(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/23/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released the results of a survey indicating that 69 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on November 4 and that more than half will vote for Democratic Party candidates.
Domestic issues like the economy and health care continue to top the Muslim voters’ list of priority concerns in this election. Growing Islamophobia in American ranked as the third most important issue for Muslim voters.
*CAIR’s poll of more than 1500 registered Muslim voters in California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas, and Virginia* was conducted using an independent automated call survey provider and asked three questions:
1. “Do you plan to vote in the November 4th midterm election?”
2. “Which political party do you support in the upcoming election?”
3. “What is the most important issue to you in this upcoming election?”
“German jihadists are participating in Islamic State’s war of terror. Security forces fear they could also pose a threat to the country. Guido Steinberg is an expert on Islam and Islamism. He has written a book about Germany’s jihadi fighters. Bettina Marx spoke to him about the country’s home-grown fighters.”
“”France must know that it is protected, that it is safe.” Those were President Francois Hollande’s big words on 19 September, when he informed his compatriots of the first aerial attacks by Rafale jets on Islamic State positions in Iraq. The battle against terrorism harbours security risks, he acknowledged, but was also an important and great matter. Polls show that Hollande has the political trust of only 15 per cent of his country’s 65 million inhabitants. France’s involvement in the military campaign against IS in Iraq, however, is a popular move: according to an Ifop survey for the weekly newspaper “Journal du Dimanche”, one in two French voters supports it.””
The mother of a young British Muslim who went to Syria to fight alongside a group linked to Islamic State (IS) militants has spoken of her ”fear and panic” after she travelled to the border of the war zone to retrieve her son. In an interview with BBC Inside Out London, she said she was reunited with her badly injured son four months after he disappeared and he has since faced ”pressure” from MI5 to provide information. She said, ”I allowed my son to come back and accepted him with love. We’ve got to be careful with young people, you know, young people can make sudden decisions that are not good, they can do dangerous things.”
When British Islamists killed 52 people with suicide-bombs in London in 2005, the government worked closely with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to co-ordinate public reaction to the attack. The council, an umbrella group for Islamic organisations, described its revulsion at such acts being carried out in the name of Islam. Tony Blair, then the prime minister, welcomed the response. By contrast, the MCB’s description of the recent murder of Alan Henning, a British taxi driver, by Islamic State as a “despicable and offensive act” was met with silence from the Conservative-led government. Once the chief interlocutor between Muslims and the government, the MCB has fallen from favour, and so has the whole idea of the government having a privileged Muslim partner.
The council presented itself as a diverse Muslim body. But Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Arab Islamists held a big share of the top positions. From 2006, the Labour government began to seek other partners, especially among more moderate Pakistani Sufi groups who had felt frozen out. Those within the council blame the declining relationship between officials and organised Islam on the coalition government. They resent the belief of some influential Tories that religious conservatism leads seamlessly to violent radicalism. Seeing Muslims through the prism of terrorism is unhelpful, says Shuja Shafi, the MCB’s current secretary-general.
The tipping point for Sayeeda Warsi came in the aftermath of one of the most notorious incidents of this year’s Gazan war: the killing of four Palestinian children by Israeli shells as they played football on the beach. Warsi hoped that David Cameron would condemn the attack as beyond the pale. Instead, she heard only the dry language of diplomacy. She insists her resignation was not a knee-jerk response and makes clear that she is far from an isolated voice within her party.
On domestic issues such as extremism and the government’s approach to counter-radicalisation, Warsi refuses to be drawn. “My argument is that extremists are more of a threat to British Muslims than the community as whole; not only do those people cause us harm like everybody else – they’re indiscriminate – but also the backlash. It’s a double whammy. British Muslims have more incentive to rid society of extremists.”
For her, the issue is how will Islam evolve and overcome an atmosphere of mistrust and misunderstanding towards it. “What will British Islam look like for my kids, grandkids? Chinese Islam is very different to Saudi Islam; the challenge for our times is how we find this place.”
The killing of Alan Henning, a British hostage held by extremist group Islamic State, has caused anger and turmoil for many who knew him, and many who didn’t. Notably, many of the most prominent voices of anguish have come from Britain’s Islamic community.
There are at least two separate online accounts dedicated to Henning. One fund was set up by Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, a doctor who accompanied Henning on his trip, and currently has £24,216 in donations ($38,832). “News of his murder has left us all enraged and distraught,” Islam-Zulfiqar had said this week. “In the face of this atrocity, we all need to stand together as Muslims and non-Muslims. We should not let this divide us.”
Islam-Zulfiqar says that the page was set up with permission from Alan’s wife. “A project will also be set up in Alan’s name eventually to benefit those that Alan died trying to help in Syria,” the page also states. A separate fundraising page has £8,736 ($14,008), while a third account is raising money for the charities Henning supported.
Having undertaken the “most significant domestic program by any Western country to foster a moderate version of Islam and prevent radicalization,” said James Brandon, former head of research at the Quilliam Foundation, “the UK has effectively given up trying to stop jihadists from being created.”
Part of the difficulty is in identifying those who might launch attacks in Britain or be drawn to fight in Iraq or Syria. A study by researchers at Queen Mary University lists the social groups most susceptible to extremism: people suffering from depression, those who are isolated and, surprisingly, those whose families have lived in Britain for several generations and are financially well off. The findings chime with other studies. Religious ideology does not appear to be a major influencing factor. Many of those seeking to fight in Syria and Iraq have poor knowledge of Islam. They are motivated by images they have seen online or are lured by a sense of adventure.
The crucial battleground in the radicalization struggle is the internet, and it’s a fight the authorities have been losing. What is needed instead is a propaganda war to undermine the message of extremists, said Julian Lewis, a member of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, the body charged with overseeing the work of Britain’s security agencies. But, Muslim groups say little or no progress can be made on radicalization until politicians confront the elephant in the room – the foreign policy of Britain and its allies.
More and more young individuals (under 14 years old0 are being intercepted by Spanish authorities for being involved in cyber Jihadism. Two of them (young girls from Ceuta) were arrested when they were getting ready to departure to Syria.
According to the local experts, the Internet works perfectly for the radicalization of youth and their preferred means are either Facebook or Whatsapp.
October 16, 2013 professor M. Meziti was visited by an inspector who opened a case on his private life and religious beliefs that “fall within the private sphere.” The inspector “expressed doubts concerning his compatibility with secularism, exclaiming after his answers: ‘Oh I’m reassured!’” How could a professional interview become an investigation of such a sort? A group of signatories has gathered to protest the unfair treatment.
“The lack of professionalism demonstrated by the Inspector of the Academy of Nantes is simply unacceptable. This person has overstepped her professional prerogatives. It’s a clear violation of secularism and the law,” they wrote. After reporting the incident to his supervisors Mr. Meziti underwent repeated inspections and on July 7, 2014 was refused the certificate of authenticity of professorship of the second degree by the Rector.
“This measure…is contrary to the provisions of Article L 1131-1 of the Labor Code that prohibits any measure establishing discrimination, direct or indirect, against an employee.” Mr. Meziti was a model employee and had no previous problems at his work. However, after the publication of his book “Dictionary of Islamophobia” the situation clearly changed.
The letter concludes: “The discrimination of which he is a victim cannot be silently overlooked and is a clear violation of republican values. Our Republic, committed to the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, cannot tolerate such actions. The Inspector of Nantes as well as her colleagues as representatives of the French state, must respect France’s values.”