French police criticized for dressing as Muslims during drug raid

Police in Marseille have been criticized over the arrest of a suspected drug dealer made by two officers dressed in traditional Muslim attire. The suspect was detained on Wednesday in La Bricarde neighborhood in the north of the city, along with two other alleged members of his crew in an operation in which 1.2 kilograms of cannabis and 300 euros in cash were seized. An otherwise unremarkable arrest, were it not for the fact that two of the officers were dressed in a qamis and jilbab, long tunics typically worn by conservative Muslims. The arrest was caught on camera and quickly spread through social media.

 

The arrest was part of an operation by a special brigade within the national police, a spokesperson of the Regional Directorate of Public Security [DDSP] confirmed.

Many were angered that the police were dressed specifically as Muslims when other civilian clothing could just as well have been used.

“It’s normal that banlieusards feel stigmatized when the police use these kind of procedures, which speaks volumes about the city conditions,” wrote a person who originally posted the video on Twitter.

This is the first time that I’ve heard of the police using this strategy. I don’t think it’s right for the police to pretend to be Muslim just in order to arrest someone, even if the rules do go out of the window in this game of cat-and-mouse,” “Wassim,” a local resident, told France 24. “They could have simply been in mufti, without having to pretend to be Muslim.”

But others have not been so quick to criticize, saying it was necessary for the officers to blend into an area that’s deeply suspicious of police.

“In the neighborhoods, there are people who act as lookouts and immediately alert the dealers when the police are coming,” said “Clara,” another local resident. “So, I think that trying to blend into the crowd in order not to attract attention is a good way of catching traffickers.”

Valls wants to “combat the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood” in France

Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that “we must combat the discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood in our country, we must combat Salafist groups in our neighborhoods.”

“We need to help Muslims who don’t support being confused by such discourse. Not only with jihadists, not only with terrorists, but also with fundamentalism, conservatism, radicalism,” he stated.

When asked how he would combat such groups, Valls responded: “By the law, by the police, by intelligence services. Many things are done. A religion cannot impose its discourse in our neighborhoods.”

The denunciation of Salafism, even if it is primarily quietest and hostile toward jihadism, is very common, especially as the ultra-Orthodox movement influenced by Saudi Wahhabism has gained ground in mosques, present in over 100 (out of 2,300) today.

The Muslim Brotherhood is less common today at the highest state level. The group is at once reformist as well as being conservative. It is engaged in both the political and social sectors, as well as being represented by the Union of Muslim Organizations of France (UOIF) and embodied by Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder Hassan el-Banna.

The liberal imam of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou is also a member. With over 250 associations, the UOIF is one of the principal Islamic organizations in France. It oversees the first Muslim school under contract by the state (Averroès, in Lille), which has recently been accused of fostering an “Islamist” ideology among its students. The UOIF also organizes the largest annual gathering of Muslims in the West, which boasts over 100,000 attendees annually, and whose guest list is monitored by the authorities.

The New York Times: “Fox News Becomes the Unwilling Star of a French TV Satire”

Doreen Carvajal for The New York Times: “Mockery is a national weapon in France, so when an American cable news channel raised false alarms about rampant lawlessness in some Paris neighborhoods — proclaiming them “no-go zones” for non-Muslims, avoided even by the police — a popular French television show rebutted the claims the way it best knew how: with satire, spoofs and a campaign of exaggeration and sarcasm.” (NYTimes)

Mayor Says New York City Will Settle Suits on Stop-and-Frisk Tactics

January 30, 2014

 

The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed an agreement proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for the city to reach a settlement in its legal battle over the controversial NYPD “stop-and-frisk” policy.
That policy involved stopping, questioning and frisking people in primarily African-American and Latino neighborhoods. Last year, a federal judge found that the police tactic was unconstitutional, calling it “a policy of indirect racial profiling.”

The mayor and the Center for Constitutional Rights announced a deal to drop the city’s appeal of a court ruling and that would accept the remedies ordered by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin including the appointment of outside monitor, Peter L. Zimroth, to oversee reforms.
In making the announcement, which he said he hoped would end a turbulent chapter in the city’s racial history, Mr. de Blasio offered a sweeping repudiation of the aggressive policing practices that had been a hallmark of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, but that had stoked anger and resentment in many black and Latino neighborhoods. He essentially reversed the course set by Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had appealed the judge’s ruling.

“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”
The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, found that the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics were unconstitutional, and that it had resorted to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.” At the height of the program, in the first quarter of 2012, the police stopped people — mostly black and Latino men — on more than 200,000 occasions. A vast majority of those stopped were found to have done nothing wrong.

Judge Scheindlin had ordered the appointment of a monitor to develop, in consultation with the parties, widespread reforms of the department’s “policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline regarding stop-and-frisk.” That process will go forward as part of the agreement.

NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/nyregion/de-blasio-stop-and-frisk.html?_r=0
Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12351-cair-ny-welcomes-mayors-deal-to-end-nypd-stop-and-frisk.html

Popular Party (PP) figure calls for the closing of “unlicensed” and “illegal” mosques in Spain

November 11, 2013

 

Alberto Fernandez, deputy of the Popular Party (PP) in Barcelona has asked the mayor Xavier Trias to close all Muslim centers that have no license.
Fernandez has also denounced a Pakistani cultural center located in the Poble Sec (Barcelona) as an illegal center.

Finally, he has asked the City Hall to ensure the legality of these centers, as well as to ensure that they respect the values ​​of coexistence and democracy and that these centers “do not cause the formation of ghettos in some neighborhoods.”

 

Abc.es : http://www.abc.es/local-cataluna/20131115/abci-alberto-fernandez-reclama-cierre-201311151844.html

Interfaith movement struggles to adapt to changing religious landscape

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington is known as one of the country’s early multi-faith groups, and its executive director’s nickname is the “dean of American interfaith.” Yet as it approaches its 35th anniversary in November, the group is fighting for survival, down to two full-time staff members and facing more than $100,000 in debt.

 

The conference, which has a major fundraiser planned this fall and aims to restructure the organization and sharpen its mission, is hardly alone. Some of the oldest and best-known names in interfaith, including the National Council of Churches and the Chicago-based Council for a Parliament of the World Religions, have slashed staff as their revenue shriveled.

Since the Interfaith Conference was founded in 1978, religious minorities have grown significantly in size and stature, and Americans now interact more easily with people of other faiths in their schools, offices, neighborhoods and even immediate families. Younger interfaith types today are more interested in activism and often focus on particular policy issues. For example, some of the newer, small groups in Washington are Interfaith Youth for Climate Justice and Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims.

When these new, more activist groups are taken into account, the interfaith movement as a whole appears to be thriving. The Rev. Bud Heckman, who has been a leader of several key interfaith groups, said his research shows there are twice as many interfaith groups nationally as there were a decade ago. A recent Hartford Institute survey showed congregations are twice as likely to engage in interfaith worship today as they were 10 years ago.

 

Interfaith Conference leaders say they believe there is still a need for the group’s unique strength — it connects local leaders from 11 different faiths, including Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims.

Seeing Islam in Global Cities: A Spatial Semiotic Analysis

Jerome Krase & Timothy Shortell, Department of Sociology, Brooklyn College CUNY NYC Turkish Day Parade

As noted by Krase and colleagues (Krase & Hum 2007; Krase & Shortell 2009, 2011; Shortell & Krase 2011, 2012), visual sociology of changing urban neighborhoods is not merely an aesthetic exercise of finding images to illustrate sociological concepts. Rather, it is an increasingly important way to investigate social change. Cities on every continent have been deluged by the rapid influx of large numbers of people and products from cultures different from native-born residents. Because of globalization, “cultural strangers” share common urban environments. Although these “strangers” frequently live within the same large-scale political boundaries, the real test of community takes place during the course of everyday life on the streets, in the shops, and public spaces of neighborhoods. At present, examination of the visual semiotics of difference is especially important as American and European cultures interact with Islamic cultures. Visual representations of Islam are common in the US and EU; these are generally negative and often derogatory, as a quick Google image search reveals. Local political talk about Islam tends to be critical and often panicked. Nativist politics are on the rise throughout the West and the central point of contention seems to be visibility. The “burqa controversy” in France and the conflict over a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan (the so-called “WTC mosque”) are recent examples of the disputes over urban public space involving representations of collective identity. Public space becomes the locus of the public sphere, where visibility conflicts—who is seen in public space—become disputes about who ought to be included in the national “public.” Using a spatial semiotic analysis, we investigate how the presence of expressive, conative, phatic, and poetic signs of recent Muslim inhabitants change the meaning of vernacular neighborhoods in global cities. Visual data from urban neighborhoods in the US and Europe will be presented as examples of different functions of semiotic markers, and exemplars of the data we collect using a neighborhood photographic survey technique. We discuss how these different functions interact with local policy to create interpretive landscapes, which can lead to dramatically different outcomes in terms of social conflict.

 

In the attached PDF is a small sample photographs that cover a tiny fraction of Islamic representations, these taken by Jerome Krase, that are part of our archive of galleries at:http://brooklynsoc.tumblr.com/

 

download pdf

KraseShortell_SeeingIslamGlobalCities wfotos

 

References

Krase, Jerome & Tarry Hum. 2007. “Ethnic Crossroads: Toward a Theory of Immigrant Global Neighborhoods,” Pp 97-119 in Ethnic Landscapes in an Urban World, edited by Ray Hutchinson & Jerome Krase. Elsevier/JAI Press.

 

Krase, Jerome & Timothy Shortell. 2009. “Visualizing Glocalization: Semiotics of Ethnic and Class Differences in Global Cities.” Annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Society. Baltimore.

 

Krase, Jerome & Timothy Shortell. 2011. “On the Spatial Semiotics of Vernacular Landscapes in Global Cities.” Visual Communication 10(3): 371-404.

 

Shortell, Timothy &  Jerome Krase. 2011. “Immigrant Islam: Politics of Representation and the Challenge of Seeing Collective Identity in Global Cities.” 10th conference of the European Sociological Association. Geneva.

 

Shortell, Timothy & Jerome Krase. 2012. “On the Visual Semiotics of Collective Identity in Urban Vernacular Spaces.” Pp  in Sociology of the Visual Sphere, edited by Regev Nathansohn & Dennis Zuev. Routledge.

 

The Mayor of Badalona forbids Muslims to pray in the street

19 July 2012
The Mayor of Badalona, Xavier García Albiol reminded today the Muslim community in the neighborhoods of Artigas and Sant Roc, before the first morning of Ramadan, that they may not use the street to pray. Albiol said in a statement that the Muslim community “should have found a solution to stop praying in the Camarón de la Isla square, in the neighborhood of Sant Roc. Already since eight months ago that the City Hall is asking them to seek alternative places to stop praying on public roads. ” The mayor said that “the situation can not be extended beyond this. Those responsible for the Islamic center of Pau Cami knew they needed to look for a place to pray before the spring, but have not done so.” In this situation, the municipal government announced that it has offered the Muslim community in the neighborhoods of Sant Roc Artigas the courtyard of the former secondary school Badalona 9 to carry out their prayers.

Former U.S. solider sues NYPD over Muslim surveillance

At 26, Syed Farhaj Hassan was a devout Muslim, and a man who took a lot of pride in being one of the relatively few Muslim Americans to join the military and then go to war in Iraq.

Hassan signed on recently to be the lead plaintiff in the first lawsuit to challenge any portion of the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims — a systematic program that has gone on both in New York and across state borders.

“I was upset that this was happening to a community, simply based on their faith,” Hassan said.

“The same thing can happen to Jewish Americans; the same thing can happen to Shinto Americans; the same thing can happen to Buddhist Americans,” he went on, leaning across a table and slicing the air with his hands to emphasize his point. “In this case, it happened to Muslim Americans.”

Hassan, now 35, claims that if his name or license-plate number, for example, were to be discovered by the Army on an NYPD surveillance dossier, “it would only be detrimental to my future in government and to my military career, in my opinion.”

When he joined the military, he noted, officials did a background check on him. “I know I wasn’t on a list of people being watched over” at the time, he said. A simple speeding ticket can be a “derog” in the Army, he added, and “derogs” can affect a soldier’s clearance or the standing he or she has worked to achieve.

Hassan claims in the civil rights suit that the NYPD has spied on four mosques he’s attended in New Jersey over the years — scaring him away from attending one of those mosques, in particular.

The suit also contends the NYPD deploys plainclothes officers called “rakers,” who monitor daily life in heavily Muslim neighborhoods. And, the suit says, the NYPD also uses undercover informants inside of mosques called “mosque crawlers,” who keep tabs on sermons and conversations.

In May New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced he had determined the NYPD’s actions in New Jersey did not violate any state civil or criminal laws. And a Quinnipiac University poll released in April found New Jersey voters said, by a margin of 70 percent to 21 percent, that the NYPD is “doing what is necessary to combat terrorism” in the Garden State.

AP wins Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting on NYPD surveillance

Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan of The Associated Press today were named winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their months-long series outlining the New York Police Department’s surveillance of minority and particularly Muslim neighborhoods since the 9/11 terror attacks.

In addition, the AP had finalists in two other Pulitzer categories, Feature Photography and National Reporting.

The Pulitzer Prizes are the most prestigious honors in journalism.

The NYPD stories revealed that the department had become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, sending undercover officers into minority neighborhoods, student groups and houses of worship, though there was no indication they harbored criminals or terrorists.

In documenting the extent of the NYPD’s undercover operations, conducted with the advice and guidance of the CIA, the AP team’s stories ignited ongoing debate in the halls of government, in the ethnic communities, on editorial pages and across the Web.