Restraining Order Against Syrian-Dutch Imam Fawaz Jneid

Fawaz Jneid, a Syrian-Dutch imam who preached until 2012 in the As-Soennah mosque in The Hague, became a controversial figure after cursing Islam-critics Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo van Gogh in a speech at the mosque. The years after, Fawaz was heavily criticized for being considered part of the Salafi branch in the Netherlands and for preaching an ‘intolerant message’. Recently, the imam was given a restraining order for six months in certain areas of The Hague. This is possible because of a new anti-Terror law  that makes it possible for terror-suspects to be detained longer without rock-solid evidence.

According to the Dutch security services, because Fawaz preaches an ‘intolerant’ message in a neighborhood prone to radicalization, he is a potential safety danger. The security services received support from Paula Krikke, the mayor of The Hague, who in addition requested the restraining order against Jneid. She stated: “(…) Together with many citizens of The Hague, I work hard to make living in the city as free and safe as possible for everyone. A stage for Fawaz Jneid and his extremist opinions is at odds with this. Because of that, we try to do everything to prevent him from getting a foothold in this city.”

Not only did Fawaz Jneid himself appealed against the sentence, a few Dutch Muslim organizations and (Salafi) Muslims have protested against the restraining order. Fawaz called the restraining order ‘propaganda against Islam’ and argues that he has worked with the security services to prevent young people from radicalization. The organizations and individuals that protested Fawaz’s sentence, have called the restraining order an “illegitimate form of oppression” and targeting Fawaz in particular a ‘witch hunt’.  The sentence is considered illegal by the protesters, because Fawaz was never convicted of sedition or hate-speech. They also believe – like Fawaz – that in reality, the sentence is a concealed anti-Islam measure. In a pamphlet circulating on the Internet, an anonymous writer stated: “We regret to note that this is a case of (…) a selective anti-Islam measure that does not only affect imam Fawaz, but also the Dutch Muslim in his rights and freedoms.”

Sources:
https://www.ad.nl/den-haag/imam-fawaz-krijgt-gebiedsverbod-vanwege-haatpreken~ad986312/ https://www.ad.nl/den-haag/fawaz-naar-rechter-om-gebiedsverbod-dit-is-propaganda-ik-ben-geen-terrorist~a0262b8e/ https://www.ad.nl/den-haag/salafisten-schieten-haatimam-te-hulp~ad9c136a/

California Islamic Center Under Fire for Imam’s Sermon Calling for Annihilation of Jews

Mosque says comments taken ‘out of context’

An Islamic Center in Davis, Calif. is under fire after an English translation of a sermon that the mosque’s imam delivered on Friday was posted online and showed him calling for the annihilation of Jews.

The Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, translated a mostly Arabic sermon from the Islamic Center of Davis’ Egyptian-born American imam, Ammar Shahin, in which he called for the death of Jews.

“The Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Jews hide behind stones and trees, and the stones and the trees say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah…’ They will not say: Oh Egyptian, oh Palestinian, oh Jordanian, oh Syrian, oh Afghan, oh Pakistani,” Shahin said, according to the MEMRI translation. “The Prophet Muhammad says that they time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place.”

Near the Islamic Center of Davis, Rabbi Shmary Brownstein said that he has been on guard ever since the video of Shahin was posted online, CBS Sacramento reports. Brownstein’s home is also the place of worship for the Chabad in Davis.

The mosque later issued a statement apologizing if the sermon offended anyone.

“If the sermon was misconstrued, we sincerely apologize to anyone offended,” the statement said. “We will continue our commitment to interfaith and community harmony.”

The mosque said that the imam’s comments were taken out of context and that MEMRI publicized a “mistranslation.”

German National Day celebrations in Dresden overshadowed by bomb blasts and right-wing agitation

A history of far-right activity

On October 3, Germany celebrated the 26th anniversary of its reunification. This year, the official festivites were hosted by the city of Dresden. For two years now, the capital of the East German state of Saxony has been the site of weekly demonstration by the Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident), a far-right anti-immigration collective with close yet somewhat oblique links to Germany’s new right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany.

Concomitantly, Saxony has recorded the by far highest rate of anti-refugee violence of all German states in recent years. ((https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/10/03/germany-reunified-26-years-ago-but-some-divisions-are-still-strong/ )) Critical questions have been raised about the State’s security and judicial apparatuses, and their personal links with as well as broad institutional sympathies for far-right movements – a criticism that was recently made even by the Saxon Minister of the Economy, Martin Dulig (SPD). ((http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/sachsen-polizei-sympathisiert-laut-minister-martin-dulig-mit-pegida-a-1080343.html ))

Bomb attacks on a mosque and a conference centre

Consequently, security fears ahead of the National Day celebrations ran high. Whilst the authorities’ main attention was focused on potential Islamist plots on October 3, the city was actually rocked by twin blasts on a mosque and a congress centre less than a week before Unity Day.

The self-made explosive device caused extensive damage to the entrance area of the mosque, although the Imam and his family, who had been inside the building at the time, remained unhurt. ((http://www.mdr.de/sachsen/dresden/sprengstoff-anschlaege-in-dresden-100.html )) Due to security concerns, the Imam now contemplates returning to his native Turkey, after nearly 20 years in Dresden. ((http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2016-10/einheitsfeier-dresden-sachsen-deutsche-einheit-pegida ))

Investigators have not yet been able to apprehend a suspect in this case. Initially, a claim of responsibility was published on a militant left-wing website. Whilst this claim was widely picked-up upon in conservative publications, it subsequently turned out to be a falsification. ((https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/bekennerschreiben-dresden-105.html ))

“Traitors of the people”

The subsequent celebrations on Unity Day thus occurred under tight security control. However, in a widely-criticised move, police planners allocated a central spot to Pegida demonstrators, allowing them to congregate in the very heart of the historic city outside the Church of Our Lady, destroyed during WWII and reconstructed a few years ago as a memorial to peace and understanding. As leading politicians such as Chancellor Merkel and President Gauck arrived at the scene, they were insulted as “Volksverräter” (“traitors of the people”) by the angry crowd. ((http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2016-10/dresden-tag-der-deutschen-einheit-einheitsfest-farce ))

Demonstrators had already directed the same slogan at Dresden’s mayor the previous day when he received representatives of the city’s three mosques in the city hall on the occasion of the Islamic New Year. As the police sought to calm the situation, scuffles broke out that also targeted the mayor. ((http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2016-10/dresden-oberbuergermeister-dirk-hilbert-pegida-poebeleien ))

Rehabilitating old vocabulary

The Unity Day Pegida rally appeared to be even more heavily frequented by full-fledged neo-Nazis than the movement’s usual congregations. Quotes by Joseph Goebbels adorned some of the protestor’s signs, and a black man walking past was vilified by the crowd as spectators broke out in ape-like sounds and shouted “Deport him!” ((http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2016-10/einheitsfeier-dresden-sachsen-deutsche-einheit-pegida ))

The term “Volksverräter” – originally used by right-wingers in the Weimar Years to disparage the supporters of peace and of the German democratic constitution – has become the battle cry of the Pegida movement. ((http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/dresden-proteste-volksverraeter-aber-gerne-doch-kommentar-a-1115094.html )) Concomitantly, Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany, recently suggested that the term “völkisch” should once more receive a positive connotation – again, a word and concept strongly associated with far-right racial ideas of the inter-war years. ((https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article158049653/Wir-wollen-keinen-Buergerkrieg-in-Deutschland.html ))

In this view, the existence of the German Volk as a blood-based community is most strongly threatened by the arrival of Muslims: at Pegida’s main rally on October 3, speakers accused the German government of seeking to exterminate the German population by using “Islam as a weapon of mass destruction”. ((http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/2016-10/einheitsfeier-dresden-sachsen-deutsche-einheit-pegida ))

Questions about police complicity

In a move that appeared to vindicate their critics, the Saxon police not only did not step in as pro-Pegida protestors disrupted the Unity Day celebrations; police in fact appeared to condone these actions: aside from giving pride of place to Pegida by allocating them a spot outside the Church of Our Lady, a policeman used a loudspeaker to wish the gathering crowd of Pegida supporters “a successful day”.

The crowd responded by chanting: “One, two, three, thank you police” (“Eins, zwei, drei, danke Polizei”). Whilst the individual policeman is now facing disciplinary action, the Dresden police as a whole re-emphasised that it conceives of itself as “a guarantor of neutrality”. ((http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/dresden-einheitsfeiern-polizist-wuenschte-pegida-erfolgreichen-tag-a-1115009.html ))

Day of the Open Mosque

Incidentally, October 3 also serves as the ‘Day of the Open Mosque’ in Germany, and thus as an opportunity for the country’s roughly 1,000 mosques to present themselves to the public. The day had been initiated by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), one of a number of rivalling Islamic associations, in 1997.

The government’s Commissioner for Integration, Aydan Özoguz (SPD), called upon Germans to use the day of the open mosque to take a stand against Islamophobia. ((http://www.epochtimes.de/politik/deutschland/bewusst-am-tag-der-deutschen-einheit-rund-1000-moscheen-oeffnen-ihre-tueren-a1360804.html )) After the events in Dresden, this stance is surely needed.

US authorities allege Oregon imam assisted radicals

PORTLAND, Ore. — U.S. authorities are seeking to revoke the citizenship of an Oregon imam who they say tried to conceal past associations with radical Islamic groups.

Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye raised money, recruited fighters and provided training for insurgent groups battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Justice says in a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Zaki Zayed President of the Islamic community in Valladolid condemns “all violence” perpetrated in the name of religion

Zaki Zayed, the imam of the mosque, President of the Islamic communities in Valladolid expressed his opinion on the acts of violence perpetrated by the ISIS fighters:”Whoever does these atrocities does not belong to any religion. He is not Muslim, but neither is this person Christian or Jew.” Therefore the Imam regrets even the allusion to the name ‘Islamic State’: “Those who make others suffer are not part of Islam.”

Imam of major Michigan mosque threatens to resign over ethnic controversy and claims of financial mismanagement

Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini, the leader of one of Michigan’s biggest mosques and one of the most popular in the Detroit metro area threatened to resign on Friday. During Friday services at the Islamic Center of America, Al-Qazwini cited ongoing differences with the mosque’s board of directors. He stated that he is the victim of anti-Iraqi racism by the majority-Lebanese board of directors. The majority of the mosque’s members are of Lebanese descent.

Over a two month period last Fall, between October and December, anonymous letters were distributed to members in the mosque parking lot accusing Al-Qazwini of funneling mosque funds to his father’s company in Iraq and of having extra-marital relationships through the Shi’a concept of mut’a or “temporary marriage.” In part, the letters read: “Qazwini is the main obstacle which prevent the payment of all the debt… (he) takes the … contributions and revenues” and gives them to his father, a Shi’a religious leader in Iraq. The letters also criticized Al-Qazwini’s support of the board’s chair who, the author of the missives claimed, was not an observant or good Muslim.

One member of the mosque who supports Al-Qazwini said, “They want to turn the Islamic Center of America into the Islamic Center of Lebanon.”

The Islamic Center of America has long been heralded as one of the most “American” of mosques. Al-Qazwini has done much to establish good interfaith relationships with local church leaders and national politicians.

Dutch Imam Elforkani quits preaching after threats

Yassin Elforkani, youth-imam from Amsterdam, decided to stop preaching in the Omar al-Farouk mosque in Utrecht since he is being threathened by extremists Muslims. They view him as a traitor and apostate because he tells youth not to go to Syria and Iraq to fight the jihad. He is therefore known as Holland’s most well-known critic of jihad.

Jury chosen for US terror trial of Egyptian imam

April 14, 2014

 

A jury was chosen Monday for the federal trial of an Egyptian Islamic preacher extradited from Great Britain on charges he conspired to support al-Qaida, setting the stage for the second major terrorism trial in Manhattan in two months.

Eight men and four women will hear evidence in the government’s case against Mustafa Kamel Mustafa after opening statements Thursday. The trial comes weeks after a jury convicted Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith of charges stemming from his role as al-Qaida’s spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks. He likely faces a life sentence.

The 55-year-old Mustafa also will face a life sentence if he is convicted of conspiring to support al-Qaida by trying in 1999 to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore., by arranging for others to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and by ensuring there was satellite phone service for hostage-takers in Yemen in 1998 who abducted two American tourists and 14 others. Four hostages were killed.

The white-haired Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, turned London’s Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s into a training ground for Islamic extremists, attracting men including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid.

Jailed since 2004 in Britain on separate charges of inciting racial hatred and encouraging followers to kill non-Muslims, Mustafa was brought to the United States for trial in fall 2012.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/jury-to-be-picked-in-ny-trial-of-egyptian-preacher/2014/04/14/5e07ffd2-c392-11e3-9ee7-02c1e10a03f0_story.html