The Spanish High Court has granted citizenship by residence to a Muslim who belongs to the Tabligh movement. In 2006 the Spanish Government had refused his petition of citizenship as a result of a negative report from the CNI (Spanish Center of Intelligence).
This governmental agency defines the Tabligh Islamic movement as intransigent with the freedom and against to the equality. The CNI considered his relations between this individual and the Tabligh organization as proof of his lack of integration in to the Spanish society.
News coverage of local elections in the Netherlands focuses on the gains made by right wing Freedom (PVV) Party. Led by controversial politician Geert Wilders, who is currently on trial for inciting hatred against Muslims, the party operates on an anti-immigration platform. It made major gains in the only two cities where it ran candidates, leading the elections in Almere with 21.9 percent of the vote and coming second in the Hague. The Netherlands Muslim Party, presenting candidates in 5 cities, failed to win any seats in these local elections, though it still plans to run candidates in upcoming parliamentary elections.
The gains of the PVV have attracted particular attention in light of the national elections called for June 9 2010 to form a coalition replacing the government which fell in February 2010. Wilders predicted that his party’s success in the local elections indicated its increasing popularity throughout the country, saying “the national campaign begins today in Almere and The Hague, tomorrow in all of the Netherlands… On 9 June, we’ll conquer the Netherlands”. The PVV currently holds 9 seats in the 150 seat parliament.
News agencies present differing interpretations of the PVV’s popularity: Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports that, “if voters had elected a new parliament on Wednesday, the Freedom Party would have won between 24 and 27 seats. In one poll, it would be the largest single party. If his party does that well come June, Geert Wilders could become the next prime minister.” Dutch News reports that an “opinion poll earlier in the day put the PVV in third place in the national vote. And the party’s results in Almere were well below forecasts and down on its share of the vote at the European elections last June.” International news agencies including the BBC and Al-Jazeera emphasize the rise in the PVV’s gains as an “anti-Islam” party.
Pre-election polls suggested that highly-educated Moroccan and Turkish youth would vote for D66 in the local Dutch elections, followed by PvdA (Labor) and GroenLinks (Greens), Telegraaf reportedNIS reports that immigrants provide important support for the Labour (PVdA) party noting “the PvdA remained the biggest party in Amsterdam by some way, partly due to 74 percent of Moroccans voting for the social democrats.” The Hague witnessed a protest to PVV popularity when about 100 individuals voted in headscarves as a sign of their opposition to Wilders. Dutch Muslims have reacted to the results with disbelief. After the vote, Expatica prints reactions from Muslims in Almere who are concerned about the party’s popularity. “I am afraid that it will lead to more hatred,” said 20-year-old student Sakina Buyatui, a Dutch-born resident the city, where a third of the population is of immigrant origin.
In Spain they’re living about 1.3 million Muslims and the question that flourish is how can to handle some extreme situations. In some cases tolerated behaviors in the immigrants’ homeland are legally prosecuted, because they transgress fundamental rights in Spain.
One main problem is how to handle with problems that affect the relation between genders. Is the solution to mediate in the situations where the rights of a women has been attacked, denying women their rights in order to avoid the conflicts with the Muslim community or should it be report to the police in order to proceed legally?
What is happening in Spain is that they’re two different perspectives about this issue. Sometimes, locally they´re using the mediation, but at state level the General Director for Religious Affairs pending from the Justice Ministry says that the first step is to offer protection and ensure the right of the victims.
Salt is a small town very near to Gerona (Catalonia). The percentage of immigrants has grown from a 6 percent to 49 percent in the past ten years. As a consequence of the recent economical crisis both unemployment and crime have risen in the town. Last week, a group of residents protested at the City Hall about the crime and the lack of police presence in the city. The residents accuse the immigrant population of being responsible for the current situation. Many incidents and confrontations have taken place and serve to demonstrate the tension that exists between the two groups. The local Muslim associations have called for calm and an end to the racist protests. In a meeting held last Saturday between local immigrant associations, many young people made clear their unwillingness to be represented by religious organisations. The process continues.
The municipality of Zwolle is working on making homosexuality a discussable topic in immigrant circles. The municipality is working together with COC Zwolle (gay integration org) and five religious organizations for immigrants. The municipality wants to increase knowledge of homosexuality in immigrant circles, and thereby have both immigrants and professionals in Zwolle aware of the issue. The project, which will receive 75,000 euros from the state, also aims to expand professional expertise in informing immigrants about homosexuality. The municipality sees a role here for key figures in the immigrant community, religious organizations, self-organizations and social organizations.
The British Muslim organisation Minhaj ul-Qur’an has released the globally first fatwa ruling
suicide bombings and terrorism prohibited and entirely un-Islamic. The author of the fatwa, Muslim scholar Dr Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri, is the founder of the increasingly influential Minhaj ul-Quran movement. It is based on Sufi principles and in Britain, it advises the government on combating the radicalization of Muslim youth, while the organisation is not government funded.
The fatwa condemns terrorist acts in the name of Islam and uses evidence from the Qur’an and other Islamic writings to prove that suicide bombers are destined for hell, countering the Islamist view that they would enter heaven, as suggested in many Saudi-Arabian fatwas. It leaves no room for interpretation and does away with the myth of martyrdom of suicide bombers.
In December, the 600-page Urdu-language fatwa has already been publicised in Pakistan, but this week it was launched in London, along with an English summary. A translation of the full version into English will also be available soon. While the fatwa may not have much direct influence on Sunni or Wahhabi Islamist thought, it is believed to strengthen the general influence of Minhaj ul-Quran and their engagement against violent Islam, and in the long run contribute to dismantling al-Qaida ideology.
The difficulties in the relationship between the town council and the imam of the biggest Muslim association in Lleida, Abdelwahab Houzi, have flourished last week, because of a misunderstood about a personal trip of Houzi to Saudi Arabia. The problems arose when the town councilors were informed that it could be possible that Houzi had left Lleida forever without finishing the construction of the new mosque.
The construction of the new mosque was agreed by the town council, who transferred the land needed and promote the licenses for the construction, and the association leaded by Houzi, who would support financially the construction of this new building.
Some gossip spread in Lleida the past weekend, when nobody knew if Houzi would return to Spain and nobody was able to ask any question about where the money for the construction of the new mosque was.
On Monday, March the 1st, the imam Abdelwahab Houzi appeared in Lleida saying, that his trip was only a holiday trip and that he had no intention to leave Spain. In other hand he recognized that the association was suffering financial problems, but that he was trying to manage them and looking for some solution.
Anyway this misunderstood reflects the problems in the relationship between the town council and Houzi.
Houzi has suffered several critics of the town councilors and some members of his mosque, because of his intolerance and his rigorous understanding of the Islam.
The German drama “Die Fremde” (“When we leave”) portrays the subject of honour killings in a Turkish German family. Up-and-coming actress Sibel Kekilli, a Turkish German herself, acts the part of Umay, who grows up in Berlin and gets married to a Turkish man in Istanbul. When Umay escapes the brutal relationship and flees to Berlin, she is rejected by her family and threatened by her husband.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Kekilli speaks about her role and the significance of the topic of honour killings, which she campaigns against with “Terre des Femmes”. Asked about her view on contemporary Islam and its ability to reform, Kekilli claims that all religions can be interpreted in an intolerant way, and that Turks in Istanbul are generally more open and modern than their German counterparts, who have always lived a segregated life out of homesickness, fear and frustration. As for herself, she cherishes the values of both cultures she grew up with, particularly pointing to the German values she internalised: discipline, free thought and tolerance.
The award winning film was released at cinemas on 11 March 2010 and brings honour killings back on the agenda of the German feuilletons.
Erich Kocina reacts to the recent IMAS study (see above) in this op-ed piece, pointing out two main points made clear by results: firstly, in coming out 59% against minarets, Austrians do not think much differently than the Swiss. And secondly, demagogues have done just as good a job in Austria as they have next door. In other words, to what degree one has personally been affected becomes a non-issue, in the same way that those Swiss most against minarets were in areas where no Muslims live.
Kocina states that we can imagine already the consequences of these results: instead of policies, which serve to ensure social peace and attempt to resolve (very real) problems, we will see cosmetic measures taken to heighten the repression of one section of the population in the name of enhancing the general population’s “subjective feeling of security.” In the end, the goal is to win votes. In the same fashion as the just as expensive and pointless current involvement of the Austrian army in patrolling the border in Burgenland, “Anti-Muslim Protective Brigades” could be brought in to patrol the country. Seem ridiculous? He asks rhetorically, – in these times, unfortunately not.