In light of recent marches by the controversial PEGIDA movement, Germany’s Central Council of Jews (ZdJ) has come to the defense of Muslims in Germany. Chairman Josef Schuster has warned to not underestimate the group.
The newly-elected chairman of the council, Josef Schuster, said in Saturday’s edition of the German newspaper Die Welt that fear of Islamistic terrorism is being “exploited” to vilify an entire religion. “This is completely unacceptable,” said Schuster.
“Of course Islamist extremism needs to be taken as seriously as other extremist trends,” he said, “But the security authorities have long been aware.”
To draw the conclusion from so few Islamists that Islam is going to become Germany’s state religion, is “as absurd as when we conclude that, due to the existence of right-wing extremism, the Nazi dictatorship will be rebuilt tomorrow,” Schuster added.
At the same time, however, Schuster expressed his deep concerns over the demonstrations led by PEGIDA, which loosely translates as the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” and warned against underestimating the movement. They are “immensely dangerous,” he said.
“Here, neo-Nazis, parties from the far-right and citizens who think that they can finally let out their racism and xenophobia are all mixed together,” Schuster said.
The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reports that a Muslim woman of Syrian heritage was verbally and physically assaulted by four racists in the city of Braunschweig in Lower Saxony last week.
The 29-year-old woman, who was identifiable as a Muslim because of her headscarf and dress, was struck on the knee by a car while crossing the road. Four men, who were said to be in their early 20s, got out and proceeded to subject her to anti-Islamic abuse, while one of them grabbed her by the collar of her jacket.
At that point passers-by intervened and shouted at the men, who got back in the car and drove off. Police have appealed for witnesses to contact them.
I was sitting in the last car of the Paris metro, in one of the folding seats close to the door. A number of other people were in the car, as well, though it wasn’t packed.
Two stations before my stop, a large man strode into the car. He was about 6-foot-three (1.90 meters), and he had a big belly and long brown hair. He was unshaven.
He stared at me.
As a Muslim woman wearing the scarf, walking in the streets and taking public transportation in Paris means I often face people’s stares. Sometimes I hear comments and whispers. I am a young reporter, just recently assigned to Paris, but I have quickly gotten used to it.
Still, I was unprepared for what happened next.
“P… de musulmane,” the man snarled. F… Muslim.
Then there was silence. No one spoke a word. I was terrified.
Hajer M’tiri reports.
Anadolu Agency, 20 December 2014
This is a sign outside the Eagles Nest Bar and Grill in Longreach, Queensland. It reads in full:
“2000 years ago Jesus Christ made headlines turning water into wine. The tradition continues…. We turn money into beer. (Sorry no Muslims).”
The Boycott Halal in Australia? No Way Facebook page has posted a report from a local resident:
“A friend rang them and asked if they had a sign out front saying ‘Sorry no Muslims’. He said ‘Yes, that’s right’. He was asked ‘What’s your reason for putting the sign there?’, and he said ‘Just, no Muslims’. When asked again ‘But what’s your reason for putting the sign there?’ he hung up.
“We were present when the call was made and confirm what was said. This is clearly discrimination and will be reported to the Australian Discrimination Commission. And it’s certainly unAustralian. Shame on you, Eagles Nest Bar and Grill, Longreach.”
The English Defence League’s Isle of Wight organiser Carl Worrall was up in front of magistrates yesterday for sentencing, having pleaded guilty to one count of harassment and one count of racially or religiously aggravated harassment.
According to police, the charges arose from incidents at a coffee shop in Newport on 27 October and 1 November. From Worrall’s account, this would appear to be the branch of Costa Coffee in St James Square.
As MEND points out, the 1 November incident evidently followed an EDL protest outside HM Prison Isle of Wight. This was provoked by the leaking of an internal bulletin from the National Offender Management Service, which reported that a prisoner who had recently converted to Islam had been found with a homemade ISIS flag and “detailed escape plans involving taking a member of staff hostage”.
Based on a shock-horror account in the Sunday People, the EDL claimed that the prisoner had “planned to behead a guard” – a piece of scaremongering that even the Daily Mail refused to swallow, reporting instead that it was thought the plan was “an attempt to escape, rather than to harm”.
The photo above is of Carl Worrall at the EDL protest outside the prison. Looking on is Dave Bolton of the national EDL, which shows that this was an officially endorsed event, not just some local initiative.
You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Can an ad proclaim “Jew-Hatred: It’s in the Quran” on a crowded bus?
That’s the free-speech issue before U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg in Philadelphia, who soon will have to decide whether a private group’s ad targeting the Quran and seeking to “end all aid to Islamic countries” can appear on SEPTA’s buses, trains, shelters, and kiosks.
Defenders of the ad say it falls into one of the First Amendment’s most preciously protected categories: public-issue speech.
SEPTA general counsel Gino Benedetti acknowledged the importance of free speech but took a different approach during testimony before the judge Wednesday. Benedetti said he rejected the ad in the fall because of its potential to cause harm and incivility in a transit system that serves and employs Muslims among its one million daily customers and 9,000 employees.
The ad, he said, “puts all Muslims in a single bucket as hating Jews. . . . My common understanding is that not every Muslim hates a Jew. I thought it was portraying Muslims in a harmful, injurious way.”
Produced by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), the ad features a photograph of a 1941 meeting between Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist who made radio broadcasts supporting the Nazis.
Cofounded in 2010 by conservative commentators Pamela Geller and Richard Spencer, AFDI is a nonprofit incorporated in New Hampshire. Its mission statement says it opposes the “treason [of] government officials, mainstream media, and others in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.”
A Muslim woman who says she was forced to attend Christian church services during a 60-day jail stint in Cleveland on an assault charge has sued the county.
Sakeena Majeed said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that a correction officer made her and other Cuyahoga County jail inmates attend Friday afternoon services led by a Baptist minister. She alleged that she was threatened with solitary confinement if she did not attend and that another correction officer mocked her when she refused to actively participate.
“That should be offensive to anybody, no matter what your religion is,” said her attorney Matthew Besser, who filed the lawsuit. “The government can’t tell you what god to pray to or to pray at all.”
Majeed’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. A county prosecutor’s spokesman, Joe Frolik, declined to comment about it on Friday.
Majeed, of suburban Rocky River, was sentenced to the county jail on 3 April after pleading guilty to assault. She was arrested on her lunch hour on 18 July, 2013, after getting into a confrontation with a police officer who had stopped her for jaywalking, Besser said. Records show she was indicted on charges of felonious assault, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. Her sentence began 11 April.
Forcing someone to attend a church service against his or her will is a clear violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion, a right that is not lost when someone is incarcerated, Besser said. Majeed primarily wants to bring the jail’s practice to light and to prevent what she experienced from happening to others, he said.
About one third of Germans are supportive of the demands of burgeoning anti-Islam rallies, according to survey findings released Friday, as Berlin puzzles over how to stem the rising tide of anger over refugee arrivals.
The latest weekly rally in the eastern city of Dresden on Monday brought out 15,000 supporters of Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of the Occident (Pegida), an anti-foreigner group.
Although Pegida is perceived as channelling attitudes of people in Germany‘s formerly communist east, a breakdown of the data by pollster YouGov showed there was not much east-west difference in responses to it.
Asked if it was “good that someone draws attention to mistakes in political asylum policies and opposes Islamists,” which is how Pegida presents its stance, 36 per cent of easterners and 33 per cent of westerners agreed.
The pollsters interviewed 1,025 Germans and adjusted the findings to be representative of the whole German population over 18.
Sydneysiders paying their respects to siege victims at Martin Place have shouted down a group of anti-Islamic protesters who appeared at the memorial on Friday afternoon.
Four men waving Australian and Southern Cross flags shouted slogans including “Islam is evil” and “not all cultures are evil – Islam is inferior”. The men also accused Muslims of being “murderers” and supporting female genital mutilation, according to a witness.
The group bore signs proclaiming: “Muslim terrorists not wanted here – neither are their leftist supporters”, “Tony Abbott – Will you protect us from multiculturalism?” and “We didn’t start the fire!”
One of the men was Nick Folkes, who has previously been associated with the fringe Australian Protectionist Party and is now the chairman of the “Party for Freedom”, which calls for an end to Muslim immigration and “state-sanctioned multiculturalism”.
A man in Boca Raton punched the hood of a car because he thought the driver was Muslim, police said.
Boca Raton police got a call about a drunken man who had punched a car at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at 101 Plaza Real.
The driver of the vehicle told officers a man, later identified as James Caputo, wandered into the street and was standing there. He stopped his car and waited for Caputo to get out of the street, but when he didn’t, he honked his horn to get him to move.
Caputo turned to look at the driver, who according to police has an olive complextion and dark hair, and started screaming at him.
According to the arrest report, Caputo cursed at the man, called him a Muslim and told him to go back to his country. The driver told police he is Lebanese but is not Muslim.
The driver yelled back at Caputo and then Caputo punched the hood of the man’s car, leaving a significant dent, police said.