U.S. Special Representatives on Anti-Semitism and Muslim communities call for combatting intolerance

 VIENNA, 17 February 2011- The U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, and the U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Farah Pandith, addressing the OSCE Permanent Council today, said that more needs to be done by OSCE and other stakeholders in respecting fundamental freedoms and combatting all forms of intolerance.

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Germans are much less tolerant of Muslims – Survey on religious plurality in Europe shows delicate results in terms of integration politics

Berlin/MĂĽnster, 2. Dezember 2010 (exc) The Germans are much less tolerant of Muslims and other non-Christian religions than their Western European neighbours. This is the essential result of one of the largest representative surveys to date on religious plurality in Europe. The cluster of excellence “Religion and Politics” of the University of MĂĽnster, together with TNS Emnid, carried out this survey in five countries just before the controversy, brought about by Thilo Sarrazin, arose. According to the results, the Germans militate against new mosques and minarets much more often than the French, the Danes, the Dutch and the Portuguese, said the director of the study, religious sociologist Prof. Dr. Detlef Pollack, in Berlin on Thursday. “They are also less willing to concede equal rights to other religions. Compared to the other Europeans, their image of Hindus, Buddhists and Jews is more negative.”

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Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany condemns arson attack on mosque

Last Friday an arson attack was committed on the Sehitilik mosque in the German capital Berlin. The Sehitlik mosque is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Berlin.It was the fourth attack on the mosque in this year. Fortunately, no people were harmed. Continue reading

Yoldas: The ban on the IHH by Federal Minister of Interior is dishonorable and illegitimately

“The forbiddance of the “International Humanitarian Aid Foundation” (IHH) by the Federal Minister of Interior is dishonorable and illegitimately”, said the former president of IHH, Mustafa Yoldas in his first statement and informed that legal action against the forbiddance will immediately be taken. It is said that IHH is supporting the Hamas and is therefore against the understanding among nations. Furthermore it is argued that under the guise of humanitarian aid foundation the IHH supports groups who are linked to the Hamas. “Not the behavior of IHH is cynical, like the Minister of the Interior (BMI) stated, but the forbiddance of the BMI. The forbiddance is infamous and inhuman because it tries to keep the people from helping the Gaza-victims, who are suppressed by Israel’s government”, said Yoldas. Continue reading

Muslims in Germany commemorate Marwa el-Sherbini

With a ceremony hundreds of muslims and non-muslims commemorated on the murder of Marwa el-Sherbini in a court room in Dresden/Germany. El-Sherbini was murdered by a racist during a trial out of his hatred for muslims. El-Sherbini was the witness in the criminal case against Alex W., who was sued for verbal abuses against El-Sherbini because of her being a muslim. On 21 August 2008 W. abused El-Sherbini at a public playground in Dresden during a quarrel over whose child should be using the playground's swing. W. began to shout verbal abuse at El-Sherbini like “Islamist”, “terrorist” and “slut”. After police intervention and refusing to pay a fine W. was trialed at the district court of Dresden. He was found guilty by the court and fined €780 in November 2008. During the trial W. tried to explain his behavior by claiming, that "people like her" were not really human beings and therefore incapable of being insulted. Continue reading

European Court of Human Rights discusses crucifixes in Italian State Schools

The European Court of Human Rights held a Chamber hearing on Wednesday 30 June 2010 in the case of Lautsi v. Italy (application no. 30814/06 - http://www.echr.coe.int). The applicant, Ms Soile Lautsi, is an Italian national who lives in Abano Terme (Italy). In 2001-2002 her children, aged 11 and 13 respectively, attended the State school “Istituto comprensivo statale Vittorino da Feltre” in Abano Terme. All of the classrooms had a crucifix on the wall, including those in which Ms Lautsi’s children had lessons. She considered that this was contrary to the principle of secularism by which she wished to bring up her children. At a meeting of the school’s governing body the applicant’s husband raised the question of the display of religious symbols in classrooms and asked if they could be removed. In May 2002 the governors decided to leave the crucifixes in the classrooms. A directive recommending such an approach was subsequently sent to all head teachers by the Ministry of State Education. Continue reading