Britain drawn into controversy over anti-Islam video by Geert Wilders

Britain was dragged into the controversy over an anti-Islam film made by a far-Right Dutch MP after Iran condemned its appearance on a UK-based video-sharing website today. “This heinous measure by a Dutch lawmaker and a British establishment… is indicative of the continuation of the evilness and deep vengeance such Western nationals have against Islam and Muslims,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, called on the Dutch, British and other EU governments to block any further showing of “this blasphemous, anti-Islamic and anti-cultural film”. The 17-minute “documentary” by Geert Wilders had been broadcast on the internet with the aid of an organisation based in Britain, he said. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, also condemned the film, titled Fitna, an Arabic word meaning “strife”, while Bangladesh warned it could have “grave consequences”. A coalition of Jordanian media said it would sue Mr Wilders and urged Arab leaders meeting at a summit in Syria this weekend to review ties with the Netherlands and Denmark. Michael Theodoulou reports.Governments in the Muslim world are wary of a repeat of what happened two years ago when the publication in Denmark of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad ignited rioting in a dozen countries, leading to about 50 deaths.

Indonesia warns Dutch anti-Islam film can disturb interfaith harmony

The Indonesian foreign ministry warned Dutch lawmakers to forbid the release of an anti-Islam film, saying it could destroy interfaith harmony. Ministry spokesperson Kristianto Legowo said at a press conference that “(The film) will be an obstacle to attempts that we and other countries have initiated. We do not want this to occur. The Indonesian Council of Churches has also asked the Protestant Church in the Netherlands to lobby the Dutch prime minister to intervene, so as to prevent very great problems that may arise after the film’s release. The Protestant Church sent Wilders a letter in January asking to meet with him, but has not yet received a reply. In a statement on March 5th, the church said “Freedom of speech is great, but when we see what immense consequences Wilder’s film could have, also and especially abroad, then surely he has to consider not releasing the film.”

Iranian minister calls on Netherlands to stop anti-Islam film

Iran’s deputy foreign minister called on the Dutch government to stop a far-right politician from distributing an anti-Islam film. “I think they can stop the movie,” Mehdi Safari told reporters after meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen. “The government is responsible.” However, the Dutch government has tried twice, unsuccessfully, to convince the filmmaker to abandon plans for the film’s release. Safari said that the film would have “far-reaching consequences.” Iran’s ambassador to the Netherlands Bozorgmehr Ziaran called Wilders a warmonger, saying that “our conclusion is he wants to demonize Muslims.”

UK Leaders Question British Pakistani Cousin Marriage Practice After Shariah Flap

Pronouncements by politicians and religious leaders are again spotlighting the cultural divide between the Muslim community and the rest of British society. This time, the issue is people who marry their cousins. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan William suggested last week that the adoption of some form of Islamic law was “unavoidable” _ a remark that sparked protests from commentators and politicians who said Muslims must abide by British law. Then, as that furor subsided, two governing Labour Party lawmakers called for a frank discussion of the health risk posed by Pakistanis who marry their cousins. Lawmakers Phil Woolas and Ann Cryer, citing high rates of birth defects, said Britons must question the practice of arranging marriages between first cousins. Both warned of grave public health consequences if the custom continues.

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’.

When religious needs test company policy

Companies find that accommodating the faith needs of workers can be a delicate issue. The increasing visibility of religion in society, from a president who speaks openly about his faith to the proliferation of religious television programming, has consequences in the workplace. Increasing demands are placed on companies to create environments that are comfortable and welcoming for employees of all faiths — and of none. It is a matter of retaining employees and avoiding lawsuits. Complaints of religious discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission increased 20 percent, to 2,541, from 2001 to 2006. The figures of discrimination unreported may be much higher. Research by the Tanenbaum Center indicates that only 23 percent of employees who believe they are experiencing religious bias complain — but of those who feel that way, 45 percent are looking for new jobs. Employers are required by law to make substantial accommodations for their employees’ religious practices, as long as doing so does not create a major hardship for them. Company responses are diverse. Some companies serve as hosts of employee-run groups that hold discussions on different faiths and the like. Other companies take a more hands-off. Particular areas of tension include photo id’s for veiled women, prayer rooms, and religious symbols worn visibly over company uniforms. Clashes sometimes end in litigation; otherwise, companies work discretely with employees toward resolution.

Mosques Conflicts in Western Europe

The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS) publishes the results of first-class research on all forms of migration and its consequences, together with articles on ethnic conflict, discrimination, racism, nationalism, citizenship and policies of integration. Contributions to the journal, which are all fully refereed, are especially welcome when they are the result of comparative research, for example within Europe or between one or more European country and the countries of North America and the Asia-Pacific. The journal tends to focus on advanced industrial countries and has distinguished associate editors from North America and the Asia-Pacific.

Muslims Worst Sufferers Of London Bombings

LONDON: Almost a third of Londoners overall but nearly two-thirds of Muslims suffered substantial stress following the 7 July bombings in the city, researchers say, reports BBC. Muslims may have suffered more because of fears of reprisals, they said. The British Medical Journal study also found that 32% of the 1,010 questioned were to reduce use of public transport. But researchers said the study – carried out before the 21 July attacks – showed the bombers had not created a city too stressed to get on with life. The research was carried out by London”s Kings and University Colleges and the Health Protection Agency. Fifty-two passengers were killed when four suicide bombers attacked three Tube trains and a bus on July 7. The interviews for the study took place from Monday 18 to Wednesday 20 July – before the failed bombings on London”s transport network on 21 July. Nearly one in three (31%) of participants reported having suffered substantial stress, and 32% reported they would reduce the amount they used the Tube, trains, buses, or go into central London. Some 46% of those surveyed said they did not feel safe travelling by Tube, and 33% did not feel safe in central London. People who had difficulty contacting others by mobile phone on the day of the attacks were more likely to have suffered from stress, as were those who feared a loved one may have been injured or killed. Overall, people with a strong religious conviction were more likely to report feelings of stress. Being white and having previous experience of atrocities – such as IRA bomb attacks in London – was associated with reduced stress. Only 12 participants (1%) felt that they needed professional help to deal with their emotions, whereas 71% had spoken to friends or relatives. The researchers said this suggested that most people were able to rely on lay support networks. Researcher Dr Neil Greenberg said: “It is quite a good thing that people should try to make sense of what happened by talking it through with those who understand them the best. “Our findings show that we are resilient, and suggest that if the aim of the bombers was to create a city full of people so stressed that they could not get on their lives then they certainly failed.” Dr Greenberg said Muslims might have been more vulnerable to stress because of concern about the consequences of the bombings, such as possible reprisals from those who blamed the Islamic community in general. Dr Monica Thompson, from the Trauma Stress Clinic, in London, agreed that most people seemed to have coped well with the bombings. But she said people who were either directly caught up in the attacks, or witnessed the results first hand were much more likely to suffer from stress. Dr Thompson”s clinic has so far received 26 referrals of patients exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.