New draft law for dual citizenship

March 30, 2014

 

The central council for Muslims assesses the new draft law for dual citizenship as a relevant and right step for migrants. Aiman Mazyek chair of the council interpreted the law as an important step towards modern citizenship, but regretted that the law would not apply to a large part of the migration community. Senior and retired migrants would not be subject of the new draft.

The CDU/ SPD led government has agreed to disclaim the “option duty”, which requires migrants to choose between one citizenship. The new draft will grant children of non-German parents to keep both citizenships, given that until the age of 21, they have lived for at least eight years in Germany or visited German school for at least for six years. Up to now, children born and/or raised in Germany, possessing the German and a further passport are obliged to choose for one citizenship at the end of their 23 age. This law mainly applies to German-Turkish children, which are the largest ethnic minority in the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

Central council for Muslime: http://islam.de/23441

Summary of reactions towards the Turkish council elections

April 10, 2014

 

Several reactions could be detected after the electoral outcome of Turkey´s council elections. The Turkish columnist Hatice Akyün fears Turkey to fall back into the last century. All democratic achievements would be at stake turning Turkey to an authoritarian State.

The former mayor of Hamburg Ole von Beust (CDU), expressed his compliments for Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan would have led his country to prosperity and economic development. Ole von Beust works for the official agency for the advancement of investments in Turkey (ISPAT).

The Hamburg based Turkish entrepreneur Vural Öger, founder of the Turkish touristic company “Öger Tours”, expressed his concerns. The society would be polarized between the urban sector being culturally westernized and the rural sector being oriented towards an Islamic conservatism. According to Öger, the elections will have no negative effects for the Turkish economy and its trade with Germany. The economy would be an strong independent sector.

The Turkish Professor for “Modern Turkey Studies” at the University of Duisburg-Essen Haci-Halil Usulcan is not surprised by the outcome of the electoral results. Western media would solely focus at urban areas such as Istanbul, excluding the immanent impact of rural areas for the victory of Erdogan. In cities such as Konya, Kayseri and Erzurum, more than 60% of voters would cast their vote for Erdogan. Although the focus shifted towards the political battle between the party of Erdogan and the Islamic Gülen movement, many Gülen supports would rather vote for the Islamic conservative party (AKP) of Erdogan than casting their vote for a “godless” secular opposition party. To many religious voters, Islam remains the core idea of their personal identity. This has been more important than any grievance towards Erdogan. Although corruption is a side effect of

Turkey´s current history, the positive economic emergence was not ignored by the Turkish voters. That said, Professor Usulcan assesses the Turkish voters of Erdogan not as ideological but very pragmatic and rational. Post-material values such as individuality, liberal citizenship and the way of life have not created their path through developing societies. Consumption and prosperity are gaining importance for the bourgeois-conservative middle class in central Anatolia. The Gezi protests and the heterogeneous share of groups would demonstrate another indicator for the lack of political alternatives in Turkey.

 

Der Tagesspiegel: http://www.tagesspiegel.de/meinung/andere-meinung/tuerkei-nach-der-wahl-ich-bin-stinkewuetend/9696858.html

Die Zeit: http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2014-04/Tuerkei-Erdogan-Wahl-Gastbeitrag

Die Welt: http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article126621873/Die-Tuerkei-entfernt-sich-von-europaeischen-Werten.html

Frankfurter Rundschau: http://www.fr-online.de/newsticker/tuerkei-berater-von-beust-verteidigt-erdogan,11005786,26765598.html

Official UCIDE (Union of the Islamic Communities of Spain) news

April 15, 2014

 

Even though several news about the Jihadist activities in Spain have been released in the past months no official comment on the subject has been issued by the Islamic Communities delegations. Furthermore the Spanish police and Security forces have been updating the growing number of Jihadists individuals departing from Spain to fight in Syria, still there was no reaction or declaration from the Spanish Muslim leaders.

In fact in the official Facebook account of Riay Tatary (President of the UCIDE) the most recent posts have been on common questions such as integration of the Muslim citizens in the Spanish society, the envoy of goods to humanitarian associations in Syria and a conference on methods of financing Islamic institutions.

 

Islamhispania: http://islamhispania.blogspot.com.es/2014/03/madrid22032014islamedia-conferencia.html

http://islamhispania.blogspot.com.es/2014/04/el-presidente-de-ucide-recibe-al.html

UCIDE: http://ucide.org/es/content/el-contendor-del-levante-de-ayuda-humanitaria-siria-llega-su-destino

The Campaign to condemn the Brotherhood

April 8, 2014

 

The decision of the British government this week to launch an investigation into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood is a major victory for Saudi Arabia, which has been arguing since the 9/11 attacks that it is the Brotherhood’s brand of “political Islam” that is the source of jihadist violence and extremism, not Saudi Wahhabism. Privately, British officials said there had been months of Saudi pressure, complementing Saudi anger over the West’s shift on Iran since November. The UK ambassador to Riyadh no less has been chosen lead the probe.

 

Source: http://ecfr.eu/content/entry/the_campaign_to_condemn_the_brotherhood244

Religion v secularism: Appeals court orders French prison to provide halal meals to Muslims

March 26, 2014

 

A French prison has been told it must provide halal meals for its Muslim prisoners on Wednesday, pushing the debate of secularism against Islam into the limelight again, AFP reports.

Saint-Quentin-Fallavier prison was instructed to supply halal meals, in order to fulfil the rights of those practicing Islam, despite Justice Minister Christiane Taubira contesting the ruling.

The justice ministry argued that it is not practical to separate food or to change catering arrangements, which was rejected by an appeals court ruling that halal meals could easily be organized into the prison system.

According to AFP, Alexandre Ciaudo, the lawyer representing the prisoner who started the case, said: “It is a new setback for the justice minister. The prison now has to implement the ruling.”

France’s government disputes the case and claims Muslim prisoners are given the choice of vegetarian and pork free meals.

The clash over halal meals shadows French policies on religious freedoms such as the ban of wearing veils and similarly, if educational establishments should provide halal catering for Muslim children.

Last month, Denmark banned halal and kosher slaughtering, bringing worldwide condemnation from both Muslims and Jews, who say their religious freedoms are being limited.

European attitudes towards halal and kosher meat are increasingly changing as animal rights groups have criticized the practice of halal-kosher meat, which involves no pre-stunning of the animal prior to slaughter.

There are an estimated five million Muslims living in France, many of whom felt marginalized by France’s decision to ban any form of religious observance in state schools since 2011.

 

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/french-prison-islam-halal-564330

 

France in new tack to fight roots of terrorism

March 31, 2014

 

To stop the stream of French youths pursuing jihad in Syria, France is preparing to try to tackle terrorism before it starts, by involving schools, parents and local Muslim leaders.

This is part of a still-confidential plan prompted by fears that young radicals who travel to Syria could return home with the skills and motivation to carry out attacks — a Europe-wide concern. French officials say the plan will be made public soon.

The fears resurfaced last week when authorities revealed the discovery near Cannes of three soda cans packed with nails, bolts and explosives plus bomb-making instructions at the apartment of a 23-year-old man who had returned from Syria. Memories are still fresh of a radical Muslim Frenchman who gunned down children at a Toulouse Jewish school in 2012, after training in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

To combat terrorism, France amassed one of the West’s toughest legal arsenals following terror attacks in the 1990s, focusing on prosecuting proven extremists instead of trying to prevent radicalization.

That’s about to change, according to several top government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan is still being finalized. They spoke after President Francois Hollande convened a special council last week and adopted a strategy to counter the accelerating threat posed by hundreds of French heading to Syria.

“We are working upstream,” said one high-ranking security official. “That’s new in France.” Another government official said France is “not on the forefront when it comes to the prevention of radicalization.” They said France has consulted British authorities to try to learn from similar efforts there.

The new French push will be a challenge in a country where distrust runs high between police and minority youth in hardscrabble housing projects, and provokes occasional riots. And it could prompt controversy if it is directed solely at Islam. France, a secular nation that demands a clear separation between church and state, has been accused of stigmatizing Muslims with measures such as banning face-covering Islamic veils.

The new French government plan also includes tough measures to bolster intelligence and border surveillance, including restricting minors from leaving France, the officials said, confirming a report in Le Monde. Authorities also want to improve cooperation with counterparts in Turkey, a key route into Syria for fighters.

French authorities said in January that up to 700 French had left for Syria, were planning to go or died in battle. The migration to Syria — including teens as young as 15 — far outstrips the number of Europeans who left for Iraq and Afghanistan in years past.

French officials say the West’s vehement stance against Bashar Assad’s regime may, for vulnerable youth, have conferred some legitimacy on fighting the regime. Some youths see themselves as defenders of a civilian population under assault. Others see glory in helping to seize territory with the dream of creating an Islamic state.

Not all those traveling to Syria become hardened jihadists. Some even turn back. France wants to prevent them from taking the journey in the first place.

That includes working with local governments, schools and religious leaders in the country with Western Europe’s largest Muslim population, at least 5 million. It remains to be seen how teachers and parents will be expected to identify potential extremism.

The plan would involve the French Council for the Muslim Faith, a conduit for the government with France’s Muslim communities. Dalil Boubakeur, the group’s president, says it is working with authorities “to understand why these youths are drawn to this.”

A top French expert in radical Islam said some town governments have already worked with French intelligence on detecting potential jihadis, but now the government wants to do it more systematically and overtly.

Authorities want to offer vulnerable youth an alternative to the world view offered by jihad recruiters. Local prevention centers would reach out to families of youth who have started radicalizing, Le Monde and the officials said.

The thrust meshes well with Hollande’s focus on education and his Socialists’ penchant for community outreach.

Louis Caprioli, a former No. 2 French counterterrorism official, doubts that the prevention effort would help in the short term. “We are in a demarche that will take years.”

“Radicalization no longer takes place inside the town, which you can control, inside mosques, which you can control,” he said. Today, children communicate via social networks.

“We are in a dimension that no one masters anymore at all,” Caprioli said. Many parents “don’t know what a tweet is, what a chat is” and their children sometimes have two phones — one to communicate with those in Syria.

As long as Syria is a battlefield, he said, the “jihad phenomenon will continue.”

 

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/france-in-new-tack-to-fight-roots-of-terrorism/2014/03/31/226fe5cc-b8c8-11e3-80de-2ff8801f27af_story.html

 

Racism Prevails In France: Report

April 4, 2014

 

France’s annual report on racism has revealed a dramatic increase in intolerance among French people, reaching its highest level since 2002, amid concerns among anti-racism groups of the growing anti-immigration sentiments in the society.

“The commission’s report presents figures that are very worrying for French society,” wrote Louis-Georges Tin, president of Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) for the Nouvel Obs website.

Commissioned by the government’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH), the annual racism report for 2013 was based on survey results by the French institute conducting opinion polls.

According to the bleak report, nearly 35% of surveyed people acknowledged being “racist”, compared to 29% in 2012.

Out of 1000 respondents, ninety identified themselves to be “quite” racists, while 260 said that they are “little” racists.

The most vulnerable races to discrimination in the French society are the Roma and Arab Muslim minorities, as 87% of respondents agreed that they are “separate groups in French society”.

The annual report, which aims to fight racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, found that “levels of intolerance were apparently on the rise for the fourth year running and the number of French people concerned by immigration stood at 16%”.

The rise of Racism in France can be linked to the recent victories by the far-right National Front (FN) party that won local elections in 11 towns. About 63% the French people believe that immigrants are not working.

More than two-thirds of the respondents said that hijab poses a problem for the French community.

The annual report has also found that racial language became more common over the past year, mainly targeting Muslim and Roma minorities.

Racism Decreased

Although the results of the public survey found a critical increase in racism among French people, members of the CNCDH claimed that racism in France “was decreasing over the long term”.

“The time of ratonnades (violent attacks on North African immigrants) has passed, but the racism that exists today is more underhand and it is no longer reserved for the extreme fringes of society. It penetrates all levels,” Christine Lazerges, President of CNCDH told a press conference this week.

“The scapegoats today are primarily the Roma, who have been stigmatized, including by the government and then North African Muslims.”

According to Lazerges, CNCDH president, the survey results reflect a “growing lack of intolerance and acceptance for those who are different”.

France is home to a Muslim community of nearly six million, the largest in Europe.

French Muslims have been complaining of restrictions on performing their religious practices.

In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.

France also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public in 2011.

Last December, a French government report has proposed ending the ban on Muslim headscarves, teaching Arabic and emphasizing the ‘Arab-Oriental’ dimension of French identity.

The report stressed that France, with Europe’s largest Muslim population, should recognize the “Arab-oriental dimension” of its identity.

Yet, in the same month the French minister of education has maintained 2004 ban on hijab for Muslim volunteers in school trips, ignoring a legal advice from France’s Council of State.

France’s Far-Right To Ban Faith-Based School Lunch Options

April 4, 2014

 

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering special lunches to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France’s secular values.

France’s republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country’s five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.

“We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,” Le Pen said. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.”

The anti-immigrant National Front has consistently bemoaned the rising influence of Islam in French public life.

France has seen periodic controversies over schools that substitute beef or chicken for pork from menus to cater to Muslim children. Some of the FN’s new mayors have complained there are too many halal shops in their towns.

The party won control of 11 town halls and a large district in the port city of Marseille in municipal elections on Sunday, more than double its record from the 1990s.

Le Pen hailed the victory as showing the party had finally established itself as France’s third political force behind ruling Socialists and mainstream conservatives, and predicts a strong showing in May’s European Parliament elections.

 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/04/france-school-religious-lunches_n_5091516.html

Dutch Politician Heavily Criticized for Leading Anti-Moroccan Chant

March 19, 2014

 

Controversial politician Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV party, led supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant prior to local elections. At a party meeting in the Hague, Wilders asked supporters whether they wanted “more or fewer” Moroccans in the Netherlands. The supporters responded “Fewer! Fewer!”, and Wilders answered “Good, we’re going to take care of that.”

The chant made national and international news, and has had ramifications for the party. In the media, RTL Nieuws made a remarkable move in publishing an editorial against the actions.

Some 200 individuals and bodies have officially requested prosecution for the statements, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) is said to be considering initiating proceedings.

Politicians in the country have distanced themselves from Wilders, and Premier Mark Rutte (VVD)stated, “As long as these are the views of the PVV, we will not work in partnership with this party.”  Within the PVV, two politicians have left with immediate effect in the aftermath of the event, saying that they cannot defend Wilders’ statements.
Washington Post- http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/dutch-politician-wilders-leads-anti-moroccan-chant/2014/03/19/acff1522-afb9-11e3-b8b3-44b1d1cd4c1f_story.html

NIS News- http://www.nisnews.nl/wilders-isolated-pvv-threatens-to-fall-apart.html

Dutch News – http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/03/wilders_under_fire_over_morocc.php

Political Candidate Alleged to be Collecting Voting Cards at Dutch Mosque

March 12, 2014

 

A political candidate in the Netherlands’ local elections has been accused of collecting voting cards at a mosque in the city of Soest. Police have begun an investigation into the allegations about Osman Suna, after broadcaster Pownews filmed him at a local mosque asking for voting cards and copies of id papers from people who did not plan to vote. No news sources report the nature of the connection, if any, between Suna and the mosque.

It is illegal under Dutch electoral law for party activists to offer to cast votes on the behalf of voters.

Osman Suna initially resigned from his post as PvA leader in Soest following the allegation. However, he later decided not to give up his post after all, and is reported to be considering a court case against the federal party leader Diederik Samsom.

Another potential case is under investigation in the Heusden municipality, though it is not clear which party is involved.

 

Amsterdam Herald – http://www.amsterdamherald.com/index.php/rss/1170-20140413-vote-rigging-allegations-three-municipalities-threaten-overshadow-dutch-local-elections-netherlands-politics

Dutch News- http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/03/local_elections_vote_rigging_i.php

NL Times – http://www.nltimes.nl/2014/03/13/probe-launched-soest-election-fraud-allegations/

NIS News- http://www.nisnews.nl/pvda-locked-in-conflict-with-local-leader.html