Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States

Some scholars believe that the influence of Islam in the United States can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson. Today, Islam and American Muslim populations are growing in importance in this country, and demand for information about them is high, especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. This A-to-Z encyclopedia will help students and other readers get a fast grip on pertinent holidays, terms, beliefs, practices, notables, and sects of the Islamic faith and Muslim practitioners in the United States. The accompanying primary documents volume provides 93 crucial articles, speeches, essays, poems, songs, and more to flesh out the encyclopedia entries.This encyclopedia and primary documents set, the first on the topic and for the general reader, is a must-have for every library. The primary focus is contemporary but the entries are historically contextualized, so the fuller picture of origins outside the country and practice now in the United States is clear. Further reading suggestions accompany each entry. The primary documents volume enhances the encyclopedic entries with annotated selections such as an article from an entry on a leading Muslim American magazine or an essay by a Muslim American scholar to illuminate an entry on her. This will be a boon for students doing reports on Islam and for non-Muslims looking to learn about Muslims in an objective, broad way. It is clearly and authoritatively written and compiled by a host of scholars, primarily from Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies (Greenwood Press).

US Airbase Bomb Plotter on Run in UK

A key suspect in the alleged plot to mount an attack in Germany on the scale of 9/11 is on the run in Britain, German security officials disclosed yesterday. Scotland Yard counterterrorism detectives are hunting the man, who escaped from Germany after a plot to explode bombs at Frankfurt airport and a US airbase. The collective power of the bombs would have exceeded those in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005. David Leppard reports.

Muslim checkout staff get an alcohol opt-out clause

Muslim supermarket checkout staff who refuse to sell alcohol are being allowed to opt out of handling customers’ bottles and cans of drink. Islamic workers at Sainsbury’s who object to alcohol on religious grounds are told to raise their hands when encountering any drink at their till so that a colleague can temporarily take their place or scan items for them. Other staff have refused to work stacking shelves with wine, beer and spirits and have been found alternative roles in the company. Daniel Foggo and Christopher Thompson report.

McCain Casts Muslims as Less Fit to Lead

By Stephen Labaton Senator John McCain said in an interview posted on the Internet on Saturday that the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation and that his faith is probably of better spiritual guidance than that of a Muslim candidate for president. I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, that’s a decision the American people would have to make, but personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith, Mr. McCain said in response to a question about the possibility of a Muslim’s running for president.

Denmark: Marriage rule helps young people put education first

A rule setting a minimum age for the immigration of foreign spouses has led to more Danes with immigrant backgrounds completing their education More young people with immigrant backgrounds are completing an education, thanks in part to an immigration regulation aimed at preventing forced marriages. The trend is especially apparent amongst young men. Figures from the Danish Institute of Governmental Research (AKF) showed that 20 percent fewer men with an immigrant background dropped their studies in 2004 compared with 2001. Overall, the study showed that marriages between Danish residents and foreigners result in a 17 percent greater chance of not completing an education.

Seeking Funds for Mosque in Munich

Dubai: A German from Munich came to the UAE to sell the idea of a major mosque in the heart of the city recently, but this mosque is surrounded by controversy at home, ranging from its size and location to the mere existence of a major Islamic symbol in the city. Munich is the capital of Bavaria, the heartland of Christian Germany, and home of Pope Benedict XVI. Ruled by the Christian Social Union, Bavaria is also one of eight German states that ban teachers from wearing the Islamic headscarf in school. “I guess there is a fear of Muslims arriving at the gates of Vienna again,” laughed Heinrich Klier, the Christian president of Munich’s Cultural Cooperation Committee. But we need to dispel those fears. Abbas Al Lawati reports.

UN Slams “Insidious” Racism in France

PARIS – France’s ethnic minorities are trapped in social and economic “ghettos” because of an “insidious racism” tolerated by French politicians, a senior UN envoy warned Friday, September 28. “Racism is alive, insidious and clearly targeted at those ‘visible’ minorities of immigrant heritage, the majority of whom are French citizens,” UN independent expert on minority issues Gay J. McDougall said in a report drawn up following a 10-day fact-finding mission to France, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). “People who have worked hard, played by all the rules and truly believe in the principles of the French republic are trapped in socially and geographically isolated urban ghettos, with unemployment in some areas over 40 per cent.” McDougall, who travelled to poor, high-immigration suburbs of Paris, Marseille in the south and Strasbourg in the east that were hit by riots in 2005, is to report back to the UN Human Rights Council in March.

Islam – the link between the spread of Islam in Europe and the conflicts in the Broader Middle East

By Dieter Farwick With our publications on Islam we experience a lot of prejudices and generalizations on both sides. There is a need to clarify the terms used in this discussion. We want to make a clear distinction between what we call moderate Muslims and radical Islamists and Jihadists. We expect that visitors and immigrants who come voluntarily to our European countries accept our culture and its framework, which is characterized by democracy, pluralism, equal rights, no discrimination because of gender, race and religion, freedom of speech and free media, the partition of power and the partition of state and religion. I think that moderate Muslims can accept these principles without losing their identity. The majority of our population is ready to integrate these people. On the other hand, we have to fight against the radical Islamists and Jihadists who want to abolish our constitution, our laws and rules as well as our way of life. They often use moderate Muslims as a camouflage and cover. A new kind of threat derives from the so-called homegrown radicals – European citizens of the third or fourth generation. Based upon these assumptions, this interview conducted by Dieter Farwick, Global Editor WSN, with Jonathan S. Paris, a most acknowledged, London-based Broader Middle East and Islamic movement analyst, covers both burning issues – the Islamic movement in Europe and the Broader Middle East – that are closely intertwined. They fuel each other.

US Muslim Students Clear Stereotypes

CAIRO – A leading US Muslim advocacy group is championing a leadership training seminar for fighting stereotypes and empowering American Muslims to define themselves in US society, reported the Daily Southtown on Thursday, September 27. “We have to fix that, by making people aware of who we are,” said student Nadia Ahmed. Ahmed took part in the leadership training seminar organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) at Universal School in Bridgeview to teach American Muslims how to clear stereotypes. What non-Muslims might think when they see hijab-clad women at the shopping mall, asked Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of CAIR’s Chicago office. “Terrorists, crazy, oppressed,” the students shouted.