AMSTERDAM – Forty percent of young Moroccan immigrants reject Western values and democracy. 6-7 % are prepared to defend Islam with force. These are the findings of the still-confidential report “Radicals and democrats”, prepared by the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) for Rita Verdonk, Minister for Integration and Immigration. The majority of young Moroccans are against the right of free expression, especially when it comes to unfavourable judgements on Islam.
Key points of a bill making its way through parliament: _ Create a renewable, three-year work permit for highly skilled foreigners. _ Do away with a provision that allows foreigners who have been in the country for more than 10 years – even those here illegally – to apply for French citizenship. _ Require the government to submit to parliament an annual report specifying the number and kind of residency permits to be authorized over a three year period. Although the draft bill avoids using the word ‘quotas,’ critics say the provision amounts to a quota-system. _ Stiffen requirements on foreigners requesting to bring family members to France, requiring them to show their salary alone – and not government assistance – would suffice to support their families. _ Double the current two-year period foreigners married to French nationals must wait before applying for French citizenship. _ Require foreigners applying for long-term residency permits to attend French language and civics classes. _ Make obtaining 10-year-residency permits contingent on speaking French and respecting of the “values of the French republic.”
PARIS He was born in Algeria, heads the main mosque of Paris and is the most prominent Muslim in a predominantly Catholic country. But Dalil Boubakeur, president of France’s officially sanctioned Muslim Council, can sound Frencher than the French. “I am not in favor of multiculturalism,” Boubakeur, 65, said recently at his ornate office at the mosque, a soaring structure surrounding a mosaic-lined courtyard on the Left Bank. In a secular country like France, he added matter- of-factly, “there is only one culture: French culture.” This may not play well with the entire five-million-member Muslim community here. But Boubakeur shrugs off criticism, explaining that he considers himself a forerunner of a modern, liberal, apolitical Islam – an Islam he reckons will take root this century in Europe and beyond. “When you’re ahead, you are lonely,” he said. “I was born a Muslim, I am of French culture and I love Europe. There is no contradiction.” These are tricky times to be in charge of Western Europe’s largest Muslim community. The war against terrorism and bloodshed in the Palestinian territories and Iraq have added a broader sense of global injustice to the exclusion many Muslims feel in France. But Boubakeur does not believe in a clash of civilizations pitting Islam against the West. Rather, he sees a battle playing out among European Muslims, between those willing to adopt Western values and those hostile to assimilation. His attitudes made Boubakeur a natural choice three years ago when the government was seeking a president for its newly formed council, an umbrella organization set up to represent France’s Muslims at a time when Paris was waking up to the need to address the concerns of this community, rather than leaving that task to foreign governments. Boubakeur’s secularist vision of the state, his opposition to affirmative action, and his classical French education had won him the trust of France’s political class, starting with President Jacques Chirac, who knew Boubakeur’s father (a previous director of the Paris mosque) and calls Boubakeur a friend. It also helped that Boubakeur oozes European sophistication. His attire is Western, his face clean-shaven. His secretary in the front office does not wear a head scarf. He cites Voltaire, speaks German and holds France’s highest honor, the L_gion d’Honneur. He is what the newspaper Le Monde last month dubbed “the ideal Muslim.” But many French Muslims, most of whom are descendants of working- class immigrants, feel resentment toward a man they say is not one of them. They say that Boubakeur, who has never lived in an immigrant suburb and rarely visits one, does not understand their plight and that he has bought into a Republican vision of integration that has left them in limbo between formal equality and de facto discrimination. “He is a good person, but he is the antithesis of a Muslim representative,” said Mohammed Henniche, leader of the Union of Muslim Associations in the Seine-Saint-Denis district north of Paris, which is home to many families of North African origin and was a hot spot in last year’s riots. “He speaks the language of the French elites, not that of ordinary Muslims. The youth in the suburbs don’t understand him, and he does not understand them.” Boubakeur replies that his acceptance of French values is the wave of the future. “That for me is being a modern man,” he said, “and that is the message I would like to pass on to my Muslim brothers and sisters. I want them to adapt European culture without fear and to embrace it wholeheartedly.” It is a message with a powerful biographical undertone. Born in 1940 in the Mediterranean port of Skikda, in northeast Algeria, Boubakeur spent most of his childhood in Algiers, where his father, a conservative Algerian lawmaker and theologian close to the French colonial administration, drilled into him the notion that studying hard and absorbing French culture was a way of overcoming prejudices. Boubakeur was 16 when he came to Paris, the age of many of the rioters who burned cars in the suburbs last November. He attended the distinguished Louis-le-Grand high school and went on to study literature in Cairo and medicine in Paris, becoming a respected cardiologist. He married a mayor’s daughter from a village in Auvergne who converted from Catholicism to Islam after they met. Although Boubakeur recognizes that there are “socioeconomic reasons” why many young Muslims do not share his views, he has little time for young fundamentalists who reject Western values. “I don’t like the bearded ones very much,” he said. “They are small- minded and dangerous. Political Islam is the illness of the modern state.” For Boubakeur, who has written several books on the issue, religion is not political identity but rather spirituality, even poetry, and a way of life. He argues that Muslim youths need not just jobs but a stake in France’s heritage, a point he will make publicly in June when he joins Chirac in Verdun at the unveiling of a memorial honoring Muslims who died fighting for France during World War I. At the council, which oversees Islamic affairs from the training of imams to mosque construction and halal markets, and is supervised by the Interior Ministry, Boubakeur has been presiding over a fragile collection of Muslim organizations often in disagreement. One of them is the main Paris mosque, his own fiefdom, which is funded mainly by the Algerian government. Others include the National Federation of French Muslims, supported by the Moroccan government, and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, close to the Muslim Brotherhood. Boubakeur has seen his authority challenged more than once. One test was a law passed two years ago that banned ostentatious religious garb, including head scarves for Muslim girls, in public schools. Most Muslim groups opposed the legislation. Boubakeur says that he, too, would have preferred to avoid a law, but when there was one he did not challenge the government. Last year, when Iraqi militants kidnapped a French journalist, Florence Aubenas, and threatened to kill her unless the head-scarf ban was lifted, Boubakeur managed to forge a united stance among French Muslims rallying behind the government and rejecting such blackmail. More recently, when several French newspapers reprinted Danish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, Boubakeur distanced himself from a protest march organized by some Muslim groups but eventually spearheaded legal action against two newspapers that published the cartoons. For him, these three challenges were milestones, not only for his own legitimacy but also for the evolution of the Muslim community. The fact that the cartoon controversy did not lead to any violence or sustained protests in France, Boubakeur says, “was a crucial moment, a real turning point.” “It was reassuring that in France we managed to channel the anger into the legal system,” he said. “Our communities are maturing; they are beginning to act like Europeans. Here you have Muslims appealing to European institutions not to be discriminated against.” On a personal level, Boubakeur refuses to say whether he feels Muslim first and then French, or vice versa. “I am completely Muslim and I am completely French,” he says. “There is perfect harmony.” If a day comes when such questions of identity are no longer asked, he adds, “we will have come a long way.”
By Kate Holton London – The far-right British National Party (BNP) said on Wednesday it planned to distribute a campaign leaflet featuring the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad which have enraged Muslims around the world. A spokesman for the fringe party, which has no seats in parliament but a handful on local councils, said its use of the images was not intended to cause offence, but illustrated how Islam and Western values do not mix. The party says it is not racist, but its leader Nick Griffin and another activist are due in court on race hate charges in October. Claims that Islam and Western values do not mix The 12 cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper and were later reprinted in other European countries, have sparked violent protests across the Islamic world. Many Muslims believe it is blasphemous to depict the Prophet. At least 50 people have been killed during demonstrations around the world, and a Pakistani Muslim cleric last week offered rewards amounting to more than $1-million (R6,1-million) to anyone who killed any of the Danish cartoonists. The cartoons have not been published in Britain. About 15 000 Muslims staged a peaceful protest against the drawings in London last week. A demonstration earlier in the month provoked outrage because masked men held up placards calling for the beheading of those who insult Islam, and praised the London bombings last July which killed 52 people. The content of the leaflets can already be seen on the group’s website and the leaflets will be circulated ahead of local elections in May. ‘Mild and inoffensive’ The leaflet asks “Which Do You Find Offensive? A cartoon of Mohammad with a bomb for a turban or Muslim demonstrators calling for terrorist attacks on Europe and the ‘extermination’ of non-Muslims?” “By showing you just how mild and inoffensive the cartoon is, we’re giving you the chance to see for yourself the huge gulf that exists between the democratic values that we share, and the mediaeval views that dominate Islam, even supposedly ‘moderate’ versions,” the leaflet said. The party spokesman said the BNP wanted the cartoons to provoke debate. “We published the cartoon not to offend individual Muslims – that’s most important – but to make a stand for freedom,” he said. Ian McCartney, chairman of the ruling Labour Party, condemned the leaflets as “straight out of the Nazi textbook”. The BNP commands a fraction of the support of far-right parties elsewhere in Europe but has several seats on local councils, mainly in poorer areas with large ethnic populations.
Hessen State plans to implement the conscious test, which Baden Wurttemberg State has been implementing for those who want to become German citizens. Hessen Internal Minister Volker Bouffier made a statement to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Newspaper informing of their plan to implement a test named Information and Values in one month’s time for immigrants who want to become German citizens. Bouffier noted those who want to become German citizens in the future should prove they share the same values of German citizens. Bouffier said everybody, who wants to be a German citizen, would be expected to know and understand the basic foundations of citizenship and added: The internal dependence condition, which is demanded, in the immigration law, cannot be provided with written statements demanded from immigrants. The questioning of becoming a citizen is more than spending a time in a particular country and signature.
A majority of British Muslims say clerics should preach in the English language, a BBC survey suggests. The Mori poll for the BBC found 65% of Muslims backed such a move, compared with 39% of the national population. More than half of UK Muslims were born in the country and younger generations, backed by progressive leaders, have long advocated more English in mosques. Many believe English-speaking imams helps break down cultural divides between Islam and mainstream society. Backing for multiculturalism Commenting on the poll, imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid, chair of the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony, said it was important for “integration and communication” that imams in the UK spoke English. The Koran commanded imams to speak in the “language of the nation” and those that did not were “not actually performing their duties” as community leaders, he added. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “nobody knows” how many imams could not speak English, but added: “My feeling is that only 10% are well versed in English and 90% probably speak in their own mother tongue – Turkish, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and so on.” ‘Home-grown imams’ He said the “majority of people” in mosques did not understand the imams because “56% of our young people are born British and the only country they know of is England, the United Kingdom”. He said British Muslims needed “home-grown imams” who “can be the real leaders of the community not just simply preachers”. ISLAM AND INTEGRATION There are enormous numbers who go to mosque and colleges at the same time; they don’t have a problem integrating while sticking to their religious principles Imam Saeed Ahmed Dawn to dusk: Life of an imam Increasing numbers of imams are British-born and educated in the country. Many pursue their higher education in both British universities and the Islamic seats of learning in the Middle East. Muslim leaders also supported a Home Office move to impose language tests on all religious ministers coming to the UK, saying they regarded it as key to imams being able to do their job. Sadia Hussein of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, an organisation that has campaigned for reform of mosques – particularly over access for women – welcomed the poll results. “The poll further reinforces the need for ‘Mosque reform’, ackowledged by many Muslims who are requesting Imams to deliver educational programmes and sermons in English with a wider knowledge of British society and politics,” she said. “Mosques [should] open their doors to improve relations and celebrate British multiculturalism.” The BBC survey, which was carried out to test attitudes towards multiculturalism in the wake of the 7 July bombings, also suggests the majority of British people think multiculturalism makes the country a better place. But 32% think it “threatens the British way of life” and 54% think “parts of the country don’t feel like Britain any more because of immigration”. International sport The survey questioned 1,004 people in the UK. A booster survey of 204 British Muslims was conducted for comparison. The overwhelming majority of Muslims surveyed – 89% – said they feel proud when British teams do well in international sports competitions, a similar figure to the national population. And the survey suggests broad agreement between the two groups on immigrants being made to learn English and accept the authority of British institutions. But the survey suggests a more confused attitude to the concept of multiculturalism. Some 62% of the national population believe “multiculturalism makes Britain a better place to live”, according to the poll. At the same time, 58% thought “people who come to live in Britain should adopt the values of and traditions of British culture”. Among Muslims, 87% thought multiculturalism improved British society, but only 28% thought people coming from abroad should adopt British culture and values. Both Muslims and the broader population disagreed strongly with the suggestion that the policy of multiculturalism had failed and should be abandoned. Only 2% of the national population described themselves as “very racially prejudiced”, but a third said they thought Islam was “incompatible with the values of British democracy”.
The London bombings have rekindled a debate on radical Islam and Muslim immigrants in Europe. German-Turkish politician Cem _zdemir told DW-WORLD that tightening security alone wouldn’t work in the fight against terror. Germany is home to some 3.5 million Muslims, the majority from Turkey. German Interior Minister Otto Schily has warned that “immigrant generations in Europe are building terror cells that at are least ideologically close to al Qaeda.” Schily has said that the authorities are currently watching 500 Islamists and studies show that extremist ideas do find favor among some young Muslims. Cem _zdemir DW-WORLD spoke to Cem Ozdemir (photo), a German-Turkish member of the Green party and the European parliament who focuses on German and EU migration and integration policies as well as EU-Turkey relations, about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism within Germany, relations between Germans and Muslims and what can be done to clear the atmosphere of suspicion. DW-WORLD: Since the July bombings in London, a discussion has arisen in Germany about the potential of Islamic radicalization among second and third generation Muslim immigrants. Reports and studies show that some young Muslims are susceptible to extremist ideas. How do you explain that? Cem Ozdemir: The reasons are multi-layered. It’s partly an integration problem, particularly among young males in big cities, where we have huge problems with education and employment. And then we frequently see young people who feel cut off from society — that’s what the London example also showed. These youngsters are born and grown up here in Germany and should actually belong to our society, but who — either subjectively or objectively — have the feeling they don’t really belong. In addition, we’re now dealing with a totally new phenomenon — that of extremists apparently attempting to infect these youngsters with their fundamentalist poison. In London, we saw that happening in Pakistani schools and madrassas (Islamic schools). It’s definitely important to find out if anything comparable is happening here in our country. The debate in Germany has largely been dominated by suggestions to step up security. The interior minister is favors increasing surveillance of mosques and making it easier to deport hate preachers and imams. What do you think of such measures? I don’t believe it will help us any further if we build up defenses along religious lines. Rather, we only have a chance if we take action on the basis of common values, and if moderate Muslims work with each other as well as side by side with Germans in the fight against terror.
A Mosque In The Berlin District Of Wedding What we do need is a higher degree of readiness on the part of Muslims to work together with the police and the security apparatus and to make sure that the misuse of religion is prevented. I welcome the fact that many Muslim organizations have once again taken a clear stance after the recent attacks in London and condemned them. But they need to go a step further and be alert to the goings-on in mosques, observe what young people there are doing and, if necessary, also seek contact with the police and security authorities. The current discussion is one that comes up unfortunately after almost every terrorist attack in Europe. But, what exactly has the Muslim community undertaken since the attacks of Sept. 11 in the US, to rein in Islamic extremism? It’s a fundamental misunderstanding to think that the majority of people who go to mosques are academics who can speak German fluently and are familiar with all aspects of society. Rather, most of them come from a working class background; they often have only basic training and stem from rural parts of the countries they originate from. In other words, these aren’t people who know how to organize demonstrations and initiate political processes. It’s a naive idea to expect these people to organize themselves against terrorism. But, of course there are also people in the community who are knowledgeable about the society we live in, especially immigrants of the second generation. That means we definitely have a communication problem even within the community. The only way of solving the problem is by improving and intensifying cooperation among Muslims themselves in German society. I think that’s the only way of going about it. And our society would be well advised not to lump together all Muslims but rather to support the moderate ones in their fight against fundamentalistic ideas within the community as well as to support their efforts to improve the integration of the young. It’s also important that Muslims increasingly view themselves as immigrants, at some time Germans — and not as extended arms of the countries they originate from. How can values like “freedom” and “equality” be better transported to Muslim immigrants? By making clear that they are not primarily Christian values, but rather universal ones that can be embraced by everyone irrespective of their religion. Every person who lives in our country must be willing to swear allegiance to our constitution. It is the constitution that guarantees religious freedom and the vast majority of Muslims is aware of that. What can be done to improve relations between Germans and Muslims, particularly with fear on the German side?
A Scene In The Berlin Neighborhood Of Kreuzberg I understand the fear, but we have to be careful that we don’t generalize and make the mistake of doing exactly what the fundamentalists want: confrontation instead of solidarity and harmony among people of different religions in our country. We shouldn’t do the fundamentalists and terrorists a favor by isolating Muslims and placing them under general suspicion. The strategy to counter it has to be two-pronged: We have to ensure that the security apparatus is a position to do everything it can to protect the population — this is also in the interest of moderate Muslims — and at the same time we have to make sure that the coexistence of different religions works better and we have more success with integration. It should be possible to say that I’m a German national and of Muslim faith. In other words, we must make it possible for Islam to be at home and part of a palette of religions in Germany. What we need are new answers and a more discerning strategy based on preventive security measures on the one hand and integration and dialogue on the other.
How Far Away Are We From That Ideal Situation? There will always be people who withdraw into their so-called parallel worlds. But as long as it concerns small groups, one can deal with it. Our problem isn’t that districts like Kreuzberg in Berlin are home to many immigrants — that’s normal in a western city in a globalized world. The problem is that unemployment rates and the number of people on welfare are often higher in neighborhoods with a high immigrant population. And parents — Germans as well as successful people from immigrant backgrounds who belong to the middle class — send them to schools in other districts. That’s when it becomes problematic. We have to take care to prevent such segregated neighborhoods from turning into social flashpoints. There is a tendency in Germany to pretend that integration has failed. That only disheartens people who have been successful in their efforts at intercultural dialogue and integration. Again, that’s akin to playing into the hands of fundamentalists by giving in to panic and saying that everything’s hopeless. There are several successful examples Germans and non-Germans living together in harmony. There’s also a lot of potential for innovation, change and new ideas among immigrants. What we have to do is act where there are problems — in schools, in providing access to education, fighting unemployment, encouraging those aspiring to the middle class and also in the development of a common consciousness as a German irrespective of ethnic origin.
By James Blitz and Jimmy Burns in London Senior police officers on Sunday revealed that they had recorded several incidents of “hate crime” following the London bombings – including one that had led to “serious injury”. As one of Britain’s leading Islamic figures insisted the London bomb attacks had been “contrary to Islam”, the police acknowledged that the terrorism had triggered reprisals against Muslims in recent days. “We have had some incidents of hate crime – racially and religiously motivated offences – and we take those kinds of offences very seriously,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick said in London. “But thankfully none of these has been the cause of major damage, although there was a serious injury reported in one of those incidents.” Senior government figures have been concerned about the possibility of reprisals against ethnic minority groups because of the London bomb attacks. However, leading religious figures from across the faiths on Sunday met in London to stress their common values and to condemn the attacks. Sheikh Zaki Badawi, head of the Council of Mosques and Imams, said the attacks were “totally contrary to Islam”, adding: “Anyone claiming to commit a crime in the name of religion does not necessarily justify his position in the name of that religion.” Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, said the fact that Britons were worried about reprisals after the bombings was a sign of the “normality” of inter-faith relations in the country. Some senior government officials expressed concern about the possible impact on community relations after Sir John Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner, warned that the London bombers were “almost certainly” British and that there were many more born and bred in the UK willing to attack. Sir John said last Thursday’s bombers were “totally aware of British life and values” and although international terrorists might have provided the expertise, it was “wishful thinking” to suspect the perpetrators came from abroad. In an article entitled “Young, clever . . . and British” written in the News of the World newspaper on Sunday, he said: “I’m afraid there’s a sufficient number of people in this country willing to be Islamic terrorists that they don’t have to be drafted in from abroad.” Such a warning, while privately shared by some security officials, is condemned by others as politically dangerous when uttered in these terms and publicly. “The British police and government are very worried about community tensions getting out of control. These kind of comments risk being counter-productive,” said one European police insider. Senior police officers and security chiefs believe the support of British Muslims could be critical in finding those responsible for last Thursday’s bombings. They believe that information provided from within the Muslim community could provide intelligence on the bombers’ movements since the explosions. But police are also appealing for information on individuals who might have been acting suspiciously in recent weeks, including those arriving from abroad. While MI5, the security service, is thought to have boosted its recruitment of individuals with specialist cultural and language skills since the 9/11 attacks on the US, the current search for the bombers – thought to be supporters of the aims of al-Qaeda – is likely to be aided if they are not provided with safe havens.
By Dilpazier Aslam A schoolgirl who yesterday won the right to wear the Islamic shoulder-to-toe dress in school said the landmark ruling would “give hope and strength to other Muslim women”. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Shabina Begum, 16, described the court of appeal verdict against Denbigh high school in Luton as a victory for all Muslims “who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry”. After a two-year campaign by Shabina, Lord Justice Brooke found her former school had acted against her right to express her religion by excluding her because she insisted on wearing the jilbab. The ruling, overturning a high court decision which dismissed her application for a judicial review last year, will affect every school in the country. Almost a year after the French government banned “conspicuous” religious symbols, including the hijab, in schools, the judge called on the Department for Education to give British schools more guidance on how to comply with their obligations under the Human Rights Act. “I really feel like screaming out of happiness,” said Shabina, who was represented at the court of appeal by Cherie Booth QC. “I don’t regret wearing the jilbab at all. I’m happy that I did this. I feel that I have given hope and strength to other Muslim women. “I also feel a bit sad when I think why couldn’t this judgment have been made two years ago? In the end it’s my loss. No one else has lost anything.” Shabina had worn the shalwar kameez [trousers and tunic] from when she entered the school at the age of 12 until September 2002, when she decided it was against the tenets of her religion. When Denbigh refused her request to wear the jilbab, she was excluded, becoming the reluctant poster girl of a campaign that has been reported in 137 countries. “I thought it would be acceptable to wear because most people at the school are Muslim,” she said. “Then when I was refused I thought a month maximum. Then it just carried on. I get recognised when I go out and other people point to me. They say, ‘Are you that girl?'” Denbigh high school, which has a 79% Muslim intake, said it had lost on a technicality and the school was proud of its multi-faith policy. It said in a statement that it takes into account the cultural and religious sensitivities of pupils. Girls at the school were permitted to wear skirt, trousers or a shalwar kameez and headscarves, which complied with school uniform requirements. The statement said: “The policy was agreed by the governing body following wide consultation with the DfES, pupils, parents, schools and leading Muslim organisations.” The local education authority, Luton borough council, said all schools would now be advised to take pupils’ religion into account when imposing dress rules. Shabina, who was forced to switch to a school that did not prevent Muslim girls from wearing the jilbab, said her campaign had taken its toll. “I can’t be normal with friends if I do not go to school with them. I feel like my social skills have really been lacking. I do not really have many friends at my new school.” At times, even some of her peers cast doubt on her case. “Some of my friends said to me, ‘It’s not an obligation, why are you going to get yourself excluded because of it?’ I said that it is – look at verse number 3.59,” she said referring to the Qur’anic passage which she believes obliges Muslim women to cover their bodies bar their hands and face. In April last year Shabina’s mother died, a month before she lost her case at the high court. Excluded from school and fighting a daunting legal battle, she said the 12 months leading up to her mother’s death were the worst of her life. Her initial defeat did not come as a complete surprise. “Our solicitors told us we only had a 5% chance of winning the case because it’s a radical judgment. They would prefer the court of appeal to do that. After I heard that I felt like I had nothing else to lose.” In a statement after the judgment, Shabina added: “Today’s decision is a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry.” She said the school’s decision has been “a consequence of an atmosphere that has been created in western societies post-9/11, an atmosphere in which Islam has been made a target for vilification in the name of the ‘war on terror’.” She told the Guardian: “I hope in years to come policy-makers will take note of a growing number of young Muslims who, like me, have turned back to our faith after years of being taught that we needed to be liberated from it. “Our belief in our faith is the one thing that makes sense of a world gone mad, a world where Muslim women, from Uzbekistan to Turkey, are feeling the brunt of policies guided by western governments. I feel I’ve made people question the jilbab issue again. “Both France and Britain are calling for freedom and democracy, but something as simple as the jilbab still takes two years to get okayed.”
By Nicholas Hellen and Christopher Morgan MORE than 14,000 white Britons have converted to Islam after becoming disillusioned with western values, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon. Some of Britain’s top landowners, celebrities and the offspring of senior Establishment figures have embraced the strict tenets of the Muslim faith. The trend is being encouraged by Muslim leaders who are convinced that the conversion of prominent society figures will help protect a community stigmatised by terrorism and fundamentalism.