Europe

Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns

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FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, May 26, 2015 a man makes a phone call as he walk past a mosque in Oullins outside Lyon, central France. The mosque won an unusual case last week against a Salafi worshipper taken to court after months of tension. The case was thought to be the first in France by Muslims against a Muslim invoking a 1905 law to guarantee secularism _ used by the government to pass bans on headscarves and face-covering veils. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

PARIS (AP) — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.

In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins. Read the rest of this entry »

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European police begin controversial hunt for thousands of ‘irregular’ migrants

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By Sarah Joanne Taylor 13/10 16:57 CET

European police begin controversial hunt for thousands of ‘irregular’ migrants

A Europe-wide police operation has been launched in an effort to detect, detain and potentially deport tens of thousands of so-called “irregular” migrants; people living clandestinely, without official documentation permitting them to stay.

Coordinated by Italy, the 14-day Operation Mos Maiorum will see some 20,000 police officers from 25 countries stake out railway stations, bus depots and motorways throughout the continent.

It is a controversial move. While Europeqn Union officials say the operation is integral to the combat of human smuggling rings, rights groups have denounced it as inhumane. Read the rest of this entry »

Austria: Springboard for Global Jihad

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Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group’s five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.

The Islamist known as “Abu Hamza al-Austria,” fighting in Syria, pictured from his jihadist recruitment video.

“The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist.” — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.

“Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria.” — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.

“We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions.” — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.

 

The Austrian government has announced plans to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities in an urgent effort to crack down on would-be jihadists in the country.

 

The decision by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner to recruit 20 new intelligence officers to focus exclusively on the threat posed by radical Islam comes after police in Austria arrested nine Chechen immigrants who were on their way to wage jihad in Syria.

 

The move also comes amid growing concerns that Austria’s shiftless Muslim youth are becoming increasingly radicalized and vocal in their support of the jihadist group Islamic State. Read the rest of this entry »