Xenophobic Inscriptions found near Caen mosque

Xenophobic and anti-Islamic inscriptions were found near a mosque in Hérouville-Saint-Clair, just outside of the city of Caen. The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) expressed its “profound indignation” and “condemned with force this new aggression”

Debating about the new mosque

For the xenophobic Northern League’s newspaper “La Padania”, the building of a mosque in Greve is a disgrace, exactly like the idea of building a mosque in Ground Zero. Indeed, in their opinion, what is taking place is a clash of civilizations. The Greve’s Northern League group leader announced a referendum. The mayor of Greve, member of the Democratic Party, explained that Muslims have never asked the municipality to build a mosque, but only support to find a place for worship. However, the mayor continued, the Northern League is propagating that the municipality’s money would pay for construction of a mosque, and asks residents to oppose the construction. Although this false, is nevertheless gaining support among many politicians, even left wing parties. Despite all this, according to the mayor, cultural and religious diversity is a positive development, and has to be sustained and enhanced. For this reason, he has just started a programme with the help of local associations, to explain to people how to tackle the issue of integration and coexistence. He reaffirms that religious freedom is a constitutional principle and, indeed, has to be granted.

From the Northern League the “Anti-Immigrant” soap that bursts a political clash

In Sansepolcro, a town near Arezzo, the local Northern League has been denounced for having distributed samples of disinfectant to supposedly clean people’s hands from contacts with immigrants. The local sections of Rifondazione Comunista (Left), whose members confirm to have witnessed the event, have attacked the Northern League’s actions. The Northern League denies the accusation and claims that the soap was just an electoral gadget. Many national politicians are raising their objections against such a xenophobic initiative which they believe offends the identity and history of Italian people. Ahmad Giampiero Vincenzo, president of the Muslim Italian Intellectuals Association, consultant for immigration at the Senato’s Committee for Constitutional Affairs, and a member of the Great Mosque in Rome, will present a formal recourse against the Northern League defining its initiative as a serious incitement to racism that resembles similar facts taking place during the Fascist and Nazi regimes.

Controversial celebration of Reconquest Day in Granada

The “Toma day” is a traditional festival in Granada that commemorates the end of the Spanish Reconquest of Spain. This celebration takes place in the Town Hall square on January 2 and commemorates the entry of the Catholic Kings into the City, and the end of Islamic presence in Spain.

In the crowd there are usually fascist groups that use the occasion to publicize their racist and xenophobic claims against the immigrant and Muslim population. Different civic organizations are against this practice and, every year, organize an alternative event in sign of protest. These organizations are collecting signatures against the celebration of the Reconquest.

Xenophobic comments and crosses graffiti a mosque in Castres, France

A mosque in Castres (Tarn) was vandalized by unknown assailants with xenophobic messages and crosses, and “Sieg heil” on the outside walls. Other inscriptions included “France for the French” and “White Power”, according to Abdelmalek Bouregba, president of the Islamic Association of Castres. Pig feet were also suspended in the doorway alongside drawings of the French flag. The inside of the mosque was unaffected.

Trial against xenophobic courtroom murderer of Marwa al-Sherbini to start Monday

Under tight security, a man stands trial in Dresden on Monday for the murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman that stoked anger against Germany and its media in her home country and the wider Muslim world. The defendant, for legal reasons named only as Alex W, is accused of stabbing to death Marwa al-Sherbini on July 1 in a courtroom.

Alex W, classed by police as xenophobic, attacked Sherbini during an appeal hearing against a fine he was ordered to pay for verbally abusing the woman at a city playground in August 2008. Sherbini, who was pregnant with her second child, was in court with her husband and 3-year-old son when the defendant lunged at her with a knife he had smuggled into the building.

The German and Egyptian governments are to keep in touch during the trial of Alex W, a German national charged with the July 1 murder of Egyptian Marwa al-Sherbini, 31, a senior aide to Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday. Maria Boehmer, Germany’s commissioner for minority affairs, made the announcement after a telephone conversation with the Egyptian ambassador to Germany, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, ahead of the court case due to start Monday.

Islamophobia increasing in the Netherlands

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance released a new report on February 12th, 2008 saying that Islamophobia is gaining ground in the Netherlands, with Muslims and minorities facing increasing discrimination and violence. The report also decries the tone of debate about ethnic minorities in Dutch politics and media. Positive findings concede that progress has been made in a number of the fields highlighted in its previous report from 2000, citing that the Netherlands has become party to several international instruments working to combat racism and racial discrimination. The establishment of a network of local anti-discrimination bureaus is underway in the country, and efforts have been made to record and counter discrimination in the criminal justice system. Criticisms, however, include that recommendations in previous reports have only been partially implemented. Recommendations in the current report suggest that authorities take further action in a number of areas, particularly concerning public debate on integration and polarization in the country, taking steps to counter xenophobic discourse in politics, consistent opposition to all manifestations of Islamophobia, and the reviewing of policies in light of the prohibition of direct and indirect racial discrimination.

Islamophobia increasing in the Netherlands

A European human rights watchdog says that Islamophobia is gaining ground in the Netherlands, with Muslims and minorities facing increasing discrimination and violence. The report, which was released by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, also decries the tone of debate about ethnic minorities in Dutch politics and media. Positive findings concede that progress has been made in a number of the fields highlighted in its previous report from 2000, citing that the Netherlands has become party to several international instruments working to combat racism and racial discrimination. The establishment of a network of local anti-discrimination bureaus is underway in the country, and efforts have been made to record and counter discrimination in the criminal justice system. Criticisms, however, include that recommendations in previous reports have only been partially implemented. Recommendations in the current report suggest that authorities take further action in a number of areas, particularly concerning public debate on integration and polarization in the country, taking steps to counter xenophobic discourse in politics, consistent opposition to all manifestations of Islamophobia, and the reviewing of policies in light of the prohibition of direct and indirect racial discrimination.

Germans Split Over a Mosque and the Role of Islam

(Mosque construction has proved a contentious issue for German society. For more information on mosques in Germany, see the Germany country profile). In a city with the greatest Gothic cathedral in Germany and no fewer than a dozen Romanesque churches, adding a pair of slender fluted minarets would scarcely alter the skyline. Yet plans for a new mosque are rattling this ancient city to its foundations. Cologne’s Muslim population, largely Turkish, is pushing for approval to build what would be one of Germany’s largest mosques, in a working-class district across town from the cathedral’s mighty spires. Predictably, an extreme-right local political party has waged a noisy, xenophobic protest campaign, drumming up support from its far-right allies in Austria and Belgium…