Citizenship Classes in UK mosques

A pilot program funded by the British gov’t is introducing citizenship classes at mosques in the town of Bradford. CAIRO – A pilot program funded by the British government is introducing citizenship classes at mosques in the racially and religiously tense town of Bradford to educate Muslim teens about basic duties and shield them against extremism, despite objections from some to singling out Muslims. “The impact this teaching could have is quite considerable,” Jane Houghton, a spokeswoman for the Department of Communities and Local Government, told The New York Times on Tuesday, August 21.

The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the United States, 2007

A report released today by a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group indicates a 25 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias from 2005 to 2006, with citizenship delays being the major issue.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) report — the only annual study of its kind — outlines 2,467 incidents and experiences of anti- Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2006, the highest number of civil rights cases ever recorded in the Washington-based group’s report. (Hundreds of anti-Muslim incidents reported immediately following the 9/11 attacks were detailed in a separate report.)

According to the study, called “Presumption of Guilt,” that total is a 25.1 percent increase over the preceding year’s total of 1,972 cases. One of the most significant increases is in the category dealing with government agencies, which rose sharply from 19.22 percent of total reports in 2005 to 36.32 percent in 2006. This increase was due primarily to the number of cases related to immigration issues such as citizenship and naturalization delays.

CAIR also received 167 reports of anti-Muslim hate crime complaints, a 9.2 percent increase from the 153 complaints received in 2005.

Nine states and the District of Columbia accounted for almost 81 percent of all civil rights complaints to CAIR in 2006. They include (in descending order): California (29 percent), Illinois (13 percent), District of Columbia (7 percent), Florida (7 percent), Texas (6 percent), New York (5 percent), Virginia (4 percent), Michigan (3 percent), New Jersey (3 percent) and Ohio (3 percent).

This year, most categories of reported cases remained relatively unchanged from last year’s report. There were a few decreases, in both real and proportional terms, in certain categories from the previous year. For example, civil rights complaints involving the workplace declined significantly from 25.41 percent in 2005 to 15.57 percent in 2006.

In the report, CAIR offers public policy recommendations to address anti- Muslim sentiments in American society. Those recommendations include: 1) asking elected representatives and religious and community leaders to speak out strongly against Islamophobia and to repudiate anti-Muslim bigots, 2) urging American Muslims to increase outreach and education efforts, 3) holding congressional hearings on the rising level of Islamophobia in America, 4) expediting the processing of citizenship/naturalization applications, and 5) adopting domestic and foreign polices that reflect American traditions of justice and respect for the human dignity of all people.

“Like the history of other minority groups in America, the experience of the American Muslim community after the tragedy of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is seen by many as the next chapter in American civil rights history,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, the report’s author. “The findings in this report should serve as a reminder that discrimination is still a major issue in our nation.”

CAIR began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The council is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Chicago Muslim Granted Citizenship After Five-Year Delay

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today announced the resolution of a citizenship delay case that has been pending for the past five years. Despite successfully passing his citizenship exam in 2002 and taking part in repeated interviews, CAIR-Chicago’s client had his naturalization delayed pending a background check. The client was recently sworn in by the presiding Northern Illinois District Federal Court judge instead of in the usual group oath ceremony. His case was resolved before a June 15th court hearing. “Law-abiding Muslims throughout the nation are facing unreasonable delays in being granted citizenship,” said CAIR-Chicago attorney Bitta Mostofi. “CAIR-Chicago will continue to advocate for and represent individuals who have experienced these unnecessarily lengthy delays.” CAIR-Chicago launched an ongoing class action complaint again the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005 seeking to place a cap on the amount of time allotted to conduct the background checks necessary for acquiring citizenship and to prohibit discrimination based on religion in applying for citizenship. CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Islam in the European Union: Transnationalism, Youth, and the War on Terror

This book is about Muslims in Europe and the ‘War on Terror’: its causes and consequences for European citizenship and exclusion particularly for young people. The rising tide of hostility towards people of Muslim origin is challenged in this collection from a varied and multinational perspective. The chapters illustrate the diversity of societies with Muslim majority populations and challenge the dominant paradigm of what has become to be known since the War on Terror as ‘Islamophobia’.

Charter on Laïcité in Public Services and Other Judgments

On April 4, 2006, the government renewed the Haut Council on Integration. This report results from its first year of exercice.

The report analyzes different models for integration in Europe, stressing particularly Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom. It also provides recommendation on how to modify the Reception and Integration contract (see Article L 117-1 in the January 18, 2005 Law on Social Cohesion entitled, “The Code of Social Action of Families”). The report also addresses the charter’s project on laïcité in administrative services.

Dutch May Revoke Lawmaker’s Citizenship

The Dutch immigration minister said Monday that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born woman who became one of the most prominent members of Dutch parliament, was improperly granted citizenship in 1997 and it may be revoked. Hirsi Ali, an opponent of fundamentalist Islam and an advocate for immigrant women’s rights, returned abruptly from a book tour in the United States last week after a political firestorm over her past erupted in the Netherlands. Critics called for her to resign after a television program aired Thursday detailing how she lied on her asylum application when she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. Hirsi Ali had admitted the fabrications publicly when she was vetted as a candidate for parliament in 2002, and the country’s immigration minister said Friday she did not face any sanctions over the matter. But on Monday, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk sent a letter to parliament saying that, after reviewing the facts “it must be assumed she (Hirsi Ali) will be considered to never have received Dutch citizenship.” She said Hirsi Ali will have six weeks to formally respond. Hirsi Ali’s spokeswoman Ingrid Pouw said the lawmaker would hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss her position. Earlier Monday, Dutch media reported that Hirsi Ali would announce her retirement from politics this week and would join the American Enterprise Institute starting in September to work on a new book. Pouw could not confirm that. Hirsi Ali’s political downfall would be remarkable, given the prominent role she has played in the Netherlands’ national debate on Islam in the past several years. She became internationally known when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in November 2004. Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay for his movie “Submission,” which criticized the treatment of women under Islam and offended many Muslims. She received numerous death threats and has been under continuous police protection since the Van Gogh murder. The Dutch state is currently scrambling to arrange new housing for her after her neighbors in The Hague complained successfully that security arrangements for her had become an unfair nuisance for them. On the TV documentary program Zembla, she repeated that when she arrived in 1992 she changed her name and birth date on her asylum application and did not reveal that she had lived in three different countries after leaving Somalia. Several of her critics called for her to be deported. On Saturday, she told the AP she was the victim of a “smear campaign.”

In Germany, Citizenship Tests Stir up Muslims, and Public Debate

Brahms, beer and Beethoven are German, but can a Muslim head scarf be German too? Islamic communities throughout this country are beginning to wonder. What it means to be German is an excruciating riddle, not something casually broached in a cafe. But efforts to sharpen national identity through new citizenship tests have caused a furor over accusations that Muslims are being unfairly targeted for exclusion by questions concerning head scarves, arranged marriages, homosexuality and Israel’s right to exist.

‘Even Pope Would Fail German Conscience Test for Citizenship’

Reactions against the conscience test applied to Muslims who want to become German citizens in Germany’s Baden-Wurttemberg province continue. The German Alliance 90/Greens Party Federal Assembly Group submitted a parliamentary motion to terminate the practice of examining the private life of applicants. The party’s Co-Chair Claudia Roth, criticizing the test’s questions on homosexuality as well, said, Even German-origin Pope Benedict XVI could not become a citizen if he took the test.

Islam, Citizenship and European Integration

École de Médecine 15, rue de l’École de Méde cine, 75006 Paris

A Roundtable By The Network On Comparative Research On Islam and Muslims In Europe (NOCRIME)

Organized with the Sponsorship of the European Commission (DG Research)

Keynote address by Jocelyne Cesari

Key question addressed: do Muslims Create and Organize their Communities in Ways that Affect Citizenship Formation and Political Mobilization?

  • Muslim Women and European Citizenship
  • Gema Martín-Muñoz, University Autonoma of Madrid Muslim Women in Spain. Leadership and Religious Identity in an Accommodation Framework
  • Nico Landman, Utrecht University Dutch Muslim Women in National and Local Politics: Intermediaries between State and Mosque Organisations?
  • Valérie Amiraux, CURAPP and European University Institute Local Muslim Leaderships in France: Coping with Generations, Gender and Politics
  • DISCUSSANTS: Sabiha El-Zayat, Centre for Islamic Women Studies – Zentrum für Islamische Frauenforschung Ahmed Jaballah, IESH – Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines de Paris
  • European Citizenship and Muslim Leadership

  • CHAIR: Pandeli Glavanis, Manchester University
  • Sean McLoughlin, Leeds University Citizenship and Muslim Leaderships in the UK: Orientations of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Foundation
  • Chantal Saint-Blancat, University of Padov, Ottavia Schmidt di Frieberg, University of Trieste Local Leadership: Visible and Invisible Interactions with the Italian Local Society in Northern Italy
  • Jonas Otterbeck, Malmö University Muslim Callers in Sweden
  • Moussa Khedimellah, GSRL (CNRS-EPHE) Opposition or Compatibility between Local and National French Muslim Leaders: The Case of Paris
  • DISCUSSANTS: Dilwar Hussain, Islamic Foundation Tariq Ramadan, University of Fribourg
  • GENERAL DISCUSSION

  • Pandeli Glavanis, Manchester University
  • CONCLUDING REMARKS: Angela Liberatore, European Commission – DG Research