2010 started and ended with terror attacks in Denmark, both related to the Danish Mohammed cartoons. I wish us all a happy and quieter 2011.
I've considered how to best present an overview of the past year. Like every other year, it's been very eventful. I don't have the time and patience to sit and summarize the year.. though two issues come to mind: the French National Assembly approving a ban on burqas and the first ever suicide bombing in Sweden.
One (easy) way of looking at the year, is to look at the top posts of every month:
Via Deutsche Welle:
The German-Syrian painter Tarek Marestani is out to capture the integration struggles of young immigrants on canvas. A travelling exhibition is already being planned for his work.
Painter Tarek Marestani had the idea to do a series portraits on young people in Germany with migrant backgrounds, but he began to realize the project a year ago after moving to Berlin.
He began by establishing contacts in districts of Berlin that are popular destinations for immigrants and asking them if they would be interested in letting their children sit for his project as models. Many agreed.
Munir Awad claimed he did not go to Somali for Jihad, but it now turns out he shared an apartment with two Somali terrorists.
Via The Local:
Two of the Swedish citizens arrested following a foiled terror plot against a Danish newspaper have previously been arrested in Pakistan.
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders will publish an anti-Islam book in the first half of 2011, he told the Telegraaf newspaper in an interview on Friday.
“The book is aimed mainly at the US market and focuses on how to combat the spread of Islam on a global level. We can do a lot here in the Netherlands, but we want to send out a strong international signal to the Arab world that a party in the centre of power in this country is fighting back,” Mr Wilders told the paper.
His Freedom Party cherishes “a wide range” of ambitions, he says in the interview. “Our first priority is to launch the International Freedom Alliance, which boils down to a platform against Islam. That will be huge.”
About a month ago the parish priest of a church in Avignon complained of continuing vandalism against his church by a gang of Muslim children, led by a twelve year old. (see Winds of Jihad's report).
Jean-Pierre Cattenoz, Archbishop of Avignon told Christian magazine Famille Chrétienne (h/t Le Salon Beige) that he has met similar youth. "My pectoral cross is sometimes mocked by French youth of Maghrebian origin. When I tell them it was given to me by Pope Benedict XVI, they respond: 'Who's that?' "
"We're at a turning point in the religious history of our country. 'Gallic' families, traditionally Christian, have on average two children. Muslims families living in France, have most often four, five six children. From this, we can see that France will have a Muslim majority in twenty, thirty years."
"I have spent fifteen years in Muslim lands. I am prepared to live in a France with a Muslim majority. I simply wonder about the conditions in which we'll live together."
To fight against the racism that 'builds walls between our communities' and to develop dialogue, Archbishop Cattenoz wants to create an association with representatives of all religions, which will provide words of peace when such situations arise.
Via People's Daily Online:
Schools, sport clubs and other associations should intervene when young people threaten to turn radical, a government official said Wednesday.
According to a Belgian study in response to the European Union's recent call on member states to set up action plans to prevent radicalism, young isolated people were more likely to turn radical.
"I call on teachers and other persons working with young people to pay attention to this phenomenon," said Minister for Home Affairs Annemie Turtelboom.
Radicalization is "the root of terrorism," but often is difficult to detect because it is a complex and variable process, the study showed.
Updated: Post bumped up with new info
Five people were arrested on suspicion of planning a terror attack in Copenhagen: Four in Denmark and one in Sweden.
Immigrant youth lag behind their native-born counterparts in education. The biggest difference is in the number who quit school after the obligatory comprehensive schooling. More than one quarter drop out at this point, compared with about 15 percent of native Finns.
The figures were produced by Statistics Finland for the Jyväskylä newspaper Keskisuomalainen.
About 23 percent of foreigners who moved to Finland as children have attended university. Among native Finns the rate is about 36 percent. Roughly the same number of both groups, about half, have completed high school or vocational school.
Norwegian paper Aftenposten recently started going through the entire Wikileaks archive. Its recent finding (EN): the US Embassy in Copenhagen was very concerned when it heard Jyllands-Posten intended to reprint the cartoons a year after it's first publishing:
Previous estimates were around 2 million or 2.4 million.
Via Daily Telegraph:
There is a remarkable statistic in today’s main Daily Telegraph leader:
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that there are 2,869,000 Muslims in Britain, an increase of 74 per cent on its previous figure of 1,647,000, which was based on the 2001 census. No demographic statistics are reliable in an era of open borders, but such an expansion is unprecedented.
The figure of 2.87 million was first published by Pew in a little-noticed press release last September, announcing a report on Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe.
The leader of Germany's 26 million Catholics spoke out Tuesday in defence of Muslims and warned Christians to stay on their guard against hatemongers.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, told the German Press Agency dpa that his church wants more dialogue with Muslims.
Asked if current anti-terrorist alerts might lead to discord between Christians and Muslims, he said 'there has been no sign of it' as far as he can tell.
'Christians as well as non-religious people in our country can differentiate perfectly well between terrorists, whatever ideology they follow, and their Muslim neighbours,' he said.
Zollitsch also noted that Muslims in Germany 'are just as much endangered by the (terrorist) threat as everyone else.'
'They have the same interest in effective and at the same time moderate policies by the state as the rest of the population,' he said.
Via Greek Reporter (h/t Winds of Jihad):
Turkish forces in the occupied area of Karpasia in Northern Cyprus have presented a new challenge regarding the celebration of Christmas by Christians living in the territory. For the first time in 36 years Christians trapped in the occupied area were forbidden from celebrating Christmas.
Netherlands: Terrorists suspected of planning to shoot down helicopter (Update: Only one left in detention)
The Somalis who were arrested in Rotterdam Friday evening planned to attack the Gilze-Rijen air-force base, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported Tuesday. The paper said that intelligence sources had 'very concrete indications' that the suspects planned to shoot down an Apache helicopter. They did not yet get weapons to carry out the attack.
Around 100 refugees protesting at lengthy immigration processes in Greece were Monday driven out of a makeshift camp they had occupied for several weeks near the local headquarters of the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees and arrested by police.
Greek officials used limited force in breaking up the camp. Some refugees climbed trees while others grabbed their children and fled into the city centre, clogging major arteries, according to Greek media reports.
All the refugees were eventually arrested and taken to police headquarters.
The refugees - predominantly from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories - have said they face political persecution at home and need asylum.
The Coptic Christian church in Agnesberg (Gothenburg) was closed down after receiving an internet threat. The threat was vague, but the Swedish security service was called in .
Via RNW: Ahead of the Christmas holidays, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders has put up a message on his Twitter account in Arabic. His season's greetings read: Merry Christmas and less Islam in 2011.
German President Christian Wulff urged Germans to respect minorities Friday in a Christmas message that picked up on his earlier, controversial call for an inclusive attitude to Islam.
The televised message, broadcast on public television Friday, was recorded with an audience of 200 Germans from all walks of life at Wulff's official Berlin residence.
'Each of us needs to feel 'I belong, I'm needed,'' said Wulff before alluding to cultural differences.
'Our society is free and varied. In order for a society made up of so many different people to survive, we need one thing above all: respect, respect towards those who are different from oneself, and esteem for the things they achieve,' he said.
Twelve men of Somali origin have been arrested in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities, the Netherlands prosecution service said on Saturday.
The men were arrested late Friday following a tip-off by Dutch intelligence "that a number of Somalis wanted to commit a terrorist attack in the Netherlands in the near future," a statement said.
The suspects are aged between 19 and 48. Six lived in Rotterdam, five had no known address and one was a Danish resident.
"They are of Somali origin, but several of them have Dutch nationality and one of them has Danish nationality," prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP. "We have not yet determined the nationality of some of them."
Turkish TV recently broadcast as report about the Netherlands. The report was about the growing Islamophobia and the rise of Geert Wilders. In the report, a Turkish-Dutch complained about discrimination on the job-market. "They prefer taking a Dutchman, even if you're highly educated and better than the Dutchman," the man said. "The Dutch are more radical than in the past," according to another. A third warned of ethnic violence. He called the Netherlands and the rest of Western Europe a 'powder keg'.
Rotterdam intends to impose a fine of at least 100 euros on immigrants who fail to show up for their integration classes without a valid excuse more than four times. The fine will be imposed both on voluntary students and on those for whom attendance is compulsory.
The mayor and aldermen issued a statement on Wednesday emphasising the importance of integration to newcomers. Alderman Korrie Louwes, who holds the portfolio for the labour market, higher education, innovation and participation, said: "That is why immigrants receive a participation bonus from the council in compensation for their course fees. So it is only logical we should impose sanctions when participants play truant." The Rotterdam council will discuss the plan in January.
Via the Moscow Times:
Moscow's police chief questioned on Wednesday whether civil liberties are even practical when authorities need to keep law and order and blamed non-Muscovites for up to 70 percent of all crimes committed in the city.
Various news media are reporting about a new Wikileaks 'scoop': according to US diplomatic cables, a third of British Muslim students justify killing in the name of Islam. The source for this scoop seems to be the Examiner, that claimed a couple of days ago that "this survey and its shocking poll results were made available only through the Wikileaks leaking of Julian Assange".
Supposedly, the US Embassy relied for its data on a secret study by Centre for Social Cohesion. Most Wikileaks scoops so far just confirm what everybody already suspected, but in this case: wasn't there at least one journalist who wondered why the Centre for Social Cohesion, known for its critical reports on Islam, would keep such data hidden? Or where the US Embassy got it from [hint: the media]? Or why that data sounded somewhat familiar?
If anybody would have bothered Googling just a bit, they would have discovered that this 'secret study', titled "Islam on Campus" was widely discussed by the media when it came out and is available for download (PDF) from the Centre for Social Cohesion site.
The data itself is shocking, but now we have another scoop: nobody in the media remembered it.
Update: The Malta Independent reports the passenger was a Caribbean Christian. (h/t eats shoots 'n leaves)
Via Times of Malta:
An Air Malta flight from London Heathrow had to return to the terminal this afternoon following a disturbance by a passenger.
The man got to his knees and started chanting, apparently in Arabic, and ignored instructions by the purser to return to his seat.
According to reports there was a 'panic' among some passengers. The aircraft returned to its terminal slot.
German-Turkish TZ broadcaster Dügün TV offers 24 hours a day of weddings. Some are even sent live. The couples pay the broadcaster 350 EUR to show their wedding videos while a live broadcast costs 2000 EUR.
The broadcaster claims it's a success. "Up to 5000 people watch a wedding, also if it's strangers. It simply interests Turks," says Güler Balaban, head of the Cologne company. "We get letters saying people danced at home, because they thought the wedding was so beautiful."
Source: Parool (Dutch)
The head of a Russian Jewish association accused one of Russia's top Muslim clerics of making offensive statements about Russia's "native population."
"The negative statements by mufti [Ravil] Gainutdin about the native population of Russia, which is forever drinking, and 'hard-working migrants' are, of course, unfair. We resolutely reject this. All nations have different kinds of people in them but one must by no means make any generalizations," rabbi Zinovy Kogan, chairman of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Communities in Russia, told reporters.
The fatwa was written by Hassan Moussa, who sits on the European Council for Fatwa and Research. The fatwa is available in Swedish and Arabic on the Islamic Association site. I will add a translation to this posting later.
Via the Local:
A group of Swedish imams condemned on Sunday the recent suicide bombing in central Stockholm, while the Security Service has confirmed that it believes the attacker was acting alone.
[Headline is from the original article]
Muslims gladly take work December 24th, so their Christian colleagues can stay home and celebrate Christmas, reports JydskeVestkysten.
Many medical assistants and nurses don't want to work Chrsitmas Eve, but their Muslim colleagues gladly take the unpopular shifts, according to a poll by JydskeVestkysten.
A new group sprung up a few days ago on YouTube: Shariah4Holland. Abu Imran, the founder of Sharia4Belgium, posted a clip announcing the new group and asking Queen Beatrix to convert to Islam.
The channel also has a message from Sharia4Bangladesh, supporting Shariah4Holland, Shariah4Poland and Shariah4Denmark. The last two groups don't yet exist online.
Interior Minister Anne Homlund has declared that training terrorists will be considered a criminal offence.
Speaking at a swearing in ceremony at the Police College of Finland in Tampere Friday, Homlund said the move to criminalise terrorist training would be an important step to help police effectively respond to the threat of terrorism.
The Ijsseland regional police force supplies only pork-free lunches boxes, in order to take Muslims into consideration.
At first they offered both halal and regular lunch boxes. "But that didn't work," says a spokesperson. There weren't enough, or they didn't get to the right people. "We want to be a diverse force, therefore we take each other into consideration."
Lunch boxes are usually given out only during large-scale police operations. "More police forces do it this way."
Source: De Stentor (Dutch)
Secular European governments give money to Muslim congregations in an effort to defang radicalism imported from foreign sources.
An anti-immigrant polemic written by a former central banker is among the Christmas best-sellers in Germany and its author has become a millionaire, according to media reports on Saturday.
About 1.25 million copies of Thilo Sarrazin's "Germany Does Itself In" have been sold since its release in August, and sales show no sign of slowing, publisher DVA said.
"At the moment we are selling around 10,000 copies per day," said DVA spokesman Markus Desaga in Focus weekly.
Italy's Islamic community plans to gather in a series of meetings slated for 25 and 26 December.
Unlike past meetings planned during the holidays in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, the Muslim faithful this year will meet in different locations rather than at a single conference.
Members of Italy's Islamic Union will come together on 25 December in Vicenza. Yahya Waziri, a noted Kuwaiti politician and two preachers from Egypt will be present at the northern Italian gethering.
Via T&P (translated from La Razón):
According to the account of the facts, the teacher was explaining the different climates in a geography class and cited the village of Trevelez due to its cold and dry climate. According to the newspaper account, ”as a story, the teacher told his students that such a climate was conducive to making hams (this refers to the procedure that it’s necessary between the pig is killed and the ham is actually ready to be eaten). Then the student asked the teacher not to speak of hams since it offended him, because he was a Muslim. “
Some 200 possibly violent Islamic extremists live in Sweden, according to an intelligence report released Wednesday after the country's first-ever suicide bombing narrowly missed Christmas shoppers.
"The group of active members ... consists of just under 200 individuals," the Saepo intelligence agency said in its 126-page report, based on data from 2009 and scheduled to be published before the weekend's attack in central Stockholm.
Via the Telegraph:
A pair of white British Muslim converts who joined al-Qaeda have been killed in a drone attack in a mountainous region of Pakistan, according to reports.
The men, one of whom was apparently called Steve, died five days ago when a Hellfire missile was fired from a remote controlled American drone in the town of Datta Khel. If confirmed, they would be the first white British converts to have been killed in the area. The militants, who were aged 48 and 25 and using the pseudonyms Abu Bakr and Mansoor Ahmed, were in a vehicle with two other fighters.
Almost 40% of the French agree with Marine Len Pen's statements on Muslim prayer in the streets, according to a survey by Ifop for France Soir. The vice-president of the Front National compared it to occupation. Among voters of Sarkozy's UMP, 54% agree with Le Pen.
In total, 61% of the French disagree with Len Pen: 82% of left-wing voters and 46% of UMP voters.
Source: Reuters (French)
Via Simon Wiesenthal Center:
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish Human Rights NGO, has announced it is issuing a travel advisory concerning Sweden due to harassment of Jewish citizens in the southern city of Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden.
Schools across Finland are organizing Christmas celebrations for students. Most schools say they are doing their best to also provide for pupils who are not members of Finland's dominant Lutheran church.
Christmas carols resounded in Helsinki's Cathedral as pupils of the Katajanokka primary school practiced their church performance on Tuesday. However, a third of the students stayed back at the school. Many of them belong to other faiths. In the effort to include as many students as possible in the school-wide celebration scheduled for next week, the school chose to lessen the religious focus of the holiday.
Many other schools face similar decisions. Each school selects its own Christmas programme for itself. There are no official guidelines as to how many Christmas carols would be too many.
Free newspaper Sp!ts reports that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Dutch Muslim women to find suitable husbands.
The current generation of young Dutch Muslim women are often quite well-educated and open-minded compared to most of their potential spouses, many of whom do not want a 'modern' wife.
In addition, arranged marriages are going out of fashion. Nermin Altintas, the Turkish-Dutch director of the Yasmin foundation in The Hague, says: "Men and women are increasingly left to their own devices to find potential partners. This can be really difficult when you are not in the habit of going to discos and bars. It is increasingly rare for parents to find you a husband. One of the few possibilities of meeting men is at weddings."
A pig's head was delivered to the Helsinki offices of the Somali League on Monday, according to League Chairman Abdirashid Awad Dirie. Police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident as a case of defamation.
Most Somalis are Muslims and do not eat pork. The pig's head sent to the Somali League office from Tampere was accompanied by a note wishing a Merry Christmas. The sender of the parcel was marked as ”free thinkers."
An internet posting on Monday, attributed to a senior al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, warned that last weekend's deadly bombings in Stockholm were "only the beginning", and threatened attacks against Nato and Europe.
Police raided premises of a radical Islamic sect in three German states on Tuesday as authorities studied whether to outlaw the fundamentalist Sunni Muslim movement as anti-democratic.
The Interior Ministry said the inquiry had nothing to do with recent warnings of terrorist attacks on Europe or a Saturday suicide bombing in Stockholm, but was part of a longer-term investigation of a group described by German authorities as Salafist.
The premises raided by police belong to two organizations, the Invitation to Paradise EZP, with premises in the cities of Braunschweig and Moenchengladbach, and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Bremen.
Via the Local:
A Swedish court has sentenced a man to prison for performing illegal circumcisions, the first-ever conviction under the country's laws on the circumcision of boys.
A 50-year-old Egyptian citizen was sentenced by Södertorn District Court on Monday to two months in prison for illegally removing the foreskin from small boys.
The man was on trial for having circumcised nine boys without a licence to do so issued by the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).
The health board doesn't think Sweden's law works, estimating that only one-third of the roughly 3,000 boys circumcised for religious reasons in Sweden each year have the procedure performed by people with authorisation.
Via The Local:
A Swedish businessman has been kidnapped in Pakistan after travelling to the country to get married, newspaper Expressen reported on its website on Saturday.
The 25-year-old disappeared after a walk in the city of Quetta on November 7th, the report said. One day later, the man's brother received a call from the kidnappers, who demanded a ransom for his release.
"He has now been sold to another criminal group. They are demanding a ransom of 5 million rupees (401,840 kronor, $58,205)," local police chief Ahmed Abidnotkhani told Expressen on Saturday.
The current economic crisis and the ignorance of some Western scholars are fueling prejudices against Islam, participants said at a conference in Poland Friday.
The daylong conference in the western Polish city of Wroclaw considered the media portrayal of Islam, attitudes towards Muslim immigrants in France and the perception of Muslims in the former Soviet Union.
Via Iceland Review:
Two Muslim societies in Iceland, the Association of Muslims in Iceland and the new Islamic Cultural Center of Iceland, have applied for lots in Reykjavík to build a mosque. City authorities have requested that the mosque be a joint project between the two associations.
Sweden: Suicide bomber unofficially identified (UPDATE: Bomber signed email, UPDATE: Axe-man arrested)
The Flashback Forum (h/t Gudmundson) identifies the owner of the car as Taimour Abdulwahab (28), who lived in Tranås (Jönköping county). Taimour's last name is Al-Abdaly and he used this picture for his Facebook profile.
Via Ennahar Online:
The United States considers Catalonia as "the greatest center of radical Islamist activity in the Mediterranean" and installed for this reason an intelligence unit in Barcelona, according to U.S. diplomatic cables revealed by Wikileaks and quoted Saturday by El Pais.
The faithful at three Moroccan mosques in Amsterdam are guarding the mosques at night, after the mosques received threatening pamphlets in the mail.
According to a spokesperson, mosques elsewhere in the country also got such pamphlets. He couldn't say if they were keeping guard too. The pamphlets said things like "Wilders will free us of you", according to the spokesperson. He could these threats and similar recent incidents "very alarming".
Via the Local:
Gothenburg municipal officials described Sweden's integration policy as a "fiasco" to the US embassy, according to a document from WikiLeaks.
Prior to a visit to Gothenburg by the US embassy in Stockholm in 2008, Bill Werngren, head of the city secretariat's information group and now Gothenburg's election director and the husband of municipal executive board chairwoman Anneli Hulten, made contact with the embassy, according to newspaper Göteborgs-Tidningen (GT) on Friday.
He sent the embassy a series of articles from newspaper Göteborgs-Posten about the integration challenges in and isolation experienced by the city's Somalian community. He wrote in a memo that the situation in Gothenburg reminded him of the phrase, "Houston, we have a problem."
75.2% of the Czechs side with President Vaclav Klaus and oppose building mosques in the Czech Republic, according to a poll by research agency SANEP. The survey shows this is mostly due to concerns about rising crime and terrorism.
Czechs are the most atheistic in Europe, but 76.2% believe their country should be based on Christian values and culture.
Source: ParlamentniListy (Czech)
73% of the Dutch people support a general ban on burqas. This according to a Maurice de Hond poll for the KRO program 'De Wandeling'. Among Catholic and Protestants, support for a ban is 10 percentage points higher.
Source: SpitsNieuws (Dutch)
Lleida previously banned the burqa in municipal buildings.
Update: I misunderstood the report. The legislation banning the burqa in municipal buildings is now being implemented.
Lleida in the northeastern Catalonia region on Thursday became Spain's first city to introduce a ban on wearing the face-covering Islamic burqa in public places. The niqab - which covers the face but leaves a small slit for the eyes - has also been banned.
A government-appointed committee has supported a partial ban on the traditional Islamic burqa and the niqab. The Federal Commission on Women’s Issues calls for traditional full-face veils to be banned in government offices and in public schools. It is a move, the group says, to prevent gender discrimination. But the burqa is not alone in what the commission wants banned.Additional interview here.
The Jihadist Ansar Al Mujahideen site is mostly run by Dutch Muslim extremists.
The Dutch behind Al Ansar not only fill the website with English and Dutch hate-texts and propaganda, but also use computer servers in Amsterdam. These Dutch Muslim extremist had close ties with the Hofstad Group in the past.
A basic Italian language test that immigrants must pass to obtain a longterm residency permit entered into force on Thursday, the interior ministry announced. Foreigners can register online and will be summoned to sit the exam within 60 days of applying, the ministry said.
The exam tests comprehension of the most frequently used phrases and vocabulary needed to function and immigrants must score at least 80 percent to pass.
All immigrants who have been living legally in Italy for at least five years and want a long-term residency permit are obliged to take the test.
Imams told a top German official Wednesday that Muslims in Germany fear they may suffer hate attacks.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere responded with a condemnation, telling the panel of Islamic clergy in Bonn, 'Arson attacks and graffiti on mosques can have no place in our society.'
One of the imams had just told him that attitudes to Islam were 'generally more negative in Germany than in adjacent countries' and added that Muslims were worried there would attacks on mosques.
Two Swedish Somali men have been found guilty by a Gothenburg district court for conspiring to commit terrorist crimes.
The men were sentenced to four years in prison each, one year more than what the prosecutor had asked for.
According to the prosecutor, they had decided to attempt suicide as part of a terrorist assignment ordered by al-Shabab in Somalia. Both men denied involvement.
A number of MPs have criticised former VVD leader Frits Bolkestein for suggesting orthodox Jews should leave the Netherlands because of rising anti-semitism.
Geert Wilders used the microblogging service Twitter to say it is not Jews who should emigrate but 'the Moroccans who are anti-semitic'. And GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema said: 'people who are being threatened deserve protection in their own country'.
The Christian Democrats have called for a summit about combating anti-semitism involving both Muslim and Jewish organisations.
And the Dutch Moroccan information centre CIDM said Bolkestein's comments were scare-mongering.
'This is nothing other than the lastet generalisated insult targeting Dutch Moroccans,' a spokesman told the Telegraaf.
Bolkestein says he was quoted incorrectly (NL) from the book.
A founding conference of a new centralized religious organization of Russia's Muslims took place in Moscow on Wednesday.
"Taking part in its work were the heads of religious boards of the Muslims of the Stavropol and Perm Territories, Mordovia, Urals, and the Ryazan Region, which are located in four federal districts and comprise hundreds of Islamic religious associations and religious educational institutions and social and humanitarian-charitable organizations," Perm Territory Mufti Muhammedgali Huzin, one of the founders of the new organization, told Interfax-Religion.
The organization is called the Russian Association of Islamic Accord (All-Russian Muslim Board). This organization will be the fourth centralized Muslim organizations, the three others being the Central Spiritual Muslim Board, the Council of Muftis of Russia, and the Coordination Center of the North Caucasus Muslims.
Via Pink Paper:
An EU agency has condemned Czech authorities for using a sexual arousal test on asylum seekers who claim to be gay.
The process, called phallometric testing, involves measuring sexual arousal by monitoring blood flow into the penis. In this case gay asylum seekers are shown heterosexual pornography to see if they get an erection.
If the claimant becomes aroused, their chances of asylum become less likely.
A court convicted a Somali-born Norwegian on Monday of breaking a U.N. arms embargo of Somalia, but found him not guilty of funding terrorism.
The defendant was found innocent of funding terrorism in Somalia by transferring 200,000 kroner ($33,000) to leaders of an al-Qaida-linked Somali group. The court said he collected the money in Norway and Sweden in 2007 and 2008, and sent it to al-Shabab militants in Somalia, but that he did not knowingly fund terrorist activities.
The court said the United Nations did not label the group a terrorist organization until April, even though it had been involved in some "deliberate attacks against civilians." Norway does not keep a list of terrorist groups.
Via RIA Novosti:
Russia should open a secular university in North Caucasus to train teachers and experts on Islam, the Kremlin's envoy to the region Alexander Khloponin said.
"We need this secular university on Islamic studies in Caucasus today...because we do not have experts to teach the basics of this religion," he told a meeting of children's rights ombudsmen in North Caucasus on Monday.
Khloponin believes that this measure would help prevent religious conflicts in the region.
"Today, when we see prayer rooms in dormitories of universities in Stavropol [southern Russia], for example, and do not understand the literature their students are reading - we then should not be surprised that we have [religious] clashes on the streets," he said.
French police acting on a warrant issued by an anti-terrorist judge arrested six alleged militants from the PKK Kurdish separatist group Tuesday in the Marseille region, officials said.
The six, who include "an important (PKK) member on the European level" were being held in the southern port city after being arrested as part of a probe into the group's financing, officials said.
Which might explain why the Jihadis are considering Arabic, the international language of Jihad, as their official state language.
Via Macleans (h/t Jihad Watch)
An increasing number of recent terrorist attacks in Russia’s North Caucasus have attracted the attention of analysts who point to a growing role of Arab fighters and even preachers in the region. “North Caucasus jihadis’ linkage to the global jihad is now at a level in which clerics have become influential and are sought out for fatwas and advice,” writes Murad Batal al-Shishani, a political analyst at the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based political think tank, noting what appears to be the spreading influence of Arab Salafist ideologues.
Prominent VVD politician Frits Bolkestein believes there is no future for ,active' Jews in the Netherlands. The conservative politician made his remarks in an interview with newspaper De Pers.
Via the Local:
The Swedish government has launched a "sweeping" reform of integration policy, shifting the main responsibility for immigrant "establishment" in the country on the Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).
Four Dutch-Moroccan women, Rabea, Zohra, Ibtisam and Saïda, were all sexually abused by members of their families: their fathers, uncles, brothers or cousins.
After years of silence, they have decided to speak out because they know that many other Muslim women suffer the same fate. A care worker: “Taboos, secrecy, silence, shame and a closed community are almost a recipe for sexual abuse.”
According to the Belgian authorities, the cell which was arrested last week in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria intended to carry out an attack which will have more of an impact and victims than the Madrid attack.
The possible targets: A train full of NATO soldiers, NATO Headquarters, a packed sports stadium, a sports event, a street full of Jews and trains on routes which Belgian Jews often go on.
Via Express Tribune:
Greek authorities will speed up plans to build a new mosque in Athens to satisfy a long-standing demand by Muslim residents that has sparked tension in recent months.
Top-selling Ta Nea daily said the government is expected to fund the temporary mosque to be erected within six months in a disused navy base in Elaionas, an industrial district near the city centre. A larger place of worship with enough space for 500 people is to be built in the same area by 2012, Ta Nea said.