Far-right French politician Marine Le Pen has called for the closure of more mosques in the country, amid a growing trend of Islamophobia across Europe.

Le Pen made the demand in an interview with French TV channel, BFMTVon Wednesday, despite the closure of more than 20 mosques in France at the behest of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin in the last two years, Anadolu News Agency reported.

"He (Darmanin) closes a mosque there, a mosque here. He dismisses a preacher once in a while, but he must close all extremist mosques in our lands," she said.

Asked about the criteria for the closures, she said all Muslims who had "radical rhetoric" should be deported.

Last year, the French Interior Ministry claimed that about 100 mosques and Muslim prayer halls had been investigated in earlier months, and 25 mosques had been closed over the alleged spreading of "separatist" ideology.

The crackdown came in the wake of the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, who provoked anger in the Muslim community by showing his students defamatory cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), earlier published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Anti-Muslim sentiments have been on the rise across Europe in recent years in the wake of attacks in the continent. The attacks were carried out by European Daesh sympathizers or the terror group's European members who had returned home following their defeat in Iraq and Syria.

Muslim leaders in Europe and around the world have condemned the terrorist attacks.

Moreover, the rise of far-right ideology and the propagation of anti-immigration policies have exacerbated the status of religious minorities in Europe.

In July 2021, the lower house of the French parliament approved a controversial bill targeting religious freedom and stigmatizing Muslims, while tightening rules on the funding of mosques, associations, and non-governmental organizations belonging to Muslims.

Months earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron had unveiled a plan to defend what he called France's secular values against "Islamist radicalism" and claimed that the religion was "in crisis." He said "no concessions" would be made in a new drive to eliminate religion from education and the public sector in the country.

Human rights groups have raised deep concern about the law, saying it discriminates and stigmatizes French Muslims.

More than 5 million Muslims live in France, who account for the largest Muslim population in Europe, along with German Muslims.

Nearly a third of Black Californians reported being treated unfairly in the health care system because of their race, according to a report from the California Health Care Foundation.

The big picture: The research — which also found more than 1 in 4 Black Californians avoided getting medical care due to worries about unfair or disrespectful treatment — shows the impact of racial disparities in the most highly populated state in the country.

  • The findings stem from a survey released Tuesday of more than 3,300 Black Californian adults and interviews with 100 Black people statewide by the California Health Care Foundation and EVITARUS, a Black-owned research firm.

What they found:

  • The percentage who reported disparate treatment based on race increases if they identify as LGBTQ, a woman or have a mental health condition or physical disability.
  • An overwhelming majority said they put extensive effort into getting preventive care, tracking their blood pressure and cholesterol and have seen a doctor in the past year.
  • Meanwhile, more than 80% of respondents who said they have been treated poorly due to their race told researchers they prepare for future health visits to minimize negative experiences.
  • More than 60% tell providers they're educated or adjust how they speak "to make the provider feel more at ease."

Tracy Edwards, a 55-year-old man who was part of the study told Axios that doctors have assumed he has a high pain tolerance and denied him medication in the ER.

  • "The doctor was like 'Come on, you're Black. You can take it. You're tough,'" Edwards recalled. "I'm here in the emergency room because I'm in pain. Don't assume. You don't know me."
  • He said another provider refused to believe he didn't do illegal drugs or heavily drink.
  • "Everybody that you interact with ... there should be some training that they undergo so they don’t start making these assumptions," Edwards said. "Just use your medical knowledge on the patient. Don't use anything else."

Of note: Respondents suggested the barriers to good health outcomes went beyond how they're treated in health systems.

  • Some pointed to poor air quality, unsafe drinking water and high levels of crime that affect the ability to exercise outside.
  • Others reported lacking recreational areas or grocery stores that sold fresh food.

The bottom line: "It's important for stakeholders and decision makers to hear those calls and those priorities and make the investments" to improve the quality of health care for Black patientssaid Shakari Byerly, principal researcher at EVITARUS./ axios 

Moroccan citizens demonstrated on Tuesday strict European Visa regulations before the European Union delegation in Rabat.

The protestors called for fair treatment by French authorities’ regarding the “racist” and “degrading” treatment over Schengen visa applications.

Head of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMHD), Aziz Ghali, said that the protestors want to express their anger at the humiliation, racism as well as arrogance that applicants have been receiving lately, according to France 24.

France has previously dropped visa restrictions for Tunisians but excluded Moroccans and Algerians.

The protesters criticized the European Union countries’ policies for not giving any explanation on why their visas get rejected, said Schengen Visa news.

Around 50 people attended the protest and chanted “yes to freedom of movement, no to colonial agreements!” according to France 24.

AMDH considers the rejections ‘unjustified’ and’ unacceptable’.

Back in September, AMDH sent an open letter to the European Union’s ambassador to Morocco and to officials of the EU Delegation in Rabat demanding an immediate intervention to put an end to these problems.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised Greece's prime minister for seeking help from the US against Türkiye, saying "we will always do what is necessary."

Speaking at an event in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, the Turkish leader pointed out Athens' policy of deadly pushback against refugees.

"We are seeing how they [Greek coast guards] bury those poor people in the seas in Aegean, Mediterranean from the Greek ferries. Does the world voice about that? No. Our frigates are reaching them and saving them from the sea. Because we are Muslims and we are fulfilling the requirements of our religion," Erdogan said. 

The Turkish president highlighted the Greek government's hostile approach toward Türkiye. 

"Greek Prime Minister [Kyriakos Mitsotakis] is asking for help from the US. Against what? Against Türkiye. Whatever you do, we will always do what is necessary, we are ready to do it," Erdogan said.

Deadly pushbacks

Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities. 

Ankara and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable refugees, including women and children. 

European Union has remained silent against Athens' pushback policy. Frontex, which facilitates border patrol coordination in Europe, appears to turn a blind eye to Greece's practices in the region. 

Videos and witnesses have exposed how Greek border guards beat refugees, take their money and leave them naked in the winter. 

On September 28, multiple news outlets, citing PM Mitsotakis, said Greece is confident about the support from the US and European Union against Türkiye./Agencies

Google has discontinued its Google Translate services in mainland China, removing one of the company's few remaining services that it had provided in a country where most Western social media platforms are blocked.

The Google Translate app and website now display a generic search bar and a link redirecting Chinese users to its page in Hong Kong, which is blocked on the mainland.

Users reported not being able to access the service since Saturday, according to Chinese social media posts. The translation feature built into the Google Chrome browser also no longer functions for users in China.

The Google Translate service was discontinued in China due to "low usage," Google said in a statement. It is not clear how many users were using Google Translate in China.

The U.S. technology firm's has a fraught relationship with China. In 2010, Google pulled its search engine from the Chinese market after it became unwilling to abide by the country's censorship rules.

China later moved to block other Google services such as its email service Gmail and Google Maps.

Chinese authorities typically block most Western social media platforms and services, including those of Google, Facebook and Twitter as the government seeks to maintain strict censorship rules. Chinese platforms must abide strictly by those rules and censor keywords and topics the authorities deem politically sensitive.

In 2017, Google made its translation service available on the mainland via a Chinese domain as it explored ways to offer services in the Chinese market. Its Google Translate service competed with other popular, homegrown translation alternatives provided by Chinese technology firms including Baidu and Sogou.

Google had explored launching a separate, censored search engine for China, but terminated the project in 2019 amid a global backlash./ctvnews

The U.S. government has announced sanctions on several Chinese biotech and surveillance firms, while the Senate approved legislation barring some imports from China's western Xinjiang region, in the latest steps against Beijing over human rights abuses against Uyghurs, a major indigenous ethnic group in Xinjiang.

Citing the Chinese entities' roles in the Beijing regime's actions against Uyghurs, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Treasury Department on December 16 announced synchronized punitive measures.

The Commerce Department added the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes that focus on using biotechnology to support the Chinese military to its list of firms and institutions, restricting access to exports.

The Treasury Department, meanwhile, added eight Chinese technology firms, including drone maker DJI Technology Co Ltd., to an investment blacklist, according to the department's website.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the new sanctions on December 17 by saying it would "take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese institutions and enterprises."

The measures, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, indicate that "the U.S. has no scruples about smearing China by every means."

China has been under growing international criticism and hit with sanctions for detaining more than 1 million Uyghurs and representatives of Xinjiang's other indigenous, mostly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic groups for political "reeducation" in Xinjiang.

China insists such camps are "vocational education centers" aimed at helping people steer clear of terrorism.

A senior U.S. administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that U.S. intelligence has established that China has set up a high-tech surveillance system across Xinjiang employing biometric facial recognition and collecting DNA samples from all the region's residents aged 12 to 65 as part of a systematic effort to suppress Uyghurs.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate gave final approval on December 16 to a bill barring all imports from China’s Xinjiang region unless businesses can prove they were produced without forced labor.

The vote, by unanimous consent, to approve the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act came two days after the House of Representatives also passed it.

The bill now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it.

The White House announced last week it would stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China's "egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang."/ Rferl


Not less than 174 folks have been killed, 180 injured when police used tear fuel to interrupt up fights at an Indonesian soccer stadium Saturday, in response to authorities.

A lot of the victims have been trampled to demise when supporters of house group Arema FC and rival Persebaya Surabaya clashed late Saturday after the host misplaced 3-2 within the metropolis of Malang in East Java, in response to Reuters.

Indonesia’s police chief in East Java province mentioned 180 victims have been additionally injured after a stampede occurred throughout crowd bother on the match.

FC Arema’s supporters stormed the pitch and authorities fired tear fuel, resulting in a stampede and circumstances of suffocation, Nico Afinta instructed reporters.

Sports activities Minister Zainudin Amali mentioned authorities would re-evaluate security at soccer matches and think about not permitting spectators at matches after the stampede.

Footage from contained in the stadium that was shared on social media confirmed followers, wearing purple and blue, storming the sector and clashing with safety forces, who seemed to be sporting riot gear.

Afinta mentioned officers have been additionally among the many victims who have been killed

The Indonesian Soccer Affiliation (PSSI) has suspended matches subsequent week due to the tragedy and banned Arema FC from internet hosting matches for the remainder of the season./AA

DALLAS (AP) — A man charged with killing 22 women in the Dallas area is set to be tried in the death of one of them after being convicted of capital murder in the death of another earlier this year.

The capital murder trial of Billy Chemirmir, 49, in the death of 87-year-old Mary Brooks is scheduled to begin Monday in Dallas. He received a sentence of life in prison without parole after being found guilty in April in the smothering death of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris. If convicted in Brooks’ death, he’ll receive a second sentence of life in prison without parole. He maintains his innocence.

His first trial in Harris’ death ended in a mistrial last November when the jury deadlocked.

In the years following his arrest in 2018, police across the Dallas area reexamined the deaths of other older people that had been considered natural — even though families raised alarm bells about missing jewelry. Four indictments were added this summer.

Dallas County prosecutors decided to seek two life sentenced rather than the death penalty when he tried Chemirmir on two of the 13 capital murder cases against him in the county. Prosecutors in neighboring Collin County haven’t said if they will try any of their nine capital murder cases against Chemirmir.

Chemirmir’s arrest was set in motion in March 2018 when a woman who was 91 at the time told police that a man had forced his way into her apartment at an independent living community for seniors, tried to smother her with a pillow and took her jewelry.

Police said when they found Chemirmir the next day in the parking lot of his apartment complex. He was holding jewelry and cash, and had just thrown away a large red jewelry box. Documents in the box led them to the home of Harris, who was found dead in her bedroom, lipstick smeared on her pillow.

In a video interview with police, Chemirmir told a detective that he made money buying and selling jewelry and had also worked as a caregiver and a security guard.

Most of the people Chemirmir is accused of killing lived in apartments at independent living communities for older people. The women he’s accused of killing in private homes include the widow of a man he had cared for while working as an at-home caregiver.

Muslim civil society organisations have raised the alarm about a rising tide of state-sponsored Islamophobia in Europe at a major security and human rights conference in Poland.

France, Denmark and Austria were among countries singled out over policies which campaigners said were contributing towards a “systematic suppression of Muslim civil society” across the continent.

Addressing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Human Dimension Conference in Warsaw on Thursday, Lamies Nassri, a project manager at the Centre for Muslim Rights (CEDA) in Denmark, said Islamophobia was spreading throughout Europe and called on governments to protect their Muslim citizens.

Nassri told delegates: “It is your responsibility as member states to see to it that citizens in these member states are protected from state racism, surveillance, stigmatisation and violence both symbolically and physically.”

Highlighting the situation in Denmark, Nassri said Islamophobia was being “enabled directly through state policy and participation” and was “no longer a far-right issue but is shared across the political spectrum”.

Nassri said many Muslims in Denmark faced discrimination through the country’s categorisation of people from non-western backgrounds which, she said, took precedence over their rights as Danish citizens.

'Ghetto laws'

She cited the impact on Muslim communities of the so-called “ghetto laws”, a package of measures targeted at deprived neighbourhoods with large populations from migrant and ethnic minority backgrounds which the Danish government says are necessary to promote integration.

Nassri said the laws were discriminatory against Muslims and ethnic minorities, depriving them of their rights and portraying them as “enemies within the state, who live in parallel societies that must be fought".

“We also see this targeting in the way Muslims families are portrayed as oppressive and controlling toward their children and, as such, need to be surveilled,” she added, citing a law requiring non-western residents in “ghetto” neighbourhoods to put their children into state nurseries from the age of one “to get instruction in Danish values and language”.

Campaigners from France highlighted the impact on Muslim communities of the so-called “imams’ charter” which was adopted last year by the French Council of the Muslim Faith at the behest of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Elias d’Imzalene of French NGO Perspectives Musulmanes said the charter amounted to an “Orwellian policy” which sought to impose “a new reading of Islam ordered by the state”.

“The police threaten to close any mosque denouncing this new inquisition while a political hunt is also carried out, targeting the dissenting voices of the community, thus making Muslim expression essentially criminal,” said d’Imzalene.

Muhammad Rabbani, the managing director of Cage, a UK-based advocacy organisation also working in France, said French Muslims faced a “state-led programme of repression” in which organisations critical of government policies faced being censored, shut down and criminalised.

Citing the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, and violence and discrimination against Indian Muslims enabled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, Rabbani said: “France has now joined the company of China and India, who are both carrying out a religious persecution of an entire Muslim minority.”

'Real-life nightmare'

The conference also heard from Nehal Abdalla, an advocacy officer at ACT-P, an Austrian organisation formed to support children caught up in police raids in the aftermath of Operation Luxor.


Austrian counter-terrorism police raided 70 Muslim households and arrested 30 academics and activists in the November 2020 operation, but none were subsequently charged with any offence.

Abdalla said that families and children caught up in the early morning raids had awoken to a “real-life nightmare” which amounted to “terrorising the Muslim community”.

She said: “Operation Luxor has succeeded in spreading terror across the Muslim community despite failing to even prosecute one individual successfully. The manner in which these raids were designed and executed revealed a state-sanctioned programme of Islamophobia.”

The OSCE describes itself as “the world’s largest regional security organisation”, drawing together 57 member states from Europe, Central Asia and North America.

With the conference taking place in Poland against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, OSCE officials also stressed the importance of defending human rights and fundamental freedoms in opening remarks at the 10-day event.

Zbigniew Rau, the Polish foreign minister and current OSCE chair, said: “Human rights are inalienable, and their articulation and defence are among the greatest achievements of humanity. Denying human rights to anyone, especially the vulnerable and weak, is to take away their dignity and their sense of freedom and security.”

OSCE Secretary-General Helga Maria Schmid hailed the work of civil society organisations, telling the conference: “Sustainable security cannot be achieved without human rights, democracy and rule of law.”

Delegates at the conference will next week discuss the impact of counter-terrorism policies on human rights in the OSCE region.

According to a note on the session in the conference programme: "The abuse of 'anti-extremism' laws and the labelling of civil society and those expressing dissenting views as 'terrorists' or 'extremists' in many countries across the OSCE is raising growing concerns."


Opposition candidates, including Islamists, made considerable gains in Kuwait's parliamentary election, raising pressure on the government which was hoping to ease tensions with the elected legislature and press on with economic reforms.

Official results, published by state news agency KUNA on Friday, showed that most of the so-called "pro-government lawmakers" lost their districts while the Shi'ite bloc added more seats. The Islamic Constitutional Movement, the Kuwaiti branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, also consolidated its share in the 50-seat assembly.

Two women were elected, marking their return to the parliament in the U.S.-allied country and OPEC oil producer. Local media said 305 candidates, including 22 women, competed in Thursday's election that was organised after the Gulf state's crown prince dissolved the previous parliament in a bid to end a political standoff between the government and the legislature.

Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah made the move in August following a protest held by more than 20 MPs inside parliament pressing him to appoint a new government.

The deadlock with the cabinet has delayed the approval of a state budget for the fiscal year 2022/2023 and other economic reforms. The budget, which has to be voted on before November, had set spending at 23.65 billion dinars ($77.2 billion) compared with 23.48 billion for the 2021/2022 budget.

Political analyst Naser al-Abdali said the sweeping victory for the Islamist movements in these elections will have a great impact in the next National Assembly.

The political standoff will not stop with these results -- it will rather continue within the assembly, inside the ruling family as well as in the public debate, he added.

The results cast a doubt on the government's ability to pass sensitive economic reforms such as introducing a value-added tax (VAT), part of a regional agreement within the Gulf Cooperation Council. So far Kuwait and Qatar have resisted the move.

Political stability in Kuwait has traditionally depended on cooperation between the government and parliament, the Gulf region's most lively legislature. Kuwait bans political parties but has given its legislature more influence than in other Gulf monarchies.

Stalemates between Kuwait's government and parliament have often led to cabinet reshuffles and dissolutions of the legislature over the decades, hampering investment and reforms.

"The joy is real and not only in our headquarters but in all across the first constituency for the arrival of this large number of reformist MPs (to the parliament)," said Oussama al-Shaheen, a lawmaker from the Islamic Constitutional Movement who won back his seat for the fourth time in a row.