Immigrant party opens new office in northern Veneto region

Italy’s new immigrant party opened an office in the Veneto region Monday, a move that comes after mayors in Veneto and other areas of northeast Italy imposed a minimum income rule for migrants. The rule, considered racist by many, cites that immigrants must earn a certain amount before the can become residents. The immigrant party’s coordinator, Dumitru Ilinca also cites the shocking instance that the locality of Romano d’Ezzelino’s refusal to grant scholarships to children from immigrant families.” The party, founded in April, says it aims to represent the interests of 3.7 million immigrants in Italy – around 6.2% of the population.

Wedding ban on illegal immigrants in northern town

Illegal immigrants will be banned from getting married in the northern Italian town of Caravaggio, unless they have the legal permits to stay and work in Italy. The town’s mayor, Giuseppe Prevedini said I will no longer be available to marry illegal immigrants… In most cases these are marriages of convenience, often in exchange for money, to enable foreigners to obtain a permit of stay, bring family members to join them, and in two years to obtain citizenship.”

Teddy bear teacher flies out of Sudan

Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher jailed in Sudan for insulting Islam in a row over a teddy bear, tonight landed in Dubai on her way back home after being pardoned by the country’s President. The 54-year-old mother-of-two left Sudan landed at 8.45pm (UK time) and said: I just want to relax, I don’t want to say any more. I’m too tired.” Sophie Tedmanson, and Rob Crilly report.

Rapprochement of the German Conservatives with Islam

After decades of mistrust, the Bavarian conservative party CSU recently tries to carefully approach Islam. Party leader Gunther Beckstein, Bavarian head of state, and leading members of his party have recommended to open the party. At the moment, the number of Muslim members of the German conservative party is marginal. Beckstein and other party leaders want this to change – but they face critics, too.

Mohammed the mole digs author into a risky hole

A British children’s author who named a mole Mohammed to promote multiculturalism has renamed it Morgan for fear of offending Muslims. Kes Gray, a former advertising executive, first decided on his gesture of cross-cultural solidarity after meeting Muslims in Egypt. The character, Mohammed the Mole, appeared in Who’s Poorly Too, an illustrated children’s book, which also included Dipak Dalmatian and Pedro Penguin, in an effort to be inclusive. Chris Gourlay reports.

European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy

Works on Islam in Europe often read like a juxtaposition of national case studies covering the history and perhaps the sociology of immigrant groups in the countries considered. Although the sociology of Islam is well-developed in certain European countries such as France, Germany and the UK, it is only in its infancy as a discipline at the European level. The chapters in this work, by leading European experts in the field, therefore aim to supply policy-makers, analysts and civil society leaders with an inventory of the main issues concerning the presence of Islam in Europe. The key message is that European Islam exists as a powerful transnational phenomenon, and European policy must keep pace with this reality.

Contributors include Samir Amghar, Amel Boubekeur, Michael Emerson, Chris Allen, Valerie Amiraux, Tufyal Choudhury, Bernard Godard, Imane Karich, Isabelle Rigoni, Olivier Roy and Sara Silvestri.

Pakistanis protest against consulate

Pakistanis living in Italy held a demonstration against what they perceived as an unreasonable attitude b the Pakistani consulate in Rome. The Italian government began regularizing illegal immigrants by issuing them work permits – but due to a non-cooperative attitude by the Pakistani consulate, almost twenty thousand Pakistanis were unable to complete the necessary documentation. The protestors threatened that they would go to the extent of self-immolation if the consulate did not begin to cooperate with public demand.

Islam Debate in Germany: “Girls are made unable for integration

The German writer G_nter Wallraff proposed reading Salman Rushdi’s ‘Satanic Verses’ in a controversial new mosque in Cologne. The religious foundation building the mosque discussed the project but eventually refused the proposal. G_nter Wallraff doesn’t think of himself as a provocateur, he just wants to get a dialogue going and to put the integration of Muslims in German society to the test. Now he is participating in a critical Islam conference. The critical Islam conference will take place in spring/summer 2008. A pubic announcement event, a penal discussion of Islam critics, including Wallraff, took place at the University of Cologne on 1 December. Spiegel Online has interviewed him about Islam in Germany.

US terror case hearing reveals details on work by Muslim convert informant

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut: William Chrisman had three wives and nine children to support and struggled with panic attacks, but the Muslim convert was determined to help the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He became an informant for the FBI and ended up in contact with two other Muslim converts suspected of supporting terrorism. His work helped authorities charge both men. Derrick Shareef, 23, pleaded guilty to plotting to set off grenades in an Illinois shopping mall. Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a former U.S. Navy sailor, has pleaded not guilty to charges he gave terrorists secret information about the location of Navy ships and ways to attack them.