Radical Islam in Spain: Summary of the Real Instituto Elcano Report

November 18, 2013


1) Seven out of ten Spanish jihadists become radicalized in Spain (homegrown terrorists).

2) They are concentrated in Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia and Ceuta.

3) It takes four to five years to become terrorists.

How are jihadist terrorists radicalized in Spain ? How long does it take them ? Where does this happens? These are some of the answers offered by the Real Instituto Elcano in an investigation that has just been published and signed by experts Fernando Reinares and Carola García-Calvo, who have been assessing Islamist terrorism cases from 1996 to 2012 .

The most striking finding of the report is that radicalization has become a “native” phenomenon in Spain: seven out of ten of those who become jihadists do it on Spanish territory. In terms of age, radicalism has greater impact on those under 30 years with  individuals in their twenties  being the most vulnerable.

However, it is not a widespread phenomenon throughout Spain. 90 per cent of Salafi radicalization cases have been recorded in particular in Madrid, Valencia , Catalonia and Ceuta, places where there is a large Muslim community.

During the research, the authors found a singularity of the ‘ Spanish ‘ phenomenon compared to other countries, as for example in the UK : most cases of recruitment and radicalization does not occur in places of worship, like mosques or Islamic cultural centers, but in private homes.

Once the individual begins the process of radicalization, which is “not irreversible” says the report of the Instituto Elcano, it takes between four and five years before he or she starts acting.

In what concerns the number of women participating in Jihadist activities in Spain, the report offers no indication.


El confidencial digital: http://www.elconfidencialdigital.com/seguridad/Chequeo-radicalismo-islamico-Espana_0_2167583228.html


Full report in Spanish: http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/rielcano/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_es/zonas_es/dt16-2013-reinares-gciacalvo-radicalizacion-terrorismo-yihadista-espana

“Deradicalization” Process Offered to Dutch Muslim Fighters Returning from Syria

November 8, 2013


Following press coverage about Dutch Muslims traveling to Syria to join armed struggle, television programme EenVandaag reports on the fate of those who return to the Netherlands. The Dutch Muslim fighters who have to date returned from Syria have not been arrested and prosecuted but have been given a job or course and accommodation.

An estimated 20 men have returned from Syria and have been taken up in ‘deradicalization’ courses on return to the Netherlands. The program involves finding the men training and jobs, and arranging homes for them if necessary.

The Netherlands is thus diverging from Belgium, where returning fighters are immediately arrested and prosecuted.


NIS Newshttp://www.nisnews.nl/returning-jihadists-not-arrested-but-helped.html

VIDEO: Muslims and Jews Vow to Stand Up for Each Other, Build Global Movement of Reconciliation

There is a widely accepted belief that Muslims and Jews are enemies and will always remain so. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

For the past six years The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding has not only challenged this narrative, but has facilitated a global dialogue between Muslims and Jews that is taking place on all six populated continents.

This Muslim-Jewish dialogue is our annual Weekend of Twinning which encourages joint Muslim and Jewish programming on the grassroots level in every community across the world where Muslims and Jews reside.

Our efforts reveal the actual harmony that exists between these two faiths and peoples and here is a video that we produced with Unity Productions Foundation, which documents this global Muslim Jewish coalition that is vowing to stand up for one another by combating Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred.

Join our movement by sharing this message with your networks via social media, email, or word of mouth.


Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-marc-schneier/

Video: http://youtu.be/vEHVannOkj8

Largest U.S. Muslim Organization Supports LGBT Anti-Discrimination Bill

November 11, 2013


Last week, one of the clearest shifts in the decades-long debate over Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) came into light from the largest U.S.-based Muslim organization, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), joined a broad interfaith coalition, calling ENDA a “measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their personal characteristics like sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In a historic advancement for the LGBT rights movement, the Senate on Thursday approved ENDA, a bill that protects against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite advances in anti-discrimination in the workplace, Muslims continue to face unfair job discrimination. Our shared experiences of discrimination can provide a common basis to work with one another to mold a more inclusive America.

Commenting on the shift of tone, Dr. Sharon Groves, Director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program, regarded ISNA’s support of ENDA as a major step in right direction.

“LGBT Muslims both in the U.S. and abroad need to hear from organizations like ISNA that their experiences as Muslims are recognized in the spirit of Islam’s emphasis on compassion and respect for all humanity,” said Groves.

The movement for greater acceptance of LGBT people in Islam is growing. LGBT Muslims continue to be at the forefront of cutting edge scholarship at the intersection of Islam and issues affecting the lives of LGBT Muslims. Around the nation and the world, LGBT Muslims and their allies are working to build an inclusive faith — and having some notable success.


Human Rights Campaign: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/largest-u.s.-muslim-organization-supports-lgbt-anti-discrimination-bill

Muslim Artists Perform to Break Stereotypes

November 12, 2013


For decades, Arab actors have been successful in Hollywood. Among the most successful are Omar Sharif, Tony Shalhoub, and F. Murray Abraham; the latter won an Academy Award for his role in Mozart. However Muslims, openly proclaiming their religion, are a minority in the U.S. population and an even smaller minority in the U.S. entertainment industry. Those who are breaking in are trying to use their talent to discredit negative stereotypes. Several showcased their work at a recent gathering of predominantly American Muslims in Los Angeles.

Dean Obeidallah is not just an American comedian.

“My ethnicity and my faith make me a little different than many other comedians,” said Obeidallah.

He is a Muslim with Palestinian roots, and says his identity has not created barriers for him. However, he also says that stereotypes of what he represents do exist in the U.S.

Obeidallah uses comedy to talk about misconceptions and about what it means to be Muslim. He has co-directed a comedy documentary on this theme called, The Muslims Are Coming! Obeidallah said he has received positive reviews from both Muslims and non-Muslims, but sometimes non-Muslims don’t know how to respond to his jokes.

American Muslim poet Amir Sulaiman points out that some Muslims feel uncomfortable listening to him perform.

“Some people they feel nervous. Some things I say are not politically correct. They’re not fashioned and perfected in a political kind of way. Some people will say we don’t want you to say this; we don’t want you to say that as a Muslim person. When you are an artist or a public figure, many times you automatically become a spokesperson for millions of people. All these people have different points of view and different way that they want to be portrayed, but every artist can’t be responsible for everyone,” said Sulaiman.


Voice of America: http://www.voanews.com/content/muslim-artists-perform-break-stereotypes/1789097.html

Atheists in the military need chaplains, too

November 22, 2013


This summer the House finally passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, catapulting military issues to the forefront of public debate.

Among these issues was the question of Humanist chaplains in the military. Currently nearly 30 percent of the military identifies as religiously unaffiliated or atheist/agnostic. Yet there is not a single atheist or Humanist chaplain to serve these brave men and women who make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedoms every day.

To understand the importance of chaplains for all service members – including atheists – one must first understand military culture, in which a visit to a psychiatrist can have a devastating impact on the member’s career.

In contrast, despite that the nonreligious outnumber the combined total of Hindus, Muslims and Jews in the armed services, all of these groups have chaplains for their respective religions.

Furthermore, atheist or non-religious family members are also being deprived of a channel of support for their questions and concerns as they deal with issues of separation, life on a base and even the death of a family member.

The military began employing chaplains because they felt that the health of service men and women was not being sufficiently maintained by medical professionals. And the very fact that the Department of Defense has employed chaplains of different faiths indicates that they believe that a chaplain of the same faith as the service member who seeks their help is the ideal situation.

Despite that the amendments failed, real progress was made. In a historical and ground-breaking moment, 150 representatives openly and on the record, voted in favor of supporting nontheists—a strong showing that was previously unheard of.

And in a heartening and spirited show of support, several representatives spoke openly about their support for the nontheistic community—an act that could have meant political suicide not long ago. Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, stood up for the nontheistic community, saying that nontheists do have strong belief systems, which “they value just as much as Christians value theirs.” He continued, “To say that an atheist or Humanist doesn’t believe anything is just ignorant…The response to the gentleman’s amendment makes me feel all the more the necessity of it.”


Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/11/22/atheists-in-the-military-need-chaplains-too/

Teens, Young Adults, and Digital Discrimination

The prevalence of digital communications and networking through social media for teens and young adults raises questions about young people’s online behavior. A growing body of research suggests that young people frequently encounter discriminatory language online. Are young people emboldened to say hurtful or discriminatory things online that they would never say face-to-face?

Seeking to contribute rigorous research on this issue, MTV and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,297 teens and young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 to track the exposure of young people in the United States to discriminatory and hurtful language online and to better understand where on the internet young people encounter these messages. This survey updates previous estimates from

The Associated Press (AP) and MTV on the exposure of teens and young adults to discriminatory language online. The key findings are summarized below.

Growing Numbers of Young People View the Use of Discriminatory language as Inappropriate Even When Joking Around with Friends

Young people perceive the intent of discriminatory language online to be mostly hurtful for some groups, including transgender people and Muslims, and mostly “a joke” for other groups, including Asian Americans, Jews, and women.

Teenagers and young adults are most likely to perceive discriminatory language or images directed at transgender people (63 percent); Muslims (60 percent); gay, lesbian, or bisexual people (54 percent); men who dress or carry themselves in a feminine way (53 percent); and those who are overweight (53 percent) to be meant as hurtful.

Teenagers and young adults are most likely to perceive as a joke discriminatory language or images that are directed at Asian Americans (73 percent), Jews (73 percent), women (71 percent), those with mental disabilities (68 percent), Latinos (67 percent), those with physical disabilities (65 percent), African Americans (64 percent), and women who dress or carry themselves in a masculine way (55 percent).

Young people are divided on their perception of discriminatory language or images directed at immigrants and Christians. Forty-nine percent say discriminatory language or images directed at immigrants is most often meant as a joke, and 51 percent say it is most often meant to be hurtful.

Forty-nine percent say discriminatory language or images directed at Christians is most often meant as a joke, and 50 percent say it is most often meant to be hurtful. Of the groups that were asked about in 2011, only the perception of discriminatory language or images directed at Muslims and immigrants had a significant shift in how teenagers and young adults view the intent. Sixty percent of teenagers and young adults say the discriminatory language or images they see directed toward Muslims are most often meant to be hurtful, a significant increase of 13 points from 47 percent in 2011. Fifty-one percent of teenagers and young adults say the discriminatory language or images they see directed toward immigrants are most often meant to be hurtful, a significant increase of 12 points from 39 percent in 2011.


AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research: http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/Digital%20Discrimination/AP-NORC-MTV%20Discrimination%20Report_FINAL.pdf

Saud Anwar, Connecticut’s First Muslim Mayor

November 22, 2013


South Windsor physician Saud Anwar is the state’s first Muslim mayor. He sat down with Where We Live to talk about his faith, his vision for the town, and how he plans to juggle his busy schedule. Anwar is a native of Pakistan, who came to Connecticut via Illinois to study medicine at Yale.

On being the first Muslim mayor in the state:
Anwar says that although his faith is important because it shapes his values, he is focused on his new responsibilities. “The fact that I am a mayor who is of Muslim faith helps the children who are in our communities in Connecticut or beyond who at times feel they are bullied or disenfranchised…when they are hearing on radio or television about their faith,” he said. “This would hopefully allow them to recognize that the people who are trying to paint them with a broad brush do not necessarily represent true America.”

On what he’ll tackle first as mayor of South Windsor:
Saud Anwar said his first step will be to unify the town. The town is divided, he said, not only across political boundaries, but across ethnic and demographic boundaries as well. “One of the main issues that we need to recognize [is] that we are all in it together,” he said. “This is our home. This is our community. We are going to do whatever it takes to stay together, and only together we’ll be able to address all the issues that we have to.” Anwar said that his job as a physician has taught him to be organized and to work with a team, all of which he plans to use in his new position.


Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/american-muslim-news/12268-saud-anwar-connecticut-first-muslim-mayor.html

Civil rights advocacy group says banks closed more accounts of Muslims

November 21, 2013


The Council on American-Islamic Relations–Michigan is asking federal officials to investigate more complaints that JPMorgan Chase is allegedly closing bank accounts of Muslim customers in Metro Detroit.

“It seems like it’s solidifying our idea more that there’s a disturbing pattern going on,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-MI. “These aren’t just isolated incidents.”

Spurred by about a dozen complaints in the past two months, the advocacy group has contacted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates banks, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CAIR-MI also received new complaints Thursday, Walid said.

One of the latest involved the checking and savings accounts for Annisa Patimurani, a Wayne State University graduate student.

The Indonesia native, who is married to an American and started attending WSU this year, said she applied and was approved without issue. But after weeks of local purchases for books and other necessities, her debit card suddenly stopped working last month, she said.

When Patimurani of Detroit visited her local Chase bank for answers, an employee told her the accounts had been closed. The explanation on file said the bank would not open one for people with ties to foreign officials, she said.

She later received a letter from Chase saying the bank is “no longer opening personal banking accounts for current or former non-U.S officials, their immediate family or their close associates.”

Patimurani was puzzled. When applying in person, wearing a hijab, she disclosed that her parents are retired Indonesian government officials, but was told this would not be an issue in securing accounts. “I just don’t understand why they need to discriminate against us,” Patimurani said.

A Chase representative said privacy reasons prevent the company from discussing details of its customer relationships. But “on occasion, Chase determines it can no longer maintain a customer’s account but those decisions are not based on the customer’s religion, ethnicity or any other similar basis.”

Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131121/METRO08/311210142#ixzz2laPVdRVY

Supreme Court says Arkansas prison inmate can grow beard to meet religious beliefs, for now

November 14, 2013


The Supreme Court says an Arkansas prison inmate must be allowed to grow a short beard in accordance with his religious beliefs, at least temporarily.

The justices said in a brief order Thursday that state corrections officials may not enforce their grooming policy prohibiting beards against Gregory Holt, who says his Muslim beliefs require him to grow a beard.

Holt filed a handwritten plea to the court asking that he be allowed to grow and keep a half-inch beard, at least until the justices decide whether to take up his full appeal.

The 38-year-old Holt is serving a life sentence for domestic violence and burglary. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said in 2012 that prosecutors said Holt cut his girlfriend’s throat and stabbed her in the chest at her mobile home.


Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-says-arkansas-prison-inmate-can-grow-beard-to-meet-religious-beliefs-for-now/2013/11/14/e0e8146c-4d79-11e3-97f6-ed8e3053083b_story.html