Fire destroys Missouri mosque in second blaze at the Islamic center in 5 weeks; no injuries

The shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., is the day’s worst example of hateful violence — but it is not, sadly, the only one. Early Monday morning, someone set fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. The mosque couldn’t be saved, so now there are 50 Muslim families in Joplin, Mo. — the same town devastated by a tornado last May — without a place to worship.

 

A mosque in southwest Missouri burned to the ground early Monday in the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month, and investigators spent the day combing through the wreckage searching for evidence of arson.

 

No injuries were reported, but the Islamic Society of Joplin’s building was a total loss after the blaze, first reported at about 3:30 a.m., the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said. As of late Monday, nobody had been arrested in connection with the fire.

 

While investigators did their work, a small group of Muslims gathered for an evening prayer on the lawn of the destroyed building.

 

“This is what we stand for,” said Dr. Ahmed Asadullah, a member of the Islamic Society of Joplin. “Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech.”

 

It was the second time this summer investigators had been called to the Islamic center, located in a former church on the outskirts of Joplin. A fire reported around the same time on July 4 has been determined to be arson, but no charges have been filed. The FBI has released a video of a suspect caught on surveillance video and offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in that fire.

 

Michael Kaste, special agent in charge of the Kansas City office of the FBI, said the investigation into Monday’s fire was in the preliminary stages, and that about 30 people had been assigned to the investigation.

 

“Any act of violence to a house of worship is taken very seriously by law enforcement, and threatens the very core of the safety and security of our communities,” Kaste said. A Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization meanwhile called for more police protection at mosques and other houses of worship following the Joplin fire and a deadly attack at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The Council on American-Islamic Relations also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever started the mosque fire.

The detained terrorists intended to attack Gibraltar

06 August 2012

 

The alleged Russian Chechen Islamists arrested last Thursday in Almuradiel (Ciudad Real) intended to attack  Gibraltar coinciding with the celebration of the Olympic Games in London, as it is clear from the research conducted by the National Court Judge Pablo Ruz, reported legal sources.

This is the conclusion of researchers following a statement from the flight instructor who was contacted by Eldar Magomedov, aka “Muslim Dost,” Muhamed Ankari Adamov and Cengiz Turk Yalzin to teach them how to paraglide during their stay in La Linea de la Concepción (Cádiz).

British Muslim Fighters reportedly fighting in Syria

Jeroen Oerlemans a famous Dutch photo journalist and John Cantlie, a photographer from the UK was kidnapped by rebels when they were crossing to Syria from Turkish border. They reported that some of the rebels had distinct British accents. The UK Foreign Office has launched an investigation on the reports.

Muslim Women find their place in the Olympics

3 August 2012

 

Female Muslim athletes made a historic appearance in London Olympics, not for their victories which were scored against their opponents but against widespread prejudice both from biased non-Muslims and Muslims.  Unlike their opponents Muslim females who have chosen to observe modest dress code due to religious reasons had to overcome political and cultural obstacles.

 

Judoka Shaherkani was the first female Saudi to join to the Olympic Games, yet she had to fight with countries clergymen who give a cultural spin to their interpretation of the religion. This was not only problem she had to deal with the International Judo Federation that had initially said Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani could not compete in a headscarf.

 

There have been a few other Muslim female athletes from who had to overcome similar obstacles and struggle to overcome the prejudice embedded in the minds of people at home as well as in the West.

Smartphone applications connect Canadian Muslims with Islam

CBC News – July 31, 2012

 

More and more Canadian young people receive reminders of the five daily prayers on their smartphones. Many use iPray — an iPhone app — that is among a host of smartphone offerings that aid Muslims in the observance of Islamic rituals. “We can be connected and are able to look up something, such as text from the Quran, at a moment’s notice, and anywhere,” says Ahtisham, the co-chair of the youth committee at the Muslim Association of Hamilton and a recent McMaster University graduate.

Fahad Gilani, operations manager and lead developer at Guided Ways Technologies, says downloads of Islamic apps during Ramadan rises upward 10 times the ordinary rate. Though, the smartphone apps are not solely to mark Ramadan. For believers, there are Islamic apps that help its users learn accurate Arabic pronunciations of a daily prayer, locate the nearest restaurant offering Halal foods or pinpoint qiblah, the direction that Muslims face when engaged in prayer — all on a smartphone.

Similarly, smartphone apps exist to enable believers of every religious stripe to read holy book verses, receive prayer reminders or locate the precise direction of prayer. Gilani says their suite of smartphone apps is available in at least 14 languages, including English, Urdu and Farsi. Yet for all his enthusiasm, Gilani acknowledges limiting factors still exist. He recalls the early years of the app development and worry over preserving the sanctity of Islam.

Mosque Pig Defilement in France

News Agencies – August 1, 2012

 

Two pig heads were found hanging at the entrance of a mosque in southern France on August 1st, in the latest incident of what Muslim leaders say is rising Islamophobia in the country. The mayor of Montauban denounced what she described as intimidation of Muslims after the heads were discovered in the early morning attached to two pillars at the entrance of the Salam Mosque, a huge pool of blood on the ground. Pigs are considered unclean by Muslims, who are forbidden from eating pork.

Police have opened an investigation. Muslim leaders said the vandalism was especially shocking because it happened during the holy month of Ramadan. It was the first such incident in Montauban, near the city of Toulouse. In 2009, pig feet were hung on a mosque in Castres, also in southern France, and a Nazi swastika was painted on its walls along with racist and nationalist slogans.

French mayor revokes suspension of fasting Muslims

News Agencies  – August 1, 2012

 

A French mayor has revoked the suspension of four Muslim camp counselors following an uproar after he said they could not work properly because they might be weakened by their all-day fasting for Ramadan. Muslim groups threatened to sue the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers for discrimination for recalling the four after an inspector found on July 20 – the first day of the Muslim holy month – that they were not eating or drinking during the day.

Lawyers for the counselors, who had accompanied children from the suburb on a town-sponsored stay at a summer camp in southwestern France, said they might also take the issue to a labor court. Muslim leaders presented the case as an issue of religious liberty, while the town’s Communist mayor Jacques Bourgoin insisted his concern was only for the safety of the campers.

Bourgoin said the town required that because two children were injured in a traffic accident two years ago when a fasting Muslim counselor fainted at the wheel of the minibus in which she was transporting them. This requirement applied only to monitors on long trips with round-the-clock responsibility for children, he added. The clause in the counselors’ contracts requiring regular meals does not mention Muslims, but it clearly applies to them because they are presumably the only ones who would fast now.

Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, said exceptions to the Ramadan fast would normally be made only for pregnant women and ailing persons. “French Muslims would resent any infringement of this religious liberty,” he said in a communiqué.

Jewish and Muslim protest organize online petitions

July 30

 

Three young Jewish and Muslims have addressed the German Federal government with an appeal relative to the proposal of circumcision ban. “Jews and Muslims should not be forced to leave a free democratic country in order to follow their religion”, it was said. Even secular Jews such as the lawyer Sergey Lagodinsky who comes from the former Soviet Union and works for the Boell foundation describe the debate led by some commentators and members of the Green party as “arrogant and short sighted”.

Circumcision – Interview with writer Feridun Zaimoglu

August 2

 

The German author and visual artist of Turkish origin Feridun Zaimoglu speaks about circumcision in an interview with Qantara. He talks about the general feeling of fear towards Muslims. Another point he underlines is the need to differentiate between genital mutilation and circumcision when talking about Muslim rituals. He declared that censorship on religion and religious is often used by so-called Liberals in order to become popular. “The secular State becomes ridiculous”, he claimed. The State often encourages gossipers and radicals who mask themselves as culture warriors and humanists but are unable to express humanity.