipality shows that 75% give kids vacation on the Muslim holidays of Eid and al-Fitr. More precisely, 44 public schools, 6 special-ed schools and five secondary schools in Copenhagen let Muslims students take days off during religious holidays.
The Local reports that Germany’s commissioner for integration, Maria Böhmer, said that Berlin officials should deal with anti-German views among immigrant students. Böhmer was responding to recent reports of Germanophobia in schools.
* Essen: German students bullied by Muslims
* Germany: "We want to live here with our culture"
Via Austrian Times:
Ramadan has been identified as the main reason for a dramatic decline of overnight stays by guests from the Arabian region last August.
Klaus Ehrenbrandtner, Middle East market manager of the Austria Marketing (ÖW), said today (Fri) there had been a 43.3 per cent drop in overnights by tourists from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait in August of this year compared to the same month of 2009.
In two separate cases, judges forced veiled women to either leave the court or take off their veil. Meanwhile, Italy takes another step towards a full-face veil ban.
Ra Ranunkel, chairman of the cooperation council in Vollsmose, sounds the alarm and warns of an ethnic conflict in the crime-ridden district of Odense.
"It started to get violent about a month ago," says the chairman, who for years has defended Vollsmose's reputation.
Via Irish Central:
The U.S. Embassy in Dublin has sponsored a seminar on Muslim entrepreneurs and business in Ireland. A main point of the conference was the need for Sharia law compliant financial products to be used.
The U.S. Embassy supported the conference as part of President Obama’s outreach to Muslims around the world.
At the conference, Thomas Cooney, academic director of the Dublin Institute of Technology, stated that 76 per cent of Muslim business people in Ireland say securing finance is their biggest problem and 90 per cent said there is a need for financial products to be compliant with Islamic law.
France's constitutional court has approved the law set to ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public.
It approved it almost in its entirety, making one small change: the law will not apply to public places of worship where it may violate religious freedom.
The proposed measure had already been passed by parliament. It is due to come into force next spring.
A lawyer and head of the Al-Fatkh Muslim organization in St. Petersburg, Dzhamaliddin Makhmutov, has sent a letter to Russia’s Constitutional Court asking if the introduction of advisory Sharia courts is lawful.
“Makhmutov is asking the plenum of the Constitutional Court to convene and explain if the ban on the creation of the institute of Islamic justice in Russia is legal,” Trud daily said. In his letter, he stated that the current legislation “does not contain a direct ban on the existence of an advisory Sharia court that could look into and mediate on domestic and family arguments between Muslims,” the paper said.
“I am putting forward the civil initiative of creating a Sharia court, which may reduce tension and [encourage] the growth of tolerance in society,” the daily quoted him as saying. “Together with labor migrants, Islam has entered the streets of our cities and not to notice this means to avoid solving the problem,” he noted.
Al-Waqf Al-Islam has headquarters in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands.
Via Sofia Echo:
An unregistered branch of Islamist organisation Al-Waqf Al-Islam was bust in a joint operation by prosecutors, the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security on October 6 2010, Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said.
District prosecutors from Blagoevgrad, Pazardjik and Smolyan were involved in the raid.
During the raid, conducted at homes and offices, a large amount of propaganda material preaching religious hatred and the overthrow of Bulgaria’s constitutional order was found, along with financial documents showing illegal financial transactions and violations of tax laws, according to the ministry.
Muslims in the Netherlands say that remarks by politician Geert Wilders have poisoned attitudes toward them, making them feel unwelcome and at risk, according to complaints disclosed at his hate speech trial Wednesday.
"My family and I no longer feel safe in the Netherlands because Mr. Wilders is continually making hateful remarks about Islamic Dutch people," said one complaint read out by the judge. "It's getting scary. ... Soon the kids won't be able to say that they're Muslim or half-Moroccan," wrote the citizen, whose name was not released.
Dozens of similar complaints filed with public prosecutors eventually led them to file charges against Wilders, citing frequent statements he has made comparing Islam to Fascism, calling for a ban on Muslim immigration and for banning the Quran.
A 19-year-old secondary school student is suing his former employer for racism, claiming that he was fired for refusing to tell clients his name was Alexander, not Mohamed, France Info radio reported Wednesday.
Mohamed was to carry out a one-month training period as a marketing agent at a food delivery company in the northern city of Tournes when he was let go because he refused to lie about his name.
Five years after the Mohammed-cartoon controversy, it recently flared up again, following a couple of terror plots and a book about the controversy. Kurt Westergaard intends to publish an autobiography next month which is expected to include the cartoons.
Jan O. Henriksen illustrated the debate with a satiric illustration on the last page of the Uke-Adressa section of Adresseavisen. When the newspaper management saw the cartoon, they immediately destroyed 90,000 copies of the paper.
Norwegian cartoonist Jan O. Henriksen created an illustration of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard holding one of his cartoons. Jan. O Henriksen told NRK that this cartoon might have provoked Muslims.
Jan. O. Henriksen thinks the illustration was harmless, and it was approved by the editors, yet he understands the management's decision. "I am not certain this is censorship, you need to take into account your employee's safety. If you deliberately provoke, you need to agree in advance about it, and have a discussion about what precautions to take," he says. He says he's never had something like this happen to him before.
The chief editor of Adresseavisen, Arne Blix, refused to comment.
Recently, a Norwegian publisher decided to cancel a planned biography of Mohammad.
Source: NRK (Norwegian)
A Pakistani woman has died in Italy after her husband beat her with a brick for opposing the arranged marriage of her daughter, triggering a wave of outrage among Italian politicians on Monday.
Via Hindustan Times:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded on Monday that Muslims living in Germany conform to "fundamental German values", saying there was no leeway on the issue. She spoke a day after Germany's largely ceremonial president, Christian Wulff, had reached out to Muslims in a speech marking 20 years of reunification, assuring them they belonged.
Fox News reports that the German terrorist suspect provided a list of possible targets:
ABC news suggests the attack might have been planned against airports:
(...) a senior western intelligence official told Fox News on Sunday that a German-Pakistani national interrogated at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan provided a list of targets. The list was later confirmed by another senior intelligence official.
They include the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the luxury Hotel Adlon near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. Targets also include the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, as well as Berlin's Central Station and its landmark Alexanderplatz TV tower. One official said security has also been tightened around the British royal family.
Among the possible targets in the suspected European terror plot are pre-security areas in at least five major European airports, a law enforcement official told ABC News. Authorities believe terror teams are preparing to mount a commando like attack featuring small units and small firearms modeled after the Mumbai attack two years ago.
AP reports that dozens of European Muslims are training in Pakistan for attacks against European capitals. European Jihadis training in Pakistan is not new. Until now it wasn't clear if they were training for attacks in Europe, but as this article pointed out, al-Qaeda already made the decision to go ahead with such an attack, and just a year ago German Jihadis threatened an "October attack".
Meanwhile, French police arrested a man suspected of making the recent bomb threats. French press reports the man is not a terrorist.