UK Independence Party manifesto includes burka ban

UKIP party leader Paul Nuttal said that wearing a burka or niqab was too much of a security risk and barrier to integration.  Labour MP Chuka Umunna responded that UKIP was a “hate peddler.”

Nuttal also said that UKIP candidates would largely not challenge any Members of Parliament (MP) who supported Brexit. Nutall did not confirm his own candidacy.

Salafist mosque contests its closure before France’s State Council

The Yvelines prefecture has accused the Ecquevilly Mosque of calling for “discrimination and hate and violence.” The association in charge of running the mosque responded by denouncing amalgamations between salafism and jihadism. On November 2, the prefecture had called for its closing under the State of Emergency. There are no known ties to foreign networks, but the prefecture opposed the discourse of its imam, Yassine B.

On Monday, the Ecquevilly Mosque contested its closure before the State Council. The prefecture had accused the mosque of being “an influential place of worship in the salafist movement…calling for discrimination and hate and violence against women, Jews, and Christians,” adding that the imam “legitimated in a sermon,” the 2015 Paris attacks. The prefecture justified its closure by stating that “younger and younger individuals have begun to frequent salafist mosques,” which pose a security risk.

The mosque’s lawyers spoke before the State Council, stating: “We don’t see how the fight against terrorism would attempt to silence all forms of Islam in France for the sole reason that they don’t adhere to all the pillars of a Republican Islam.”

The imam denounced what he saw as a “State trap,” and contested any accusations that he had encouraged terrorism. The administrative court confirmed the mosque’s closing, as well as the prefecture’s accusations against the imam, whose statements regarding Islam and women were said to, “incite hate, discrimination, and disrespect for the laws of the Republic.”

The discourse “has already had negative effects on social cohesion in Ecquevilly for reasons of religious pressure, notably felt by women, who are ‘insufficiently’ veiled or not veiled at all. [This pressure] is in turn absorbed by children,” the magistrate stated.

The Interior Ministry representative described an “insidious message, which instilled idea in the community that, in the end, the [Paris] attacks were tolerable.”

In its retort, the association stated that the mosque adheres to quietist and apolitical salafism, rather than “revolutionary salafism,” which constitutes the “jihadist movement.” The association said it has “always condemned” terrorism and violence. It insisted that “none” of its worshipers, to its knowledge, were on the terror watch list or under house arrest.

Justice: Muslim engineer will not have access to nuclear sites

The court in Chalons-en-Champagne upheld the decision of the EDF, which refused a Muslim engineer access to nuclear sites, invoking the “defense secret.” The engineer was first refused access in March 2014 and his decision was confirmed by the administrative court of Chalons-en-Champagne. The French court, to which he had filed several appeals, explained that the ruling was upheld for reason that “the young man, 29 years old, had met with ‘an imam involved in recruiting’ of young jihadists deployed to Iraq to fight American troops.”

The engineer’s lawyer Sefen Guez Guez argued, “There is no evidence of these alleged links, this decision based on affirmations of insufficient detail is not worthy of a state of law.”

The decision comes after the engineer’s access was suspended without a definitive reason. In June, the administrative court sided in favor of the engineer, expressing “serious doubt on the legality of the decision” to suspend his access. However in July the EDF again suspended his access, prompting a retrial and the recent decision to permanently block his access.

Bernard Cazeneuve presents his plan for “anti-jihad” law

July 9, 2014

Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve presented his “anti-jihad” bill that contains proposals to stop jihad, notably measures to prevent individuals from leaving France to fight in Syria even if they are over the age of 18. Such measures could affect over 200 individuals. The bill would “reinforce the provisions relating to the fight against terrorism.”

The law’s 18 articles include a sanction for up to six months that prohibits suspects from leaving French territory, which can be renewed by the state at will. The suspects could have their passports confiscated. To deter minors from leaving, parents can request that their child’s name be placed on a list that will be available to authorities throughout Europe. The law also proposes an addition to the penal code to include “the diffusion of provisions needed to construct engines of destruction.”

Other aspects of the law include an increased fight against terrorist sites on the Internet, including blocked access to such sites.

Anti-Terrorism bill: a departure from the principle of justice

July 10, 2014

Several aspects of the recent “anti-jihad” law, presented July 9 to the Council of Ministers, were judged unconstitutional by the Alain Jakubowicz, president of LICRA (International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.) He declared: “Without objective evidence of the intention of a criminal act or without proof of deliberately planning to commit one” it would be “extremely complicated” to prevent someone from leaving France on the grounds that they are suspected of committing an act of terrorism. “How can one consider for a single second to restrict an individual’s freedom of movement based on suspicion?” asked Jakubowicz. “Honestly, it’s constitutionally impossible.

The bill, primarily aimed at preventing Frenchmen from leaving to fight in Syria, was called an “infringement even of the principle of justice.” “We would find ourselves in the situation where intelligence services, the Minister of the Interior, the administration, would say to the judges: ‘Believe me, I’m telling you that this person is dangerous,’” stated Jakubowicz.

The president of LICRA said that the government must also “reflect on its measures to prevent jihadists from coming back.” When asked about the possibility of Internet shutdowns of sites that glorify terrorism, the president said the problem was “more nuanced.” He spoke of the “risk of opening Pandora’s box and the direct threat to freedom of expression.”