Anti-Islam right-wing movement addresses German youth

Feb 1

 

So far, the activities of the „Identity Movement of Germany“ have been limited to the Internet, propagating anti-Islam videos and articles against Muslim immigrants. The right-wing movement calls the German youth to mobilize a revolution against the Islamization of Germany. Last week, the movement organized a street “flash-mob” in the historical center of Berlin using historical terms such as “reconquista” against the “Islamic invaders”. A number of pop features have been used to attract the interest of young Germans. The movement illustrates scenes released by movies such as “300” or “Avatar” that symbolize the protection of the pure and brave people against foreign invaders.

Minister Of Interior calls for strict laws against Terrorism

Jan 28

 

Minister of Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) has asked for stricter laws against Terrorism. The recent international incidents in North Africa and Mali would motivate Salafi Islamists to act in Germany, Europe and North Africa. The Minister expects radical Islamists to radicalize when leaving Germany for Egypt.

 

The Minister claimed for more observation, data collection of bank and mail correspondence of suspected subjects. Also, he demanded easier conditions for the deportation of Islamist extremists. The Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) criticized the proposals of Minister Friedrich as well as the current anti-terror legislations as interventions in civil rights.

Muslim NGO scores a major victory against “strip search” body scanners

4 February 2013

 

UK based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) finally succeeded in its campaign against “strip search” body scanners that are expected to be introduced in the UK airports. It was a government measure to prevent a terrorist strike similar to 9/11; the scanner was thought to be more efficient in detecting explosive material.

 

However, a number of faith and civil liberties groups, especially Muslims, globally objected the scanners on several grounds. These included the breach of civil liberties, health issues, the explicit nature of the body scanners and storage of images taken by the scanner. In addition it has been argued that the scanners could not detect plastics and liquids which had been given as a reason for their introduction.

 

IHRC has been a leading campaigner against the scanner and it supported the legal action by a former a IHRC employee against the government’s policy on scanners. The legal action had been given the right to proceed to a full judicial review.

 

Upon the decision of the court the UK government announced the cancellation of the plan to install the scanners.

 

The Chair of IHRC, Massoud Shadjareh considered the decision as “a massive victory for the Muslim community:

“IHRC has campaigned and lobbied against airport scanners, which cost £100,000 each, since their introduction and contributed to government consultation on the issue as early as 2010.  With continued campaigning and action by IHRC, this decision by the British government is a massive victory for the Muslim community and all who believe in civil liberties.”

Report describes the participation of UK Muslims in governance

31 January 2013

 

One of the most comprehensive studies to date on UK Muslim-government relations, entitled “Muslim Participation in Contemporary Governance”, describes how British Muslims have been taking part in governance in the three policy fields of equality, diversity and cohesion; faith sector governance; and security. It describes how modes of Muslim representation have developed into a broader ‘democratic constellation’.

 

The report, published by Centre for the Study and Citizenship at University of Bristol, included an analysis of public policy since 1997, a total of 112 interviews with key policymakers and Muslim civil society actors, and in-depth local case studies of Birmingham, Leicester, and Tower Hamlets, London.

 

According to the report, Muslims have become increasingly visible in governance recently. This inevitably led to the debates regarding “Muslim identities, alliances, rights, claims-making and the place of Muslims and Islam within the West.” The report highlights that the current visibility of Muslims in British politics is also a result of the increasing activism of Muslims.

click here for full report

Number of converts to Islam rises in France

03.01.2013

The New York Times

The New York Times reports of a rise in conversions to Islam in France. According to the paper, a virtual doubling of conversions took place within the last 25 years in the country. Of the estimated six million Muslims in France about 100,000 – 200,000 are thought to be converts. It is said to pose a challenge to both state and society’s relation to Muslim faith and community, specifically in respect to national and international anti-terrorism policies

Converts are named critical elements for the rise of terrorism in Europe by being prone to be more invisible, mobile and in need to overcompensate their novelty to faith. The article names prisons to be fertile grounds for conversions where according to reports 1/3 of the inmate population in France are Muslim. Gordard, who is responsible for religious affairs in the Office of the Secretary of State and a former intelligence office, identifies the forms of conversions to have come under change.  As such, conversions today often take place as means of “reverse integration” that aid to socially integrate  non-Muslims into predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods in the metropolitan suburbs. The population most susceptible to conversions are men beyond the age of 40 who were born in former French colonies or overseas territories.

According to scholars and converts themselves, “Islam has come to represent not only a sort of social norm but also a refuge, an alternative to the ambient misery”.

Converts face prejudices

01.02.2012

Le Monde

In its recent magazine Le Monde published selected interviews with recent converts to Islam in France. A number of male and female French Muslims recount their stories of conversion as well as the reactions of their families and immediate surroundings to their change of faith.

Fault lines of the French model on integration and immigration

04.01.2013

Liberation

During a debate on the crisis of integration in France at this year’s Forum de Grenoble, Tareq Oubrou, imam from Bordeaux and Jean-Claude Sommaire, former Secretary General of the Council on Integration, came together to identify some issues that have created today’s social tension amongst immigrant youth.

Sommaire considers the French model of integration to have never really existed. In his eyes, members of earlier waves of immigration have integrated in distinct ways. Whilst their children have most commonly left behind their ancestral roots by integrating and assimilating into French society, the descendants of more recent immigrants from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa have in contrast not.

In a survey conducted by Liberation, 25% of youth state to live in rupture with society. With increasing discrimination and being exposed to the growth of Islam in economically and socially difficult environments, these youth often have no choice but to replicate communitarianism. Sommaire says that “in some quarters it is not the number of Muslims that is rising but the visibility of them”.

Oubrou identifies the failure of schools and the exclusion of Muslims as the main reason for communitarianism amongst Muslims. According to him, Muslim youth consider religion as a shield of protection where they can find refuge and answers to the wrongs done to them. He however also strongly argues that the notion of secularism in France is what puts the relation between Muslim youth and French society in strain. Oubrou comments that “historically secularism has never been anti-religious. Secularism permitted the public expression of faith but today there is a virtual schizophrenia between lived realities and what the law says. It has become normal to see the Muslim faith as a threat. Hence, there’s an increasing demand to adapt the faith to Western civilization and culture”.

French Imams assemble at Holocaust Memorial

04.02.2012

Le Figaro

For the first time in France around 50 imams from all over the country have come together with members of Islamic associations , representatives of other religions as well as the French Secretary of State to assemble at the Shoah Memorial in Drancy.

The assembly was organized by Hassen Chalghoumi who is the founder of the Conference of French Imams (Conférence des imams de France), which remains unrecognized by the French Council of the Muslim Faith. Chalghoumi came to be known for opposing the full veil and practicing an Islam compatible with secularism. He has received fierce opposition from groups associated with the salafi mileu and has been provided police protection after being threatened with death. Chalghoumi’s involvement in the initiative has further brought up questions of legitimacy and representativity of the meeting. A point in question is also Chalghoumi’s attempt to render Drancy a fort against fundamentalism and racism.

Real Madrid opens sport schools to the children of Gaza

31 January 2013

 

The agreement between Real Madrid Foundation and the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) to open sport schools in Gaza offers “the children some sense of normalcy after the last military offensive on Gaza,” according to this organism.

The project, oriented to 500 children from seven schools in Gaza, “seeks to promote teamwork, gender equality and leadership. Through football, not only they learn the basic skills of the sport but also improve their ability to cope with everyday life, “UNRWA said in a statement.

This past November, when the project was launched “many children in the Gaza Strip were excited and this news made ​​them feel their idols Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Marcelo, Kaka, Benzema and Sergio Ramos a bit closer. ”
In total, and in the future it is expected that 10,000 Palestinian refugee children will participate in the Real Madrid sport schools in Gaza and  in the West Bank.