September 24, 2010
The president of UCOII (Union of Italian Islamic Communities) has written a letter to the President of the Republic denouncing what he considers a serious act of discrimination towards Muslim students in the Brescia area, where the village mayor refuses to accommodate the students’ dietary needs. Currently; the school only serves traditional meals unless a certified medical necessity to avoid pork is proven by the students. The president of the UCOII is requesting of the Republic’s President to: make an official intervention and preserve the basic rights of the Muslims students rights to practice their Islamic beliefs.
A top representative of the Northern League reacted by charging the UCOII of being a fundamentalist organization in the Northern region of Italy. The representative has suggested that the members of UCOII should relocate to other parts of the country. However, the director of the school complex is attempting to subdue the debate by urging mediation and compromise which would exempt Muslim students from having to eat pork.
September 21, 2010
In the village of Sonnino (Latina, Lazio); a nursery school attempted to ban a woman, who is married to an imam, donning the burqa after several complaints were made by other parents. The parents accused that the Muslim woman’s burqa frightened their children attending the nursery. An official meeting was held on the matter; where the village mayor, the nursery managers and the husband of the woman came to the compromise that the woman would remove the face veil upon entering the building. The imam committed himself to respecting the outcomes of the meeting and reassured the community of the need and importance for Muslims to integrate within Italian society.
Reactions to the incident were mixed. A group of local women contested the decision and showed their solidarity with the veiled Muslim woman by wearing burqas publically. Meanwhile the president of the association for “Moderate Muslims;” criticized the decision by suggesting that, the burqa should be completely banned since it is not an Islamic precept. An initiative to promote greater cultural integration has been launched in public schools.
September 23 2010
Indonesia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands said in an interview with the Financieele Dagblad that a visit by the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhynono would be thrown into question if the right wing PVV party formed part of the next coalition government. The ambassador also suggested that those who had voted for the right wing Freedom Party (PVV), headed by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, could be ‘psychotic’.
Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen called the ambassador’s words ‘unwise’ and noted that he planned to make contact with him that day. Wilders, who has repeatedly called for a ban on immigration from Islamic countries, called the statements ‘scandalous’.
September 22 2010
Dutch authorities arrested a British Somali man on Sunday at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport on suspicions of terrorism. The man was on his way from London to Entebbe, Uganda. The arrest followed a tipoff from British police, and the man was subsequently questioned by Dutch and British authorities.
The man was released on Wednesday morning, as the investigation into the man and his travel plans did not turn up any incriminating evidence.
September 21 2010
The Dutch public prosecution has dropped charges against a cartoonist arrested in 2008 on charges of discriminating against Muslims. The department decided that although the cartoons in question do discriminate against Muslims and ‘people with dark skins’ , they have not appeared on the artist’s website since shortly after his arrest. As the complaint was made in 2005 and the artist spent a day and a half in jail following his arrest, the case was determined to be ‘dated’.
September 20 2010
The Netherlands’ National Ombudsman has ruled that Muslim women who are being detained in cells, and are thus required to remove their headscarves, should not be confronted by male police officers. The decision comes after a Muslim woman was asked to hand over her headscarf to female police officers while male officers watched. The Ombudsman ruled that the police officers did not sufficiently respect her freedom of religion.
Headscarves have to be removed from detainees for ‘safety reasons’, following an incident in 2004 when a detained woman committed suicide using her headscarves.
September 19, 2010
The Cooperation Association of Moroccans in the Netherlands (SMN) has said that the national Justice minister’s action program against discrimination should pay more attention to incidents against Dutch Moroccans and Muslims. The program does not deal specifically with discrimination and violence against Dutch Moroccans and Muslims.
The SMN is further critical of a police letter attached to the report outlining that discrimination against gays and Jews rose sharply in 2009 but omitting the information that the biggest category of incidents of discrimination are based on ethnicity and origin- including those against Dutch Moroccans.
“This bias in the presentation of the research ultimately influences the images formed in society” explains SMN’s Farid Azarkan. The SMN says that they are against all forms of discrimination, and Azarkan calls the fact that Jews and gays are increasingly targets of discrimination a “sad and alarming development”.
17 September 2010
The foundation stones for the first purpose-built mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Ireland have been laid in Galway by Mirza Masroor Ahmad, world leader of community, during his first visit to the country. The Masjid Maryam (Mary Mosque) is only the third purpose-built mosque in Ireland and the first in Galway.
Ahmadi Muslims have been living in Ireland for more than three decades. Several hundred members of the Ahmadi community were present at the foundation stone laying, which was followed by a civic reception which local religious leaders from different Christian churches and politicians attended.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889, and it is estimated that there are several million followers worldwide, mainly in a number of African states, Pakistan and Indonesia. Ahmadi Muslims face severe discriminations in several Muslim countries, such as Pakistan where they have been banned from identifying themselves as Muslims since the early 1980s.
News Agencies – September 20, 2010
Lies Hebbadj, the grocer from Nantes who came under fire after his wife was fined for wearing a niqab while driving in April, was placed under police watch for the third time in four months because of an “abuse of confidence.” There was some question about how he paid his legal council. The Minister of the Interior, Brice Hortefeux, has suggested that Hebbadj may lose his French citizenship if he is found guilty of fraud. Hebbadj has claimed he is not a polygamist but that the mothers of his children are his mistresses.
News Agencies – September 20, 2010
France’s interior minister says the country has reinforced vigilance against terrorist threats, and the moderate rector of the main Paris mosque has been given armed guards. The Grand Mosque of Paris says its rector, Dalil Boubakeur, has been given three armed guards because of a new threat. Mosque spokesman Slimane Nadour says he has no information on the nature of the threat but says “the threat is real.”
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux told reporters Monday, “our vigilance is reinforced today,” without elaborating. Le Monde newspaper and RTL radio said Monday that France is under heightened threat of a terror attack on the transportation system and authorities are searching for a woman who could be plotting a suicide bombing in Paris.