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Brussels: Imam dies in Salafist attack on Shia mosque
A firebomb attack on a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in Brussels that killed a popular local imam triggered an anti-terrorist investigation on Wednesday, but police remained uncertain of the detained suspect’s identity and local Muslims baffled about his motives.
THE KILLING of an imam in an arson attack on a Shia mosque in Brussels was widely condemned yesterday as Muslim leaders called for unity.
While there appears to be a consensus that sectarian violence is no longer limited to Iraq but has expanded to influence developments from the Gulf to Lebanon, public debate in the Arab world offers interesting insights about how both sides view the possible repercussions of deepening sectarian divisions.
The consensus in both Sunni and Shia circles appears to be that attempts to emphasise Sunni- Shia rivalries are intended to deflect attention from both the US occupation of Iraq and continuing Israeli aggression.
CANDIDATES for France’s upcoming presidential election suspended campaigning today after the massacre of three young Jewish schoolchildren, and one adult, in a religious school in Toulouse, in south-west France.
For Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman suspected of killing four Jews and three Muslim soldiers in southwestern France, the road to radicalisation ran from Toulouse to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
The man thought to be responsible for killing seven in a murder spree in southern France is dead, French Interior Minister Claude Guéant confirmed on Thursday. Mohamed Merah, who claimed he belonged to al-Qaida, had brought the country to a near standstill after killing three soldiers and four people at a Jewish school.
Self-professed Al-Qaeda militant Mohamed Merah died during a police assault on his besieged flat after jumping out the window while still shooting, Interior Minister Claude Gueant said.
Le Nouveau Normal – By Justin Vaïsse | Foreign Policy
The sociological profile of Mohamed Merah is a sad copy of that of his jihadist predecessors of decades past, from Herve Djamel Loiseau to Zacarias Moussaoui: It includes social relegation, identity troubles, and a feeling of injustice, mixed with petty crime, Islamist radicalization (not in a regular French mosque but while serving time in prison), then travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan. These are not deeply religious men, but rather actors crazed by a desire to take destiny into their own hands and live a more fulfilling life by appointing themselves defenders of victimized Muslims.
Born in the southwestern French city of Toulouse on October 10, 1988, Merah had been tracked for years by France’s DCRI domestic intelligence service, but nothing suggested that he was preparing a major crime.
Just a few weeks ago, Mohamed Merah partied at a nightclub, and an acquaintance noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Another friend said the former car body shop worker liked to talk about “cars, bikes, girls and sports.’’
Mohamed Merah’s descent into darkness began in the grim housing estates on the edge of Toulouse.
News reports today have linked the Toulouse gunman responsible for the murders of seven people, now identified as French citizen Mohammed Merah, to a recently banned French extremist group with connections to Britain.
Named Forsane Alizza (FA – the Knights of Pride), the group bears many similarities to the UK-based al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK network.
In isolation, the attack might appear to be the act of a lunatic, probably an anti-Semitic one, but an array of factors make this attack into something even more troubling, particularly that it is the third murderous attack in eight days — and that all seem to be linked to race and/or religion.
Merah’s demise put an end to a saga that has shaken a nation already anxious about its sputtering economy and a nerve-wracking election campaign in which economic and xenophobic populism risks becoming the norm. But the 10-day rampage of the “motor scooter killer” was like nothing France has ever seen. The French have become sadly accustomed to hostage crises, radical and anti-Semitic bombings, and assassinations in recent decades, but a Natural Born Killers-style murder tour by motor scooter was something else. In a country where guns are relatively rare, a single man executed three French paratroopers of North African descent, seriously wounded a black soldier, and engaged in a callous assault on a Jewish school in Toulouse before going down firing. For most French people, this could only take place in America — or in a Hollywood film.
A Salafist group in France linked to the Toulouse killings is in an open alliance with neo-fascist figures and extreme right-wing Catholic groups.
The French president is overreacting to France’s 9/11 with proposals for laws that criminalize traveling abroad for terrorist indoctrination, and consulting jihadist websites. Both would be disastrous for France, says Barry Lando.
Religion was not Mohamed Merah’s problem ; nor is politics. A French citizen frustrated at being unable to find his place, to give his life dignity and meaning in his own country, he would find two political causes through which he could articulate his distress : Afghanistan and Palestine. He attacks symbols : the army, and kills Jews, Christians and Muslims without distinction. His political thought is that of a young man adrift, imbued neither with the values of Islam, or driven by racism and anti-Semitism. Young, disoriented, he shoots at targets whose prominence and meaning seem to have been chosen based on little more than their visibility. A pathetic young man, guilty and condemnable beyond the shadow of a doubt, even though he himself was the victim of a social order that had already doomed him, and millions of others like him, to a marginal existence, and to the non-recognition of his status as a citizen equal in rights and opportunities.
While right-wing terrorism is currently the focus of attention in Germany, the threat posed by religiously motivated extremism remains. Radical Salafists are considered especially dangerous.
Muslims in French suburbs remain vulnerable to extremist indoctrination but those lured into radicalism are an “ultra-minority” and the spread of jihadism is declining, experts say.
Waarin heeft Breivik gelijk?
‘We lijden enorm onder de politiek correcte opvatting dat je de islam niet mag bekritiseren. Dat zie je overal en dat belemmert een open debat over de islam enorm.’
De Britse schrijver Tom Holland laat treffend zien dat het orthodoxe verhaal van het ontstaan van de islam zwakker is dan het lijkt. Maar hij had nog wel een stap verder mogen gaan
In de islam staan de vrije wil en de predestinatie op gespannen voet met elkaar – maar geldt dat niet voor iedere religie? In de bundel De vrijheidsimpuls van de islam bespreken Ibrahim Abouleish, Christine Gruwez, John van Schaik en Cilia ter Horst verschillende aspecten van de spanning tussen vrijheid en predestinatie in de islam. Met een voorwoord van Abdulwahid van Bommel.
In het artikel in Ars Aequi worden, aan de hand van het kader uit deel II van deze miniserie, de volgende actuele casus behandeld: het gedoogakkoord, het boerka-verbod, weigerambtenaren en de SGP, en ritueel slachten en mannenbesnijdenis. In deze post staat de eerste casus centraal.
Een van de hoofdartikelen uit de eerste editie van MUHARRAM Magazine. Met uitdrukkelijke toestemming van de houder van dit artikel geplaatst.