The Structural Limits of the Italian System in Tackling Immigration

The request by the Interior Minister Roberto Maroni to the European institutions to sustain Italy more actively in tackling what he defines a situation of emergency, has been criticized by many actors both nationally and internationally. The government, according to many representatives of the centre-left, would be using strategically the arrivals of immigrants and creating unfounded fears among the population and foreign institutions to cover its own incapacities and mistakes concerning the management of immigration. Laura Boldrini, spokeperson of the UN High Commission for Refugees, warns against the risks of spreading false alarmism and of speaking of a supposed ‘invasion’ from Egypt, Tunisia and Libia. She has also invited the Italian Navy and Italian fishermen to keep showing their traditional solidarity toward migrants. The tensions between the Italian government and the UE continue after UE representatives have made clear that the UE will not help Italy in distributing the newcomers in other countries. The EU, in other words, will assume its responsibilities about the situation in the Mediterranean area but without making any discount to Italy; and invites our country to perform its own duties concerning immigration. A high official of the US government has also accused the Italian government of being fuelling unmotivated xenophobic fears among the population through the use of the media (almost totally controlled by Berlusconi) and of creating unfounded links between criminality, terrorism and illegal immigration. The official stressed that the majority of irregulars do not arrive in Italy in the so called ‘boats of the desperates’, but following other routs and using other transports. What is lacking in Italy, then, would not be only an adequate immigration policy, but also concrete resources to face and address the existing problems. In the meantime, a joint mission in Lampedusa, involving the Italian government and Frontex, has just started. Our country will provide nautical means to patrol a coastal area defined ‘at risk’. Other European countries will help with their air means, and a specific task force has been created to identify migrants and to investigate criminal nets that manage the trafficking of human beings. Attacks to the incapacity of Italy in managing effectively the situation have been raised also by CARITAS that firmly condemns the government’s policy of rejections which would hinder immigrants’ basic human rights. What emerges from the critiques of all these actors is the government’s incapacity to plan organic actions aimed at receiving immigrants.

FECOM warns about scams to Muslim Associations

23/02/2011

The Federation of Muslim Communities of Castilla La-Mancha has warned in a press release of a new type of scam that affects the Muslim Communities of the autonomous region of Castilla La-Mancha. The mafia modus operandi is to offer help for the fundraising in Saudi Arabia in exchange for an in advance payment from the communities for the “financial costs” of the operation, money that never is given back.

36% of Mercabarna slaughters are done following the Islamic Ritual

22/02/2011

Mercabarna, the Barcelona’s slaughterhouse, is one of the most important slaughterhouses for Muslims in Spain. Last year 127,651 lambs were killed (32.8% of total) in Mercabarna following the Islamic ritual. Three quarters of these products were exported to south of France, Italy and even countries as Egypt or Turkey. Morocco is also an emerging market. The slaughterhouse employs nine Muslim slaughterers who are trained, approved and certified by the Halal Institute (supervised by Junta Islámica).

Muslim Shelf Stockers Can Refuse to Handle Alcohol, Court Decides

25 February 2011

A Muslim supermarket employee in Germany was sacked when he refused on religious grounds to stock shelves with bottles of alcohol. Now the country’s highest labor court has ruled that the man’s objection was justified.

It’s not the first time a Muslim worker in Germany has gone to court over the right to practice his or her religion in the workplace. A number of high-profile cases in recent years have involved Muslim women who wanted the right to wear a headscarf while doing their jobs.

But the particulars of this case are unusual — and controversial: Germany’s highest labor court has ruled that a Muslim supermarket employee can refuse to handle alcohol on religious grounds.

The case in question involved a Muslim man who was employed in a supermarket in the northern German city of Kiel. He refused to stock shelves with alcoholic drinks, saying that his religion forbade him from any contact with alcohol, and was dismissed as a result in March 2008.

In a ruling Thursday, Germany’s Federal Labor Court confirmed that employees may refuse to perform a specific task on religious grounds. If there is an alternative task they can do which is acceptable to their religion and practical for the company, then the employer is obliged to let them do it. The firm can only dismiss the worker if there is no realistic alternative.

Lessons in Hate and Violence: The Same Old Story – Commentary on a Channel 4 Documentary

17 February 2011

Prior to the transmission of Channel 4’s Dispatches, Lessons in Hate and Violence, a number of newspapers ran articles about the extremism and abuse in some mosques and madrassas. Muslim groups gave their reaction after the programme aired. The British Muslim Forum condemned abuse and bigotry but said that such incidents and attitudes were not widespread in the 2,000 Islamic institutions across Britain. It urged Channel 4 not to “fall in the trap of ‘Islam bashing’ or creating fear, hatred and racism against Muslims and their holy faith as has become fashionable these days by over-generalising and exaggerating such isolated incidents.”

The group also said it was “of extreme concern that the programme producers were aware of the incidents since July 2010 but failed to pass the information on to the relevant authorities, thereby compromising the health and safety of the children involved”.

UK’s Muslim Soldiers “Fighting Extremists Not Muslims”

21 February 2011

With more than 600 Muslims in the British Armed Forces, do those that are deployed on the front line in Afghanistan have to reconcile their beliefs in order to fight hardline Islamic Taliban militants?

“My home is the UK. As a Muslim, that’s the place I’d happily die for and kill for. That’s the same way it’s going to remain until my dying day. My entire soul belongs to the UK and I’m more than proud to fight for this country.” Pte Shehab El-Din Ahmed El-Miniawi, is serving with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold and scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the nation.

The only practising Muslim in his battalion, Pte El-Miniawi is on his first tour of Afghanistan. “I came with no perception of what this place was going to be like, be it hot, be it cold, be it dangerous, be it IED (improvised explosive device)-ridden, whatever,” he said. “If you narrow it down, we’re not just fighting Muslims we’re fighting extremists. Every culture, every faith… has an extremist background in it.”

Cameron: Multiculturalism Speech Not Attack on Muslims

23 February 2011

David Cameron has insisted he was not “singling out Muslims” in a recent speech on multiculturalism. Mr Cameron’s call for an end to “state multiculturalism” sparked debate around the world, with some accusing the UK prime minister of attacking Islam.

Explaining his words to students in Qatar, he backed a “multiracial” society but not a “super tolerant” one in which people lived separate lives. Mr Cameron, who is touring the Middle East, also spoke up for gay rights.

In a speech on the causes of terrorism and radicalisation in Munich last month, Mr Cameron blamed “state multiculturalism” for a “weakening of our collective identity” and said it encouraged different cultures to live “separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream”.

Forensic Psychiatrist Reflects Canadian Omar Khadr and Islamic Fundamentalism in Guantanamo Bay

The National Post – February 19, 2011
This article reflects the opinion of Dr. Michael Welner, an expert forensic psychiatrist witness in numerous high profile civil and criminal proceedings in the United States. Here he reflects on the impact of prison relating to the fundamentalism of Omar Khadr:
Against the backdrop of these competing forces, the United States Department of Defense asked me as a veteran of highly sensitive forensic psychiatric assessments to appraise the risk of one such Guantanamo detainee, Omar Khadr. Mr. Khadr, by his own statements in 2002 and most recently in October 2010, admitted to throwing a grenade that killed Sfc. Christopher Speer as he inspected the scene of a recently completed battle. Khadr was 15 at the time that he killed Speer.
When I interviewed Khadr last June in my capacity as a forensic psychiatrist, he was an English-speaking, socially agile 23-year-old with the kind of easy smile that so similarly warms those who encounter the Dalai Lama and Bin Laden alike. Anticipating his eventual release, the military commission asked me to go beyond the natural tendency of advocates and adversaries to see what they want to see in Omar the man.
In American as well as Canadian facilities, tens of thousands of inmates are converting to Islam every year. Yielding to the notion that they are respecting religion, corrections officials have failed to make a committed effort to staff prisons with devout, forceful but peaceful-minded Muslim imams. As a result, the more charismatic, Machiavellian, and aggressive leaders within North American corrections facilities dominate and influence vulnerable and often alienated Muslim prisoners. These influences remain after prisoners are released and have been implicated in American terror attacks by American-born ex-cons.

Anti-Muslim hate groups harass French anthropologist Dounia Bouzar

News Agencies – February 22, 2011

The vehicle and motorcycle of French anthropologist Dounia Bouzar were vandalized outside of her Parisian residence. Several inflammatory texts were included. The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) has publicly condemned the vandalism and remarks.