Cohen advocates reduced welfare for burka wearers

Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen says women who will not remove their burkas in order to get work should not receive welfare. Telegraaf reports that national politicians, including representatives from the CDA and PvDA parties, support this proposal. In 2006 Diemen local council attempted to introduce such a ban on benefits, but the decision was reversed by an Amsterdam court in 2007. There is every indication, De Telegraaf reports, that a vote on the issue would now get a majority.

Cohen said in an interview with Trouw that he opposes a general ban on the burka as he believes it is an expression of religious belief. However, he believes the burka is an obstacle in situation where contact with others is necessary, including work and school. There, women should choose a less restrictive head covering.

American Muslims; an invitation to a national conference in Dallas

RSVP Required by 7/14 to:

Focus of Conference:
1. To consolidate our diverse community and raise a visionary leadership.

2. To engage with the due process, the governing institutions, and the civil society to create a dialogue of change.

3. To promote conflict resolution and constructive engagement that can offer diplomatic alternatives to military endeavors.

4. To work towards the common interests and welfare of both America and the Muslim world — a win-win situation.

5. To work against Islamophobia and the negative stereotypes of Muslims in the West, and to help uplift the image and position of Muslims and their respective work in America and beyond.

6. To help raise a moderate and effective voice to invalidate extremism and bigotry.

The Meeting Agenda

09:00 Introduction, Open Forum of Goal Setting and Consensus Building
12:00 Lunch Break
01:00 Establishing Resolutions
03:00 Fund Raising
04:30 Election of the Steering Committee Members and Election/Selection of Officers
06:00 Dinner and Discussion – Future Vision

For more information, go to event website here.

Vlaams Belang campaigning against halal in Flanders

In the next few weeks, Vlaams Belang plans to conduct a campaign to inform Flemish customers about the increasing supply of halal products. The campaign, which is utilizing the slogan Consumers against Islamization says that it does not support a boycott, but emphasized that the growth of a halal market may fit in with radicalist Islamic movements. Vlaams Belang is focusing on halal meat, citing the strict regulations are in line with anti-Western connotations of animal welfare. Halal butchers to not use anesthesia on animals, while Vlaams Belang member Filip Dewinter says that use of anesthesia is part of Western ethical norms regarding the welfare of the animal.

Terror law to allow 42-day detention opposed by MPs

The government is unveiling a major new package of a counter-terrorism laws, a plan that gives the right to detain terrorist suspects for upto 42 days without charge. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is understood to have outlined concessions and appealed to MPs not to inflict further damage on the Government after a series of election disasters and policy U-turns. Under long-awaited changes to the Counter-Terrorism Bill, Home Secretary Miss Smith revealed the power to detain suspects without charge would only be used in the face of a “grave, exceptional terrorist threat” to Britain. This includes the most serious offences, such as murder and conspiracy to cause explosions, but excludes lesser offences such as weapons training or terrorist financing. The threat includes situations which “cause or threaten” serious loss of life, serious damage to human welfare in the UK or serious damage to national security. The threat can exist inside or outside the UK. The 42-day detention proposal has been criticised by not only backbench Labour MPs, but also the director of public prosecutions and the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith who warned the move would be an attack on the country’s “fundamental freedoms”. Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, a Labour loyalist described the 42-day detention without charge will further alienate young British Muslims. Lord Ahmed criticised the Government over a U-turn on the 10p tax, on super-casino and fuel duty. Introducing this horrific measure only shows Governments intention to punish the Muslim community, he added. Sayeed Azad reports.

Acton Mosque officially opened

Members of the Muslim community in Acton, west London, gathered this afternoon for the opening of a new _1.5m mosque. Acton Mosque in Oldham Terrace was being used as a place of worship for the past 20 years. The Acton Muslim welfare association bought the building for _250,000 but still needed funding for the works to be carried out. Through donations from worshippers and local residents _1.5m was gathered and two years later the new mosque was finally opened today. Riazul Haq Bhatti, 70, treasurer of the association, said: “If it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication from the local community, we wouldn’t be here today. “It was being used for worship, but now we have ladies and mens’ areas for prayer, the dome at the top of the building and an area for the imam to sit. “We knew it would cost alot but it is fantastic for it to be completed.” Mr Bhatti told how plaques mounted on the walls of the mosque with words from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, were imported from Turkey. Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the Labour group at Ealing Council was at the opening. Cllr Bell, said: “I am delighted that the mosque has been completed. I helped during the planning process and worked closely with the welfare association.

Less immigrants re-migrating

According to the Netherlands Immigration Institute (NMI), guest workers and refugees are staying in the Netherlands rather than going back to their land of origin. Health-care, welfare, and family connection in the Netherlands are citied as reasons preventing them from moving back. In 2007, 1725 immigrants in Netherlands went back to their land of origin – down from 1840 in 2006, and 2139 in 2004. However, the NMI also reported rising feelings of wanting to return back to their home country. According to an NMI manager, the increase comes from the prevailing social climate – people having the feeling that they are not welcome anymore in the Netherlands.

‘Family man’ Mohammed Shafiq brutally murdered

A man was attacked, stabbed in the stomach and hit with an a iron bar in Burnley. Mohammed Shafiq, 50, of York Street in Lancashire, was murdered in broad daylight after attempting to intervene in a fight involving his son. He died in Royal Blackburn hospital eight hours. Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell, from Lancashire police stated: “Mr Shafiq intervened in a disorder at about 1.30pm and as a result he received an injury consistent with being stabbed and later died from that injury. “I have officers with Mr Shafiq’s family who are naturally distraught after this incident. He leaves a wife and 5 children and we will be offering them support during this devastating time.” It is believed that Shafiq’s son phoned his father to tell him that he was being harassed by a gang of youths. This prompted Mr Shafiq to call the police to raise his concern and then attend to his son’s welfare. Rukshana Choudhary reports.

Sweden: Family reunification laws tightened

The Swedish government proposed a new directive requiring immigrants to have a job and housing before sending for relatives to join them. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Migration Minister Tobias Billstrom jointly announced the directive. According to the Prime Minister, the proposal is a way to strengthen the government’s job creation policy, and stressed that a multicultural Sweden would function better by reducing the number of people stuck in crowded living quarters, dependant on government welfare payments. It is an important and meaningful approach to strengthen job creation said Reinfeldt.

Report: Germany To Expel Hundreds; Germany Introduced A New Immigration Law This Month

German officials are drawing up lists of hundreds of Muslims to be deported from the country under a new law making expulsions easier, the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday. Der Spiegel said authorities were already using their powers under an immigration law introduced this month in conducting an operation dubbed Aktion Kehraus (Action Sweep Out). The interior ministry declined to comment on the report beyond saying that deportations were a matter for Germany’s 16 federal states. Under new rules, potential deportees will not be able to use normal legal channels to challenge an expulsion order. A special panel of the Federal Administrative Court will be responsible, with no right of appeal. Der Spiegel said judges were expected to deal with up to 2000 cases a year. Clampdown Since the revelations in 2001 that Arab students who had lived for years in Hamburg led the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States, Germans have questioned their liberal laws under which some suspects even drew welfare benefits. Interior Minister Otto Schily has suggested that evidence of training at an al-Qaida camp should be clear grounds for expelling a foreign national. Distributing videos calling for “holy war” could also be punished the same way.