Blair Seeking Law To Deport Radical Foreigners

By SHELLEY EMLING LONDON – Almost a month after suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transit system, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday Britain will move to deport foreigners who spout hatred, sponsor violence, or belong to radical groups. Using strong language, Blair announced plans for anti-terrorist legislation this fall that will tighten the country’s longtime policy of hosting foreign extremists, which has earned London the nickname “Londonistan.” “Coming to Britain is not a right. And even when people have come here, staying here carries with it a duty,” Blair said at his monthly news conference. “That duty is to share and support the values that sustain the British way of life. “Those that break that duty and try to incite hatred or engage in violence against our country and its people have no place here,” he said. Blair said a list of extremist Web sites, bookshops, centers, networks, and particular organizations of concern would be drawn up, and that foreign nationals involved in them may be deported. Those who have participated in terrorist activity would automatically be denied asylum. In a particularly controversial move, Blair said the new legislation would make membership in extremist Islamic groups a crime. He cited Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a movement that sprouted in the Middle East during the 1950s and which has called for the creation of an Islamic state in Central Asia. The group’s spokesman, Imran Waheed, called the organization a nonviolent political party and said it would fight any move to ban it in the courts. Blair also said he was prepared to amend human rights legislation if necessary in order to make the deportation of those involved in inciting terrorism “more straightforward.” He also said that citizenship rules already requiring those seeking British citizenship to swear allegiance to the country would be reviewed to see if changes were needed. The foreign Muslims who might face deportation under the new measures could include some of Britain’s best-known Islamic clerics. Blair pledged to include Muslim leaders on a commission that would help shape the new legislation. But his statements still prompted the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain to react with “concern and alarm.” “Banning Hizb-ut-Tahrir is certainly not the solution, and may well prove to be counterproductive,” said Iqbal Sacranie, the council’s secretary-general. “We understand that Hizb-ut-Tahrir in the United Kingdom are an avowedly nonviolent group. “If there are groups thought to be contravening our laws, then they ought to be prosecuted in courts of law, not driven underground,” he said. Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties group Liberty, also expressed disappointment in Blair’s plans. “Shuffling people off around the globe is not an answer to national or world security,” she told BBC’s Radio 4. But Blair’s tough stance is sure to please critics who have long blasted Britain’s lax attitudes towards housing those who stir violence. In a recent editorial, the Daily Mail newspaper said that “the British state has taken an inexcusably relaxed attitude towards extreme Muslim sects and preachers, the worst of whom are anti-Semitic and homophobic and sympathetic to violence.” Other European countries have not been so tolerant. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, has wasted no time since the July 7 terrorist bombings in weeding out those who preach anti-Western hatred. France announced earlier this week that it would expel two radical Islamist leaders and plans to send home up to two dozen more by the end of August. Now it appears that Britain is set to follow suit. Blair pointed out that steps to tighten anti-terrorism legislation have met with fierce opposition in the past. “But, for obvious reasons, the mood now is different,” he said. “The country knows the purpose of terrorism is to intimidate and it is not inclined to be intimidated.” Indeed, many Britons applauded the hard-line stance. “I think (deportation) is a reasonable price to pay if someone has talked out against their country and incited others to act violently,” said Karen Pollock, a market researcher. “People who want to do harm need to be punished.”

Legal sanctions come into force against female genital mutilation performed outside Spanish borders.

Some cases of individuals performing the operation while abroad on trips have been noted, and the Spanish government moved to make these prosecutable, as with other crimes such as genocide, terrorism, piracy, prostitution, and the corruption of minors with drugs. {(continued below in Spanish)} El Pleno del Congreso de los Diputados dio luz verde el pasado 23 de junio a esta norma que permite la persecuci_n extraterritorial de este delito cuando se realiza en el extranjero, ‘como sucede en la mayor parte de los casos, aprovechando viajes o estancias en los pa_ses de origen’ de los inmigrantes. Esta pr_ctica, que va desde la extirpaci_n del cl_toris hasta el cosido de los labios vaginales ya est_ tipificada en el C_digo Penal, con una pena de entre 6 y 12 a_os de c_rcel. Sin embargo, ahora se modifica la Ley Org_nica 6/1985 del Poder Judicial para que pueda ser perseguida fuera de Espa_a. A partir da ahora, la jurisdicci_n espa_ola ser_ competente para perseguir estos hechos, tal y como sucede con delitos como el genocidio, el terrorismo, la pirater_a, la prostituci_n, la corrupci_n de menores o el tr_fico de drogas. Pa_ses Subsaharianos Y Asi_ticos En Espa_a se tuvo constancia de estas pr_cticas a ra_z de varios casos en los que ni_as inmigrantes pidieron auxilio a sus profesores en el colegio, ante el temor de que sus familiares les mutilaran durante un periodo de vacaciones en su pa_s de origen. El Defensor del Pueblo tambi_n se ha hecho eco de casos en los que inmigrantes acudieron a centros sanitarios para que procedieran a la mutilaci_n genital de sus hijos. Este tipo de pr_cticas se realizan en cerca de 25 pa_ses de la franja subsahariana y en algunos de Asia por parte de distintas culturas y confesiones religiosas (el Islam, animistas y cristianas), como un rito de iniciaci_n a la pubertad, tal y como explic_ la diputada de CiU Merc_ Pigem, responsable de la ponencia por parte de su grupo. Los expertos calculan que un total de 135 millones de ni_as han sufrido mutilaci_n del cl_toris y que cada a_o se producen 2 millones de casos nuevos; esto es 6.000 al d_a y 5 cada minuto.

Muslim Converts Face Discrimination

By ANDREA ELLIOTT In the wake of 9/11, Muslim immigrants from Pakistan, Egypt and other countries have found themselves living in a newly suspicious America. Many of their businesses and mosques have been closely monitored by federal agents, thousands of men have been deported and some have simply been swept away – “rendered” in the language of the C.I.A. – to be interrogated or jailed overseas. But Muslim immigrants are not alone in experiencing the change. It is now touching the lives of some American converts: men and women raised in this country, whose only tie to the Middle East or Southeast Asia is one of faith. Khalid Hakim, born Charles Karolik in Milwaukee, could not renew the document required to work as a merchant mariner because he refused to remove his kufi, a round knitted cap, for an identity photograph last year. Yet for nearly three decades Mr. Hakim’s cap had posed no problem with the same New York City office of the Coast Guard. In Brooklyn, Dierdre Small and Stephanie Lewis drove New York City Transit buses for years wearing their hijabs, or head scarves, with no protest from supervisors. After 9/11 the women were ordered to remove the religious garments. They refused, and were transferred, along with two other Muslim converts, out of the public eye – to jobs vacuuming, cleaning and parking buses, said the women, who are suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit. “I’m a U.S. citizen and I’m supposed to be protected,” Ms. Lewis, 55, said with tears in her eyes. “On 9/11 I was scheduled to take policemen to that site. I felt compassion like everyone else. And now you’re singling me out because I’m a Muslim?” New York City Transit officials said they would not comment because the case is in litigation. Regardless of how their cases play out legally, Mr. Hakim, Ms. Lewis and other converts have come to view America after 9/11 through a singular lens. An estimated 25 percent of American Muslims are converts. Some came of age as Americans first and discovered Islam as adults.

‘Muhammad’ Is Growing Popular In Britain

LONDON, Jan. 6 (Reuters) – Muhammad joined the perennial favorites Jack and Joshua in 2004 as one of the most popular names given to British boys, a sign of growing ethnic diversity and a legacy of Muslim immigration decades ago. The Office of National Statistics said Thursday that Muhammad, meaning “one who is praiseworthy” or “exalted,” had moved up two places, to enter the top 20 for the first time. “It is all about demographics,” said Dr. Jamil Sherif, of the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella group of 400 organizations. “There are now more Muslims being born in Britain than previously. About 40 percent of Muslims here are under 25; there are a lot of young families.” Immigration from Asia and Africa surged during the 1960’s and 70’s and Britain, with about 61 million people, is home to about 1.6 million Muslims. But despite its increased popularity, Muhammad has a long way to go before it takes the laurels from Jack, which has topped the charts for 10 years. Joshua was No. 2, Thomas at 3, James at 4 and Daniel at 5. For girls, Emily held the top spot for the second year running, and Ellie was again No. 2.