19 November 2011
The Moroccan Women’s Association Netherlands and the Support Re-emigrants Foundation have reported that around 80 Moroccan Dutch women a year report being stranded in Morocco during a visit from the Netherlands. The women, who previously emigrated to the Netherlands and obtained Dutch residency through marriage, are taken to the country under false pretenses by their husbands and then left behind without passport or residence permit. Often they are accompanied by their children. The reporting organizations suspect that the number of cases is higher than reported; there is currently no law under which the women can appeal to the Moroccan police for assistance, and the Dutch police are unable to intervene in Morocco.
21 November 2011
Movisie, a Dutch organization for social development, has created a website to support immigrant girls in the Netherlands who are contemplating suicide. The site “You are not alone” has sections for girls of Moroccan, Turkish and Suriname-Hindu background. It was created in affiliation with the youth websites Marokko.nl, Hababam.nl and Indianfeelings.nl, and in consultation from Turkish, Moroccan and Hindu girls.
26 November 2011
The Schipol Airport’s practice welcoming pilgrims returning from Mecca with a small room providing mint tea and sweets has angered MP Hero Brinkman of the PVV Freedom Party. Brinkman contrasted the practice with an apparent lack of Christmas decoration at the airport. A Schipol spokesperson explains that due to the upcoming festival of Sinterklaas the airport is not yet decorated for Christmas, but will soon “go all out”. The airport emphasized it is a tradition of many years to welcome pilgrims returning home from Mecca “out of a spirit of hospitality”.
News Agencies – November 23, 2011
At Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Toronto, a few dozen interested parties attended a discussion on religious accommodation within the Toronto District School Board. This may have the perverse effect of reigniting a debate that had died down since the summer, when a tiny group of angry Hindus objected to Muslim prayer services being conducted on Friday afternoons in the cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School, just across the street from Garneau C.I.
Jim Spyropoulos, who is the TDSB’s coordinating superintendent, inclusive schools, student, parent and community, laid out the rationale: Students were leaving school to go to mosque on Fridays. Some weren’t making it there, and some weren’t making it back – and were a disruption to the other students if they did return. The Guidelines and Procedures for the Accommodation of Religious Requirements stipulates that “where possible, schools should allocate space for congregational prayer.”
News Agencies – November 23, 2011
More than a year before she and her two sisters drowned in a mysterious incident that is now the focus of a murder trial, a teenage student told her Montreal high school vice-principal that she had attempted suicide because her situation at home was intolerable, the jury was told. The 16-year-old listed an array of reasons for her despair and decision to swallow a heavy dose of sedative pills: verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her older brother Hamed; her parents’ insistence that she wear a hijab, the Muslim head scarf; isolation from other family members; pressure to quit school.
A social worker from the provincial Youth Protection Agency was therefore summoned to the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry school in the Montreal borough of St. Leonard, Ms. Fortin told the trial, as were Sahar’s parents, who showed up “very angry.”
On trial are Kabul-born Afghan-Canadian businessman Mohammad Shafia, 58, his second wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their eldest son, Hamed, 20. Each is charged with four counts of first-degree murder. The charges were laid in July, 2009, three weeks after the bodies of Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, aged 19, 17 and 13, respectively, were discovered in a car at the bottom of a waterway lock on the Rideau Canal, just east of Kingston. The cause of death was drowning, autopsies showed, but where and how they perished has not been established.
On Islam – November 19, 2011
A University of Alberta center will hold a series of lectures on the relationship between the two main faiths, Christianity and Islam, inside the community. “The interest in Islam has grown enormously,” said David Goa, the director of the Chester Ronning Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life. The center, at the Augustana campus of the University of Alberta, will hold lectures in Calgary, Camrose and Edmonton.
Toronto Star – November 21, 2011
This opinion piece by Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law at McGill University, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, and founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre suggests that Canada is the haven of choice for the Islamic Republic’s inner circle.
He says it is ironic that while Ahmadinejad condemns “western imperialism,” his inner circle has quietly established itself in Canada to enjoy ill-gotten fortunes with impunity. A recent example is the former head of Iran’s Melli and Sepah Banks, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, who acquired Canadian citizenship under questionable circumstances and then fled this October to his multi-million-dollar Toronto mansion following a $2.6 billion embezzlement scandal in Iran. Akhavan suggests that their presence may benefit the economy, but is clearly a security threat.
News Agencies – November 23, 2011
A 23 year-old man was shot in the street in the Reynerie neighborhood of Toulouse, France. Several people were arrested. There was a lot of tension in Reynerie after the death of the young man, executed with 9mm bullets in the middle of the street. Samir Chorfi, a resident of the neighborhood known to the police, was mortally wounded by several bullets and died in hospital. Large police forces were deployed to control the crowd.
Local residents are shocked and concerned about the increasing violence. “We do not want our children to die in our neighborhoods”. In order to calm the situation, a loudspeaker broadcast passages from the Qur’an.
News Agencies – November 14, 2011
In the days leading up to the July 2009 arrest of an Afghan-Canadian businessman and his wife and son, all accused of jointly murdering four family members, the man’s conscience was clear because the victims had violated every decent principle, he said in wiretapped conversations.
Mr. Shafia, 58, his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their 20-year-old son, Hamed Shafia, each face four counts of first-degree murder in the drowning deaths of the couple’s three teenaged daughters – Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 – and Rona Amir Mohammad, Mr. Shafia’s 53-year-old first wife, in a clandestine polygamous marriage. Their bodies were found June 30, 2009, in a car at the bottom of a lock on the Rideau Canal, just east of Kingston, as the 10-member family returned to their Montreal home from a short vacation in Niagara Falls.
The core of the prosecution case is that the multiple deaths were a so-called “honour killing,” inflicted in a bid to salvage the family’s “honour,” marred by the rebellious, independent-minded conduct of the three Shafia sisters, in particular the dating habits of the oldest two.
News Agencies – November 19, 2011
French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen unveiled her vision to hundreds of cheering supporters, advocating again for an exit from the euro and tighter border controls. During a speech that lasted more than an hour, Le Pen hammered home the traditional promises of her Front National party: strengthening France, preserving family values, fighting immigration and rejecting globalization. Le Pen repeated that France should leave the euro before it falls apart.
Le Pen, who inherited the leadership of the Front National from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, has said she wants to broaden appeal for her party, known for its anti-immigration, anti-Islam views.