Central council of Muslims criticizes draft law on euthanasia

August 3

 

The Central Council of Muslims has issued a press release relatively to a new draft law on euthanasia. The draft law, proposed by Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP), would legalize private euthanasia also when disposed by close relatives, allowing them to do so without legal consequences. The Council expressed the message that Muslims in Germany should not be abiding by this law. The medical doctor Dr. Houaida Taraji said that “Life is worth to be protected at any stage and no side doors should be opened for murder”.

Multiple discrimination against Muslim women in Europe: for equal opportunities

Summary
In Council of Europe member States where Islam is not the religion of the majority of the population, Muslim
women face multiple discrimination as women, as part of a religious minority and sometimes for being of
immigrant origin. They are often victims of stereotyping, since their religious beliefs are seen as the only
defining element of their identity.
It is time to take a new approach since many Muslim women want to be actors of change and empowerment.
Rather than being isolated, stigmatised or forced into a stereotype, Muslim women should be encouraged in
their quest for equal opportunities in society. Positive measures should be introduced to make it possible for
Muslim women to be protagonists of their own empowerment. Investing in education, encouraging networking
and the participation in civil and public life, as well as accompanying them in their professional development
are key actions in order to raise Muslim’s women awareness of their rights and help them realise their full
potential.

Saudi women going to Games is a sham

Editor’s note: Jocelyne Cesari is the senior visiting professor of International Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University and director of the Islam in the West Program, Harvard University.

(CNN) — For the first time, Saudi Arabia sent two women to the Olympics — Wojdan Shaherkani and Sarah Attar, who will compete in judo and track and field. But their participation is far from a groundbreaking step for Saudi women.

It was touch and go whether one of the Saudi women, Shaherkani, would even participate this year when the president of the International Federation of Judo said women wearing headscarves would not be allowed to compete for fear of choking and injury. The issue has been resolved and she will participate in a form of headgear that complies with Saudi’s strict Islamic dress codes for women.

But if Shaherkani had withdrawn, it would not have been a setback for Saudi women because her inclusion was not a sign of advancement. The presence of Saudi women is the result of several months of pressure by the International Olympics Committee on Saudi Arabia to include women competitors or face being banned from participation.

The situation for female athletes in Saudi Arabia is bleak.

Saudi women in general are denied the right to practice sports. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prevents girls from taking part in sports in government schools. Physical education is allowed only in private schools. Women are not allowed to play in official sports clubs or even watch matches in stadiums. Girls’ football, volleyball and basketball games in private schools and colleges are held secretly.

Because of this ban, finding women with Olympic level training was a kind of mission impossible. Only a few days before its July announcement that the two women would attend, the Saudi National Olympic Committee said it could not find a woman qualified enough to compete.

Most Muslim-majority countries have sent female athletes to compete in the Olympics for decades. More Muslim women are competing in sports today than ever.

But even when women are included, competition remains a challenge, particularly because of athletic dress codes. In 2007, the International Federation of Association Football issued a ban on the hijab or headscarf. But this year, FIFA has lifted the ban after testing new hijabs specifically designed for athletes.

In sports and in daily life, women have few rights in Saudi Arabia.

The country, according to a Human Rights Watch report, has one of worst records on women’s rights in the world. Women are treated as legal minors and often must have a man’s permission to leave their homes, seek medical care, participate in public life, study, go to government offices and courts or even make decisions for their children. The genders are strictly segregated. Women cannot drive.

It would be tempting to see the Saudi’s decision to include women in the Olympics as a big step forward.

But as Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, said: “An 11th hour change of course to avoid a ban does not alter the dismal and unequal conditions for women and girls in Saudi Arabia.”

The signs of change for Saudi women are yet to come.

Saudi athlete Wojdan Shaherkani, left, arrives in London with her father for the Olympics on July 25.

New Publication: Muslims in Paris

“This neighbourhood has always been a neighbourhood of arrivals; people who come and are in need, trying to move into a more welcoming neighbourhood.” —Focus group respondent

Muslims in Paris highlights the everyday experiences and rarely heard voices of Muslims living in the neighbourhood of La Goutte d’Or, situated in Paris’ multicultural 18th arrondissement. The qualitative research reveals that both Muslim and non-Muslim residents share a keen sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, city and country. Challenging common misperceptions as to sources of division and exclusion, the report finds that Muslims and non-Muslims are united by common values—such as family and good neighbourliness—and that it is social and economic factors, not religion, which divides them.

The research offers a unique insight into how some of Paris’ diverse Muslim residents feel about where they live and the opportunities available to them to live as full citizens of France. The report examines the real sources of division, exclusion and discrimination they encounter in daily life, and efforts made to overcome these barriers.

By engaging with communities and policymakers, local experts heading the research explored the primary concerns of Muslim residents in the 18th arrondissement. Issues addressed include education, employment, health, housing and social protection, citizenship and political participation, policing and security, media, belonging and identity.

The report acts on its findings by offering a series of recommendations for local and national authorities, Muslim communities and other minority groups, NGOs and community organizations, the media, and broader civil society.

Muslims in Paris is the eleventh report in the Muslims in EU Cities series produced by the Open Society Foundations At Home in Europe Project. It is the result of research that examines the level and nature of integration of Muslims in 11 cities across Europe (Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Leicester, London, Marseille, Paris, Rotterdam, and Stockholm).

New Publication: Muslims in London

“I have grown up here so I believe it is my place. I don’t feel that I am an outsider. This is my country. I had my education here and I am very pleased that I am a British Muslim.”

—Focus group respondent

Muslims in London highlights the complexities around belonging and identity amongst Muslim and non-Muslim residents living in Waltham Forest, one of London’s 2012 Olympic boroughs. The research reveals that that local not national identity is strongest for Muslims in Waltham Forest. The situation is exactly the reverse for non-Muslims in the borough, who feel a stronger attachment to Britain than their neighbourhood.

The research offers the most up to date insight on how Muslims in one of London’s most diverse boroughs really feel about where they live and what’s stopping them from feeling they belong in Britain.

By engaging with communities and policymakers, local experts heading the research explored the primary concerns of Muslim residents in Waltham Forest. Issues addressed include education, employment, health, housing and social protection, citizenship and political participation, policing and security, media, belonging and identity.

The report acts on its findings by offering a series of recommendations for local and national authorities, Muslim communities and other minority groups, NGOs and community organizations, the media, and broader civil society.

Muslims in London is the tenth report in the Muslims in EU Cities series produced by the Open Society Foundations At Home in Europe Project. It is the result of research that examines the level and nature of integration of Muslims in 11 cities across Europe (Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Leicester, London, Marseille, Paris, Rotterdam, and Stockholm).

The report and accompanying fact sheet are available for download.