Ad criticizing Muslim chaplain at WFU draws fire

An alumnus from Wake Forest University who took out an advertisement in Monday’s Winston-Salem Journal criticizing Imam Khalid Griggs, a university chaplain, said he did so as a way of pushing his alma mater into playing host to a debate on Shariah law.

In the ad, which ran the day of Wake Forest’s graduation, Donald Woodsmall claims that Griggs is a “Shariah supremacist who believes that everyone should live under Islamic Shariah law, with Islamic law replacing all man-made laws, including the U.S. Constitution.”

Griggs did not return emails and a phone call. Brett Eaton, a spokesman for Wake Forest, said the university would not comment on the ad.

For the past several months, Woodsmall has tried to get President Nathan Hatch to consent to a symposium on Shariah law, the moral code and religious law of Islam. Woodsmall believes Muslims who adhere to Shariah are a threat to national security.

His correspondences with Hatch have also included accusations that Griggs is following the ideology of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center.

Jeffrey Green, the Journal’s president and publisher, said: “We treated this ad the same way we do political advertising. The ad was the opinion of the individual that bought the space. He paid for it and signed his name to it.”

Prominent Islamophobes Identified As ‘Heading Up The Radical Right’

Increasing anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. has shown enormous growth in the past two years, leading the Southern Poverty Law Center to mention three notorious Islamophobes on their list of “30 new activists heading up the radical right.” The SPLC finds that “[a]n anti-Muslim movement, almost entirely ginned up by political opportunists and hard-line Islamophobes, has grown enormously since taking off in 2010, when reported anti-Muslim hate crimes went up by 50%.”

The anti-Muslim activists, who all play a prominent role in the Center for American Progress’ report, “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America,” play pivotal roles as misinformation experts and online activists, stirring up Islamophobic fears across the country.

ADL criticizes new bullying guidelines

WASHINGTON — The Anti-Defamation League is taking issue with a new, broadly supported pamphlet on balancing anti-bullying policies and religious speech in public schools.

The pamphlet, written chiefly by the American Jewish Committee, was released on Tuesday (May 22) with endorsements from groups ranging from the National Association of Evangelicals to the National School Boards Association to the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

On Thursday (May 24), the ADL, a Jewish civil rights group, criticized the pamphlet for suggesting that “bullying erupts in the aftermath of disagreements over political or religious speech.” What actually happens most frequently, the ADL said, is “the intentional targeting of an individual with less physical or social standing for physical, verbal, and emotional abuse.”

But to the ADL, the pamphlet sends mixed messages and contradicts state laws and federal guidelines on bullying by emphasizing students’ First Amendment rights over schools’ responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for all students, especially those who may be particularly vulnerable to bullying.

The pamphlet, entitled “Harassment, Bullying and Free Expression: Guidelines for Free and Safe Public Schools,” was produced by the Washington-based Religious Freedom Education Project/First Amendment Center.

Kansas governor signs law barring use of Islamic or other foreign codes for legal decisions

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a law aimed at keeping the state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, and a national Muslim group’s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely.

The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

“This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.”

But supporters have worried specifically about Shariah law being applied in Kansas court cases, and the alliance says on its website that it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from “infiltration” by foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.”

Muslim soldier convicted in failed plot to bomb Fort Hood troops in Texas restaurant

A federal jury Thursday convicted Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, a Muslim soldier, on six charges in connection with his failed plot to blow up a Texas restaurant full of Fort Hood troops, his religious mission to get “justice” for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“A disaster was averted because somebody picked up the phone and made a call,” prosecutor Mark Frazier told The Associated Press after the trial. “The people who work in businesses like this are vigilant … and risked being embarrassed if their suspicions turned out to be nothing, but that’s what we want people to do.”

Abdo was convicted of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of U.S. officers or employees, and four counts of possessing a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence. He faces up to life in prison. U.S. District Judge Walter Smith is set to sentence Abdo in July.

New Jersey finds NYC police surveillance of Muslims broke no state laws, can’t be blocked

NEWARK, N.J. — Islamic leaders say they are shocked that a review by New Jersey’s state attorney general into the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance operation targeting Muslim businesses and mosques in New Jersey found the NYPD did nothing wrong.

Muslim leaders in New Jersey say they are angry but uncertain what their next step will be after the state’s attorney general found that New York City police did not violate any laws in its surveillance of Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups in New Jersey.

Chiesa had been asked by Gov. Chris Christie, who appointed him, to look into operations in New Jersey that were part of a widespread NYPD program to collect intelligence on Muslim communities both inside New York and beyond. Undercover officers and informants eavesdropped in Muslim cafes and monitored sermons, even when there was no evidence of a crime. They infiltrated Muslim student groups, videotaped mosque-goers or collected their license plate numbers as they prayed.

Young Islamist sends out death calls against Right-wing movement Pro NRW

May 25

The 27 year-old German Islamist Yassin Chouka, alias “Abu Ibrahim” has sent out a death call via the Internet. In a video, released on the You Tube platform on May 18th, he condemns the Muhammad Cartoon campaign, organized a few weeks ago by the right-wing movement party of Pro North Rhine-Westphalia in some German cities. In his words, Pro NRW members have insulted the prophet and deserve the only possible punishment, which is death. In his call, Chouka asks to gather detailed information about Pro NRW members, their address in order to locate and murder them.

German security authorities have expressed high concern in regard of this issue: this is the first time a recognized member of the Islamist community calls for such a drastic action. The interests of German security forces are focusing on young self-radicalized individuals, sympathizing with the Jihadist scene. Also, the Federal Prosecutor General is investigating against Chouka, accusing him of activities in a terrorist association

Yassin Chouka is born in Germany and moved to Pakistan in 2007 to join a terrorist group called Islamic movement of Uzbekistan (IMZ). A splinter group of IMZ is the Islamic Jihad Union, which attempted to commit a terrorist plot by the so called “Sauerland cell”. The Sauerland group planned bomb attacks across Germany but was uncovered and arrested by German security forces in 2007. Together with his older brother Mounir Chouka, Yassin released periodical video messages from Waziristan calling for terrorist attacks in Germany. According to his core statements, Germany would deserve the harshest punishment possible, as it would be governed by “Jewish forces” and cooperate with the USA in Afghanistan. Recently, the Chouka brothers had praised the French Islamist Mohammed Merah as a martyr for having killed seven persons. Yassin and Mounir Chouka are suspected to be in the area of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. German and US Federal authorities are hunting both with an international arrest warrant.

Krekar approves the decision of being detained for another eight weeks

It was reported last Wednesday that Mulla Krekar’s detention had been extended for another eight weeks. He accepts the decision made by the District Court in Oslo, which also informed the public that his case will be decided in a minor court hearing. Krekar’s defendant Arvis Sjöding informed the Aftonposten (Evening Newspapers) that Krekar understood that chances of him being released in wait for the trial were minimal and for that reason he had accepted the Court’s decision without official meeting in the courthouse. The newspaper further presented the details of the case by disclosing that Krekar will most likely appeal the previous conviction given by the District Court in the Court of Appeals and that he will do so most likely in October. According to the prosecutor Marit Bakkevik this is the period that suits both parties in the case.

It was on March 26th (2012) that Krekar was sentenced to five years in jail for a death threat made to Erna Solberg, a leader of the Norwegian right-wing party (http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10064736). He had appealed the court decision just a day after, however his demand was declined. The Kurdish Imam was initially arrested by the PST (Norwegian Police Security Service) only to be detained for eight weeks (in wait for the prosecutor’s initial decision to prosecute him). Subsequently, the court decided that it would be highly dangerous to let Krekar free in wait for court hearings as the nature of his threat (to Bekkevik) was interpreted to be especially serious. Krekar’s defendant Sjödin points out the Krekar is involved in several projects, one of which is writing a book.

More about Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad (Mulla Krekar):

 A 56-year-old Muslim cleric of Kurdish origin from northern Iraq and a father of four. Since 1991 he has been living in Norway claiming asylum due to high risk of imprisonment and torture in Iraq due to his political activities. He has been controversial throughout his stay in Norway which has been one of the reasons the Norwegian government did not grant him citizenship despite residing in the country for the past 21 years. Some of the alleged controversies include public statements where he had supported insurgent attacks against the U.S. and ally occupation of Iraq. He has also been the leader of Ansar A-Islam until 2003, an armed group in northern Iraq conducting violent attack against the occupying forces after 2003 and thereafter event the regional Kurdish government forces. He had denounced his leadership, nevertheless, the threat of extrajudicial treatment and torture still remains according to the Norwegian authorities who have not been willing to deport him to Iraq. In March 2012 he has been convicted to a five-year prison sentence due to repeated death threats made both to a prominent politician and a Kurdish-Norwegian writer.

Female islamologist in Sweden demands female power

17 May 2012

The men have the power, and they misinterpret Islam. That is the opinion of islamologist and feminist Suad Mohamed. She now demands that the mosques give way to educated female imams.

The out-of-date mosque representatives screened in the last week’s investigative program shocked Suad Mohamed. “The men who occupy these positions (as counselors) have much power. People come to them every day for advice. For that reason it is important to have educated and knowledgeable people who receive these people (in need). Not someone who takes us back to the Medieval period,” she told TT (news agency).

Suad Mohamed believes that the men in the report are bad representatives of Muslim and that they are ill-informed. “Nowhere in the Koran is violence and maltreatment (of women) preached. If they read about the Prohpet’s life, they will be able to find that he never, ever hit any of the women nor children.” She further argues that Islam is not a religion which degrades women. The degradation had instead appeared when men had interpreted the religion and translated (this interpretation) into law(s). She continues, “there are women who understand the religion and who can resist these men who misuse the religion, or who can become fanatical. Knowledge is power and often it is the men who are educated.”

Suad Mohamed, further argues that the conservative men, not the religion, creates problems. “The young men who occupy the positions of power within the various congregations are the children of the ruling patriarchs. They take over the ruling positions much like the way has been in the Arab world.”

According to Suad Mohamed, the men want to maintain this advantage over women and often reference weak or fabricated (a)hadith, the recorded advice allegedly uttered by the Prophet Muhammed. She argues that they should instead refer to the Koran.

She was once called herself the first female imam in Sweden. However, she realized that no one would hire her and gave up that title. She welcomes the investigative report’s (Uppdrag granskning) disclosure and she hopes that this will lead to changes.

 

About Suad Mohamed:

 A 43 year-old Ethiopian mother of four living in Sweden. She is a pre-school teacher working in Huddinge (Stockholm) and has been trained in Islamic studies at a university in Jordan. The Swedish media frequently consult Suad on controversial issues concerning the Muslim community in Sweden. She is not a representative of any known Muslim organizations; nevertheless, until recently she titled herself an imam (usually interpreted as a [religious] leader of a community). Now she describes herself as an islamologist and a Muslim feminist.

Immigrant Citizens Survey: perceptions of the immigrants about integration

23 may 2012

 

 

The Immigrant Citizens Survey (ICS) was presented at the headquarters of the European Commission Representation in Spain. The survey was directed from Brussels by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Migration Policy Group, in collaboration with the CIDOB in Spain and the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS). The ICS is the first international survey which reflects the opinion of immigrants on the facilities and difficulties encountered when integrated into the host society.
“The results of the ICS are striking because they show that the vision of immigrants on their situation is more positive than expected,” said Jordi Vaquer, director of CIDOB, during the presentation.
The survey of more than 7,000 immigrants with authorized residence status in 15 cities and in 7 EU countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy and Portugal) was done in the late 2011 and reveals what immigrants think on key integration policies. The study focuses on analyzing the perception of immigrants on issues such as residence permits, citizenship, family reunification, labor market, social participation and education, among others.