Muslim Members Leaving Dutch Political Party

March 24 2011
In an open letter to Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, Muslim members of the national Christian Democratic party say that they feel they are seen first as Muslims and only second as members of the CDA. The letter warns that Muslim members may leave the party, in which case its position in urban centers could weaken. Regarding their dissatisfaction with the party the letter notes the problem that “we are in alliance with a part that makes combating Islam a key issue”, a reference to Geert Wilders’ PVV.

Minister Says “Westernised” Afghan Girls Must Leave Netherlands

March 22 2011
Immigration minister Gerd Leers announced Tuesday that an estimated 400 Afghan girls living in the Netherlands must return to Afghanistan “even though they have become totally ‘westernized’”. Leers had been asked to find out how many girls faced deportation, and responded that of the women present in the country given asylum on claims they are at risk if they return to their home country, there are approximately 100 young girls who remain in the appeal process and a further 300 “have no right” to stay in the Netherlands.

Study Claims Non-Western Immigrants Reduce Trust in Amsterdam Neighborhoods

March 18 2011
An article in the most recent edition of social science magazine Mens & Maatschappij (Man and Society) claims that the greater the ethnic diversity in Amsterdam neighborhoods, the lower the sense of well being of its residents. The article claims that “a higher number of non-Western immigrants leads to a reduced sense of security and well-being among residents. A larger number of Western immigrants leads to an increased trust in the quality of life and future of the neighborhood”. The article is written by three researchers basing their conclusions on existing data bases.

The provided summary of the abstract reads, “This research investigates whether Robert Putnam’s (2007) well-known findings on the negative influence of ethnic diversity on social cohesion hold in Amsterdam. In the present study neighbourhood trust is the measure of social cohesion. Using data from the ‘Living in Amsterdam’ monitor ( Wonen in Amsterdam, 2007 ), multilevel analysis shows that neighbourhood trust is lower in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods. Furthermore, the percentage of first generation non-Western immigrants and second generation non-Western immigrants is also negatively related to neighbourhood trust. The percentage of second generation non-Western immigrants affects neighbourhood trust more strongly than the presence of first generation non-Western immigrants. In addition, the effect on neighbourhood trust differs for various non-Western ethnic groups. Neighbourhood trust is higher in neighbourhoods with a large percentage of immigrants from the Dutch Antilles and trust is lower in neighbourhoods with a higher presence of Moroccans.”

Mosque of Paris’ Boubakeur changes his position on debate on Islam

News Agencies – March 23, 2011

Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Mosque of Paris, appears to have changed his position three times as to the merit of the proposed April debate on Islam and secularism in France. On March 23rd he noted that, “The Mosque of Paris declines the invitation to participate in this political debate which fosters stigmatization of Muslims.” The CFCM (the French Council of the Muslim Faith) has also declined to participate.

Al-Qaeda demands 90 million Euros for French hostages

RFI – March 21, 2011
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) is demanding at least 90 million euros ransom for the release of four French hostages held since September, a source close to mediators indicated. The French citizens were kidnapped in September 2010 in neighbouring Niger, where France has a large stake in uranium mining, and are still being held hostage in the desert.
The kidnappers want at least 90 million euros and the release of Aqim prisoners held in several countries, including France, an anonymous source told the AFP news agency. An abortive rescue attempt resulted in the deaths of two French hostages in January. Three others, including one French citizen, were freed in February.

French interior minister apologizes for likening Libya intervention to a crusade

News Agencies – March 23, 2011
Claude Guéant, France’s new interior minister, has been forced into expressing regret for having likened his country’s diplomatic drive for international military intervention in Libya to a “crusade”. Mr Guéant had praised Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, for having “headed the crusade to mobilise the United Nations Security Council, and then the Arab League and the African Union.”
In spite of raising hackles in the Middle East and Russia, Mr Guéant had earlier been unrepentant, telling fellow right-wingers that the modern usage of the term “crusade” did not necessarily have religious overtones. Mr Guéant was named interior minister in a cabinet reshuffle sparked by the resignation of former Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie. She was discredited after taking a holiday in Tunisia over Christmas, just as a popular revolt erupted there. Nicknamed “The Cardinal” during his time as the Elysée’s secretary general, Mr Guéant was admired for his diplomatic skills. But since taking a ministerial post, he has been pilloried for his lack of tact.

British Muslim “Miss Universe” Candidate Receives Death Threats

20 March 2011

Shanna Bukhari, of Pakistani background and representing Britain in the Miss Universe beauty contest, has received threats from all sides. Muslim radicals tell her she betrays her religion, white supremacists say she cannot represent Britain as it’s not her country, and feminists criticise her for participating in a contest based on female beauty. Bukhari has had to employ a private security firm for her participation in public events, when she recently received indirect death threats via the internet. She says she knew her entry into the contest would not be an easy path, but never expected such extreme reactions; however, she will not withdraw her candidacy.

Searching Muslims in Movies: A Review of Films About Islam, With and Without Muslim Actors

25 March 2011

The film “West is West”, after its highly successful predecessor “East is East”, has been released at cinemas, telling the story of a Muslim family in Manchester. The author of this article takes the opportunity to skim through all movies of the past years that deal with Islamic issues to study the range of Muslim characters and actors in the cinemas. She finds a few, and few good ones, but is generally disappointed by the lack of differentiation, if not lack of Muslims altogether: “Where is the soulful, female Muslim singer, the wily, kebab millionaire, the two-timing Pakistani cricketer, the Arab heartthrob? They do all exist, but these roles are not written into scripts”, she writes. She describes the current “West is West” as witty and authentic, but as a lone star among currents films.

Long-Awaited Response to Sarrazin’s Book Hits German Bookshelves: A Review

25 March 2011

Patrick Bahners, editor-in-chief of the arts and culture pages of the conservative FAZ, has published a book about the hysteric German debate around Islam. In this article, the reviewer of “Die Panikmacher” (“The Alarmists”) finds that Bahners shrewdly dismantles the arguments of prominent Islam critics like Thilo Sarrazin, Henryk M. Broder and Necla Kelek. Bahners sheds light on the strategies of Islam critics, who oftentimes argue from an absolutist point of view, rejecting any form of dialogue as well as the model of the welfare state. Despite missing a few amendments, such as a comparison with neighbouring countries like Austria, the reviewer welcomes the publication very much.

Patrick Bahners: “Die Panikmacher. Die deutsche Angst vor dem Islam”. C. H. Beck Verlag, München 2011.

Appeals court reinstates case by Muslim woman in CA over forced removal of head scarf in cell

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court unanimously reinstated a lawsuit Tuesday filed by a Muslim woman who accused Southern California jailers of violating her religious freedom when they ordered her to take off her head scarf in a courthouse holding cell.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said plaintiff Souhair Khatib had the right to wear the scarf unless jailers can show it was a security risk.
Khatib filed the lawsuit in 2007 against Orange County. She had been jailed for several hours in November 2006 after a judge revoked her probation for a misdemeanor welfare fraud conviction.