Baroness Warsi Says Muslim Prejudice Seen as Normal

Prejudice against Muslims has “passed the dinner-table test” and become socially acceptable in the UK, a senior Conservative is to say. Baroness Warsi, co-chairman of the Tory Party, will warn against dividing Muslims into moderates and extremists. The baroness, the first Muslim woman to serve in the cabinet, will say such labels fuel misunderstanding.

She will use a speech at Leicester University to accuse the media of superficial discussion of Islam. Baroness Warsi will say anti-Muslim prejudice is now seen by many Britons as normal and uncontroversial, and she will use her position to fight an “ongoing battle against bigotry”.

She is expected to reveal that she raised the issue of Islamophobia with Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain last year, urging him to “create a better understanding between Europe and its Muslim citizens”.

Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities

The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. While not representative of the situation of all Muslims in these cities, this report does capture a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm.

This body of work comes in response to major trends with regards to Muslims living in Europe: whether citizens or migrants, native born or newly-arrived, Muslims are a growing and varied population that presents Europe with one of its greatest challenges, namely how to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all in a climate of rapidly expanding diversity.

Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities, by Open Society Institute

The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. It points out common trends and offers recommendations at the local, national, and international levels, including to the European Union and to international organizations. While not representative of the situation of all Muslims in these cities, this report does capture a snapshot of the experiences of Muslim communities in select neighborhoods in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Antwerp, Berlin and Hamburg, Copenhagen, Leicester and Waltham Forest–London, Marseille and Paris, and Stockholm.

This body of work comes in response to major trends with regards to Muslims living in Europe: whether citizens or migrants, native born or newly-arrived, Muslims are a growing and varied population that presents Europe with one of its greatest challenges, namely how to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all in a climate of rapidly expanding diversity.

Islamic school ‘unfair admission’

An Islamic state secondary school has been found to be giving preference to children from a private school in its admissions process. The schools adjudicator upheld a complaint against Madani High School in Leicester. The adjudicator found the admissions process was “socially and economically discriminatory”, reducing the places for Muslims from other local schools. Madani High School became part of the state system last year. Following the ruling by England’s schools adjudicator, Peter Matthews, the school will have to change its policy in deciding who should be awarded places when there are too many applicants. The complaint, brought by the city council, was that the school’s over-subscription criteria included giving priority to pupils from the independent Leicester Islamic Academy Primary School. The Madani High School had been part of the Leicester Islamic Academy until it transferred to the state system in 2007 – with the new school replacing the secondary section of the Leicester Islamic Academy. Secondary schools are allowed to designate feeder primary schools under the admissions code, but with the requirement that this must “not disadvantage children from more deprived areas”.

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New plan to tackle violent extremism: Mentors to be drafted in to help reverse the process of radicalisation

A nationwide “deradicalisation” programme is being developed to tackle people who have been drawn into Islamist violent extremism in Britain, the government will reveal today. The Home Office said the strategy was needed to help bring back those who had “already crossed the line” in terms of ideology and outlook, but not yet committed any clear criminal offence. The local schemes involved so far aim to reverse the process of radicalisation possibly through mentoring those involved: “Nationally we are developing a UK deradicalisation programme,” says the government’s new strategy document on preventing violent extremism published today. “That involves learning from overseas, from other professions, and through pilot programmes. We recognise that more specialised techniques are likely to be necessary but a key element of this approach is for local partners to identify and work with organisations that may be able to provide this capacity.” It cites the example of a community based programme in Leicester that is already mentoring “vulnerable individuals” using techniques including encouraging them to feel more valued and to eradicate myths and assumptions which have led to them becoming alienated and disempowered. Alan Travis reports.

Rubbish-spy bid condemned

The city council was asked to order binmen to act as spies by searching through people’s rubbish to look for Islamic extremist material. Leicester City Council’s former chief executive, Rodney Green, was present at a meeting held in London where council bosses in charge of areas with high Muslim populations were asked to pass on the suggestion to their binmen, it has emerged. The city council said the order was never carried out. Rodney Green attended a meeting of Government quango, the Migration Impacts Forum (MIF), in June and October last year and January this year. MIF members include ministers and representatives from councils, the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Department for Work and Pensions. The aim of the MIF is to assess the impact of migration and the issues arising from it. A Leicester City Council spokeswoman said: “I can confirm Rodney Green did attend a meeting of the Migration Impact Forum, and this sort of suggestion was made.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=1948994ACB5978EDF61F0409&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Bishop Nazir Ali faces death threats and also anger of Archbishop of Canterbury

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, is under police protection after he and his family received death threats over his claim that parts of Britain had become no-go areas for non-Muslims The Bishop is also facing anger from the most senior members of the Church of England hierarchy for his comments on Islam. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has made Islam a priority of his archiepiscopate and set up a Muslim-Christian forum to promote relations between the faiths in 2006. One senior cleric told The Times yesterday: The Bishop of Rochester is in effect threatening to undo everything we have done. The cleric said that some congregations in cities such as Leicester, where interfaith work was a priority, were increasingly wary of donating money towards this work. Church leaders in towns with a large Muslim population were anxious that relations with their neighbors were being undermined

Imams are not the solution to terrorism’

By Jessica Shepherd {Muslim spiritual leaders say Blair’s call for training in UK universities is misguided} University imams have reacted angrily to comments made by Tony Blair last week about their education. The prime minister said imams should be trained in UK universities. Too many, he told a conference of Islamic religious leaders, entered Britain with poor English and an insufficient grasp of the country’s traditions. University imams and prominent Muslims on campus say they believe the prime minister’s words were really about reducing extremism, and not about imams’ standards of English or their understanding of British culture. “We are aware we need UK-trained imams who can speak English and know what is happening on our streets,” says Ibrahim Mogra, an imam at De Montfort, Leicester and Loughborough universities and chairman of the Interfaith Relations Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain. But in any case Mogra and others question what they see as an underlying assumption by the government that the solution to extremism lies with imams from overseas, university training for imams, or even imams at all. Blair is misguided and misinformed, they say.

Muslims Fault Blair’s Imam Strategy

CAIRO – The British government is misguided if it thinks that imams whether homegrown or foreigners are to blame for extremism and that training them in UK university is the solution, Muslim experts and university imams told the Guardian on Tuesday, June 12. “The problem is not imams and their countries of origin,” said Ibrahim Mogra, an imam at De Montfort, Leicester and Loughborough universities. “The tiny proportion of extremists usually have nothing to do with imams,” he insisted. Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Glasgow, agreed. “People who are involved in extremism will not usually involve their imam,” she stressed. “Imams are not the solution to the problem of terrorism.”