Imam deported in Canada found near Mexican border

National Post – January 27, 2011

A controversial imam who was deported to Tunisia from Canada in 2007 is in U.S. custody after being discovered in the trunk of a BMW shortly after crossing over from Mexico. Said Jaziri, 43, was one of two illegal aliens apprehended on Jan. 11 just east of San Diego, said Steven Pitts, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman.

Canada revoked refugee status and deported the Muslim cleric, who encouraged demonstrations in Montreal against the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, after discovering that he had concealed the fact he had served jail time in France for assault.

Muslim population in Canada to triple in next 20 years

News Agencies – January 27, 2011

The Muslim population of Canada will nearly triple over the next 20 years, according to a new study of global demographic trends focusing on the faith. The number of Canadians who identify themselves as Muslim will reach 2.7 million by 2030, up from approximately 940,000 today, and will make up 6.6 per cent of the total population.

The projections were released Thursday by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life, the first in a series of population projections of major world religions.

Around the world, the Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 per cent, rising to 2.2 billion by 2030 and increasing at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population.

Wahida Valiante, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said she is concerned that the numbers will be used by some to stoke the flames of anti-Islamic rhetoric.

Before this study, which relies on census data and other national demographic records from more than 1,500 sources worldwide, there was no reliable global population data for the Muslim faith.

In Canada, Muslims are expected to make up 6.6 per cent of the total population in 2030, up from 2.8 per cent today. In the United States, the Muslim share of the population will rise to 1.7 per cent in 2030 from 0.8 per cent in 2010. The sudden growth is partly explained by a higher fertility rate among Muslim Canadians, and the large percentage who are approaching their child-bearing years.

French National Front leader says Islam is not compatible with secular society

News Agencies – January 28, 2011

The recently appointed leader of France’s far-right National Front party has turned her attention toward Islam, saying it is “absolutely not compatible” with a secular society. Marine Le Pen, who took over as head of the party two weeks ago, has regularly faced accusations of Islamaphobia. “I think that France can be secular because it’s a Christian culture and you notice that in Muslim countries they have more difficulty,” she told LCP, the French parliament’s TV channel. “France is France. It’s a country with Christian roots and that’s also what’s given us our identity. It’s secular, we’ll hold this identity and we won’t let this identity be changed.”

In December, the 42-year-old compared Muslims praying in the street to the German occupation during World War II, shortly before she took over from her father Jean-Marie as head of the anti-immigrant party.

European Muslim Population to Reach 8% by 2030, Report Finds

The number of Muslims in Europe has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010. Europe’s Muslim population is projected to exceed 58 million by 2030. Muslims today account for about 6% of Europe’s total population, up from 4.1% in 1990. By 2030, Muslims are expected to make up 8% of Europe’s population. Although Europe’s Muslim population is growing, Europe’s share of the global Muslim population will remain quite small. Less than 3% of the world’s Muslims are expected to be living in Europe in 2030, about the same portion as in 2010 (2.7%).

Baroness Warsi Speaking Out Against Islamophobia in Britain

21 January 2011

Islamophobia is not just rife but socially acceptable in Britain today. Indeed it “passes the dinner-table test” of being seen as normal and uncontroversial in polite society. So Baroness Warsi, the first Muslim to sit in the Cabinet, was to warn last night.

Her speech has surprised and riled many, not least her fellows in the Conservative Party. What she says is true, which is what so irritates her critics. Prejudice against Britain’s Asian community does not, since 9/11, attract the social stigma that prejudice against other religious and racial groups rightly brings.

German Rapper on Integration Debate: “It Is Insulting that Sarrazin Labels Us all Lazy Muslims”

27 January 2011

In a SPIEGEL interview, German rapper Massiv – Berlin’s answer to 50 Cent – talks about his new album and the controversial views on immigration by bestselling author Thilo Sarrazin that have angered many in Germany and made an international splash as well. “He has managed to build a wall,” the rapper says.

Berlin rapper Massiv, formerly known as Pit Bull, was born Wasiem Taha to Palestinian immigrant parents in the German town of Pirmasens in the Rhineland region near the French border. Fifteen years ago, the now 28-year-old moved with his family to Berlin to launch his career. Massiv’s “Blut gegen Blut” (Blood for Blood) album, released in 2006, firmly established him as a powerful force on the German rap scene.

On his latest album, he also takes on Thilo Sarrazin, the author of the controversial German bestseller, “Germany Does Itself In.” Sarrazin claims, among other things, that immigrant communities have had a negative effect on the German economy and that their presence threatens the future fabric of German society as a whole. The book has inflamed debate about immigration, and been condemned as counterproductive to building any kind of harmony and integration.

Muslim Resistance: The Struggle Within (video)

Documentary maker Masood Khan explores the Muslim community’s struggle against extremism. In the first of three videos, he goes to Luton to see how Salafi Muslims are rejecting the extreme rhetoric of al-Muhajiroun, despite still holding not-very-moderate views themselves. In the second part, Khan meets Kalsoom Bashir, a Bristol community worker who is challenging the conservative Islamic view of women. In the third video, Khan meets Hanif Qadir, who co-founded the anti-extremist youth group Active Change Foundation after training as a mujahid soldier and becoming disillusioned with extreme Islamist ideology.