Norway: Oslo mosque boosts security measures

The World Islamic Mission’s mosque in Oslo boosted security measures after someone left a pig’s head and Nazi flag inside the mosque’s entrance during Friday prayer services. It’s clear that someone has done this to provoke us said Jehangr Bahadur, chairman of the World Islamic Mission. Bahadur said that the mosque has also received racist e-mails that had previously not been taken seriously, but will now be given careful watch. Both the flag and the pig’s head were taken to a police crime lab for investigation. Since Nazi items were involved in the hate crime, Norway’s criminal intelligence unit PST was notified as well.

Dutch terrorism-buster to launch probe into Salafism

BRUSSELS — The Dutch National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism (NCTb) said on Wednesday that it will launch a nationwide investigation into the spread of Salafism in the Netherlands. The influence of Salafism, an ultra-orthodox form of Islam, is growing in the Netherlands, the Dutch news agency ANP reported.

Islamic center closes amid suspicion of smuggling people in Germany

Authorities are investigating whether an Islamic center in the southwestern city of Ulm has been attempting to smuggle people into Germany. Meanwhile, the center closed on. Ulm’s Islamic Information Center has been under observation for years, amid suspicion it has harbored and recruited Islamic militants. Stuttgart prosecutors launched a formal investigation into the organization earlier this month, under allegations it tried to illegally bring foreigners into the country.

Two terrorist suspects nabbed in Spain

MADRID – Spanish police arrested two Pakistani men accused of financing terrorist groups in Spain and other countries following an investigation involving the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, authorities said on Friday. The officials said the men were taken into custody in Madrid and Barcelona. Searches of the men’s property turned up more than EUR 50,000 worth of bank transactions and cash. A two-year investigation in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation also found evidence that more than EUR 1 million flowed from the drug trade and other criminal actions to terrorist groups.

Young Moroccans to be new crime bosses

AMSTERDAM – A group of young Moroccans is ready to take over the criminal underworld in the Netherlands. Outgoing head of investigation in Amsterdam Willem Woelders said this in an interview with the AD on Wednesday, “Five years ago they were small time criminals, starting out in their own neighbourhoods, but now they are working nationally. They commit major burglaries and don’t shy away from using violence,” Woeders says. Not only the Moroccans are eager to rule the criminal world, the sons of the current generation of criminals are also vying to be on top, the head of investigation at the Amsterdam police says.

Muslim league chairman says Italy “full of dangerous fundamentalists”

Text of report by Italian newspaper La Stampa on 22 July [Interview with former Italian ambassador Mario Scialoja, chairman of Muslim League in Italy, by Giacomo Galeazzi in Rome; date not given: “‘Too Many Fanatics. Italy, Look Out'” – first paragraph is La Stampa introduction] Rome – “We are looking at real criminal activities here. It is no coincidence that the imam of Perugia is a Moroccan. Italy is full of dangerous fundamentalists who flee moderate Islamic countries and come over here to commit crimes, dealing in drugs and work permits.” [Former] Ambassador Mario Scialoja, chairman of the Muslim League in Italy, and a member of the Consultative Committee for Islam, was “very worried,” and made no secret of the fact. “The Perugia affair is a huge case of the inappropriate use of a place which ought to be devoted to religion – he said – Within the Islamic community there is a lack of any control, only the secret services can uncover such serious violations of the law.” He added: “An official register is needed for imams in Italy. And a training course is necessary. Monitoring of the Muslim community is needed. But this does not prevent an individual from carrying out illegal activities, such as those in Perugia, or as happened in Britain. In these instances, it is the intelligence services and the police which can intervene.” {[Galeazzi] So do you agree with the alert at the Viminale [interior ministry] over fundamentalism?} [Scialoja] Yes, without doubt [Interior] Minister Giuliano Amato has every cause. The Perugia investigation shows that threatening, underground networks are in action. Fortunately, the intelligence services and the DIGOS [Division for General Investigations and Special Operations] are proving to be efficient, and are being fairly successful in preventing crime, and bringing the crimes to light. According to information from my friends at the interior ministry, in Italy there 630 mosques and prayer rooms. Five have ended up under investigation for illegal activities, but often the examining magistrates have acquitted the people who have had reports made out against them. This is the point: the fact that the cases which have emerged are isolated, to date, does not make the phenomenon less worrying. They are extreme and dangerous fringe groups which take action in the shadows.

Italian magistrates investigate second imam in Perugia terror probe

There is another imam among the people placed under investigation by the public prosecutor’s office in Perugia. The man’s name is Muhammad El Absi, a member of the mosque in Pierantonio di Umbertide, not far from Ponte Felcino, the place where investigators claim the “school of terror” was located. During one of the searches on the preacher’s premises, a number of CDs were seized which, according to his defence, are “completely irrelevant”; in the view of his attorney, “there is no link with the charges contemplated over Ponte Felcino.” But the Pierantonio imam has reportedly ended up on the list of persons under investigation precisely because he used to frequent the mosque which is at the centre of the investigation. In the meantime, new details are emerging regarding the investigations currently under way. According to the case against him, the plans of Mustapha El Korchi, the imam currently under arrest, and of his collaborators were geared towards radicalizing the main mosques in Umbria. This fact appears to be confirmed by the heightening in recent months of conflicts within the Islamic community in Perugia, which culminated in the protests against the imam in Umbria’s main city [Perugia], which historically has been the expression of a moderate stance. But, according to the preventive detention warrant, the Ponte Felcino cell looked beyond this too, maintaining numerous contacts abroad.

BBC report damns its ‘culture of bias’

THE BBC is institutionally biased, an official report will conclude this week. The year-long investigation, commissioned by the BBC, has found the corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion. It concludes that the bias has extended across drama, comedy and entertainment, with the corporation pandering to politically motivated celebrities and trendy causes. (…) Criticisms highlighted from the seminar include: A senior BBC reporter attacking the corporation for giving no moral weight to America. Executives admitting they would broadcast images of a Bible being thrown away – but not the Koran for fear of offending Muslims. The BBC deliberately championing multiculturalism and ethnic minorities, while betraying an anticountryside bias. Mary Fitzpatrick, the BBC’s diversity czar, told the seminar Muslim women newsreaders should be allowed to wear the hijab, or headscarf, on screen. Fitzpatrick spoke out after criticism over Fiona Bruce’s decision to wear a necklace with a cross while reading the news.

Feds Say N.J. Terror Attack Was at Hand

Federal authorities say they arrested six Muslim men suspected of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix because they feared the group was on the verge of carrying out the attack. “I think they were in the last stage of planning,” U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said Wednesday. “They had training, they had maps, and I think they were very close to moving on this. “Our view was they had pretty much gotten to concluding the planning phase of this and were looking to obtain heavy weaponry _ and if not from us, they were going to try to obtain it elsewhere.” Though it was not clear when the alleged attack was to take place, members of the group were arrested Monday night as they tried to buy AK-47 assault weapons, M-16s and other weapons from an FBI informant, authorities said. The men _ four born in the former Yugoslavia, one from Jordan and one from Turkey _ lived in Philadelphia and its suburbs with their immediate and extended families. Three were roofers, one drove a cab, and the two others worked at food stores. One of the six used his pizza delivery job to gain access to the Army base and scout it out, exposing what may be a security vulnerability, a congressman said Wednesday. Serdar Tatar was on the fort’s approved list of delivery people and given access to the base as part of his job with a nearby pizzeria run by his father, according to a Fort Dix spokeswoman. Tatar’s father, Muslim Tatar, 54, denied that his son had made deliveries to Fort Dix. However, Christie said the younger Tatar spoke of delivering pizzas on tapes made by informants. Another susect, Agron Abdullahu, was familiar with the base because it was the first place he landed when arriving in the United States as a refugee from Kosovo, according to a law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The United States allowed thousands of refugees into the United States after it intervened in the 1998-99 Kosovo war. Abdullahu arrived at Fort Dix as a teenager in 1999 as part of a group of about 4,400 refugees from Kosovo, officials said. The six _ Tatar, 23; Abdullahu, 24; Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22; Dritan “Anthony” or “Tony” Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir “Elvis” Duka, 23 _ appeared in federal court Tuesday in Camden and were ordered held without bail for a hearing Friday. Three were in the United States illegally; two had green cards allowing them to stay in the country permanently; and one is a U.S. citizen. The investigation began more than a year ago after a New Jersey store clerk was asked to transfer a videotape onto a DVD. The tape showed 10 men shooting weapons at a firing range and calling for jihad, prosecutors said. The 10 included the six men under arrest, authorities said. Christie would not comment on the identities of the four other men in the video or say whether they were considered suspects. But he said the investigation was still going on. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, whose district includes Fort Dix, said he has long been concerned about who has access to the sprawling 31,000-acre Army installation located in the Pinelands region of New Jersey, about 20 miles east of Philadelphia. “This whole affair just underscores the vulnerability,” Smith said. “You don’t know who’s on your base. What the pizza delivery man tells me is that when you have access, when you have frequent access, you get the lay of the land, so that if you do a terror attack it will cause that much more damage and loss of life.” The fort considers its policy for screening delivery people adequate for now, but said it could be reviewed in the future, base spokeswoman Carolee Nesbit said. Before they are cleared to make deliveries at Fort Dix, drivers must register in advance, undergo a criminal background check, and obtain an access pass that has to be reviewed every 30 days. Drivers who arrive at the military installation’s gate are greeted by armed guards, who check their identification and issue a pass. The delivery people are not followed or monitored once they clear security, Nesbit said. “There are 16,000 people that come through the gates every day,” she said. “It’s practically impossible to follow everyone.” Nisbet said security is present wherever military personnel are gathered at the fort, even if it is not visible from the road. In addition to the weapons each individual soldier may carry, she said, “There is security on these ranges.”

L’islam, un recours pour les jeunes

Based on a long ethnographic study, L’Islam, un recours pour les jeunes focuses on the Islamic identities of French youth with North African or Turkish origins and working-class backgrounds. It asserts that young men and women’s religious paths are linked to experiences at school, within immigrant families and in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Young men complain of being labelled negatively at school and being pushed toward low-skilled jobs instead of the professional vocations and lifestyles for which they yearn. They are often in conflict with teachers or with career advisers and engage Muslim symbols to protest against school judgments. The book also insists on the deep differences between Turkish and North-African populations with working-class backgrounds. The Turkish populations settled in France later than North-Africans and subsequently their settlement has been more fragile. They want to preserve traditions and customs from their country of origin, a phenomenon reinforced by the high concentrations of Turkish populations in urban areas. Turkish parents’ aspirations influence their goals for their children, especially in relation to school, professional life and marriage. The second part of Kapko’s book discussed the response of local authorities to Muslim religious claims. For over a decade, changes in Muslim demands of local policitians in relation to religious practice have been noticed. In comparison to demands made in the 1980s by immigrant fathers which focused on the need for prayer space, the 1990s have seen new demands such as the right to wear the headscarf in public spaces, the participation of local politicians to seminars held by religious leaders, and accommodation of religious arguments during negotiations with local political leaders. This investigation shows that council representatives often only select the aspects of the demands that seem to suit their objectives -keeping public order, social integration-and ignore the religious content of the demands. In other cases discussed, religious intonations are not ignored but rather exploited by the local government. Government officials, who fear confrontations between ethnic groups in disadvantaged areas, are tempted to turn religious militants into unofficial mediators between immigrant populations and public authorities.