News Agencies – March 28, 2012
Nearly 60 percent of the French say they distrust youth from the ‘banlieues’, France’s impoverished, immigrant-dominated suburbs, according to a new survey that has laid bare the country’s divisions. “The results are extremely worrying,” Thibault Renaudin, national secretary of Afev, the organization that published the poll.
The poll conducted by Afev shows that while 75 percent of the French have a positive opinion of young people, 57 percent have a negative opinion of youths from impoverished suburbs. Renaudin says French authorities and the media are partly responsible for this negative image. Renaudin says the poll also reveals French racial divisions, given that many banlieue youths are from immigrant backgrounds. “They are always reduced to their origins, multiple, different and dangerous.”
The Globe and Mail – July 4, 2011
This article profiles three Canadian Muslim artists: Sabrina Jalees, a lesbian comic of Pakistani-Swiss heritage who grew up in Toronto; Yassin Alsalman, a Montreal rapper known as The Narcicyst who uses the aggressive language of hip hop to denounce the heavy hand of U.S. Homeland Security and the war in Iraq; Boonaa Mohammed, a spoken word poet of Ethiopian extraction who celebrates Islamic history in his artwork when he is not teaching at an Islamic school in Scarborough, Ont.
But people who want to blend in rarely become artists: Jalees, who points out she could pass for Portuguese, began making jokes about her Pakistani heritage because she wanted to confront people’s new discomfort with Muslims.
The artists disagree about how well this work is received in Canada and how much Canadian attitudes are shifting. Alsalman, for example, argues that racism is still very prevalent and that the image of Muslims is generally a negative one; others perceive a gradual change in attitudes since the panic of 2001, precisely because people have been forced to confront the prejudices expressed against Muslims, and add that the popular rebellions of the Arab spring have helped build a more positive and diverse image.
June 4 2011
De Telegraaf reports that a video clip released by as-Sahab, al-Qaeda’s media branch, has featured an image of Mohammed Bouyeri, who killed Dutch film director Theo van Gogh in 2004. His inclusion is unusual in a video which otherwise focuses on depictions of senior al-Qaeda leaders.
The offer of halal foods in German supermarkets is scarce and many of them are reluctant to widen their range of food that meets the requirements of practicing Muslims, even though the demand is increasing and the potential for future sales promising. It is estimated that approximately 80% of Germany’s 4 million Muslims conform to Islam’s dietary requirements. Many of them consume what local Turkish and Arabic shops, rather than supermarket chains, have on offer.
The reluctance on the side of the supermarkets to introduce a wider range of halal foods is based on the “problematic image” of halal slaughter, which many associated with cruelty to animals. The process of halal butchering has changed, however, and the animals are now sedated before they bleed out.
Following the 7/7 bombings, many of the victims’ families had called for a public inquiry into the bombings to establish whether the attacks could have been prevented by the police and MI5. Debate especially arose about the fact that the MI5 largely ignored the appearance of Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer on their terrorism radar a year earlier. Khan and Tanweer had been caught on surveillance cameras in 2004; however, to disguise the origin of the photograph before showing it to an Al Qaeda informant in the US, the image was cut in halves and cropped, making Tanweer unrecognizable. The picture of Khan was discarded entirely.
The coroner Lady Justice Hallett was critical of the Security Services’ procedures and the decision to crop the image. While she believed that MI5 had held important clues to identify the 7/7 bombers before the attacks, she ruled that Security Services could not have prevented the bombings. However, she pointed out flaws in MI5’s decision-making and recommended reviews of and improvements to their techniques as well as the recording and assessment of targets to prevent events like 7/7 from happening again.
Volunteers from the Minnesota chapter of Islamic Circle of North America took to the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” to repair the image of Muslims in America. A poll released last week showed many Americans have the same mixed feelings about the Muslim faith. The nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that most Americans doubt that Islam is likelier than other faiths to encourage violence and believe Muslims should have equal rights to build houses of worship. But more people have an unfavorable than favorable view of Islam by 38 to 30 percent – nearly a reversal of findings on the same poll question in 2005, when 41 percent had favorable views compared with 36 percent unfavorable.
By Alan Fram
Muslims around the globe remain uneasy about the U.S. and are increasingly disenchanted with President Barack Obama, according to a poll that suggests his drive to improve relations with the Muslim world has had little impact. Even so, the U.S. image is holding strong in many other countries and continues to be far better than it was during much of George W. Bush’s presidency, according to the survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.
Dutch news site AD has removed an image of the Vilks cartoon after using it to illustrate a story on the plot to murder the Swedish cartoonist. Acting editor Bart Verkade notes that the site received many offended responses, including an email campaign organized by the As-Soenna mosque in The Hague. In covering the story about the removal of the cartoon from AD, both De Pers and Elsevier reprinted the image, to further criticism from Imam Sheik Fawaz Jneid of the As-Soennah mosque.
The Islamic association “Junta Islamica”, created in 1989 and primarily composed of Spanish converts, has publicly condemned the references some terrorist groups have made about the re-conquest of the old Al-Andalus territory.
Mansur Escuero, Junta Islamica’s president, says such declarations damage the image of European Muslims. He added that Spanish Muslims are full European citizens with the same rights and obligations as any other citizen, and they aren’t trying to conquer any territories.
Telegraaf reports that a tram conductor has been suspended for wearing a cross, though the headscarf is permitted for Muslim employees. The conductor, Ezzat Aziz, is seeking a summary injunction against the transit authority GVB for discrimination. GVB defends the move, explaining that it “has had a new uniform for a year. To ensure a professional image, jewellery may not be worn visibly over the uniform..”