Islam critic Geert Wilders demonstrates at Islam congress in the Dutch city of Utrecht

The leader of the Dutch political party Partij voor de Vrijheid (English: Party for Freedom) and two other parliamentary members want to demonstrate in front of the doors of an Islamic conference in the Dutch city of Utrecht were allegedly controversial radical Muslim will preach. Through this action they want to signify that they “don’t want any hate imams in the Netherlands”, Wilders stated today to the Dutch press agency ANP. The Party for Freedom has also questioned several Dutch ministers on the issue.

The Dutch municipality of Utrecht wants to get in contact with the organizers of the conference to discuss their plans. “The congress can continue as planned but the police and public prosecutor’s office will stay at guard. We will start the conversation to be able to hear about their plans”, said a spokesperson of the municipality.

Dutch Muslim party successfully pleads for intensification of education on migration and history of slavery

The Dutch municipality of Rotterdam will make an extra effort to give more attention to the centuries old history of trade and migration between Rotterdam and countries such as Surinam, the Antilles, Indonesia, Turkey, and Morocco. Additionally more attention will be given to the history of slavery in Rotterdam’s education. This is the result of a bill advanced by the Dutch Muslim party NIDA and passed in the Rotterdam municipal counsel.

“Understanding of our shared history is essential for being able to build a shared future in our city. It is a good thing that at long last more attention will be given to our shared trade and migration history, among which is our slavery history”, stated Nourdin El Ouali, the NIDA leader and also the spokesperson for education in the municipal counsel.

Syrian Preacher shot dead in London

 

Counter terrorism police are now leading the investigation into the death of a Syrian preacher who was shot dead on a London street amid fears he was murdered by professional hit men since he was a fierce critic of the Assad regime.

 

Abdul Hadi Arwani, 48, was found slumped in a Volkswagen Passat with wounds to his chest in the suburban street yesterday morning. At first, officers from Scotland Yard’s Homicide and Major Crime Command were in charge of the investigation. But earlier today, the Metropolitan Police said its counter terrorism officers, who handle political assassinations, were now leading the inquiry because of its potential ‘international dimensions’.

Tories to Make Islamophobia a Hate Crime

Aiming to woo Muslim voters, the Tories announced plans to enforce new measure that would make anti-Muslim hate crimes as serious as anti-Semitic attacks, in case they won general elections next May 7. “We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crimes,” Home secretary, Theresa May, pledged in a speech on counter-extremism to the Foundation for Peace in London just before Parliament was dissolved, the Daily Mail reported. Under the new measures, police will be required to report Islamophobic attacks under a separate category like as anti-Semitic crimes.

The new proposal comes as Islamophobic attack across Europe reached unprecedented levels. It precedes elections in which Tories and Labours are competing to gain Muslim votes. According to TELL MAMA, the number of hate crimes targeting Muslim women has witnessed a 5-10% increase over the last 18 months. An earlier report by think-tank Chatham House identified a considerable Islamophobic sentiment in Britain, detecting a “wide reservoir of public sympathy for claims that Islam and the growth of Muslim communities pose a fundamental threat to the native group and nation.” Hundreds of anti-Muslim hate offences have been carried out across UK in 2013, with Britain’s Metropolitan police recording an increase of 49% more than 2012.

Pegida in London: British supporters of anti-‘Islamisation’ group rally in Downing Street

The British offshoot of German anti-“Islamisation” group Pegida held its first protest in London this afternoon, marching to Downing Street. Pegida UK said the rally intended to “raise awareness of the detrimental affect radical Islam and slack border controls/mass immigration are having on our country”.

Fewer than 100 supporters waving the Union Flag and St George’s cross were met by anti-fascist counter demonstrators as the two groups were separated by a heavy police presence. They traded songs, chants and insults across a line of officers as ambulances and riot police stood by to intervene. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said the force had an “appropriate policing plan in place” and would close roads if necessary.

Medic student who joined ISIS ‘to treat jihadists’ wants to go back to UK

A British teenager who tried to join the Islamic State says she wants to go back home. A Turkish politician confirmed the 19 year-old, who previously praised the Charlie Hebdo attacks, sent a message to her family outlining her desire to return to the UK. Lena Mamoun Abdelgadir, a 19 year-old student, who grew up in the UK county of Norfolk, was one of a group of nine medical students who traveled to Syria to provide medical assistance to the group formally known as ISIS/ISIL.  However, a Turkish lawmaker, Mehmet Ali Ediboglu confirmed the UK citizen now wants to quit the militant organization and return to the town of Kings Lynn, where her father works as a respected consultant orthopedic surgeon.

 

Abdelgadir, who was a straight A student in the UK, before going to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to study medicine was one of seven British medics to travel to Syria. An American and Canadian citizen also joined them. The students aged between 19 and 25, who were all studying medicine, boarded a flight from Khartoum to fly to Istanbul on March 12. Abdelgadir’s parents have flown to Turkey and are anxiously waiting at the border for any news.

 

‘Moderate’ imam claims ‘all women are selfish’

“No matter how much good you bestow upon a woman, she will deny it. Her selfishness drives her to deny it,” stated imam Mohamed Khattabi during a Friday sermon at the Aicha Mosque in Montpellier on March 6, two days before International Women’s Day.

Standing in the mosque’s minbar, Khattabi continued: “This holds true for all women, whether Western, Arab, Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. This is the nature of women.

“If a woman overcomes her nature and acknowledges [the truth] … Allah grants her a higher place in paradise. But if she succumbs to her nature, and refuses to acknowledge the man’s rights – or rather, the goodness that man bestows upon her – she is destined to go to [hell]…”

However earlier in the sermon, Khattabi told worshippers how Islam teaches women’s rights. “It was Islam that enabled women to raise their heads high,” he said.

A Muslim authority in the Montpellier region told FRANCE 24 that the sermon was employing a kind of “doublespeak” – sometimes moderate, sometimes radical.

Khattabi has previously drawn on Salafism and its literal interpretation of the Qur’an as well as the Muslim Brotherhood in sermons addressing international issues, most notably last summer during the conflict between Israel and Gaza.

“The Friday sermon is about love, about appeasement,” says a local religious figure, who wished to remain anonymous. “Importing such a conflict, in a mosque in front of 400 people, isn’t a good idea. It worries me – it’s the youth who hear these speeches, those who are lost and do not have the tools to analyse the words. “If imams start to mix politics with sermons, things are no longer going well.”

French Muslim Leader’s Call for More mosques rejected by National Front

Dalil Boubakeur, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith and imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris, said at a convention this weekend that the country’s 2,200 mosques were insufficient to accommodate its increasing Muslim population. Boubakeur, who estimates there are seven million Muslims in France, stated: “We need double [the number of mosques] in two years.”

 

However, Florian Philippot, one of five vice-presidents in Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, stated: “100% of places of radicalization are mosques” in a television interview with French news channel iTele.

 

Philippot also claimed that to build the number suggested by Boubakeur “would mean three mosques a day, a mosque every eight hours — it would be the largest construction project in France.”

American thinktank the Pew Research Center estimates there to be 4.7 Muslim in France, constituting 7.5% of the total population and one of the largest Muslim populations in Western Europe along with Germany. Exact numbers are hard to determine, since religious affiliation is considered a private matter and not required in French census data.

Boubakeur did not suggest how the new mosques might be funded, and state funding of places of worship is forbidden in France. Philippot raised questions over potential backers of new mosques, which he linked to Arab countries with an interest in controlling the influence of Islam in France.

 

“We know that there is a game of influence between foreign countries that fund mosques: Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia,” he said.

 

In a previous statement, the National Front said financial support by foreign states with links to “the worst jihadist movements in the world” posed a threat to national security.

Boubakeur’s comments were made at the annual meeting of the Union of Islamic Organisations in France (UIOF), an umbrella body for more than 250 Muslim groups in France.

 

In January this year, 167 acts or threats against mosques were reported, compared to just 14 last January. Conference attendees called for greater respect and integration for French Muslims.

“We are loyal to our country, France. We love God, we love our Prophet, but we also love the French Republic,” said Amar Lasfar, head of the UIOF.

Mosque Financing must occur in France

Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford, was invited for an interview at Europe to discuss the situation of Islam in France. “As Western Muslims, we have a moral obligation,” said Ramadan, speaking about the tragic situation of Christians in the East and in Africa. “We must condemn all that pertains to discrimination and terrorism, such what is occurring in Muslim-majority societies,” he said. “As Western Muslims, we have a moral obligation. We must denounce what states are doing, the multifaceted treatment…more and more of which is terror, as we just witnessed in Kenya,” he stated.

Ramadan also responded to Dalil Boubakeur’s announcement, which called for doubling the number of mosques in France. “There should be as many mosques as needed. We know that if we want to eliminate prayers in the street, we must open other spaces,” he stated. In order for a “French Islam” to be possible, Ramadan stressed the question of funding: “There is a very important aspect: funding, for religious authorities, for the training of imams, all of that must be done in France.” He was particularly against accepting funds from “non-democratic states, who preach a backwards and fundamentalist Islam.”

Ramadan attended to the annual UOIF gathering in Bourget, which addressed the question of representing French Muslims: “There can only be representation of an Islam of France with a process that comes from the ground,” he affirmed, before warning: “The French government should not…choose someone whose discourse they agree with but who represents no one,” instead insisting on the “plurality of voices” of French Muslims.