The Islamic Community will open a Mosque in Zona Norte, Alicante

28 July 12
After a long administrative process the Islamic Community of Alicante has obtained from the Town Planning Management a license to reform a building into a mosque on Pino Santo Street, in the neighborhood of Virgen del Remedio.
The training, administrative and prayer center had caused the rejection of the neighbors, but ultimately the City Council authorized its construction because the project meets the municipal and technical requirements.
Planning Reports specifies that the capacity of this religious and cultural center will be of 581 people, while recalling that prior to the granting of the license it shall submit it to an acoustic audit.

German TV documentary “Allah in Ehrenfeld“

July 12

 

This 90 minute documentary shows moods and positions relatively to the construction of Germany’s biggest mosque in the city district of Collogne-Ehrenfeld. Since 2007 the construction of the mosque has been a bone of contention between the project supporters and local inhabitants, who openly oppose the construction. The documentary focuses on polarized attitudes and statements for and against the project, contributing interviews with local politicians, citizen initiatives and the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion (Ditib). Ditib had actually initiated the mosque construction but withdrew its order in 2011, after popular initiatives and the City Council raised “technical” demands for a transparent untraditional architecture and a lower height of the mosque’s minaret.

Torrejon, Spain: Divided by a Mosque

01 July 2012

The Islamic community in Torrejon, with about 200 members, has been installed for more than a decade in a central garage two blocks away from the Plaza Mayor. They have purchased land and they have the architectural plans for the facade of its new building composed of two floors and a small minaret. But the new mosque of An Nur (The Light), is not welcome.
The neighbors (who have collected over 2,000 signatures, according to the City Council) say it is not racism, but a question of space. The story follows a common pattern. “The problem is to fit places of worship of minorities, such as Islam, in areas where they are already present,” says Jordi Moreras, member of the Research Center for Risk Governance at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Moreras, a mediator in conflicts recommends priority to the “legal dimension” of the case against “unfounded rumors and fear of the neighbors of having to down the price of their homes or to be involved in violence.” He asked for an effort by the municipal officials of Torrejon, “Managing the coexistence sometimes entails to be contrary to what you have voted for.”

CAIR-MN Asks DOJ to Probe Bias in Rejection of Islamic Center

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate allegations of anti-Muslim bias in the rejection of a proposed Islamic center in St. Anthony, Minn.

Last night, the St. Anthony City Council voted 4-1 to deny a conditional use permit for the Abu-Huraira Islamic Center, despite a recommendation by the St. Anthony Planning Commission to approve the project. The project had been on hold since a March moratorium by the council.

At yesterday’s council meeting, the proposed Islamic center faced opposition from an intolerant speakers who — Islamic center proponents assert — clearly exposed the real reason for the approval delay and rejection.

Several residents made anti-Muslim comments at the city council hearing, including: “There is no other religion in the world that condones violence. Islam is evil,” and, “Where did you come from? [Go] change your own country.”

In a response to the city council’s rejection of the Islamic center, CAIR-MN sent a letter to the DOJ seeking a federal investigation.

CAIR-MN is asking federal authorities to determine whether the denial of land usage for the Islamic center constitutes a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

RLUIPA protects religious institutions from unduly burdensome or discriminatory land use regulations. RLUIPA and the Minnesota Constitution ban zoning restrictions that impose a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person or institution unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest for imposing zoning restrictions and that the restriction is the least restrictive way for the government to further that interest.

“We ask the DOJ to use the full measure of its authority to launch a thorough investigation into the recent denial of the proposed Abu-Huraira Islamic Center,” wrote CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya in her letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

Saroya said CAIR-MN is also asking DOJ officials to meet with St. Anthony Muslim leaders.

Yesterday, CAIR’s Michigan chapter called on the FBI to investigate a possible bias motive for a fire and hate graffiti targeting a building associated with a Dearborn mosque.

An Independent Monitor for the Police Is Proposed

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency have inspectors general who function as independent monitors. So do the police departments of major cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as the nation’s capital. Even most New York City agencies, like the Education Department and the Housing Authority, have similar monitors.

But not the New York Police Department.

About two dozen members of the City Council planned to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would create an office of the inspector general to monitor the police and “conduct independent reviews of the department’s policies, practices, programs and operations.”

The council members said that there has never been a more opportune time to increase oversight over so powerful an agency, especially in light of the department’s stop-and-frisk policy, surveillance of Muslim groups, questions over allegedly manipulated arrest data and other recent controversies involving the police.

“This kind of independent oversight can act as an early-warning system for a very large agency,” said Richard M. Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, which has worked closely with council members on the legislation.

Muslim Group Outraged with Cambridge City Council’s Decision to Give Funds to Citizen’s Advice Bureau

12 May 2012

 

£20 Million has been given to local authorities as a part of the Prevent Strategy, which was introduced by the previous labour government to prevent British Muslim youth from being recruited by ‘radical groups’ after the 7/7 bombings. The money has been used in joint projects with Muslim groups to educate them against radicalization.

 

However, aside from the criticism against the policy which was labelled as surveillance and entrapment of Muslims by some Muslim organization, the projects that the money was spent on have also been a subject of controversy. Many people have been sceptical about the appropriate expenditure of the funds.

 

The Muslim Council of Cambridgeshire’s (CMC) recent statement which lambasted the City Council for allocating the funds to a different project yet again has drawn attention to problems with the Prevent Strategy.

Neighbors ask judge in Bilbao to stop construction of mosque

21 May 12

The neighbors of Bilbao La Vieja following their battle against the local Mosque construction permits have now called for a precautionary measure to suspend these works. The City Council, in the other hand has granted permission to the Alforkan Mosque to take over 605 square meters and build there an oratory for circa 398 people.

The dispute arises at a critical time for centers of worship in the Basque region. Bilbao City Council has suspended for a year the construction licenses to draft its new regulations, giving special attention to its location.  However, the Regional Basque Government has a different opinion considering the precautionary measure as “extemporaneous” and not necessitating the halt of construction works. The two institutions are moving in parallel, with serious differences over how to manage religious diversity and to decide about the requirements to be met by the promoters of places of worship.

NYPD commissioner Kelly clashes with council over calls to regulate Muslim surveillance

NEW YORK — New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Thursday challenged city council members who want to create an inspector general to regulate the department’s surveillance of Muslims, saying his department needs no additional oversight.

In sometimes heated exchanges with council members at a budget hearing, Kelly defended his department’s counterterrorism surveillance program as well as another crime-fighting policy, the stopping, questioning and frisking of people on the street.

Some council members say they are deeply concerned by a series of stories by The Associated Press detailing the extent of the surveillance program, which overwhelmingly targeted Muslim ethnic groups in its hunt for suspicious activity.

Update: Dutch School Board Resigns over ‘Migrant’ Student Exclusion

10 October 2011

Following reports that it would attempt to strictly limit the number of migrant students attending one of its primary schools, a school board in Ede has resigned. The foundation had argued that restricting the number of migrant children would make the school more representative of the demographic in the surrounding neighborhood. The board resigned following condemnation for discrimination; in its statement the board said they no longer had faith in the Ede city council and accused the media of painting a ‘distorted’ picture of its proposal.

Local councillor calls for ban of full face veil in Ireland

Cork city councillor and former city mayor, Joe O’Callaghan, has called for a complete ban on the full face veil in Ireland. Following similar legislation in other European countries, O’Callaghan has submitted a motion in this respect to be debated at next month’s Cork city council meeting. His rejection of the full face veil is based on two grounds: he describes the full face veil as an “affront to women” incompatible with modern society and considers them to be a security risk. Representatives of the main mosque organization, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland, rejected the proposal as discriminatory, while stating that the full face veil is not mandatory in Islam. Representatives of Irish immigration organizations characterized the motion as “childish, opportunistic and irresponsible” while doubting its seriousness.