IS “fishing” for teenage girls in Spain

A view of the Principe District in Ceuta. Ceuta is inhabited by majority North Africans and is increasingly a hotspot of recruiting activity for ISIS. (Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP)
A view of the Principe District in Ceuta. Ceuta is inhabited by majority North Africans and is increasingly a hotspot of recruiting activity for ISIS. (Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP)

The Islamic State captures teenage girls in Spanish Muslim communities through propaganda disseminated through social networks. Ceuta is the area most affected by this trend. In one of the known cases a girl from the region (just under 14 years old) tried to travel to Iraq through Turkey, but was intercepted in Melilla. She wanted to join the jihad and marry some extremist fighter. In total there have already been at least five cases of successful ‘fishing’ of minors in Ceuta.

According to experts, the contents spread extremist movement militants are designed to ‘catch’ specifically to adolescents with traditional values, many are fascinated by very simple causes, others consider it a culmination of their practice of Islam. At their age, they perceive it as an adventure and want to participate in it.

In turn, to the extremists, the virgin girls are a key point in their strategy. Although its function is merely reproducing, the idea is to contribute to the expansion of radicalism through the repopulation of the ‘infidels’ nations.

 

New threat of “Express Radicalization” amongst moderate youth in Spain

© Horsey, Los Angeles Times, 2013.
© Horsey, Los Angeles Times, 2013.

Security forces are concerned about the fascination that is rising among Spanish young Muslims for the Islamic State or Daesh. The concern is even greater in the case of adolescents who are concentrated in the city of Ceuta, where radical Islam has already fished at least five minor children, according to counter-terrorism sources.

Experts call this phenomenon “Express Radicalization.” Young moderate Muslims are becoming -in a matter of weeks and thanks only to the radical content consumed through social networks in the privacy of their homes-into dangerous fighters willing to give their lives for Islam.

Egypt’s Grand Mufti cancels his visit to Britain for fear of prosecution

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawki Allam, has cancelled a planned visit to Britain following a UK High Court order allowing the investigation of members of the Egyptian cabinet or armed forces for international crimes even while they are still in office.
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawki Allam, has cancelled a planned visit to Britain following a UK High Court order allowing the investigation of members of the Egyptian cabinet or armed forces for international crimes even while they are still in office.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawki Allam, has cancelled a planned visit to Britain following a UK High Court order allowing the investigation of members of the Egyptian cabinet or armed forces for international crimes even while they are still in office.

Allam was due to fly to Britain on Friday to give a lecture at a conference on Muslim youth and Islamic extremism but cancelled the trip for fear of being prosecuted, Arabi.21 news site quoted informed sources as saying. He was scheduled to be the guest of honour at a seminar on religious extremism organised by the British right-wing Independence Party. The Times of England quoted the Independence party’s director of communications, Amjad Bashir, as saying that the occasion is an attempt to remind young Muslims in Britain of “the teachings of their religion and to develop strategies to counter extremism and religious fanaticism”.

The Egyptian Revolutionary Council, which includes Egyptian opposition leaders abroad, wrote to Lord George Leonard Carey, the former Bishop of the Anglican Church who is scheduled to participate in the conference, describing Allam’s position in support of Egyptian authorities and their killing of civilians as reminiscent of “the Nazis position”. Carey, who served as bishop in the period between 1991 and 2002, is known for his critical views of Islam.

In the letter, the Revolutionary Council strongly condemned the Mufti’s visit to Britain, and called for him to be banned from entry to the country and from speaking at public events.

The letter was also signed by several British Muslim organisations, including the Islamic Forum in Europe, Islam Expo, the Coalition Against Islamophobia, Finsbury Park mosque, the Islamic Association of Britain, Islamic House of Care and Muslim Students House.

The Times said the Islamic organisations in Britain expressed their “bewilderment” at the Mufti’s decision to participate in a seminar with the head of a right-wing party who is known for his extremist views, and also sent a letter to Lord Carey urge him to reconsider his decision.

 

 

Millions of Muslims join online dating

In the last decade online dating became a mainstream activity, in Europe and North America at least. It is therefore not surprising that Western Muslims adapted the idea to their needs. For many, online dating offers a low-stress solution to the daunting challenge of finding a partner for marriage in countries where few share their faith, and in communities where matchmaking is considered a family affair.

Adeem Younis, founder of the matchmaking site SingleMuslim.com, which he created above a fast-food shop in Wakefield while still a lowly undergraduate, now boasts more than a million members. However, the young entrepreneur stresses that the term “Muslim online dating” would be inaccurate. The goal of such sites is often far more ambitious than the average hook-up website. Instead of hazy morning-after memories and hopes of receiving a follow-through text message, sites like SingleMuslim.com aim to provide clients with a partner for life. It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. “In Islam, marriage is equal to half of your religion,” he says, quoting a saying thought to have been uttered by the Prophet Mohammed, “so you can imagine how important it is… Islam teaches us that marriage is the cornerstone of society as a whole.”

SingleMuslim.com now claims a success rate of about four matches per day. But the site is just one example of a booming market serving Muslims of all ages and degrees of religiosity.

VIDEO: Single Muslim Celebrates 1,000,000 Members

Online dating services are increasingly popular with Muslims in Europe and North America. SingleMuslim.com recently celebrated its 1,000,000th member.
Online dating services are increasingly popular with Muslims in Europe and North America. SingleMuslim.com recently celebrated its 1,000,000th member.

UK Women wanting to become ‘jihadi brides.’

British-Somali sisters, Salma and Zahra Halane, who once aspired to be doctors are now in Syria training to be fighters with ISIS. They are part of a growing number of young women leaving Britain to join the terror group in Syria and Iraq.
British-Somali sisters, Salma and Zahra Halane, who once aspired to be doctors are now in Syria training to be fighters with ISIS. They are part of a growing number of young women leaving Britain to join the terror group in Syria and Iraq.

Hundreds of British women are reportedly desperate to go to Syria to join Islamic State (Isis) and become jihadi brides. At least 11 women have been linked to front line fighters, according to academic experts.

Melanie Smith from King’s College International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, is in contact with 53 girls who have fled to Syria or attempted to get there. “Hundreds. I come across girls every day who say, ‘I’m so desperate to go over there but it’s just so hard for me'”, she said. “The proportion of girls who eventually make the transition from wanting to go to physically going is tiny. But there are so many people that want to go. And it’s fairly overwhelming. There’s a lot of that kind of mentality. It’s laziness, really. And they’re bored with their life here. They say they have more freedom in IS.”

For example, twins Salma and Zahra Halane, 16, followed their brother from Manchester to Syria and have also reportedly married IS fighters. Between them the twins have 28 GCSEs and were training as doctors. Their social media posts have shown images of machine guns next to the Qur’an.

Two sets of British brothers travelled to Syria to fight with ISIS

Four members of the same family are suspected of having flown to Syria to fightalongside the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Two brothers aged 17 and 20, from
Camden in north London, are believed to have travelled with their cousins via Milan to Istanbul before they all crossed the border into Syria.

Their cousins, also brothers and are from Wednesbury in the Midlands, have been identified as Mejanul Islam, 22, and Kamran Islam, 19, and their parents told the Sunday Times that the young men had told them that they were going to London to visit their extended family.

The mother of the siblings said they claimed to have gone on holiday to Thailand and the family had no idea that they had plans to actually travel to Turkey to potentially cross the border into Syria. Community leader Dr Jamal Rifi, in western Sydney, said the family had no inkling that the boys were at risk of joining Isis.

Processes of identification among second generation ‘climbers’ in the Netherlands [PDF Download]

Why do so called second generation ‘social climbers’, identify with their ethnicity? When do these adult children of immigrants, who reached high educated

A new study illuminates the processes of identity development amongst second generation Dutch Muslims.
A new study illuminates the processes of identity development amongst second generation Dutch Muslims.

levels, identify in ethnic terms and why? How do their identifications develop over time?

Many in the Netherlands wonder why children of immigrants, especially when they are higher educated, ‘still’ identify with their ethnicity, and why some of them ‘still’ have friends with the same ethnic background. Such co-ethnic orientation is often interpreted as an expression of segregation and as unwillingness to ‘integrate’. Does his view do justice to the experiences of these individuals?

In her research, Marieke Slootman focuses on this theme of ethnic identification. Furthermore, she considers the analytical use of the terms identity and ethnicity, and explores the possibilities of Mixed Methods research. She recently finished her dissertation, titled: Soulmates. Reinvention of ethnic identification among higher educated second generation Moroccan and Turkish Dutch. (English and Dutch summary can be downloaded below).

[Download Survey Here]

Dutch member of parliament makes call to “close all mosques” in the Netherlands

Machiel de Graaf, a parliament member for the Party for Freedom (PVV) led by Islam critic Geert Wilders, has called for the closure of all mosques in the

March of the Dutch Freedom Party against Islamic incursion.
March of the Dutch Freedom Party against perceived Islamic incursion in the Netherlands.

Netherlands. During a debate on the Dutch national finances De Graaf said that he wanted to make very clear that he believes the Netherlands should be de-islamized. Subsequently he called for the closure of Islamic houses of prayer. The call was severely criticized by the Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher as being unconstitutional and reprehensible. The member of parliament has defended his call by arguing that Islam is “not a religion but a political ideology” and as such he did not believe it goes against the freedom of religion.

Political journalist Tom-Jan Meeuws observed that during the debate De Graaf ascribed almost every current problem in Dutch politics in some way or another to Islam. He also alluded to De Graaf’s call as a sign of a new roughness in the discours on Islam in the Party for Freedom, a party traditionally known for it’s critique of Islam. While in the last election program the PVV stated it wanted to stop the building of new mosques and a ban on minarets it now seems to initiate a campaign with graver implications for Dutch Islam.

Prominent Dutch academic critiques minister’s plans to ban “sharia parties”

A majority of parties in the Dutch House of Representatives have agreed on the desirability of a ban for political parties based on the Islamic sharia law. A bill that suggested so was put forward by the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and supported by the two parties currently in the government, the Labour Party (PvdA) and the Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). It was also supported by the Christian Union (CU) and the Political Reformed Party (SGP). The Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher has expressed his willingness to investigate possibilities within Dutch law that would support such a ban.

The bill has been criticized by emeritus professor of integration and migration studies Han Entzinger. He posed that it is unclear what Muslims mean by sharia and that many diverse interpretations of it exist. He suggested that some interpretations of sharia might contain aspects that are in conflict with democracy. Alluding to the ban on extreme right parties such as the Centre Party ‘ 86 (CP ’86) in the nineties he suggested that it might in fact be possible to ban parties with an undemocratic character.

Entzinger suggested however that it remains questionable if such a threat is really at hand. He maintains that the majority of Dutch Muslims are not proponents of the implementation of Islamic sharia law in the Netherlands. He fears that the current discussion on a ban will unnecessarily enhance the already existing polarization in Dutch society, thus enhancing stigmatization of Muslims and xenophobia amongst Dutch natives. Entzinger also suggested that since such political parties are currently not in existence in the Netherlands the whole discussion could be seen as an example of “symboolpolitiek” (politics based on symbolism) as a prelude to the Dutch elections.

In Germany, a new wave of demonstrations against Muslims and refugees

A new alliance called “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the occident” (PEGIDA), have initiated demonstrations in the city of Dresden.

PEGIDA on a Monday "evening walk" in Dresden, November 10, 2014. (Image source: Filmproduktionen video screenshot)
PEGIDA on a Monday “evening walk” in Dresden, November 10, 2014. (Image source: Filmproduktionen video screenshot)

According to police authorities, more than 5000 people participated at the demonstrations. These demonstrations mark a further wave of protests against Muslim immigrants and refugees after the right-wing initiative “Hooligans against Salafists” (HoGeSa), which were demonstrating in Hannover and Cologne last month.