Trump’s Muslim registry wouldn’t be illegal, constitutional law experts say

The day after Donald Trump won the White House, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote on Twitter that if the president-elect attempts “to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we’ll see him in court.”

But when it comes to the immigrant registration program that would target Muslims entering the United States — outlined Wednesday by an adviser to Trump’s transition team — three constitutional lawyers say the ACLU won’t have much of a shot before a judge.

That program, labeled the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, required those entering the U.S. from a list of certain countries — all but one predominantly Muslim — to register when they arrived in the U.S., undergo more thorough interrogation and be fingerprinted. The system, referred to by the acronym NSEERS, was criticized by civil rights groups for targeting a religious group and was phased out in 2011 because it was found to be redundant with other immigration systems.

Robert McCaw, director of government affairs for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a reinstitution of NSEERS would be akin to “just turning back the clock.” CAIR will lobby heavily against the system as not only discriminatory but also ineffective, McCaw said, if it ends up being proposed by the Trump administration.

He also accused Kobach, an architect of the original NSEERS program when he was with the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration, of having “a long ax to grind with the Muslim community.”

Dutch Government Advised to Eliminate Allochtoon Categorization

8 May 2012

 

A report to the Dutch parliament from the advisory group on social development (RMO) has recommended the cessation of categorizing residents according to ethnicity and parental birth places, advising instead that only the birth place of the individual concerned be taken into record. The report advocates the elimination of terms such as niet-westerse allochtoon (non-western non-native) which signal heritage as ‘non-native’ for those with a parent born abroad. In response, integration minister Gerd Leers said that he favoured maintaining ethnic registration for the purposes of measuring the effect of government measures, such as interventions in employment and education.

Meal Refunds for Muslim Students at Dutch University Orientation

7 August 2011

 

Muslims participating at an orientation week at Leiden University are able to receive a refund on their meal tickets, as this year’s activities fall during the month of Ramadan. Muslim students who hand back their meal tickets will receive 30 euros back from their 65 euro registration fees. De Telegraaf reports that most universities are not changing their orientation programs to accommodate for Ramadan, though Utrecht University will ensure that obligatory sessions will not run during the evenings, allowing Muslim students to break fast with their families, while in Maastricht halal meat will be available, as in previous years, during the annual barbecue.

 

Gallup: Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future

Examining U.S. Muslims’ political, social, and spiritual engagement 10 years after September 11.

Ten years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Muslim Americans are more optimistic than other major faith groups about their future, even as they report greater discrimination and less confidence in the FBI and the U.S. military, a new poll has found.

In the report by Gallup, which measures American Muslims’ political, social and spiritual engagement, almost two in three Muslims said their standard of living is improving, up 18 percentage points from 2008 and higher than any other faith group surveyed. This is the same period that Muslim leaders say has been the most oppressive for Muslims in this country, with rhetoric against their faith group appearing to rise.
Gallup analysts credited Muslims’ optimism in part to the election of President Obama, who has not appeared at an American mosque since taking office but has often spoken out about the need for Muslim equality and civil rights. Only 9 percent of American Muslims identify as Republicans, Gallup said. Eighty percent of Muslims in America said in 2011 that they approve of Obama, vs. 7 percent who expressed support for President George W. Bush in 2008.

At the same time, Muslim Americans are the religious group least likely to be registered to vote: 65 percent compared with 91 percent of Protestant Americans and Jewish Americans. The report’s authors speculated that this may be because many Muslim Americans are immigrants who have not yet become citizens (the poll did not ask respondents about citizenship) and because Muslim Americans tend to be younger than people of other religions, a trait associated with low voter registration levels.

A Post-9/11 Registration Effort Ends, but Not Its Effects

In the jittery months after the 9/11 attacks, the federal government created a program that required thousands of Arab and Muslim men to register with the authorities, in an effort to uncover terror links and immigration violations.

After complaints that the practice, known as special registration, amounted to racial profiling, the Homeland Security Department scaled back the program in 2003, and ended it late last month, saying it “no longer provides a unique security value.”

But for Mohammed G. Azam, a 26-year-old Bangladeshi native who came to the United States when he was 9, its legacy lives on. When he registered in Manhattan in 2003, officials began deportation proceedings, and now, eight years and numerous hearings later, his case has outlasted the program.

Mr. Azam is one of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of people still caught in the program’s net, immigration experts say.

How many Muslims live in Austria?

A census of local Muslims in Austria has been initiated by the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (IGGiÖ) as a result of the upcoming elections for the organization. The president of the IGGiÖ, Anas Schakfeh, expects approximately 100,000 Austrian Muslims to register, while estimates of Muslims in Austria range from 400,000 to 500,000.

The goal of this census is to establish clarity with regard to the number of Muslims in Austria. It was made possible by the new constitution of the IGGiÖ, recently approved by the Department of Religious Affairs (Kultusamt). Before, only the number of active members in the religious community was known, while now the registration will include children in their first years of life. Voting for the representatives of IGGiÖ is possible from the age of 14, the year when one comes of age with respect to religious considerations in Austria.

Forms for the registration are available on the IGGiÖ website, and will also be distributed to mosque associations. Aside from general personal information, the forms also ask in which association or mosque the applicant is a member. According to spokesperson Carla Amina Baghajati a number of filled out forms have already been returned, though the creation of a database is not yet possible as the necessary computer program has not yet been fully developed.

Amsterdam mayor wants to drop Moroccan name list in Dutch-Moroccan official registration

Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen plans to petition city hall stop using a list of first names approved by the government of Morocco.

Although city hall recognizes dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, the government in Rabat insists that people with a Moroccan parent are its nationals, and suggest using approved names to prevent future travel and inheritance problems by having a foreign name on their official documents.

Presently, persons of the local Dutch-Moroccan community have been given the list of approved names when officially registering their children. MPs from two senior members of the Christian Democrats and Labour have also called for Dutch-Moroccans to be able to choose whatever names they place on their registration documents.

Muslim fiesta to given official status in Spain

The government of Melilla announced that in 2 years time, the Muslim religions celebration of Eid will be given official status in Melilla. This marks the first time that part of the territory of Spain will give official status to a non-Catholic religion celebration. It is expected that Cueta will also begin to officially recognize Eid shortly.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)

Muslim police ‘are in short supply’ – survey

Muslims are in short supply in the police force, particularly in specialist units like counter-terrorism, a survey by the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) and Demos has revealed. Of the 2374 officers working in counter-terrorism, just 27 are Muslims. And of the 4,630 inspectors and chief inspectors, just 30 are Muslims. The survey pointed out that while 3.3 per cent of the UK population are Muslims, they only make up 0.75 per cent of the police service. “Muslim officers are primarily concentrated in lower ranks, mainly constable. In specialist departments Muslim officers are largely absent. The obvious point is the lack of Muslim officers involved in countering terrorism, given the threat at the present time from violent extremist Islamist groups linked to al-Qaida,” NAMP said.
While acknowledging that it was not only Muslims that could understand terrorist activity, NAMP added that “officers with a cultural, religious or linguistic understanding of the individuals most likely to be involved in these groups could be an invaluable head start”. Recruiting more Muslim officers in this sector was “a matter of priority”.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)

Muslims and city politics: When town halls turn to Mecca

In cities all over Europe, mayors are fretting about the coming religious festivities. No, not just Christmas lights. They want to ensure hygiene and order in the slaughter of sheep for the feast of Eid al-Adha on December 8th. This remembers the readiness of Abraham—the patriarch revered by all three monotheistic faiths—to sacrifice his son. Muslims often sacrifice a lamb, whose meat is shared with family members and the poor.

In the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, where the dominant culture is that of Morocco, a circular from the district authorities reminds residents not to kill animals at home. It invites them to a “temporary abattoir” that will function for 48 hours in a council garage. Molenbeek is one of four areas of Brussels which have set up makeshift slaughterhouses, each with a capacity of at least 500 sheep. In practice, home killing is hard to stop, despite vows by the city authorities to prosecute offenders.

In places like Molenbeek, a few miles away from the European Union’s main institutions, talk of the continent’s transformation into Eurabia doesn’t sound absurd. Although Muslims make up less than 4% of the EU’s total population, their concentration in urban areas is altering the scene in some European cities.

In some of these places bad relations between Muslims, non-Muslims and the authorities are creating political opportunities for the far right. In east London, for example, arguments are raging over plans for a “mega-mosque” near the site of the 2012 Olympics. In rough parts of northern Paris, there are fights between Muslims and Jews. In Italian cities, where Muslims are numerous but not many can vote, Catholics and secularists have united to stop the erection of mosques.

Full-text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)