Mohamed Chaib: It is not normal that the immigrants can’t vote in the municipal elections

Mohamed Chaib Akhdim, the deputy of the PSC in the Parliament of Catalonia, pleaded today for a change in immigration policies and indicated that it is not normal that at this point three or four million immigrants do not have right to the vote. Muslims have much to contribute to discourse on how we live our lives and function as a society, he added, noting that Spain is home to more than a million immigrants of Muslim origin.

Sweden: Sweden ‘regrets’ Prophet cartoon

Sweden’s embassy in Pakistan has expressed regret over the publication of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a Swedish newspaper. Pakistan had complained about the cartoon, which depicted the head of the Prophet on the body of a dog. Sweden’s government said it regretted any hurt but could not apologise as it was not responsible for the drawing and could not prevent its publication. Other cartoons depicting the Prophet sparked worldwide protests last year. Thousands of Muslims took to the streets in several countries in early 2006 in protest at the drawings, which were initially published by a Danish daily and later reproduced elsewhere.

Turkish “Guest workers” become “Hosts” in Germany

{Over the past several decades, the German Muslim immigrant community has undergone a transition from being one of “Guest workers” (in which immigrants lived in Germany on a temporary, seasonal basis in segregated communities) to one in which immigrants and German society are trying to facilitate a long-term integration of immigrants into mainstream society. This transition has brought formerly marginal and transient Muslim immigrants to a central place in mediation with local officials and mainstream society on behalf of newer immigrants with hopes of long-term residence and integration.} Original Title: “Turkish Guests become hosts in their community” By Hugh Williamson in Berlin The steelmills and coal mines that towered over Marxloh for decades have mostly gone, but many of the Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, who came from Turkey to dig the coal and work the furnaces remain. More than half the residents of Marxloh, a gritty suburb of Duisburg in western Germany’s former industrial heartland, are of Turkish origin. The local Turkish and Muslim shops, music and cafes enjoy wide renown as the city’s Little Istanbul. Marxloh now has another claim to fame. Next year, one of Germany’s largest mosques – with a capacity for 1,500 people – will open there, placing the area at the centre of national debate on how to foster greater co-operation between Muslims, Christians and those of other faiths…

The politics of mosque-building : Constructing conflict

In many Western cities, plans to erect mosques often stir more passion than any other local issue-and politicians are leaping into the fray. NOT since Cologne was rebuilt half a century ago, out of the rubble of war, has a change in the urban landscape generated so much heat. A city whose main landmark is a medieval cathedral may soon share its skyline with another place of worship: a large mosque with minarets more than 50 metres (165 feet) high. While the city’s (mainly Turkish) Muslim population of over 120,000 is looking forward to the new building-a sign, perhaps, that it has finally put down roots in a country that long treated migrant workers as guests-Cologne as a whole is deeply divided. A poll found that 36% of residents were happy with the mosque plan, 29% wanted to see it scaled down and 31% were entirely against it. The no and yes camps are not just passionate, they are diverse. Those who approve the plan include many Roman Catholic clergy. But a far-right party, Pro Cologne, which holds five of the 90 seats in the city council, has done well by drumming up opposition to the mosque.

Brussels court upholds ban on anti-Islam protest planned for Sept. 11

An appeals court has upheld the ban of an anti-Islam protest planned for Sept. 11 in Belgium’s capital, six years after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The organizers an alliance of Europeans opposed to the “Islamization” of Europe failed to prove the ban causes them “irreparable damage,” the Council of State, an administrative appeals court, ruled late Wednesday. Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans banned the demonstration Aug. 9 fearing it would disturb public order and calling the Stop Islamization of Europe alliance an inflammatory group. […]

Islam, the American way

In Pittburgh, a Turkish group, pious but peaceful, decides to rethink its plans for an Islamic centre after an angry public hearing. In Clitheroe, a town in northern England, a plan to turn an ex-church into a mosque wins planning approval after seven failed bids. In Austria a far-rightist, J_rg Haider, grabs headlines by proposing that no mosques or minarets should be built in the province of Carinthia, where he is governor. In Memphis, Tennessee, Muslims manage to build a large cemetery despite local objections to their burial customs. On the face of it, there is something similar about all these vignettes of inter-faith politics in the Western world. They all illustrate the strong emotions, and opportunistic electoral games, that are surfacing in many countries as Muslim minorities, increasingly prosperous and confident, aspire to build more mosques and other communal buildings.

Mohamed Chaib: “it’s not normal to deny the right to vote to immigrants

The PSC of the Catalonia parliament Mohamed Chaib Akhdim has defended a change in the politics related with immigration and has also emphasised that it’s normal that at this time 3 or 4 millions of immigrants have no right to vote and has also asked this institution to decided what type of cities and neighbourhoods they wish to have. At the same time, Mart_n Mu_oz, director of the Arabic Studies International Institute underlined the importance of promoting equal legal rights among all citizens and the right to freely exercise a religion. In this context she also defended the construction of mosques as a proof of positive integration and transparency and lamented the negative reactions produced whenever these communities declare their intentions to construct praying sites. A paradox in her words, when on one hand Muslims are asked to be visible and on the other hand this opportunity is limited or even worse refused. Gema Mart_n Mu_oz reinforced the Spanish challenge to assimilate a growing Muslim community and the importance of having integration politics adapted to national marks.

Sweden: Swedish Muslims localize cartoon crisis

Swedish Muslims have no intention of internationalizing a new crisis involving an offensive drawing of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). STOCKHOLM – Swedish Muslims have no intention of internationalizing a new crisis involving an offensive drawing of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), opting for a series of peaceful protests at home. “Swedish Muslims don’t want to escalate the situation,” Mohamed Al-Khalafi, the head of the Muslim Association of Sweden, told IslamOnline.

France wants African help to fight illegal immigration

France wants to clinch agreements on curbing immigration with some 20 African countries by the end of 2009, Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux said Wednesday. An agreement is currently under negotation with Congo Republic and “in the coming months I will begin discussions with other countries,” Hortefeux told a conference of French ambassadors in Paris. “We expect there to be some 20 countries involved by the end of 2009,” he added. France has signed immigration accords with Senegal and Gabon that provide for French assistance to help the countries monitor their borders in exchange for their cooperation in repatriating illegal migrants.

First Islamic school opens in Belgium

Brussels -In Molenbeek, students can enroll at the Avicenna Islamic school. The private school is not recognized and receives no subsidies. In order to obtain a certificate, the students have to take an examination before the examining board. Respect and discipline. Those are two values which the Avicenna school imparts. The posters of the French-speaking school hang at windows of the building beside the Al-Khalil mosque in Molenbeek. If all goes well, it will begin as early as September with the first and second years of secondary education. The news that there would be an Islamic school had been circulating for a while. Yesterday, the school’s organizers could not be reached. Avicenna is to be -in theory at least -a school for girls and boys, for Muslims and non-Muslims. […]