News Agencies – May 26, 2011
The U.S. military tribunal that oversaw Canadian Omar Khadr’s war crimes case has refused his bid for clemency, issuing a statement that simply confirms the eight-year sentence he received in a plea deal. Under it, Khadr pleaded guilty last October to five war crimes, among them the murder of a U.S. serviceman during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan, when the Toronto native was 15. He received a sentence of eight years, with one more to be served in Guantanamo, and seven in a Canadian prison.
Khadr had sought to have the sentence reduced, arguing in part that the prosecution had been guilty of “misconduct” regarding the presentation of a key prosecution witness at the October sentencing hearing.
Reuters – May 16, 2011
Muslim creationists are currently touring France preaching against evolution and claiming the Qur’an predicts many modern scientific discoveries.
Followers of Harun Yahya, a well-financed Turkish publisher of popular Islamic books, held four conferences at Muslim centers in the Paris area at the weekend with more scheduled in six other cities.
Harun Yahya, one of the most prolific publishers in the Muslim world, gave proudly secularist France a scare in January 2007 by mass-mailing thousands of free copies of his “Atlas of Creation” to schools and libraries across the country.
The Education Ministry quickly ordered headmasters to seize and hide copies of the large format book. It followed up with a special seminar to train teachers how to counter a small but growing group of pupils who challenge evolution with creationist theories. In October 2007, with strong French support, the Council of Europe denounced the creationist views laid out in the “Atlas of Creation” as a religious assault on science and human rights.
“People who defend evolution can’t accept the existence of a Creator,” Sadun said at La Reussite (“Success”), one of the few Muslim-run private schools in France.
“Life is not the result of chance, it’s the creation of a higher power, which of course is Allah,” he said in fluent French, adding that the confiscation of the “Atlas of Creation” was similar to book-burnings staged by the Nazis in the 1930s.
A teacher at the La Reussite meeting said French educators called him an Islamic fundamentalist for his creationist views, but he thought they were actually secularist fundamentalists.
News Agencies – May 25, 2011
The RMF (Rassemblement des Musulmans de France or Assembly of French Muslims) renewed their confidence in unanimously selecting Mohammed Moussaoui as their representative to stand as president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) in upcoming elections on June 5th and 19th.
As a presenter for MTV, Kristiane Backer was an icon of popular
culture. In her book Islam as a Way of the Heart she goes to the heart
of her religion to demonstrate that a tolerant, open Islam grounded in
the Koran and Islamic source materials does indeed exist. Lewis Gropp
has this review.
Attempts to build a large mosque in different Catalonian cities, including Barcelona, Cornella, Lleida and Badalona, have failed. The electoral process of 22-M, preceded by the ordinances against burka, have placed the issue of immigration and the construction of new mosques into the political debate. The party “Plataforma per Catalunya” (Platform for Catalonia) has based its program on xenophobic and Islamophobic discourse. Other political parties, as the right-wing “Partido Popular” (Popular Party) have used similar arguments, but in a more moderate way. The rest of the political forces have remained ambiguous about this issue.
The right wing party (Partido Popular) and the Commission for Melilla (Comisión por Melilla) attempted to discredit the political adversary with several accusations days before the local and regional elections tooks place.
Popular Party members accused the Muslim leader of CoM, Mostafa Aberchán, for his religious fanaticism and for having a message of religious “rupture”. Afterwards Coalition for Melilla (CpM) accused PP to extend the idea of “fear of the Moor” and to propagate a message of confusion a few days before regional elections. After that a Luisa Al-lal a Muslim member of the Popular Party reported an attempt to buy their votes by Coalition for Melilla (CpM)
Le Parisien – May 13, 2011
According to the CRCM Rhone-Alps (the regional representative of the CFCM, the French Council of the Muslim Faith), 84% of mosques in the region, which includes the Mosque of Lyon, will not participate in the June elections of the CFCM. Associations in the region had until May 11 to sign up to cote in the June elections. Azzedine Gaci, president of the regional group, claims that mosques in this region do not feel represented by the larger CFCM body. Gaci suggested that the elections be suspended until after the 2012 presidential elections so that issues of representativity can be addressed in the organization.
May 16 2011
Ahmed Marcouch, and Amsterdam politician and MP, has been recognized for his role promoting gay rights in “making homosexuality a discussible subject among Muslim”. The jury awarding the homo-emancipation prize reported being “impressed by the courage and fortitude Mr. Marcouch showed in bringing what is for many a sensitive subject into the open, both at local and national level [sic].” Marcouch has been a local politician in Amsterdam’s Slotervaart neighbourhood before being elected to parliament in last June’s elections.
May 17 2011
A report from the Raad voor Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling (RMO) Social Development Council recommends that immigrants to the Netherlands should not be required by law to learn Dutch unless it is necessary for their employment. Further, the report suggests that the nation’s compulsory integration courses be replaced with lessons in democratic citizenship open to the public at large. The report was presented to immigration minister Gerd Leers and aims to lessen the ‘negative tone dominating the integration debate and the restrictive migration policy which stems from it’.
After Yavuz Çelik Karahan had announced he was not going to stand for election as the head of Millis Görus, one of the leading Turkish migrant organizations in Germany, again, Kemal Ergürn was voted the new chair the organization. In his inauguration speech, Ergürn called on all Muslims in Germany to play an active part in society and to counteract common misperceptions of Islam. He also stressed that Muslims in Germany are part of society and should not feel as “migrants”.