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Dinah Spritzer
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Europe struggles with Muslim identity crisis

Politics and power: The Muslim factor in European politics

Cover Story Published: 27 February 2009

BRUSSELS – Viviane Teitelbaum was a new member of Brussels’ regional legislature when she sponsored a bill in 2005 to renew the region’s scientific and industrial research agreement with Israel.

Legislators had frozen the cooperation pact three years earlier to protest what they said was the Jewish state’s inhumane response to the second Palestinian intifada. But when Teitelbaum’s proposal came up for discussion at a committee meeting, she says she was shouted down by Socialist Party opponents.

“The only lawmakers who showed up to the meeting were Muslim,” recalled Teitelbaum, a Jewish member of the Liberal Party. “They screamed insults at me, saying, ‘Israel is a fascist country. You will never get this passed.’” Later, at the actual vote, Teitelbaum again was shouted down. Her proposal was defeated.


Europe struggles with Muslim identity crisis

Fear and loathing in Europe: Islamophobia and the challenge of integration

Cover Story Published: 27 February 2009

BRUSSELS – A bus driver on Antwerp’s line 19 doesn’t like Muslims.

Such is the warning friends gave 24-year-old Meryem, a Belgian Muslim of Moroccan descent, advising her to avoid the driver’s route.

But last summer Meryem, who wears a headscarf, forgot her friends’ caution and boarded the bus to Deurne.

After a few minutes, the bus made a stop where two passengers, an elderly Belgian gentleman and a woman wearing a Muslim headscarf, were waiting. The man boarded the bus first. As the woman lifted her foot to follow, the driver quickly slammed the door shut and sped away. The woman appeared shocked, recalls Meryem, who asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy.


Europe struggles with Muslim identity crisis

Can Britain de-program the radicalism of its Muslim population?

Cover Story Published: 27 February 2009

LEEDS, England – In early December, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown did something very rare for a European leader: He publicly pointed his finger at a Muslim country and told it to get its act together.

“Three quarters of the most serious terrorist plots investigated by U.K. authorities are linked to al-Qaida sympathizers in Pakistan,” Brown said after meeting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari shortly after last November’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, which were carried out by a Pakistan-based terrorist group.


Amid anti-Semitic storm, Europe’s Jews stand for Israel

WorldPublished: 16 January 2009

PRAGUE – Confronting a rising storm of anti-Semitism as the conflict in Gaza intensifies, European Jews are grappling with the best way to express their support for Israel’s fight against Hamas.

Recent assaults on Jews in European capitals range from the beating of a Jewish teenager in a Paris suburb by assailants who vowed she would “pay for Israel’s acts” to the compilation on an Islamist Website of a hit list of prominent British Jews. Jewish monuments in France and Sweden have been firebombed. And in Italy, a workers’ political party called for a boycott of Jewish stores.

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