Secularism/Islam

The death of Ayman al-Zawahri and the future of al-Qaida – Brookings Institute

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri may be dead or at least appears to be “completely off the grid,” according to journalist and veteran jihadi-watcher Hassan Hassan. These reports come at the same time as the killing of another very senior al-Qaida leader, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, in Tehran, reportedly by Israeli agents at the behest of the …

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Top US diplomat begins difficult tour of Europe and Middle East – The Irish Excaminer

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has discussed global challenges with members of a Paris think tank at the start of a seven-country tour of Europe and the Middle East. The top US diplomat’s travels are certain to be awkward since all the nations on his schedule have congratulated president-elect Joe Biden for winning the …

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It Took a Century to Open a Mosque in Athens. Then Came the Pandemic. – New York Times

The first purpose-built Muslim place of worship in the Greek capital since the Ottoman occupation arrived after decades of delay — just in time for a second coronavirus surge. ATHENS — The mosque that took more than a century to open, surviving legal, political and financial challenges, has closed in less than a week, a …

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Pompeo’s Failure to See Erdogan on Turkey Trip Seen as a Snub – Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Michael Pompeo won’t meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or other government leaders when he visits Turkey next week, a highly unusual situation that U.S. officials chalked up to scheduling conflicts and Turkish officials considered an insult. U.S. officials briefing reporters Friday on Pompeo’s 10-day, seven-nation trip said he wants …

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Turkey’s Next Crisis – Institut Montaigne

Turkey has been at the forefront of the international stage these last few weeks, due to its tensions with Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean, its implication in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, and most recently, due to President Erdogan’s personal attacks on President Macron, after the latter pledged to step up his …

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Grey Wolves Pan-Turkic Extremists Demonstrate in Sweden in Support of Azerbaijan – Sputnik International

Earlier in November, the Grey Wolves were banned in France, as Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the organisation was responsible for inciting hatred and committing acts of violence. The organisation maintains a pan-Turkic stance, but has been banned in several Turkic countries, including Azerbaijan.

Members of the Grey Wolves, a Turkish Islamist group, have demonstrated in the Swedish city of Malmö. Last week, the group was banned in France amid the nation’s crackdown against Islamist extremism, the newspaper Expressen reported.

Attack on French Consulate Ceremony in Saudi Arabia Wounds at Least 2 – New York Times

PARIS — An explosion wounded at least two people in an attack on a non-Muslim cemetery in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday during a ceremony organized by the French Consulate for Remembrance Day, French officials said. Nathalie Goulet, a French senator and a member of a parliamentary friendship group between France and Gulf countries, said …

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Macron’s War on Islamists Comes Up Against Erdogan’s Soft Power – Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — On an industrial estate in the French city of Strasbourg a few miles from the European Parliament, a grand plan to build the continent’s largest mosque is slowly taking shape. The Turkish organization behind the 30 million-euro ($36 million) project says the Eyyub Sultan complex, replete with a dozen domes and minarets and surrounded by conference halls, …

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EU chief Michel calls for creation of European body to train imams – France 24

Vienna (AFP) European Council president Charles Michel said Monday he supported creating a European institute to train imams, as he visited Austria to pay tribute to the victims of last week’s jihadist attack in Vienna. “It is very important to be firm on this. I think, for example, that we should have a debate at …

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French Muslims Could Learn from the African American Muslim Experience – Foreign Policy

An indigenous form of Islam developed within the West—rather than influenced by leaders from abroad—is the path to integration and peaceful coexistence. The despicable beheading of a school teacher in France by an extremist Muslim on Oct. 16—and an attack at a church in Nice later in October—point to a troubling cultural dynamic in Europe. …

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Erdoğan’s Jihad on “Infidel Europe” – Gatestone Institute

Middle Eastern politics is always a trap for radical ideologues. In Erdoğan’s mindset the “infidel West” is militarily helping Armenia (the evil) and Turkey is militarily helping Azerbaijan (the righteous). Although Ankara and Baku categorically deny accusations, press reports and independent human rights observers have confirmed the arrival of hundreds of jihadists in Azerbaijan to …

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Turkish-French Culture War over Islamist Radicalism and Islamophobia May Unite Europe against Turkey – SWP

Unity around the issue of Islam in Europe and unequivocal support for France against Turkey have already been manifested in expressions of support by European leaders and most recently a statement by the European External Action Service Service. If the efforts to coordinate European statements and action force Turkey to back down, the experience could be applied in other disputes with Turkey. Erdogan is not known for giving in to pressure from Europe, but it is highly likely that Ankara will abandon its campaign against France in the face of a coordinated response. If this crisis helps to unite Europe to counter Turkey, it will be a first in the recent decades and could create a significant precedent. It might even lead to Europe finally finding leverage against Turkey if it considers taking concrete diplomatic and economic action against Ankara.