Rotterdam Dismisses Tariq Ramadan Amidst Controversy

Following controversy regarding his participation in a television program on Iranian station Press TV, Rotterdam has fired Tariq Ramadan from his position as Integration Advisor for the city council. NRC reports that officials feel Ramadan can no longer lead dialogue in the city as he has become the central focus of debate. Ramadan has also lost his position as professor of identity and citizenship at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University.

Ramadan refuses to accept the dismissal and is taking legal action against Rotterdam council as he feels he has been treated disrespectfully. According to NRC Ramadan maintains that he “does not support the current Iranian government, and says he has full editorial freedom. He believes change in Iran should come from within, for example through television. He also says he has been completely open about his television sideline. It is even mentioned on the homepage of his personal website.” Rather, he suggests that the controversy is due to the current political climate in the Netherlands and the increasing popularity of Geert Wilders.

Ramadan, 46, has been attached to the city council for two years and is a visiting professor at Erasmus University, a post paid for by Rotterdam. The dismissal comes after it emerged that Ramadan presents a weekly programme on Iran’s Press TV which is paid for by the Iranian authorities. Ramadan was asked to present the Iranian show Islam & Life two years ago because of his position on a list of worldwide intellectuals, according to Press TV’s Matthew Richardson, reports the AD.

British Colombia’s Rights Commission Rejects Muslim Complaint about Magazine Article

The Human Rights Commission in the province of British Colombia has rejected a human rights complaint against Maclean’s magazine that claimed an article about Islam violated anti-hate laws. The commission found that an October 2006 article by Mark Steyn, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” did not violate such nor raise hatred against Muslims. It is the third dismissal by a human rights commission in Canada, all of which have responded to complaints by members of the Canadian Islamic Congress.

The article is an excerpt from Steyn’s book America Alone, and discusses the global ambitions of a growing number of Muslim youth, and suggests that the West “lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it.”

Full-text article continues here.(Some news sites may require registration)

British Colombia’s Rights Commission Rejects Muslim Complaint about Magazine Article

The Human Rights Commission in the province of British Colombia has rejected a human rights complaint against Maclean’s magazine that claimed an article about Islam violated anti-hate laws. The commission found that an October 2006 article by Mark Steyn, The Future Belongs to Islam, did not violate such nor raise hatred against Muslims. It is the third dismissal by a human rights commission in Canada, all of which have responded to complaints by members of the Canadian Islamic Congress. The article is an excerpt from Steyn’s book America Alone, and discusses the global ambitions of a growing number of Muslim youth, and suggests that the West lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it.

Teacher may wear headscarf

A Muslim teacher who was fired from her job for wearing a headscarf has been allowed to return to her job. The Council of State declared her dismissal unlawful, saying that an individual public school or district may not impose a general ban on religious symbols. In early 2006, a Brussels school district began imposing such bans on religious symbols, including the headscarf worn by many Muslim women.

Muslim teachers sacked for wearing headscarf

BRUSSELS – Two Muslim teachers from the Brussels public education system have been sacked for wearing an Islamic headscarf. The Muslim teachers were first issued a warning, but continued to wear their headscarves and were later sacked. They have lodged an appeal. The director of the Brussels school group, Jacky Goris, said the dismissal was correct. “In April 2005, the board of management of the Brussels school group decided that teachers, the same as students, were not allowed to wear noticeable religious symbols,” she said. “The two Muslim teachers started the school year in September 2005 in acceptance with the regulation. But around the New Year, they suddenly started wearing a headscarf. That is a breach of contract.” Goris said they could have also chosen for a pragmatic solution. “During the lessons on Islam, they were allowed to wear the headscarf the same as priests may wear a large crucifix during religious lessons.” She added: “Outside the lessons, they could have worn a discreet scarf or a little hat. I would not have had a problem with that either”. Goris denied allegations of discrimination, pointing out that the school had sacked a teacher in 2004-05 after he sent racist emails to students. It said it imposes a policy of “neutrality”. Brussels Education Minister Guy Vanhengel has backed the stance that teachers should not wear noticeable religious symbols. Flemish Education Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said schools should individually decide whether they would allow a headscarf or not. The sacked teachers are fighting their dismissal in the council of appeal, which is made up of a magistrate, supported by two public school staff members who are not part of the Brussels school group. A definitive ruling is expected at the end of this month