Yassin Elforkani, youth-imam from Amsterdam, decided to stop preaching in the Omar al-Farouk mosque in Utrecht since he is being threathened by extremists Muslims. They view him as a traitor and apostate because he tells youth not to go to Syria and Iraq to fight the jihad. He is therefore known as Holland’s most well-known critic of jihad.
On Tuesday, September 23rd, Muslims with Twitter handles Tweeted #muslimapologies, a tongue-in-cheek response to President Obama’s speech at the United Nations where the President of the United States told the General Assembly that it is time for Muslims to stand-up against ISIS. As The Washington Post points out, “#MuslimApologies represents another reaction: Frustration over the assumption of collective responsibility.
30 April 2014
Spanish authorities have arrested a French-Algerian man suspected of participating in terrorist activity in Syria.
Spain’s Interior Ministry says Abdelmalek Tanem was detained in the southeastern region of Almeria on Wednesday.
Tanem was helping Europeans enter Syria to join extremist groups and fight the Syrian government.
Tanem was a member of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from October 2013 to January 2014, according to the Interior Ministry.
The ministry said in a statement that the 24-year-old Tanem is accused of participating in unspecified terrorist activity in Syria with radical groups operating there and also worked on Syria’s border with Turkey to help European would-be extremists get into Syria.
Born in May 1989 in Vitry-Sur-Seine, France, Abdelmalek Tanem, recently returned from Syria.
The arrest is the second Spain has made of an alleged extremist arriving in the country from Syria.
French authorities assisted Spain’s Civil Guard with the investigation. The statement says Tanem holds Algerian citizenship.
A British citizen fighting in Syria is believed to have committed a war crime by taking part in the execution of a prisoner. A video that has been made public shows a rebel fighter, thought to be from London, firing a weapon repeatedly into a man who has his hands bound. A note that accompanies the video – which was uploaded to the photo and video sharing service Instagram – says the victim is “one of Bashar’s dogs”, a reference to supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It adds that the man admitted to killing four people and raping a woman.
The chilling footage is likely to reinforce the fears of UK security services that British citizens fighting in Syria pose a serious threat if they ever return, due to the likelihood that they will have been radicalised by the war.
The clip was uploaded by an account linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) –the most extremist rebel group in Syria. It is thought the incident took place within the last two weeks near the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, in northern Syria. After a fellow rebel shoots the prisoner in the head, the man believed to be the British citizen fires several shots into the prisoner’s body. The murder or ill treatment of prisoners is considered a violation of the Geneva Convention, which defines war crimes.
Researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), which monitors the activity of British fighters in Syria, identified the gunman as the same person who appeared in previous videos calling on fellow British Muslims to join the fight in Syria. The man goes by the name “Abu Abdullah” and speaks with a thick London accent.
A Government spokesman said: “This demonstrates why we have consistently called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. Whether this barbaric act is specifically a war crime is for a court to decide. Horrific atrocities have been committed by both the Assad regime and by extremists. The international community must ensure that all those responsible are held to account.”
April 17, 2014
An immigrant teen who had earned a scholarship to an elite U.S. college but helped solicit support for Jihadists he met online was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid had earned a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University after just a few years in the United States, where his family was building a new life after leaving Pakistan.
As his parents and siblings worked to achieve the American dream, he retreated to his bedroom in the family’s cramped apartment near Baltimore, and joined radical Islamist chat rooms by the time he was 15. He was soon conversing with Coleen LaRose, a troubled Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane,” and other extremists.
“The upheavals of my life were distorted into a force of hate so strong that it wrapped me in its claws,” Khalid, now 21, told U.S. Judge Petrese B. Tucker. He said he had trouble speaking without being misunderstood.
Defense lawyers argued that Khalid was isolated and vulnerable because he was young, an immigrant and had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder diagnosed since his arrest.
Federal prosecutors say Khalid used his “brilliance and eloquence,” along with his computer and video skills, to help them translate documents and try to recruit westerners. That got the attention of the FBI, which visited Khalid repeatedly.
March 30, 2014
The district attorney of the City State of Bremen had initiated investigations against four Salafists for “diffusing heavy criminal offenses against the State”. These four men are said to have left Germany towards Syria to fight for Salafist groups. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Bremen assesses religious and cultural associations near the mosque Masjidu-I-Furqan as extremists. They are suspected to recruit and mobilize young pupils for the Jihad in Syria. Some of these associations offer social activities such as sports to attract young Muslims. Many of them are underage.
According to the security authorities, approximately 300 German Islamists including converts have left Germany to fight in Syria. They are expected to commit violence such as the beheading of prisoners in front of the camera. These cruel rituals are interpreted as tests of courage and a means to radicalize the young men.
February 18, 2014
Islamic sectarianism has become a “deep and dangerous” problem in Britain that is being used to justify acts of religious extremism, the country’s most senior Muslim politician has warned. In a speech during a trip to the Middle East, Baroness Warsi said that differences between branches of Islam were being used by extremists to cause “tension, turmoil and terrorism”. She warned that such preaching was stripping the “soulfulness and kindness of spirit” from the heart of the religion and called on Islamic leaders to “reclaim the true meaning of the religion”.
In her speech, given at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman, Baroness Warsi said such divisions were rarely confronted but posed “a great danger to faith and our world”. “The hatred that can exist between sects – between people who follow the same God – disturbs and saddens me. And even in Britain we are not immune from it. With division being preached by some, and belittling another’s faith or denomination being used as a way of reaffirming one’s own. Often the strongest condemnation seems to be reserved for your brother or sister in faith. ” she said.
But she added she feared it was also politics masquerading as religion. “There’s a deeply disturbing political element to sectarianism when negative political forces exploit these differences,” she said. “And this approach takes on an even more sinister tone when sect is equated with nationality or loyalty to a particular country.”
Baroness Warsi, who was appointed the first Minister for Faith by the Coalition, revealed that she had been personally targeted by a gang who accused her of “not being a proper Muslim”. “They didn’t approve of me appearing in public without my face covered,” she said. “They reduced my faith to a list of ‘don’ts’, defined only in the negative, defining their faith in terms of what they were against, rather than what they stood for. I believe that this approach is at odds with the teachings of Islam.”
February 13, 2014
An amateur boxer has become the tenth known Briton to have died fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria. On Thursday police were searching the house where Anil Khalil Raoufi, 20, a mechanical engineering student, lived with his family in a suburb of Manchester. Police said they were assessing how Britons were being drawn into travelling to Syria and “how to prevent others doing the same”.
Neighbours of the family, who were not at the property yesterday, spoke of their shock as police carried on searches at the family’s detached home on a quiet, tree-lined street in Didsbury.
Raoufi’s father runs two restaurants on Manchester’s “Curry Mile” and his mother, Kamala, is a housewife. They are believed to have come to the UK from Afghanistan around 10 years ago. Their eldest son is a pharmacist and they also have a daughter and a young son, aged around nine.
He also railed against news articles calling ISIS extremists, and in one posting expressed pride that two boys “not older than 14” had joined him at a training camp. “We’re not like barbaric Victorians who sent their children up their fireplaces to die sweeping chimneys for a few shillings. Islam breeds heroes,” he said.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was aware of reports of Raoufi’s death but could not confirm them.
February 9, 2014
A young man called Ishmael, with a wispy black beard and a slight blemish in one eye, is telling me why women should be covered up and kept apart.
“If I had two sweets – one wrapped and one unwrapped – and threw them in a bin, which one would you pick out and eat?” He grins, the amateur philosopher pleased with his analogy, and breaks off to shake the hand of a young man walking past the makeshift London Metropolitan University Islamic Society stall set up in the student canteen. Ishmael, who says he is a former head of the society (something the current president later denies), appears to know a lot of the students passing through. Women are man’s great temptation,” he turns back to face me. “They should be covered up.”
Spring term 2014 was supposed to bring an end to gender segregation at British universities. In December, the Prime Minister himself intervened over the issue, emphasising through a spokesman that he wanted it banned even where men and women voluntarily separate themselves (although not in places of worship). Mr Cameron – backed by the Education Secretary Michael Gove – made his comments after Universities UK (UUK), the body that represents vice-chancellors, published new guidelines endorsing segregation which, according to some student groups and human-rights organisations, were tantamount to “sexual apartheid”.
UUK’s controversial guidance, set out in a case study detailing how external speakers from “ultra-orthodox religious groups” could request that men and women sit separately, has now been withdrawn. It continues to work with senior legal counsel and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to clarify its position. The equality group Student Rights, which monitors preaching by extremists and discrimination through segregation at student events, says separated seating has become a widespread trend at many British universities.
Yet moderate Muslims find themselves at odds with this view of the relationship between the sexes. “That [position] isn’t something I recognise at all,” says Humayun Ansari, a professor of the history of Islam and culture at Royal Holloway, University of London, who specialises in researching the experience of Muslims in Britain. “What we’re talking about is various interpretations of Islam.”
Myriam Francois Cerrah, a journalist and DPhil student at Oxford University who regularly gives talks in front of mixed and intermingled audiences at Islamic societies up and down the country, says it is the London Islamic societies, in particular, that have become dominated by these ultra-traditional stances on the relationship between men and women.
December 27, 2013
Hate crimes against Muslims have soared in the UK this year, figures show. Hundreds of anti-Muslim offences were carried out across the country in 2013, with Britain’s biggest force, the Metropolitan police, recording 500 Islamophobic crimes. Many forces reported a surge in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich, south-east London, in May.
But the figures could be much higher as nearly half of the 43 forces in England and Wales did not reveal how many hate crimes had targeted Muslims. Some forces admitted they did not always record the faith of a religious hate-crime victim.
Tell Mama, a group which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, said it had dealt with 840 cases since April, with the number expected to rise to more than 1,000 by the end of March. This compared with 582 anti-Muslim cases it dealt with from March 2012 to March 2013.
Fiyaz Mujhal, director of Faith Matters, which runs the Tell Mama project, has called for police forces to improve monitoring of Islamophobic crimes.”There are three problems we come across,” Mujhal said. “Firstly, there is a lack of understanding of the language of Islamophobia thrown at victims in any incidents. Secondly, there is very little training on how to ask relevant questions to pull out anti-Muslim cases. Thirdly, recording processes are not in line with each other. One force will allow an officer to flag an incident as anti-Muslim, another force will flag it as religious hate crime. There is no uniformity.
A CPS spokeswoman said: “As set out in CPS guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media, content has to be more than simply offensive to be contrary to the criminal law. In order to preserve the right to free speech the threshold for prosecution must be high and only communications that are grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false are prohibited by the legislation.”
A justice ministry spokesman said: “These are despicable crimes that devastate lives and communities. The courts already hand out tougher punishments where race or religion are found to be aggravating factors. The number of people receiving a custodial sentence for these appalling crimes is higher than ever before.”