Living Apart Together

Policy Exchange has released Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism, a major new survey of the attitudes of Muslims in Britain and the reasons behind the rapid rise in Islamic fundamentalism amongst the younger generation. The research finds that there is a growing religiosity amongst the younger generation of Muslims and that they feel that they have less in common with non-Muslims than do their parents. Significantly, they exhibit a much stronger preference for Islamic schools and sharia law and place a greater stress on asserting their identity publicly, for example, by wearing the hijab.

Le Figaro Review (below)

Selon une étude indépendante, les 16-24 ans sont de plus en plus séduits par les formes politiques de l’islam. Un phénomène qui porte un coup aux politiques multiculturalistes de l’ère Blair.

Charia, écoles coraniques et port du voile : en Grande-Bretagne, de plus en plus de jeunes musulmans se prononcent en faveur d’un islam radical et politisé, révèle une étude de l’institut indépendant Policy Exchange, intitulée «Vivre ensemble séparément: les musulmans britanniques et le paradoxe du multiculturalisme».

Effectuée auprès de 1.003 musulmans de tous âges, cette étude illustre le renforcement de leur identité religieuse dans le pays. Pour 9 personnes sur 10, la foi est la chose la plus importante dans leur existence. Mais les positions se radicalisent chez les plus jeunes : plus d’un tiers des 16-24 ans préfèrent vivre selon la charia, la loi islamique, contre seulement 17% des plus de 55 ans. Autant de personnes interrogées préfèrent envoyer leurs enfants dans des écoles musulmanes, et 74% souhaitent que les musulmanes portent le voile en public. Ces chiffres tombent respectivement à 19 et 28% chez les plus de 55 ans.

Autre phénomène inquiétant : 13% des 16-24 ans, contre 3% des 55 ans et plus, déclarent “admirer des organisations comme al-Qaida qui sont prêtes à combattre l’Occident.”

Britannitude

Pour l’auteure du rapport, Munira Mirza, ces chiffres illustrent l’échec des politiques gouvernementales à l’encontre du 1,8 million de musulmans du pays. «L’émergence d’une identité musulmane forte en Grande-Bretagne est, en partie, le résultat des politiques multiculturelles mises en place dans les années 80, qui ont mis l’accent sur la différence au détriment d’une identité nationale partagée et ont divisé les gens selon des lignes de partage ethniques, religieuses et culturelles», explique-t-elle. «Il y a manifestement un conflit au sein de la communauté musulmane britannique entre une majorité modérée qui accepte les règles de la démocratie occidentale et une minorité croissante qui ne les accepte pas», poursuit-elle.

Face à ce constat, plusieurs personnalités politiques à l’instar du secrétaire à l’Education, Alan Johnson, se prononcent en faveur de la “britishness,” ou “britannitude,” comme un socle de valeurs communes qui fonderaient la société britannique.

Tories Set Sights on Separatist British Muslims

The Conservatives will today accuse Islamic groups including the high-profile, mainstream Muslim Council of Britain of promoting separation and ignoring the wishes of the people they represent. A report by the party’s policy group on national and international security will tear into the MCB as part of a generalised attack on the concept of multiculturalism, which it says has divided people rather than simply respecting their differences. The report will underline comments made by the party’s leader, David Cameron, who warned yesterday that separatist Muslims who promote sharia law and demand special treatment for their faith are the “mirror image” of the British National party.

A Cleric’s Journey Leads to a Suburban Frontier

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. – Sheik Reda Shata pushed into Costco behind an empty cart. He wore a black leather jacket over his long, rustling robe, a pocket Koran tucked inside. The imam, a 38-year-old Egyptian, seemed not to notice the stares from other shoppers. He was hunting for a bargain, and soon found it in the beverage aisle, where a 32-can pack of Coca-Cola sold for $8.29. For Mr. Shata, this was a satisfying Islamic experience. The Prophet said, _Whoever is frugal will never suffer financially,’ said the imam, who shops weekly at the local store and admits to praying for its owners. He smiled. These are the people who will go to heaven. Seven months have passed since Mr. Shata moved to this New Jersey suburb to lead a mosque of prosperous, settled immigrants. It is a world away from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he toiled for almost four years, serving hundreds of struggling Muslims for whom America was still new. His transition is a familiar one for foreign-born imams in the United States, who often start out in city mosques before moving to more serene settings. For Mr. Shata, Middletown promised comfort after years of hardship. He left behind a tiny apartment for a house with green shutters set amid maple trees and sweeping lawns. He got a raise. He learned to drive. But the suburbs have brought challenges that Mr. Shata never imagined. His congregation in Brooklyn may have been on the margins of American society, but it was deeply rooted in Islam. Muslims in Middletown were generally more assimilated but less connected to their mosque. To be a successful suburban imam, he found, meant persuading doctors and lawyers not to rush from prayers to beat traffic. It meant connecting with teenagers who drove new cars, and who peppered their Arabic with like and yeah. It meant helping his daughter cope with mockery at school, in a predominantly white town that lost dozens of people on Sept. 11. Mr. Shata knew from his years in Brooklyn that the job demanded more than preaching and leading prayers, the things for which he was trained in Egypt. In America, he helped to arrange marriages. He mediated between the F.B.I. and his people. He set up a makeshift Islamic court to resolve disputes among hot dog vendors. Last summer, as he prepared to join a new community where the median income is roughly $86,000, he reminded himself that Islam has no quarrel with wealth – as long as the wealthy are pious. Still, he was stunned when a man at the mosque bought his daughter a new car, only for her to request a different model. Islam says to a Muslim you can own the world if you want, but don’t get attached to it, said Mr. Shata, speaking Arabic through a translator. Put the world in your hands, not your heart. […]

Liaison Strives to Bridge Police, Muslim Cultures

At the headquarters of the New York Police Department, in a high-ceilinged, wood-floored room, Erhan Yildirim is speaking to a group of officers. As he lists facts about Islam, they crack their gum and tap their feet. Yildirim is slighter, shorter and snazzier — in a sleek Turkish-made suit — than most of his audience, and he speaks with a Turkish accent to their Brooklynese. Yildirim, as the part-time civilian liaison of the NYPD to Muslims throughout the city, is a man assigned to bridge cultures. “I’m the PR,” says Yildirim, and the PR goes two ways: At once, he is trying to redeem the name of the police department to Muslims and the reputation of Islam to police officers.

Sweden: Sweden Authorizes Students to Wear the Islamic Veil at School

On the 23rd of January the Swedish Ministry of Education said that the Islamic veil would be permitted in Swedish schools. This decision confrims the one made in the spring of 2006 with regards to the Minerva Free School, in northern Sweden. In the winter of 05-06, a 7 year old student who was not allowed to wear the veil was pulled from school by her parents. The internal regualtions of the Free School forbade hats or head coverings – and in the same spirit, the veil. This regualtion was contested by the parents of the young girl. “It is a question of discipine, not of religion,” explained Lars Isacsson, head of the Minerva School. “But it has become quite a sensitive issue because of this debate over Muslims and the veil.” According to the Swedish constitution, the veil cannot be prohibited at schools because the freedom of religion is guaranteed. By contrast, since 2003 the burqa can be forbidden in Swedish schools for reasons of pedagogy or safety, for example in a chemistry class.

Lyon Tribunal Refuses to Stop Progress on Muslim High School in Decines

The administrative tribunal of Lyon, presented with the opposition of the rectorate to the opening of a Muslim junior high and high school in Decines (Rhone region), can refuse to make a decision, leaving the way clear for the opening of the second and largest Muslim scholastic establishment in France. Only the Academic Council of National Education (CAEN) or the Superior Educational Council (CSE) (in the case of an appeal) can make the decision to authorize or prohibit the opening of a high school, said the Lyon tribunal Wednesday. The CSE sent the rectorate’s case to the Lyon tribunal in Novmeber, having decided that it oculd not oppose the opening of a high school except for questions of sanitation or morality, which were not raised by the rectorate. The Lyon rectorate opposes the opening of the Muslim school for reasons of security and becuase of the supposed absence of effective direction.

Muslim Representatives ask Candidates to Leave Islam Out of the Campaign

Participating for the first time in debates linked to the presidential campaign, the representatives of French Muslims regrouped under the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM) are worried. They would like to meet the candidates for the presidential election to express their worries about the politicized way in which the debate over French Islam is used in the electoral race.

Liberty Faced with Blasphemy – Robert Redeker and Islamophobia

Robert Redeker’s life has changed a lot in the past four months – since the 19th of September, to be exact. Until then, his students in Toulouse knew him as a philosophy teacher, his friends from the Temps Modernes knew him as a member of their editorial committee, and the main Parisian editors knew him as the author of eclectic and provocative pieces. Until the fatal 19th of September: on this date, Le Figaro published an article by Redeker that violently denounced Islam as a religion that exalted “violence and hate”, and Mohammed, “the impitiable war-monger, pillager, killer of jews, and polygamist.” The next day, he was called out vindictively by an influential Muslim newscaster (on al-Jazeera), referred to as the “islamophobe du jour”, and deluged with letters and messages that became more and more violent, and finally issued a death threat by a website considered close to al-Qaida.

Muslim Majority Schools ‘pose security threat and should be closed’

An influential government education adviser said today that schools dominated by Muslim children should be closed and replaced with ‘multi-faith’ academies to integrate pupils. Sir Cyril Taylor, chairman of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, said the concentration of ethnic minorities and religious groups in certain schools had created a ‘strategic security problem’. He said that allowing significant numbers of ethnic minority children to lead virtually separate lives was fuelling extremism and harming academic standards. The call for forced integration came as a Government commissioned report is this week set to recommend that values such as justice and tolerance should be at the centre of citizenship classes for secondary pupils.

Germany: Sharp Rise in Muslim Converts. Report reveals more German university graduates, high-wage earners converting to Islam

GERMANY – A report prepared at the request of the German Interior Ministry revealed that 5,000 Germans converted to Islam between July 2004 and June 2005, a figure that is four times higher than that of the previous year. In previous years the average number of Germans who converted to Islam stood at only 300. The researchers said that while in the past most of those who converted were women who married Muslims, today many university graduates and high-wage earners are joining Prophet Mohammad’s religion.