Pegida march in Edinburgh falters after only ‘4 supporters’ showed up

Pegida’s first demonstration in Scotland appears to have flopped, with unconfirmed reports from the police that only four supporters turned out. The right wing anti-islam umbrella group, which originated in Germany, had planned a march and demonstration in Edinburgh on Saturday.  Supports of Pegida were set to march from Edinburgh’s Waverley Station to a rally outside the Scottish Parliament with support from the Scottish Defence League.

A mass anti-racism march was held as a counter-protest, which included activists from Unite Against Fascism (UAF). UAF also held an anti-fascist march in Glasgow today. There was some doubt as to whether the Pegida demonstration took place at all, because counter-demonstrators report that its supporters were not visible. However, unconfirmed police reports that the demonstration did take place, despite the minimal turnout. Images on social media of the counter-demonstration indicate that the Pegida demonstrators were outnumbered by at least 50:1.

More attention for causes of radicalization in schools

According to teachers, education experts and the General Education Union (AOb) there should be more attention for the causes of radicalization among Muslim students. Maryam el Rahmouni, working for Diversion – an organization aimed at discussing taboos in the classroom, says that one of the causes of radicalization is the social seclusion of Muslim youth. It is for example more difficult for them to find a job and they lose hope in the future.

AOb is in favour of one social worker that specializes in recognizing signs of radicalization. In this way not all teachers have to deal with it.

Government does not know how mosques are being financed

An research, as an initiative of the Ministry of Social Affairs on foreign financing of Dutch mosques, has not made clear from where and how these mosques get their funds. Both foreign Islamic organizations and the mosques themselves are not obligatory to divulge this information.

Researchers think that only a small amount of Dutch mosques are being funded from abroad.

Minister Van der Steur (Safety and Justice) says there is nothing against funding from abroad, but it is not clear if the donors also have a more substantial influence. From Saudi Arabia and Qatar it is however known that they try to propagate their version of Islam.

The researchers advise to do more research into international organizations, operating as intermediaries.

New magazine by and for Muslims

March 30 the first edition of a new magazine MoslimVandaag Magazine (MuslimToday Magazine) comes out. Josef Stevens, publisher, tells that the magazine is meant to express a different ‘voice’. The first number contains issues such as analyses by experts, as a way to prevent radicalization. But also articles on social questions, health, books and marriage.

Stevens converted to Islam in 1995 and five years ago he started Moslim Media (Muslim Media).

More radicalization in “terrorism” department of prisons

Sociologist Tinka Veldhuis, working at the University in the city of Groningen, concludes that decisions regarding the seclusion of terrorism suspects and – convicts have been made without thorough investigation.

The idea behind the seclusion measures is that it will prevent Muslim extremists to influence other detainees. But interviews of ‘normal’ detainees by Veldhuis show that those extremists have a very negative image and it doesn’t seem likely they will be successful in influencing others.

According to Veldhuis it’s more likely that they will become more radicalized while excluded from the rest: they are surrounded by people who have the same way of thinking and there also exists a lot of anger about their treatment and stigmatization. Not just among the detainees themselves, but also among their followers.

Veldhuis’ idea is to develop a ‘risk profile’ of every detainee in order to decide if they indeed need to be secluded. She also favours more attention for the reintegration of a detainee into society.