Controversial mosque allowed to be build in Gouda

Although the town council of Gouda has yet to agree on the matter, the College of Mayors and Aldermen have decided that the so-called ‘mega mosque’ is allowed to be build. Despite criticism from people in the neighbourhood. Political party CDA (Christian Democratic Appel) is ‘astonished’, because at this point there is still an investigation going on with regards to the funding of the mosque. There exists namely a fear that a lot of funding is coming from international Salafi networks, which is being denied by the College itself.

Why citizens of Gouda don’t want a ‘mega mosque’

Citizens in the neighbourhood where this so-called ‘mega mosque’ is planned being build are not happy with this plan.

Edward Uittenbroek is one of the initiators of ‘Gouda Noord zoals het Hoort’ [‘Gouda North, how it should be’] and is worried about a dense Islamic concentration in the neighbourhood. Because this mosque ought not only to be a mosque but an Islamic centre as well, providing space for 1500 visitors.
Besides that, more con’s are being heard. The mosque, if its build, will share its location with institutions for autistic and handicapped persons. People are questioning if it’s a good idea that a busy Islamic centre will share its location with institution where a calm environment is preferred.

The mosque will be build on a old barrack site and some people are afraid that an underground bunker will be used by returnees from Syria. The municipality however denies that such a bunker even exists.

Other critiques or fears are: a decline in the value of the houses in this area, a suspicious funding of this mosque (by international Salafi networks), possible traffic problems and ‘hate preaches’.

The government’s denial of the current stigmatization of French Muslims

French politicians react to a string of attacks by Muslims over the Christmas holiday. (Photo: AFP)
French politicians react to a string of attacks by Muslims over the Christmas holiday. (Photo: AFP)

Press release from Bertrand Dutheil de La Rochère, advisor of Marine Le Pen.
“To refuse to denounce the Islamist fundamentalism in the light of current acts of individual terrorism is to deny what is real. Such silence will not lead to measures that would isolate and repress the extremists. With government inaction in the face of these crimes, widespread censure should not fall on all of our Muslim citizens. Yet, those who wish to practice their faith while respecting the laws of the Republic are in the large majority. The official soothing discourse does not reflect recent events and leads to misconceptions.

That certain perpetrators of these crimes are psychologically disturbed, that some are recent converts has little relevance: their inspiration always comes from dangerous jihadist ideology. To be certain, they are not part of a plot organized in Mosul or in Kabul. But they follow the Islamic State’s and other extremist groups’ radical ideology. These are no longer myths of self-radicalization or of radicalization in prisons, they find places in France where their criminal intentions are not discouraged. Sometimes they are even encouraged. It is the government’s responsibility to employ all its resources and to eventually come up with new measures to eradicate these fundamentalist groups.

With Marine Le Pen, the Marine Blue Gathering requires that every person who is a leader in the Muslim community publicly and firmly condemn all violence and all calls to violence committed in the name of the religion. In mosques, the sermons must be in French. The associations much be monitored with vigilance, and any serious suspicion must bring about their dissolution. Funding must be strictly controlled. In addition, encouragement and most of all participation in jihad must be severely punished, and those with dual citizenship must automatically lose their French citizenship. More than ever, immigration must be stopped. France must regain control of its borders and leave the Schengen Area.”

University student caught with 20,000 euros in knickers denies terrorism

19th May 2014

A university student who was caught with thousands of pounds worth of banknotes in her underwear at Heathrow airport has denied funding terrorism. Nawal Masaad, 26, is accused of trying to smuggle the cash to Turkey on January 16 this year, from where the prosecution alleged it would be taken by a contact to Syria. Notes totalling €20,000 (£16,300) in €500 notes were discovered wrapped in cling film in the young woman’s underwear when she was searched by airport security officers.

Prosecutors claim she was recruited by Amal El-Wahabi, 27, to take the money to Istanbul, where she would rendezvous with El-Wahabi’s husband, who the court heard was involved in terrorism in Syria.

Masaad, of Holloway, north London, and El-Wahabi, of north-west London, both deny “becoming concerned in a funding arrangement” and having “reasonable cause to suspect that it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism”.

The maximum sentence for the offence, if convicted, is 14 years’ imprisonment. The pair are the first British women to be charged with terrorism offences related to the conflict.

The Gulen movement in Germany

March 20, 2014


Opaque structures and ambiguous objectives are not conducive to the education of the young. This is why the Gulen movement must be monitored more closely, writes Ursula Ruessmann

In Germany, supporters of the Muslim Gulen movement run two dozen officially accredited private schools and close to 300 educational institutes offering private tuition, many of which are recognised as providers of integration courses and receive state funding.



Arabs ready to pay for the first Mosque in Milan

January 29, 2014


Italian and foreign lenders are ready to put the money needed to build a new Mosque in Milan; this new plan is instead of the use of the Palasharp building. The City continues to conceal these plans, at least until there is something concrete.

A slow negotiation is taking place between the deputy mayor Ada Lucia De Cesaris, some Italian and foreign entrepreneurs, and of course representatives of Muslim communities. While most continue to be tight-lipped about the new place of worship, a rough draft for a new place of worship to be built on the former Palasharp was officially presented.

De Cesaris, confirms that the committee is working on various ideas, but opposes a clear selection by stating “no comment.” His office has denied that there has been any selection in anticipation of meetings with the leaders of Islamic organizations in Milan. Davide Picarddo, a spokesman for CAIM (il Coordinamento delle associazioni islamiche di Milano), agrees: “I can only say that there is a dialogue going on with this administration, and that there is full awareness, even on their part, that the new mosque can no longer be postponed.”

Picarddo admits that there is a project already in discussion: “It is obvious that CAIM has advanced a project, but for now we do not want to make it public due to the high possibility of many changes.”

Regarding the funds needed to construct the building , Picarddo’s words are very clear: “the Italian taxpayer will not spend a dime. We have asked Italian entrepreneurs and foreign foundations in the Persian Gulf, to provide the necessary funding. Milan is an international city, we have businessmen who come to visit from Arab countries. And it is here that there is widespread interest in a place worthy of prayer. Garages, basements and sheds, should not be a long-term plan.”


La Repubblica:

Al-Madinah free faith school expected to be closed by the government

October 17, 2013


A controversial free school condemned in an official report as “dysfunctional” is expected to be closed by the government by the end of the year after ministers seemingly concluded that it is beyond rescue.

As Labour claimed that Michael Gove had suffered a devastating blow to his flagship free schools policy after the Al-Madinah school in Derby was labelled by Ofsted as chaotic, David Cameron said that he would not hesitate to close it.

Lord Nash, the schools minister, indicated that the Al-Madinah school was facing closure when he warned the chair of governors that the Ofsted report had confirmed his “very serious concerns” which prompted him to order the inspectorate to bring forward its report by two months. “The report is further compelling evidence of the breaches of the funding agreement I have required you to address,” he wrote. ” I am even more convinced of the need for very decisive and urgent action on the part of the trust to comply with all your obligations and remedy the serious failings at the school.”

The school, which has been placed in special measures, will face regular inspections over the next few weeks. The education department will decide on 1 November whether to terminate the school’s funding agreement, effectively forcing it to close. The school could technically continue if it can raise funds independently although it is thought it would be unable to do so.

The closure of the first free school since the launch of Gove’s controversial new policy will mean that the 412 pupils at the school, aged between four and 16, would have to be sent to other schools in Derby.

The move will raise questions about the money that has been spent on the school that is likely to have run into the millions. The average school is given £3,500 per pupil a year plus around an extra £700 for pupils from deprived backgrounds.

A current teacher at Al-Madinah said the atmosphere in the school was tense on Thursday after it was surrounded by media asking for comment on the Ofsted report. The teacher said there was no surprise that the report was so scathing but that the media was wrong to focus on the Islamic practices at the school, such as alleged segregation of boys and girls and asking female teachers to cover their heads. “This is not about Islam at all. The problem here is poor management, poor financial management, a lack of proper governance and a lack of focus on teaching and learning – not Islam,” said the source.

The Ofsted inspectors agreed, reporting that “failures in leadership and management are at the heart of the school’s dysfunctional situation.” The inspectors placed the blame firmly at the governors’ door, saying: “Despite their commitment to the vision for the school, the governors have failed the parents of this community who have placed their trust in them.”


The Guardian:

Islamic Secondary School in Rotterdam to Close

10 September 2013

Ibn Ghaldoun School, the Rotterdam secondary school which was the focus of an exam theft earlier this year, is to lose its government funding and close down. According to Sander Dekker, the Netherlands’ Junior Education Minister, the closure is based on a recommendation from school inspectors.

The school has financial difficulties, and according to Dekker, almost 80% of its upper school teachers do not have sufficient levels of Dutch or educational qualification.

The school was the scene of an exam theft in May 2013, when it emerged that 27 national exam papers had been stolen and distributed to students.

Two years ago, Amsterdam’s only Islamic secondary school was also closed due to standards and financial difficulties. The country has some 40 Islamic primary schools.

Pineda de Mar buys a place to set a mosque to the Muslim community

31 July 2013


The municipality of Pineda de Mar (Maresme) has bought a place to set in a civic center for the Muslim community[1].
Jordi Masnou, Town Planning, has argued that the goal is “to provide a suitable place to the entities and associations to develop all kinds of activities.”
For more than half a year that the City and the Muslim community have been searching for a site in the industrial park suitable to be an Islamic worship center, once discarded the option of moving the site to a warehouse in the district of Les Creus due to the neighborhood’s opposition.

[1] According to the Organic Law of Religious Freedom  “Ley Orgánica de Libertad Religiosa (7/1980); autonomous regions have full legislative powers in what concerns urban planning and funding. Therefore specific construction and legality of each of the mosques or places of worship will depend on the specific legal implementation by regional and local administrations.


Young British Muslim converts need support to prevent another Woolwich

As a Muslim convert, I set up a project to counter radicalisation among young urban men. But our funding was cut by the government and now there’s a vacuum. The former chairman of Brixton mosque in south London saw the challenges facing new converts to Islam.


Since 2005, there have been 148 teenage murders in London; 100 are knife related and 27 have been gun related. In 2011, the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark recorded the highest number of knife crimes in London. Add to this dynamic, youths who try to escape this lifestyle – not through education or employment (due to these avenues either failing or rejecting them) – but through religion; Islam in particular, due to its ability to transfer their focus towards personal and spiritual empowerment, no matter what adverse circumstances they face. The young urban Muslim convert feels this sense of empowerment reducing the sense of helplessness, frustration and anger towards the marginalisation he has faced throughout his young life. However, he is at a “founding” idealistic stage of his new faith and, particularly if he had a propensity for violence and criminality before he converted, his vulnerability is clearly evident for all to see – especially extremist propagandists seeking “foot soldiers”.


The author argues that, although psychological and social mosaics are clearly influencing factors to how we initially develop as new Muslims, there are defining catalysts that propel an individual from being radical or non-violent to violent. “Cycle of violence” theories refer to a “tipping point” – when an individual reaches a point of no return due to an incident or event which pushes them across the threshold to commit a violent or terrorist act. Richard Reid – the shoe bomber’s – tipping point was when the “war on terror” was launched against the Taliban in Afghanistan shortly after the events of 9/11.


As former chairman of Brixton mosque, in south London, I saw the challenges facing new converts to Islam. The mosque was able to provide the spiritual and familial support often required at the most formative “founding” stage of their lives. The over-zealousness that usually accompanied this stage led converts on a quest to learn more about the religion from various sources.


For this reason, youth intervention programmes such as Street UK (Strategy to Reach Empower and Educate Teenagers) were established. More than 4,500 young men participated in Street activities in 2010, the penultimate year before funding was withdrawn by the coalition government. We still operate voluntarily, but at a much reduced capacity. So there is a vacuum. Young men are no longer actively engaged or challenged ideologically by those most qualified, both socially and religiously, to do so; extremist narratives proliferate unchallenged and are no longer deconstructed to susceptible converts at the grassroots where such messages are most potent. In light of this, there is an uncomfortable realisation that those behind the Woolwich attack are unlikely to be the last to be violently radicalised.