Dutch Fears of Foreigners “Understandable”

28 June 2011

In a leaked copy of a speech, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen addresses Christian Democratic Party members with the message that worries about foreigners are ‘understandable’. Verhagen seeks to distance himself from the increasing populism in the Netherlands yet recognizes what drives it. He notes that “People are concerned about churches being replaced by mosques, about the fact immigrants don’t integrate and the risk that they will take Dutch jobs”, NRC reports.

Qaradawi to Norway

28 April 2011

Norwegian media reports that Yusuf al-Qaradawi is coming to Norway. He and his team are to settle on prayer times for Muslims living in the most northern hemisphere where the sun doesn’t set during summer time and never rises during parts of the winter. The knowledge of the starting and ending times for prayers is of critical importance to Muslims and also concern the religious obligation of fasting, according to the Turkish-English paper Zaman.

This has created quite a stir in Norwegian media. The daily Dagbladet, for example, refers to an article by the Iraqi-Norwegian writer Walid al-Kubaisi in which Qaradawi is said to be “more dangerous than Usama bin Ladin”. Even though Qaradawi has legitimated wife beating, female circumcision, men marrying 9-year-old girls, called the holocaust God’s punishment on the Jews and that he wants to die a martyr in an attack on the Jews, Muslims in general consider him to be moderate, according to Dagbladet.

Members of the Norwegian parliament representing the Christian Democratic Party calls Qaradawi the “sheikh of death” and demands of the Islamic Council in Norway to account for their relations with him. From what is reported it is unclear, however, if the Islamic Council in Norway has invited Qaradawi to come.
The information regarding Qaradawi coming to Norway originates from the Turkish paper Zaman.

Sarrazin Earns Millions with Anti-Immigration Book

17 December 2010

Former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin has become a millionaire many times over thanks to the proceeds of his inflammatory book attacking Muslim immigrants.
Sarrazin enraged politicians and the public this summer with the incendiary publication Deutschland schafft sich ab – Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen, or “Abolishing Germany – How we’re putting our country at jeopardy.”

In the book, Sarrazin warns that Germans could become “strangers in their own country” because of integration, and argues that Muslims are not compatible with German society.

He may have been forced to resign from his post at the Bundesbank and fight expulsion from the centre-left Social Democratic Party, but Sarrazin said on ZDF’s talk show Stuckrad Late Night on Thursday that he’d made a pile of money from the book.

When host Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre estimated that the 1.2 million copies sold had earned his guest €3 million, Sarrazin indicated it was significantly more.

Strache “Preaches” in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral

7 October 2010
In front of a crowd of 1500 supporters and 300 counter-demonstrators, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), Heinz-Christian Strache, ended his campaign for the Viennese elections with a rally in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Strache spent most of his time attacking the Social-Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and its candidate, the incumbent mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl, whom he criticized for his proximity with Islam. The SPÖ has too many candidates with Islamic background on their lists, said Strache, while he went on to attack the headscarf, “racism” against “ethnic Austrians,” and the number of foreigners in the country.

Muslims are not Welcome in the Christian Party

Thursday 9, 2010
Bjarte Ystebø, editor in the Christian paper Idag, speaks out against Muslims joining the Norwegian Christian Democratic Party (KrF). Christianity and Islam hold very different values, he says, and the kinship between them is greatly exaggerated.

Christianity promotes freedom, human rights and pluralism, he continues, while Islam stands for just the opposite. This, he claims, is obvious from studying all the countries in the world where Islam is the main religion, and have control over the state apparatus.

KrF most important task is to emphazise the Christian values that makes out the foundation of Norwegian society, such as family values, protection of life, property, peace, solidarity and freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Some of these values, he states, Christians share with Muslims, and if there were a Muslim party in Norway they could work together towards a mutual agenda on matters such as abortion, alcohol and family.

But when it comes to freedom of religion and speech, just as the support for democracy, Christian values collide with Islam, writes Ystebø. Therefore KrF can cooperate with Muslims, if they share these values, but ought not to include Muslims in the party. KrF needs to be, as it has been, a Christian party – he concludes.

Debating about the new mosque

For the xenophobic Northern League’s newspaper “La Padania”, the building of a mosque in Greve is a disgrace, exactly like the idea of building a mosque in Ground Zero. Indeed, in their opinion, what is taking place is a clash of civilizations. The Greve’s Northern League group leader announced a referendum. The mayor of Greve, member of the Democratic Party, explained that Muslims have never asked the municipality to build a mosque, but only support to find a place for worship. However, the mayor continued, the Northern League is propagating that the municipality’s money would pay for construction of a mosque, and asks residents to oppose the construction. Although this false, is nevertheless gaining support among many politicians, even left wing parties. Despite all this, according to the mayor, cultural and religious diversity is a positive development, and has to be sustained and enhanced. For this reason, he has just started a programme with the help of local associations, to explain to people how to tackle the issue of integration and coexistence. He reaffirms that religious freedom is a constitutional principle and, indeed, has to be granted.

Interview with German MP Sebastian Edathy on Muslim and immigration issues

In an interview, conducted by Euro-Muslims Editorial Desk, Mr. Sebastian Edathy shares his views on immigrant and particularly Muslim participation in German politics. Edathy is a German MP of Indian origins and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Asked about the withering support of Muslims for the Social Democratic Party, Edathy claims legislation changes in family reunification responsible, which requires family members to learn basic German before joining their partners in Germany. Regarding reasons for Islamophobia, Edathy thinks that much is owed to the linking of “Islamic” and “Islamist”, i.e. the equation of religion and fundamentalism.

Canadian House of Commons votes for apology to Muslims tortured abroad

A majority in the House of Commons says the Canadian government must apologize for the torture ordeals of three Muslim-Canadian men detained in Middle East jails and immediately overhaul the country’s national security review regime. The New Democratic Party brought a motion to have the full Commons endorse a June parliamentary committee report that urged the government to implement recommendations from two earlier judicial inquiries.

The committee had examined the government responses to inquires by Justice Dennis O’Connor into the Maher Arar scandal, and Justice Frank Iacobucci into the detentions abroad of three other men who were tortured in Syrian or Egyptian jails.

The Conservative government has already apologized to Maher Arar, and awarded him $10.5 million in compensation after O’Connor found he was deported to torture in Syria largely because of faulty Canadian intelligence. While there were similar findings of inflammatory labelling by Iacobucci in the cases of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, the government has denied liability in civil lawsuits filed by the men.

Tarek Fatah calls NDP leader Jack Layton’s comments about Islam into question

Tarek Fatah claims that New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton’s Eid greetings are reflective of “politicians tripping over one other to prove their credentials as lovers of Islam and all things Muslim.” Fatah adds, “As if to ensure his credibility and authenticity as the true pro-Islam politician in Canada, Layton invokes the names of some Muslim Canadians and his solidarity with them. No, he does not mention the CEO of Rogers or the Secretary-Treasurer of the CLC nor does he mention any of the Muslim Senators or MPs; trade unionists or physicians; janitors or economists. He assumes we Muslims do nothing other than pray and preach. That all of us are all linked up in varying degrees to religiosity and Islamic organizations ranging from the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to the local chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Muslim group in Germany demands ban on anti-mosque party

A far-right party which is organizing pickets outside German mosques should be banned, a leading Muslim group said Tuesday. Aiman Mazyek, secretary of the Council Council of Muslims, one of four main Islamic groups in Germany, added it was intolerable that the National Democratic Party (NPD) was able to obtain state payouts. He spoke in the central city of Erfurt where the Thuringia state chapter of the far-right group had earlier announced the anti-mosque parades, triggering plans by opponents for counter-demonstrations. Mazyek spoke just days after a Muslim woman was murdered in court by a right-winger as she was seeking justice against him for insulting her for wearing a head-scarf. Germany’s main parties have hesitated to seek a legal ban on the NPD after a 2003 bid was defeated in court. Under a law granting state aid to all parties in proportion to the votes they receive, the NPD has obtained government subsidies.