Muslims Deplore France Attack

OnIslam & News Agencies

CAIRO – Receiving the shocking news of Friday’s attack on a French factory, Muslims rushed to condemn the extremist attack as contradicting with Islamic tenets of peace.

“Shocked by sickening violence in #Grenoble If attacker claims to do this in Islam’s name, he is misguided. Thoughts & prayers with victims,” Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) tweeted on Friday.

France was shocked by news of an attack on a gas factory in southeastern France this morning which left one dead and several wounded.

Friday’s incident occurred around 10 am, when reports indicate that two suspects allegedly rammed their way into the US-owned Air Products gas factory outside of Lyon, in southeastern France, reports Agence France-Presse.

They set off several small explosions, according to witness accounts.

Officials found a decapitated body and head, which was covered in Arabic writing, near the factory, but it is unclear if the corpse was transported to the site or the mutilation took place during the attack.

There are also reports of a flag with Arabic writing found at the scene.

French President Francois Hollande said in a televised address from a summit in Brussels, Belgium, that the incident was a “pure terrorist attack.”

“The attack was of a terrorist nature since a body was discovered, decapitated and with inscriptions,” Hollande said.

“This attack was a vehicle, driven by a person, maybe accompanied by another, who rammed at great speed into this factory.

“There is no doubt about the intention, which was to cause an explosion.”

The blasts were triggered when two attackers deliberately crashed a car into gas canisters, according to police.

Reports said a 30-year-old man had been arrested. He is understood to have been known to foreign intelligence services.

Not Islam

France attack coincided with other two attacks on Kuwait and Tunisia which resulted in the death of scores of Muslims on Friday while fasting.

“More Muslims have been killed by the hands of these terrorists than non Muslims. THIS IS NOT ISLAAM!!! #Grenoble #Tunisia #Kuwait,” @BintHadi_ tweeted.

“Extremely disturbed by the events today in #Grenoble and #Sousse,allegedly by so-called Muslims on a Friday during the Holy Month of Ramzan [Ramadan],” @zahidlalani added.

The attack comes at tense time for the country’s six million Muslims who have been facing increasing hatred since Paris attacks last January.

The National Observatory Against Islamophobia said over 100 incidents have been reported to the police since the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 7-9.

The observatory also noted that more than 222 separate acts of anti-Muslim behavior were recorded in the first month after the January attacks.

In April, the National Observatory Against Islamophobia warned of an unprecedented increase in Islamophobic attacks in France during the first three months of 2015, rising by six-fold than in 2014.

Islamophobic actions soared by 500% compared to the same period in 2011, according to the observatory.


Europe: Anti-Semitism Up, Islamophobia Down

By Sarah Stricker, Ynetnews

Study on ‘group-focused enmity’ conducted by researchers from University of Bielefeld in Germany finds hatred of Muslims decreased over past year, while hatred of Jews and homosexuals growing. Poland defined as most racist country.

Right-wing parties are growing stronger in Europe, and Swiss citizens have even voted in favor of a ban on mosque minarets, yet the fear or hatred of Islam in the continent has dropped over the past year, according to a study conducted in Germany and published Sunday. However, hatred of Jews and homosexuals is on the rise.

For the last eight years, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence at the University of Bielefeld has been running an annual study called “German Conditions” to learn about “group focused enmity” such as xenophobia, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, and prejudices against unemployed, disabled, homeless or homosexual people in Germany.

Due to the financial crisis and the fears of the future, poverty and unemployment that are being stoked by that, the researchers expected a rise this year.

But compared to last year’s results (as well as those of 2002), the level of resentment against most minorities declined – sexism and racism even considerably, Islamophobia slightly. There were only two exceptions: Homophobia and anti-Semitism.

Hatred of both groups is on the rise as they are considered to be found also among people of a high status.

Beate Küpper, one of the study’s main researchers, believes that the financial crisis may in fact be a possible explanation for that.

Küpper said that although in comparison to other European countries Germany was on average, it was staggering that in the light of German history, 48% still agreed with anti-Semitic statements.

For the first time, the study also compared xenophobia among European countries like Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Poland, and Hungary. According to their findings, the level of prejudices against minorities in Europe is alarming.

About 50.4% of the population agreed that “there are too many immigrants” in their country, 54.4% believe that “the Islam is a religion of intolerance.” Interestingly enough, the percentage of people who believe “that there are too many Muslims” in their country is especially high in those countries that actually have a low percentage of Muslims living in them.

Nearly one-third (31.3%) of the Europeans somewhat or strongly agree that “there is a natural hierarchy between black and white people”. A majority of 60.2% stick to traditional gender roles, demanding that “women should take their role as wives and mothers more seriously.” Some 42.6% deny equal value of gay men and lesbian women and judge homosexuality as “immoral”.

Hiding behind criticism of Israel

Anti-Semitism is also still widely spread in Europe. The team of scientists from the universities of Amsterdam, Bielefeld, Budapest, Grenoble, Lisbon, Marburg, Oxford, Padua, Paris, and Warsaw found that 41.2% of Europeans believe that “Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era”. The highest degree of affirmation was in Poland – 72%, and the lowest in the Netherlands – 5.6%.

One-quarter of Europeans (24.5%) believe that “Jews have too much influence”, and nearly one-third (31%) agree that “Jews in general do not care about anything or anyone but their own kind. On the other hand, 61.9% say that Jews “enrich our culture”, especially in the Netherlands, Britain and Germany.

They study also measured the degree of anti-Semitism hidden behind a specific criticism of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians that uses anti-Semitic terms such as “war of persecution” and a generalization to “all Jews”.

Some 45.7% of the Europeans (apart for France, where this facet of anti-Semitism was not measured) somewhat or strongly agree that “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.” About 37.4% agree with the following statement: “Considering Israel’s policy, I can understand why people do not like Jews.”

Overall, the level of anti-Semitic attitudes varies quite a lot across Europe with comparably lower levels of anti-Semitic attitudes in Britain and the Netherlands and significantly higher levels in Portugal, and especially Poland and Hungary.