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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:07 am 
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In Europe spat, Turkish president warns Westerners on safety
By SUZAN FRASER and CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA
22 March 2017

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramped up his anti-European rhetoric on Wednesday, warning that the safety of Western citizens could be in peril if European nations persist in what he described as arrogant conduct.

Erdogan's remarks came amid tension over Dutch and German restrictions on Turkish officials who tried to campaign for diaspora votes ahead of an April 16 referendum on expanding the powers of the Turkish presidency.

"Turkey is not a country that can be pushed and shoved, whose honor can be toyed with, whose ministers can be ousted, whose citizens can be dragged on the ground," Erdogan told Turkish media representatives in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

"These developments are being watched in all corners of the world," he said. "If you continue this way, tomorrow no European, no Westerner anywhere in the world will be able to step onto the streets safely, with peace of mind."

Erdogan did not elaborate. While it is questionable whether the spat between Turkey and Europe would ignite global indignation against the West, the president's remarks are followed closely by his supporters in a NATO member country with significant numbers of Western residents and visitors. This month, he said the European Union was provoking "a struggle between the cross and crescent," casting the tension as a dispute between the West and Islam.

While some commentators believe Turkish criticism of Europe is designed to rally nationalist support for a "yes" vote and could subside after the referendum, the president's warning of possible threats to Europeans was likely to further test ties with Europe, Turkey's No. 1 trading partner.

Earlier this month, the Turkish foreign minister was barred from landing in the Netherlands, and supporters of the Turkish government scuffled with police who tried to end a demonstration at the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

Germany's new president, meanwhile, urged Turkey not to cut ties with European partners.

Berlin recognized the economic progress Turkey has made in the last 20 years and condemned last year's attempted coup against Erdogan's government, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in his first speech since taking the largely ceremonial office. He was recently Germany's foreign minister.

"My appeal is guided by this concern: President Erdogan, you are endangering everything that you and others have helped build," Steinmeier told a joint session of Parliament.

He urged Turkey to stop accusing Germany of acting like the Nazis did and release German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who has been detained since January on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda and inciting hatred.

Yucel, a correspondent for Germany's Die Welt newspaper, was arrested after his report about a hacker attack on the email account of the Turkish energy minister, who is Erdogan's son-in-law.

Also Wednesday, a group of Turkish officers based in Norway who had refused to return to Turkey after the failed coup attempt have been granted political asylum in the Scandinavian country, said their lawyer, Kjell M. Brygfjeld. Newspaper Verdens Gang said they feared being arrested on returning to Turkey.

Norwegian justice and immigration authorities declined to comment.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag described the Norwegian decision as unacceptable, saying "Europe should not become a safe-haven for coup plotters, for terrorists and murderers," the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

In January, Greece granted asylum to some Turkish servicemen suspected of involvement in the July 15 uprising, which killed about 270 people and prompted a massive crackdown on suspected collaborators.

European leaders expressed concern that Turkish government critics who had not done anything illegal were being targeted, and have questioned whether anti-government fugitives wanted in Turkey would get a fair trial.

Torchia reported from Istanbul. Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Berlin and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:12 pm 
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Town that denied mosque permit to pay Islamic group $3.25M
By DAVID PORTER
May 30, 2017

A New Jersey town will pay an Islamic group $3.25 million to settle a lawsuit over its denial of a permit to build a mosque, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Under the settlement, the group will be allowed to build the mosque and the town agreed to limit the zoning restrictions placed on houses of worship. The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sued Bernards Township, an upscale town in central New Jersey, last year, claiming it changed its zoning ordinances in order to deny the group's plans. The Justice Department also sued the town last year, alleging it treated the group differently than other religious groups.

The $3.25 million is to settle the Islamic Society's lawsuit against the town, split into $1.75 million for attorneys' fees and costs and $1.5 million for damages.

Through a spokesman, the township committee denied discriminating against the Islamic Society and maintained the denial of the group's proposal was "based on accepted land use criteria only." It noted that the group's members have used other township facilities to practice their religion for years. "We remain a united township where all are welcome," spokesman Michael P. Turner wrote in an email. "This is the end of a long engagement on the application and opinions may still be varied, but it is in the best interest of the township to conclude the litigation."

Central to the town's concerns was parking. Township planners had concluded that because Friday afternoon was considered peak worship time, congregants would most likely be arriving straight from work and would each need a parking space. But a federal judge disagreed, and wrote in a ruling Dec. 31 that the town hadn't conducted similar assessments of worship habits when churches or synagogues had made applications.

The Justice Department lawsuit also alleged the town changed its zoning laws to require houses of worship in residential districts to be at least 6 acres - larger than the lot the Islamic Society had purchased in 2011. Eight of 11 other houses of worship built before the zoning laws were changed are on lots smaller than 6 acres, the complaint alleged.

A similar lawsuit cost nearby Bridgewater Township almost $8 million in a 2014 settlement. Last week, a Muslim group sued the city of Bayonne, claiming its proposal to convert an abandoned warehouse into a mosque and community center was unfairly voted down amid a climate of hostility and religious intolerance.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:35 pm 
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Turkey criticizes US for not hosting Ramadan dinner
1 June 2017

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the U.S. State Department over reports that it would not host a dinner ending the day's fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Erdogan said Thursday that the decision not to host an Iftar dinner amounted to discrimination and was causing Turkey's "views on the United States to change." He was speaking at an Iftar dinner in Ankara.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson turned down an initial proposal to hold an Iftar dinner but was still considering other possibilities for recognizing the occasion, according to State Department officials. Erdogan said: "Did you not say you did not oppose freedom of religion? What is this that you are doing?"

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:48 am 
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Uproar in Turkey over removing evolution from biology class
By ZEYNEP BILGINSOY
17 September 2017

ISTANBUL (AP) -- Students in Turkey are returning to school Monday where they will be taught evolution for the last time in their biology classes. Next fall, evolution and Charles Darwin will be scrapped from their textbooks.

Turkey has announced an overhaul of more than 170 topics in the country's school curriculum, including removing all direct references to evolution from high school biology classes. The upcoming changes have caused uproar, with critics calling them a reshaping of education along the conservative, Islam-oriented government's line. Opposition parties and unions have organized protests against the changes, demanding that Turkey provide a scientific, secular education for its students. Lawmakers have also opposed the new curriculum in parliament.

Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz said the new "value-based" program had simplified topics in "harmonization with students' development." He said evolutionary biology, which his ministry deemed was too advanced for high school, would still be taught in universities.

Evolution has been taught in 12th-grade biology classes in a chapter called "The Beginning of Life and Evolution." The unit will be replaced by "Living Beings and the Environment" in September 2018 where evolutionary mechanisms like adaptation, mutation and natural and artificial selection will be taught without a mention of evolution or Darwin. Yilmaz said students would learn the nature of being, including "evolution and other ontological opinions" in 11th-grade philosophy.

Other contentious changes include teaching about jihad or holy war in religion classes as the "love of homeland," and a lessened emphasis on Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish republic who is revered by Turkey's secularists. Ataturk instituted the separation of state and religion, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party has challenged that strict split with a more religious approach. Students will also learn about the groups that Turkey is fighting: the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, the Islamic State group and the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey's education system is already reeling from the trauma of the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt - and the new scholastic program highlights that government victory as "a legendary, heroic story." More than 33,000 of the nation's teachers - about 4 percent - have been purged in a government crackdown after the coup, nearly 5,600 academics have been dismissed and some 880 schools shuttered for alleged links to terror groups. Many who lost their jobs say the government is using the failed coup as a way to silence its critics. Turkey blames Gulen for orchestrating the coup, which he denies.

The belief in creationism - that life originated and changed through divine creation - is widespread in Turkey. Many educators are worried because Turkish students are already globally ranked "below average" in science, mathematics and reading compared to their peers across the world, according the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Mehmet Somel, the head of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Society of Turkey, says Turkish students will be unable to understand even basic science if their studies make no direct reference to evolution. "We won't be able to produce good doctors, good scientists, when students graduate from high school with this level of ignorance," Somel said. Studying evolution allows future doctors to see the causal link between, for example, resistant strains of microbes and excessive antibiotic use, he said.

Cagri Mert Bakirci, a biologist who founded an online learning project called the "Tree of Evolution," calls the ministry's claim that evolution is too difficult for Turkish students an "insult" to them and their teachers. His volunteer project reaches nearly 8 million people each week over Facebook with videos and articles. "I can explain evolution in 10 seconds," he said. The two biologists say evolution was never adequately taught in Turkish public schools in the first place. But Somel says the mention of evolution in past programs at least meant that teachers could introduce the topic.

Orkide Kuleli, a retired pharmaceutical professional, said her 15-year-old daughter will now have to learn about Darwin by herself. She was worried, however, about a more insidious change that she says is taking place in Turkey's education system. "The goal is to transform society politically and ideologically rather than develop it through science," she said. "A generation that does not question is one that blindly obeys." Erdogan has repeatedly voiced his desire for a "devout generation." Previous changes to the education system have included an increase in public schools providing religious studies and more elective classes on Islam.

The new curriculum will be rolled out in steps and assessed. This year, students in first, fifth and ninth grades will use the updated program. Other classes, including the changed biology program, will be fully integrated next fall. The education minister has called the uproar on evolution "partisan," arguing that the new curriculum had been open to input. The head of Turkey's education board, Alpaslan Durmus, insisted it was "utterly ignorant" to say evolution has been scrapped when its mechanisms are still being taught.

Latif Selvi of the pro-government Educators Trade Union, which was involved in drafting the changes, also called the widespread criticism of the plan "ideologically motivated." "My opinion, based on an evaluation with evolutionary teachers, is that this change is positive," Selvi said.

Somel, the biologist, believes that self-censorship may be at work rather than a top-down decision to toss out evolution entirely. "There is serious fear in universities and in the ministry of education that one may be pushed out, and evolution has become one of those scary themes," he said. He said Turkish academics now avoid using the word evolution in project proposals even while studying evolutionary topics. This spring, the Museum of Natural History in the capital of Ankara put new stickers on posters changing the word "evolution" to "development."

Bakirci said hundreds of experts in Turkey would be willing to help the government improve the country's science education. "It's not too late to take a step back from this mistake," he warned.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:08 am 
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Polish pope devotees petition against French plan to axe cross
2 November 2017

WARSAW (AFP) - More than 38,000 people signed an online petition as of Thursday protesting against a French court order to remove a cross from a statue of the late Polish-born Pope John Paul II in Brittany, western France.

The petition, launched on the CitizenGo website four days ago, "opposes the removal of the cross from a public space and emphasises the Christian roots of Europe". It is addressed to the European Parliament, the centre-right European People's Party and the European Court of Human Rights.

Controversy erupted last week when France's top administrative court gave the town of Ploermel six months to remove the cross above a papal statue in a public square in a bid to comply with laws enforcing the secular nature of public spaces. Although the statue of the late pontiff itself is not in question, the court's move drew ire in heavily Roman Catholic Poland where the Polish-born saint is widely revered and religious symbols are not restricted by law.

Rightwing Prime Minister Beata Szydlo offered last weekend to move the statue to Poland to "save it from censorship", calling John Paul II "a great European" symbolising a "united Christian Europe". Szydlo added that "the dictate of the political correctness -- the secularisation of the state -- opens the door to values that are culturally alien to us and that lead to Europeans being terrorised in their daily lives".

Gifted to Ploermel by the Georgian-born Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli, the statue, which features a cross on the arch framing it, was installed in a public square in October 2006. A local citizens group then launched a legal drive to remove the cross citing a century-old French law on the separation of church and state, but the town's mayor refused.

After years of legal wrangling, France's top administrative court ruled last Wednesday that the cross must go in line with the 1905 law that rules out "raising or affixing any religious sign or emblem" in a "public place".

The court's decision also drew protests from representatives of the Roman Catholic church in France while conservative French lawmaker Nadine Morano said Wednesday she was launching a separate petition "to include the Christian roots of France in the constitution".

In a twist, Budapest on Thursday also offered to take the statue and cover all transport costs. The foreign ministry said its French envoy contacted authorities in Brittany but had not yet received a response. "From the point of view of Europe's future, any decision that aims at restricting Christianity and the removal of Christian symbols by referring in a hypocritical way to tolerance is incredibly damaging," Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the MTI state news agency. Like his Polish ally, Hungary's populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has positioned himself as a vocal defender of European "Christian identity", which he says is under threat from Muslim refugees.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:27 pm 
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Tensions as Paris suburb tries to stop Muslim street prayers
By JEFFREY SCHAEFFER and NICOLAS GARRIGA
10 November 2017

CLICHY-LA-GARENNE, France (AP) -- Tensions erupted Friday as French officials and residents of a Paris suburb tried to block Muslims from praying in the street - a dispute that reflects nationwide problems with mosque shortages.

No one was hurt in the skirmishes in Clichy-la-Garenne, but both sides appeared to be digging in their heels in the dispute over prayer space in the town. Carrying a large banner reading "Stop Illegal Street Prayers," Mayor Remi Muzeau led more than 100 demonstrators Friday in a show of force to dissuade Muslims from praying on the town's market square. Worshippers have been praying there every Friday for months to protest the closure of a prayer room.

A few dozen worshippers tried to pray anyway but sought to avoid confrontation with the protesters and retreated to a less visible spot. But the demonstrators squeezed them toward a wooden wall. As worshippers chanted "Allahu akbar," or "God is great" in Arabic, the larger group of demonstrators loudly sang the French national anthem. Some held French flags and a crucifix aloft. Amid pushing and shoving, a banner the worshippers were carrying reading "United for a Grand Mosque of Clichy" was torn down.

Police with shields then formed a human barricade between the groups and Muslims eventually unrolled their rugs on the pavement, took off their shoes and held their prayers. When the incident was over, the worshippers clapped, and the mayor pledged to come back again next week - as did the Muslim worshippers. "We'll do it every Friday if necessary," said Muzeau. "I must assure the tranquility and freedom of the people in my city," he said. "We must not allow this to happen in our country. Our country, the French Republic is tarnished."

Hamid Kazed, president of the Union of Muslim Associations of Clichy, who led the prayers, said, "We are going to continue until there's a dialogue for a definitive venue." "That's what they want. To divide the citizens," he said. "We are not fundamentalists. We are for Islam of France."

The demonstrators were joined by the president of the Paris region, Valerie Pecresse, and officials and residents of other Paris suburbs. While Islam has long been France's No. 2 religion, the country has a chronic shortage of mosques for its estimated 5 million Muslims. Muslims in several towns have resorted to praying in the streets, fueling the anti-immigrant sentiment of far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Clichy Muslims had been renting a prayer hall from City Hall. But the town's mayor decided to turn that space into a library for the town's 60,000 residents, and the prayer hall was shut down in March following a court battle. City Hall says Muslims can worship at a new Islamic cultural and prayer center, already used by hundreds, that the town inaugurated last year. However some Muslims say the new facility is too small, remote and doesn't meet safety standards.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:45 pm 
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Turkish Cypriots split over Islam's rise in northern Cyprus
By MENELAOS HADJICOTSIS
14 November 2017

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- At over 60 meters (200 feet) high, the four black-coned minarets of the nearly completed Hala Sultan mosque tower over the plain of Mesaoria in the northern, Turkish Cypriot part of ethnically divided Cyprus.

The imposing, Turkish-funded structure that's believed to be the largest mosque on the east Mediterranean island will hold as many as 3,000 worshippers beneath its massive domes. It's named after Umm Haram, who legend says was a relative of the Prophet Muhammad and who died in Cyprus after falling off her mule during a 7th-century Muslim military campaign.

But the construction of the huge mosque has become emblematic of fears held by some Turkish Cypriots that a resurgence of the Islamic faith is a direct assault on their long-held secular way of life, and a means by which Turkey can further expand and entrench its control over all facets of their 270,000-strong community.

Religious leaders and education authorities in the north counter such talk as baseless fear-mongering among a radically secular few. They insist what's happening is the restoration of Islam at the core of Turkish Cypriots' collective identity, as it was for centuries.

Leftist Turkish Cypriots have long bemoaned Turkey's high-handed ways with Turkish Cypriots, especially after the island was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece. But the issue has again come to the fore after a promising round of talks with the majority Greek Cypriots to reach a reunification deal failed in the summer. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence. It keeps more than 35,000 troops in the north.

Apart from projecting the image as the protector of Turkish-speaking peoples, Turkey feels that it's earned the right to play an outsized role in Turkish Cypriot affairs because it bankrolls the north to the tune of over ?250 million euros ($290 million) annually. "Turkey follows the policy of 'I finance, you obey,'" says Cemal Ozyigit, the leader of the small, left-wing Communal Democracy Party.

Ozyigit and Sener Elcil, the head of the 1,600-strong primary school teachers' union KTOS, have been among the most vocal critics of Turkey's pervasive and expanding influence in the north. Both men say that in the past, hard nationalism and militarism were the traditional mechanisms of control. Now, they've been augmented with religion. "With the religious, Islamic government in Turkey, the Islamic identity of Turkish Cypriots has been questioned for the last decade or more," says Ozyigit. "'Are they Muslim enough? They don't practice, they don't fast.' And now they're trying to push this change on us."

Elcil says that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using Islam to consolidate his political control over the north, as he has done in his own country over 14 years of rule. He says as many as 400 Imams have been dispatched "acting like missionaries" to service mosques and give lessons on the teachings of the Quran, Islam's holy book. "We're in danger now as a community because we're under bombardment of (the) Sunni faith," Elcil says, adding that Imams are directing their messages to young people and especially children of mainland Turks who settled in the north. "Later on, they're going to use these people as political supporters of their actions," says Elcil. "If we're going like that, in 10 years ... religion will be a conflict point in Cyprus also."

Ozyigit says the children of mainland Turks are being targeted for religious education "to speed up the change" toward a stricter adherence to Islamic precepts and code of conduct, unlike many Turkish Cypriots whom he described as "softer Muslims" who consume alcohol - a practice Islam forbids. "We have managed to resist this change toward an Islamic character but the question is how much longer can Turkish Cypriot society resist these changes being forced upon it?"

Elcil and Ozyigit say the Turkish Cypriot education system has long safeguarded the community's secular identity. But recent moves by Turkish Cypriot authorities have given more weight to religious instruction inside and outside of schools, including the founding of the north's first theology school four years ago.

Turkish Cypriot Education Minister Ozdemir Berova says his ministry is acting to meet a demand from parents for religious education for their children. He downplays criticism as an exaggeration grounded in a leftist ideology that teachers trade union leaders can't see beyond. "As a government, we believe that if a family wants their children to have a religious education, the best way is the education that we give them which is under supervision," Berova says. "We can inspect and we can control religious studies they're receiving now."

It's that desire for religious education among many Turkish Cypriots that the leader of the north's religious affairs, Grand Mufti Talip Atalay, says signals the community's realignment with its true Islamic character that was sidetracked by Turkey's internal politics some 60 years ago. Atalay says the historical record offers proof of Turkish Cypriots' strong embrace of the Islamic faith. He says in 1949, there were 300 mosques operating all over Cyprus - 100 more than now, to service five times as many faithful. "What is happing here in our country is not Islamization at all," says Atalay. "It is normalization. For many decades, these rights have been neglected or prevented from the people who are demanding it, and nowadays we're trying to bring it back to normal."

Atalay denies that the views expressed by Elcil and Ozyigit represent those of the majority of Turkish Cypriots. He says "anti-religious" ideologies that emerged from Turkey's politics of the 1960s have engendered an unwarranted fear of Islam. He says these leaders have repeatedly spurned his calls to jointly develop a religious education curriculum that is in line with the Turkish Cypriot way of life. "Unfortunately, they have such a fear of religion that they're not prepared to listen or to do anything progressive. They're completely against it."

Atalay insists Turkish Cypriots have their own government and institutions that cannot be controlled by Turkey. He also bristles at the suggestion that bolstering the Islamic faith in the north will foment more discord and conflict with Orthodox Christian Greek Cypriots, insisting the historical record doesn't bear this out. The Mufti says he's deeply invested in peace efforts on the island and has joined the island's Christian leaders in a common front for peace. "I have taken so many risks to build bridges and to be a good example for peace building, how come my religion is against peace?" he says.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:06 pm 
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Macedonia lawmakers approve Albanian as second language
15 November 2017

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) -- Macedonia's parliament has approved a draft law making Albanian the country's second official language, amid harsh criticism from the conservative opposition.

Lawmakers voted 66-41 Wednesday in favor of the bill that extends the official use of Albanian to the entire country, in order to ease the communication of Macedonia's ethnic Albanian minority with institutions, hospitals and courts. Ethnic Albanians make up a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million population.

The previous law, which arose from a 2001 peace deal that ended an armed conflict between ethnic Albanian rebels and government forces, secured the official use of the Albanian language in communities where the minority is more than 20 percent of the population. The conservative opposition party opposes the law, claiming it "doesn't improve inter-ethnic relations."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:52 pm 
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Muslim population of the UK could triple to 13m following 'record' influx
By Olivia Rudgard
29 November 2017

The Muslim population of the UK is set to triple in 30 years, according to projections from the Pew Research Centre.

Under the model which assumes median migration levels, the number of Muslims in the country would rise from 4.1m in 2016 to 13m in 2050. The US-based think tank says that the UK has been the major destination for economic migrants coming to Europe, while Germany has been the top destination for refugees. It said the research followed a "record influx of asylum seekers fleeing conflicts in Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries".

The UK also has one of the largest gaps in fertility rates between Muslims and non-Muslims, with Muslim women having an average of 2.9 children compared to the 1.8 had by non-Muslims. This means that even if migration were to stop completely, the group's population share would rise by more than 3 per cent in the UK, as well as in France, Italy, and Belgium.

The paper suggests that if migration continues at the same rate but refugee movement stops, the UK will have the highest overall population of Muslims in the EU, at 13m, making up 16.7 per cent of the population.

Currently the country is behind Germany and France in overall population of Muslims. "Relatively few recent immigrants to the UK (60,000) were refugees, but more than 1.5 million regular migrants arrived there in recent years. Overall, an estimated 43 per cent of all migrants to the UK between mid-2010 and mid-2016 were Muslims," the paper said.

The study also shows that the UK has one of the lower levels of hostility toward refugees from Iraq and Syria. Just over one in three people see them as a major threat, compared to 39 per cent in France, 42 per cent in Spain and 60 per cent in Poland. It concluded that people in countries with lower overall numbers of refugees were more likely to believe they were a threat. According to figures from the Oxford-based Migration Observatory, one in five non-UK born people in the UK is Muslim.

Source: Telegraph UK

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:23 pm 
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Greek far-right party stages rally against planned mosque
5 September 2018

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Several hundred supporters of Greece’s extreme right Golden Dawn party have staged a protest near central Athens against plans to build a state-funded mosque in the Greek capital.

Authorities used riot police buses to block roads near the construction site during Wednesday’s rally which ended with no reported arrests.

After years of delays, the government has agreed to build the mosque in an old industrial area of Athens to serve its large Muslim migrant community as well as tourists. Muslims currently use prayer houses set up unofficially. Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos spoke at the rally and described members of Greece’s left-wing government as being “traitors.”

Once openly neo-Nazi, the party currently has 15 members in Greece’s 300-seat parliament, after seeing a surge in support during years of financial crisis.

Source: AP

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