Closing the week 43

Most popular on Closer this week

  1. Islamizing Europe – Muslim Demographics
  2. Lucis & Cohen: Onderzoek, islam en moslims
  3. Weg met de integratie

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Dutch in the news
IRR: Young Dutch Muslims find a venue

Young Dutch Muslims find a venue
By Chandra Frank

An interview with Umar Mirza, the 22-year-old chief editor of the Dutch website ‘We’re Here to Stay’.[1]

Chandra Frank: The results of a TV opinion poll, released shortly after the Islamophobic Freedom Party (PvV)[2] won record results in European parliamentary elections, indicated that a large proportion of Turkish and Moroccan migrants no longer felt welcome and would consider leaving the Netherlands. This makes the title of the website you edit, ‘We’re Here to Stay’ particularly pertinent. What’s behind the name?

Discussion » Are import brides a brake on integration?

Are import brides a brake on integration?

eng_bruidThe Dutch government is working on several measures to curb the influx of so-called import brides and grooms. Immigrants in the Netherlands marrying partners from their countries of origin, the government argues, put a brake on integration. Their partners are often poorly educated and regularly end up in a dependent and isolated position once in the Netherlands. 15,000 such marriages were counted in the Netherlands last year, up 30 percent from 2007.

“Because of their lack of knowledge of the Dutch language, their low level of education and unfamiliarity with the [Dutch] institutions there is a risk that these women will not be able to adequately raise their children to be proper citizens,” integration minister Eberhard van der Laan said in defence of the measures.

In an editorial on the issue NRC Handelsblad sided with experts who say every citizen’s right to a family life is determined by the European Convention on Human Rights. “Who we share our lives with or want to marry is an individual choice. The motives for doing so are by definition not a matter for the state. It is dangerous to try to stem immigration by imposing standards that belong to family law,” the editorial said.

What do you think? Are import brides indeed a brake on integration of ethnic minorities and should the practice be discouraged, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, or should everyone be allowed to marry who they want, even if they are related or underage under Dutch law? – International – Muslims protest Wilders’ UK visit

Muslims protest Wilders’ UK visit

Around 20 Muslim protesters hurled abuse at Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders as he arrived for a meeting at the British parliament on Friday, forcing him to take refuge in a nearby building. – International – Dutch to the core, and asked to prove it

Dutch to the core, and asked to prove it

Not everyone who is legally obligated to take the integration course actually needs it. NRC Handelsblad spoke to three perfectly integrated immigrants who are shocked at having their Dutchness put to the test. – International – Features – Germany in uproar after politician says the ‘unspeakable’ about Turkish immigrants

Germany in uproar after politician says the ‘unspeakable’ about Turkish immigrants

Bluntness and bitterness have long been elements of integration debates in Europe. But emotion often obscures an important question: Why do many ethnic groups integrate well into society while others do not? A look at the German situation.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Feminism’s freedom fighter —

Do you regard yourself as an atheist?

Did God create man, or did man create God? I belong to the group who say man created God. I am comfortable to live without an outer force telling me what to do. I’d rather believe in human beings.

Where do you put yourself politically?

My politics are what the Americans call libertarian and the Europeans call classic liberalist. [Here] the word “liberal” is hijacked by people who only care about collectivism. But then libertarian also implies you don’t care about communities. I am a radical individual freedom fighter or defender of individual freedom. I’m a universalist; I think these freedoms and rights are universal.

Middle East News | Somali hardliners whip women for wearing bras

Men whipped for shaving, women made to shake breasts
Somali hardliners whip women for wearing bras

Jailed for defending his sister

Somalia’s hardline Islamist group al-Shabaab has publicly whipped women for wearing bras they say violate Islam by constituting a deception, north Mogadishu residents said on Friday.

Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | Veiled reasons

Although the number of women wearing the niqab in Egypt is unknown, it is certainly growing. You need simply to stroll along the street to see that. So when the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohamed Sayed Tantawi complained that an 11-year-old girl was wearing the niqab inside a girls-only school during a visit to classes on 3 October — the first day of the new term — his action was guaranteed to provoke controversy.

Southern Masala: Veiled Ambivalence

I began to discover what it meant to me, personally, to be a Muslim, and what I wanted my relationship with God to be. I’m still discovering.

Meanwhile, I keep reading current events dealing with Muslims and Islam, I am reading Muslim blogs, main stream media reports, etc. There is so much focus on the veil, hijab and niqab, it’s like an unending drumbeat through the internet. Every cliched article on women in Islam has some title like “Going behind the Veil” or “Islam Unveiled.” It’s as if we, as women in Islam, are purely defined by our veils. Western politicians pontificate on relieving Muslim women from their oppression by banning the veil, saving us from a prison of polyester/cotton blend. Education, health care, birth control, protection from violence, equality in legal rights are all issues tacked on as an afterthought, as if, somehow, if we could just get women to de-veil, all these problems would be solved for them. Simultaneously, women who veil seen as more conservative, more religious, more pious, dare I say more fundamentalist, than those who don’t. Women who don’t veil are seen as irreligious, presumed to disapprove of those who do, or to follow a more “modern” version of Islam.

For Muslim women, veil is power and beauty

For Muslim women, veil is power and beauty

By Riad Saloojee, For The Calgary HeraldOctober 14, 2009

Nothing can carve out cultural divides quite like the issue of the Islamic head covering (hijab) or face veil (niqab). Both continue to be the subject of not only debate but legislation the world over. We are not immune. Few Canadians would be unfamiliar with Quebec and its history with scarf-wearing Canadian Muslim learners. The issue has exhibited a tenacious longevity but, alarmingly, it continues to be hotly contested in ways that rarely rise to a sphere of mature discourse so essential to the functioning of any healthy civic society.

A case in point is the recent discussions on the topic, fuelled by plans of the Grand Mufti of Al-Azhar University to forbid entry to women students who don the face veil. No sooner than the reported plans were revealed, did the Canadian Muslim Congress call on Canada to ban the face veil. The arguments raged from the face veil being a “symbol of Islamic extremism,” a “medieval practice,” the result of a patriarchal “male misogyny” and a “security risk.” The head scarf and the face veil, it was asserted, are “alien” to Islam, and the Islamic primary sources speak nothing of them.

“Honour Violence” – A Threat To Immigrant Women | News | YLE Uutiset |

Immigrant women in Finland are increasingly the victims of violence perpetrated in the name of family honour. In Helsinki, twice as many immigrant women have sought protection this year from violence than in previous years.

Veiled German Women Outside the Box – – European Muslims

The European Muslims Editorial Desk conducted the following e-mail interview with Ms. Hülya Dogan, member of the Muslim and Christian Workers’ Association in the North of Bonn (MUCHRI) and representative of the Alliance for Peace and Fairness (BFF) in the City Council of Bonn.

Cultural Breast Cancer Awareness – – Art & Culture

Cultural Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink Hijab Day

To me, Muslim women wear their faith on their head.
Spreading a communal awareness to fight the breast cancer, a group of Muslim women came up with the idea of Pink Hijab Day (PHD). “Pink Hijab Day is intended to shatter stereotypes of Muslim women, as well as raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. All over the world, Muslims participated by wearing pink hijabs, pink ribbons, and donating to breast cancer foundations,” this is mission of the campaign as stated on its official website.

CJO’s Avenger212 – War, Negation and Muslim Identity Revisited

In the meantime, Muslims, who insist on living in the shadow of the ‘West’ as unreserved aficionados or obsessed detractors must redefine their own discourses. As for the latter, they must not allow war alone, MTV consumer media culture, hegemonic globalization and racist remarks by a politician or a born again evangelical to taint their entire view of what are essentially unique, diverse and in many ways impressive civilizations that have done much good. Indeed, there is the like of Boykin, but there are millions of others who are peace-loving, ordinary people, some of whom are ardent advocates of human rights, anti-war campaigners, including the thousands who have repeatedly broken the siege on Gaza, and previous to that Iraq. Muslims too must quit caricaturing them, reducing them to enemies, juxtaposing Muslims’ essential righteousness with ‘Western’ essential depravity. Not only are such reductions inaccurate and self-defeating, they also break down possible alliances between the forces of good in this world, in a time when they are of essence.

Blissful Dunya: Anti-Islamic websites blah blah blah

You know if I wanted to get upset about it everytime I came across an anti-Islam site, an article that severely misrepresents Islam or a person out to discredit Muslims – I would be angry A LOT of the time. You really don’t have to look far to find ”bad” sites. Any google search often has at least one questionable site listed in the results.

Muslims and the West. Healing the Culture Gap! « Greek Muslimah Xenia and The Light of Islam!

There is an assumed cultural gap; and in the coming few lines, I will try to share some of the possible reasons for this wrong assumption, and the importance of bridge-building to overcome this gap of misunderstanding one another.


Held by the Taliban – A Times Reporter’s Account. A Five-Part Series by David Rohde. – Series –

THE car’s engine roared as the gunman punched the accelerator and we crossed into the open Afghan desert. I was seated in the back between two Afghan colleagues who were accompanying me on a reporting trip when armed men surrounded our car and took us hostage.

In Dutch

De schande van de kopvoddentaks – Trouw

Niemand mag de hoofddoek tot signaal maken dat de vrouwen die hem dragen minder waard zijn.

Met de hoofddoekbelasting zet Wilders wezenlijke verworvenheden van de Nederlandse natie op het spel.

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