Coín the first municipality outside Catalonia to impose a ban on the burqa and niqab

Coín Town Council (in the province of Malaga, Andalusia), led by a coalition formed by the Socialist and Andalusian Party, is the first municipality outside of Catalonia to instate a ban on the burqa and niqab. According to a member of the Council, there are at least three cases of women wearing the burqa whose husbands do not allow them to leave their homes.

Toronto 18 Terror Case Closes

The final chapter in the story of the Toronto 18 terror cell closed last week with convictions, but experts warn there is no end to the threat of homegrown religious extremism among Muslim youth. Community members and security experts agree that youth are being radicalized in their own homes by tapping into an online jihadi cyberworld and also behind closed doors of private prayer rooms where firebrand religious ideologues go unchallenged. And increasingly, they are travelling overseas to countries such as Somalia and Pakistan to take up arms and fight jihad.

The arrests four years ago of what became known as the Toronto 18 woke up a country that had appeared immune to the kind of attacks that had terrorized cities such as New York and London. Evidence emerged of plots to storm Parliament Hill, behead the prime minister and blow up truck bombs in downtown Toronto.

The final two accused, Asad Ansari, 25, of Mississauga, and Steven Chand, 29, of Scarborough, were found guilty by a Brampton jury of participating in a terrorist group. It was the first time a Canadian jury has ruled on a terrorism case since the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation in 2001, passed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sinterklaas invited to Dutch mosque

The Turkish Ayasofya mosque in Hengelo invited Saint Nicholas to make an appearance at a party on Friday December 4.

During Sinterklaas, the annual festival held on December 5 in the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas visits children’s homes and leaves sweets and gifts for them in their shoes. As preparation for the party are underway, a board member of the cultural association for Islam in the city explains that she has agreed to the party as “a gesture of overture. We’re open to Dutch culture… And for that matter… Saint Nicholas originally comes from Turkey.”

Investigation into radical Islam in France

In this article, two Le Figaro reporters, Nadjet Cherigui and Axelle de Russé, interview Salafi burqa-wearing women in France to ask them their positions on the debate on its public legitimacy. They visit women in their homes in the banlieues and reveal that they are “elegant and feminine” with concerns about fashion and their children. One woman claims that her decision to wear a burqa was not welcomed by her family of Malian-origin and that she does not feel comfortable sending her children to public school. This second women is married to a “Français de souche” convert.

Islamic Relief responds to Italian earthquake

Islamic Relief Italy has established operation for a camp for displaced people in the village of Onna, which was completely destroyed by the April 6th earthquake in L’Aquila. “The earthquake destroyed everything; universities, schools, hospitals and clinics which is affecting the provision of essential services. People have lost their homes and are living in tents and they desperately need more help,” said Paulo Gonzaga, Director of Islamic Relief Italy. Islamic Relief Italy began to help with distributions two days following the earthquake, providing 800 people in Montecchio with food, clothing, blankets, and hygiene kids, along with a further 1,000 in Abagno and L’Aquila. Islamic Relief is presently working with the Catholic association La Misericordie, and intends to provide further support to children affected by the natural disaster.

Jihadists Targeted in Germany: Police Raid Homes of Suspected Islamists

Police have raided over a dozen properties across Germany in a major anti-terrorism operation. Their targets were radical Muslims who they suspect were wanting to wage jihad in Germany and abroad. Police carried out anti-terror raids across Germany on Wednesday, aimed at disrupting a network of Islamists who were allegedly trying to radicalize Germans and support jihad abroad. Around 130 officers raided 16 homes, clubs and publishing houses in Berlin, Bonn, Leipzig, Sindelfingen, Neu-Ulm and Ulm early on Wednesday morning. The Munich public prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation, said the raids were directed at Islamists who are suspected of “forming a criminal network.” The nine men are German nationals aged between 25 and 47. Most of them are of immigrant background. The men are accused of trying to radicalize Muslims and non-Muslims in the period since September 2005. According to investigators, their base was a former community center called the Multicultural House in Neu-Ulm, a notorious meeting point for radical Islamists.

Airline plot suspects ‘inspired by 7/7 gang’

Two of the suspects arrested and accused of plotting to blow up transatlantic jets had in their possession, pictures of the July 7 bombers. Documents linked to the London bombings were found in the homes of two of those found trying to smuggle home made liquid bombs on aircraft, a jury was told. Documents referring to September 11th and jihad were also found in the searches. In all, eight men are on trial accused of conspiring to murder and endanger the safety of the aircraft. Evidence showing plans to attack Belgian and British pipelines were also found in searches of the suspects. The eight men are currently on trial in a Crown Court trial in London.

Muslim women literally living in chains claims rights activist

Souad Sbai, the president of the Association of Moroccan Women in Italy claims that some Muslim women in the north of the country are being kept chained in their homes. Sbai also claims that Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood organization is slowly infiltrating Italian politics. In northern Italy, there are women that live chained at home, from the kitchen to the bathroom, without being able to open the door,” she said. Her claims took place during the presentation of a new book by Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, called _The Cost of the Veil – Islam’s War Against Women.’ Sbai praised the book as a gift to Muslim women who have suffered or died at the hands of extremism.

Spain, France in tussle over handling of alleged terror plot in Barcelona

After police and security forces arrested several men and seized bomb-making material in Jan. 19 raids on a mosque and four other homes, Spain’s attorney general said they had stopped an imminent attack. Spanish authorities, however, quickly backed off that, acknowledging that the amount of explosives seized was very small. What is clear, however, is that the case has created problems between Spanish and French intelligence services. The Barcelona plot was uncovered thanks to a French secret agent identified as F-1, who arrived on a train from France to join the cell. A French security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the intelligence, told The Associated Press that counterterrorism teams in France had expressed “astonishment” about the way Spanish authorities had handled the case. French authorities questions whether handlers of the case in Barcelona had jeopardized other investigations, elsewhere.

Al-Qaeda linked cell arrested in France

French authories held five men suspected of providing logistical support to al-Qaeda to the group Islamic North Africa, were rounded up near the Normandy city of Rouen. Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for twin truck bombings of the U.N offices on December 11t that killed at least 37 people. Police seized computers and searched the men’s homes, and police report that the men had been under surveillance. There was nothing to suggest that the five men had any connection to the recent suicide bombings in Algeria. Three other men who were detained were later released, and police added that the remaining detained men were not suspected of planning attacks in France. The men however, are accused of providing computer and telecommunication material to Al-Qaeda branch members in North Africa.