News from Western Europe, Wednesday 24th April 2013

AUSTRIA

Translated from German – Die Presse: Islam Study: Young Muslims are well integrated. ‘In a study of 1000 Muslims in Austria are large differences in traditionalism and religiosity emerging from generation to generation. 16 percent of men think that their wife should definitely wear a headscarf.

Young Muslims living in Austria well integrated, but can the results of an extensive study that was conducted on behalf of the State Secretariat integration, summarize. There are important differences between the first and subsequent generations. The woman speaker of the Islamic Community Carla Amina Baghajati considers the results a good contribution to the debate on gender roles, they said on Tuesday.’

BELGIUM

Flanders News: Complaint filed against council ‘headscarf ban‘. ”Boom één’, a political group on the opposition benches of the city council of the municipality of Boom, has filed a complaint with Antwerp provincial governor Cathy Berx and Flemish Interior Minister Geert Bourgeois (Flemish nationalist) following a ban on religious symbols including headscarves that the majority parties on the council have just introduced. The ecologists of Groen too are appealing against the new regulation.’

FRANCE

Translated from French – Le Monde: UMP and FN, a relationship made of “cordon sanitaire” and ambiguities. ‘This is an embarrassing picture to UMP. That some of its officials who marched alongside the lawyer and MP related FN Gilbert Collard counter-procession for marriage , Sunday, April 21. A symbolic image all in one day, eleven years ago, UMP and PS were common front against the presence of Jean-Marie Le Pen in the second round of the election. The embarrassment of the UMP is also palpable, so that some elected officials, after having tried to push the representatives of the FN, did not hesitate to get in to the journalists – including that of the World – for that If they do not report this information.

But neither party has no intention of letting the other the opportunity to capitalize politically on the anti-gay marriage movement. And discomfort of some UMP argument ambiguities purposely maintained by other components of the party on an alliance with the FN now desired by a majority of supporters of the UMP. On the occasion of this new episode of disorder, back on thirt.’

The Globe and Mail: Escapee from Paris psychiatric hospital slashes rabbi, son with box-cutter. ‘An escapee from a psychiatric institution slashed a rabbi and his son with a box-cutter on Tuesday, prompting witnesses to tackle and subdue the attacker after a chase through a Paris synagogue, officials said.

The rabbi, who is in his late 40s, was recovering from surgery for a neck injury and his 18-year-old son sustained lesser injuries in the attack north of a touristic shopping area near Paris’ gilded Opera Garnier, according to police and judicial officials and Richard Prasquier, who heads CRIF, France’s largest umbrella organization of Jewish groups.’

New York Times: Amid Much Tumult, France Approves ‘Marriage for All’. ‘Passage of the “marriage for all” law, sponsored by Mr. Hollande, a Socialist, came after months of sometimes angry debate and a series of major protests, rallies that drew Roman Catholics from France’s rural regions and received the backing of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders, as well as the conservative political opposition. Homophobic violence had risen in recent weeks, with a handful of attacks on gay couples reported across the country.

The legislation was approved by a vote of 331 to 225 in the National Assembly, the lower house, where the left holds a strong majority. Eleven legislators from the center and right broke with party lines to support the law, though there were indications that some of those votes may have been cast by mistake. There were 10 abstentions.;

GERMANY

Translated from German – Der Spiegel: Extremism: BKA chief warns of violence during the election campaign. ‘Germany’s highest-ranking police detective looks towards the general election with concern. The president of the Federal Criminal Investigation (BKA), Joerg Ziercke , expect more confrontations between political extremists than ever in the upcoming election campaign. It was expected to “increase of offenses,” said Ziercke on Tuesday at a symposium of the constitutional protection in Berlin. “We will see provocations.”

It is also expected that “authorities of the Islamist scene” from abroad spoke up and calling for attacks. It could well come to violence, said the BKA -Chief.’

SPD offense: Coalition rejects federal application for NPD ban. ‘The black-yellow coalition on Thursday reject the advance of the SPD, after which the Bundestag is to make a separate application NPD ban in Karlsruhe next to the Federal Council. The Union Group agreed in a meeting on Tuesday unanimously in favor of this request to the coalition parties.

The spokesman of the Group, Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU), was quoted as saying. “We are dealing with a dying party” To prohibit, is not the right way. There were 23,000 right-wing extremists in Germany, of which 6000 were in the NPD.

The dispute over banning the far-right NPD has been brewing for months. In the Bundestag, there are some major groups in opposition to a restart in Karlsruhe. When it comes to the SPD, to the NPD ban submit a separate application Bundestag’

ITALY

Reuters: Italy president set to announce choice for prime minister. ‘Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano is set to announce on Wednesday his choice of prime minister to form a new government and pull the euro zone’s third largest economy out of a two-month political rut.

The new coalition government, which could take office in a matter of days, would be backed primarily by the rivals on the center-left and center-right, the same parties that had refused to cut a deal since national elections in late February.’

THE NETHERLANDS

Al Arabiya: ‘Damage’ control: Ex-Islamophobe to make film on Prophet Mohammed‘Former Dutch Islamophobe Arnoud Van Doorn unveiled plans to produce an international film on Prophet Muhammad and Islam to “repair the damage” he believes he had previously caused.

In an exclusive interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Doorn, who reverted to Islam last month, said that he will devote his life fully to spread the true message of Islam and the Prophet of Mercy through promoting the film across the world.

“I will spare no efforts to protect the rights of Muslims in all European countries as well as to serve Islam and its followers throughout the world. I will try my best to repair the damage that I caused to Islam and its Prophet through the film ‘Fitna’,” he said.

Doorn, a former leading member of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party, visited Saturday the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to pray and say sorry for becoming part of the blasphemous film. Doorn was among the Freedom Party leaders who produced the film, Fitna.’

BBC News: Russian spy Raymond Poeteray jailed by Dutch. ‘A former Dutch foreign ministry worker has been jailed for 12 years for passing hundreds of sensitive political and military documents to Russia.

The 61-year-old spy, Raymond Poeteray, passed on documents which included details of Nato activity in Libya.

Poeteray was found guilty of passing information to a couple in Germany, who are also on trial accused of being Russian agents.

The Dutch court said Poeteray had acted “purely out of financial interest”.

The documents also included sensitive political and military information on Nato and EU activity in Afghanistan and Georgia, reports the AFP news agency.’

Dutch police free Leiden school gun threat suspect. ‘Dutch police have released an ex-British School pupil arrested following a threat to carry out a shooting at a school in the city of Leiden.

More than 20 schools were closed on Monday in response to the warning posted on internet forum 4chan.

The anonymous writer said they would shoot their teacher “and as many students as I can”.

Officers questioned a former pupil of the British School, which has a site in neighbouring Voorschoten.

But police said in a statement on Tuesday: “The suspect arrested for threatening a Leiden school has been released… and is no longer a suspect.” They added that the threat was less serious than previously feared.

Leiden Mayor Henri Lenferink said there was a strong suspicion that the threat may have come via Costa Rica, but police said that was by no means certain.’

Translated from Dutch – Volkskrant: Sharia4Holland plays role in jihad travel. ‘Radical Islamic groups as Sharia4Holland and Behind Bars playing behind the scenes role in jihadists who travel to Syria to fight. Because of their beliefs they create a climate in which violence is acceptable. This enables the security service AIVD in the annual report, the AD reports on Wednesday.’

NORWAY

The Nordic Page: Racism and The Future of Norway. ‘In “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, Maggie Smith as Muriel Donnelly is an ex-housekeeper who finds herself retired and on her own. She needs a surgical operation for a hip replacement and is obliged to travel to India because of this health issue. Her story would arouse empathy and compassion, yet the public feel something else about her character in view of her xenophobic behavior.

Indeed, Donnely is a racist. She has some difficulties to deal with foreigners. Her move to India makes her face uncomfortable situations. The weirdest of them will change her way of looking at the other: She will meet one girl of the “Intouchables”. When racism perceives its reflection on the mirror!

The evolution of Donnely’s character gives hope about how racism can be eradicated if perspectives are changed and preconceptions let down.  But, is it as easy in real life as in fiction?’

SPAIN

AFP: Spain arrests two suspects with Al-Qaeda links. ‘Spain on Tuesday arrested two men, one of Algerian and the other of Moroccan origin, who it said had links to Al-Qaeda militants in Mali.

The interior ministry said the two had a “similar profile” to the suspects in the bombings at the Boston Marathon — though a judicial official said they had no concrete links to the US attacks.

The men, arrested in different parts of the country, were “suspected members of a radical cell related to the terrorist organisation AQIM,” Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has carried out attacks and kidnappings across north Africa, the ministry said.

It said the Algerian, identified as Nou Mediouni, 23, and the Moroccan, Hassan El Jaaouani, 52, had “profiles” like those of the two men of Chechen origin living in the United States who are suspected of carrying out the deadly bombings last week in Boston.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez-Diaz said Mediouni and El Jaaouani resembled the Boston suspects in that they appeared to be “lone wolves” — individuals who became radicalised despite not having previous links to organised groups.’

SWEDEN

UPI: Swedish lawmakers irked by military non-response to Russian fly-by. ‘Swedish lawmakers say they are angered by revelations the Swedish military did not respond when four Russian fighter planes flew close to the Swedish border.

Instead, NATO jets were dispatched from Lithuania to shadow the Russian planes, The Local.se reported Monday.

A Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, revealed Monday that Russian jets flew within 25 miles of the country’s border during a Good Friday military exercise.’

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