French hold anti-racism rally in Paris

Press TV – May 28, 2011

Rallies were held across France to protest what many say is the continued scapegoating of Muslims and immigrants for political gain. In Paris, thousands marched under many different banners, but they all spoke of feeling excluded from French society.

Since his appointment in February, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé has been the point man in the Sarkozy administration’s desire to keep their “national identity” campaign in the media. Recent decisions such as the burqa law, debates on the role of Islam in France and the deportation of Tunisian immigrants have been condemned by many as purposely divisive. With unemployment and social insecurity still high as France tries to exit the Great Recession, the message here is that foreigners will not tolerate being used as a distraction.

Minister Says “Westernised” Afghan Girls Must Leave Netherlands

March 22 2011
Immigration minister Gerd Leers announced Tuesday that an estimated 400 Afghan girls living in the Netherlands must return to Afghanistan “even though they have become totally ‘westernized’”. Leers had been asked to find out how many girls faced deportation, and responded that of the women present in the country given asylum on claims they are at risk if they return to their home country, there are approximately 100 young girls who remain in the appeal process and a further 300 “have no right” to stay in the Netherlands.

Ethnic Turks Encounter “Kültürschock” when moving from Germany to Turkey

More ethnic Turks are now moving out of Germany than in. As the German economy lags, a Western education helps professional Turkish Germans find work in a booming Muslim nation. But they aren’t always welcomed “home”.

The first time Ömer Küçükbay felt homesick for Germany, he was lying on a cot in a military barracks north of Antalya. He was 20 years old, it was 2 a.m., and an officer was bellowing at him that he should go keep watch. First, though, someone had to translate the officer’s command, since Küçükbay spoke no Turkish. He was fluent only in a Bavarian dialect of German. The son of Turkish guest workers in Eggenfelden, Lower Bavaria, he had signed up for military service in Turkey on a whim, to express affection for country he really only knew from family vacations. “But somehow I was always just a foreigner in Germany too,” he says. “To the kids in my class, I was simply a Turk. So I wanted to see what it’s like to be Turkish.”

The experiment lasted three months, at which point Küçükbay got tired of being yelled at and crawling through dust. He went back to Eggenfelden and swore never to return to Turkey. That was 1991. Since then, things have turned out differently, partly because of Küçükbay’s father, who suffered a heart attack in his homeland, and partly because of a girl from Istanbul Küçükbay fell in love with. He opened a teahouse, married and learned Turkish.

Today the 38-year-old works in a call center in Istanbul. He has made a life for himself here, working for a German company where almost all of more than 250 employees are Turkish Germans, and nearly all have a similar story to tell. Theirs are stories of growing up in Germany as the children of guest workers, only to emigrate back to try their luck in their parents’ home country. The reasons vary — they came because they felt excluded in Germany, because of a formal deportation, because family called, or to pursue a career.

The stories often involve well-educated, well-integrated Turkish Germans — the vast majority of emigrants who return to Turkey are young academics moving for economic reasons. Around 40,000 Turks and Turkish-descended Germans left for their parents’ country of origin last year, or 10,000 more than the number of immigrants arriving from Turkey. A decades-long immigration trend has reversed.

Son of suspected extremist expelled from Canada

Police in Windsor, Ontario have apprehended the son of a suspected Muslim extremist killed this week in Detroit by U.S. agents, and within hours Canadian border agents expelled him from the country.

“We have him now,” FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold said. Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, 30, had been living openly in Windsor for months and moving routinely back and forth between Windsor and Detroit.

Canadian border agents declined to say why Carswell had been expelled or whether he was entitled to any hearing. The section of the FBI complaint involving Carswell says he was involved in teaching martial arts to young children in mosques on both sides of the river separating Detroit and Windsor and that he sometimes beat them. Windsor police spokesperson Sergeant Brett Corey said there were no charges outstanding against Carswell and he was turned over to Canadian border agents.

“Radical” imam in Seine-Saint-Denis, France deported to Egypt

According to French Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux, Ali Ibrahim El Soudany, an imam in Seine-Saint-Denis, is a “radical Islamicist” preaching “violence”. For these reasons, El Soudany has been deported back to his native Egypt.

El Soudany, born in 1973, preached in several mosques in the east of Paris in the 18th and 19th districts but principally in Pantin and Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).

Since 2001, 129 radical Islamicists, including 29 imams, have been deported from France.

Two Pakistani students, held in anti-terror raids, have left the UK and returned home

Two Pakistani students arrested over an alleged terror plot have returned to Pakistan after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily, the Home Office has said. Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people held by police after raids in north-west England in April, but the pair were never charged.

It is understood the men decided to leave after being denied bail while appealing against deportation. Abdul Khan said his detention had been “like a hell” and his treatment showed the British authorities “do not know what justice means”. The men’s solicitor, Amjad Malik, said his clients should have been freed instead of being held for months. Mr Malik claimed both men had been frequently strip-searched, subjected to “searches by dogs” and served tainted food. The British High Commission in Pakistan has rejected the allegations as “unfounded”.

al-Qaeda group demands release of Abu Qatada or British hostage will be killed

al-Qaeda’s North African wing has threatened to kill a British tourist taken hostage in the Sahara unless the radical cleric and terrorism suspect Abu Qatada is released within 20 days. The kidnapped man was among four European tourists seized in January after their convoy was ambushed near the border of Niger and Mali, where they had been after attending a Tuareg festival.

Abu Qatada, once described by a Spanish judge as “Osama bin Laden’s righthand man in Europe”, is being held in Britain pending deportation to his native Jordan, where in 1999 he was convicted in his absence of conspiracy to cause explosions and sentenced to life imprisonment. The charges related to bombings at the American school and the Jerusalem hotel in Jordan. He was convicted a second time in 2000 over a plot to bomb tourists. Abu Qatada is one of the highest profile terror suspects held in Britain today, and when Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, signed his deportation order on 18 February she said: “I am keen to deport this dangerous individual as soon as I can.”

“We demand that Britain release Sheikh Abu Qatada, who is unjustly [held], for the release of its British citizen. We give it 20 days as of the issuance of this statement,” the group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said in a posting on an Islamist website yesterday. “When this period expires, the Mujahideen will kill the British hostage.”

The issue highlights the difficulty how to deal with dangerous Islamist prisoners and with al-Qaeda threats from outside Europe, while maintaining security in the UK and without endangering any hostages.

Extremist Abu Qatada smuggles statements out of prison

Abu Qatada, an extremist cleric held in a high-security jail in Worcestershire, has smuggled messages out of prison to his followers. Besides praising the Mujahidin and the “martyrs of Hamas”, he also claims his treatment is helping to radicalise a new generation of young British Muslims:

“A new generation of the Muslim youth has been raised, and especially amongst our brothers who originate from the Indian subcontinent, who were no longer mesmerized by the English authority, nor regarding the English values — rather they hate it and they know its enmity towards them, so they have become enemies towards it as well.”

He furthermore writes about meeting Bilal Abdullah, a doctor jailed for the car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow in 2007, who says he was heavily influenced by Abu Qatada’s taped sermons. Abu Qatada was detained under emergency anti-terror laws in October 2002 and is currently being held pending deportation to Jordan, where he has been convicted in his absence for involvement in terrorist attacks.

Terror deportation: Lecturers petition home secretary

The University and College Union (UCU) today protested to the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, against the deportation of a Nottingham University administrator caught up in a police investigation of terrorist literature. Hicham Yezza, who was working as an administrator at the university, was arrested for printing out a copy of the widely available al-Qaida training manual for his friend, Rizwaan Sabir. He was re-arrested on immigration grounds after his release from custody and is due to be deported to Algeria on June 1. Sabir, 22, was arrested and detained under the Terrorism Act for six days after downloading al-Qaida-related material for his research into terrorist tactics. His university supervisors have insisted the materials were directly relevant to his research. Sally Hunt, general secretary of UCU, said Yezza had no involvement in activity that threatened public safety and was being denied a fair trial. She said he lived in the UK for 13 years, studied for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and had been planning to take his annual trip to the Hay festival when he was arrested. Earlier the lecturers’ union conference in Manchester heard that university staff were censoring their own work because of the climate of fear on campus created by the government’s anti-terrorism agenda. Anthea Lipsett reports.

Mass arrests during pro-migrant demonstration in Brussels

Several hundred people demonstrated outside the Palace of Justice in Brussels, demanding that currently detained undocumented migrants be released. Police used force to break up the unlicensed protest, and arrested 130 in the event, many of them migrants themselves. Those who are undocumented face penalties for taking part in the demonstration, and may also face deportation, according to a spokesperson for a Belgian migrant organization.