Five held in France suspected of sending Islamic fighters to Iraq

Five men have been arrested in the cities of Toulouse and Lot, under suspicion of helping recruit Islamic extremist fighters for combat missions in Iraq. The men are accused of providing combat training and supplying material assistance, though a search of their homes did not turn up any evidence. The men were arrested in a joint mission by both French and Belgian police.

Police Clash with immigrants at shantytown

Dozens of people were injured on Thursday in a clash between immigrant families and Spanish police trying to bulldoze homes built illegally in the _Canada Real’ shantytown in Madrid. Fighting with sticks and stones, the police fired back with plastic bullets and teargas. The shantytown houses some 30,000 people, mostly of Moroccan and Romanian immigrants.

Islamists robbing luxury homes in Spain to finance terror

Madrid: In many cases, luxury homes, both in Spain and in other European countries, as recently detected in Switzerland, are being robbed in order to provide finance for the Al-Qa’idah network’s international Islamist terrorism. This supposes a qualitative leap as until now it was known that a significant part of these funds came from large-scale drugs trafficking and what is termed low intensity crime, like cloning credit cards, collections in “illegal” mosques, document forgery and “donations”. In connection with Islamist terrorism, the National High Court’s chief prosecutor, Javier Zaragoza, will speak today at the meeting held by Eurojust in The Hague (Netherlands) about everything connected with the 11 March attacks in Madrid and the role played by the Prosecutor’s Office in the case. The attorney-general, Candido Conde-Pumpido, will also attend this meeting…

Rewriting the ad rules for Muslim Americans

Consumer companies and advertising executives are focusing on new ways to reach out to Muslim consumers in the United States. Grocers and consumer product companies are considering ways to adapt to Muslim dietary prescriptions, including the concern over the use of gelatin and pig fat often used in food, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Retailers are looking to provide more conservative skirts – not just in the colder months, but in summer too, hoping to appeal to Muslim women conscious of modest apparel. Companies in the Detroit area, with one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, are making some visible changes in their stores. A McDonald’s there serves halal Chicken McNuggets, the Walgreens has signs in both English and Arabic, and the local Ikea has been touring local homes and talking to Muslims to figure out their needs. In other cities, stores like Macy’s and Whole Foods, are the increasing number of Muslim-owned companies and media outlets, are allowing some Muslims to feel increasingly validated, and a bit less othered.

Slovenia: UNHCR says elderly refugees struggle to integrate

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that Bosnian refugees living in Slovenia have a difficult time integrating in the country. Groups with special needs are often overlooked when there re mass refugee movements, and those who are above the age of 60 have a much harder time adapting than young and middle-aged refugees. Among the difficulties they experience are adapting to new homes, achieving economic self-sufficiency, legal-recognition, and absorbing the socio-cultural characteristics of the host country.

Dutch Muslims Seek a Fresh Start

Mohammed Farjani says that since his arrival in the Netherlands 38 years ago he has wanted nothing more than to be integrated. Living among many other Moroccan immigrants in Slotervaart, Amsterdam, he became concerned that the groups of dark-skinned youths sometimes congregating on street corners would intimidate native Dutch. “We created an association to work for children in order to help them be like Dutch children, not different,” he says. He and other members of his group, the Buurtvaders (neighbourhood fathers), would patrol the streets, trying to persuade the boys to go to school or back to their homes at night. His organisation has been copied in other Dutch cities, and has been held up as a model of good citizenship.

Mecca and Main Street

Islam is America’s fastest growing religion, with more than six million Muslims in the United States, all living in the shadow of 9/11. Who are our Muslim neighbors? What are their beliefs and desires? How are they coping with life under the War on Terror? Mecca and Main Street offers illuminating answers to these questions. Gaining unprecedented access to Muslim communities in America, Geneive Abdo traveled across the country, visiting schools, mosques, Islamic centers, radio stations, and homes. She brings these stories vividly to life, allowing us to hear their own voices and inviting us to understand their hopes and their fears. Inspiring, insightful, tough-minded, and even-handed, it will appeal to those curious (or fearful) about the Muslim presence in America. It will also be warmly welcomed by the Muslim community that it depicts.

Struggle for the Soul of Islam: A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America

Muslims divided on Brotherhood: A group aiming to create Islamic states worldwide has established roots here, in large part under the guidance of Egypt-born Ahmed Elkadi By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe and Laurie Cohen Tribune staff reporters Over the last 40 years, small groups of devout Muslim men have gathered in homes in U.S. cities to pray, memorize the Koran and discuss events of the day. But they also addressed their ultimate goal, one so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy: to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well. These men are part of an underground U.S. chapter of the international Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamic fundamentalist group and an organization with a violent past in the Middle East. But fearing persecution, they rarely identify themselves as Brotherhood members and have operated largely behind the scenes, unbeknown even to many Muslims. Still, the U.S. Brotherhood has had a significant and ongoing impact on Islam in America, helping establish mosques, Islamic schools, summer youth camps and prominent Muslim organizations. It is a major factor, Islamic scholars say, in why many Muslim institutions in the nation have become more conservative in recent decades (…)