Request to increase the number of teachers of Islam in Melilla

24 May 2012
Coalition for Melilla (CPM), the main opposition party constituted by a Muslim majority, called today for an increase in the number of Islamic religious teachers who teach in inner cities of Melilla, since the actual number does not cover the demand for this type of education.
At a press conference, the Deputy Mohamed Abdelrrahim CPM noted that currently there are eleven teachers of Islamic religion, though it would be necessary to reach 20.

Muslims, our neighbors (Spain)

26 May 12

The Muslim community in the Murcia region consists of more than 90,000 citizens coming from the most varied backgrounds and sharing a desire: to improve their level of integration. This is one of the conclusions reached by the official of the Municipality of Murcia, Teresa Martin Melgarejo, one of the most active Murcian citizen working at social networks and civic organizations, and who has spent the last two years of her life living with a collective, socially stigmatized community in Spain. The result is a photographic work, entitled ‘Muslims, our neighbors’, and coordinated by Monica Lozano, Professor of Photojournalism at the University of Murcia, who has earned, by popular vote, the first prize of the first Festival of Photography organized by the Cienojos Collective and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Apart from worshipers in mosques, Teresa Martin has portrayed the leaders of Islamic communities, young Spanish speakers learning Arabic, traders in the district of San Andrés, doctors in hospitals and health centers, cultural mediators, butchers, cooks, pharmacists, nurses, journalists, lawyers, farmers, housewives … Curiously she also discovered Muslims who do not practice their religion. “An estimated 18% of the so-called second-generation Muslims born in Spain do not practice their religion. “

George Galloway Wins Bradford

March 2012

 

Bradford, which is host to a large Asian community, has been a Labour Party stronghold for 100 years. However, in the Bradford West by-election George Galloway, the outspoken British politician, gained a landslide victory against Labour’s Pakistani Muslim candidate Imran Hussain, thanks to the unwavering support of the Asian Muslim community.

 

The results were received as a blow to labour leader Ed Miliband who had been expected to capitalize on the double dip resection that hit hard on the UK economy. The results were also bad news for Tories as their vote went significantly down. Thus, it was considered to be a sign of dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties and, by some Islamphobic media, considered a source concern since they understood it as ‘Islamic extremism’ inauguration in British politics.

 

Galloway built his election strategy upon two issues: Occupation of Afghanistan, Palestine and the austerity policies, and called his victory a “Bradford Spring,” thus making a comparison to the popular uprisings taking place in Arab countries. He might seem to be going too far by comparing a Liberal democratic Britain to the oppressive dictatorial regimes of the Middle East, yet there might be some similarities between the two. Increasing unemployment, cost of living and discrimination have indeed frustrated the large working class Asian community of Bradford, especially the youth who have had to face uncertainty and alienation.

 

The following articles show how the British public and political parties who were appalled by the results try to understand what was behind the support of Galloway by the Muslim Asian community.

Muslim Group Outraged with Cambridge City Council’s Decision to Give Funds to Citizen’s Advice Bureau

12 May 2012

 

£20 Million has been given to local authorities as a part of the Prevent Strategy, which was introduced by the previous labour government to prevent British Muslim youth from being recruited by ‘radical groups’ after the 7/7 bombings. The money has been used in joint projects with Muslim groups to educate them against radicalization.

 

However, aside from the criticism against the policy which was labelled as surveillance and entrapment of Muslims by some Muslim organization, the projects that the money was spent on have also been a subject of controversy. Many people have been sceptical about the appropriate expenditure of the funds.

 

The Muslim Council of Cambridgeshire’s (CMC) recent statement which lambasted the City Council for allocating the funds to a different project yet again has drawn attention to problems with the Prevent Strategy.

Political Involvement of Muslims Receives a Cautious Reaction

24 May 2012

 

UK Muslims are increasingly becoming involved in the political system, which bears its fruit as Muslim figures assume office. In the recent local election, Abdul Razak Osman, an Indian-origin Muslim was elected as the first Muslim Mayor of the city of Leicester.

 

The reaction to the event from outside of the Muslim community was mixed and mostly sceptical. The article by Soeren Kern reflects the concerns of those skeptical vis a vis Muslims’ successes in politics.

Sharia4Holland Presence in Amsterdam

27 May 2012

 

The organization Sharia4Holland received considerable attention in Dutch media this week. The group advocates establishing the Netherlands as an Islamic state, and was created in 2010 as an offshoot of the Sharia4Beligum, the organization. The radical stance has few supporters in the country, with estimations placing membership at one dozen- a Radio Netherlands Worldwide profile suggests that in many instances when the organization appears in public, participants are actually members of the more prominent Sharia4Belgium parent organization.

The group has attracted attention for organizing a conference which was to be held at an undisclosed location on May 26, 2012, and to which Fouad ‘Abu Imran’ Belkacem, head of Sharia4Belgium, had been invited to speak.

On Friday May 25 a man identifying as a Sharia4Holland participant, in a television interview at Amsterdam’s national monument, called Geert Wilders is “the dog of the Romans”, and warned that the politician should learn from the “lesson” of slain filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Consequently, the organization has come under investigation by the Dutch police service, while councilor Robert Flos, a member of the ruling VVD, criticized police response at the time for not arresting the man as a result of his “hate speech”.

 

Dutch Police Use “Disproportional” Force to Dismantle Asylum Seeker Camp

25 May 2012

 

Police intervened to break up an impromptu camp established by failed asylum seekers near Ter Apel, the Netherlands. Riot police arriving in 20 minibuses used force to dismantle the site and arrested about 110 individuals at the site, failed asylum seekers from Iran and Somalia who claim that they will come to harm if returned to their country of origin. A group of Iraqi asylum seekers, involved in the camp’s original set up two weeks ago, had been removed earlier to an apartment complex where they were guaranteed housing until June 15 as the Dutch and Iraqi immigration ministers negotiate next steps.

Meanwhile a judge in Groningen determined that the level of response and force in the deconstruction was “disproportional”. The defended actions claiming that it was a necessary measure due to the health concerns at the impromptu camp.

Update: Burqa Ban and Dual Nationality Clause Still Tabled in Netherlands

23 May 2012

 

Proposals to ban the burqa and dual nationality in the Netherlands remain in process in Dutch parliament, home affairs minister Liesbeth Spies states. With the government collapsed in May, Spies has commented that the legislation could be dropped, given that the sponsoring PVV (Freedom) Party no longer formed the supporting member of the minority coalition. However Spies now says that it is up to MPs to decide whether to drop the legislation, and that so far none have identified the issues as controversial.

Film Investigates Immigrant Involvement in Dutch Prostitution

15 May 2012

 

A new film tells the story of a Dutch-Moroccan social worker fighting the ills of sex-trafficking within his community. The country’s 2000 legalization of prostitution and sex trafficking was intended to reduce health and exploitation hazards for sex workers, but filmmaker reports in al-Jazeera coverage of the movie that the country has seen a move away from “old style” Dutch pimps and towards the involvement of some members of immigrant communities. The movie is named after these “Lover Boys”

Immigrant Citizens Survey: perceptions of the immigrants about integration

23 may 2012

 

 

The Immigrant Citizens Survey (ICS) was presented at the headquarters of the European Commission Representation in Spain. The survey was directed from Brussels by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Migration Policy Group, in collaboration with the CIDOB in Spain and the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS). The ICS is the first international survey which reflects the opinion of immigrants on the facilities and difficulties encountered when integrated into the host society.
“The results of the ICS are striking because they show that the vision of immigrants on their situation is more positive than expected,” said Jordi Vaquer, director of CIDOB, during the presentation.
The survey of more than 7,000 immigrants with authorized residence status in 15 cities and in 7 EU countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy and Portugal) was done in the late 2011 and reveals what immigrants think on key integration policies. The study focuses on analyzing the perception of immigrants on issues such as residence permits, citizenship, family reunification, labor market, social participation and education, among others.

The main results in Spain reveal both positive aspects of the situation of immigrants in the country and others could be improved. Among the positive aspects are:

– The immigrants say they have found few problems when applying for permanent residence, nationality or family reunification.

– There is less difficulty finding work in the two Spanish cities than in many other European cities like Milan, Brussels and Paris.

– The main issues raised at the time of finding work are the temporary contracts and jobs in the underground economy, but there is a low incidence of discrimination.

– In general, they find little trouble when learn Castilian, compared to the problems that immigrants manifest in other European countries while trying to learn the local/ national language.

– There is a greater intention to vote and to potential electoral inclusion than in countries like Germany or Belgium.

Among the areas for improvement include:

– To the majority of the interviewed immigrants to have a permanent residence did not help them in anything to get employment (worse than in other countries).

– Between one quarter and one third of immigrants are over-qualified for their jobs.

– Working conditions prevent immigrants to improve their training.

– In terms of participation and representation, it should be noted that membership in associations, unions and parties is relatively low in the Spanish cities.

– The majority believe that there is a need to have more members of immigrant origin in national parliaments.