Christian convert Magdi Allam reacts to Islamist death threats

Magdi Allam, a Christian convert to Islam who has been targeted with death threats over apostasy, has expressed concern about these dangers and the fear that the perpetrators may be Italian. Allam’s fears were expressed concerning the large number of al-Qaeda inspired websites popping up on the internet, and the belief that some websites are created and maintained by Italians. He also said that persons responsible for death threats against him may be converts to Islam, or Muslim immigrants who have been Italianised – noting the significance of a cultural blend. Allam also stated that Italy should be on a high alert, because such persons may be terrorists and Italian citizens “who could be our neighbours”, who risk being ignored until there is a “tragic accident which forces us to open our eyes”.

One out of three Italians oppose new mosques, says survey

According to a recent national survey conducted by the Italian Makno Consulting company and commissioned by the Italian government, one out of three Italians oppose the constructing of new mosques. The survey found that 31 percent of Italians are against the building of new mosques because they are afraid of possible terrorist attacks by radicals, and fear of intolerance towards Catholicism. While this number is substantial, non-Muslim immigrants showed even less tolerance than their Italian counterparts – with about 50 percent opposing the opening of new mosques.

A Career Build on Controversy: How ‘Fitna’ Catapulted Wilders into the Limelight

Fitna, the short film by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, may have thrust its creator into the international limelight even before its release, but in the Netherlands, Wilders has long built up a reputation for being a controversial and outspoken member of parliament. Geert Wilders, the leader of the anti-immigration PVV party, has compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, has claimed his country is flooded by a tsunami of Muslims and has proposed ‘sending them back where they came from’ if Muslim immigrants are unwilling to denounce their religion. By creating Fitna, Wilders has reached another milestone on his crusade against what he calls ‘the Islamisation of the Netherlands’. His remarks have earned him both death threats and a growing electoral base. Emilie van Outeren and Derk Stokmans report.

Muslims in Europe ‘menace to peace’, says ambassador

Oded Ben-Hur, the Israeli Ambassador to the Vatican called Muslim immigrants a serious threat to peace and democracy in Europe. “(Muslims) have a different agenda, and are beginning to be a real serious menace to democracy and peace in Europe,” said Ben-Hur during a speech at the American University of Rome. The ambassador also criticized the complacency of citizens concerning Muslims in Italy. “They (Muslims) are witnessing what they define as the death of their culture, so they have introduced the culture of death,” he told students.

Around 15,000 polygamists living in country, immigrant party claims

The president of Italy’s immigrant party Mousapha Mansouri said that there are at least 15,000 cases of polygamy in Italy, and has urged women to call a special helpline for female victims of violence. Mansouri and his colleagues have reported cases of men who converted to Islam with the sole aim of being able to have multiple wives. Polygamy is illegal in Italy, but imams presiding over these marriages often do not keep a paper trail to avoid prosecution. “For this reason, we are appealing to the victims – the wives – to encourage them to denounce such abuse,” Mansouri said. However, Muslim convert and director of Islam Online’s Italian website, Hamza Piccardi, told Adnkronos International that he believes Muslim immigrants who have several wives should not be penalized. “If a foreigner arrives in a European country with four wives, he should not be reported to the police,” said Piccardi.

Europe wary of Muslim immigrants, poll says

Europeans believe immigration from Islamic countries is a threat to their traditional way of life, a survey has suggested. The poll, carried out across 21 countries, warned that Europe’s Muslim population could treble in the next 17 years. It also reported “a severe deficit of trust is found between the Western and Muslim communities” with most people wanting less interaction with the Muslim world. The study, whose authors include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, was commissioned for leaders at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. It reported “a growing fear among Europeans of a perceived Islamic threat to their cultural identities, driven in part by immigration from predominantly Muslim nations”. It concluded: “An overwhelming majority of the surveyed populations in Europe believe greater interaction between Islam and the West is a threat.” Backbench Tory MP David Davies whipped up the hysteria by reportedly claiming he was “not surprised” by the polls findings.

Muslim immigration issue still roils Europe: Netherlands leads debate over policies

Ehsan Jami sees himself as the legendary Dutch boy who used his finger to plug a leaking dike. Jami, a Dutch politician, is trying to prevent a flood of what he views as intolerant Muslim immigrants threatening to overrun the Netherlands and all of Europe. He’s not alone. In France, Germany and across Western Europe, a vigorous public debate is under way over preservation of national identities, the assimilation of minorities and tolerance of different cultures. Shelley Emling reports.

Spain’s Migrants Encounter Social Acceptance and Institutional Resistance

{This article explores Spain’s Islamic legacy and how this history impacts the experiences of the latest wave of Muslim immigrants. According to the author, the Catholicization of the country (beginning in the 13th Century) involved a concerted effort by the Church to expel or convert threatening elements from its midst, including Jews and Muslims. Though Spanish culture and society in some ways provide familiar and accomodating spaces for Muslim immigrants now, habits of institutional resistance to Muslims are still maintained by the Catholic Church.} Original Title: Spain’s migrants ‘seek jobs not conquest’ By Leslie Crawford in Madrid On the cobblestones outside the great 8th century mosque in C_rdoba, once the largest mosque in the western world, Mansur Escudero, a Spanish convert to Islam, unfolds his prayer mat and kneels down to pray. Muslims are not allowed to pray inside. The Roman Catholic Church, custodian of the building since the 13th century, says it would “confuse” Christians to see Muslims worshipping there. Mr Escudero has lobbied the Vatican to transform the C_rdoba mosque into an ecumenical place of worship, – “a symbol of religious tolerance and co-existence,” he says – but his campaign has not met with success…

Turkish “Guest workers” become “Hosts” in Germany

{Over the past several decades, the German Muslim immigrant community has undergone a transition from being one of “Guest workers” (in which immigrants lived in Germany on a temporary, seasonal basis in segregated communities) to one in which immigrants and German society are trying to facilitate a long-term integration of immigrants into mainstream society. This transition has brought formerly marginal and transient Muslim immigrants to a central place in mediation with local officials and mainstream society on behalf of newer immigrants with hopes of long-term residence and integration.} Original Title: “Turkish Guests become hosts in their community” By Hugh Williamson in Berlin The steelmills and coal mines that towered over Marxloh for decades have mostly gone, but many of the Gastarbeiter, or guest workers, who came from Turkey to dig the coal and work the furnaces remain. More than half the residents of Marxloh, a gritty suburb of Duisburg in western Germany’s former industrial heartland, are of Turkish origin. The local Turkish and Muslim shops, music and cafes enjoy wide renown as the city’s Little Istanbul. Marxloh now has another claim to fame. Next year, one of Germany’s largest mosques – with a capacity for 1,500 people – will open there, placing the area at the centre of national debate on how to foster greater co-operation between Muslims, Christians and those of other faiths…