Teen migrants head to UK as French court upholds ‘Jungle’ closure

France transferred another dozen mostly Afghan teenagers to Britain on Tuesday as efforts to rehouse the most vulnerable migrants of the “Jungle” camp in northern France accelerated ahead of its demolition.

The departures, which still amount to a small portion of an estimated 1,000 youngsters unaccompanied by adult family members, came as a court rejected a request by 11 charities that the closure of the Jungle be postponed.

A first busload of children arrived in Britain on Monday from the “Jungle” camp near the French port of Calais as the British government started to act on its commitment to take in unaccompanied migrant children before the camp is destroyed.

The court in Lille rejected the plea by local charities for more time to organize rehousing of the thousands who live there.

“It’s now just a matter of days,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told parliament after the closure ruling was announced. “We are now nearing the moment when the operation will begin.”

A 16-year-old Afghan named Azizullah was delighted to be leaving the camp that has come to symbolize the plight of war refugees.

“My dream came true because I want to see my brother, I miss him,” he said as he readied to leave. He planned to join his 36-year-old brother, who works in a pizza restaurant on the other side of the Channel.

President Francois Hollande, facing an election in April, has promised to shut down the camp under local pressure. His government has already started rehousing thousands of Jungle inhabitants in dozens of towns and villages across France.

Regarding the specific issue of unaccompanied children and teenagers who have fled war zones such as Afghanistan, Syria and Sudan, the transfers to Britain are taking place under EU family reunification rules known as the Dublin regulations.

Charities have accused Britain of dragging its heels on such transfers, prompting a Franco-British meeting last week which has been followed by transfers of a dozen migrants like Azizullah in the past two days.

Muslim Charities lose government grants due to accusations of extremist links

Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) is one of two Muslim charities in Britain to have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities.
Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) is one of two Muslim charities in Britain to have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities.

Two Muslim charities have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities.

Birmingham based ‘Islamic Help’ and the London based Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) protested the government’s decision, after the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) revoked their grants. The government informed the charities it did not want to support groups “linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence.” The decision could affect a number of Muslim charities across the country, particularly those working with groups in Syria and Iraq.

The action follows a report produced by the think tank Claystone, which earlier this year found that more than a quarter of charities being investigated by the government were Muslim advocacy organizations. The think tank criticized what it saw as the “targeting” of Islamic organizations, particularly following the appointment of Sir William Shawcross as head the Charity Commission. Shawcross has also been criticized by Muslim groups for claiming “Europe and Islam” are among the world’s most “terrifying” problems, and that Islamic extremists were infiltrating British charities.

 

Can Muslim model of Zakat save the UK charities?

19 July 2012

In the environment of economic recession wherein the government tries to cut down every single public spending, the UK charities face growing problem of funding to continue their operations. In an interesting article Fadi Itani questions possibility of implementing Muslim method of Zakat (alms giving) to save the UK charities. The method is compulsory donation of certain amount of wealth to the needy people every year.

Ex-Michigan congressman sentenced to more than a year in prison in terrorism financing case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Michigan congressman and U.S. delegate to the United Nations has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison for lobbying for a Missouri-based Islamic charity that had been identified as a global terrorist organization.

Mark Deli Siljander, 60, a Republican who served in Congress from 1981-1987, pleaded guilty in July 2010 to obstructing justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent in connection with his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency, based in Columbia, Mo.

In his plea agreement, Siljander acknowledged that he lobbied between March and May 2004 on behalf of the IARA for the organization to be removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism. The charity closed in October 2004 after being designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

Four co-defendants also were sentenced Wednesday. Among them were former IARA executive director Mubarak Hamed, who sent more than $1 million to Iraq through the charity in violation of U.S. sanctions. He pleaded guilty in June 2010 to illegally transferring the money and obstructing the administration of laws governing tax-exempt charities.

New system of achieving points in order to obtain permanent permit of residence may exclude religious organizations

Just a few days after the government and Danish People’s Party presented a new law for foreigners in Denmark – a much debated system of obtaining points in order to get a permanent permit of residence – the bill seems to run into problems.

According to the bill a foreigner will need to obtain a score of 100 points in order to obtain a permanent permit of residence. Points can be obtained by having a job, speaking Danish, knowing Danish history and culture, engaging in voluntary organizations etc. Organizations in which one can volunteer and thereby obtain 15 points were supposed to be selected from the tax authorities’ list of charities. However, The Islamic Society in Denmark is on that list and several MPs of the government parties as well as MPs from Danish People’s Party will not allow Muslims to obtain points by volunteering in the Islamic Society in Denmark. During the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis the Islamic Society in Denmark played a facilitating role in the riots and several politicians say they suspect the Islamic Society in Denmark of being fundamentalists.

This creates difficulties in choosing which organizations should be approved as part of the new system of obtaining points. A solution could be that no religious organization should be part of the system but MP Naser Khader refuses this and says that many Muslim organizations are promoting integration of foreign Muslims into Danish society. The bill hasn’t been formally presented to the parliament yet and a heated debate on whether the bill can pass is expected.

Conservative Party set to create boom in Islamic schools

Scores of religious state schools could be set up in Yorkshire by parents, local communities or religious groups under a Tory government with “formidable checks” in place to stop the spread of extremism. The Conservatives want to make it easier for parents, charities and trusts to set up their own new schools to meet the needs of local communities.

Shadow Schools’ Secretary Michael Gove told the Yorkshire Post his party would welcome the creation of new religious schools and accepted that the policy could lead to an increase in Islamic state schools being funded in areas of West Yorkshire. However he dismissed fears that such a move could lead to further segregation or extremism in the region.

“The reality is that parents who want to can send their children to an independent Islamic school, can send them to madrassahs for religious teaching after school and many pupils will be attending schools where de-facto segregation already exists. We want to meet the rights of parents to give their children a faith-based education in accordance with their Islamic beliefs while at the same time ensuring that these schools are properly run and promoting the values of a modern Britain.”

US Muslim charity leaders get 65 years in jail for Hamas support

Two former leaders of the Texas-based Holy Land foundation were sentenced to 65 years in jail for supporting Palestinian militants. Jurors returned guilty verdicts on 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax fraud. “These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief,” said David Kris, assistant US attorney general for national security. Holy Land CEO Shukri Abu Baker and chairman and co-founder Ghassan Elashi, were both sentenced to 65 years in jail. Holy Land cofounder Mohammad El-Mezain, and Abdulrahman Odeh, the charity’s New Jersey representative, both received lesser sentences of 15 years. The Justice Department vowed in October 2007 to retry the five Holy Land leaders after jurors could not agree on verdicts on nearly 200 charges, and a new jury was seated in mid-September. Holy Land was one of several Muslim organizations the Bush administration shut down in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for allegedly raising money for Islamic extremists overseas. Muslim charities that remained open suffered significant drops I contributions because of fears of prosecution.

Jury finds US-based Muslim charity guilty of funding terrorism

The leaders of what was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States were found guilty of acting as a front for Palestinian militants, in what was the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history. The now-defunct Holy Land Foundation is charged with funneling $12 million to Hamas.

The Holy Land Foundation is one of several Muslim organizations shut down by the Bush administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The charity’s leaders received guilty verdicts, and received a total of 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax fraud. Prosecutors did not accuse the charity of being directly involved or financing terrorist activity, but charged that humanitarian aid was used to promote Hamas, and allowed it to divert existing funds for militant activities.

Muslim charities in the United States have suffered a significant drop in contributions following 9/11, with many Muslim Americans concerned that they will be sought after for their good intentions of giving.

See full text articles:

New York Times

BBC

Reuters

Agence France-Presse

The Guardian

IslamOnline.net

Muslim charities will undergo review process to win back donors

Muslim charities in the United State are turning to the Better Business Bureau to win back donors, and in an effort to gain back their confidence in their fundraising activities. Many such charities were hit hard after September 11th, 2001, where funds were seized and questions by the US government. Under this initiative, seven Muslim charities have already volunteered to commit to a review process designed by the BBB to validate their financial soundness and transparency. The effort is lead by Muslim Advocates, an advocacy group based in San Francisco.

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