Germany Needs to Do More Against Racism and Islamophobia, UN Body Says

Members of a UN anti-racism body have called on Germany to do more to integrate foreigners. A controversial citizenship test in one German state especially caught their attention. Members of the United Nations Committee for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Friday, Aug. 15, said that they were concerned about citizenship application questions targeted at Muslims in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. “The Committee recommends that the Federal Government encourage the use of questionnaires without discriminatory content, for all applicants for citizenship,” said the committee, according to AFP news agency. Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to car maker Daimler’s Mercedes Benz, apparently requires citizens of the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to answer specific questions when they apply for German citizenship.

Young Man Questioned and Imprisoned Regarding Racist Aggression

An 18 year-old man has been charged with “voluntary violence” related to a physical assault of a French Muslim with took place on the 24th of July in Guyancourt (Yvelines). The man has denied the charges.

According to the victim, Nouredine Rachedi, 30, 2 men requested cigarettes from him and when he responded negatively, they asked whether he was Muslim and what he thought about Yugoslavia. Rachedi claims that when he told the two that he was born in France and a Muslim, that they responded, “We are Nazis!”

The CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France or the Committee Representing the Jewish Institutions of France) publicly denounced aggression and all forms of racism, whether they focus upon « Muslims, Jews, Blacks or whomever. »

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Islam Pluriel

Islam Pluriel

Libération

CRIF Press Release

CAIR Calls New Yorker Obama Cartoon ‘Inflammatory’

CAIR called a satirical cartoon of Barack Obama on the cover of The New Yorker magazine, inflammatory for its depiction of the presidential hopeful and his wife, intending to portray them as Muslim, militant, pro-terrorist, and Anti-American. In a statement released earlier this week, CAIR stressed that these inflammatory images and spurious associations will only serve to reinforce the racism and anti-Muslim stereotypes the magazine says it is out to challenge. The Muslim advocacy and civil liberties group also said that the magazine cover failed to achieve its goal of lampooning right-wing caricatures of the Obamas.

Preliminary Charges In Attack on Jewish Teen in Paris

French authorities are filing preliminary charges of “attempted murder with anti-Semitic motives” against three suspects charged with beating a Jewish teenager on June 21st in Paris, who later spent two days in a coma. Libération newspaper claims that such altercations are on the rise among youth gangs in the 19th district of Paris.

The June attack was immediately condemned by President Sarkozy, who was on a three-day visit to Israel at the time and “assure[d] the victim and his family of his support and renews his total determination to fight all forms of racism and anti-Semitism.” Mohamed Moussaoui, the new president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) stated in Le Figaro that he was concerned about the attack like “All other French people. Not especially as Muslims. We live in harmony with the other religions. The isolated incidents of anti-Semitism carried out by Muslims should be not over generalized.” France has the largest populations of Muslims and Jews living in close proximity outside of the Middle East.

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International Herald Tribune

More details on the attack here.

International Herald Tribune

Libération

Moussaoui’s comments in Le Figaro available here .

“Présentation des tests de discrimination”

The french office in charge of the evaluation of all forms of discrimination, HALDE (Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations), presents its latest testing report on recruitement discrimination. The presentation paper refers to a complete report, available online

The testing is based on 20 companies and nearly 1500 job offers. It shows the statistical discrimination rate of job candidates with different ethnic origins from the french, or of persons who are elder then 45 years. The statistical discrimination rate of persons with african or arabian origins is 23% (23% less opportunities than others) and even 42% concerning the persons elder than 45. The more discriminating company is ACCOR (Accor Jobs).

The Arab European League claims racism in Antwerp

The Arab European League plans to sue the Antwerp police department, blaming them of acting in racist manners after the murder of Mohammed Achrak in 2002. The AEL bases itself in the blog of the former police commissioner of Antwerp, Bart Debie, who wrote about the testimony during the AEL appeal trial. According to AEL, his writings show that racism is deeply rooted in the police department.

Islamophobia increasing in the Netherlands

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance released a new report on February 12th, 2008 saying that Islamophobia is gaining ground in the Netherlands, with Muslims and minorities facing increasing discrimination and violence. The report also decries the tone of debate about ethnic minorities in Dutch politics and media. Positive findings concede that progress has been made in a number of the fields highlighted in its previous report from 2000, citing that the Netherlands has become party to several international instruments working to combat racism and racial discrimination. The establishment of a network of local anti-discrimination bureaus is underway in the country, and efforts have been made to record and counter discrimination in the criminal justice system. Criticisms, however, include that recommendations in previous reports have only been partially implemented. Recommendations in the current report suggest that authorities take further action in a number of areas, particularly concerning public debate on integration and polarization in the country, taking steps to counter xenophobic discourse in politics, consistent opposition to all manifestations of Islamophobia, and the reviewing of policies in light of the prohibition of direct and indirect racial discrimination.

Judges reject ‘offensive’ book to Muslims

A story based on the Three Little Pigs was turned down from a government agency’s annual awards over fears that it could be offensive Muslims. Judges rejected the digital book stating that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues”. Becta, the government’s educational technology agency, is a leading partner in the annual schools award. The book’s creative director, Anne Curtis, said that the idea that including pigs in a story could be interpreted as racism was “like a slap in the face”. The CD-Rom digital version of the traditional story of the three little pigs, called Three Little Cowboy Builders, is aimed at primary school children.

Norway: Army researcher – ‘fighting Islamophobia is fighting terror’

Thomas Heggehammer of the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment says that fighting Islamophobia and racism bring about security problems – the more Norwegians hate Muslim, the more likely it will be to see Islamic violence in the country. The more aggression Muslims experience from Norwegians, the more tensions will rise and radicalization may increase. Heggehammer says it’s hard to say whether the oppression is real, but that many Muslims feel it is so – “There are also more Muslims who feel humiliated, discriminated and treated unjustly after Sep. 11 than before Sep 11. The feeling that Islam is persecuted and oppressed by the West by the war against terror is very widespread.”

Immigrants face more intolerance, says new report

Italian society has begun to show increased intolerance against immigrants, according to a new report by independent research group, Censis, released on Friday. Though the report said that the majority of crimes were committed by illegal immigrants or immigrants without the proper residency status, the report also stressed that many immigrants lived honestly. It called for more integration programs and policies to combat intolerance, racism against foreigners. The report also suggested that Italian politicians suffered from progressive fragmentation – meaning that they have not been able to reach people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.