March 21, 2013
Muslim citizens are most affected by episodes of discrimination in Europe. This is what emerges from the report on racism in the EU 2011-2012, published by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR). The report was released on March 21, International Day for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Particularly affected are women, accounting for 85 percent of reported cases of Islamophobia. The latter in fact suffer from gender discrimination as well as religious discrimination.
The report notes, Islam is often used as a scapegoat by politicians to divert public attention from other, more serious problems. Islamophobia makes it difficult for many Muslims in all Member States, to access education, housing, employment and other services. In addition, Muslims are treated differently by the police and are often unable to access justice.
Several recommendations are made for Italy, where the economic crisis seems to have significantly reduced if not nullified the little progress made in previous years including adopting a specific law on freedom of religion, providing more places of worship for non-Catholics, passing a new amnesty for illegal immigrants already working in Italy, allowing better access to housing and education, and adopting a law on the right to vote in local elections.
The report does note a decrease in reports of discrimination in access to goods and services by immigrants, this declined between 2010 and 2012 from 3.3 to 1 per cent. The report blames media operators that in Italy, seem to be less able to cover unbiased news regarding immigration and minorities.
Italy discrimination report
6 December 2012
A planning application for a massive mosque in West Ham has been refused planning permission. The missionary Muslim group Tablighi Jamaat had been waitin g for years to build a mosque in West Ham. But some Christian groups have been campaigning against the mosque.
Local Councillors finally agreed with Newham planning officers that the proposed design was not appropriate and refused it, saying it did not fit with their vision of bringing housing and jobs to the area.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today:
‘We give thanks to God that councillors agreed with their planning officers last night despite massive pressure from Muslims supporting the proposal.
‘The battle is far from over and the focus of our prayer must now shift to Bristol and the appeals process. But the unanimous vote and what appear to have been robust grounds for refusal were welcome at this stage.’
25 November 2012
Dutch newspaper Parool last week covered designs for Amsterdam apartments by the Eigen Hard housing corporation which accommodate the needs of some Muslim families. The apartments feature cupboards for shoe storage, additional water taps for ritual cleansing, and dividing doors around the kitchen.
The paper described the apartments as ‘halal homes’, but the housing company stressed that the designs could be suitable for many occupants, also suiting the needs of students and those with a physical handicap.
Home affairs minister Robert Plastkerk commented in response that he has no Robles with housing corporations taking the wishes of Muslim tenants into account during renovations.
15 August 2012
The possibility that a mosque will open its doors in an inhabited house in Portugalete has shaken the daily life of the local City Hall. The Mayor, the Socialist Mikel Torres, yesterday accused the Popular Party of “lying” and generate “social alarm” by reporting that “many residents will find themselves arriving from their holidays to see such a Mosque located under their homes. ”
Unlike Bilbao or Basauri, where government teams plan to ban Mosques in housing buildings, Torres does not believe this to be necessary. In his opinion, Portugalete lives a different situation. “Here we do not have 118 centers of worship coming from eight different religious denominations like in Bilbao.
25 May 2012
Police intervened to break up an impromptu camp established by failed asylum seekers near Ter Apel, the Netherlands. Riot police arriving in 20 minibuses used force to dismantle the site and arrested about 110 individuals at the site, failed asylum seekers from Iran and Somalia who claim that they will come to harm if returned to their country of origin. A group of Iraqi asylum seekers, involved in the camp’s original set up two weeks ago, had been removed earlier to an apartment complex where they were guaranteed housing until June 15 as the Dutch and Iraqi immigration ministers negotiate next steps.
Meanwhile a judge in Groningen determined that the level of response and force in the deconstruction was “disproportional”. The defended actions claiming that it was a necessary measure due to the health concerns at the impromptu camp.
19 July 2011
A housing developer in the Netherlands has lodged an objection to the name of a new square in Utrecht. Bouwfonds is concerned that houses in “Mosque Square” (named for its location next to a mosque) will sell for lower prices.
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.
November 2, 2010
Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the Danish People’s Party (DF), has proposed a ban on satellite dishes in public housing areas in order to prevent residents from receiving what she labelled “anti-western” channels.
Consevative MP Naser Khader says: “I thought it was an April Fool’s joke”. He proposes that the DF instead come up with a democratic response. He added that labeling Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya as “hateful Arabic TV-stations” shows that the DF does not have a proper understanding of the Arabic media. Conservatives spokesperson Rasmus Jarlov stressed that a ban would “nourish the conspiracy theories that Denmark is attempting to repress Arab views”. Henrik Dam Kristensen of the opposition Social Democrats urged Kjærsgaard to participate in a dialogue about integration, rather than discuss bans. He asserted that she is making a desperate attempt to “keep a debate going”.
Following criticism, Kjærsgaard acknowledged to Politiken newspaper that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to implement the proposal. Danish People’s Party will now go directly to the Radio and Television Board to get Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya channels banned, but they will need to provide evidence that the two TV-stations are a form of hate speech. In Kjærsgaard’s view, access to the two stations limits the integration capacity of residents who only get their news from these stations.
The Prime Minister, who represents Venstre – the Liberal Party of Denmark, dismissed the idea of a ban on satellite dishes in public housing areas. He said: “A general ban on satellite dishes is not in accordance with the constitution or with Venstre’s ideals about freedom”.
Journal du Dimanche – October 26, 2010
NPNS has launched its “Ambassadors of French Secularism and Equality” operation, designed to mobilize anti-burqa-law movements in the housing projects outside of Paris. The group is collaborating with Eric Besson, minister of immigration.
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