Dutch universities host study to ask: Why would you become a jihad activist? [PDF DOWNLOAD]

coverdawaactivism-207x300Why would you become a jihad activist? Three reasons.

A group researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Amsterdam presented their study among radical Muslims and why they’re interested in extremist ideologies. Three conclusions can be drawn.

1. Democracy is hypocrisy: events and the way the USA and other western governments have responded after 9/11 have caused a lot of anger among (radical) Muslims. According to them, Muslim are not allowed to express their opinion, while they themselves and their religion are being insulted regularly in the name of ‘freedom of speech’, by for example Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirshi Ali, Geert Wilders and the Mohammed cartoon in Denmark. They also feel that Muslims have been treated very badly in the name of democracy, referring for instance to the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and drone attacks in Muslim countries.

2. Discrimination of Muslims: Muslims feel discriminated and get annoyed because of the ‘Islam debate’, (judgmental) questions about Islam and the ban on the burqa and the negative coverage of the topic in the media.

3. Together against the rest: they feel safe within their own network, where they won’t feel judged by their opinions and where the kafir outer world won’t distract them from their ‘pure’ interpretation of the Islam. They enunciate however also their message outside this network, for example online.

A copy of the report (in Dutch) is available for download here.

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]

Book Review: SALAFISME (SALAFISM)

Cover book SalafismSALAFISM
Utopian Ideals in an Unruly Reality

By Martijn de Koning, Joas Wagemakers en Carmen Becker

Three Dutch expert academics on Islam published a book on Salafism in the Netherlands, named “Salafism: Utopische Idealen in een Weerbarstige Praktijk” (English: Salafism: Utopian Ideals in an Unruly Reality). Salafism has been a highly debated current in Dutch Islam since 2002 when two Dutch youngsters from Eindhoven died in Kashmir. As fervent participants on Salafi internet fora and visitors to a main Salafi mosque the incident spurred discussion in the wider public on the assumed radicalization of Dutch Salafi Muslims. In the decennium that followed Salafi Islam remained a much discussed phenomenon in Dutch media reaching a height with the death of Islam critic Theo van Gogh by a presumed participant of the Dutch Salafi circuit.

The book (the first of its kind in Dutch) is written by three specialists on the theme working from the perspectives of anthropology, Islamic Studies, and political science respectively. Making use of this interdisciplinary approach the book tries to give insight into a much obscured subject, delving into the issue of definitions and trying to enhance a more clearer perspective on what exactly Salafism is based on robust empirical research. The book gives an in-depth description and analysis of the historical and theological roots of Salafism in the Middle East and its various branches and interpretations (such as Quietist, Political Islamists and Jihadi trends). It discusses the intersection of Salafi ideologies into current international debates on for example gender and secularism.

The book then goes on to describe the rise and spread of Salafi Islam in the Netherlands and its main beliefs and doctrines. It extrapolates on the practices of Salafi Muslims and how these manifest on for example the internet. In addition the book pays attention to the experiences and perspectives of Salafi Muslims themselves and how Salafi Muslims involve themselves in the issues of the practice of interpretation and religious authority. It tries to answer the question if the use of the internet enhances or reduces the possibility of radicalization. Similar questions were ventured into in an earlier anthropological research by scholar Martijn de Koning in his Dutch book “Zoeken Naar een Zuivere Islam: Geloofsbeleving, Identiteitsvorming en Radicalisering van Marokkaanse Moslims” (2008). (English: In Search of a ‘Pure’ Islam: Religious Experience, Identity Formation and Radicalization of Moroccan Muslims).

Additional information, interviews (in written and audiovisual formats) and reactions by other specialists can be found in the internet links below as well as an extract of the first chapter of the book.

 

 

CAIR 2014 Midterm Election Report

CAIR releases 2014 Midterm Election Report.
CAIR releases 2014 Midterm Election Report.

Key Points: The most significant anti-Islam action of the 2014 midterm election, Alabama’s Amendment 1, was approved by voters. Alabama is the eighth state to approve a law intended to vilify Islam. The measure was inspired by Islamophobe David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts legislation, which stigmatizes Muslims as a group from which the US needs protection. In Alabama, two organizations – Christians against Amendment One and the Christian Coalition of Alabama – organized opposition to the measure citing its threats to international adoptions, marriage law and religious liberty.

A Harris poll conducted prior to the election found that “just over half” of Americans would not vote for a Muslim candidate. However, observed usage of Islamophobic rhetoric on the campaign trail was present, but significantly down, from the 2010 midterm election.

Prior to election day, Republicans in New Hampshire modified their state party platform, signaling their intent to push a legal measure intended to vilify Islam. While Republicans were overwhelmingly responsible for pushing anti-Islam prejudice during the election, three separate incidents in 2014 showed that the party will, at times, act against Islamophobia.

The use of Islamophobic discourse to exploit voters’ fears remains an acceptable component of political campaigns. The overall effectiveness of employing such tactics remains in doubt.

As in the 2010 midterm election, Republicans were responsible for the overwhelming majority of anti-Islam electoral prejudice. Outside of an electoral setting, however, the party held some public officials accountable for employing anti-Muslim prejudice in 2014.

This brief on the presence of Islamophobia in the 2014 election offers only a snapshot of major highlights and does not purport to be a complete record. (CAIR)

Full Text of Report HERE.

Number of Muslims in France Largely Overestimated [PDF Download]

The French and British greatly overestimated the number of Muslims in their countries, according to a study by the Ipsos Mori Institute, which found similar results in many European countries. The Institute published its “Index of Ignorance,” a survey conducted in 14 countries about the public’s perception concerning sensitive issues.

The survey’s results were first published in The Guardian, and shows that citizens in 14 countries overestimated the size of their countries’ Muslim population.

In France, those interviewed believed that 31% of the population was Muslim, while the actual figure is only 8%. In Britain, the actual percentage is 5% but those interviewed believed 21% of the country was Muslim. The overvaluation is “23 points in Belgium, 16 points in Italy, 13 points in Germany and 4 points in Poland.”

Switzerland is not included in the survey. The study also demonstrated erroneous beliefs about “immigration in general,” and adolescent pregnancy.

[DOWNLOAD:Ipsos Mori Infographic (English)]

Islamophobia: Increase in Actions Against Muslims, Drop in Threats [PDF Download]

On the whole, the number of Islamophobic acts has decreased by around 30% in France between January and September 2014, in contrast to figures from 2013, according to The National Observatory Against Islamophobia. The Observatory notes, however, that there has been an increase in actions (+12.5%) and a decrease in threats (-44.9%). It reports 110 acts (actions and threats) for the first nine months of 2014, compared with 158 during the same period in 2013.

Based on registered complaints, these numbers “do not reflect reality, because numerous Muslims do not want to continually complain when subject to xenophobic acts, convinced that there will be no follow-up, which very often is the reality,” contends the Observatory’s president Abdallah Zekri in a published statement.

In addition, the overall decline in acts masks a rise in actions (defacement of places of worship by insults and Nazi tags, pigs’ heads left in front of mosques, letters mailed to Muslim leaders with ham slices enclosed, harassment of veiled women, etc) for which the number has risen from 40 to 45.

While threats have dropped from 118 to 56 reported incidents, “Even the National Observatory Against Islamophobia no longer files complaints when the CFCM receives hate mail and insults, because these complaints are still filed without action by the prosecution on the grounds that those who have committed these offenses are not identified,” said Zekri.

Although it is impossible to quantify, Islamophobic “cyber hate” has increased, especially within email chains. “With the Muslim community’s increasing concern, Islamophobia must be fought and denounced not only by Muslims, but also by the national community in its entirety,” Zekri affirmed.

While it is a member of the CFCM, the Observatory is often in contention with the actions of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), which “takes a more militant position.” Adding to the complaints registered by the Minister of the Interior, the CCIF submits a list called “Islamophobia of the State,” which lists discriminatory acts committed by public servants.

[PDF DOWNLOAD: CCIF Annual Report on Islamophobia in France (ENGLISH)]

Pew Study: Growing Concern about Rise of Islamic Extremism at Home and Abroad [PDF DOWNLOAD]

A recent Pew Study of 2,000 American adults indicates that Americans are increasingly concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism. In the survey, Pew found that 62% of Americans polled were “extremely” concerned about a global rise in Islamic extremism, while 53% are concerned about Islamic extremism within the United States. These are the highest numbers since 2007. [PDF DOWNLOAD OF PEW STUDY]

Pew Center study shows Americans are increasingly concerned with the rise of Islamic extremism abroad and at home.
Pew Center study shows Americans are increasingly concerned with the rise of Islamic extremism abroad and at home.

US: Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion [PDF DOWNLOAD]

July 21, 2014

DOWNLOAD FULL PDF REPORT: Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions

Investigations, Trials of American Muslims Rife with Abuse

(Washington, DC) –The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism “sting operations” based on religious and ethnic identity, Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute said in a report released today. Many of the more than 500 terrorism-related cases prosecuted in US federal courts since September 11, 2001, have alienated the very communities that can help prevent terrorist crimes.

The 214-page report, “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,”examines 27 federal terrorism cases from initiation of the investigations to sentencing and post-conviction conditions of confinement. It documents the significant human cost of certain counterterrorism practices, such as overly aggressive sting operations and unnecessarily restrictive conditions of confinement.

“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. “But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

The report is based on more than 215 interviews with people charged with or convicted of terrorism-related crimes, members of their families and their communities, criminal defense attorneys, judges, current and former federal prosecutors, government officials, academics, and other experts.

In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act. Multiple studies have found that nearly 50 percent of the federal counterterrorism convictions since September 11, 2001, resulted from informant-based cases. Almost 30 percent were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.

“The US government should stop treating American Muslims as terrorists-in-waiting,” Prasow said. “The bar on entrapment in US law is so high that it’s almost impossible for a terrorism suspect to prove. Add that to law enforcement preying on the particularly vulnerable, such as those with mental or intellectual disabilities, and the very poor, and you have a recipe for rampant human rights abuses.”

These abuses have had an adverse impact on American Muslim communities. The government’s tactics to seek out terrorism suspects, at times before the target has demonstrated any intention to use violence, has undercut parallel efforts to build relationships with American Muslim community leaders and groups that may be critical sources of information to prevent terrorist attacks.

In some communities, these practices have deterred interaction with law enforcement. Some Muslim community members said that fears of government surveillance and informant infiltration have meant they must watch what they say, to whom, and how often they attend services.

“Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats,” Prasow said. “It is possible to protect people’s rights and also prosecute terrorists, which increases the chances of catching genuine criminals.”