November 10, 2010
During a raid last week after a bomb threat on central Göteborg, Swedish Police locked eight Muslims in a mosque during morning prayer. One of the men suspected to have something to do with the bomb threat – he has later been dismissed from the investigation – was in the mosque to pray. The other seven men had no connection to the terror accusations, but just happened to be in the mosque when police arrived.
The police blocked the mosque for three hours without any information was given to the persons inside (one of which was an elderly man who asked to have his medication, but his request was refused).
The chair of the Islamic Information Society (Islamiska informationsföreningen), Ahmed Al-Mofty, has complained about the police’s actions to Ingemar Johansson, head of the county police in Gothenburg. “The police surely wouldn’t have behaved that way if they were entering a church or a synagogue. What happened is totally insane,” he said.
The men who were locked in the mosque have no plans to pursue the matter further, but the actions of the police are being reviewed by prosecutor Björn Ericson with the Swedish National Police Crimes Unit (Riksenheten för polismål).
September 8 2010
The SVB (national insurance agency) in the Dutch city of Utrecht is offering Turkish and Moroccan immigrants an explanation- in their native languages -of the welfare payments for which they can apply, together with a free haircut. The program engaging “welfare hair-dressers” and targeting elderly immigrants is being test run in Utrecht but may soon spread to other cities. The SVB wants to promote the supplementary pension payments available, as some 15,000 eligible have not claimed their rights to these benefits.
The umbrella organization ‘The Muslim Council of Denmark’ wishes to establish nursing homes for elderly Muslims. The nursing homes will serve food prepared according to Muslim practices and holidays such as Ramadan and Eid will be celebrated. The council hopes to open the first nursing home for Muslims within two to four years. A Jewish nursing home already exists in Denmark. However, several politicians are skeptical towards the plans of Muslim nursing home but the responsible minister, minister for Social Affairs Benedikte Kiær, says there is no hindrance to establish a Muslim nursing: “The law about free nursing homes is created to make it possible to create nursing homes with specific values” she says.
Immigrant elderly women in Gouda have recently received their ‘own’ custom bus to their day-center and to the Korte Akkeren health-care center in Gouda, Telegraaf reports. Moustapha El Baroudi, spokesperson for the Zorgberaad Midden-Holland organization that bought the bus, explains that the women’s inability to tell time and reluctance to be picked up by male drivers made using local transit systems difficult.
A Utrecht nursing home for the elderly plans to open up a ‘Moroccan department’ in its facility later this summer. The nursing home, located in the neighborhood of Overvecht, will open up spots for twelve Moroccan elderly who are in poor health. The department will cater to cultural and religious sensitivities of its residents, and will include offering Moroccan TV, and making halal meals for its residents. Activities will also be adapted for the needs of the Moroccan residents. According to the nursing home’s owner, Aveant, there is great need for such a department in the local Moroccan community, and for facilities to cater to special consideration of the background and customs of its residents. Experience with Moroccan elderly shows that many do not feel at home in a regular nursing home, but Aveant is hoping that with more sensitive accommodations, it will provide a more home-like atmosphere for aging Moroccans, and to employ personnel who know the language and culture of its residents.
New flats for elderly people have opened in Bristol – with toilets that do not face Mecca. The Muslim-friendly Very Sheltered Housing (VSH) scheme in Lincoln Street, Lawrence Hill, cost more than _6 million, has 55 bedrooms and was put up by the city council and the Guinness Trust on the site of the former Wainbrook elderly persons’ home. It includes 19 flats suitable for “tenants from the Muslim community” following local consultation. A council spokesman said: “The toilets in these flats are orientated so that the user doesn’t face Mecca. “Beds are placed so that feet are facing south east and not north west. “There is a door between the kitchen and living room plus extra ventilation in the kitchen to stop smells escaping. “And plumbing has been carried out to allow for the addition of a bidet or a shower head to allow the washing of the toilet bowl.” The development is the seventh VSH scheme to open in the city. Aashyana Housing Association chief executive, Saeed Anwar, said at the time: “We didn’t need to consult with the Muslim community about the toilets. We knew this would be pleasing to them if the toilets were not facing Mecca. It didn’t mean any extra cost to us – it was just a question of making sure they were not facing south east.”http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=DE85CC79FA6A493A2AEB6846&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that Bosnian refugees living in Slovenia have a difficult time integrating in the country. Groups with special needs are often overlooked when there re mass refugee movements, and those who are above the age of 60 have a much harder time adapting than young and middle-aged refugees. Among the difficulties they experience are adapting to new homes, achieving economic self-sufficiency, legal-recognition, and absorbing the socio-cultural characteristics of the host country.