New Islamic Center of Alicante will seat 600 people

The Alicante City Council signed yesterday a license to allow the construction of an Islamic Center.
The Islamic Center of Alicante will seat approximately 600 people. The center consists of three floors and a total area of ​​about 950 square meters, the first plant will have a surface of 650 square meters, a women’s section, a library, and offices. The second floor is devoted to the development of different cultural and social activities.

The Islamic community in Alicante, founded in 1991, is a founding member of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain.

How the Islamic State is recruiting teenage girls

Two Austrian teeangers, 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic (left) and her 14-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic, ran away from home to join ISIS.
Two Austrian teeangers, 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic (left) and her 14-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic, ran away from home to join ISIS.

In an editorial with The Washington Post, Professor Mia Bloom describes how IS is using social media to recruit and radicalize teen girls through social media. Further, there is a need to balance the security of the United States (preventing the return of dangerous foreign fighters) with allowing young people who made a mistake a way back home and back to their families.

Dutch Ministers introduce measures to combat radicalization

Dutch parliamentary ministers have agreed on a package of measures to combat the growth of Muslim radicalization and stop youngsters from traveling abroad to take part in war. Ministers Lodewijk Asscher and Ivo Opstelten said in a briefing to Members of Parliament introducing the program, “the Jihadist movement is the opposite of everything our country stands for.”

Around 120 Dutch nationals are thought to be fighting with organizations such as IS and at least 30 have since returned home. Measures to be introduced include: a planned increase in options for withdrawing Dutch nationality from dual nationals; measures to deal with people returning to the Netherlands from conflict zones; a special team focusing on social media; and attention to youth vulnerable to radicalization through involvement of social workers, teachers and experts.

The Justice Minister confirms that the passport of 33 people have been cancelled so far. Most recently, officials have cancelled the passports of two couples from the city of Huizen and taken their children into care because of fears they planned to travel to Syria to join IS. The six children have been taken to a ‘place of safety’ but are not together, and their passports have also been cancelled.

In the Hague, a man and woman have been arrested for allegedly attempting to recruit people to fight in Syria and Iraq, and are suspected of “spreading hatred” via social media and news websites. In total, police in the Hague have now arrested nine people for recruiting fighters and five remain in jail.

Increasing Surveillance of ‘Radicalisation’ and Travel to Syria for Muslims in the Netherlands

April 3, 2014

 

According to national newspaper AD, in the Netherlands some 5,000 individuals will be trained to recognize signs of ‘radicalisation’ among young Muslims. They will include teachers and police officers. AD bases its claims on confidential documents from the counter-terrorism body NCTV and security service AIVD.

Additionally, surveillance of youth who have travelled to Syria is increasing. The surveillance will reportedly be carried out by trained police officers who will be charged with openly monitoring the youth. So far, 13 youth have had their passports withdrawn, several dozen have lost social security benefits, and on four occasions individuals have had their financial resources frozen.

Dutch Newshttp://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/04/returning_dutch_syria_fighters.php

Investigations against Salafists in Bremen

March 30, 2014

 

The district attorney of the City State of Bremen had initiated investigations against four Salafists for “diffusing heavy criminal offenses against the State”. These four men are said to have left Germany towards Syria to fight for Salafist groups. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Bremen assesses religious and cultural associations near the mosque Masjidu-I-Furqan as extremists. They are suspected to recruit and mobilize young pupils for the Jihad in Syria. Some of these associations offer social activities such as sports to attract young Muslims. Many of them are underage.

According to the security authorities, approximately 300 German Islamists including converts have left Germany to fight in Syria. They are expected to commit violence such as the beheading of prisoners in front of the camera. These cruel rituals are interpreted as tests of courage and a means to radicalize the young men.

 

Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/salafisten-aus-deutschland-im-dschihad-in-syrien-a-961514.html

Why European Muslims fight in Syria

March 8, 2014

 

For some westerners who follow the trail of would-be militants in Syria’s conflict, it is a gesture comparable to idealists of the late 1930s volunteering to fight General Franco in the Spanish civil war.

Others believe, in defiance of the outspoken condemnation of moderate Muslim leaders and political leaders, they act as “soldiers of Allah”. Their backgrounds may be in juvenile delinquency or promising academic study. All insist, often under the influence of figures they meet in mosques or online, that they are waging a just war against the brutality of Bashar Al Assad’s regime.

Muslim leaders are deeply concerned with the “manipulation” of impressionable people as young as 14-16, increasingly including girls. In the French Riviera town of Nice, the city council has created a crisis centre to coordinate the work of social services and community groups confronting the problem. Boubekeur Bekri, the imam of a Nice mosque and vice president of a regional Muslim council, tells of 15 local people, mostly in their teens and twenties, who have left for Syria. It is, he says, a “great tragedy causing untold anguish” to parents while also playing into the hands of France’s anti-immigration, anti-Islam far right. Young women, he adds, had been lured to Syria on the pretext of providing “support” or to care for war orphans. French media report four such cases in recent weeks, one a 15-year-old and another the mother of a baby, and a militant quoted by the French media says they are “not sent to the front line”. But Mr Bekri claims there is evidence that “support” can translate as sexual abuse, “in effect a form of slavery, nothing whatever to do with Islam”.

The Times of London reports that British women have gone to Syria to marry militants. It cites instances of two women from London and three from other locations in southern England, one a convert, who are “known to have married English-speaking rebels fighting in Syria”, with dozens more also there or are trying to go.

French president Francois Hollande has estimated the numbers heading to Syria from France as high as 700; even conservative figures suggest 200 French combatants are involved.

As reported in The National last month, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) based at King’s College, London, believes almost 9,000 foreigners are combatants in Syria. Most are from Arab countries – especially Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon – but the number of westerners has been steadily rising.

European and North American governments claim that by siding with extremist rebel elements as opposed to more moderate groups, notably the Free Syrian Army, they are actually allowing themselves to be drawn into terrorist activity.

They worry that this makes them potential threats to domestic security if ever they return to their countries of birth. What this analysis overlooks, according to Professor Mohamed Ali Adraoui, a French political and social scientist from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, is the single biggest spur to recruitment. “Quite simply, it’s Bashar Al Assad,” says Prof Adraoui, author of From the Gulf to the French Banlieue: Globalised Salafism, published last year. “The way his regime has acted is the main tool of propaganda, seen readily in images on the web especially social networks. When we have television and what can be found online via the jihadist network, people are well aware of what is going on in Syria.”

Francois Falletti, attorney general at the Paris appeal court, tells the news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur,“Our judicial inquiries are precisely to determine whether radicalised individuals have become involved in a terrorist organisation in Syria and, above all, whether they could pose a threat on their return to national security.”

Mr Adraoui is not so sure the authorities are right in that assessment. People willing to “fight for Islam against oppressors” and even die in that cause, he says, would not have the same motivation once back on home soil. He also points out that some western jurisdictions, supported by some French judges, accept the legitimacy of joining a foreign conflict unconnected to their own countries.

Even moderate Muslims point out that their own attempts to stop young people going astray are hindered by justified grievances about routine discrimination in their daily lives. There is ample evidence that many young sons, daughters and grandchildren of Maghreb immigrants to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, or from Asian families in the UK, feel alienated from society.

More than once, Western media has reported, French Muslims who prepare to travel overseas to engage in what they consider a common fight, explain their radicalisation in one simple phrase: “Made in France”.

 

Source: http://www.thenational.ae/world/syria/why-european-muslims-fight-in-syria#full

French teenage girl caught heading for Syria jihad

March 2, 2014

 

A 14-year-old French girl was stopped at Lyon Airport, apparently heading for Syria to wage jihad. She is the third French minor to be found trying to fight holy war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Earlier this week the girl, from the French city of Grenoble, told her parents via text message that she had been selected to join the jihad war in Syria and had run away from home. She was detained before boarding a plane bound with a one-way ticket for Istanbul, from where she intended to go to the Syrian border.

Investigators describe her as “heavily indoctrinated” and say that she keeps repeating that she was going to Turkey as a tourist.  Anthropologist Dounia Bouzar, author of the book Defusing Radical Islam, says the indoctrination of vulnerable teens has increased through the use of social networks and the internet .In her book , she explains how youth indoctrination linked to Islamism is a growing phenomenon in France

“I’ve been working on indoctrination techniques by radical Islamist for 10 years new,” she told RFI. “They used to affect only young and rather fragile people. Today they affect individuals from any social and family environment, people of any religion, atheists, agnostics, whether they practice their religion or not, poor, rich, privileged, educated … Anyone, really.”

About 700 French nationals are believed to have gone to fight in Syria. Two teenagers were brought back to France from Turkey in January.

“French society and politicians have failed to differentiate sect-like indoctrination and brainwashing by radical Islamists and Islam as a religion,” comments Bouzar. “That has led to many errors in appreciation and interpretation which have only been to the religious radicals’ advantage.”

The government is drawing up measures to tackle jihadi networks and intends to establish a for families to notify the authorities if their children seem to be becoming radicalised, so that they are prevented from leaving the country without their parents’ permission.

 

Source: http://www.english.rfi.fr/france/20140302-french-teenage-girl-caught-heading-syria-jihad

The Muslim vote

February 26, 2014

 

The polling firm OpinionWay conducted a poll for the French newspaper Le Figaro and surveyed 10,000 French voters.

According to its findings 93% of French Muslims voted for François Hollande while only 7% voted for the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy. An estimated 2 million Muslims participated in the 2012 election and approximately 1.7 million Muslims voted for Hollande rather than Sarkozy. Hollande defeated Sarkozy by 1.1 million votes, which suggests that Muslims provided critical votes that led to Hollande’s victory. However, it should be noted that voting abstention among the Muslim population is greater than within the average population.

The Muslim vote is believed to be a social vote rather than a religious vote and is very traditional concerning social matters such as family. During Hollande’s 2012 presidential campaign he offered amnesty to 400,000 undocumented immigrants from North African countries, many of who are Muslim. Hollande additionally vowed to extend municipal voting rights to residents without French citizenship by the year 2014. These promises prompted Muslims to support the Socialist party because it favors their integration.

Source: http://opinionlab.opinion-way.com/dokumenty/Sondage_jour_de_vote_T2_SOCIOLOGIE_DU_VOTE_2_1.pdf

 

IFOP (Département Opinion et Stratégies d’Enterprise) tracked the evolution of the Muslim vote using data from surveys collected during the 2002, 2007 and 2012 elections to accumulate a sample of 14, 200 voters.

In the first round of the 2012 elections 57% of Muslims voted for Hollande while 7% voted for Sarkozy. According to IFOP in the second round of voting 86% of the Muslim vote went to Hollande while 14% went to Sarkozy.

There is a similar pattern in the 2007 election, which shows that Muslims overwhelmingly supported Royal with 58%, Bayrou with 15% and the Far-left with 10% of the total possible votes.

The 2002 elections display the same trend with 49% voting for the Socialist Party and 19% for the Far-left.

Source: http://www.ifop.fr/media/pressdocument/482-1-document_file.pdf

 

A comprehensive survey entitled “Français comme les autres” published in 2008 polled French of North African and African descent.

Among those who identified as Muslim, 64% declared they voted for the Left in the 2005 election. However after posing the same question to those who identified as nonreligious the results were roughly identical, with 67% voting for the Left. The publication suggests that ethnic origin, the migration process and discrimination within France have created a cultural identity among the population which was the primary factor that influenced the vote.

Source: http://www.fasopo.org/reasopo/n7/societespolitiquescomparees7_livre.pdf

Anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) for ‘religious extremism’: Muslim convert given five-year preaching ban

February 14, 2014

 

A man from east London who took part in vigilante patrols and promoted Islamic extremism has been given a “landmark” Asbo banning him from preaching in public, police said.

Jordan Horner, a Muslim convert, has been consistently linked to extremist groups and has already been jailed for harassing and attacking “non-believers” in east London. The 20-year-old took part in vigilante patrols aimed at non-Muslims in an attempt to promote a ‘Sharia State’ in the UK. He is also thought to have put up the ‘Sharia controlled zone’ leaflets and posters in Waltham Forest, Scotland Yard said.

Horner appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, where a series of restrictions were placed on him in one of the first Asbos of its kind in the UK. The order – which lasts for five years – bans Horner from being in possession of a loudhailer in any public place and means he cannot enter any educational establishment where he is not a registered student. He has been told he must not make “unsolicited approaches” to promote Sharia law and cannot hand out material promoting Sharia law or place posters and signs which damages a public advert.

He is also banned from being in a public place with four named men who are also linked to extremist behaviour. They include Royal Barnes, the radical preacher Anjem Choudary along with Ricardo McFarlane and Dean Le Page.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/asbo-for-religious-extremism-muslim-convert-given-fiveyear-preaching-ban-9129898.html

 

The management of security and religious affairs: the disappointing results of Interior Minister Manuel Valls in 2013

February 5, 2014

 

According to the recently released 2013 report by the National Observatory of Delinquency and Penal Action, France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls has not brought down crime nor been active on the regulation of religious committees, contrary to popular perception.

Enjoying successful poll ratings, Manuel Valls has been portrayed as the ‘strong man’ of the socialist government. But according to the report on delinquency and public security, the number of burglaries and homicides has increased despite a government plan to counter crime.

In addition to calling for redefining the mission of the judiciary police and integrating new technologies into the police force, the Interior Minister called for a tighter legal measures on internet and social media networks to stop hate messages. ‘The degree of latent hate expressed on social media is of an incompatible intensity with our national ambitions’, said Valls.

Valls is also in charge of maintaining France’s religious bodies, and the 2013 assessment is particularly weak on his management of Islam in France. At the start of his position in 2012, Valls had expressed ambitious plans in this domain. But up to now, nothing new has been implemented: the ‘Islam question’ may have been deemed too risky and hazardous for an Interior Minister who came across as a hardline supporter of secularism.

Valls had initially said he planned to create another national representative body for Muslims, the CFCM (Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman) deemed too close to foreign agendas. Another project was to implement a ‘Foundation of French Islam’ intended for collecting funds transparently for the construction of places of worship. Valls let believe he wanted to reopen this project, but French Muslims have yet to see any steps forwards from the Interior Minister on this central question.

 

Source: http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/politique-securitaire-gestion-cultes-bilan-mitige-manuel-valls-7687.html