In Mayotte, Muslim leaders support Marine Le Pen

When Marine Le Pen arrived in Mayotte she was warmly greeted by Muslim leaders on the island, among them the High Cadi who prayed that she would be the 2017 president-elect.

The High Cadi and six other judges requested, using a translator, that “their role in the fight against fundamentalism would be remembered.” He also “ask[ed] God” that Le Pen become president in 2017.

Since April 2016, Mayotte’s 19 judges have depended on a social mediation service within the city council pay them.

“You have a spiritual magisterium, must we delegate the role of the Republic to a religious representative? I’m unconvinced,” she responded, while adding that she is “convinced [their] influence allowed for monitoring the possible dangers that weigh on the island due to the abandonment of the state’s role as a state.”

“I will fight against Islamic fundamentalism” she insisted. “It’s a common adversary shared with the High Cadi.” Le Pen was also received by several associations, including the presidents of the chamber of agriculture and the chamber of trade.

Dismissal of prison chaplain over extremism accusations highlights growing tensions between state and Muslim associations in Germany

Model project on prevention

The Ministry of Justice in the state of Hesse has ended its cooperation with an Imam working as a prison chaplain at a correctional facility in the city of Darmstadt. Authorities reacted to advice given by the German domestic intelligence agency (the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz): the agency had classified Imam Abdassamad El-Yazidi as a security risk.

Starting point for this assessment had been El-Yazidi’s association with the organisation Deutsch-Islamischer Vereinsverband Rhein-Main (German-Islamic Associational Union, DIV), deemed since August 2016 to be ‘under extremist influence’ and consequently placed on a surveillance list. El-Yazidi had been the DIV’s chairman until three years ago; presently, he chairs the Hessian chapter of one of the country’s largest Muslim associations, the Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (Central Council of Muslims in Germany, ZMD), of which the DIV is a member.((http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/so-treibt-man-verdienstvolle-muslime-ins-innere-exil-14478785.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2 ))

Complex institutional landscape

This episode highlights the complex institutional landscape of Muslim representation in Germany, with the ZMD being an umbrella body composed of further umbrella organisations. The DIV, which is now in the spotlight, for instance, brings together 46 local associations. One of them, the Europäische Institut für Humanwissenschaften (European Institute for Human Sciences, EIHW), located in the Ostend neighbourhood of Frankfurt, now triggered the intervention by the Verfassungsschutz. The Institut is perceived to be part of a transnational Muslim Brotherhood network. ((http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/so-treibt-man-verdienstvolle-muslime-ins-innere-exil-14478785.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2 ))

Amidst this organisational diversity and fragmentation, El-Yazidi asserted, it was at times impossible for the mostly unpaid volunteers working in the ZMD to scrutinise all aspects of fellow players on the associational scene. At the same time, El-Yazidi also defended decisions to retain contacts with institutions deemed to be under extremist influence, on the grounds that only continued engagement would make it possible to prevent further radicalisation. ((http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/so-treibt-man-verdienstvolle-muslime-ins-innere-exil-14478785.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2 ))

Criticism from Catholic representatives

In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, El-Yazidi noted that he had only received a call from the Hessian Ministry of Justice informing him that he had to end his work as a prison chaplain without being given more concrete information about the suspicions directed against him.(( http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/so-treibt-man-verdienstvolle-muslime-ins-innere-exil-14478785.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2 ))

Joachim Valentin, responsible for Christian-Muslim understanding at the Catholic bishopric of Limburg and chairman of a Catholic cultural centre in Frankfurt, decried the measure as disrespectful and counter-productive. He criticised the Verfassungsschutz for “failing to differentiate between orthodox Islam, radicalism, extremism, and terror threats.” Blanket accusations and criminalisation would only serve to “drive meritorious Muslims into inner exile.” ((http://www.faz.net/aktuell/rhein-main/so-treibt-man-verdienstvolle-muslime-ins-innere-exil-14478785.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2 ))

The ZMD itself reacted with a press release deeming the exclusion of its representative from prevention programmes against radicalisation “incomprehensible”, stressing that so far Hessian authorities and participants had appreciated the collaboration and its effects. ((http://zentralrat.de/28081.php ))

Signs of strain between state and Muslim associations

The affair surrounding chaplain El-Yazidi is only the latest episode in a gradual worsening of the relationship between German authorities and the country’s Muslim associations. In recent months, much of the political discussion has centred on DITIB and the influence of the Erdogan government over this association and its mosques.((http://www.euro-islam.info/2016/10/17/freiburg-declaration-secular-muslims-starkly-reveals-fault-lines-among-german-muslim-associations/ ))

Yet it is questions of foreign financing and control more generally have taken centre stage, amidst a renewed debate about the (lack of) loyalty Muslim citizens exhibit vis-à-vis the German state. ((http://www.euro-islam.info/2016/10/17/old-question-loyalty-german-turks-relationship-erdogan/ )). This prompted the ZMD in its reaction to the El-Yazidi affair to stress its determination to “reject any influencing from abroad, no matter from which country.” ((http://zentralrat.de/28081.php )) Yet recent developments surrounding the EIHW have rekindled voices accusing the ZMD itself to be an apologist of the Muslim Brotherhood. ((http://www.allgemeine-zeitung.de/politik/hessen/im-schatten-der-muslimbrueder_17372765.htm ))

Head teachers’ union raises serious concerns over ‘Trojan Horse’ schools

The National Association of Head Teachers says it has serious concerns over schools at the centre of the alleged Islamic plot in Birmingham, with the union’s general secretary warning that Islamic groups wanted “a dominant influence” over schools in the city.

 

Russell Hobby, the NAHT’s general secretary, was speaking before the union’s conference in Birmingham this weekend, where he is to tell delegates: “A tight network of religious leaders of the Islamic faith has made a concerted effort to get involved in the running of schools and to strengthen the power of governing bodies to have a dominant influence in shaping the character of local schools.”

 

Hobby said that while his union was convinced the “Trojan Horse” letter – which described an alleged plot to undermine schools in the city – was fake, it had triggered warnings about school governance, abuse of employment laws and interference with children’s education.

 

Hobby said: “We don’t believe that these allegations are a cause for panic. But neither do we believe that they are a source of comfort either, there have been things going on inside our schools which would make some of us feel uncomfortable.”

 

Hobby said the NAHT and its members had identified three main areas of concern:

 

“The first is contravening what we understand to be the principles of good governance and putting pressure on the paid school leaders within schools to adopt certain philosophies and approaches.”

 

“The second we believe is breaching good employment practice and indeed employment law in order to further this influence, and putting pressure on individual staff members heading into territory which we understand to be constructive dismissal and making sure people are appointed to schools on the basis of their beliefs and not necessarily their skills.”

 

The third issue, which Hobby said was “more serious but also more speculative”, was whether the entitlement of children to a rounded education had been contravened.

 

Ofsted said all 21 inspection reports will be published together with a letter from the chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to the Department of Education at the beginning of June.

Al-Qaeda emerges amid Egypt’s turmoil

December 4, 2013

 

Summary: Information is emerging that al-Qaeda’s growth in the region is extending into the Sinai Peninsula and across Egypt.

Author: Mohannad Sabry

Full story at Al-Monitor: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/al-qaeda-egypt-sinai-insurgency-growing-influence.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8674##ixzz2mwlpGFZx

A Mosque in Reykjavík “Threatens” Icelandic Culture

10 July 2013

 

Former mayor of Reykjavík claims a mosque will threaten Iceland’s culture and safety. Ólafur F. Magnússon, who was mayor for little less than 7 months in 2008, is highly pessimistic about plans of a mosque being built in the open space of in the eastern part of Reykjavík.
City council approved of the plans last week, after Muslims in Iceland having waited 13 years to get a property to raise the first mosque in Iceland. Ólafur writes in Morgunblaðið today, expressing his concern about the matter.
“It is worrying that Muslims here don’t seem to have any difficulties financing the project, receiving aid from Muslim organizations abroad. Those organizations might want to increase the influence of Islam in Iceland, as well as in other countries.”
Instead of a mosque, Ólafur suggests a temple of the Nordic gods to be built in the plot. “Such a cultural gem would bring joy to the majority of the city’s residents, as well as other Icelanders, and wouldn’t be as out of place as a mosque would.”

Fresh concerns over radicalising influence of gym used by Islamic terror group

The Darul Ihsaan centre, known locally as “Jimmy’s gym”, was used by members of the Jihadist group that planned to attack the English Defence League. Two of the gang, Mohammed Saud and Anzal Hussain, also worked there, and the six met in the building the night before the planned attack. The same gym was used by at least four members of a separate terror cell which planned to attack the UK with eight suicide bombers. Earlier this year those four admitted travelling to Pakistan for terror training and will be sentenced at a later date.

 

Fundamentalists seek out the gym because they play Islamic chanting rather than music, ban women and offer halal body-building supplements. Inside, the walls carry an inscription in Arabic and songs called Nasheeds were playing on the PA system.

 

Mysterious ‘Misha’ found in R.I. town; denies influencing Marathon bomb suspect, according to published report WEST WARWICK, R.I.

The mysterious “Misha,” a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev described by the bombing suspect’s relatives as a zealous conservative Muslim who helped radicalize Tamerlan, has been found in this Rhode Island town. But Mikhail “Misha” Allakhverdov told the New York Review of Books Sunday that he had nothing to do with the bombings, that he did not steer Tamerlan toward violence, and that he had not seen him since he moved away from Boston about three years ago. “If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov, 39, told the publication. The Review of Books published a brief account of its interview with Allakhverdov on its blog Sunday night, saying the item was part of a longer piece on Boston’s Russian and Chechen community to be published in a forthcoming edition of the biweekly journal. Allakhverdov told the Review he was cooperating fully with law enforcement and that he had nothing to hide. A former brother-in-law of the Tsarnaev brothers, in an interview with the AP from Kyrgyzstan last week, described “Misha” as a red-bearded Armenian convert who exerted enormous influence over Tamerlan. Under his teaching, he said, according to the AP, Tamerlan gave up music, took an interest in conspiratorial websites, and became increasingly opposed to US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The AP reported that Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, recalled speaking with Tamerlan’s father about his concerns regarding Misha’s influence: “Somehow, he just took his brain,” Tsarni said.

Qatar attempts to manage Islam in France

26.4.2013

In a recent article, the left wing paper Liberation reports on the growing influence of the Gulf state Qatar on France’s Muslim communities. The state’s fiscal support network is named as one of the prime drivers to assert Qatari political and cultural influence on religious institutions and the larger community in France.

Prof Brahimi el-Mili (Sciences-Po Paris) considers Islam in France ‘always to have been instrumantalised’ by certain fractions. France’s Muslim community has often come under the influence of outsiders due to its ‘young, abandoned and volatile’ character. According to him, it’s unsurprising that Qatar plays a role in the community, what is however more interesting is the fact that the country ‘invests via the French Council of the Muslim Faith’.

East London Mosque opens doors to non-Muslims

A Mosque in East London is opening its doors to non-Muslims in an attempt to promote a better understanding of Islam and what goes on inside the building. Members of the local community are invited to take a look inside the mosque, observe prayers and ask questions about the religion. In response to a video appearing online earlier this year showing men shouting homophobic abuse at another man in east London, telling him to “get out of here” as “it is a Muslim area”, the East London Mosque condemned the actions of the self-styled ‘Muslim patrol’. “We felt like because this was an issue right on our doorstep we had to speak out about that one.” One of the members of the mosque said that “Some people want to ask simple questions like whether as non-Muslims they’re allowed to come in the mosque. Others make pretty broad requests like ‘what is Islam?“. According to the report an increasing number of mosques were holding similar events. Following the influence of groups like the English Defence League wanting to vilify mosques saying they are full of fundamentalists who don’t want to engage with mainstream society the members of the mosque feel they have a role to play in changing that view.

 

Islam Divides Cardinals

LaStampa.it 3/5/2013

Peter Turkson, a possible candidate for Pope has tense relations with his colleague French Cardinal Andre’ Vingt-Trois. Their disagreement begin when Cardinal Turkson presented a video to the most recent synod which contended that proselytizing of Islam is growing in Europe. One example of this shift is evidenced by the construction of more mosques than churches in France. The video also discussed the effect of the growing influence of Islam in Africa. The Cardinal of Paris was offended by the video, mainly because he thought it over-pronounced the influence of Islam in the old world.