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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Prediction 1 -
tension and backlash against Muslims in Europe
France expels Islamic radicals
Since last month’s deadly terror bombings in London, France has expelled
two extremist Muslim prayer leaders and plans to to the same with eight
others. Italian authorities deported eight Palestinian imams for not
holding the proper residency papers.
Shaken by new terrorism on European soil, authorities have stepped up a
policy of deporting Islamic clerics accused of whipping up hatred and
violence in vulnerable, disenfranchised pockets of the continent’s
mostly moderate Muslim community.
|Shaken by new terrorism on
European soil, authorities have stepped up a policy of deporting
Islamic clerics accused of whipping up hatred and violence...
Several European countries enacted expulsion policies since the
September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, saying legislation was needed to
ensure public order and security.
After four near-simultaneous blasts in London that killed 56 people and
injured hundreds, application of those laws has become more robust – and
authorities have given various reasons for sending away radicals.
Some were ousted for immigration paper violations; others for suspected
ties to terror groups or for calling for holy war. In one French case,
an imam who was ordered to quit the country in 1999 was belatedly sent
packing after he turned up in the south-eastern city of Lyon.
Moderate Muslim leaders, concerned about a possible backlash against
Muslims in Europe, vow to monitor new expulsions to prevent abuses of
“The bombings in London very much shocked public opinion in Europe,”
Paris mosque director Dalil Boubakeur, a moderate who also heads the
French Council of the Muslim Faith, said in a phone interview. “It’s
completely normal for a government to be strong and apply the law. What
we are asking is that it is simply just.”
Most Muslims oppose “self-proclaimed imams” who discuss politics, but
“expulsions are the solution when there are no other solutions. It’s
extreme,” he added. “They feel it is going to aggravate even more this
sort of discrimination, the finger-pointing, at a community ... We have
already seen desecrations (of religious sites) and insults.”
Authorities are pressing ahead anyway.
Counterterrorism teams and police are under orders to increase
surveillance of suspected radicals by staking out mosques or secret
prayer halls, monitoring mobile-phone traffic and deploying hundreds
more video surveillance cameras in suspected extremist hotbeds.
On Tuesday, Italy expelled eight Islamic fundamentalist preachers – all
Palestinians – who were found riding in two trucks near the central town
of Perugia, Italian news agency ANSA reported. They were expelled
because they didn’t have any papers allowing them to live or work in
Italy, the report said.
German authorities recently ordered several Islamic radicals to leave
the country, including Abdelghani Mzoudi, a Moroccan acquitted on
charges of aiding the Sept. 11 hijackers. He left Germany on June 21.
Britain, which does not deport people if they risk torture or other
maltreatment in their home countries, has jailed Egyptian-born cleric
Abu Hamza al-Masri for allegedly encouraging the murder of Jews and
other non-Muslims. US prosecutors have charged him with trying to set up
a terrorist camp the state of Oregon.
Omar Mahmoud abu Omar, a Palestinian Islamic extremist better known as
Abu Qatada, who also lives in Britain, has been sentenced in Jordan in
absentia for his alleged role in a series of explosions and terror
plots. He is free but under close watch in Britain.
French police expelled two imams in the past two weeks, and will deport
eight others by month’s end, said Interior Ministry spokesman Franck
Louvrier in a phone interview.
Abdelhamid Aissaoui, an Algerian imam convicted in 1999 for playing a
role in an attempted attack on a high-speed TGV train, was deported on
Aissaoui, 41, had been sentenced to four years behind bars and ordered
to leave France. But authorities recently found him working as a
part-time imam in Lyon. It was not clear if he had ever left France.
On Friday, authorities shipped 35-year-old Reda Ameuroud home to Algeria
for exhorting fellow Muslims to wage holy war in speeches at a mosque in
A French law passed last year permits the expulsion of noncitizens for
inciting “discrimination, hatred or violence” against any group. Five
Islamic clerics were deported in 2004.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy wasted little time after the
London bombings, vowing “a wide-scale action of early detection” and
expulsions of anyone who violates the law.
Pascal Mailhos, head of France’s police intelligence agency
Renseignements Generaux, told Le Monde newspaper last month that about
20 French mosques are run by radical Islamic groups. He said about 1,600
prayer halls in the country are being watched.
London is planning anti-terror legislation by year-end that will outlaw
any “indirect incitement” of terrorism – targeting extremist clerics who
glorify terror acts. The government is also examining its power to
deport such clerics.
“Britain let violent speeches go on too long,” acknowledged Boubakeur of
the Paris mosque. “Laxity in this area isn’t good for anybody.”