Universities Install Footbaths to Benefit Muslims, and Not Everyone Is Pleased

University of Michigan announces it would install $25,000 foot-washing stations in several restrooms to accommodate its Muslim students; this has provoked controversy, with students divided on use of their building-maintenance fees, and tricky legal questions about whether plan is legitimate accommodation of students’ right to practice their religion, or unconstitutional government support for that religion; more than 10 percent of students at University of Michigan are Muslims; nationwide, more than dozen universities have footbaths, many installed in new buildings; American Civil Liverties Union says footbath issue is complex, since footbaths themselves can be used by anyone, and are not stylized in religious way…

Three Projects in Cologne, Munich and Berlin: The construction of three mosques acts as a magnet for fears in Germany

Opponents to the building of Cologne’s great mosque are not ready to give up. On Thursday, August 9th, they invited themselves to a meeting of the city council aimed at discussing the project that makes so much ado in the capital of the Rhine region, that one of Germany’s largest Turkish communities call home. Let’s show the city’s authorities what we think of their prestigious multicultural project! Let’s put an end to this madness! claims Pro-K_ln (_For Cologne’), an extreme-right party that counts five municipal councilors. The party received the support of Austria’s extreme-right party FP_ for its campaign. Cologne is not alone: in Berlin and Munich as well, projects for the construction of mosques are a magnet for fears, and even hatred, of a large part of local citizens.

Euro Mosques Meet Opposition

PARIS – Though Islam is the continent’s second religion, Muslims across Europe are facing campaigns from far-right groups and some church leaders to have stately mosques. “The desire of Muslims to build a house of worship means they want to feel at home and live in harmony with their religion in a society they have accepted as theirs,” German Muslim leader Bekir Alboga told Reuters on Monday, August 6. Muslims across Europe, who have long prayed in garages and old factories, are aspiring to have grand mosques. In Germany, a plan by the Turkish Islamic Union (DITIB) to build a grand mosque in Cologne has met opposition on claims that it would be too big for a city housing one of the most imposing Gothic cathedrals in the Christian world. Leading the anti-mosque campaign is Pro Cologne, a far-right organization which has held five seats in Cologne’s city council since 2004. A mosque project in Pankow, an eastern Berlin area, sparked violent clashes with neo-Nazi groups with a truck being torched at the construction site.

Cleric ‘not preaching’ to inmates

The lawyer for a Muslim preacher fighting extradition from the UK has denied her client has been preaching hate to fellow inmates. Abu Qatada, who once preached at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London, is being held at a specialist unit at Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire. A prison union has said he could be radicalising other inmates via prayers. Qatada’s lawyer Gareth Peirce said that Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, did not preach to other inmates. Steve Gough, vice-chairman of the Prison Officers Association, has warned that Qatada could be using prayer meetings for indoctrinating the next generation of terrorists, as guards were unable to decipher what he was saying.

Race crime up after terror attack

Racist crime in the west of Scotland had increased after the suspected terror attack on Glasgow Airport, BBC Scotland has learned. Strathclyde Police have released figures on racist crime and a senior officer confirmed that there had been a noticeable rise. Community and political leaders were quick to call for calm in the aftermath of the attack. The force said the rise may have been down to a greater willingness for minorities to report incidents. Between 1 and 27 July, there were 258 reported racial attacks, 31 of which were airport-related, according to Strathclyde Police.

UK Remembers Islamic Heritage

CAIRO – To prove that the European country has a century-old Islamic heritage, British Muslims are championing a drive to renovate Britain’s first and oldest mosque, finding help from the local church. “Repairing…(the) mosque with British money, either from the government or the Muslim community, would act as a powerful symbol of British Islam,” Mohammad Akbar Ali, chairman of the Abdullah Quilliam Society, told The Independent on Thursday, August 2. “It is a religious heritage that all British Muslims can be proud of.” Founded by British revert William Quilliam (later Abdullah), the mosque was officially opened on Christmas Day in 1889 on Number 8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool. “Quilliam is proof that Britain has its own Islamic heritage,” said Ali. Years of neglect have left its toll on the Muslim place of worship.