Report from Switzerland explains Muslims are well-integrated, but more information is needed

5/8/2013

 

According to a report published earlier this week, the vast majority of Muslims living in Switzerland are well integrated into society. The report found that Muslim religious affiliation does not pose a problem to Muslims’ everyday lives and rarely generates conflicts. The report focused on the situation of Muslims in Switzerland, and was developed by several federal agencies. Experts estimate that 350,000 to 400,000 Muslims live in Switzerland, of which about a third have Swiss nationality. Many are descendants of immigrants. The vast majority of Muslim immigrants come from the Western Balkans and Turkey.

No Islamic community is homogeneous: In Switzerland, there is not a homogenous Islamic community, but rather many different communities, which are distinguished mainly by the ethnic, national and linguistic diversity. Typically, these individual communities are not connected to each other.

For many Muslims, religious affiliation is not the main feature of their identity. Only small portion of them (between 12 and 15%) practice their faith, for example by attending a mosque regularly. Muslims from the Western Balkans, in particular, often incorporate Islam into their daily lives. At the same time, the report said the people of Islamic faith feel doubly discriminated against, both as foreign nationals and as Muslims.

Richard Dawkins, ‘Islamophobia’ and the atheist movement

This piece does not argue whether ‘Islamophobia’ is a valid term, but how atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have been confused, inconsistent and blundering in their attempts to talk about Muslims. Sam Harris’ writings last month contained a retrospective clanger that very few people picked up on. In a recent article Harris attempted to deconstruct the idea of Islamophobia:

 

“[Islamophobia] is, an ‘irrational’ and ‘disproportionate’ and ‘unjustified’ focus on Muslims. But the only way that Muslims can reasonably be said to exist as a group is in terms of their adherence to the doctrine of Islam. There is no race of Muslims. They are not united by any physical traits or a diaspora. […] The only thing that defines the class of All Muslims – and the only thing that could make this group the possible target of anyone’s “irrational” fear, “disproportionate” focus, or “unjustified” criticism – is their adherence to a set of beliefs and the behaviours that these beliefs inspire. So ‘Islamophobia’ must be – it really can only be—an irrational, disproportionate, and unjustified fear of certain people, regardless of their ethnicity or any other accidental trait, because of what they believe and to the degree to which they believe it.”

 

Sam Harris who wrote in defense of profiling barely a year ago, an article in which he suggested: “We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.” In response to an avalanche of criticism, he elaborated further: “To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behaviour in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest.” The author makes a point of showing the irony of this in that Muslims are the most racially diverse religious group in America.

 

Whatever you choose to call this phenomenon, it’s clear that there’s a line between criticism (and/or ridicule) of Islam, and bigotry against Muslims. Yet as the author describes, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have blundered into that line with an alarming degree of recklessness. None of that alters the point that inflammatory, irrational and blundering attacks by privileged white male atheists against Muslims of all stripes achieve little more than book sales.

“Dutch Integration Test is a Barrier to Integration”

April 16 2013

 

Research by Ricky van Oers of Radbound University suggests that the citizenship which immigrants have to take to live in the Netherlands or to acquire Dutch nationality has the opposite effect of stimulating integration. Van Oers says 25% of people who take the test fail it, and a significant portion ignore it all together, commenting “The barrier to taking this test, which people now have to pay for themselves, is too high.”

Spain offers to change the law to prevent the full adoptions of Islamic minors

28 March 2013

The Spanish Government is prepared to amend the law of adoption to assure that the Guardianship of Alawites minors granted to Spanish families do not become full adoptions under Spanish law.

This guardianship system – typical of Islamic countries – involves a commitment to take charge of the protection, education and maintenance of an abandoned child, but does not confer the right to descent or succession. Moroccan legislation imposes on the families a series of requirements, such as their commitment to respect the child’s full name, nationality or religion until adulthood.

“What the Moroccan authorities really want, explains El-Otmani, the Morrocan Minister of Foreign Affairsis is a mechanism that will enable them to track how that child is doing”; that allows them to “control, verify that the child has a normal situation in education, psychology and health” culturally and religiously speaking, he adds.

 

British Government strips a Muslim man’s nationality

27 October 2012

 

Mahdi Hashi, a Somalia-born British citizen has been deprived of his British nationality and may never return to Britain. He is thought to be held in an African prison. In the recent years the government has been empowered with a controversial law which does not require a court order to deprive an individual of all his rights as a British national.

 

According to the media reports, the majority of the people who have been affected by this law are Muslim Britons. The deprivation of citizenship order that Hashi received says Mr Hashi had lost his rights to live in the UK for the ‘public good’. It also includes that ‘The Security Service assess that you have been involved in Islamicist extremism and present a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom due to your extremist activities.”

 

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, prominent human rights barrister, said: ‘The increase in orders under this Government of depriving British people of their citizenship on non-conducive grounds is a matter of concern because it is always very difficult to challenge fairly. It means people are being deprived of their rights as a British citizen on the say-so of security officials who can’t be challenged in court.”

 

Human rights groups are concerned that Hashi may now be held at Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti where the Americans have built a large base to combat terrorist groups across the continent.

 

Netherlands May Drop Planned Burqa Ban

2 May 2012

 

The Netherlands may drop the planned ban on the burqa and on dual nationality which are currently making their way through the national parliament. The change comes with the fall of the minority government, as those aspects of government policy influenced by the presence of the anti-Islam  PVV (Freedom Party)  enter into renegotiation. Notably, MPs have implored outgoing Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies (CDA) to eliminate the country’s planned burqa ban. Spies has responded that she “wouldn’t shed a tear” if the PVV-sponsored bill was scrapped, but will leave it up to parliament to decide. The proposed ban on dual nationality is now also under contention.

Spies had previously defended both policies, stating in regards to the burqa ban that “it is important that people in an open society meet each other in an open way.” This week, however, Volkskrant quotes her statement that, “now that the cabinet has fallen, there’s no longer any payoff”  to supporting PVV sponsored bills. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers has also said that he will no longer support PVV causes within Europe.

16.452 Muslims in Extremadura , according to the Observatorio Andalusí

16 April 2012
According to the Observatorio Andalusí ‘s Annual Report for 2011published by the Union of Islamic Communities, in Spain live around 16,452 Muslims in Extremadura.

It highlights the following:
There are 17 Islamic identities with 16 mosques in the region of Extremadura.

Muslims living in Extremadura: 16,452 divided between foreign and Spanish (nationalized)
Foreign Muslims in Extremadura: 9,551
Spanish Muslims (nationalized): 6,901
Foreign Muslims in Badajoz (164 municipality): 3,191
Foreign Muslims in Cáceres (221 ​​municipality): 6,360

With regard to the nationality of the foreigners living in Extremadura, the Moroccan nationality is dominant with 8645.

Muslim Students in Extremadura:
Spanish Students: 1,019
Immigrant Students: 1,655

A Saudi citizen is detained in Valencia for supposed links to al-Qaeda

According to the Civil Guard sources within the al-Qaeda organization the Saudi citizen detained in Valencia is known as the librarian of Al Qaeda. The Civil Guard believes that he ran from Valencia one of the best-known jihadist forums dedicated to indoctrination and recruitment of terrorists. According to the Ministry of Interior the prisoner has provided jihadists with transport and eventual trips to Afghanistan although for now it is not known how many people have made these trips.
The initials of the arrested are M.H.A. Born in Amman and of Saudi nationality, he was being tracked since February 2011by the Central External Unit of the Spanish Civil Guard.
The Civil Guard sources say that the Valencia detainee worked directly for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The pattern is repeated: Married to a Spanish woman with whom he had a daughter, living in Spain, dedicated fully to his terrorist activities (8 to 15 hours a day), and known in police circles for acting as a leader in scenarios such as mosques and other places that were used as jihadist schools. The operation remains open and more than 100 Civil Guard officers have participated in the investigations.

25 former Hertz drivers in Seattle sue, saying they were targeted as Somali Muslims

SEATTLE — Twenty-five former Hertz drivers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have filed a lawsuit claiming they were fired based on their race, religion and nationality.

The former employees are Muslims who were born in Somalia.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in King County Superior Court claims Hertz Corp. terminated them after they refused to clock out for prayers. The lawsuit claims they had not been required to clock out previously and the rules were changed to target Somali Muslims.

Hertz officials could not be reached for comment after business hours. But a spokesman said previously that other drivers who were suspended in September returned to their jobs after agreeing to clock out.
The workers who are suing want to be reinstated with back pay, plus reimbursement of lost benefits and attorneys’ fees.

Algerian man denied French nationality because of sexism

An Algerian man was denied French citizenship because “his idea of sexual equality is not that of the republic”, according to a high-ranking official quoted by French radio station Europe 1.

The man, who has not been identified, is married to a Frenchwoman, but does not allow her to leave the family home freely, it was claimed. The French constitution states that the government can refuse nationality or strip nationality for a “lack of integration”.

A spokesman for the interior minister, Claude Guéant, told the Guardian that the man had failed to accept the French way of life. “His behaviour showed a lack of assimilation into the French community; it was incompatible with the values of the French republic, notably in respect to the values of the equality of men and women.”

 

The decision came after far-right leader Marine Le Pen wrote to French MPs asking them to support an end to dual nationality, claiming it “undermines republican values.” President Nicolas Sarkozy is reportedly “very favourable” to ending dual nationality.