June 4 2011
De Telegraaf reports that a video clip released by as-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s media branch, has featured an image of Mohammed Bouyeri, who killed Dutch film director Theo van Gogh in 2004. His inclusion is unusual in a video which otherwise focuses on depictions of senior al-Qaeda leaders.
Leading Turkish-German director Fatih Akın has said he will boycott the Swiss premiere of his new film as a protest against Sunday’s referendum vote to ban the construction of minarets in the country. In an open letter, Akın voiced his dismay and complained that the Swiss ban contradicted his belief in the “harmonious co-existence of peoples.”
“Soul Kitchen,” Akın’s comedy about the multicultural day-to-day life in the German city of Hamburg, is due to be shown in Zurich on December 16. In his letter, the director said he would not accompany his film to the country.
“As a child of Muslim parents who do not see minarets as symbols of political Islam but, rather, simply the complete architecture of their houses of worship, I feel personally affected by the referendum. That is why I refuse to travel to Switzerland,” he wrote. The minaret ban has sparked heated debates and indignant reactions from countless groups and individuals worldwide.
A district of derelict warehouses, red-brick terraces, and vibrant street life on the canals near the centre of Brussels, Molenbeek was once known as Belgium’s “Little Manchester”. These days it is better known as “Little Morocco” since the population is overwhelmingly Muslim and of North African origin. By day, the scene is one of children kicking balls on busy streets, of very fast, very small cars with very large sound systems. By night, the cafes and tea houses are no strangers to drug-dealers and mafia from the Maghreb. For the politically active extreme right, and the anti-Islamic bloggers, Molenbeek is the nightmare shape of things to come: an incubator of tension and terrorism in Europe’s capital, part of a wave of “Islamisation” supposedly sweeping Europe, from the great North Sea cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam to Marseille and the Mediterranean. The dire predictions of religious and identity-based mayhem reached their peak between 2004 and 2006, when bombs exploded in Madrid and London, a controversial film director was shot and stabbed to death in Amsterdam, and angry demonstrators marched against publication of satirical cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. For Bruce Bawer, author of While Europe Slept, the continent’s future was to “tamely resign itself to a gradual transition to absolute sharia law”. By the end of the century, warned Bernard Lewis, the famous American historian of Islam, “Europe will be Islamic”. The Daily Telegraph asked: “Is France on the way to becoming an Islamic state?” The Daily Mail described the riots that shook the nation in the autumn of 2005 as a “Muslim intifada”. Jason Burke and Ian Traynor report.
Moroccan authorities were happy for boy to make a home in Britain but officials in Surrey were not so sure.
When Robert and Jo Garofalo decided they wanted to adopt a child in Morocco they knew it would not be easy. Although the law in the Muslim state had been changed to allow foreign adoptions, the couple were required to convert to Islam first. But in the end it was not the Moroccan authorities that proved the biggest hurdle for the film director and his wife — it was their own local social services. For three months, during which Mrs Garofalo lived with their adopted son in a rented flat in Tangier, the couple were subjected to a series of what they believe were unecessarily harsh and intrusive interviews in which every aspect of their lives was scrutinised. Finally they were approved and were able to bring young Samuel back to their home, where he has thrived. So when, earlier this year, they approached Surrey social services for approval to adopt again from the same Moroccan orphanage, they were surprised to discover that they would have to go through the whole process again. The couple were particularly concerned that, in order to assess Samuel’s “attachment” to them, he would have to be monitored and even filmed while playing. Equally disconcerting was that even though social workers indicated in an initial report that they would be prepared to support the second application, the couple were left with the impression that they were being asked to do more to show they were living a Muslim lifestyle. “The Moroccan orphanage felt it would be good for Samuel to have a brother and were very positive and encouraging. They were happy with the way we dealt with Samuel’s cultural and religious needs,” Mrs Garofalo, a 40-year-old actress, said. But this was not enough for Surrey, who made clear that an assessment would go ahead only if the couple proved that they were making enough effort to live a Muslim lifestyle. In their report, social workers noted that although the couple had stated their religion was Islam “there is no outward sign that this is a Muslim family . . . Joanne and Robert are aware that the socio-religious element is an aspect of Samuel’s identity and heritage which this agency takes very seriously.” It recommended that “particular attention be given to sharing techniques and strategies with Joanne and Robert that will enhance their children’s sense of identity and legacy, particularly in view of their very public statement they made deciding to convert to Islam in order to adopt”. Rachel Kaufman reports.
Full-text article continues here.(Some news sites may require registration)