“Soldiers of Allah” Canal+ documentary (video)

May 5, 2016

A French Islamic State cell dismantled in the final stages of planning an attack has yielded a new secret this week, with the release of undercover footage showing how a group of disaffected petty criminals transformed into a terror network.

Link to Video: http://www.canalplus.fr/infos-documentaires/pid3357-special-investigation.html

 

Salah Abdeslam would have hidden in Brussels for three weeks (video)

February 20, 2016

Following the Paris attacks, one of the most-wanted men in Europe, reportedly would have hidden in Brussels for three weeks in an apartment that was searched several days after his escape by Belgian authorities. “It is rather difficult to think this group of men could have gone to Syria” after leaving their apartment, said Claude Moniquet, consultant at iTELE and terrorist specialist and intelligence.

France 2 report on BDS panics CRIF (video)

February 23, 2016

On February 10, France 2 published a report on the BDS movement that elicited a violent reaction from CRIF, who wrote to President of French Television Delphine Ernotte arguing that the report was “apologetic to the BDS movement and contributes to misinformation and the delegitimization of Israel.”

“The experience showed us that it is ok to promote hatred of Israel and the Jews of France and thus to legitimize and encourage attacks against Jews” added CRIF president Roger Cukierman, whose priority is to protect the interests of the State of Israel.

Link to Video: http://oumma.com/222541/reportage-de-france-2-bds-a-mis-panique-crif-video

French film shows chilling climate for Muslims in post-Hebdo France

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article that was deeply alarming from the headline to the last line: “After Paris Attacks, a Darker Mood Toward Islam Emerges in France.” It describes how the relationship between France and “its Muslim community” is now “tipping toward outright distrust, even hostility” in the aftermath of last Friday’s violence. It highlights the fear experienced by French Muslims as they endure government vows of radical domestic crackdowns, a growing far-right anti-Muslim party, and waves of violently bigoted sentiments spreading on social media.

The NYT suggests this is a new phenomenon by contrasting it with the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo murders, which prominently included “grand public appeals for solidarity with Muslims.” But now, says the NYT, there is “a palpable fear, even anger” toward Muslims.

But over the summer, Max Blumenthal and James Kleinfeld traveled to Paris to examine the post-Hebdo climate for French Muslims. They interviewed numerous Paris residents whose voices are rarely heard in these debates — French Muslims, immigrants, French Jewish leftists — as well as other French citizens expressing the more conventional anti-Muslim views (including Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice (one of France’s largest cities) who warns of national television of a “Fifth Column” composed of French Muslims and calls the battle against it “the Third World War”).

Those interviews form the backbone of a new documentary Blumenthal and Kleinfeld produced, titled Je ne suis pas Charlie, which has been updated to include a discussion of last Friday’s attack. With the permission of its producers, you can watch the full 55-minute film on the video player below. I highly encourage it: Especially now, doing so is a very worthwhile use of your time.

Aside from offering typically excluded viewpoints, the primary value of the film is to highlight the serious dangers of overreaction, fear-driven persecution, and ugly backlash after terrorist attacks: pathologies with which any Americans who lived through 9/11 should be familiar.

Among those featured is Amal Paluskiewicz, spokesperson for the French League of Muslim Women, who said of French Muslims wearing religious clothing: “There was a pre-Charlie situation and a post-Charlie one. It’s undeniable. Before Charlie, there was discrimination, there was Islamophobia. But after Charlie … we are easily identified with Islam and we are then conflated with the extremists.” Hanane Karimi, a French student, describes “a moral panic in French society which makes [Muslims] even more stigmatized than beforehand.” Several of the interviewees cite multiple French laws passed over the last few years to regulate and restrict the wearing of headscarves and veils by Muslim women as a key trigger of this pervasive animosity.

The film also examines France’s history as a brutally violent colonial power in predominantly Muslim countries, particularly Algeria, and the role that history still plays in how France treats its Muslim population. Houria Bouteeldja, the leader of a party of indigenous French people, noted ongoing French military actions in Asia and the Middle East and argues that “we are not in a post-imperial situation. We are still in imperialism. … We, who live in France, are part of the French empire.” This mentality continues to drive national controversies: Last summer, France actually outlawed protests against the Israeli attack on Gaza, and arrested scores of its Arab citizens who protested anyway. Citing those restrictions and the resulting alienation of French Muslims, Blumenthal told The Intercept: “Roaming around the suburbs of Paris, I was distinctly reminded of occupied Palestinian territory.”

None of this, of course, is a comment on the motives of the perpetrators of the most recent attacks. But it does powerfully illuminate the questions of how France and the West generally respond to such attacks.

As my colleague Murtaza Hussain has demonstrated, the prime strategic objective of ISIS is to convince Western Muslims that they cannot assimilate or even coexist in the West because those societies are so uncontrollably hostile to Islam that persecution is the inevitable outcome. Convincing Western Muslims that the West is at war with them — destroying what ISIS calls the “grayzone” of coexistence — will, ISIS believes, lead Muslims to abandon allegiance to the West and instead want to wage war back on their own societies. For that reason, reacting to an ISIS attack with increased hostility and persecution toward Western Muslims plays perfectly into ISIS’ hands, and this film illustrates how close France is to doing exactly that (to see this danger in its most vivid form, watch this repugnant CNN International interview with a French Muslim civil rights activist, Yasser Louati, as the hosts all but blame him and his “ranks” (i.e, all Muslims) for the attack).

The emotions inspired by the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the subsequent march suppressed many of these dynamics. Earlier this year, a French philosopher, Emmanuel Todd, published a controversial book about the Charlie Hebdo parade; the book’s title highlights what he believes was really behind it: Who is Charlie? Xenophobia and the New Middle Class. He argues that it is anxiety over the decline of Catholicism and rising uber-nationalism and xenophobia among France’s middle and working classes that drives the country’s increasing anti-Muslim animosity, which, in turn, fueled the Hebdo march. “Even more than an America so often mocked for its emotional excesses,” he argues, “France overreacted” and “succumbed to an attack of hysteria.” As often happens to a majority that feels besieged and threatened, they have turned against a “group that is weak and discriminated against” in that country.

Blumenthal and Kleinfeld’s film provides the critical context for understanding key pieces that are deliberately omitted from most American media coverage of these issues in Europe. Rather than subjecting yourself to more of the endless CNN and MSNBC cascade of fearmongering and U.S. military officials spouting bromides about Paris, take the time to watch this film instead. It is a vital counter-balance to most of what we hear.

Video Link: https://vimeo.com/145816483

Dutch parliamentary member calls for “closure of all mosques” [VIDEO]

Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Zaandam, the Netherlands. (AFP)
Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Zaandam, the Netherlands. (AFP)

Beneath one will find a link to the full speech in the Dutch Parliament by PVV member Machiel de Graaf on the suggested “closure of all mosques” in the Netherlands (with English subtitles). These and other statements on Islam have sparked controversy throughout the country.

[See Full Speech Here]

Perspectives on Being Muslim in Dutch Society [Video]

The Dutch current affairs program Nieuwsuur (News Hour) has dedicated a special program to Muslim perspectives on integration and Islam in the

Unidentified muslims visit Keukenhof, South Netherlands.
Muslim women visit Keukenhof gardens in Lisse, Netherlands.

Netherlands. Middle East reporter Jan Eikelboom and editor Milena Holdert for several months interviewed Dutch Muslims on issues related to Islam currently debated on in Dutch society.

In Dutch media coverage about Islam the Muslim perspective is seldom portrayed. In an attempt to discover how Muslims themselves think about current issues such as integration and Islamophobia in the Netherlands the program interviewed a wide array of Muslims with different ethnic backgrounds and also Dutch converts to Islam.

The program in addition shows a debate on integration between parliamentary member Malik Azmani of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Nourdin el Ouali, the political leader of the young and upcoming local Islamic Party NIDA.

[Click here to view film.]

Unmosqued: Documentary exploring the future of the American mosque

A new documentary trains a critical eye on the mosque in America. Unmosqued trains a critical eye on the future of the mosque in America. Based on research compiled by Dr. Ihsan Baghby at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Unmosqued, is a look into the dynamic and future of the American mosque.

More information on the film and the research that led to the creation of the film can be found here.

Film poster advertising "Unmosqued: A film about the mosque in America." (Unmosqued)
Film poster advertising “Unmosqued: A film about the mosque in America.” (Unmosqued)

New imam promises improved links with community

March 13, 2014

 

Nine months after two men tried to set fire to a mosque in Gloucester, a new imam has promised to improve links with the local community. Imam Hassan is among a growing number who were born in Britain, and teach Islam in the English language.

 

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-wiltshire-26557453

Burka Avenger: the Pakistani cartoon challenging the Taliban on girls’ education – video trailer

Watch a trailer for Burka Avenger, the first animated series to be produced in Pakistan. The cartoon was created by local pop star Haroon and stars a burka-clad female superhero who takes on her enemies using a martial art called Takht Kabaddi, which uses books and pens as weapons. The series is intended to provide a positive role model for girls in the face of the Taliban’s opposition to female education.