New threat of “Express Radicalization” amongst moderate youth in Spain

© Horsey, Los Angeles Times, 2013.
© Horsey, Los Angeles Times, 2013.

Security forces are concerned about the fascination that is rising among Spanish young Muslims for the Islamic State or Daesh. The concern is even greater in the case of adolescents who are concentrated in the city of Ceuta, where radical Islam has already fished at least five minor children, according to counter-terrorism sources.

Experts call this phenomenon “Express Radicalization.” Young moderate Muslims are becoming -in a matter of weeks and thanks only to the radical content consumed through social networks in the privacy of their homes-into dangerous fighters willing to give their lives for Islam.

Music Mix: Spirituality and Protest: ‘Rebel Music,’ by Hisham D. Aidi

The subject matter of “Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture” could not be more far-reaching unless its author, Hisham D. Aidi, had unearthed data about youth culture and musical influences on other planets. As far as Earth goes, his highly original and ambitious book has got it covered.

“Rebel Music” exhibits a breathtaking familiarity with different forms of radicalizing music and the widely different ways it is understood in different cultures, with a special emphasis on Islamic youth. Mr. Aidi starts his book simply in the South Bronx, an epicenter of young Muslims’ hip-hop obsession.

Mr. Aidi goes there, in part, because he hopes to talk to the French rap crew 3ème Oeil (Third Eye) from Marseille. They are equally glad to meet him when he tells them he’s from Columbia, mistaking the university (where he is a lecturer) with the record company. No matter. He has the illuminating experience of finding a French D.J. who says he has dreamed of visiting the Bronx his whole life, because his role model is the Bronx D.J. Afrika Bambaataa. Mr. Aidi meets others there who are simply searching for a Muslim-friendly environment. If this book has a unifying theme, it is the eagerness of young Muslims in every culture to find musical expression that feels honest and a safe haven in an endlessly combative world.

“Rebel Music” has no chance of ending on a note of peaceful resolution. But it does lay out an array of fascinating conflicts, taking on a subject that has rarely been addressed in book form. Its most tender chapter describes Judeo-Arabic music, which flowered in Algeria in the 1960s but later became a lightning rod for controversy. Like every topic brought up by Mr. Aidi’s jampacked compendium, it deserves a closer look.

Young Islam Conference

March 17, 2014

 

The Young Islam Conference sees itself as both a forum for dialogue and a mouthpiece for young Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It seeks to counter prejudice and negative ideas about Islam in Germany. Shohreh Karimian spoke to Esra Küçük, the managing director of the Young Islam Conference, about the forum’s background and aims

 

Source: http://en.qantara.de/content/young-islam-conference-interface-between-politics-and-society

A book review of The French Intifada: The Long War between France and its Arabs by Andrew Hussey

February 28, 2014

French Intifada

 

A book review of The French Intifada: The Long War between France and its Arabs by Andrew Hussey (publication date March 6, 2014)

 

‘’ Going well beyond news reports, the book shows just how hot and fierce a vein of hatred for France runs through the Muslim populations that have experienced French rule. More than half a century after the North African states achieved independence, France remains an object of deep loathing for many of their citizens, who often associate the former imperial overlord with oppressive French-speaking elites. Even the Moroccans who carried out the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Hussey argues, ultimately linked Spain with these elites, and thus with “the hated nation of France”. Meanwhile, in the book’s striking opening scene, Hussey describes how young Muslims he encountered at a riot at Paris’s Gare du Nord in 2007, most presumably born on French soil, broke into a chant in colloquial Arabic: “Na’al abouk la France” – “Fuck France!”

Claude Goasguen summoned to explain anti-Muslim comments

February 17, 2014

 

After a complaint registered by the CFCM (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman), a deputy of the UMP party and mayor of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Claude Goasguen, has been summoned on April 7th to a court in Nimes over his derogatory statements made about the anti-Semitism of young Muslims during the KKL Gala (a fundraising event for Israel) on February 2nd.  Claude Goasguen is also Vice President of the France-Israel friendship group.

The CFCM has pressed charges for defamation and incitement to hatred over his comment: ‘we can no longer teach the Shoah in high-schools due to fearing the reaction of young Muslims who have been drugged in the mosques.’ According to the CFCM’s lawyer Khadija Aoudia, such remarks ‘aliment Islamophobia and insult the honor and dignity of the Muslim community.’

Abdallah Zekri, President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, said he received twenty calls from various leaders of religious centers encouraging him to launch a judiciary pursuit. The Ligue de Defense Judiciaire des Musulmans (LDJM) has also announced it will press charges. As for the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), the organization is considering it and in the meantime has asked political leaders to condemn the remarks.

Contacted by Agence France Presse, Claude Goasguen said his remarks were made in a private reunion and had been misunderstood. ‘My words were not aimed at the Muslim community in general, but to the Islamist trend within it. I have always denounced religious extremism be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim.’ He alsi claimed he meant to say ‘intoxicated’ instead of ‘drugged.’

 

Sources: http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2014/02/17/goasguen-cite-a-comparaitre-pour-des-propos-anti-musulmans_980819

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Turin: Open Mosques for a Day

December 4, 2013

 

The places of worship are a source of wisdom , serenity and peace in which man realizes his infinite smallness. The places of worship are also spaces of encounter and confrontation between different cultures and faiths, as shown by the girls and boys in the Italian Association of Young Muslims, who organized moments of depth and knowledge on cultural and religious elements of Islam , also opening the doors of mosques in Turin to citizens through the initiative “Open Mosque.”  “After the visit, the dozens of people who have followed us have looked at the world with a different position” says Ayoub Cherkawoui, coordinator of the Association of Piedmont. Periodically, we perform the same guided tour and reception with the primary schools in the territory, to explain the similarities and differences between religions and debunk many clichés. At first the children are quiet and a bit ‘intimidated,’ but then curiosity takes over and they ask many questions.”

Seminars and workshops
The fourth edition of the annual gathering of the Young Muslims of the Northwest of Italy has dealt with important issues from a new perspective. The one who is torn between two cultures but feels as if they belong inseparably to their country of origin: Italy. An important meeting focused on the status of second generation immigrants (those born in Italy or those who were brought as children), orientation to the university and educational choices, the new world of work and university courses offered by the territory of Turin and Piedmont. “The family is the country of the heart” Giuseppe Mazzini wrote in his book The Duties of Man. The festival has dedicated an evening to review the knowledge and dialogue about the meaning of family and hospitality in other countries.

Open Mosque
Turin has assumed the role of a city of exchange, a multi-ethnic place where cultures and religions come together and blend to a sometimes difficult but often constructive coexistence. Through dialogue and discussion, the true spirit of certain neighborhoods such as San Salvario is interfaith. The neighborhood is the reference point for historical and religious minorities and now includes new faiths brought to Turin by migrants. With curiosity and desire to discuss, young Muslims have accompanied the people of Turin to discover other places of worship.

Young, Muslim and Italian
“Our thoughts tend to seek a balance between realism and faith to give young Muslims every reason to believe in a better future, to avoid extremism and to demonstrate to our society the true face of the majority of Muslims, a friendly face that is not the enemy” says Ayoub Cherkawoui “And ‘essential,’ therefore, for us young Muslims in Italy feel that they have a dual identity, that of their family and their origins, and that they have gained by living and growing up in Italy . This can be seen as wealth, but it can also be the cause of deep divides.”

 
Tiscali: http://notizie.tiscali.it/regioni/piemonte/feeds/13/12/04/t_76_20131204_1640_video_10.html

Young Muslims and social networks

November 16, 2013

 

Social networks such as Facebook are becoming as popular among Muslim youth as among all parts of the society. However protecting data and youth privacy associations are concerned about the amount of misinformation distributed in the digital world. Conservative Muslims warn Muslim users to avoid visiting websites, which would lead to what is described in the Koran as “Fitna”, meaning the loss of faith.

German Salafists such as the populist Pierre Vogel use facebook to address young Muslims. Having more than 10.000 Facebook fans, they call female Muslims to upload photos with the the niqab only. Their face should is supposed to be covered in public.

According to Akif Sahin, a social media manager in Hamburg, Muslim youth are vulnerable to misinformation and negative influences diffused by extremists – especially as young Muslims search for guidance on their religious and cultural identity. This aspect is often abused by extremists, such as Islamist and Islamophobe groups, which would begin to agitate Muslims against each other.

 

Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/muslime-auf-facebook-keine-angst-vorm-fitnabook-a-933570.html

 

The First meeting of the Confederation of Young Islamic Italians

November 11, 2013

 

The first meeting of the Confederation of Young Islamic Italians (GCII) is planned for next Sunday, 17 November, in Rome. The event is promoted by the Lazio section of the newly formed Islamic education of youth. In a statement the president of the Italian Islamic Confederation, Wahid el Fihri, explained “We expect hundreds of young Muslims from different regions of Italy for the first national meeting which will be held at the auditorium of the Center Islamic cultural center of Italy, better known as the Great Mosque of Rome.“

“Our goal is to give our children one more tool to stay away from the sirens of extremism and give them the ability to fight for a moderate Islam, which is open to interreligious dialogue and respectful of the rules and culture of others. Above all, moderate Islam is able to integrate into Italian society in accordance with our traditions.” The event will include a recitation of the Quran, a parade of children dressed in traditional Moroccan and other Muslim countries clothing. After the presentation of the new Islamic youth group, there will be an open dialogue between parents and children regarding the problems of Muslim families living in Italy.

The Confederation, founded as a union of regional federations, was founded in March 2012 and brings together the 250 centers and places of worship scattered throughout the country, who have chosen to share common values​​, in line with the “Charter of Values, Citizenship and Immigration” promulgated by the Ministry of the Interior in 2007.

 

International Business Times: http://it.ibtimes.com/articles/58922/20131114/islam.htm

Police violence against protesters in Hamburg

July 21

 

On Saturday, approximately 1000 people demonstrated in Hamburg against “racist police profiling” and asked to stop police violence. Also, 300 demonstrators protested in the city of Offenbach for the same cause.

 

A routine police check escalated in the Northern part of Hamburg, when police was confronted with rioting inhabitants. The police reacted with pepper gas. Since then police control increased in the last week, profiling Turkish and Arabic youngsters. A mosque was controlled and investigated. With respect to the month of Ramadan, many visitors were in the mosque proceeding midnight prayers. Police has entered the mosque threatening the visitors with batons.

 

A young participant Soufian D. witnessed the police to be violent injuring three Muslims. The policemen are said to threaten the young Muslims “better not to speak with the press”. The police authorities of Offenbach have deny the incident. According to the police, it reacted to an alert. Having checked the identities of witnesses, some would be non-cooperative and resistant, injuring the hand of one policeman.

Ramadan’s ‘non-fasters’

09.07.2013

Le Monde

Although keeping the fast during Ramadan is one Islam’s five pillars, around one third of French Muslims do not observe the sacred tradition. Many young people choose to not fast due to practical reasons, such as the inability to perform well in their profession while keeping the fast. Others are traditionally exempted from fasting such as children, the sick, the elder, travellers and pregnant women.  For those who freely choose to not fast it is often a difficult to justify their decision in front of their families and communities, especially since there has been a great rise in piousness amongst young Muslims in France. In 2011, 71% of Muslims in France declared to fast during Ramadan, 11% more than in 1989.

The ‘non-fasters’ often feel ashamed in front of their peers and find it increasingly difficult to be different amongst France’s Muslim communities. Some parents, however, support their children’s decision such as those of a 20-year-old student of Tunisian origin who chose to not fast to keep his vacation job. His parents, for instance, consider his career more important than fasting.

Haoues Senigeur, a political scientist and expert on Islam, says that “this choice of
non-fasters is often resented by Muslims who carry the weight of tradition”. He considers the tradition of Ramadan to correspond with a strong social conservatism and cites the example of pregnant women, who are traditionally exempted from fasting yet sometimes feel obliged to hide to eat. According to Senigeur, Islam has intensified over the years, especially amongst young Muslims born in France aged 18-24 who practice Ramadan more strictly than before.

During Ramadan, he continues, piousness increases and social ties are reinforced.