Belgian Member of Parliament Proposes Burqa Ban

Christine Defraigne has announced a proposal to ban the burqa in Belgium almost five years after a similar text was brought by the MR to parliament. The proposal suggests that wearing a burqa in public in a way that masks or hides the identity of the person under the veil should be prohibited. Violations of this law would result in a penalty charge of EUR 15 to 25 and/or imprisonment of between one and seven days.

Defraigne said that women were under no religious obligation to wear the burqa. “The Qur’an does not mention it. Banning women from wearing these items is not refusing Islam as a religion. The burkha and the niqab personify the subjugation of the individual and social dehumanisation.”

Imam to sue Wilders

Imam Fawaz Jneid, who has been described as a radical cleric, is suing Geert Wilders, maker of the anti-Quran film _Fitna,’ for EUR 55,000 in damages, claiming that Wilders damaged his reputation. Jneid was featured in Wilders’ film, and claims that he was unjustly portrayed as being connected to extremism and terrorism, damaging his good name and honor. In addition, a photo of him was used in the film without the imam’s permission. Wilders dismissed the claim.

Al Qaeda leader may stand trial again for financing Islamist terrorism while in jail

According to evidence compiled by High Court Judge Ismael Moreno, Imad Eddin Barakat, the convicted leader of a Spanish Al Qaeda cell, did not stop financing Islamic terrorism even after he was imprisoned in November of 2001. Barakat is a Syrian-born Spanish citizen who is currently serving a 12-year sentence for being a member of a terrorist organization, but may stand trial again over alleged payments while he was in prison, which investigators claim went to finance terrorist projects. Judge Moreno claims that Barakat, along with two others, used relatives to an owned real estate firm of its assets, cashing checks worth 2.4 million EUR; Moreno argues that some of that money ended up in the hands of terrorist groups.

Spain’s immigrant remittances soar despite slowdown

Immigrants living in Spain sent a record EUR 8.135 billion to their home countries in 2007 – an increase of 19.5 percent from 2006. Spain’s 4.5 million immigrants, roughly 20 percent of the total population, are now the leading senders in Europe of financial remittances to their home and developing countries, and the third largest in the world after immigrants in the United States and Saudi Arabia. According to a report by La Caixa, immigrant remittances increased 60x since 1990. However, it is believed that migrant remittances from Spain will slow down in conjunction to a slowdown in Spain’s construction boom.

Two terrorist suspects nabbed in Spain

MADRID – Spanish police arrested two Pakistani men accused of financing terrorist groups in Spain and other countries following an investigation involving the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, authorities said on Friday. The officials said the men were taken into custody in Madrid and Barcelona. Searches of the men’s property turned up more than EUR 50,000 worth of bank transactions and cash. A two-year investigation in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation also found evidence that more than EUR 1 million flowed from the drug trade and other criminal actions to terrorist groups.