The Home Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons released its
long awaited report on “The Roots of Violent Radicalisation” earlier
today. Based on nine months of hearings, site visits and numerous
written submissions, the report provides a comprehensive overview of
recent developments and trends.
It highlights, in particular, the increasing role of the internet, the
emergence of “lone wolf” terrorists, and the potential threat from
far-right extremists. It also assesses the UK government’s revised
The UK Home Office has banned the controversial Islamist group Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) ahead of its planned protest (Hell for Heroes) at Armisticie Day Ceremonies (as reported). The decision to ban the group was made by Home Secretary Theresa May, who said that MAC was “simply another name for an organisation already proscribed under a number of names” (e.g. Islam4UK). The group was originally set up by extremist preacher Omar Bakri, who fled the UK six years ago, and was now led by Anjem Choudary. The ban of the group makes it a criminal offence to be a member of or fundraise for MAC. Following the ban of the group, Anjem Choudary had his house searched by the police. Choudary dismissed this search as a “fishing expedition”. While the MAC’s Remembrance Day protests were cancelled following the ban, Choudary announced, however, that it will not stop him from propagating what he believes in.
A report carried out by Vincent Geisser and Françoise Lorcerie under the auspices of the “At Home Europe” program has been released. The report examines the Muslim population in Marseilles within six sectors: education, lodging, employment, health, safety, political participation, and social identity and the media. Approximately 30% of the city’s population is said to be Muslim. A similar report about Paris is expected soon.
Home Secretary Theresa May has banned a march through Tower Hamlets, one of the UK’s biggest Muslim communities, planned by the English Defence League (EDL) for September 3rd. The Guardian reports that May has effectively outlawed ‘any marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs – whether by the EDL or any other group – for the next 30 days, having “balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected”’. The ban was requested by the Metropolitan police due to concern over serious public disorder, violence, and damage. In the past, members of the EDL, which purports to oppose Islamic extremism but insists to not be a racist group, have been seen to be extremely provocative during their marches, which were mainly aimed at Muslim communities.
During Ramadan last year, we traveled to 30 Mosques in 30 Days, and this year we are doing it again. I am typing this in Atlanta as Aman sleeps. I am running on less than two hours of sleep. We have traveled across America in the past 15 days, and we are only half way through our trip. This calls for a look back at some of our favorite moments.
In an attempt to promote diversity, residents at a sheltered housing complex in Preston, Lancashire, have been banned from displaying religious objects in communal areas. Both local Christian and Muslim leaders criticised the ruling and pointed to the importance of their faith to the elderly people. However, “Places for People”, the organisation that runs the place, are determined to uphold the ban of religious symbols in communal areas to promote diversity. The ban does not mean, however, that residents cannot display religious objects in their own home within the complex.
29 June 2011
Dutch Home Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner announced during the recent parliamentary debate over integration that the burqa is ‘against Dutch norms and manners’. Just as individuals are not permitted to walk around the streets naked, they should be prevented from wearing the burka. According to coverage in the Telegraaf, then, the proposed ban has less to do with public safety that with a “Dutch” value that “in our society you should be able to see each other”.
8 April 2011
German Muslims are planning a new charity fund in order to establish Islamic homes for the aged and kindergartens, the Islamische Zeitung reports. Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said the initiative would reflect the reality in German society, and it was a necessary step for Muslims. The same rights and duties as for Christian charities would apply.
According to Deutsch Türkische Nachrichten, Muslim elderly have different needs than non-Muslims. A pilot project in Offenbach near Frankfurt has therefore started an apprenticeship programme, training young men of migration background to become carers for the elderly. The programme focuses on culturally sensitive issues, language and customs, something that become especially important with people suffering from dementia. Apart from working at homes for the aged, graduates of the programme could also be employed in new projects like shared housing for intercultural groups.
Religious schools in the Netherlands may not ban Muslim pupils from wearing headscarves on the basis that it contradicts their ‘core values’. Rather, the ban may only operate if it threatens the pupil’s education. This announcement from the Dutch cabinet responded to questions from the anti-Islam PVV, following controversy regarding a Muslim pupil at a Catholic school in Volendam. The student has subsequently agreed to cover her head only in the assembly hall and school corridors, Telegraaf reports. Education Minister and Home Affairs Minister also dismissed suggestions that wearing headscarves demonstrates gender inequality, stating “fashion dictates all sorts of differences between the way men and women dress”.
February 9 2011
11 February 2011
A radical preacher banned from entering the country may now lose the platform to broadcast messages of hate to British television screens. Zakir Naik – who has claimed that “every Muslim should be a terrorist” – was banned from coming to Britain last June by Theresa May in one of her first major acts as Home Secretary. But eight months on, the 45-year-old cleric is still a key figure in a company that holds an Ofcom-approved licence for Peace TV.
Now, the broadcasting watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the satellite channel, broadcast in English and Urdu, after receiving a complaint from a viewer over its extremist messages. Programmes on Peace TV have included praise for “mujahideen” fighting British troops in Iraq, labelled Jews as an “enemy of Islam” and made claims about the 9/11 terror attacks being an “inside job”.