NYC criminal justice college president says he is troubled by NYPD monitoring of campus group

NEW YORK — The president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice said he is “deeply troubled” about reports that the New York Police Department sent a paid informant to spy on the school’s club for Muslim students.

School President Jeremy Travis sent a letter to students and professors Thursday reacting to an Associated Press report on the 19-year-old informant, Shamiur Rahman, who said he quit working for the NYPD at the end of the summer after growing uncomfortable with the job.

Rahman said his assignments included attending lectures hosted by John Jay’s Muslim Student Association, photographing people attending its events, and identifying its members and leaders.

In the letter, Travis said he was unaware of the spying, and expressed concerns about using informants for surveillance where there was no evidence of a crime.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended the department’s intelligence-gathering operation as necessary to root out any potential terrorist plots.

Poll: 25 Percent of Muslim Voters Undecided in Presidential Election

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today released the results of a survey indicating that 25 percent of American Muslim registered voters are still undecided about who to vote for in this November’s presidential election.

The new poll, conducted by an independent research firm on behalf of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also indicates that 91 percent of registered Muslim voters will go to the polls on November 6. [NOTE: The random survey of 500 registered Muslim voters, conducted in the first two weeks of October, has a margin of error of five percent.]

Sixty-eight percent of the survey respondents said they will vote to re-elect President Obama. Seven percent said they will vote for Mitt Romney.

Sixty-eight percent of the survey respondents said they will vote to re-elect President Obama. Seven percent said they will vote for Mitt Romney.

“These results indicate that a large percentage of American Muslim voters are still open to appeals from presidential candidates and that American Muslims are potentially in a position to decide this year’s election,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Other findings released at CAIR’s joint news conference today with the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT*) include:

Justifying Sharia in Britain

In an East London office, British Muslims consult the legal talents of the Islamic Sharia Council’s (ISC) scholars. The dispute-solving Sharia body is the largest in the UK. The books on the waiting-room coffee table, bearing titles such as ‘Tolerance within Islam’ and ‘The Journey of the Soul,’ seem to prepare disputants for a mutually agreed solution.
Sharia law has been applied in the UK since 1982 facilitated by locally-appointed councils, known as Sharia courts. An estimated 85 Sharia courts are believed to be operating in Britain, according to a 2009 report by the think-tank Civitas. They have no formally recognised powers and therefore cannot impose legally binding penalties. However, it is estimated that thousands of UK residents use Sharia courts each year, and they voluntarily accept the rulings – mostly about family matters.
Although widely used, women’s rights groups such as the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation complain that Sharia courts discriminate against women. And, it was these complaints along with British activists who ran the campaign called ‘One Law For All’, that lead Baroness Caroline Cox to introduce The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill in the House of Lords on 7 June 2011. The bill, which is up for debate on 19 October 2012, is aimed at ensuring that Sharia courts operate within the realms of British law. Islamic scholars are noted for claiming they have legal powers under Sharia law.
According to Cox, many British Muslim women do not know their rights under English civil law: “A woman once told me that she came to this country to escape Sharia law, but that the situation was much worse here than that of the country she was from.”
One example of the inequality is the fee for divorce. The application for religious divorce costs 200 pounds for men and 400 pounds for women. The reason behind this is that the process is more complicated and therefore more expensive, while it’s easier for a man to get a divorce.
But the bill could benefit men too. Despite being legally divorced under British law Mizanur Rahman, whose wife applied to the council for a religious divorce, says the council is unfair. His wife has been demanding money from him through the ISC. The council has sent the Islamic divorce papers to him three times. So far, he has resisted signing: “It’s not me but her who wants a divorce, thus she needs to pay,” he says.
Anti-Sharia activists say the courts are incompatible with democracy and human rights and thus hard to incorporate into British life. A petition calling for the ban of Sharia courts organised by the ‘One Law for All’ campaign gathered twenty thousand signatures. Activists say “Sharia is the legal arm of a political Islamist movement wreaking havoc across the world and therefore is a threat to secularism”.
Defenders of the courts believe everyone, including devout Muslims, should have the right to settle personal disputes in front of the tribunal of their choice. They say they give Muslims a facility already available to Orthodox Jews under Beth Din courts. They claim that many Muslim women feel the need for a cleric’s reassurance that they can break a forced marriage. Financial disputes are also claimed to be resolved quicker and cheaper rather than within the British legal system. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, says he does not see Sharia courts as a threat to the harmony in the UK, either.
The Equality bill will not ban private religious courts, but will place a duty on public bodies to ensure women who have religious or polygamous marriages are made aware of their legal rights under the law. The Bill is also seeking to create a new criminal offence criminalising any person who purports to legally adjudicate upon matters that ought to be decided by criminal or family courts. Lady Cox also insists that the Bill is not aimed at Muslims, nor does it name them. It targets gender discrimination whenever the religion arbitration court makes the discrimination.
However, even is the bill is passed, it may face some opposition from the council itself. Furqan Mahmood, an Islamic scholar at the ISC says, not women but men need to be protected. He says that according to Islam, men have to pay women to get married, financially care for their wives, and support their children even after divorce. He says “Islam makes men slaves of women.”
Berza ŞİMŞEK – Contributor, Strategic Outlook
contact : berza.simsek@yahoo.com

More details of Kingston, ON “honour killing” emerge in book

The National Post – October 26, 2012

 

A lethal warning from Hamed in 2009, who was later convicted of first-degree murder along with his father, Mohammad Shafia, and mother, Tooba Yahya, is revealed in Without Honour: The True Story of the Shafia Family and the Kingston Canal Murders, a new book on the disturbing case by veteran journalist Rob Tripp.

Without Honour presents a striking portrayal of the profound disconnect between Mohammad Shafia and his adopted home after his family immigrated to Montreal in 2007. But the book, like the police investigation and the criminal trial, leaves one crucial question unanswered: How exactly were the women killed? Mr. Tripp said only three people know the true story: the three killers. And none of them have yet broken their silence.

Mr. Tripp delves into details of the family’s troubled life before the four ghastly murders and the investigation that unravelled the elaborate lies. The book shows that despite Mohammad Shafia’s professed embrace of Islam and love of family, he was, above all else, a money-obsessed, cold-hearted man. When his daughter wanted to get married, he turned to a relative to help him find a cleric to perform the service, because he did not attend a mosque. Shafia did not read the Koran, although he often evoked God’s name when berating his children, Mr. Tripp writes.

New IFOP survey suggests image of Islam in France is deteriorating

News Agencies – October 29, 2012

 

According to a study conducted by IFOP (Public Opinion Institute) for Le Figaro the image of Islam is rapidly deteriorating in France. It shows that the rise of ethnic separatist communities among some Muslims in France is strengthening the public rejection.

 

“Our study shows an evolution that is moving in the direction of a greater hardening of the French toward this religion and a reenforced negative perception of Islam,” explains Jérôme Fourquet, a director of IFOP. “Even if a significant proportion of the French, 40%, still say they are indifferent to the presence of Islam in France.”

 

If 43% of those questioned consider Islam to be a “threat”, this hardening is tied to a greatly increased “visibility” of Islam in public places and in the media. “For several years, there has not been a week without Islam being at the heart of current events, be they societal issues, the veil, halal food, or dramatic geopolitical events or attacks.” Hence another impression: 60% believe that this religion now has “too much importance”. Just two years ago it was 55%. And those who claim to be indifferent to this question go from 41% to 35%.

No longer a temporary problem

Increasing restrictiveness becomes clearer when questions on the Islamic veil or the building of mosques are asked. In 1989, 33% of those questioned were favorable to the construction of mosques. Today it is only 18%. As for the veil in the street, those opposed went from 31% to 63%. And those indifferent have virtually dissolved from half to only 28%. And as for the veil in schools, the red light goes on since, for the same period, those opposed increase from 75% to 89%.

French Muslims demand ban of far-right group after attack on mosque

The Globe and Mail – October 22, 2012

 

The French Muslim Council (CFCM) has urged the government to ban a far-right group that occupied a mosque and issued a “declaration of war” against what it called the Islamisation of France. CFCM President Mohammed Moussaoui said the Council also wanted better protection for mosques and Muslim cemeteries against racist attacks, which he said jumped sharply in 2011 and continued to rise this year.

Some 73 protesters from a movement called Identity Group seized a mosque in the western city of Poitiers on October 20th and unfurled a banner referring to Charles Martel’s historic defeat of advancing Muslim troops there in 732. They stayed for more than six hours before police ejected them. In a video posted on its website, the movement issued what it called a “declaration of war” on multiculturalism. It also called for a referendum to block further immigration from outside Europe and further construction of mosques in France

Moussaoui said the protest, the first time a mosque in France had been occupied, represented “a new escalation in violence against Muslims”. Violent acts and threats against Muslims rose by 34 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, and went up again by 14 percent in the first half of this year, he told reporters.

English Defence League cancels anti-Muslim march

20 October 2012

 

The English Defence League (EDL) is set to march in Walthamstow, east London, on Saturday. The move is thought to be very provocative since the area is densely populated with Muslims. In addition, Leader Tommy Robinson vowed to show the inflammatory film Innocence of Muslims in the suburb. However, he was arrested in the US and remains in custody. Also, according to the reports, the co-founder of the EDL will not be attending the march as he was arrested by Scotland Yard on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance in east London.

Three British Muslims accused of plotting a suicide bombing campaign appear before court

22 October 2012

 

The suspects Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali were arrested last September in Birmingham on the suspicion of planning to cause “mass deaths and casualties” in Britain.  All three deny charges of preparing acts of terrorism in the UK.

 

The trial continues.

British Government strips a Muslim man’s nationality

27 October 2012

 

Mahdi Hashi, a Somalia-born British citizen has been deprived of his British nationality and may never return to Britain. He is thought to be held in an African prison. In the recent years the government has been empowered with a controversial law which does not require a court order to deprive an individual of all his rights as a British national.

 

According to the media reports, the majority of the people who have been affected by this law are Muslim Britons. The deprivation of citizenship order that Hashi received says Mr Hashi had lost his rights to live in the UK for the ‘public good’. It also includes that ‘The Security Service assess that you have been involved in Islamicist extremism and present a risk to the national security of the United Kingdom due to your extremist activities.”

 

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, prominent human rights barrister, said: ‘The increase in orders under this Government of depriving British people of their citizenship on non-conducive grounds is a matter of concern because it is always very difficult to challenge fairly. It means people are being deprived of their rights as a British citizen on the say-so of security officials who can’t be challenged in court.”

 

Human rights groups are concerned that Hashi may now be held at Camp Lemmonier in Djibouti where the Americans have built a large base to combat terrorist groups across the continent.

 

More than a million and a half Muslims in Spain celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice

26 October 2012

More than a million and a half Muslims in Spain celebrate the Feast of  the Sacrifice in which they must sacrifice a lamb in remembrance of the moment when God asked Abraham’s sacrifice of his eldest son, and then changed it to a lamb.
Furthermore, this event is the culmination of the pilgrimage to Mecca that currently millions of Muslims are making around the world, including 1,500 who left last Wednesday from the Spanish areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Andalusia.
Speaking to Europa Press, the president of the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain (UCIDE) Riay Tatary, said that the number of lambs to be sacrificed in Spain these days depends on the area because, some Muslim families have “donated their sacrifices” to the needy countries like Palestine, Syria, Mali or Somalia.