Dutch Government Accused of Inflating Immigration Statistics

MP Tofik Dibi of the Green Left has accused the Dutch government of inflating immigration statistics in order to justify their affiliation with the anti-immigration party PVV. Dibi told ANP, “It is bizarre. You would think ministers were pleased the figures were not as high as they make them out to be.”

The discussion centers around granting family reunification visas, the focus of new and increasingly strict immigration policy in the country. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers commented that 25,000 people were given visas in 2010 for family reunification, but as it turns out 4,000 of those visas were for babies born in the Netherlands to immigrants residing in the country. The current coalition government has pledged as a condition of its support from the PVV to reduce immigration from non-western countries by half.

Update: Haitham al-Haddad Participates in Amsterdam Debate

18 February 2012

 

Islamic scholar Haitham al-Haddad participated in a public debate in Amsterdam cultural center De Balie following the decision by Amsterdam’s Vrij Universiteit (VU) to cancel his planned appearance. The controversial cleric had been invited to the VU by the Islamic Students’ Association, but the event was cancelled following protests from MPs.

After the VU cancelled the initial event, al-Haddad appeared instead in a public conversation at cultural organization De Balie, at a round table including MP Tofik Dibi (Green Left) and prominent journalist Kustaw Bessems, and others. During the debate al-Haddad reaffirmed the extreme sentiments upon which his controversial reputation is based, including commenting during the question period that apostates should be killed in a Muslim country. Dutch media coverage of the event included discussion regarding whether or not al-Haddad had made inflammatory and anti-Semitic statements on public record.

The full debate is available on YouTube. See also previous coverage on the cancellation of the VU debate.

Dutch Troops Receive Cultural Training

24 February 2012

 

In the midst of media attention to American troops’ burning copies of the Quran in Afghanistan, Dutch media has addressed the conduct of their own troops in the country. Radio Netherlands Worldwide reports comments by major Niels Roelen advocating training about the sensitivities between different cultures. Roelen comments that during training for new recruits for instance, “We speak to someone at the mosque who can tell us about their religion, what the do’s and dont’s are and what the sensitivities are. The value a book like the Qur’an has for these people and that you must show respect for this.”

NYPD’s Kelly not apologizing for surveillance of Muslims in NJ, calls criticism ‘knee-jerk’

NEW YORK — New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has no plans to apologize for an intelligence program that has been keeping tabs on Muslims.

He said Monday that the NYPD won’t let up, despite criticism by some lawmakers in New Jersey who are upset that the department monitored communities in the Garden State. He says Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Robert Menendez and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were wrong to question the NYPD.

They were responding to the disclosure that NYPD officers devoted several months in 2007 to surveillance of Muslim communities in Newark. The result was a 60-page guide on Muslims in New Jersey’s largest city, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Oakton High grad guilty in terror case is cited in report on future of Islamist extremism

A 22-year-old Oakton High School graduate who converted to Islam as a teen and pleaded guilty last year to terrorism-related charges, represents the future of online Islamist radicalization, according to a report to be released Monday by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The report includes copies of four letters handwritten by Zachary Adam Chesser from prison and sent to committee staff, and coincides with his own apparent return to the Internet last week. A four-part screed signed by Chesser and posted online on Feb. 20 outlines some of the ways he says he was wronged by the U.S. justice system.

Chesser, whom the report describes as the son of a U.S. government contractor, is incarcerated in Marion, Ill. The facility is one of two high-security penitentiaries in the United States with “Special Communications Units” sometimes referred to as “Guantanamo North” because they contain a high percentage of Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges.

A gifted student who was, according to the report, briefly a Buddhist, Chesser converted to Islam in high school after dating a Muslim girl. But his radicalization appears to have taken place almost completely over the Internet, where he found like-minded people after local Islamic leaders disagreed with his views.

HBO documentary: “Saving Face” wins Oscar

The Pakistani film follows survivors of acid attacks . “Saving Face” is co-directed by Daniel Junge, an American who had heard about Jawad and his work with British acid burn victim Katie Piper, whose case was well covered. “I called him out of the blue and said, ‘Are you aware of the prevalence of acid attacks in the Muslim world?’ ” Junge recalled.

The film says more than 100 acid attacks are reported every year in Pakistan but many more go unreported. The attacks are often done in violent retaliation by a rebuffed suitor or a would-be marriage partner. Acid is readily obtained in Pakistan because it is a product widely used in the nation’s dominant textile industry.

The Acid Survivors Foundation in Islamabad helps these victims of domestic violence to regain some sense of normalcy. Its work is also highlighted in the documentary, which begins airing on the HBO network on March 8.

At NYC universities, fear of ‘disgusting’ NYPD surveillance of students spreads beyond Muslims

NEW YORK — At Columbia University and elsewhere, the fear that the New York Police Department might secretly be infiltrating Muslim student’s lives has spread beyond them to others who find the reported tactics “disgusting,” as one teenager put it.
The NYPD surveillance of Muslims on a dozen college campuses in the Northeast is a surprising and disappointing violation, students said Saturday in reaction to Associated Press reports that revealed the intelligence-gathering at Columbia and elsewhere.

Documents obtained by the AP show that the NYPD used undercover officers and informants to infiltrate Muslim student groups. An officer even went whitewater rafting with students and reported on how many times they prayed and what they discussed. Police also trawled college websites and blogs, compiling daily reports on the activities of Muslim students and academics.

In the past week, Muslims and non-Muslims alike held a town hall meeting on the Manhattan campus of the Ivy League college to discuss the police surveillance. Concerned members of many school groups attended.

On Friday, some of their counterparts at New York University choked up as they gathered to voice their outrage at the notion that even students’ religious habits were being tracked by the NYPD.

Clinton tells Muslims that GOP campaign rhetoric doesn’t reflect US policy

TUNIS, Tunisia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton advised an audience in Tunisia on Saturday to “not pay attention” to the comments made by candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination, saying the often overheated rhetoric of the campaign doesn’t reflect U.S. policy.

Speaking at a town-hall style event in Tunisia, the North African nation that sparked the “Arab Spring” revolts, Clinton said the partisan remarks made during campaign events “certainly don’t reflect the United States, don’t reflect our foreign policy, don’t reflect who we are as a people.”

GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich said while campaigning that the apology was “astonishing” and that Obama “has gone so far at appeasing radical Islamists that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief.”

NYPD’s Muslim surveillance extended well beyond New York

NEWARK, N.J. — The report was stamped top secret.

Inside was a confidential dossier compiled by the New York Police Department documenting “locations of concern” in Newark — the city’s 44 mosques, Muslim-owned restaurants and businesses and Islamic schools.

In 2007, the NYPD began an undercover spy operation within New Jersey’s largest city to find and document where Muslims lived, worked and prayed.

Now, city officials and many of those targeted are voicing anger at the disclosures, which came in the wake of an Associated Press report showing that a secret NYPD surveillance program aimed at Muslims had extended well beyond New York City.

In Newark, the NYPD apparently cataloged every mosque and Muslim-owned business in the city — from fried-chicken joints to houses of worship located in private homes.

There was no mention of terrorism or any criminal wrongdoing in the 60-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, which described the aim of the surveillance as compiling “the existence of population centers and business districts of communities of interest.”