Irish citizen taken off UN list of al-Qaeda supporters

 

A Libyan born naturalized Irish citizen has been taken off a list of the UN Security Council imposing sanctions on suspected al-Qaeda supporters. The individual has tried for three years to clear his name from the list. No reasons for removing him from it were given.

The UN Security Council list of al-Qaeda supporters imposes sanctions on those mentioned, including a travel ban, a freeze of assets and a weapons embargo.

Described as a “close associate” of Osama bin Laden, he has been accused of providing logistical and financial support to al-Qaeda cells in Europe and other alleged terrorist organisations. The individual himself has denied all charges.

Cardiff’s Muslim Community Commemorates their Leader

13 May 2012

 

Yemeni sailors were some of the oldest Muslims who migrated to the UK more than a century ago. They mostly dwelled around Cardiff and opened the first mosque in the city as late as 1860. The Muslim community in the city is well established and formed strong community ties with the host Welsh.

 

Their religious ceremonies are welcomed by the non-Muslim groups and their century old annual procession had been dubbed by the wider community as a “Muslim Christmas”. The Muslim community has now decided to revive their annual procession for the memory of late Sheikh Said Hassan Ismail, founder of South Wales Islamic Centre.

George Galloway’s election victory in Bradford continues to draw attention to the participation of Muslims in the British political system

14 May 2012

 

Bradford accommodates the third highest percentage of South Asians in the UK. So-called ‘Muslim votes’ make up 45% of the constituency’s population, and thus these votes are crucial for any political party that wants to score a victory in the elections.

 

Political experts were taken by surprise when George Galloway scored an undisputed victory in the elections for the vacant parliamentary seat of Bradford West in March, 2012. Galloway has always had close relations with the Muslim community but performed poorly in his own constituency and lost his seat in Bromley in 2010.

 

His recent victory has been considered an indication of Muslims’ dissatisfaction in the current performance of the mainstream political parties. This of course has some ground, since unemployment rates in parts of Bradford are almost four times higher than the national average and the number of pupils who progress to higher education are amongst the lowest in the country.

French President Appoints Yamina Benguigui as Junior Minister for French Living Abroad

May 18, 2012
On 16 May 2012, Yamina Benguigui was appointed “Delegated Minister in charge of French people living abroad and of Francophonie by the newly elected French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault . Her parents are of Algerian origin and immigrated in the 1950s. In the March 2008 French municipal elections Benguigui was elected in the XXe arrondissement to the Conseil de Paris, where she focused on human rights and the fight against discrimination. She is known for her films on gender issues in the North African immigrant community in France.

Islamic Relief Canada charity to help food bank pay off debts

Toronto Star – May 17, 2012

 

A charity that normally deals with international disasters is answering the call of a Toronto Food Bank. Islamic Relief Canada has launched a campaign that will match dollar for a dollar any donations to help the Flemingdon Community Food Bank pay off the $30,000 it owes in rent.

Last week, the food bank — which serves 3,800 families in the high-needs area of Flemingdon Park — launched an urgent appeal to help it raise the money needed and save it from shutting its doors. Over the past three years, the rent of the food bank has increased from $22,600/year to $31,200, said Abdul Hai Patel, the acting chair and treasurer of the food bank. That is in addition to monthly costs of $3,100 for expenses, delivery, pest control and supplies, he said.

Canadian Irshad Manji book tour in Indonesia runs into trouble

News Agencies –  May 10, 2012

 

Police crackdowns and attacks by religious extremists have attempted to derail the book tour of famed Muslim Canadian author Irshad Manji through Indonesia, a country she previously described as a symbol of “meaningful moderation in Islam.” “Four years ago, I came to Indonesia and experienced a nation of tolerance, openness and pluralism,” said Ms. Manji. “Things have changed.”

Raised in Vancouver, Ms. Manji rose to prominence as an advocate for progressive Islam with her 2003 book The Trouble With Islam Today. Most controversially to many of her religious critics, she is openly lesbian. Ms. Manji was in the South Asian country to promote the Indonesian release of Allah, Liberty and Love. Amid laying out a blueprint for Muslim reformation modelled on the U.S. civil rights movement, the book singles out Indonesia as a model Muslim society.

Board suspends Toronto Islamic school’s operating permit after row over anti-Jewish curriculum

An Islamic school that had been using teaching materials that dis Jews and encouraged boys to keep fit for jihad has lost its license to use Toronto District School Board property. The board suspended a permit issued to the Islamic Shia Study Centre, which operated the East End Madrassah out of a Toronto high school until an outcry last week over the content of its curriculum booklets.

 

But the school’s curriculum, which it has now taken off its website, referred to “crafty,” “treacherous” Jews and contrasted Islam with “the Jews and the Nazis.” The passages were from two books published by Iranian foundations. Girls, meanwhile, were told to limit their involvement in physical activities and to instead engage in hobbies that would prepare them to become mothers and wives.

Indian Embassy in Paris fully alert to security after news of planned attack

News Agencies – May 18, 2012

With reports of a terror attack plot being unearthed against its Embassy in Paris, India said the mission has been “fully alert” to security issues and was in touch with relevant French authorities in this regard. According to a media report, 23-year-old Algerian origin terrorist Mohamed Merah was found to have been plotting to attack the Indian Embassy in Paris on the direction of his Taliban handlers in Pakistan. Merah was was shot dead by French special forces two months ago.

 

Merah was killed after police and special forces laid an almost 32-hour siege of his apartment in Toulouse, after his armed attacks on a Jewish school and killing of army personnel outside their barracks on March 15.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem – the young Muslim woman at the heart of Hollande’s new cabinet

News Agencies – May 18, 2012

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, 34, is the youngest member of the cabinet which assembled under the chairmanship of President François Hollande. She is the Minister for Women’s Affairs and will be the official spokeswoman for the government and, therefore, the mouthpiece for “Hollandism”.

The first Socialist French government for 10 years is stuffed – some say over-stuffed – with messages and symbols. It is the first government in France, or any large democracy, to be perfectly gender-balanced – 17 men and 17 women. Mr Hollande and his Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, have also reached out to racial minorities, youth and the Eurosceptic wing of the French left. There is no message more striking than that embodied by Ms Vallaud-Belkacem, after an election in which immigration and Islam were used as cudgels by both the far right and by the centre-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

A married mother of twins, Ms Vallaud-Belkacem is a “non-practising Muslim”. After winning scholarships to elite colleges, she calls herself a “pure product of the [egalitarianism] of the [French] Republic”.