Vandalism at Toronto war memorial probed as hate crime

CBC News – November 12, 2012

 

A war memorial was vandalized in Toronto’s Coronation Park, just hours after Canadians paid tribute to veterans and fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day. Someone scrawled the message “Canada Will Burn Praise Allah” on the Victory Peace memorial, located near Lake Shore Boulevard and Strachan Avenue. Toronto police are treating the vandalism as a hate crime.

“It offends the nation at large because these war veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice and that’s just a slap in the face,” said Det. Anthony Williams. The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement saying that both “Islam and Canada’s proud heritage are denigrated by this ignorant act.”

French Muslim group likens gay marriage to bestiality

News Agencies – November 14, 2012

 

French government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has condemned the inflammatory language used by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF) in opposing gay marriage , including equating same-sex marriage to bestiality. The UOIF also added that everyone should understand “the consequences that it could have on society, if this new form of marriage and parenthood is legalized. President François Hollande’s government has recently drafted a bill on “marriage for all” that could allow same-sex couples to get married in France as early as 2013.

Britain debates Sharia courts

19 November 2012

 

The implementation of the Sharia (Islamic law) in the UK has been a very controversial topic. Although certain aspects of Islamic law have been implemented in the UK for a decade, certain sections of the society seem to be resisting the idea.

 

Rulings under Sharia law are enforced through the 1996 Arbitration Act, which warrants any form of agreement provided that both parties agree to adhere to its decision. Since then practicing Muslims have been seeking remedies from the Islamic law at the Sharia courts to resolve disputes among themselves.

 

Sharia law was first brought to the attention of the public in 2008 when Dr Rowan Williams, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, in a BBC interview remarked that adoption of some aspects of Islamic Sharia law in the UK “seemed unavoidable”. He then received some hostile reactions and his remarks were then followed by a report on Sharia courts. According to the report published by a think thank called Civitas in 2009, around 85 Sharia courts operate in Britain. The report claimed that the decision of these courts most of the time are incompatible with British common law and “inherently discriminatory against women in matters relating to child custody, domestic violence and divorce.”

 

The use of Sharia in the UK came under heavy criticism from the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), which is campaigning to stop its use in Britain:

 

”We have spoken to many women and all of them tell us the same story; sharia law is not providing them with the justice they seek. The councils are dominated by men, who are making judgements in favour of men,” said Diana Nammi, a spokesperson for IKWRO.

 

Further Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, has long opposed the use of Sharia in the UK, and argued the rule of law “must not be compromised by the introduction of a theocratic legal system operating in parallel”.

 

 

On 7 June 2011 Baroness Cox introduced a new Bill in the House of Lords that aims to outlaw the Sharia law where it conflicts with English law. In proposing the new Bill she said:

 

“Through these proposals, I want to make it perfectly clear in the law that discrimination against women shall not be allowed within arbitration. I am deeply concerned about the treatment of Muslim women by sharia Courts. We must do all that we can to make sure they are free from any coercion, intimidation or unfairness. Many women say, ‘we came to this country to escape these practices only to find the situation is worse here’.”

The Bill will receive a second reading later this year.

 

According to a BBC report however, increasing numbers of British Muslims are using these courts to resolve family and financial disputes. In the report Sheikh al-Haddad, a representative of the Islamic Sharia Council, the biggest Sharia body in the UK states that ”Our cases have easily more than tripled over the past three to five years, on average, every month we can deal with anything from 200 to 300 cases. A few years ago it was just a small fraction of that”.

 

Further, a leading UK barrister Sadakat Kadri supported the use of Sharia law in the UK. He told the Guardian that sharia courts were good for “the community as a whole” by putting Sharia on a transparent, public footing and should be more widely accessible to those who want to use them.

 

Kadri said they played a role in safeguarding human rights: “It’s very important that they be acknowledged and allowed to exist. So long as they’re voluntary, which is crucial, it’s in everyone’s interests these things be transparent and publicly accessible. If you don’t have open tribunals, they’re going to happen anyway, but behind closed doors.”

Winnipeg Muslim group ships needed food to First Nations

Winnipeg Free Press – November 12, 2012

 

Needy families in two remote First Nations communities in Manitoba will be dining on steaks and chops thanks to observant Muslims in Winnipeg sharing their feast. The charitable foundation is shipping beef, lamb, goat and chicken to Shamattawa and Garden Hill, as well as potatoes, bread, carrots, milk, tea and sugar. Guisti rounded up the donations from members of Winnipeg’s Muslim community to mark Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, to show gratitude to God and to provide for the poor and needy.

 

This is the fourth year the foundation is delivering food to the needy up north. The groceries will be distributed to 200 of the most needy families.

New helpline for Muslim women may be Canada’s first

News Agencies –  November 15, 2012

 

Months before the Muslim women’s helpline was launched, the phone at the Mississauga-based Women’s Resource Centre started ringing. In October 2012, after months of research, training and fundraising, the Women’s Resource Centre launched what is believed to be the country’s first helpline specifically for Muslim women. Confidential and anonymous, it’s meant to be a place to which women can turn for emotional support, peer counselling and referrals.

In its first few weeks, the helpline has already received dozens of calls from women across the GTA, with concerns ranging from marriage and relationships to information on shelters and food banks, and in a few cases, abuse.The helpline is staffed by 13 counsellors and is open for two hours a day, five days a week.

A plan to help blighted suburbs meets French resistance due to suspicions over benefactor

News Agencies –November 11, 2012

 

As Europe is engulfed in crisis, Qatar has been on a global spending spree, buying stakes in luxury brands, acquiring soccer club Paris St. Germain and financing London’s “Shard” — the EU’s tallest building. Now, to the consternation of the French, the emirate wants to make a major humanitarian investment in the West. Permeating the hostile response was suspicion that the tiny Muslim state may have a special agenda at a time when fears of terrorism by Islamist extremists and a perceived infiltration of Muslim culture in French life have been on the rise.

 

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen called the Qatari investment an “Islamist Trojan horse” while independent politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who champions national sovereignty, said France would be “prostituting itself” by accepting the money.  Now, a year after their visit to the palaces of Doha, the 10 who bucked a system that has failed the suburbs worry the money may never reach those they hope to help — ordinary people from their neighborhoods with big ideas bereft of any hope of backing.

 

Two French presidents tried to figure out how to deal with the Qatari offer, first conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and now socialist Francois Hollande — who last month confirmed the compromise of spreading the funds across all neglected regions.

French Imams Visit Israel to Clear Image

On Islam – 11 November 2012

 

A group of French Muslim imams arrived in Israel on Sunday, November 11, on a controversial visit to dispel the perceptions that Muslims are harboring hatred against Jews. “Unfortunately French Muslims are seen as being anti-Semitic,” Hassan Shaljoumi, who heads a mosque in the Paris suburb of Drancy, told Maariv daily. Shaljoumi is a member of a 12-strong delegation of French imams, who arrived in Israel for talks with Israeli officials to show that Muslims are not anti-Semitic.

 

The delegation will meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the visit. The visit, funded by the French foreign ministry, follows accusations to the Muslim community of harboring hatred against Jews.

French nationalists protest in Paris against radical Islam, allege Muslims won’t integrate

News Agencies – November 10, 2012

 

Hundreds of French nationalists demonstrated in Paris against Islamist extremism, chanting the French anthem and saying the religion has no place in the country. Three weeks ago, dozens of far-right French activists stormed an unfinished mosque to protest immigration policies that have made France home to Western Europe’s largest population of Muslims. The protest was organized by a nationalist group called the Republican Resistance.

German Islamists and the Internet

October 31

 

The study of SWP – German Institute for International and Security Affairs deals with Internet activism of German Islamists. Music rappers such as Deso Dogg alias Abu Malik would release rap music and combine them with Islamist content. Religious songs with Islamist content would apotheosize Jihad. The music targets young people in urban areas of Germany. By listening to these songs, young people would be motivated to join a “leaderless Jihad”.

Hamburg State signs treaty with Muslim community

November 13

The State of Hamburg, Muslim associations and the Alawite community have signed a treaty. They agree to implement and recognize religious-related holidays, including school holidays, religious education and burial rituals for Muslims.

The State of Hamburg guarantees three official holidays: Eid ad-Adha, Ramadan and Ashura. Muslim teachers will be allowed to teach religious education, once they have passed the state exam and given that the course is cross-confessional. The equality of men and women is a premise.

The involved parts, other than the State of Hamburg, are: the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion (Ditib), the Council of Islamic communities (Schura), the association for Islamic Culture centers (VIKZ) and as the Alawites community of Germany. The three associations represent approximately 130 000 Muslims in Hamburg. Approximately, 50 000 Alawites live in Hamburg.

The chairman of the Turkish-Islamic Union Institute for Religion in Hamburg Dr. Zekeriya Altuğ emphasized the importance of the treaty as a historical day for Muslims in Hamburg and Germany. The Muslim community would be hopeful to receive the full support of all political institutions. This treaty would express the diversity of Muslim life in Hamburg.
The Federal chairman of the Alawite community Hüseyin Mat emphasized the importance of this treaty in recognizing the Alawite community. Germany should be dignified for recognizing the Alawite community and their rights as a religious minority. In contrast to Germany, the Turkish government should be ashamed. Turkey would still repress Alawites and force them to assimilate.