Strike against Salafi association in Solingen

June 14

 

On Thursday morning, German authorities have searched more than 70 offices, apartments and facilities related to the Salafi scene. Searches went on in at least seven German Federal States, in particular in North Rhine Westphalia and Hessen. Hereby, the Minister of Internal Affairs Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) has issued a banning order for the Solingen-based Salafi association “Millatu Ibrahim”. Authorities had been monitoring the Salafi group since the May violent clashes in Bonn and Solingen. Among other measures, the police have shut down the group’s webpage. This, according to the Minister of Interior, means an immense logistic and organizational loss for the “Millatu”group. Allegedly, the group’s goals are: to call Muslims to fight against the constitutional order of Germany, to destroy the concept of understanding among peoples and to introduce Sharia by violent means.

 

The “Millatu Ibrahim” group belongs to the Jihadist arm of the Salafi movement in Germany. It has been extremely radical in its calls for violence and bloodshed. The group’s leading figure is the Austrian Mohamed Mahmoud also known as Abu Usama al-Gharib. In 2011, he was convicted for hate speech and Terrorist activities by a German court. Also, he had been a founding member of the Global Islamic Media front. After his release, he had moved to Berlin and afterwards to Solingen. He begun preaching at the Millatu-Ibrahim-Mosque but German authorities intervened to stop this activity. He then moved to the German State of Hessen and was finally deported from Germany. Abu Usama al-Gharib is now said to live in Egypt. His accomplice, and a popular figure in the Millatu group is the former rapper Denis Cuspert alias Deso Dogg, alias Abu Talha Al-Almani. Apparently, Cuspert has unsubscribed his Berlin apartment and is now wanted. The Ministry of Interior uses videos as evidence to prove how both leaders encouraged Salafi adherents to oppose police and right-wing supporters on May 1st and May 12th demonstrations by calling to bloodshed.

 

Authorities have initiated preliminary investigations also against the association “DawaFFM” in Frankfurt-am-Main and the Cologne-based association “The True Religion”. Given the lack of evidence against the groups, the Ministry has not yet issued banning orders. Earlier this spring the association “The True Religion” had initiated a campaign distributing copies of the Koran in German cities. The group interrupted the campaign after printing 300.000 copies, as the print shop had started attracting the public attention.

 

Other well-known activists have openly sympathized with the Jihadist arm of the Salafi movement and are therefore believed to be involved in its activities. Among them, there is the German Pierre Vogel, who converted to Islam eleven years ago. Another is the preacher and leading member of the association “The True Religion” Ibrahim Abou Nagie. Abou Nagie allegedly encourages young Muslims to stand against all Non-Muslims. He organizes Islamic seminars at schools and youth centers, and calls to execute the Islamic law Sharia on homosexual people.

Initially Nagie’s Koran distribution initiative sounded harmless. However, the German security forces became alert as soon as the radical leader Usama al-Gharib expressed his approval of the idea and offered to stand against possible attackers.

 

Security experts assume that the goal of Abou Nagie and Al-Gharib is to unify the Salafi scene and win more adherents in the form of converts. The Koran distributions and the demonstrations against the right-wing-initiated Muhammad cartoon campaigns are perceived as prestigious victories within the Salafi scene. All three associations are expected to be leading and coordinating Internet and street campaigns in Germany.

 

According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution there are more than 4000 Salafists in Germany, divided in two groups: a so-called political “missionary” arm and a “Jihadist” arm. Totally, 24 Salafi members are classified as “dangerous”. Although the Office for the Protection of the Constitution had issued warnings about Salafi activities and propaganda in Germany, authorities seemed to be little prepared for the outbreak of violence in May 2012. Salafi adherents had protested against demonstrations organized by the right-wing party Pro NRW, which had initiated a Muhammad cartoon campaign. Almost thirty police officers were injured during the clashes.

Sen. Joe Lieberman Wants Google To Let Users Flag ‘Terrorist Content’

Joe Lieberman has always been a great pioneer for internet freedom. Last year, he suggested that the United States should implement an internet kill switch in the event of a cyberattack by taking its cues from China. Now Lieberman is calling for the world’s most popular search engine to censor material that could potentially be used to spread terrorist information.

Lieberman sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page asking the company to implement a system where users can report websites harboring terrorism and Google will remove them from their Blogger platform. Lieberman brought up the case of Jose Pimentel, who was recently arrested in New York for attempting to make a pipe bomb, and used the internet to do it! Lieberman gave Google some praise for banning any terrorist content from YouTube and allowing users to flag videos, but insisted they do more and implement a similar system on their search platform.

New Islamic Center emerges outside Paris

Islam Online – September 27, 2011

 

A new law has gone into effect this month, banning France’s estimated 5 million Muslims from praying on the streets – in line with the country’s separation of religion and state. The move was not welcome by Muslim community in France. French authorities have offered a temporary solution, which is the cavernous quarter of an old fire station in northern Paris. Hundreds of people emerged from the facility one recent sunny afternoon, spilling into a wide boulevard not far from the city’s ring road.

Some locals have said now there is lots of space, and toilets, for worshippers. Muslim clerics say they expect several thousand faithful will use the facility. It already is overflowing.

EU human rights watchdog criticizes laws banning the wearing of Muslim headscarves

July 21, 2011

 

The European Union’s human rights watchdog has criticized laws banning the wearing of Muslim veil, warning that the legislation fuels anti-Muslim sentiments across the continent.

“[These laws] would further stigmatize these women and lead to their alienation from the majority society,” Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, said in statements on the council’s website on July 20.

Belgium will become the latest European country to ban the face-veil after a law banning the outfit takes into effect on Saturday, July 23. According to the new law, Muslim women would not be allowed to go in public while donning full face veil. If any woman failed to comply with the law, she will be punished with a penalty of 137.50 Euros and up to seven days in jail.

 

Hammarberg warned that banning the Muslim dress violates European human rights standards.

Such bans “may run counter to European human-rights standards, in particular the right to respect for one’s private life and personal identity,” he said.

Dutch Parliament Votes to Ban Ritual Slaughter

28 June 2011

The Dutch parliament voted in favour of banning kosher and halal slaughter of animals, following debate which saw considerable resistance from Jewish and Muslim communities. The ban contains an exception such that groups able to prove that animals do not suffer comparatively more during ritual slaughter than standard methods will be permitted to continue with halal and kosher methods. While several MPs voed against the ban on religious grounds, it passed in parliament 116 to 30. The story received considerable coverage internationally.

Dutch Politician Calls for Constitutional Sharia Ban

February 21 2011

Politician Roel Kuiper, of the Netherlands’ Christian Union, has called for a constitutional amendment banning sharia law in the country. He suggests that Islamic law is “grounded in retaliation” and is “not rooted in principles which form part of Dutch culture”. Further, Senator Kuiper wants to regulate the flow of money from Arab countries to Dutch mosques.

Hesse Bans Burkas for State Workers

2 February 2011

The state of Hesse has banned the wearing of the burka – the Muslim dress that covers a woman’s face – by state employees during work hours, officials announced late Tuesday.

The decision was made by Interior Minister Boris Rhein in response to a worker at a local administrative office, or Bürgeramt, in Frankfurt who wanted to report for work wearing a burka. The woman is just finishing a period of parental leave but has been given some extra time to reconsider her position.

“We have allowed her a couple more days to think about the situation,” said Frankfurt city head of personnel Markus Frank. “We want to relieve the pressure somewhat.” The 39-year-old woman had the option of returning to work without her burka. Before she went on parenting leave, she wore a headscarf only.

Lower Saxony is set to follow the state of Hesse in banning the wearing of burkas – the Muslim dress that covers a woman’s face – by public sector workers, possibly creating a wave of regulations across the country.

Headscarf Ban in Dutch Catholic School Discriminatory

The equal opportunities commission in Volendam has ruled that banning a Muslim pupil from wearing a headscarf constituted discrimination on religious grounds. A student at a Catholic school in the city was banned from attending lessons a year ago after she started wearing a headscarf.

Muslims Disappointed Following Meeting with St. Gallen Director of Education

November 16, 2010

Stefan Kölliker, the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) director of education for St. Gallen, has recently met with Hisham Maizar, a representative of the Federation for Islamic Communities in East Switzerland, concerning the education council’s decision in August 2010 to call for the banning of headscarves in schools.
Despite Maizar’s efforts, Kölliker has stated that he has no intention to change his position on the issue. Maizar called the decision “disproportionate,” and “fully politically motivated,” due to the low number of cases involving headscarf-wearing students. Nevertheless, he told Kölliker that he would gladly speak further with him concerning questions related to Islam and schools, while Kölliker stated that it was “conceivable” that he might accept such an offer.

Veil of Truth

19 October

In this opinion piece, the philosopher and feminist Andrea Roedig considers the question of what the position of a Western feminist should be with regard to banning the burqa. After explaining the main tendencies that currently exist, she argues for a contextualized understanding of the burqa ban, saying that what might be right for an Arabic country may ultimately restrict women’s right in a European context. For a genuine feminist approach, the best example would be the “niquabitches” in France, who have succeeded in putting off both the secular state, with the upper half their bodies in a burqa, and orthodox Islam, due to their lower half being practically naked.