Frontiers of Fear: Immigration and Insecurity in the US and Europe

On both sides of the Atlantic, restrictive immigration policies have
been framed as security imperatives since the 1990s. This trend
accelerated in the aftermath of 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks in
Europe. In her new book, /Frontiers of Fear/, Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia
raises two central questions with profound consequences for national
security and immigration policy: First, does the securitization of
immigration issues actually contribute to the enhancement of internal
security? Second, does the use of counterterrorist measures address such
immigration issues as the increasing number of illegal immigrants, the
resilience of ethnic tensions, and the emergence of homegrown
radicalization?

Join us as the author questions the assumptions informing political
agendas in the United States and Europe, analyzing implementation and
evaluating the efficacy of policies in terms of their objectives.

*Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia* is a Senior Researcher with the Center for
Political Research, Sciences Po (Paris) and an Associate Professor in
the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University.
She is the author of several books, most recently /Les Frontières du
Racisme/, and coeditor of /Managing Ethnic Diversity after 9/11/ and
/Immigration, Integration and Security/.

*Jocelyne Cesari* is currently the Minerva Chair at the National Defense
University in Washington, DC, and conducts research on Islam and
democratization in the context of the Arab Spring. She is also a Senior
Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at
John Hopkins University. At Harvard University, she directs the “Islam
in the West” International Research Program.

Advance Reviews of Dutch Politician Geert Wilders’ New Book

21 April 2012

 

The new book by right wing politician Geert Wilders, Marked for Death, Islam’s War Against the West and Me, though not yet officially released, has started receiving reviews from journalists who have seen advanced copies. The book claims to tell Wilders’ story of his “fight for the right to speak what he believes; namely that Islam is not just a religion but primarily a dangerous ideology which is a threat to Western freedoms”. A review from Vrij Nederland notes that there is little personal content from Wilders in the book, while magazine HP/De Tijd recaps Wilders’ account of being robbed by “three Arab youths”.  In the book Wilders does not mention prime minister Mark Rutte but repeatedly draws connections to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and emphasizes his admiration for former US president Ronal Regan.

The reviews come as Wilders makes headlines for political upheaval in the country, as the politician withdrew key support for the ruling minority government this week, prompting prime minister Rutte to resign and the installation of a caretaker minority government.

Amnesty Reports on Discrimination Against Muslims in the Netherlands

24 April 2012

 

A new report by Amnesty International reveals that Muslims face discrimination in the Netherlands and other European countries. The report notes that Muslims face particular discrimination in education and on the job market, and addresses the pending ban on the burqa on the grounds of public safety. Also addressing discrimination in Spain, Switzerland, Belgium and France, the report adds that governments should dispel misconceptions about their Muslim population, though also stressing that criticism of Islam within the bounds of freedom of speech is not the same as ‘specific discriminatory patterns’ against Muslims.

British Terror Suspect Admits Meeting Usama bin Laden

20 April 2012

Saajid Badat, a UK born terror convict during the trial of Adis Medunjanin, accused in the 2009 plot to attack New York’s subways with suicide bombs, admitted that he had met al-Qaida leader Usama bin Laden more than once when he travelled to Afghanistan in 1999. At the time, he knew al-Qaida, the terrorist group as The Sheikh’s Group, with sheikh referring to bin Laden.

In Britain, Badat pleaded guilty to plotting with Richard Colvin Reid to bring down American trans-Atlantic flights by using bombs hidden in their shoes. Badat had aborted the attack but Reid went ahead and in a failed attempt tried to blow up the plane in mid-air.

Far-Right National Front Gearing Up for Election Gains

23 April 2012

Britain’s notoriously Islamophobic and racist far-right party is working hard for the forthcoming local election to restore its power. Although the party gained unprecedented popularity among working-class Britons in 1970s, soon after it began to decline due to a series of internal feuds and the electoral success of the breakaway British National Party (BNP).

Now, with the rising tide of Islamophobia in Britain, the whites-only party is seeking to seize the opportunity and to restore its glory days.

Muslim Councillor Accuses UK Border Agency of Racism

23 April 2012

Britain’s Asian Muslim community has always been on the spot due to its distinct religio-cultural characteristics and fairly large proportion among the UK minority groups. Hence they have been very often targeted by the racist and/or Islamophopic motivations stemming from members of the host society as well as various government institutions.

A recent example of this transpired when a Muslim councillor from Cardiff spoke out and accused UK Border Agency (UKBA) of indirectly discriminating against Asian Muslims. The councillor Mohammed Islam claimed that UKBA staff has been checking on the businesses of every Asian and other ethnic minorities in the area to see if they are entitled to work.

Men are overrepresented on the anti-Islam websites

According to the new report from the newspaper Klassekampen (The Class Struggle, a left-wing Norwegian daily newspaper) single, childless and low-educated men over the age of 65 are overrepresented on the anti-Islam websites.

Klassekampen had used the analysis software “Alexa” to investigate eight anti-Islam websites including Gates of Vienna, Jihad Watch, Bryssel Journal, Islam Watch and Atlas Shrugged. According to the newspaper’s statistics people over the age of 65 are overrepresented on all of the sites. Here, men clearly dominate and most of them were not educated beyond the primary level.

Few of the site visitors have children, and most of those who visit these sites do so from their homes and from work. The statistics presented by the newspaper are well in line with the political landscape that dominates the European extreme-right parties, notes the journalist and author of “The Hate against Muslims”, Andreas Malm. “There is an obviousl dominance of older men, often unemployed, who can feel abandoned by the society seeking explanations and someone to blame”. Malm adds, “A typical conspiracy theoretician is older, lone man obsessed with a particular question (e.g. Muslim presence in the country etc.) and thus attracted to various anti-Islam conspiracy theories floating online.” His analysis is supported by Tor Bach, the chief editor of the website Vespen (the Wasp, a monitoring extremism site in Norway). “These group of older people have certain common traits.” He continues “firstly, their primary characteristic is that they feel suspicion against the entire society and the democratic system. Secondly, they hold a firm belief that someone will hurt them “. He is reluctant to generalize too much; nevertheless he maintains the notion that these men are angry and frustrated people who feel neglected when their opinion is not heard.

Religions cooperate for social work

Different religious communities frequently organize various social projects. There is a general discussion taking place during an ongoing conference how to run these social projects across the religious boundaries. One such unique project has been initiated in Sweden.

Diakonia (ex. The Church’s various forms of responsibility) is a well known concept in the context of churchly activities. But, diapraxis, who knows about that? The word is thrown out several times during the conference session termed “Religion and social work” taking place this week in Stockholm. Here, different religions are discussed in hope of finding ways to cooperate within the framework of shared understanding of social services. The word diapraxis is frequently used as to identify this particular form of cooperation. This cooperation praxis (i.e. diapraxis) has already been established between several religious communities initially supportive of inter-faith dialog. A Swedish Church pastor and the project leader for ‘House of God’ Henrik Larsson points out “when we talk of inter-faith dialogue there is a stage where you must do things together”. The ‘House of God’ project in Fisksätra (Stockholm) is a frequently publicised building project where protestant-catholic church will be built under the same roof as a (Sunni) mosque. Initial inter-faith dialogue has thereby evolved into a practical building project where one building houses several different religious places of worship, albeit separated by a hallway and walls.

Amnesty International: “European Muslims are discriminated against”

April 24, 2012

 Amnesty International reports that European countries discriminate against Muslims who show their faith publically. This is especially visible in places of education and at various workplaces. The report focused on Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Amnesty urges those governments to do more on prevention of prejudices about Islam. The organization is particularly critical of the countries which had banned face veils (niqab) and the religious symbols in their schools.

Gourmet halal butcher shop opens in Mississauga, Ontario

The Toronto Star – April 25, 2012

 

Mohamad Fakih built Paramount Butcher Shop for his wife Hanan after she complained about the state of halal meat counters and asked him to do something about it. Driven by the urge to unite “halal” and “gourmet,” Mohamad Fakih built himself a beautiful butcher shop in Mississauga. Mohamad visited non-halal competitors, including Pusateri’s Fine Foods, Cumbrae’s, Olliffe and the Healthy Butcher in Toronto, and researched fine butcher shops in London, Paris and Australia before designing his own 3,400-square-foot shop.

 

He bought the struggling Paramount chain in 2007 and transformed it into a vibrant and growing empire that employs 250 people, many of them young and non-Muslim. The Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurants showcase freshly grilled foods and breads.

For Mohamad, halal is about more than just slaughter. It’s about being conscientious about how animals are raised, a philosophy that dovetails nicely with the local food movement and the fact that consumers are asking more questions about what they eat. Mohamad has lived in Canada for 13 years and got his start at Tim Hortons.