6th Islamic Cultures Festival, September 7 – 17, 2011

The Islamic Cultures Institute, cultural centre in Paris, tackles the question of the artistic impact, 10 years after, of the biggest attempt on the US territory. From all the questions and analysis born from this event, the point of view of contemporary art is not very tackled nor explained.

This 6th Islamic Cultures Festival will show the vitality of the creation linked to 11.09. This ‘American season’ will deal with what art says (or lets us guess) nowadays, of the representations of Islam and the Muslim people and also its relations with the western world. 

Four seasons will be the core of the exhibition:

 Ante 11.09

 11.09.01

 Post 11.09

 11.09.11

Toronto-area author attacked in possible hate crime

The Toronto Sun – August 25, 2011


Halton police are treating an attack on a first-time author whose self-published book has been branded anti-Muslim as a possible hate crime. Raised Muslim, Paris Dipersico, 24, reported being dragged from his bicycle Aug. 17, tied up among trees, then beaten briefly unconscious by two Muslim men. Accused of being gay, they then “called me a Jew in Arabic and said the Jews are paying you to write this against Islam,” the author of Wake Up Call said.

Using several characters, including ones named Paris and Gabrielle plus others disguised or altered, Dipersico said Wake Up Call was a self-healing project based on troubling experiences with relatives telling him they are superior to others, while some lied, cheated and committed adultery. Released in June, it has been accused of being pornographic, celebrating drug use and mocking various religions. Relatives criticized Gabrielle’s voluntary cover photo for showing too much flesh, “but I wasn’t coerced,” the 23-year-old said. “We are Muslim, but we were raised in Canada,” Paris said.

South Asian Sweets in High Demand with the End of Ramadan in Toronto

The Globe and Mail – August 23, 2011


It’s a blur of activity in the kitchen of Al-Karam Sweets in Scarborough, where mithai makers are working up to 14-hour days simmering milk, roasting almonds and clarifying butter, all in high demand this last week of Ramadan.

The days leading up to Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the month of fasting next week, are among the busiest of the year for South Asian sweet makers across Canada. In a typical week, Al-Karam sells about two dozen different mithais from the shop’s glass display counter, using 400 litres of milk to prepare them. This week, however, they expect to turn 2,000 litres of milk into the delicacies. Around Eid, they sell 10 times their normal inventory, with some customers walking away with as much as four to five kilograms of treats.

Toronto imam charged with assault traveled under aliases

News Agencies – August 24, 2011

A Toronto imam charged with sexual assault travelled under three aliases, the Toronto Police Service has announced. Police allege that Mohammad Masroor, 48, used the name Junaid Salman in Hungary, Austria, Italy and elsewhere in Europe in the early 1990s, may have travelled under the name Abdur Rahim in India, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, and was also known as Abdul Karim Abdul Aziz.

Mr. Masroor was arrested on Aug. 10 and police announced on Aug. 17 that he faced 13 charges, including sexual assault and threatening death, in connection with alleged offences between Nov. 1, 2008, and July 28, 2011. Mr. Masroor taught at the Baitul Mukarram Islamic Society on Danforth Avenue in Scarborough. Mr. Masroor has worked at mosques in Bangladesh, Singapore, Sri Lanka and several countries in Western Europe. He was most recently in Michigan and Florida.

Mayor of Paris to share end of Ramadan feast at City Hall

News Agencies – August 24, 2011


The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, will host a Ramadan-inspired musical event which has created controversy among secular and far-right critics. The mayor has responded that the city has organized this event every year since 2001 and that there will be no prayers or religious tones to the event.

180 Moroccan Imams sent to France for Ramadan

Au Fait Maroc – August 26, 2011


180 imams have arrived from Morocco to assist in the gatherings around the month of Ramadan, a tradition that has taken place over a number of years according to CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) leader, Mohamed Moussaoui. 25,000 copies of Qur’an edited in Morocco have come with these holy leaders. Many will go to the newly opened Mosque of Strasbourg whose 8.7 million euro cost was partially funded by the government of Morocco, assistance which is possible because of the exceptional legal status of the Alsace-Moselle region.

New study: Swedish Muslim Congregation

Islam is the fastest growing religion in Western Europe today. As a consequence, the emergence and growth of Muslim religious congregations is one of the most important changes that have taken place within the European third (or voluntary) sector in the last 20 years. However, more often than not, these congregations are described as “enclaves” or “integration traps” isolating new citizens from the rest of society, a picture that has remained largely uncontested due to a lack of more extensive research. 

The intention of the Swedish Muslim Congregation project is to present – for the first time in Europe – nationally representative data about the activities and roles of local Muslim congregations. We have concentrated primarily on three problem areas:

Our aim, first, has been to map the congregations’ demography and activities (especially the extent of voluntary social work). Second, we have investigated Muslim experiences of the reactions of others in their surrounding environments, as reported by congregation representatives. To what extent do Muslim congregations encounter local opposition and support? Third is our focus on Muslim congregation collaboration with other organizations and public institutions. The Scandinavian welfare model boasts a long established emphasis on collaboration between third sector, municipal and state organizations. Are the Muslim congregations able – and willing – to connect to the established forms of cooperation that already exist in Sweden between the public and third sectors?

An essential part of the project is the nationwide questionnaire sent to the 147 local Swedish Muslim congregations that we identified, to which we received 105 replies (a 71 percent response rate). Non-response analysis showed no

statistically significant differences in response propensity that could be connected with the different existing schools of Islam, nor with the type of municipality (metropolitan, small town, rural district, etc.)

Great Increase in Xenophobic Web Pages in Sweden

22 August

According to a new report, presented by the Living History Forum (Forum för levande historia), Jews and Muslims wearing apparent religious symbols are subjected to significant discrimination in Sweden and the number of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic web sites have, according to figures originally presented by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, almost doubled since 2007. Today the number of xenophobic web pages is estimated to approximately 15.000.

Even so, minister of integration Erik Ullenhag, wrote in a statement following the report that “Sweden as a whole is a tolerant country, but we cannot close our eyes to the fact that racism is growing and is being professionalized on the internet. There is today a small but growing minority that harbours hatred against Muslims and Jews.” Therefore Swedish authorities must further their knowledge about what causes hate against these groups to grow and how the trend can be turned.

On these web pages the Jewish group is often imagined as world conspirators whereas the Muslim group is seen as occupiers, using mass-immigration and rising nativity figures “Islamizing the West”. According to estimations the Jewish community in Sweden consists of some 20,000 individuals and the Muslim community of 300,000. Crime statistics presented in the report mentions 161 reports of crimes with anti-Semitic motives and 272 with Islamophobic motives in 2010. These figures are, however, based on police reports and there may be many more unrecorded cases.

This is confirmed by as well Omar Mustafa, chairman of the Islamic Union in Sweden (IFiS) as bt Lena Posner-Körösi, chairman of the Jewish Central Council in Sweden (JC). They both claim that their members don’t report hate crime out of resignation or fear.

Loan Dilemma for Muslim Students in the UK


In light of changes to the tuition and student loan system in the UK, which lead to higher tuition fees and interest rates on loans, Muslim student groups are calling for a separate student loan system, as paying interest conflicts with some interpretations of Islamic (Sharia) law. This conflict may prevent some Muslims from applying for university – unless a scheme is in place allowing them to finance their studies in a way that is compatible with Islamic law. As the Independent reports, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) called the interest rate increase was a “pressing issue”. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is currently negotiating with student groups. However, so far, it is uncertain how this issue will be resolved.

March by English Defence League Banned


Home Secretary Theresa May has banned a march through Tower Hamlets, one of the UK’s biggest Muslim communities, planned by the English Defence League (EDL) for September 3rd. The Guardian reports that May has effectively outlawed ‘any marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs – whether by the EDL or any other group – for the next 30 days, having “balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected”’. The ban was requested by the Metropolitan police due to concern over serious public disorder, violence, and damage. In the past, members of the EDL, which purports to oppose Islamic extremism but insists to not be a racist group, have been seen to be extremely provocative during their marches, which were mainly aimed at Muslim communities.