19 February 2011
The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS) has held its yearly meeting, to which the president of the IZRS Nicolas Blancho had invited a number of prominent speakers. Approximately 2000 people attended the conference, where the star of the gathering was the Kuwaiti Sheikh Mishary Rashid Al-Afasy, while around 50 people from anti-Islamic and Christian groups held protests against the conference.
Three of the invited guests in particular led to raised eyebrows at the Swiss State Office for Migration (BFM). The first of these guests was Shefqet Krasniqi, an imam from Pristina, who shocked the Catholic world two years ago with the comment that “Mother Teresa is in hell, as she was not a Muslim.” The second was Yusuf Estes, who was an Islamic chaplain in US prisons, and who fights against public schools for Muslim children, arguing instead for Qur’an schools. Finally, there was Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist and former Taliban hostage, who converted to Islam following her kidnapping and now supports the Muslim brotherhood.
The yearly meeting was promoted by a youtube video which shows the word “Islam” followed by other words such as “Hate,” “Attack,” “Forced Marriage,” and “Honor Killings,” after which appears “Where are our rights? Who stands up for us?” According to IZRS spokesperson Abdel Azziz Qaasim Illi, the theme of the conference was “how to bring together in harmony Islamic identity and the modern era.”
Former Sunday Express journalist Yvonne Ridley has won a case for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination against The Islam Channel. The three-person tribunal panel ruled that Ridley had been dismissed by the digital channel and upheld her complaint of sexual discrimination and harassment. Her case, which was part-funded by the NUJ, was held in London in February and heard evidence from a number of figures in support of her claims including the Respect MP George Galloway. Ridley, who resigned from the channel in April last year, complained that she had effectively been dismissed after relations between her and the channel’s chief executive, Mohammed Ali broke, down. The tribunal ruling, on Thursday, April 17, said: “There is nothing in the statutory wording that suggests that the facts of this case should not lead a tribunal to the conclusion that the claimant’s dignity had been violated, on the basis that the words were spoken to an outsider. We find that the words had the purpose of violating her dignity because they were false.” Ridley was also found to have been unfairly dismissed by the tribunal, which ruled that the way she was treated was “riddled with unfairness” and that she was subjected to “a wholesale approach of seeking to blame her at various points”. Ben Dowell
LONDON – Yvonne Ridley, the former journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban, has said that Muslims in east London should stop co-operating with the police after last week’s terror raid in which a man was shot. Miss Ridley, who is now an activist with George Galloway’s Respect Party, said the community was being “terrorised” by the Metropolitan Police and should end all contact with the force. But a senior officer said good relations on the ground were vital to ensuring difficult issues were handled in a sensitive way. Miss Ridley was held hostage by the Taliban during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. She had snuck into the country to cover the war for Express Newspapers. She was released and later converted to Islam, and has been outspoken about the treatment of Muslims in Britain. “I don’t think the Muslim community should communicate with the police any more until they start showing some respect to the community,” she said. “There are Muslim community leaders – largely self-appointed – who regularly hold meetings with the police. “I’m afraid these leaders are confusing access to the top brass with influence. The reality is that they have neither. What we are witnessing now is the terrorisation of one community.” At a meeting of the Respect Party last night in the area of the raid, she suggested non-co-operation “goes from asking the community copper for directions to passing the time of the day with the beat officers”. But Commander Steve Allen, who heads territorial policing, said co-operation between communities was vital. “What is more likely to deliver effective police and community and responses to situations like this?” he asked. “Is it when we talk to each other, when we spend time trying to understand each other’s perspective or is it when we call for complete disengagement?”