The Islamic Foundation of Toronto mosque overflowed as more than 3,000 people paid their respects to a dedicated mother and her two bright and friendly daughters, whose lives were cut short in a swimming adventure gone wrong. In 2002, the family moved to Toronto from Pakistan. On July 18, during a family trip to the Thousand Islands, the two girls and their mother, Naila Yasmin, 43, were found unconscious in the Best Western Country Squire Resort pool. They had slipped out of their room early in the morning to go for a swim. Yasmin was a schoolteacher in Pakistan and worked at a Tim Hortons in Toronto while caring for her husband and four children.
A district of derelict warehouses, red-brick terraces, and vibrant street life on the canals near the centre of Brussels, Molenbeek was once known as Belgium’s “Little Manchester”. These days it is better known as “Little Morocco” since the population is overwhelmingly Muslim and of North African origin. By day, the scene is one of children kicking balls on busy streets, of very fast, very small cars with very large sound systems. By night, the cafes and tea houses are no strangers to drug-dealers and mafia from the Maghreb. For the politically active extreme right, and the anti-Islamic bloggers, Molenbeek is the nightmare shape of things to come: an incubator of tension and terrorism in Europe’s capital, part of a wave of “Islamisation” supposedly sweeping Europe, from the great North Sea cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam to Marseille and the Mediterranean. The dire predictions of religious and identity-based mayhem reached their peak between 2004 and 2006, when bombs exploded in Madrid and London, a controversial film director was shot and stabbed to death in Amsterdam, and angry demonstrators marched against publication of satirical cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad. For Bruce Bawer, author of While Europe Slept, the continent’s future was to “tamely resign itself to a gradual transition to absolute sharia law”. By the end of the century, warned Bernard Lewis, the famous American historian of Islam, “Europe will be Islamic”. The Daily Telegraph asked: “Is France on the way to becoming an Islamic state?” The Daily Mail described the riots that shook the nation in the autumn of 2005 as a “Muslim intifada”. Jason Burke and Ian Traynor report.
This is a book mostly based on Islamic research in the seats of Islamic learning in the United Kingdom. Professor Netton of the University of Leeds has accomplished a difficult job with great caution, allowing into the volume an enormous amount of information without being controversial, which is another way of saying that he has presented the work without offending an increasingly narrow-minded, bigoted and divided Muslim community.
Book Review by Khaled Ahmed (Daily Times, Pakistan) available here
Five years ago bombings and riots fuelled anxiety that Europe’s Muslims were on the verge of mass radicalisation. Those predictions have not been borne out.
A district of derelict warehouses, red-brick terraces, and vibrant street life on the canals near the centre of Brussels, Molenbeek was once known as Belgium’s “Little Manchester”. These days it is better known as “Little
Morocco” since the population is overwhelmingly Muslim and of North African origin.
By day, the scene is one of children kicking balls on busy streets, of very fast, very small cars with very large sound systems. By night, the cafes and tea houses are no strangers to drug-dealers and mafia from the Maghreb.
For the politically active extreme right, and the anti-Islamic bloggers, Molenbeek is the nightmare shape of things to come: an incubator of tension and terrorism in Europe’s capital, part of a wave of “Islamisation”
supposedly sweeping Europe, from the great North Sea cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam to Marseille and the Mediterranean.
Police identified 19-year-old Zainab Shafia, 17-year-old Sahar Shafia and 13-year-old Geeti Shafia as the sisters who were found in the vehicle submerged in the Rideau Canal near Kingston, Ontario. The body of their aunt, Rona Amir Mohammed, 50, was also retrieved from the vehicle. All four victims were from St-Leonard, a borough in Montreal.
Ms. Yahya, her 56-year-old husband Mohammad Shafia and their 18-year-old son, Hamed, are charged with four counts each of first-degree murder and four of conspiracy to commit murder in the June 30 deaths of their daughters and sisters and Mr. Shafia’s first wife, Rona Mohammad, whom he had been passing off for decades as his “cousin.”
One of the teenage girls allegedly killed by members of her Afghan-born family had been dating a Pakistani boy in Montreal against her parents’ wishes, according to a man and woman who say they are siblings of one of the victims. This allegation has spurred interpretations that the incident may be related to “honor” killings. The head of the Canadian branch of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) told news agencies that the story was unrelated to Islam. Other journalists have pointed to the dozen women who have died similarly in the last decade. Amin Muhammad, a psychiatrist who studies honour killings at Memorial University claims, “There are a number of organizations which don’t accept the idea of honor killing; they say it’s a Western-propagated myth by the media, but it’s not true,” he says. “Honor killing is there, and we should acknowledge it, and Canada should take it seriously.”
The Milliken Mills Community Centre in Markham, Ontario is home to an active mostly-Muslim ball hockey league. The Madina league has eight teams, each with about 16 to 18 players. They meet every Friday night in Markham, battling towards the Madina Cup in mid-August. “The best time to play ball hockey is the nighttime, around the sunset or after the sunset,” because there are fewer prayers, said Habib, 33, as the players, bowing on a white mat in the corner of the rink, observe the fourth prayer of the day. Players shout encouragement, but there is little to no swearing. Swearing in tournament play will result in a penalty and could mean a suspension, said Habib. “We are trying to teach the religion as much as possible, and that is hard to do if you are allowing bodychecks or fighting.”
There are more than 400 Muslims playing organized ball hockey across Greater Toronto, and interest in the connection between the community and the sport is at a high. Last month, the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted their first Muslim player, Nazem Kadri.
De Telegraaf reports that a Muslim nurse in Den Bosch has been firing for refusing to wear short sleeves. After working in the hospital since 2001, the nurse began wearing long sleeves under her work uniform as she “started becoming more engrossed in her faith”, explains her lawyer Frank Vermeeren. Barred from work in April 2008 for her refusal to bare her arms, she proceeded to lodge formal objections. Now a judge in Den Bosch has dissolved the nurse’s employment contract as of August 1, 2009, awarding the nurse 8,500 euro in compensation.
Muslim civil rights group had challenged ban on religious attire in courtrooms
WASHINGTON, July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded a decision by the Judicial Council of Georgia to allow religious attire such as Islamic headscarves, or hijab, in that state’s courtrooms.
Jury awards correctional officer $200K for racial harassment at the workplace
(CHICAGO, IL, 7/24/09) – The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today announced a verdict in favor of an Arab-American correctional officer in a discrimination case litigated pro bono against the Cook County Sheriff’s Department by CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak.
The verdict awarded Officer Abraham Yasin $200,000 in damages for harassment found to be pervasive or severe enough to create a hostile and abusive work environment.
In regards to the medical case of British citizen Hannah Clark, who has survived the first “piggyback” heart transplantation and has now fully recovered, author Khaled Diab questions the relationship of Arab science and the Islamic religion. The doctor who undertook this surgery, Magdi Yacoub, is an Egyptian who did not find his success in his own country but in Britain, where he is now one of the most esteemed heart surgeons and researchers and where he furthermore obtained both citizenship and knighthood.
Diab holds Arab countries responsible for hindering scientists to make a career and for science in general to spread, and it is not surprising that the Western world is far more advanced. While he affirms that the Quran can be interpreted in line with some modern science, he warns that other proved scientific aspects are rejected for moral reasons, such as confusing homosexuality with illness. Finally Diab calls for more investment of the Arab states into science, but also to hold universal truths over religious “truths”.