June 14, 2013
No one comes to mind more quickly in the cause of Islam: for both institutional and foreign students in Brescia than the case of Anas El Abboubi (a recently discovered extremist living outside of Milan)
Yet, the word “Islam,” today in Brescia’s city of Vobarno, as well as in Niardo a few months ago jumped out. If for no other reason than to understand what moves a twenty year old to take the lead in extremist ideas.
And, in an attempt to give an answer, the word “discomfort”, yesterday, was the most invoked. A discomfort caused by a lack of integration seen in the classroom, where Anas was showered with insults and curses by his companions. A discomfort that he would find an outlet in Islamic radicalism and jihadism, as understood by Roberto Tottoli.
“Mah .. Even I, when I worked at the factory, I was always called Taliban or Saddam Hussein: I was certainly displeased, but I never thought to kill anyone. It occurs to me that the boy has been manipulated” says Sajad Shah of the Islamic Association Muhammadiah.
“These are isolated cases, it is true, but it should give us pause. The violence must be condemned and prosecuted, but at the same time, we must take action to prevent it: It is important that Italian institutions understand that mosques are important, because it is there that young people are educated to peaceful coexistence with civil society and to channel their energies towards true and noble ideals.” Said Meghras, the former president of the Federation of Islamic Lombardy.
Iraq: 10 years later
In this piece the Financial Times’ Middle East editor Roula Khalaf gives an account of the last ten years of Iraq. Together with the analysis of the inevitable political and economic consequences of Iraq’s most recent history, the article also looks into how the religious populous of the country is rebuilding and re-contextualising itself after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Looking specifically at the contemporary political situation and how this is both influenced by and influences the religious communities in Iraq.
Members of Detroit’s large Arab-American and Muslim community held a suspected conspirator with Saddam Hussein in high regard, and are having a difficult time coming to terms with the recent allegations. Federal authorities are accusing 48-year old Muthanna Al-Hanooti of conspiring with Hussein, and has been arrested and charged with setting up a 2002 junket to Iraq for three US lawmakers, secretly financed by Saddam’s government. Al-Hanooti was a nonprofit and charity executive in Michigan, and is accused of setting up arrangements between three anti-war Democrats in 2002. Al-Hanooti pleaded not guilty on Wednesday on charges of conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government.
They come to Britain fearing for their lives back home, hoping for a new beginning. But for thousands of Iraqi asylum seekers there is no welcome and instead they face misery and destitution before they are deported. Hannah Godfrey hears their stories Hraz is 22, but looks much older. He worked for the Americans in Kirkuk guarding a petrol station, and has a bullet wound in his bottom from where he was shot by Ba’ath party supporters because of his involvement with the occupying army. But that was only the beginning of his troubles. His father joined the militant Kurdish Sunni group Ansar al-Islam and wanted Hraz to fight with him. He refused, because, he says, “I like life, I don’t want to kill people.” His father now wants to kill him, in punishment. His mother told him he had to leave the country to protect himself. The percentage of Iraqis who have had their asylum claims accepted by the British government has plummeted since the fall of Saddam Hussein five years ago. Before the 2003 invasion, almost half of Iraqi asylum claims were successful. Since then, the recognition rate has fallen to an average of less than 3%. This is despite the fact that, throughout the war, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has advised that Iraqi asylum seekers – particularly those from the central and southern areas – should be either recognised as refugees or provided with another form of protection. In the period preceding the invasion an average of 800 Iraqis were granted asylum each year in this country; since 2003 numbers have fallen to between five and 150, while applications have averaged about 1,500 per year during this period.