English Title for Book by Controversial Dutch MP Released

21 December 2011

 

Controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), has released the English title of his book, to be released in April. The book is to be called ‘Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me’, and the politician is marketing it as an ‘indictment of Islam and its Prophet Mohammed.’  It is not yet known whether it will be translated into Dutch.

Update: Moroccan Imam Does Not Apply for Dutch Visa

20 December 2011

 

A Moroccan Imam invited to speak at a conference in Amsterdam did not apply for a visa to enter the country, according to the Telegraaf. Politicians had condemned the invitation and called for his entry to the country to be banned, when it was revealed that the Imam had supported a marriageable age of nine for girls. Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal said that there is now no longer sufficient time for a visa to be granted even if he did apply.

Dutch Members of European Parliament Refuse to Recognize Arab Spring Activists

15 December 2011

 

The members of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) with seats in the European parliament refused to acknowledge the five activists in the Arab Spring uprising who were awarded with the Sacharov prize for freedom of thought. The four members refused to applaud or stand for the winners, and the leader of the PVV delegation in Europe criticized the decision to award the prize “to an Arabic civil war”.

Update: Dutch MPs to Oppose Ban on Ritual Slaughter

14 December 2011

 

A debate in the Netherlands over a proposed ban on ritual slaughter continues with a majority of senators in the upper house of parliament now opposing the ban. A large majority of MPs in the lower house voted in favour of a ban in June, though Jewish and Muslim groups oppose the proposition. The change comes as members of the Labour and Liberal VVD parties decided to oppose the ban; members of the country’s Christian Democrats had opposed from the outset. The senate vote, now a foregone conclusion, will take place next Tuesday.

 

Bookshop Owner from Birmingham Jailed for Promoting Extremism

12./13./14.12.2011

 

Last week, Ahmed Faraz, an Islamic bookshop owner an alleged Muslim radical from Birmingham, was sentenced to three years in prison for running a business publishing extremist texts and DVDs and distributing material that ‘encouraged terrorism’ (Daily Mail). Among the radical material distributed by Faraz was an Al Qaeda training manual and bomb-making instructions. As the Telegraph reports, it is thought that the material produced and distributed by Faraz found its way to the hands of almost every major terrorist in Britain, including the 7/7 bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan.

 

During trial, Faraz, an Islamic studies graduate, had claimed that the material was for academic research. However, the jurors at Kingston Crown Court found him guilty and convicted him of 11 of 15 counts against him. Judge Justice Calvert-Smith said publishing the books in the way there were was highly irresponsible, as they were published ‘to appeal to young people who had recently converted to Islam or became more religiously inclined as they got older’. Furthermore, he added the books ‘glorified terrorism. They implied approving of such attacks as 9/11 or 7/7’ (BBC).

Muslim women must show faces when taking Canadian citizenship oath

News Agencies – December 12, 2011

 

A requirement for new Canadians to show their faces while taking the oath of citizenship puts the federal government on one side of a simmering debate over how far the state should go to accommodate minorities. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that Muslim women who wear burqas or niqabs must remove the garments when they are becoming citizens.

The decision comes as the Supreme Court of Canada considers whether a woman should be allowed to testify in court with her face covered. And Quebec is debating a bill to ban face coverings for people receiving some government services, and those providing them. Two federal Conservative attempts to ban veiled voting have stalled before becoming law in recent years.

Former French Muslim Minister Dati Accuses French Prime Minister of Prejudice

News Agencies – December 14, 2011

 

Rachida Dati, the first Muslim woman of North African origin to hold a senior French government post, focused a public complaint against the prime minister, François Fillon, in whose cabinet she served as justice minister. Fillon, she wrote in a scathing letter to Le Monde, represented a staid political elite that “never favoured women” and stopping ethnic-minority candidates from running for election.

Dati said she had a “duty of resistance” against the “lone ambition of the powerful”. The ferocious language stems from a row over who will run for a safe Right-wing parliamentary seat representing the affluent 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements on Paris’s Left bank.

TLC ‘All American Muslim” controversy

Special Coverage: Lowe’s pulls ads from TV show about U.S. Muslims

A decision by retail giant Lowe’s Cos. to pull ads from a reality show about American Muslims after protests from an evangelical Christian group has sparked criticism and calls for a boycott against the chain of home-improvement stores.

The retailer stopped advertising on TLC’s “All-American Muslim” after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Assn. complained, saying the program was “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” The series, which has been on TLC at 10 p.m. Sunday since mid-November, follows the lives of five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a sizable Muslim population.

The organization says 65 companies have left the show since it began urging advertisers to withdraw their support. Among those that have were Kayak, the travel Web site, and Lowe’s, the home-improvement retailer.

“All-American Muslim” has drawn an average-size audience on TLC on Sundays, typically a very competitive night on television. The series started out in mid-November with 1.7 million viewers, but subsequent episodes have been seen by about one million viewers. There was no noticeable bump on Sunday, a few days after Lowe’s decision first made news.

TLC declined to comment on the matter, other than to say that “there is strong advertiser support for the show.”
A number of politicians have denounced the decision by Lowe’s to withdraw its ads. On CNN on Monday, one of the two Muslim-Americans who have been elected to Congress, Keith Ellison, said the apparent decision by Lowe’s “has demonstrated a degree of fear that they don’t have to possess.”

“They don’t have to be afraid of a fringe group,” said Mr. Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat.
Ted W. Lieu, a California state senator, went further, stating in a letter to Lowe’s on Saturday that “if Lowe’s continues its religious bigotry, I will encourage boycotts of Lowe’s and look into legislative remedies.”
Celebrities including Mia Farrow and Russell Simmons have also supported “All-American Muslim” and criticized the decision by Lowe’s to withdraw from the series.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Lowe’s said it had “a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion” but had pulled its spots from the show because it “became a lightning rod” for “individuals and groups” with “strong political and social views.”

Kayak Defends Cutting Ties to ‘All-American Muslim’

Another company has pulled its ads from TLC’s controversial docu-series “All-American Muslim,” saying it did so because TLC “was not upfront with us about the nature of this show” and was deliberately “trying to pick a fight” over the series. The online travel company Kayak.com also says that its chief marketing officer watched a couple of episodes and thought they were lousy.

Kayak.com got swept up in the story about the decision by the giant home-improvement retail chain Lowe’s to yank its ads from the series, which is about five Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich. Lowe’s had become the target of a campaign by the conservative Florida Family Association, which said the show is “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”

But on Wednesday, Kayak’s chief marketing officer, Robert Birge, sought to distinguish his company’s decision from Lowe’s: He savaged the Silver Spring-based TLC over its handling of the show in a “We Handled This Poorly” blog post on Kayak’s Web site.

“When TLC pitched ‘All-American Muslim’ to advertisers, it was characterized as a fair-and-balanced look at the life of an American Muslim. However, what was not disclosed was the preexisting controversy surrounding race, religion and specifically the divide between the Muslim and Christian communities in Dearborn, Mich.,” Birge said in the statement e-mailed to The TV Column.

Becoming all-American Muslims

It took Muslims a full three months to figure out a strategy to counter the campaign against Cordoba House, otherwise known as “the Ground Zero Mosque.” This time around, it took about three hours.

I’m referring to the lighting-fast organizing that took place once word got out that Lowe’s had pulled its ads from All American Muslim, pressured by the Florida Family Association who were disappointed that the show didn’t offer enough airtime to Muslim extremists (That’s true by the way. You can’t make this stuff up).

The hashtag #loweshatesmuslims lit up the Twitter-sphere, thousands of people threatened to boycott, mainstream television channels started reporting on the story, star power in the form of Perez Hilton and Russell Simmons jumped on board.

Lots of other people have weighed in on the bigotry at play here. I’d like to comment on a somewhat different dynamic: the Americanization of the Muslim community, especially the immigrant segment. A community that not long ago wanted only the comfort and confinement of its own bubble is learning the great American art of building bridges.
The anti-Ground Zero Mosque campaign showed that it’s not enough to have a bridge to the influence-centers in American society, we needed the ability to respond rapidly. If the #loweshatesmuslims campaign illustrates anything, it’s that Muslims will never be Ground Zero Mosque-d again.