Germans demonstrate in solidarity with Kobane

Throughout October, there have been various demonstrations in solidarity with the tragic situation of Kurds in Kobane. The high point of this was the organization of nation-wide demonstrations scheduled for the 1st November. People in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Hannover or Frankfurt came out into the streets to protest. Approximately 25000 participated at these nation-wide demonstrations organized by Kurdish organizations.

Mobilizing German Muslims against extremism

Minister of Integration, Bilkay Öney, emphasized on the role of Muslims communities in combatting radical Islamism. Arguing that Islamic extremism being not only a general threat to the German society but also a threat to the security of Muslims, Islamic organizations and communities should take adequate measures as well as support state authorities.

Hooligans against Salafism

Throughout October, hooligans from different football clubs marched in German cities against radical Islam and Salafism. Building a coalition and network under the heading “HoGeSa”, Hooligans Against Salafists (Hooligans gegen Salafisten), they demonstrated by the end of October in Cologne. Police and intelligence services were not only surprised by the number of attendees, which was tripled by the estimated 1500, but unable to cope with the violence involved. The demonstrations planned in Hamburg and Berlin for mid-November both were canceled. In case of Hamburg the organizers themselves withdraw the demonstration while in the case of Berlin the network never registered the demonstration properly. Now “HoGeSa” is planning another demonstration for the 15th November which is going to take place in Hannover.


In Germany, dealing with potential Jihad fighters

After a conference the German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, announced that radical Islamists should be hindered to travel to war zones in order to join Jihad. This should be achieved by substituting the original ID card with a document which does not allow for exit. Indirectly, the ministry is also addressing the issue of Jihad fighters returning from Iraq/Syria and becoming a potential threat for the German society in general. Rolf Jäger, chairperson of the Interior Minister’s Conference, emphasized on the double strategy of repression and prevention needed in order to stop radicalization. In relation to this Heiko Maaß, Federal Minister of Justice, suggested to tighten law regulations concerning two significant points: Firstly, people should be held accountable when funding terrorism and secondly, people should be held accountable for already leaving Germany in the attempt to pursue an act of violence as well as receive any training in this regard (there is no legal punishment for both within the given legal framework). Members of the Christian Democratic Union criticized this proposal as one not going far enough and thereby inadequate. The Union argued that the proposal should also include the mere promotion of a terrorist organization such as ISIS/ISIL. Meanwhile, the interior ministry of Bavaria has deported the Salafist Erhan A. to Turkey, after his endorsement of ISIS/ISIL, its ideological framework as well as the beheadings.

Sharia and English Law: A Secularist Success (The Economist)

The Law Society (a prestigious professional body for solicitors) reversed a guidance note to its members designed to help them formulate an Islamic will. The note recalled, for example, that in many circumstances a male relative can expect to receive twice as much as a female, and that non-Muslims cannot inherit at all.

Secular France Moves to Confront Jihadism After Slow Start (Reuters)

France has been slow to respond to the spread of jihadist ideology because strict state secularism forbids any incursion into individuals’ religious affairs. This has created a breeding ground that has pulled in converts like Guillaume, radicalized while in prison for assaulting a police officer.(Reuters)

In Spain, “The radical ideas are being transmitted in the virtual world.”

Riay Tatary, president of the Union of Islamic Communities (UCIDE) of Spain defended yesterday that Islam “is peace and therefore can not be used as a synonym for violence or terrorism.”

He also insisted that the Muslim Spanish community is well integrated and that “ radical ideas are being transmitted over the Internet, in the virtual world. It occurs in homes, in closed rooms. “ He also pointed out that the youth receives a weak islamic educaction through the web and this creates a need among the community to strenghten universal values such as such as coexistence, tolerance, justice, equality, freedom.

Sarkozy speaks about Islam, integration and Rachida Dati’s roots

2370775838_d0ec7e746eSeveral days before the vote for the UMP presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy mentioned “one of his favorite themes,” that is, “integration the French way.” According to Sarkozy, it is the “biggest failure in thirty years.” He quickly elaborated on this statement, saying, “It is not a question of our fellow Muslims, most of whom bring honor to France.” He added, “The question, is not only to ask what the Republic can do for Islam, but what Islam can do for France.”

The next day, after being questioned by activists about his views on diversity, he discussed Rachida Dati’s appointment as Minister of Justice. “I said to myself that Rachida Dati, with an Algerian father and Moroccan mother, to talk about penal policy, that made sense,” he added.

While several were quick to question his decision, many believe it he chose Dati because of the large North African population in prison. Sarkozy’s entourage defended his decision and said that Dati’s appointment sent an important signal to immigrants.

“When you always speak of origins and skin color in a certain way, you divide citizens into different categories, and it’s not my vision of things,” says Francois Bayrou concerning Sarkozy’s statement.

How to spot a Muslim according to the Board of Education in Poitiers

Charles Martel has returned to the Board of Education in Poitiers. A document meant to help teachers detect signs of radicalization in students is said to have taken a “dislike” to Islam, according to information from Mediapart.

The document classifies signs of radicalization in the following manner: having a long beard, wearing religious clothing, shaving one’s head, refusing to get tattoos or practicing intensive fasts. The information was presented in a PowerPoint and also discusses Palestine, Chechnya and Iraq. According to Mediapart, the presentation was made by a section of the “mobile security team” (EMS) whose members are ex-police officers or gendarmes. EMS was created in 2009 to ensure the security of educational establishments.

After being interviewed on France Bleu, Magali Espinasse, member of the union Snes-FSU, expressed her disapproval of the document. She referred to it as a “gross caricature” that contained “outrageous simplifications,” calling it “racism, pure and simple.”

Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said “maybe the words aren’t perfect, and we will indeed improve things.”


Kev Adams says stop to making automatic associations between Muslims and Terrorists

Kev Adams did not hesitate to defend French Muslims, who are “constantly in the spotlight” because of the Islamic State’s actions. His statement of support happened during his program On n’est pas couché on November 22.

He apologized for any associations between terrorism and Islam. “There are young adults that listen to me and one must not make automatic associations, Muslims are not terrorists, Muslims are good people,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky to tour in France, I like being able to visit different communities and I’ve been to many mosques where I saw that the discourse there is to tell the kids: ‘be proud to be Muslims…and to be French Muslims.’” Adams says it is “completely wrong” to say that they are terrorists, and added, “It’s important for me to say it on television.”

Before his show, journalist Elise Lucet highlighted the work done in mosques to combat radicalization. “In mosques there are people who are doing everything they can so that young adults, converts or Muslims, have a different vision of Islam, thanks to what they are taught.”

Adams’s sentiments were not all well-received by his fans. However, there have been many congratulatory messages that have multiplied after significant media coverage. “Thank you for your kind messages (and even the mean ones) about #OPNC or #VTEP! It is truly touching! #Love,” he wrote.