Manuel Valls preaches unity to combat “Islamo-fascism”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls launched an appeal on February 16 for unity in order to combat “Islamo-fascism.” Following the deadly attacks in Copenhagen, Valls stated: “We must not give in to fear nor to division. But at the same time we must also deal with the problems: combating terrorism, mobilizing society in support of secularism, combating anti-Semitism…Islam of France must take full responsibility, this is what is demanded of the large majority of our Muslim compatriots.”

Valls felt it was necessary to conduct “a war” against Islamo-fascism,” “outside, but also inside,” of the country, to combat jihadism. He stressed that every country in the region should act, militarily and financially, including Qatar and Turkey. Monday morning the Egyptian army bombed several ISIL locations in Libya.

Four are convicted for terrorist plot

2012-06-11

 

Four men from Sweden have been convicted on the basis of terrorist plot in Denmark. They were supposedly conspiring to attack the offices of the newspaper   Jyllands-Posten with weapons. The attack was planned to take place at the building that houses the two major newspapers, Jyllands-Posten and Politiken, just days before the New Year’s Eve 2010.

 

The men were arrested on December 29th 2010, three of them in Copenhagen and the fourth in Stockholm. Both Swedish (SÄPO) and Danish (PET) intelligence services have followed the three men traveling the entire car trip from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Prior to that the police has had the four men under surveillance for a long period of time. The fourth man, who stayed in Stockholm after deciding to discontinue the journey was convicted by as well.

 

According to the director of PET, Jakob Scharf, the men were only hours away from attacking the offices of the newspaper(s). according to the information given by the police, the men had an automatic weapon, a handgun and 200  of so called PlastiCuffs. A large amount of material used as evidence has been presented throughout the trial. The Prosecutor has relied heavily on hours of recordings from police surveillance of a Stockholm apartment where the attack have seemingly been planned. The recordings indicate that the men had planned to cause maximum destruction with their attack. All of them are between 31 and 46 years of age and according to the Prosecutor the men planned the attack as a part of a reprisal plot against the newspapers’ distribution of the so called Muhammed Caricatures.

 

All of the men have been sentenced to 12 years in prison, a highest possible sentence in this type of cases. The Prosecutor wanted the sentence to be extended between 14 and 16 years.

Call for Papers: special issue for the Journal of Muslims in Europe

Call for Papers

for a special issue for the Journal of Muslims in Europe

“Europe with or without Muslims – narratives of Europe”

Guest editors:             Göran Larsson, University of Gothenburg

Riem Spielhaus, University of Copenhagen

We are seeking papers for a special issue of the new double blind-peer reviewed Journal on Muslims in Europe by BRILL to come out in Spring 2013. This special issue seeks to take up tensions in conflicting stories about and different perspectives on Europe’s history and identity that present Europe without Muslims or contrastingly portray Muslims as part of Europe’s past and present.

Under the headline “Europe with or without Muslims – narratives of Europe” we aim to bring together a number of perspectives from multiple disciplinary fields such as history, religious studies, cultural anthropology, political science and sociology in an analysis of diverging accounts and notions of Europe over time and places throughout the continent, open as well to external perspectives. The initial question thereby is, what role Islam and Muslims have played and still play in the imagining of what Europe means. (See more details on different possible themes for contributions below.)

This way we aim to direct our view at the nexus between constructions of Europe and developments within contemporary European Islam providing space both for a critical review of academic approaches and the development of new impulses for future research.

Besides empirical papers we strongly encourage theoretical papers that challenge current research on Islam and Muslims in Europe and reflect on the own position of the researchers and his or her contributions to the construction of Europe and the role and function of Islam and Muslims.

We invite papers that address one of the topics of two sessions described below. Deadline for sending your abstracts: July the 1st, 2012. Accepted participants will be notified by July 20, 2012. If your paper is accepted, you must submit the final paper (max 10,000 words inclusive of footnotes) by 20 October 2012.

Applications to submit a short paper should include: 1. Proposer’s name and affiliation, 2. a title for the paper, 3. a ca. 500 word abstract.

All abstracts and paper should be written in English.

Time frame:
Deadline for abstracts (ca. 500 words) 1.July 2012
Deadline for sending final papers  20.October 2012
Publication               15.March 2013

Paper proposals should be send electronically in Microsoft Word formats to Göran Larsson, University of Gothenburg: goran.larsson@religion.gu.se and Riem Spielhaus, University of Copenhagen: rsp@teol.ku.dk.

For this special issue we invite papers on the narratives imagining Europe with and without Muslims analyzing contents, actors and setting of those narratives that relate to one or several of the following questions:

1. Localizing debates connecting Europe and Islam:

•     In what way are debates about Europe and its identity mentioning the European past with reference to Muslim’s presence in Europe on the local, regional, national or European Union level? How do these different levels (local, regional, national, transnational) intersect?

2. Imagining Europe without Muslims:

•    What are the main patterns of the dominant constructions of Europe’s heritage like notions of a Judaeo-Christian heritage? Where and by whom are these narratives told? To what extent are they embedded in European integration or projects of community or nation-building?

3. Narratives of Europe inclusive of Muslims:

•    In what cases is the Muslim history of Europe used as counter narrative to question the construction of Europe as a Christian continent? What groups of people insist on an imagination of Europe with Muslims? How are these narratives used to strengthen a feeling of belonging and responsibility of current Muslims?

4. Contextualizing Islam debates in European history of thought:

•    Is it possible to make any comparison between current debates about Islam and Muslims and previous debates about ties between religions and national identities e.g. different Christian denominations in early modern Europe?

5. Imagining Europe from outside:

•    How is the relationship between Europe and its Muslim inhabitants viewed beyond the Mediterranean? Do accounts of European history and presentations of the contemporary Europe from within and without bear considerable differences?

“Jyllands-Posten – where is that?”

13 April, 2012

GLOSTRUP. In his black Adidas jacket and short haircut Sahbi Zalouti looks more like a member of an MC-clib than an Islamic terrorist. He does not deny that he and the others sat in his home and discussed terror plans against “that newspaper with Muhammad-drawings.”

 

Leaned over the microphone he says: ”It was just talk. Nothing would have happened in reality.”

 

Zalouti was the only one out of the four suspects who was cross-examined in the court’s first day in Glostrup outside Copenhagen. He argued for his innocence as being the one who was dragged into something he knew nothing about. He was just an interlocutor. Not a participant.

“For me there was no talk of doing anything in reality. The whole thing was just idealistic talk. When I heard that my friends have been arrested with weapons I froze like a statue. I am a Muslim. Yes, I am religious. Yes. Am I a terrorist? No. I would never go a shoot people.”

Zalouti smiles interchangeably and comments angrily at the interrogator. At moments he strokes apologetically over the interpreters back with his left hand. It is difficult to discern if this is a spontaneous gesture or if this is something he does to appear as soft-minded and friendly.

The weapon was found in a rented car.

He admits without any hesistation that he had a weapon in his apartment in Frihetsvägen i Järfälla [Stockholm]. He points to another defendant Mounir Dhahri as the one who tookmthe weapon to his apartment. “I said I did not want weapons at my place.” Dhahri sits about ten meters away and gazes over on his former friend. His jaws are clenched.

The prosecutor displays an automatic rifle with a silencer for the court and the journalists in the courtroom. I do not want to claim that there was a breeze blowing though the room, but it was striking. Zalouti acknowledges that this is the same gun that he had in his apartment. “Dhahiri said that the weapon was not functional.”

The prosecutor claims that with this weapon and a handgun that the three defendents planed to storm the Jyllands-Posten’s editorial in central Copenhagen and kill as many people as possible. This would have been a revenge for caricatures which were published in 2005.

The weapon was found in a rented car which was used by the men who drove it to Copenhagen on the night of December 29, 2010. What they did not know is that the police had recorded every meter of their trip from Stockholm. The prosecutor shows survailance images of the car passing the Öresund Bridge at 02.02h. An hour later they had arrived to an apartment at Mörkhöjvej 92 in the Copenhagen suburb Herslev.

They were observed by the police even here. The prosecutor displays another surveillance video from the apartment there the men prepared to go to bed. While they sleep, the police search their car and finds, besides the weapons, ammunition and two plastic bags filled with cable ties. The bags have the fingerprints from the defendants. Cable ties can be used to tie people up.

The prosecutor displays a bag of cable ties in the courtroom. On the court’s big screen we can see a receipt from a Bauhaus store in Järfälla and a surveillance image of what appears to be one of the defendants buying cable ties couple of hours before departing to Copenhagen.

The score of evidences is demonstrated after searches made in the apartment in Herslev. In a jacket they found 20 000 dollars. In another jacket, a map and ammunition rounds. 36 rounds in total. The evidences supporting the charge that the men planned to carry out an attack is convincing. The proceedings take place in room 404 on the top floor of the Glostrup district court. Outside there is a helicopter hovering the building. Many policemen gurd the front and back entrances. There is a metal detector at the door of the courtroom. I’m thoroughly searched before entering the room. This is far more thorough search than at the airport.

The prosecutor plays a sound file from an mp3player which was seized during the arrests. An Arabic speaking voice proclaims something with songs in the background. On the screen in front the translation rolls: “The have declared war and enmity against us. What are we waiting for?” The voice intones. ”With the sword do we follow the enemies and strike them down.”

Wolfgang Hansson (A US- and Foreign Correspondent for Aftonbladet)

Swedes arrested for planning terrorist crime in Denmark

Three out of four men arrested in Denmark December 29, suspected of planning an attack on the newspaper JyllandsPosten in Copenhagen, came from Sweden. And later a fifth man connected to the plot against the Danish newspaper, which published the Muhammad cartoons five years back, was arrested in Stockholm.

The arrest was preceded by intelligence work by as well the Swedish (SÄPO) and the Danish (PET) Secret Police. According to Jacob Scharf at PET, Several of the suspects could be described “as militant Islamists with connections to international terror networks.” Danish justice minister Lars Barfoed said in a comment that the arrest prevented what could have been the most serious attack to ever occur in Denmark. One suspects that the plan was to try to gain access to JyllandsPosten’s office building and to try to shot as many as possible, and maybe also take hostages.

The arrested men are a 37-year-old Swede of Tunisian background, a 44-year-old Tunisian, a 29-year-old Swede born in Lebanon, a 30-year-old Swede and a 26-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker. The first three were all living in Sweden and travelled to Denmark overnight in a rented car. SÄPO had the men under surveillance and followed them all the way to Copenhagen, where they were arrested as soon as they connected to the man living there.

“We learned that people in Sweden were planning a terror crime in Denmark. We’ve known about it for several months. These people are known to the police in Sweden. We contacted our Danish colleagues. We’ve had people under intense surveillance,” SÄPO head Anders Danielsson said on Wednesday.

One of the men arrested in Denmark, a 29-year-old Swede of Lebanese decent, have been arrested two times earlier. In 2007 he was arrested in Somalia together with several other Swedes, including his then 17-year-old fiancée, on suspicions of having fought on the side of Islamic forces in the ongoing battle in Somalia. He was also arrested once in Pakistan two years later. Also detained were, again, his fiancé and the couple’s toddler son, and Mehdi Ghezali. Ghezali is a former inmate of the US-operated Guantánamo Bay prison, who was released in 2004.

Also the man arrested in Stockholm in connection to the plot against JyllandsPosten in Copenhagen has a previous record. He was arrested in Pakistan last year and spent 10 days in a Pakistani prison for having entered the country illegally. According to Säpo, the man was involved in the planning of the Copenhagen attack, but decided to remain in Stockholm for reasons as yet unknown.

Helena Benaouda, head of Swedens Muslim Council and mother of the former fiancé of one of the now arrested men commented Friday 31 December on the arrests as follows:

“My attitude is and has always been that crime, all kind of extremism and use of violence or undemocratic means are unacceptable. I believe in an open society where individuals have both rights and responsibilities, where everyone – regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and age are equal and where all should participate. Violent criminal activity and terrorism is an attack against such a society, and against everything I believe in, including my religious faith, Islam. Myself, like everyone else, must take the threat of extremism – including Islamic extremism – in earnest to protect what I believe in. The police investigation will show who is to be held accountable, and the guilty will be punished. My daughter and her children are safe with me – and that is what is most important to me.”

Five arrested for planning imminent terror attack

Danish Intelligence agency PET has arrested four men on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against the Copenhagen offices of Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 was allegedly their inspiration. According to the agency, the arrests were made in suburban Copenhagen and were made following a long-term surveillance operation in collaboration with the Swedish Security Service SÄPO.

Three of the suspects are Swedish residents and reportedly arrived in Denmark December 28, and PET said the attack was to be carried out “in the following days”. All four suspects have Middle-Eastern or North African backgrounds. In addition to the arrests in Copenhagen, Swedish officials arrested a fifth suspect in Stockholm at the same time. During the arrests, Danish police found an assault rifle and silencer, ammunition, as well as plastic strips, which are often used by police as hand restraints.

According to PET, the group planned to kill as many people as possible in the building that houses Jyllands-Posten. Jakob Scharf, head of PET, described the suspects as “militant Islamists that had connections to international terror networks”. “The arrests underscore the terrorist threat that Denmark faces, and in particular anyone who is connected to the Mohammed drawings,” Scharf said.

Khalid Yasin gives talk on the woman’s role in society in Copenhagen

December 3, 2010

Friday December 3 2010 Khalid Yasin is going to give a talk – for women only – about the woman’s role in society seen from an Islamic, social, and societal perspective.
Yasin, controversial Muslim leader and leader of “Da’wah” organization in Manchester, England was also in Copenhagen in February 2010 and his visit resulted in a debate about whether the Municipality unwillingly had funded his visit through donations to the organization VIOMIS (Knowledge about Islam).
This time his visit also creates a stir. Member of the city council Jaleh Tavakoli, whom is also the spokesperson for ‘Free Iran’ plans to attend the speech. She says: “It’s unacceptable to invite this crazy man and it’s damaging for these women. Yasin is hostile towards women and he represents the most medieval interpretation of his religion. We are some feminists who will attend his talk and confront him”.

Second Islam Graduate Research School, Damascus April 4-15 2011

Applications are invited from graduate students working on their Masters
or PhDs for up to 12 places on a research ‘master class’ to take place
at the Danish Institute in Damascus 4-15 April 2011. The research
school will be staffed by four senior academics, one from each of the
organizing institutions. Each participant will submit a research paper
in advance, which will normally be a draft chapter from their
thesis/dissertation, plus an overall outline of the research project
identifying the topic, main research questions, theoretical and
methodological issues and a tentative chapter outline.

For details see:
http://islam.ku.dk/english/Grad_research_school_notice80.pdf

Organized by:

– The Danish Institute in Damascus (www.damaskus.dk
)

– Centre for European Islamic Thought, University of Copenhagen
(http://www.teol.ku.dk/english/dept/ceit_eng/ )

– The New Islamic Public Sphere Programme, University of Copenhagen
(http://islamicpublicsphere.hum.ku.dk/)

– Department of Near and Middle East Civilizations, University of
Toronto (http://www.utoronto.ca/nmc/)

Islam and Muslims in a plural world: the local and the global in the Middle East, Europe and North America

Organized by:

– The Danish Institute in Damascus

– Centre for European Islamic Thought, University of Copenhagen

– The New Islamic Public Sphere Programme, University of Copenhagen

– Department of Near and Middle East Civilizations, University of Toronto

Applications are invited from graduate students working on their Masters
or PhDs for up to 12 places on a research ‘master class’ to take place
at the Danish Institute in Damascus  4-15 April 2011. The research
school will be staffed by four senior academics, one from each of the
organizing institutions. Each participant will submit a research paper
in advance, which will normally be a draft chapter from their
thesis/dissertation, plus an overall outline of the research project
identifying the topic, main research questions, theoretical and
methodological issues and a tentative chapter outline.

The programme will take place over two weeks and will consist of four
elements:

– Workshops led by a staff member in which each participant will have an
extended session to present and discuss the pre-submitted papers.

– Four plenary sessions at which each of the staff members will present
current research-in-progress for open discussion.

– A series of discussion meetings with significant and interesting local
researchers and personalities of relevance to the field.

– Excursions to sites and institutions of interest within and outside
Damascus.

Muslims and political participation in Europe

Papers are invited for an international conference to be jointly organized by:
– the EurIslam network, based at the University of Strasbourg – http://www.eurislam.info/index_EN.html
– Centre for European Islamic Thought (CEIT), at the University of Copenhagen – http://www.teol.ku.dk/english/dept/ceit_eng/

The conference will take place Wednesday to Friday 6-8 October 2010 in Copenhagen. The conference was originally planned for April 2010 but had

to be postponed due to the closure of air traffic by volcanic ash.

The conference will focus on the following overlapping and interlocking dimensions (these are not to be understood as exclusive of related
themes):

1. The processes and realities of Muslim participation in local and national politics: Voting patterns and representation in local and national assemblies; the place of Islam as an identifying factor – do candidates highlight or marginalize their ‘Muslimness’ (and what is ‘Muslim’ in this context?); the relationship between Muslim and ethnic identities in the political processes.

2. Internal Muslim debates about political participation in Europe: Attitudes of Muslims to the democratic processes; views for and against political participation in non-Muslim society; who can/should represent Muslims, or are there other priorities?

3. Public discourses about Muslim participation; political participation

as a method or consequence of integration; state policies regarding Muslim political participation; relationship between participation and citizenship; is Muslim participation welcomed or contingent on privatizing the faith?

Scholars wishing to present a paper should send an abstract and a brief CV to the address below as soon as possible and not later than 1 September 2010. The abstract will be reviewed by colleagues at Copenhagen and Strasbourg and a response will be sent as soon as possible. Authors of accepted papers will have the costs of their accommodation in Copenhagen covered but will need to cover their own travel costs.

Consideration is being given to publishing the papers after the conference. Participants who wish to have their papers considered for publication should be prepared to send the full text of the paper to the

organizers by 27 September 2010.

Paper abstracts and CVs should be sent to: ceit@teol.ku.dk