New Research Funded at Tilburg University Will Study Spread of Salafism and Jihadism

logoSix fresh PhD’s will study the use of social media by Salafis. Approximately 3 to 5 percent of the worldwide Muslim population is an adherent to Salafism, a fundamentalist current in Islam. And since the rise of jihadism both are viewed with suspicion. Under the lead of the Dutch scholar and Professor Herman Beck six PhD students will do research at the Tilburg School of Humanities on the spread of Salafism in Germany, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, and Spain.

Asscher: inconsistencies in research on Turkish youth.

Research done by Motivaction on the support of Turkish youth for IS, is marked by inconsistencies. An example is that the youth indeed think that IS-fighters are heroes, but at the same time they are against a caliphate and for democracy. Asscher wants a more thorough research on the matter. He visited the Kuba-mosque in the city of IJmuiden, where apparently everyone attending is against IS.

Unmosqued: Documentary exploring the future of the American mosque

A new documentary trains a critical eye on the mosque in America. Unmosqued trains a critical eye on the future of the mosque in America. Based on research compiled by Dr. Ihsan Baghby at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Unmosqued, is a look into the dynamic and future of the American mosque.

More information on the film and the research that led to the creation of the film can be found here.

Film poster advertising "Unmosqued: A film about the mosque in America." (Unmosqued)
Film poster advertising “Unmosqued: A film about the mosque in America.” (Unmosqued)

Report: Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in France

A recent comparative research project organized by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and the University of Oxford and Erasmus University in Rotterdam, details the complicated history and current situation of immigrant integration in France. Currently, the government’s immigration initiatives cease after an immigrant has been in France for five years. French law does not allow for statistics to be gathered concerning a person’s ethnicity or religion, and because many children of immigrants are French citizens, it is difficult to assess the efficacy of the current government initiatives.

President Francois Hollande is considering reforms to the country’s integration policies. This comprehensive report discusses immigration trends, and the youth as a key population in integration policies, as well as educational, employment and social cohesion policies.

Dispelling myths about British Muslims

June 21, 2014

Many people have come to regard Muslims as a backward group of religious extremists estranged from wider society and incapable of coming to terms with what it means to be British. This impression has been heightened by misleading press reporting and inflammatory statements from senior politicians. The so-called “Trojan horse” controversy concerning an alleged Muslim takeover of Birmingham schools – based on what looks like a fabricated document – has brought fresh ugliness to an already putrid public debate.

There are elements of truth in the popular narrative about British Islam, but much of it is based on ignorance. A 2011 Demos survey showed that Muslims are more patriotic than other Britons (83 per cent said they were proud to be British as opposed to 79 per cent of the general population), and are more integrated than is often thought to be the case. So the publication of these two books could not be timelier. Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam by Innes Bowen and The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror by Arun Kundnani.

Innes Bowen, a BBC radio journalist, has written an admirable and clear- headed study which has much to teach anyone with an interest in British Islam. She explains the beliefs, historical background and political engagement of the main Muslim sects and organisations: Deobandis, Barelwis, Tablighi Jamaat, Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, Shia and Ismailis.

Bowman dispels a long list of myths about the role of Saudi teaching in mosques, the influence of Iran among British Shia (very little), the connection between the doctrines of Tablighi Jamaat and terrorism (none), and the alleged shortage of British-born imams (there are plenty). Bowen’s book is gentle and optimistic. She suggests that over time there is no fundamental contradiction between Islam and the modern Western state.

Arun Kundnani has written a very different kind of work. It is angrier and more polemical. Yet it too is grounded in research from both sides of the Atlantic. The case studies from the United States are shocking. He shows how Muslims there can be ensnared by the FBI into so-called plots which have been devised by the US government, arguing convincingly that Islam has taken over the role of public enemy from communism. It dispels myths, pointing out that “there is no Islamic doctrine of ‘kill the unbelievers’ as anti-Islam propagandists often maintain. Islam, like other religions, provides a broad moral framework for thinking about questions of violence.” Again and again this book challenges your assumptions. It is worth reading for its examination of the word “extremism” alone. Martin Luther King, Kundnani points out, was denounced in this way. Kundnani is fiercer and more pessimistic.

Study about the rise of fundamentalism among European Muslims

December 11, 2013

 

A comparative study conducted by the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), results that approximately 65% of interviewed Muslims prioritize religious rules above Federal laws by western States. The study was conducted on France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Sweden. About 75% of the interviewed individuals would prefer the law of the Koran as the only reference for the society.

The study compares these rates with the results of interviews conducted with Christians, where fundamentalism is also present. Only 13% of the interviewed Christians perceive religious laws more relevant than secular laws. About 17% of interviewed Christians prefer the law of the Bible as the only reference for the society.

 

Article on the study at WZB: http://www.wzb.eu/sites/default/files/u252/s21-25_koopmans.pdf

Discussion Paper at WZB: http://bibliothek.wzb.eu/pdf/2013/vi13-102.pdf

News of the study at Die Welt: http://www.welt.de/debatte/kommentare/article122828293/Westeuropas-Muslime-werden-fundamentalistischer.html

American Jews say others face more discrimination

October 24, 2013

 

American Jews say they face discrimination in the U.S., but they see Muslims, gays and blacks facing far more.

This and other findings from the recently released Pew Research Center’s landmark study on Jewish Americans help make the case that Jews — once unwelcome in many a neighborhood, university and golf club — now find themselves an accepted minority.

“While there are still issues, American Jews live in a country where they feel they are full citizens,” said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism.

“You have (Jewish) Ivy League presidents in schools that used to have Jewish quotas,” he said.

Most American Jews are descendants of the great migration of Jews to the U.S. from 1880 to 1920. Today, they make up little more than 2 percent of the population, but their influence is outsized. Jews make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate, and they lead major cities, corporations, philanthropies and arts organizations.

Anti-Semitism has most certainly waned in the U.S.

Seventy-two percent of American Jews surveyed believe that Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination in the U.S., and the same percentage said gays and lesbians face such levels of bigotry. Slightly fewer — 64 percent — said blacks face such prejudice.

“One way of looking at these numbers is to say that Jews perceive a lot of discrimination against a whole bunch of groups in American life,” Cooperman said.

Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the largest movement of Judaism in North America, called Jews’ perceptions of prejudice against others “inspiring.”

“Because of our somewhat painful history of persecution, we have a deep sensitivity to the suffering of others,” he said.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Pew numbers reflect the reality of “an increasing Islamophobia in American society today.”

Islam is the least favorably viewed of four U.S. religions in a 2010 Gallup poll, with nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans saying their feelings about Islam were “not favorable at all.”

 

Religion News Service: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/24/american-jews-say-others-face-discrimination/

How Reliable is the information about the al Bustanji Controversy?

August 12, 2013

Posted on the web is a video of an interview of a Jordanian Imam named Riyadh Al Bustanji, in Arabic. The interview took place on 22 June 2012 on Al-Aqsa TV, the official television station of Hamas.  The video, subtitled in English, was posted and translated by MEMRI Tv, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4PfzUZzoRs)

MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) is a non-profit organization co-founded by a former Mossad officer, Yigal Carmon, which translates articles from Arabic into English.

The impartiality of MEMRI has been doubted and questions have been raised by Brian Whitaker of the British newspaper The Guardian, in an article from 2012, the organization’s impartiality has also been questioned by the political leader Beppe Grillo.

Children of Irish Imam arrested during Ramses Square mosque siege

Four children of Sheikh Hussein Halawa, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland’s largest mosque, were arrested on Saturday, 17 August 2013, following the overnight siege of the Al-Fath Mosque near Ramses Square in central Cairo. Three of the imam’s daughters and his teenage son took part in the march leading to Ramses Square on Friday, 16 August 2013, after participating at the pro-Mursi sit-in near the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya Mosque.

They are held in military detention at the Tora prison in Cairo and are due to appear at court on Monday, 19 August 2013. As all four hold Irish citizenship, the Irish government has been asked to intervene with the Egyptian authorities in their behalf. Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Joe Costello, could confirm that they were “in good health” and that a Turkish diplomat had visited them.

The four siblings are among a growing number of young Irish of Arab background have been caught up in the events and turmoil around the Arab Spring for the last two years, undertaking online campaigns, setting up charities or joining rebel forces to fight initially in Libya and later in Syria.

Sheikh Hussein Halawa has been living in Ireland for the last 18 years. He heads the largest mosque in Ireland and is also the secretary of the European Council for Fatwa and Research which is based at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. Both the Islamic Cultural Centre and the European Council for Fatwa and Research are funded by the Maktoum Foundation, led by Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and Minister for Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates.