In a recent article in Libération, IslamOnline.net received kudos for its development of online fatwa as well as for information about Islam and Muslim news. IslamOnline.net draws three million visitors a month, with many visitors searching for online fatwa. The English side of the bilingual website has nearly 4000 fatwa covering a multitude of topics. Other French media have touted the site, including l´Express and the weekly Courrier International. IslamOnline.net was first launched in October 1999.
La Réussite (Ibn Rushd) school in Aubervilliers, France is collapsing under the weight of its debts, its headteacher recently reported. Many critics have pointed to the French government for denying it the same grants given to other faith schools. According to the Guardian newspaper, with a 1959 law, over 8000 Jewish and Christian schools receive state grants; none of France´s four French Muslim schools have qualified. With the school´s debts reaching approximately €300,000, the school has turned to charitable donations. La Réussite was approved in July 2003 and became the country´s first Muslim school. It follows the same curriculum as state schools, and became one of the most successful schools nationwide, with a 100% Baccalaureate rate. Administrators of the school cite its importance since the banning of the hijab in state schools four years ago.
The BBC has offered to apologise to the Muslim Council of Britain after airing claims the organisation encouraged the killing of British troops. The comments were made by the former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore on Question Time on 12 March. Moore spoke about the Islamic protests which disrupted a UK soldiers’ homecoming parade in March. Moore said the Muslim Council of Britain had been reluctant to condemn the killing and kidnapping of Britain soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and claimed the organisation thought such activities were “a good thing”.
The Muslim Council of Britain strongly criticised the remarks and demanded an apology. “These kinds of statements are very damaging, and we received many complaints from our Muslim supporters,” the group’s secretary general Muhammad Abdul Bari said. No final settlement has been reached but the BBC has accepted that the comments were unfair.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations released an open letter to President Obama and the Muslim world offering specific policy recommendations for the president’s historic address in Cairo, on June 4th. In the open letter, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wrote in part: “As you prepare for your historic address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4th, I would like to offer an American Muslim perspective on what governments, leaders and individuals can do to improve the prospects for international peace and prosperity… America must champion political and religious freedom, human rights, the growth and stabilization of democratic institutions, and respect for the rule of law for everyone, not just those we favor. For too long, we have claimed to be champions of freedom and democracy, while turning a blind eye to repression, occupation and authoritarian rule… As an American Muslim, I ask leaders, governments and individuals in the Islamic world to make similar changes and to implement similar reforms. The full text of the open letter, including other specific suggested policy initiatives for America and for the Muslim world, is available online at the second link below.
A survey of ethnic minorities in Europe says that 31 percent of Muslims across the EU feel that they were discriminated against in 2008, and many fail to report racist incidents because of a lack of trust in the authorities. The report was compiled by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and surveyed 23,500 members of ethnic minorities and migrant communities in Europe. It collated the opinions of Muslims living in 14 European nations and minorities in general from the 27 EU member states. It found that about 30 percent of the discrimination cases occurred when Muslims were looking for work or at work, while 14 percent took place in restaurants, bars, or dealings with landlords. “The high levels of discrimination in employment are worrying,” FRA director Morten Kjaerum said. “Employment is a key part of the integration process. The survey found that 81 percent of those interviewed did not report discriminatory acts, largely because they believed that reporting them would not do anything. The report also found that wearing traditional or religious clothing does not increase discrimination. And most of the Muslims surveyed did not consider religion as the main reason for discrimination. Only ten percent of Muslims who experienced prejudice said this was solely due to their religious beliefs while over half of the respondents felt their ethnic origin was the reason for the discrimination. A full report can be read at the last link below.
Germany and Saudi Arabia have agreed an unprecedented cooperation pact to exchange information on possible terrorists, the German embassy in Riyadh confirmed Thursday. The intelligence-sharing will encompass possible terrorist financing and money-laundering, the two governments agreed, in a deal signed Wednesday evening in the Saudi capital.
The agreement was signed by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his Saudi counterpart Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz. Schaeuble said that the son of the prince, Prince Mohammed bin Naif Abdulaziz, who is a deputy interior minister, and the former intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal, would be invited to Thursday night’s G8 meeting of interior ministers in Rome. The pair also discussed the case of the Saudi scholar Abdullah ibn Jibreen, a member of the Standing Committee for Fatwa and Research. Ibn Jibreen is currently in Berlin, undergoing medical treatment. Some Shiites from Iraq want to see proceedings opened against the Sunni cleric for his fatwas allegedly insulting those of the Shiite faith and for calling Muslims to take up arms in Iraq. According to the Saudi daily al-Iktisadiya, Prince Naif told the German delegation that the allegations against Ibn Jibreen were false and also that he held no public office in Saudi Arabia.
Key Words: Anti-Terrorism, Terrorism, Extremism, TopStories
Maymouna Abdel Qadar has become the first Italian Muslim woman wearing the hijab or headscarf to run for local elections. Abdel Qadar, who is of Palestinian descent, is running in the central city of Perugia – the elections will take place on June 6th and 7th. She is running for Perugia’s communal council for the Sinistra e Liberta coalition, which is made up of mainly socialist, anti-war, and secular parties. “Though being the first veiled Muslim woman that has ever run for elections in Italy, until now I have received a positive response from the people, who have also appreciated my choice, and look at me as a novelty of the local political scene,” said Abdel Qader. Maymouna is a political science graduate of the University of Perugia, and the daughter of Mohammed Abdel Qader, the imam of Perugia. She is also one of the founders of the Young Italian Muslims association. She has stated that her objective is to represent Italy’s second generation of Muslim immigrants in Italy – what she calls “the new Italians.”
FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged tension between his department and some in Muslim-American community over recent anti-terrorism tactics, but said that cooperation remains strong toward the shared goal of preventing attacks. “I would say we’re on the same page… While there may be some bumps I the road periodically, overall the relationship is exceptionally good,” said Mueller. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has been recently critical of FBI tactics it says only alienate Muslim-Americans, such as sending paid informants, some with criminal pasts, into mosques to try to identify members who might be swayed by fiery rhetoric or financial gain.
Two former leaders of the Texas-based Holy Land foundation were sentenced to 65 years in jail for supporting Palestinian militants. Jurors returned guilty verdicts on 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax fraud. “These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief,” said David Kris, assistant US attorney general for national security. Holy Land CEO Shukri Abu Baker and chairman and co-founder Ghassan Elashi, were both sentenced to 65 years in jail. Holy Land cofounder Mohammad El-Mezain, and Abdulrahman Odeh, the charity’s New Jersey representative, both received lesser sentences of 15 years. The Justice Department vowed in October 2007 to retry the five Holy Land leaders after jurors could not agree on verdicts on nearly 200 charges, and a new jury was seated in mid-September. Holy Land was one of several Muslim organizations the Bush administration shut down in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks for allegedly raising money for Islamic extremists overseas. Muslim charities that remained open suffered significant drops I contributions because of fears of prosecution.
Nearly half of the African Muslims in Malta interviewed for an EU Fundamental Rights Agency report on discrimination with Muslims, reported discrimination when looking for employment. The report said that 43 percent of African Muslims in Malta reported discrimination when looking for work, but only 25 percent reported discrimination wile at work. 20 percent reported being discriminate against by healthcare personnel and 33 percent at a café, restaurant, bar, or nightclub. Most said that they were not aware of anti-discrimination legislation, and 94 percent could not name an organization that offered advice or support to people who suffered discrimination.