Imam Tareq Oubrou: “The Hijab has become an obsession”

October 25, 2013

The imam and theologian Tareq Oubrou is interviewed by the magazine Zaman about the hijab. Known for his theological work on the jurisprudence of minorities (in the 1990s), he is now engaged in a theology of acculturation. He is discussing the status of the hijab seen by a lot of Muslims as an obligation and explores ways to change this perception.

Zaman: http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/tareq-oubrou-personne-frustree-ne-peut-penser-religion-5752.html

Values and lessons of Eid Al-Adha

October 16, 2013

 

In an article on Zaman France, the question of the meaning of Eid al-Adha is being discussed.  Bahri, the author of the article writes, “While Eid al- Adha is approaching , what values ​​and what lessons can be learned from this celebration? Far from being limited to a religious festival , Eid is an opportunity to remember the very universal notions of selflessness and dedication”. According to Bahra, Eid provides a lesson during times of war and unrest that we should never stop  being reminding  of.

 

Zaman France: http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/devouement-sacrifice-vraies-lecons-laid-aladha-5579.html?utm_source=newsletter-karisik-liste&utm_campaign=0acccea9ee-Zamanfrance+17_10_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2d6e3a9a0e-0acccea9ee-315948881

Equal job opportunities decline in France according to poll

October 23, 2013

 

According to a poll on the perception of equal opportunities in the workplace for the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), the largest union of employers in France,  the climate for equal opportunities has experienced a ” sharp decline” since 2012. Religious diversity in particular is seen as a problem according to Achouri Fatima, author of “The Muslim employee in France” and Pete Stone, founder of “Just different”, a firm that assists companies with their diversity policies.

The poll was commissioned by the MEDEF to respond to the question of equal opportunities in the workplace . The results reveal a real “tension within French society and differences between individuals.” The categories in which employees consider companies to be in the duty to primarily fight for more equality in regards to pay are, according to the survey, age (43%), gender (37%),disability(32%), religious belief (9%), provincial accentuation (7%) and political opinion (5%). The disparity between attention given to discrimination on the base of religion and race leaves a sober picture of the state of consciousness about racial and religious discrimination on the workplace in France.

 

Zaman France: http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/legalite-chances-perd-terrain-en-france-5724.html?utm_source=newsletter-karisik-liste&utm_campaign=dd4799693f-Zamanfrance%2024_10_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2d6e3a9a0e-dd4799693f-315948881

Baby Loup affair pushes question of religion at workplace into centre

October 22, 2013

The Baby Loup affair surrounding the question of wearing religious symbols in general and the hijab in particular in a nursery returned to the media when the French Court of Appeal opposed the Supreme Court’s decision on calling the termination of a French Muslim woman’s work contract in a nursery unlawful. The legal battle will most likely continue and will bring the question of religion at workplace to the forefront of the debate.
Le Monde:

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2013/10/22/l-entreprise-n-echappe-pas-a-la-politisation-du-religieux_3500730_3232.html?xtmc=musulman&xtcr=11

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/10/16/affaire-baby-loup-la-cour-d-appel-de-paris-entre-en-rebellion-contre-la-cour-de-cassation_3496539_3224.html

Why So Many U.S. Latinos Are Becoming Muslims

October 10, 2013

 

Most Latinos know the country is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month right now. What far fewer Latinos know is that next week marks Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s most sacred holidays.

And yet the two observances are more related now than most Latinos realize.

Just as the U.S. Latino population is on the rise — Hispanics are now the nation’s largest minority — so is the number of Latino Muslims. And it’s not just a result of Arab Latin Americans emigrating to the United States.

According to organizations like WhyIslam.org, Latinos are one of the fastest growing segments of the Muslim community. About six percent of U.S. Muslims are now Latino — and as many as a fifth of new converts to Islam nationwide are Latino.

The American Muslim Association of North America, based in North Miami, says heavily Hispanic South Florida in particular is home to a rising number of Latino Muslims.

If it’s a surprise that many Latinos are moving from a predominantly Roman Catholic culture to an originally Arab faith, perhaps it shouldn’t be. For one thing, like African-Americans in the 1960s, Latinos are discovering their own historical and cultural ties to Islam and the Arab world. And that starts with what most defines Latinos: Spanish.

“Our language is nurtured by more than 4,000 words that come from Arabic,” says Wilfredo Ruiz, a Puerto Rican-born Muslim who converted a decade ago and is a lawyer for the South Florida chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. “Every word in Spanish that starts with ‘al,’ for example, like alcalde, alcantarilla, almohada.”

“What most Latinos who have embraced Islam find most amazing is their cultural affinity to the Muslim culture,” says Ruiz. “It’s like rediscovering your past. That area of our past has been hidden from us.”

Ruiz points out that both Latinos and Arabs highly value the extended family and traditions like offering hospitality to strangers. In religious terms, Latinos like Gonzalez say Islam provides a simpler, more direct form of worship than Catholicism does. They also feel more structure than they see in the evangelical churches so many Latinos join today.

“The connection I have with God now is better than before,” says Gonzalez.

 

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/cair-in-the-news/12193-why-so-many-latinos-are-becoming-muslims.html

WLRN.org: http://wlrn.org/post/why-so-many-latinos-are-becoming-muslims

NYC schools could close to observe Muslim holidays

October 17, 2013

 

The city’s two mayoral candidates both support adding Eid celebrations to list of days schools are closed.

After a new mayor takes office in New York City next year, schoolchildren could very well have an additional two days off in observance of Muslim holidays. Both mayoral candidates, Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota, say they support the idea. If such a measure were to come to pass, the New York City school district would be the largest in the United States to grant the days off.

De Blasio said during a campaign rally with local Muslims on Wednesday that observing Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, a celebration during hajj, would help to recognize the city’s large Muslim population and wouldn’t take away from the education kids get.

“A child who has an exam on a day that right now is one of the Eid holidays, they’re either respecting their religious obligation or they’re doing what their education requires of them,” de Blasio said, according to the New York Daily News. “They can’t do both under our current system.”

About 13 percent of the city’s schoolchildren are Muslims, de Blasio added.

His Republican rival, former city transit chief Joe Lhota, also said that adding the holidays would be a good idea. Students would come to school on two other days to make up for the holidays, he said.

“We have a growing Muslim community in the city of New York and their religion needs to be respected as all other religions are respected,” Lhota said Wednesday, according to the Daily News.

Outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg opposes the idea. He has said that observing the holidays would take away from students’ education and open the door to similar requests from other religious and ethnic groups.

 

Al-Jazeera America: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/17/new-york-schoolscouldgetmuslimholidays.html

American Jews say others face more discrimination

October 24, 2013

 

American Jews say they face discrimination in the U.S., but they see Muslims, gays and blacks facing far more.

This and other findings from the recently released Pew Research Center’s landmark study on Jewish Americans help make the case that Jews — once unwelcome in many a neighborhood, university and golf club — now find themselves an accepted minority.

“While there are still issues, American Jews live in a country where they feel they are full citizens,” said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism.

“You have (Jewish) Ivy League presidents in schools that used to have Jewish quotas,” he said.

Most American Jews are descendants of the great migration of Jews to the U.S. from 1880 to 1920. Today, they make up little more than 2 percent of the population, but their influence is outsized. Jews make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate, and they lead major cities, corporations, philanthropies and arts organizations.

Anti-Semitism has most certainly waned in the U.S.

Seventy-two percent of American Jews surveyed believe that Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination in the U.S., and the same percentage said gays and lesbians face such levels of bigotry. Slightly fewer — 64 percent — said blacks face such prejudice.

“One way of looking at these numbers is to say that Jews perceive a lot of discrimination against a whole bunch of groups in American life,” Cooperman said.

Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the largest movement of Judaism in North America, called Jews’ perceptions of prejudice against others “inspiring.”

“Because of our somewhat painful history of persecution, we have a deep sensitivity to the suffering of others,” he said.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Pew numbers reflect the reality of “an increasing Islamophobia in American society today.”

Islam is the least favorably viewed of four U.S. religions in a 2010 Gallup poll, with nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans saying their feelings about Islam were “not favorable at all.”

 

Religion News Service: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/24/american-jews-say-others-face-discrimination/

Religious, civil rights groups demand investigation of NYPD spying

October 25, 2013

 

A coalition of 125 religious, civil rights, and community-based organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice Thursday (Oct. 24) urging a civil rights investigation into a New York City Police Department program that spies on Muslims.

Groups from several faith traditions signed the letter including the Presbyterian Church (USA), the National Council of Jewish Women, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Sikh Coalition. Civil rights groups include the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, South Asian Americans Leading Together, and the National Network for Arab American Communities.

The NYPD program is already the target of two federal lawsuits, one filed in June by the ACLU and the City University of New York Law School’s Center for Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility, and the other filed in June 2012, by several Muslim plaintiffs represented by Muslim Advocates and the law firm Bhalla and Cho.

“Putting a class of Americans under surveillance based on their religion is a clear violation of our Constitution’s guarantees of equality and religious freedom,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, said in a statement. “The NYPD’s surveillance program has stigmatized Muslims as suspect and had deeply negative effects on their free speech, association, and religious practice.”

 

www.religionnews.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/25/religious-civil-rights-groups-demand-investigation-nypd-spying/

CAIR-CT, NAACP Seek Investigation of Hate Graffiti

October 25, 2013

 

The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CT) and the New London Chapter of the NAACP today called on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate hate graffiti scrawled on a New London sidewalk.

CAIR said a local resident discovered the graffiti as she was walking to work early Friday morning. The phrase “Get a job blacks” and a Nazi swastika were spray-painted on the side walk facing a house where an African-American family lives.

Later today, CAIR-CT, NAACP New London, City and faith leaders will hold a press conference to address this disturbing incident.

 

Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12226-cair-ct-naacp-seek-investigation-of-hate-graffiti.html

Police, FBI investigate vandalism at Delaware mosque in Newark

October 27, 2013

Police are trying to determine who vandalized a mosque and school in Newark.

Investigators believe it happened early Friday morning at the Islamic Society of Delaware’s community center in Newark. Vandals tore down a fence and used rocks to damage a digital sign. Pieces of the fence were used to make a cross on the property.

Delaware State Police and the FBI are investigating the case.

On Monday, the group CAIR-Philadelphia will hold a news conference to respond to the vandalism.

The Islamic Society of Delaware has about 2,000 members. Officials say this is the first time the facility has been vandalized in 25 years.

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/police-fbi-investigate-vandalism-at-delaware-mosque-in-newark/2013/10/27/cfb894a4-3f5b-11e3-b028-de922d7a3f47_story.html