Dutch mayor shuts down anti-Muslim demonstration

By Abdullah Airan

UTRECHT, The Netherlands (AA) – The mayor of Utrecht city in the Netherlands shut down an anti-Muslim demonstration late Friday by the far-right Pegida political movement in front of Ulu Mosque.

During the demonstration, members of Pegida, or the Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West, made speeches insulting Islam.

A brawl broke out between Pegida members and residents after the speeches and one university student was injured.

Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen ordered the demonstration to be shut down for security reasons an hour after it began.

Yucel Aydemir, president of the Ulu Mosque Foundation, told Anadolu Agency that anti-Islam statements by Pegida members led to the provocation of a group of Muslims and a brawl broke out.

“I have been living here for 38 years, and this is the first time I have experienced such an incident,” Aydemir added.

Britain's UKIP unveils anti-Islam manifesto

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Britain’s populist UK Independence Party (UKIP) has taken a big leap into becoming a racist far-right movement with an interim manifesto full of anti-Islam actions in the future.

The so-called “interim manifesto”, which came to daylight as the UKIP’s autumn conference began in Birmingham on Friday and it contains plans for all-Muslim prisons, enhanced screening for migrants from Islamic countries and plans to scrap a swathe of equality and anti-racism laws in the U.K.

The party has claimed extremism is “actively fostered" in jails, where "Muslim gangs hold sway" and "non-Islamic prisoners are converting for their own protection."

"UKIP would introduce the separation of prisoners or prisons exclusively for Islamic prisoners who promote extremism or try to convert non-Islamic prisoners,” the manifesto said.

"UKIP would build new prisons as necessary to accommodate the number of persons convicted of imprisonable crimes," it added.

The UKIP manifesto includes the abolition of the category of hate crime in the U.K., alongside with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the government’s equalities office.

The document is understood to have taken far-right English Defense League (EDL) and Britain First movements’ policies, as it also calls for a national inquiry into the so-called grooming gangs, which it describes as “one of the greatest social scandals in English history”.

The sharper shift to the far-right of the party has initiated with the presidency of Gerard Batten who allied himself with former EDL leader Tommy Robinson after taking over the leadership from Henry Bolton in April.

Tommy Robinson is a far-right figure known with his anti-Islamic campaign in the UK.

Batten insulted Prophet Mohammad at a rally, organized by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) — an anti-Muslim movement formed by far-right hooligans — last weekend.

Speaking to the British press, party’s ex-leader Nigel Farage warned that Batten needs "to be careful what company he keeps".

"My concern with all of these groups is that that argument spills into an argument against an entire religion," Farage told Sky News.

The UKIP manifesto also calls for a wider crackdown on immigration, and says the arrivals from Muslim countries should face a “security-based screening policy” to check their views.

UKIP was “determined to protect our freedom of speech and the right to speak our minds without fear of the politically correct thought police knocking on our doors,” Batten said when he introduced the manifesto.

The party conference will discuss to scrap a ban on membership to UKIP of members of far-right organizations.

The UKIP holds no seats at the House of Commons and lost all but three of their 126 local council seats at the local elections in 2018.

It is Turks who will shape Europe’s future: Erdogan

GIRESUN, Turkey (AA) – Europe’s future depends on the Turks who live there, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a large public rally on Thursday.

“Five million of our brothers who have settled there from Turkey will shape the future of Europe,” Erdogan told a rally in the Black Sea province of Giresun ahead of Sunday’s referendum on constitutional changes.

Erdogan said that in recent months the paint has been wiped off Europe’s face and “now they are beginning to show that they are anti-Islam. They have no tolerance for Muslims.”

He also said after being closed to Turkish government ministers, some European countries have opened their doors to members of the terror groups that Turkey is fighting.

The president spoke at length over the rift between Turkey and some European governments after German and Dutch authorities barred rallies by Turkish ministers who favor a presidential system.

While European countries barred rallies in support of the Yes campaign, they allowed Turkish opposition figures who back the No side to hold demonstrations without hindrance.

Sunday’s referendum in Turkey addresses a host of constitutional reforms that would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president.

The post of prime minister would be abolished and the president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

Other changes include the minimum age of parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of deputies increased to 600.

Also, simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019 under the new Constitution.

‘Far-right’ Australian charged with planning terror act

MELBOURNE, Australia (AA) – A member of anti-immigration movements in Australia was charged with terrorism offences Sunday after raids in Victoria state.

Phillip Galea, 31, was charged with “preparing or planning a terrorist act” and “collecting or making documents likely to facilitate a terrorist attack” following his arrest Saturday, according to news broadcaster ABC.

He did not submit an application for bail at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, but said he would fight the charges, which he called a conspiracy against the “patriot movement”.

Although Victoria Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther confirmed Galea was affiliated “with a number of organizations” but refused to say whether they included any particular far-right group, a member of the anti-immigration True Blue Crew told the ABC that Galea was a member.

Galea, also linked to the Reclaim Australia group, was also jailed in November after he was found to be in possession of five Tasers, precursor chemicals and bomb-making manuals.

At the time police had executed warrants on Galea’s home ahead of rallies that saw anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters face off.

In the past year, Australia has witnessed a series of rallies by opposing groups during which violence has broken out — prompting authorities to discuss a ban on face masks at protests.

Far-right German party adopts anti-Islam program

BERLIN (AA) – Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) adopted a controversial party program Sunday that called for banning Islamic symbols and restricting religious practices of Muslims.

The majority of AfD’s some 2,000 delegates backed the program in a vote after a debate at the party’s national congress held in western Stuttgart city.

The program’s chapter on Islam was titled “Islam does not belong to Germany” and it included various proposals to ban public expressions of Islam.

It demanded a ban on mosque minarets and muezzins’ call to prayer, depicting them as symbols of Islamic power.

It also called for a bar on veils such as the niqab or burka in public, and on headscarves at schools.

The AfD party program also opposed Turkey’s EU membership; it demanded EU reform that gave stronger role to national parliaments, and it called for strong measures to seal off the bloc’s external borders to stop illegal migration.

Recent polls show that AfD has become the third largest political party in Germany amid growing worries over the refugee crisis and religious extremist attacks in Europe.

A representative poll by the public broadcaster ARD last month showed that the AfD increased its support to 14 percent, leaving behind the Green Party and the Left Party, the two leading opposition parties at the federal parliament.

The AfD, which was founded only three years ago as a protest movement, achieved record support in regional elections in March with an anti-immigration and anti-Islam propaganda.

Germany, which will hold general election next year, has the second-largest Muslim population in western Europe.

Among the four million Muslims in the country, three million are of Turkish origin.