Report: French less racist, Muslims increasingly anti-Semitic [PDF Download]

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Racist acts in France in 2014 were down 5% from 2013. In contrast, anti-Semitic acts doubled in 2014. There were 851 acts reported in 2014 compared to 423 in 2013, a 101% increase, and were all committed by Muslims.                 (Photo: Dreuz.info)

Racist acts in France in 2014 were down 5% from 2013. In contrast, anti-Semitic acts doubled in 2014. There were 851 acts reported in 2014 compared to 423 in 2013, a 101% increase, and were all committed by Muslims.

Half of violent acts in 2014 were committed by Muslims and were directed at Jews. France’s Jewish population is less than 1% of the total population, which means that less than 1% of the population were the targets of half of France’s violent acts.

[Download Report Here]

Dutch children apologize for terrorism [VIDEO]

Still from film depicting Dutch children apologizing for terrorism. (YouTube)
Still from film depicting Dutch children apologizing for terrorism. (YouTube)

Journalist and filmmaker Abdelkarim El-Fassi directed a Dutch commercial in which various children are seen renouncing and apologizing for terrorism. A Moroccan kid, for example, is asked to apologize for the gruesome deeds in Syria and the attack in Paris “because that where also Muslims and Moroccans.” The director hopes that the commercial, that has sparked quite some controversy in the Netherlands, will lead to new insights and discussion.

El-Fassi said “I have never felt this uncomfortable with directing a video.” I find it extremely painful if it is asked of a certain group, or rather demanded, to distance oneself from horrible events. While they have absolutely nothing to do with these events.” “Please understand me correctly,” the directer said, “There is nothing wrong with distancing oneself from these horrible acts but it has to be one’s own choice, and must not be imposed by politicians, media, or fellow human beings.”

Critics of the video suggest that the director would have misused the children for his goal. El-Fassi disagrees. “Yes, the video is pedagogically irresponsible. Off course it is unethical. But we have explained to the kids that this was not real. That we would never ask such a thing from them. Sometimes a means such as this one is necessary to convey a message.”

[Watch the video here.]

The Union of French Muslim Democrats Presents Eight Candidates

Established in November 2012, The Union of French Muslim Democrats (UDMF) claims more than 900 members and 8,000 supporters. Most are Muslims who do not identity with the current political parties and who are “fed up” with bipartisan politics. This year, the party will present eight candidates in departmental elections in Lyon, Nice, Pas-de-Calais, and others.

Directed by Najib Azergui, the party hopes to promote Islamic finance, an alternative form of traditional finance, as a method to avoid future economic crises. The party also hopes that certain “tragic chapters” in French history (Algeria, colonization, etc), which are “silently passed by” in certain schools, will be made part of their curricula. They also hope to provide Arabic classes, which are “unfairly banned” in secondary schools.

The party most notably defends the right for girls to wear headscarves in schools, as well as civic and philosophic education to teach students to “think and debate.”

Video of Lotfi S. appears online after attack

Lotfi S. previously appeared in the news demonstrating in the city of The Hague, supporting IS and calling for violent attacks against Jews. (Photo: anp)
Lotfi S. previously appeared in the news demonstrating in the city of The Hague, supporting IS and calling for violent attacks against Jews. (Photo: anp)

Last week it became clear that Lotfi S. from Amsterdam is responsible for a suicide attack in Fallujah, Iraq. Now a video of him appeared online, wherein he speaks about his so-called martyrs-act. He calls it an effective weapon and calls upon others to follow his example. ‘Don’t stay behind’. In the video, Sultan B. appears next to Lotfi S. He died in a previous suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq.

Lotfi S. previously appeared in the news demonstrating in the city of The Hague, supporting IS and calling for violent attacks against Jews.

Responses: fundamentalism among Muslims

Sociologist Ruud Koopmans conducted a research on Muslims and concluded that 44% of the Muslims can be labelled as fundamentalist. Although most of them have a peaceful mindset, their ideas could be a breeding ground for terror, such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks. A lot of readers reacted with enthusiasm to the article about Koopmans research. They felt ‘supported’ in their already existing ideas. There is however also some critique on the article and the research. Some of them referred to a different view on the same research, where Koopman argues that Islam nót the problem. Researcher Martijn de Koning criticized the research in itself, arguing that Koopman uses a certain (wide) definition of ‘fundamentalism’.

Zaki Zayed President of the Islamic community in Valladolid condemns “all violence” perpetrated in the name of religion

Zaki Zayed, the imam of the mosque, President of the Islamic communities in Valladolid expressed his opinion on the acts of violence perpetrated by the ISIS fighters:”Whoever does these atrocities does not belong to any religion. He is not Muslim, but neither is this person Christian or Jew.” Therefore the Imam regrets even the allusion to the name ‘Islamic State’: “Those who make others suffer are not part of Islam.”

Valls wants to “combat the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood” in France

Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that “we must combat the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood in our country, we must combat Salafist groups in our neighborhoods.”

“We need to help Muslims who don’t support being confused by such discourse. Not only with jihadists, not only with terrorists, but also with fundamentalism, conservatism, radicalism,” he stated.

When asked how he would combat such groups, Valls responded: “By the law, by the police, by intelligence services. Many things are done. A religion cannot impose its discourse in our neighborhoods.”

The denunciation of Salafism, even if it is primarily quietest and hostile toward jihadism, is very common, especially as the ultra-Orthodox movement influenced by Saudi Wahhabism has gained ground in mosques, present in over 100 (out of 2,300) today.

The Muslim Brotherhood is less common today at the highest state level. The group is at once reformist as well as being conservative. It is engaged in both the political and social sectors, as well as being represented by the Union of Muslim Organizations of France (UOIF) and embodied by Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder Hassan el-Banna.

The liberal imam of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou is also a member. With over 250 associations, the UOIF is one of the principal Islamic organizations in France. It oversees the first Muslim school under contract by the state (Averroès, in Lille), which has recently been accused of fostering an “Islamist” ideology among its students. The UOIF also organizes the largest annual gathering of Muslims in the West, which boasts over 100,000 attendees annually, and whose guest list is monitored by the authorities.

80 French jihadists have been killed in Syria and Iraq

Eighty “Frenchmen or French residents” who left French soil to participate in jihad in Iraq and Syria have been killed thus far, stated Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

“There are already close to 1,4000 people who have been identified, Frenchmen or residents, as having ties to these networks. Around 750 are fighting or have left to fight, 410 are in France, 260 have come back,” he stated.

On January 19 Paris prosecutor Francois Molins announced that 1,280 people “were either in transit, were on location, were coming back or had already come back to France.” On January 22, Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve stated that there had been 73 Frenchmen killed in Syria and in Iraq. “As long as we have this situation which persists in Syria, in Iraq, in the Near and Middle East, we know we will have these [jihadist] candidates.”

Will the French government’s anti-jihad campaign be effective?

The French government began a campaign aimed at dissuading young Frenchmen from leaving France to fight in Syria and launched a video to combat jihadism. The video is primarily aimed at showing the “myths surrounding jihadism” by explaining what awaits them as foreign fighters. To combat the propaganda used by ISIL and rebel groups the video contrasted the promises made by jihadi recruiters with the harsh reality: war, violence and massacres.

It targets both young men and women. One line says, “They tell you: come make a family with one of our heroes. In reality, you will raise your children in the midst of war and terror.” The film ends with: “The indoctrination speeches made by jihadists lead to new victims every day,” followed by the hash tag #stopdjihadisme. The site contains several other sections, such as “Understand the terror threat,” “Decipher jihadist propaganda,” and “React-The state’s action,” and “Mobilize-Together.”

Each section is composed of several chapters containing interviews with experts, explanations, historical references and links to other sites. For example, anthropologist Dounia Bouzar explains how the Internet’s popularity allows jihadi recruiters to establish contacts, especially with young people.

“We are going to widely circulate this video on social networking sites in order to reach the most people who might be influenced by these claims and these sirens. We hope to create shock among them. And the site proposes solutions, remedies, and help for young people, their families and their friends,” said Christian Gravel, director of the Government Information Services. (SIG)

“Do they think they’ll scare or dissuade with such a site?” Asked Florian Philipport, Vice President of the FN. “Is this a firm enough response to the grave danger to which France is exposed? This communication operation only serves to mask the blatant inaction of those with political power,” he said.

In a Midi Libre poll, 71.6% of respondents said they don’t believe the government’s anti-jihad initiative will be effective, 18.6% think it will be, and 9.8% didn’t have an opinion.

Third Muslim child questioned by police for “condoning terrorism”

A ten year-old child was stopped by gendarmes for not having supported the journalists of Charlie Hebdo killed by the Kouachi brothers. She is the third child to be questioned for “condoning terrorism.” The child had said, “I agree with the terrorists for killing the journalists because they made fun of our religion.” Accompanied by her parents she was questioned for 30 minutes by policemen and a child psychiatrist.

“It’s always worrying when we have this kind of remark,” explained Georges Gutierrez in Nice Matin, the prosecutor of the Republic of Grasse. The French court has decided to close the case. The prosecutor said that after the meeting the child no longer held the same belief and that she had been unable to explain what compelled her to say such remarks.