Amsterdam District Council Subsidizes Inflammatory Campaign

March 10 2011

The Islamic leader of the district council of East Amsterdam is facing criticism for providing subsidies to a youth organization which posted inflammatory material during provincial elections. The ASRI campaign posters referred to the Second World War and called upon citizens to “vote or die”. The press release explicitly called upon Muslims to collect voting proxies from those who did not intend to cast ballots, in order to fight against the current “barbarous government”. The ASRI and district leader now face criticism from the conservative political party VVD. District leader Fatima Elatik stressed her distance from the campaign, which she found “not sensible”.

Enzo Traverso: rise in right-wing political parties in Europe and Islamophobia

In this opinion piece, French philosopher Enzo Traverso links recent movements in right wing political parties in Europe with the violent rejection of immigrants and Muslims in particular. He warns of similarities of these politics with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe before the Second World War.

Anti–Muslim groups descend on Paris

New Agencies – December 19, 2010

Groups from across Europe gathered in Paris to give voice to increasingly pronounced anti-Islam sentiments on the continent. Claiming to represent a wide range of political opinion, from Marxists and feminists to hardcore secularists and right-wing activists, the groups said they would coordinate their fight against what they call the Islamisation of Europe.

French Muslim and left-wing groups denounced the gathering that drew about 500 people as divisive. The president of the mainstream French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, said, “We are strongly in favour of the right to free expression but we feel that such a meeting is a threat to national unity and to our ability to live together.” Moussaoui accused the organizers of incitement to hatred but the authorities rejected the council’s appeal to have the meeting banned. The police cordoned off the area near the hall where the gathering took place but only a few dozen people showed up for a counter-demonstration.

Last week, Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and his likely successor as leader of the ultra right-wing Front National, caused outrage by comparing the overflow of Muslims from mosques into the streets of French cities during Friday prayers with the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Brigittenau – Pro-Socialist District with a Jewish Past Now Fighting an Islam Center

In this portrait of Vienna’s 20th district, Brigittenau is described as a region that was originally highly influenced by the large Jewish population that used to live here. Unlike nearby Leopoldstadt, however, following the deportations of the Second World War the local Jewish culture was not reestablished. Today it is a multicultural district, with 27,1% of the local population holding foreign citizenship, much higher than the Viennese average (20,1%). The population is also on average younger, and has since time immemorial been governed by the social-democrats (SPÖ).

However, the district has recently made headlines due to local opposition to a planned Islamic centre in the street Dammstrasse, for which a committee has been founded (the Bürgerinitiative Dammstrasse). The initiative has received support from the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), whose leader attended a recent demonstration. The district has seen a significant rise in support for the FPÖ during the last decades, most notably in 1996 when the party managed to reach 30% and break the SPÖ’s absolute majority for the first time.

Californian Muslim cleric welcomes arrest of Al Qaeda operative

On Sunday, Salam Marayati, the head of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angles, California, welcomed the arrest of Adam Gadahn on behalf of his organization. While the reports of the capture of Gadahn, an American turned Al Qaeda operative, have not yet been confirmed by US officials, Mr. Marayati described such arrest as a step towards defeating Al Qaeda and its ideology.

Mr. Marayati’s comments came after the announcement by Pakistani intelligence service that the American-born al Qaeda member, Adam Gadahn, had been arrested in Pakistan. CIA counterterrorism officials are working on the report and have not yet confirmed the identity of the arrested person. Adam Gadahn who converted to Islam in the 90s and had joined Al Qaeda in Pakistan by 1998 is the first American after to be charged with high treason after the Second World War.


Eight Muslim tombs vandalized in Normandy region of France

Eight Muslim tombs within the municipal cemetery of La Manche were desecrated October 22. The tombs were located in Montjoie-Saint-Martin, Normandy and covered with Nazi-related symbols. All eight tombs were of Moroccan soldiers who died in service of France during the Second World War.

Minarets raise questions for Austrians, too

The construction of minarets is controversial not just in Switzerland – where a vote on the issue takes place in November – but also in neighboring Austria. Yet Austria is unique in western Europe in that Islam has been a recognized religion in the country for more than 100 years, since the time when the Habsburg empire was also home to Bosnians.

But there were few Muslims living in what is now Austria. The first mosque, in Vienna, dates back only to 1979 and owes its existence to Muslim immigration following the Second World War. Since then the Muslim population has almost trebled, and the demand for more mosques has grown – along with resistance from rightwing parties.

Muslims Making Britain

A one-day workshop jointly run by the AHRC-funded research projects Making Britain (http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/south-asians-making-britain) and Framing Muslims (http://www.framingmuslims.org)

This one-day workshop will explore facets of the historical and contemporary South Asian
Muslim experience in Britain, focusing on the cultural productions of writers, artists, activists
and workers from 1870 to the present in order to explore how they have negotiated,
interacted with and sometimes resisted majority British culture; their varied and complex
identifications and affiliations; and the ways in which they might have re-imagined the nation.
By focusing on how South Asian Muslims have helped to shape British cultural and political
life across the period, this collaborative workshop will foreground the depth as well as the
breadth of their contribution to the making of Britain.

Complicating the common perception that a homogeneous British culture only began to
diversify after the Second World War, the Making Britain project explores how an early South
Asian diasporic population impacted on Britain’s literary, cultural and political life. Framing
Muslims is concerned with the cultural, artistic, social and legal structures which ‘frame’
contemporary debates about Muslims in the West. The projects share a concern with the
ways in which South Asian Muslims in Britain have been depicted in a range of discourses,
and how individuals and communities have responded to and subverted these externally
imposed definitions. Combining the contemporary focus of Framing Muslims with the
historical depth of Making Britain will enable an exploration of how representational
structures have evolved through time.

Speakers include: Humayun Ansari; Katherine Butler Brown; Aamer Hussein; Siobhan Lambert-Hurley; Salman Sayyid; Sara Wajid; Amina Yaqin

To register your interest in attending this event, or for any queries, please email: artsmaking-britain@open.ac.uk or js64@soas.ac.uk.

Merkel Hails Integration Milestone, Hits Back at Critics

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called Germany’s new integration plan for immigrants “a milestone” and rejected criticism from ethnic Turkish groups who boycotted a key summit on the issue. Merkel was speaking at a press conference following a meeting with ethnic leaders in Berlin to announce government assistance to minorities which are widely seen as becoming increasingly detached from the mainstream German society. The 90 community leaders at the summit adopted a “national integration plan” containing 400 promises for improvements — ranging from aid for ethnic sports clubs to making more German-language classes available — which Merkel said was the first in Germany’s post-Second World War history. The summit, however, was held under a cloud after four major Turkish groups boycotted the event in protest at legislation passed last week which raises the hurdles for newly wed Turkish citizens moving to Germany to live with their spouses.

British Muslim Women Not To Show Faces On Id: Report

LONDON – In a move to assure its Muslim community introduction of the first ID cards in Britain since the Second World War was not signaling them out, the government will reportedly exempt Muslim women from showing their faces on the controversial ID cards. On Monday, April 26, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett is to unveil plans for a national pilot of biometric testing, the technology used in ID cards, as part of a draft Bill to crack down on identity fraud, according to the Independent daily Sunday, April 25. As cards introduction, Blunkett came under severe attacks for not allowing enough debate over the ID British officials made it clear that if Muslim women do not want to reveal their faces in public, that would be respected, reported the Observer Sunday. “Instead of a photograph, there would be an exemption for certain people, who would only have to give fingerprint and iris-recognition data.