Judge: Ex-Marine can’t withdraw guilty plea in Ohio mosque fire allegedly set for vengeance

TOLEDO, Ohio — A former Marine who admitted setting fire to an Ohio mosque because he wanted revenge for the killings of American troops overseas won’t be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea, a judge ruled Thursday.

Randy Linn had asked to take back his admission to hate crime charges in January, a month after he explained in detail how he drove from his Indiana home to the suburban Toledo mosque and burned a prayer rug, causing extensive damage in the building.

Linn, 52, said he was in an emotional and depressed state when he pleaded guilty. His attorney asked the judge to throw out the plea so Linn could undergo a competency exam.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary rejected the request, saying there was nothing indicating Linn was a candidate for an insanity plea and that he clearly was competent when he pleaded guilty in December.

SF Supervisors Unanimously Pass Resolution Condemning Islamophobic Bus Ads

MUNI-press-conf(SAN FRANCISCO 3/21/13) — On Tuesday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution condemning the content of Islamophobic advertisements placed on San Francisco buses.

Board President David Chiu sponsored the resolution, introduced at last Tuesday’s meeting. The resolution is the first of its kind in the nation, sending a clear message that San Francisco’s elected leaders stand against hate and Islamophobia.

The group underwriting the ads, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has sued several U.S. cities for the First Amendment right to place the ads. The group’s founder, Pamela Geller, has been designated an anti-Muslim hate extremist by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In response, and at the request of 75 organizations and 35 leaders who spoke out following the first round of ads in August, the resolution calls for the proceeds from the offensive advertisements to fund a city-wide study on the impact of discrimination on Arab and Muslim communities.

CAIR-SFBA is an office of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

The Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Asian Law Caucus is a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

‘El País’ places Spain in the target of Islamic Terrorism

18 March 2013

The newspaper El Pais has put Spain in the spotlight of Islamic terrorism after broadcasting a video of the alleged torture of an Iraqi detainee in 2004 at the military base in Diwaniya by soldiers of the Spanish Armed Forces.
The Ministry of Defence has pledged to investigate the veracity of the video that, if true, would be the first proven case of abuse of the Spanish Army in an international mission.
The spread of this video does not benefit Spain at all, as it is again targeted by Islamic terrorism. It seems that the journal has taken this material from the so-called ‘Wikileaks papers’.

Dutch-Turkish MPs Call for Muslim Foster Parents to “Take Responsibility”

March 18 2013

 

Two Dutch MPs of Turkish origin have called on more Muslim families to volunteer as foster parents. The comments follow recent unease in Turkey about a lesbian couple fostering a boy born to Muslim parents.

The MPs used social media networks to spread a message asking Islamic parents to “stop taking offence, start taking responsibility”.

The dispute has threatened to take on diplomatic overtones with Turkey. The Dutch couple has raised the boy, now nine, since he was a baby. The commotion began after the boy’s birth mother made an emotional appeal for the boy’s return on television, generating debate in Turkey and coloring an upcoming visit to the Netherlands by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A Turkish parliamentary commission is currently researching the fostering of Muslim children by gay or Christian couples, which they say will lead to them becoming estranged from their cultural background.

Request to Confiscate “Jihadist Passports” by Dutch MPs

March 22 2013

 

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten will investigate whether it is legally possible to confiscate the passports of young Dutch nationals who plan to fight in Syria, reports Nos television. The minister said in a cabinet meeting that “we have to prevent them from travelling”, following a majority of parliament members calling on the cabinet to investigate the possibility.

Terrorism plot size of 7/7 attacks ‘foiled every year’

21st March

Police are foiling a terrorism plot as big as the 7 July attacks every year, a senior officer has said. Mr Osborne, the UK’s senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism, said Islamic extremists were planning in smaller groups to avoid detection. This came as the Home Office revealed the number of terror arrests had risen by 60% in the year to September 2012. The total of people held on suspicion of terrorism-related offences over the 12 months to September 2012, rose to 245 from 153 the previous year. Of those arrested, 45 (18%) were charged with a terror-related offence, with 10 convicted and 25 awaiting trial. One of the remaining 10 had been acquitted, while the other nine had been convicted over non-terror related offences. There were 134 prisoners classified as terrorists or domestic extremists by the end of September last year. A total of 2,291 terrorism arrests had been made since the September 11 attacks on America in 2001. The report however highlighted that the special police powers to stop and search people for terrorist material had not been used once since they were introduced in March 2011.

Leicester scout hut at centre of religion protests to reopen

A disused scout hut which had plans to turn it into an Islamic centre is to reopen as a community centre after a number of protests and petitions. A residents group had organised a series of protests and a petition, calling for it to be used for the wider community. The As-Salaam Trust who were originally due to move into the building said it was in the process of moving into another  nearby facility and was looking forward to getting settled after the disruption and turbulent recent months

Islamophobia the rise in Belgium

Islamophobia on the rise in Belgium20.03.2013

Le Soir

A new report published by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) details how racism in Belgium increasingly manifests itself through Islamophobia. The country’s 600.000-strong Muslim community faces, according to the report, an increasing amount of structural discrimination in the employment and educational sector as well as in questions of access to public and private services.  Of the racism classified as religiously based, 80% is aimed at Muslims in Belgium. What’s more important however is the role of the Belgian media, which is presented as highly Islamophobic with 51% of the annul media complaints received to be connected to Islamophobia. Additionally,  19% of employment complaints and 11% of educational complaints were related to anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiments and actions.

The ENAR also points out to the exclusion of students who choose to wear the hijab from the education system, even if no legal degree endorses these regulations. The organisation requests the Belgian government to implement and ensure the freedom of religion of Muslims by repealing all provisions on the prohibition of the hijab and other signs of convictional practices at school

Islamophobia on the rise in Belgium

Anti-Muslim violence on the increase in France

Le Monde

21.03.2013

This year’s annual report on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism released by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reveals a notably rise in racist violence in France. After a two year low, 2012 showed a 23% increase in racial violence in the country. 1530 acts of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic violence were recorded last year alone, five times more than 20 years ago.

The rise in racist attacks and threats in France can be traced and specified to the rise of anti-Semitic (55%) and Islamophobic attacks (30%). Most of these attacks and threats have taken place in France’s urban and industrial regions such as the Île-de-France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Alsace. The CNCDH reasons the geographic distribution of such attacks in the rise of unemployment in traditional industrial regions as well as the social restructuring in the areas. 40% of the victims are of North African origin.

The CNCDH’s head, Christine Lazerges, explains that both, the rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, have very different reasons: whereas the rise of anti-Semitism is connected to the Merah affair, the case of Islamophobia is severely different. According to Lazerges, a larger structural problem can be indicated by the numbers which have been consecutively rising since the last three years. In numbers they might be low but they only show the tip of the iceberg, says Lazerges.

cncdh-racisme-02-basse-def-pdf

French Court affirms religious freedom in hijab case

Le Monde

20.03.2013

France’s Court of Cassation overruled the dismissal of a Muslim woman from her workplace for wearing the niqab. Fatima Afif, a former employee of private day nursery in Chanteloup-les Vignes (Île-de-France), was refused from recommencing to work after a five-year long maternity leave when she announced her intention to continue to wear the niqab in 2008. The female director of the nursery, Natalia Baleato, justified her refusal to reemploy Mrs. Afif with the nursery’s work regulation guidelines, which state the obligation to “neutrality in respect to philosophy, politics and confession”.

The French government has since banned women from wearing the niqab in public with the help of controversial law.

The claimant lost her case of unfair dismissal from workplace on discriminatory grounds in front of the Court of Appeal of Versailles in 2011 but continued to appeal against the court’s decision. Last week’s annulations of  2011’s verdict by the French Court of Cassation in Paris is based upon the judge’s declaration that the Mrs. Afif was employed by a private nursery and not a public state funded institution. In other words, the principles of the recent anti-niqab legislation did not apply to the case whilst her civil right to express her religious faith prevailed.

The French government criticised the court’s ruling on the grounds that “it calls into question the princinple of secular education” in France.