Warning against Salafi action

October 8

 

The president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hans-Georg Maaßen has warned the public against activists of the German Salafi movement. Since its legal banning, members of the organization Millatu Ibrahim allegedly left Germany and went to Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa in order to mobilize and call Muslims for Jihad actions. Among other activities the Salafi are apparently attempting to build up a new German-speaking media center, based in foreign countries. The goal is to address young Muslims in Germany.

 

The former Rap musician and convert Denis Cuspert, also known as Deso Dogg, and the activist Mohamed Mahmud have left Germany and are wanted by German security forces.

How Are American Muslims Responding To The Anti-Islam Film?

Muslims have been demonstrating from North Africa to Southeast Asia, often violently, over the film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad. But, in America, Muslims have been virtually silent over the video Innocence Of Muslims.

Why the subdued response in the U.S.?

Jonathan Brown, an assistant professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown University, offers one theory. He thinks some American Muslims are too scared to protest.

“In a post 9/11 world, they’re absolutely frightened to stick their heads out in any way, shape or form,” he says. “They are still apologizing for attacks they didn’t do.”

Many American Muslims are fearful of appearing suspicious, voicing discontent with government or showing any solidarity with Muslims overseas, he argues. And if they do express their opinions, Brown says, they are absolutely tripping over themselves to show how truly moderate and civil they are.

U.S. Muslim groups have come out and condemned the violence abroad, including the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. But aside from that, Muslims in America have stayed on the peripheries, not wanting to be drawn into a fire burning overseas.

French Arrest Man Suspected of Financing al Qaeda

News Agencies – July 3, 2012

 

French authorities have arrested the administrator of an extremist French website suspected of playing a key role in financing and recruiting for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from Pakistan to Spain, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.The man—whom prosecutors call an “operational vector and formidable financier of the bloodiest terrorist groups”— faces preliminary charges of planning terrorist acts and financing a terrorist enterprise, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

 

The prosecutor cited “serious and concordant evidence” that the suspect sent material from his computer to terrorist groups. It says he played a “centralizing role” in collecting funds for terrorist groups to buy weapons, but didn’t elaborate on how much money was involved. Prosecutors say he is suspected of acting as a financier and recruiter for groups including al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (North Africa), Fatah al Islam, and the Islamic State of Iraq.

Quebec Mayor Reaches Out to French-Speaking Immigrants

News Agencies – March 17, 2011
Like small-town mayors everywhere, Stéphane Gendron is trying to entice newcomers to settle in his community. But he may be the only one whose enticement offers include a promise to build a mosque and halal slaughterhouse. Although open to all immigration, Mr. Gendron says, he’s especially keen on courting people from the French-speaking Maghreb region of North Africa.
Mr. Gendron’s campaign, though mostly based on intentions for now, is being called La Grande Séduction, after the hit movie about a Quebec village’s all-out attempts to lure a family doctor to set up in town. And the seduction campaign in Huntingdon, a former mill town an hour’s drive southwest of Montreal, is badly needed. The town of 2,587 has lost about half its population since the 1970s, mainly through the departure of Anglophones, and it then fell on hard times after the closing of its textile plants. Like small towns and villages across the province, its population is aging.

Migratory flows from North Africa: challenges for the EU

March 7, 2011

Unprecedented flows of migrants are arriving on the EU’s southern
shores following recent political upheaval across North Africa and there
is a fear that many more will come. In this commentary, Yves Pascouau
and Sheena McLoughlin outline three challenges the EU and its Member
States have to cope with: the capacity to protect their borders, the
capacity to respect the human rights of those fleeing persecution, and
the capacity to exercise solidarity. While there is already evidence of
a capacity to react when it comes to securing borders, the authors argue
that Member States will now also have to demonstrate, on the one hand,
an ability to respect human rights when managing large migration flows
from the south, and on the other hand, meaningful solidarity both with
countries in the North African region and with EU countries struggling
to cope with the new arrivals.

Original report: Migratory flows from North Africa – challenges for the EU

North Africa changes, and so should Europe’s migration policy

by Astrid Ziebarth

BERLIN – It is about 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Tunis to the
Italian island of Lampedusa, as many current Tunisian migrants could
tell you. From Alexandria, Egypt, the closest EU point is the Greek
island of Crete, about four times as far. But immigrants departing Egypt
would be ill-advised to head there. Rather, they should join the
Tunisians in Lampedusa if they want to have a better chance at claiming
refugee asylum in the European Union.

After the upsurge of immigrants from Tunisia to Italy, the EU will most
likely see increased migration from Egypt due to the breakdown of
Egyptian border controls after the revolution—a lack of law and order
that is likely to get worse before it gets better. This poses two
challenges for the EU. First, the need to reevaluate how the EU treats
refugees and asylum-seekers, as epitomized by the dysfunctional Greek
asylum system. Second, the question of how the EU can control
Mediterranean migration inflows through targeting the root causes of
migration.

Currently, policymakers in Italy and the EU are trying to get things
under control on Lampedusa, more or less successfully fending off a
larger discussion about adjusting the EU asylum and refugee system.
Northern European countries like Germany conveniently hide behind the
Dublin II agreement, which holds that irregular migrants have to file
their asylum claim in the first EU country they entered, which for most
North African migrants means in Greece or Italy. So these countries are
at the forefront of protecting the EU’s external border.

It is no secret that immigrants try to steer clear of entering through
Greece due to miserable conditions there for refugees and asylum
seekers. Reports about physical abuses while in Greek policy custody and
detention centers abound. The hardships they face in Greece was
confirmed in a January ruling by the European Court of Human Rights,
which concluded that returning asylum seekers to Greece from any other
EU country violates the European Convention on Human Rights because of
the inhuman conditions and treatment returnees face in Greece.
Immigrant rights advocates hope that it will not be long before Italy
faces similar charges due to Italy’s dubious border-control agreements
with Libya, which frequently result in the mistreatment of refugees. If
the EU cannot guarantee that fundamental rights are respected in their
member states for refugees and asylum-seekers, it is time to face this
challenge squarely. Top priorities should be burden-sharing within the
EU and better support of Southern EU member states that are clearly
overstrained in dealing with migration flows in a humanitarian manner.

Alleviating the inhuman conditions facing immigrants is only a
short-term solution, however. Migrants will try time and again to cross
the Mediterranean, and traffickers will find alternative migration
routes. If the EU wants to fight root causes of migration then it should
emphasize the Euro-Mediterranean trade partnerships. Helping to support
political and economic stability in Tunisia and Egypt through greater
European trade and investment will be the key, as those countries have
not only been sending and transit countries but have become major
destination countries for Sub-Saharan migrants. More coordinated efforts
for aid effectiveness and business cooperation are needed, and sticking
to the assistance pledges made at the 2005 G8 summit by European Union
members would help. So far, only the United Kingdom, despite heavy
austerity measures, has kept the target, and Italy is far behind. It
might very well be that, for a short time, migration flows would go up
with increasing stability and prosperity in the region as it is never
the poorest who take on a migration journey. But a larger concept of
migration and development policies needs to be employed alongside border
management. In the end it is jobs and secure livelihoods that lets
people stay where they want to live.

Maybe policymakers should follow on the surprising findings of the
public opinion poll / Transatlantic Trends: Immigration,
carried out by the German Marshall Fund and its partners, which found
that large pluralities of the public in the surveyed Mediterranean
countries of France, Italy, and Spain see increasing development aid to
poorer countries as the most effective policy to reduce irregular
immigration, more so than increasing national border controls.

It seems that geographic proximity does let the Southern European public
see a bit clearer what the real challenges are and how they could be
tackled. It’s time for the rest of Europe to listen to those on the
front lines.

Astrid Ziebarth is Program Officer with the German Marshall Fund’s
Immigration and Integration program in Berlin

France Signals Heightened Terrorist Alert

News Agencies – September 20, 2010

France is on heightened alert for possible terrorist attacks after receiving a tip-off that a female suicide bomber was planning to attack the transport system, a police source said this week. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said France was facing a real terrorism threat as it faces a backlash from al Qaeda militants in North Africa and fears grow of an attack from home-grown cells within its borders.
A police source told Reuters the authorities had been alerted from Algeria that there was a possible threat from a female suicide bomber to the Paris metro system. France has not suffered a major attack since 1995 when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group killed eight people and wounded dozens bombing a Paris metro station.
France’s overall alert level remains unchanged at “red,” the second highest level. Opposition MPs have suggested the government may be using the “terror card” to distract from a political financing scandal embroiling the labor minister and the international uproar on the repatriation of Roma from France. The French military presence in Afghanistan and the parliament adopting a ban on full Islamic veils are also issues of contention.

France Signals Heightened Terrorist Alert

News Agencies – September 20, 2010

France is on heightened alert for possible terrorist attacks after receiving a tip-off that a female suicide bomber was planning to attack the transport system, a police source said this week. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said France was facing a real terrorism threat as it faces a backlash from al Qaeda militants in North Africa and fears grow of an attack from home-grown cells within its borders.
A police source told Reuters the authorities had been alerted from Algeria that there was a possible threat from a female suicide bomber to the Paris metro system. France has not suffered a major attack since 1995 when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group killed eight people and wounded dozens bombing a Paris metro station.
France’s overall alert level remains unchanged at “red,” the second highest level. Opposition MPs have suggested the government may be using the “terror card” to distract from a political financing scandal embroiling the labor minister and the international uproar on the repatriation of Roma from France. The French military presence in Afghanistan and the parliament adopting a ban on full Islamic veils are also issues of contention.

Muslims prefer Ramadan in France

News Agencies – August 9, 2010

According to recent news reports, more and more Muslims in France prefer to celebrate Ramadan in France, rather than in North Africa, moving their vacation dates so they would return to France by the fasting month, August 10th.

Meziane Idjerouidene, CEO of the Aigle Azur airlines, says that this summer the waves of people going back started in early June, while normally it’s 23-25 of June and the peak of returns was between August 8 and 10, the beginning of the 9th month of the Muslim calendar. Last year Ramadan (August 22) also caused a shift in the dates of return, but it was less pronounced. The company transports 1.7 million travelers a year, 50% of them to the Maghreb. The Société nationale maritime Corse Méditerranée (SNCM) shipping company, which serves Tunisia and Algeria, say the same. They recorded many returns on 7-8 of August, while usually there are none at all. It appears many people return due to climatic and social control factors.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated Organization Warns of Revenge if France Bans the Burqa

France is maintaining “very great vigilance” toward actions and statements by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or North Africa, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said in a briefing. The al-Qaeda affiliate threatened vengeance for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s criticism of the face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women. The Algeria-based group issued a statement on Islamic Web sites vowing to “seek vengeance against France” over Mr. Sarkozy’s comments about face-covering Muslim veils such as the burqa and niqab. The declaration could not be independently verified. “We will not tolerate such provocations and injustices, and we will take our revenge from France,” said the statement, signed by Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, calling himself “commander of al Qaeda in North Africa [Islamic Maghreb].”

The statement is dated to June 28, five days after French President Nicolas Sarkozy controversially told lawmakers that the traditional Muslim garment was “not welcome” in France. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was originally a militant Islamist movement against Algeria’s secular government in the early 90s. It has since spread its geographic and political influence.