News Agencies – September 19, 2011
30 Muslim tombs of soldiers killed during the First World War have been desecrated with racist and Nazi inscriptions in the St-Michel cemetery in the city of Carcassonne. The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) and the National Watch Against Islamophobia expressed “indignation” and “anger.” The case has been turned over to the Carcassonne police.
News Agencies – September 22, 2011
Kenza Drider’s posters for the French presidential race are ready to go, months before the official campaign begins. There she is, the “freedom candidate,” pictured standing in front of a line of police – a forbidden veil hiding her face. Drider declared her candidacy in Meaux, the city east of Paris run by top conservative lawmaker and Sarkozy ally Jean-Francois Cope, who championed the ban.
Drider, 32, who has worn a face veil for 13 years, hasn’t shirked from denouncing the ban in the past. She was the only veiled woman to testify before an information commission of lawmakers studying a potential ban before the law was passed. With four children, Drider says she goes about the southern city of Avignon, where she lives, facing down insults but left alone by police.
A woman in France turned to the courts to change her children’s names from Fatima and Mohammed to more French-sounding names. The kids, about ten, were named by their father at birth against their mother’s wishes. Aicha did not want North-African names so as to allow her children to integrate more easily. The court in Aix-en-Provence allowed her to change her children’s names. Mohammed changed his name to Kevin, per his wishes, and Fatima is now called Nadia.
News Agencies – September 22, 2011
A French court has imposed fines on two women for wearing the full Islamic face-covering veil, for the first time since a law was passed making it illegal to wear it in public. 32-year-old Hind Ahmas and Najate Naït Ali, who is 36, were ordered to pay fines of 120 euros and 80 euros respectively. The two women were not able to enter court to hear the judge’s pronouncement. At the hearing in May, one of them turned up outside the court, but was not allowed to enter because she refused to remove her full veil and reveal her face.
Yann Gré, who is the lawyer for the two women, declared that they will appeal against the ruling and are ready to take the case before the European Court of Human Rights.
Several women wearing the niqab turned up outside the courthouse to support the women.
This report examines the salaries of imams in Belgium. A 1974 law (Article 29) fixed the salaries of these men who are paid by the State. For instance, the secretary general of the executive of Muslims in Belgium has an annual salary of 43,228 Euros. An imam in the first level of ranking earns 18,653 Euros. These salaries are quite low in comparison with religious men in the Catholic church where an archbishop earns 68,371 Euros per year.
14 September 2011
Raymond de Roon, an MP for the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), referred to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as an ‘Islamic monkey’ during parliamentary question period. The remark was made in reference to Turkey’s anti-Israel rhetoric and in the context of the Dutch saying ‘here comes the monkey out of the sleeve’. MPs from the ruling parties condemned the statement and Foreign Affairs Minister Uri Rosenthal has publicly distanced himself from the comment.
15 September 2011
NIS News reports that a man convicted in Morocco for involvement in the deaths of political opponents has worked as an Imam in the Dutch city of Tilburg. Hasan B. was arrested in Spain on July 20 at the request of Moroccan authorities. Previously, B. worked as an Imam in the Tilburg Penitentiary (PIT), after being hired as a temporary worker by the ministry’s Spiritual Care Services.
16 September 2011
In coverage of the burqa ban making its way through the Dutch cabinet, Radio Netherlands Worldwide carries an article about Rachid Nekkaz. The French entrepreneur has established a million-euro fund in France to pay the fines of women wearing burqas, which in the Netherlands will cost 380 Euros. Mr. Nekkaz, a Muslim with an Algerian background, thinks the bans violate European constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms, and announced that his organization Touche Pas a Ma Constitution will also help Dutch women if the ban is introduced.
21 September 2011
Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) are calling for a referendum against the construction of new minarets in the Netherlands. The politician, stating that ‘Minarets… are the towers of a rising desert ideology’, announced that he will submit draft legislation to parliament to move towards a public vote on the matter.