CAIR Applauds RNC Chair’s Call for Resignation of Anti-Muslim Official

January 24, 2014

 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded a call by the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) for the resignation of a Michigan GOP official who made anti-Muslim and other bigoted remarks. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak called on Dave Agemato step down as that state’s representative to the RNC.

“We applaud the RNC’s forceful rejection of Dave Agema’s bigotry,” said Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia. “This response to community concerns sends the message that the GOP will not tolerate stereotyping of minority groups.” In 2012, A coalition of 11 major American Muslim organizations called on the Republican Party to reach out to Muslim voters by rejecting anti-Islam bias and discriminatory legislation.
Cair.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12343-cair-applauds-rnc-chairs-call-for-resignation-of-anti-muslim-official.html
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/01/24/dave-agema-faces-additional-pressure-from-gop-party-leaders-to-step-down/

Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?

January 21, 2014

 

Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?
Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?

“What dress is most appropriate for a Muslim woman in public?”

Researchers at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan asked the same question to both men and women of various age groups and different religious faiths in seven countries with a Muslim majority. The real focus of the research was post- revolution Tunisia, but scholars also decided to investigate responses in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan. Each respondent was shown images of women. The left most image showed a women who was totally covered (burqa ), decreasing the pieces of cloth covering the woman from image to image until the last drawing, which depicted the subject as completely uncovered.

The findings concluded that on average the hijab (veil that covers the hair, forehead, ears and neck) was considered the most appropriate. You could say this is a compromise between the two extreme images. Another important aspect that the research shows is the partial open-ness to different styles of dress in Saudi Arabia as opposed to a greater closure in “post-spring” Egypt.

The research also included a question that went beyond mere aesthetics. Respondents were also asked: “Should the woman decide what to wear?

And this confirms the above trend:  in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Tunisia, 50% of respondents where in favor of the free choice of women, as opposed to 22% and 14% in Pakistan and Egypt, respectively.

I must say that by scrolling through the research data, I returned several times to the word used in the original question: appropriate.

What do the researchers mean by this term? Appropriate for whom? For others or for the woman? Who can decide when attire is appropriate or not?

Beyond the specific object of this analysis, veil or no veil, I am always convinced that there is only one parameter to decide how a woman should dress: personal choice. Do not take me for naive, I am aware of the incendiary debates that surround these issues, especially in our cities. In my opinion, the most appropriate clothing is what makes a woman feel free and proud to express herself regardless of expectations or fashions of the moment.

The external influences on not only clothing but also on the image of a woman’s own body, is not unique to Muslim women, but rather something that applies to all women in the world. Let me give you another example. Last year a global campaign was launched called “Dark is beautiful” with the aim to emphasize the beauty of dark skin in societies like the West where fair skin is favored. The pressures of fair skin often prompt many black women to resort to toxic products that promise to lighten skin. We must reverse this situation.

Corriere della sera: http://lacittanuova.milano.corriere.it/2014/01/21/velo-donne-islam-qual-e-labbigliamento-giusto-in-pubblico-e-chi-lo-decide/

Original report: http://mevs.org/files/tmp/Tunisia_FinalReport.pdf

 

Anti-Islam Banner in front of Mosque

January 17, 2014

Anti-Islam banner infront of mosque

“The mosque brings nothing good… just rapists and terrorists” read a banner that appeared last night near the entrance of one of the mosques in Civitanova Marche. The banner expressed religious intolerance towards Islam. The message appeared overnight and was removed in the early morning. A member of the Facebook group Speaker’s Corner had posted the picture and many of the group’s members have expressed outrage, no one has claimed to have created the banner. This event harks back to an earlier event in 2009 when the Mosque of Virgilio Street was also vandalized.

 

Cronache macerata: http://www.cronachemaceratesi.it/2014/01/17/striscione-anti-islam-di-fronte-alla-moschea/421450/

Jihad flies over Malaga

January 12, 2014

 

The arrest of Mohamed Sadik Abdeluahid in Malaga brings to the fore the fact that jihadists use the city airport as a platform to return to Spain after their military training. The High Court judge Ismael Moreno sent Sadik to prison on charges of belonging to the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levante (ISIL), responsible for recruiting Mujahideen for Syria from Ceuta and Morocco. According to the judge this cell has sent at least six groups of men from Spain to Syria.

 

La opinion de Malaga: http://www.laopiniondemalaga.es/malaga/2014/01/12/yihad-sobrevuela-malaga/644800.htmlNew norm to the opening of the mosques

Catalan children travel to Gambia to study the Qur’an

January 22, 2014

 

Hundreds of Catalan children travel each year to Gambia to study the Koran and Arabic. These children between 7 and 17 years old may be between six months to five years in madrasas (Islamic schools). The goal is for their children to maintain the traditions and religious and cultural ties to the home community.

 

e-noticies: http://sociedad.e-noticies.es/-ninos-catalanes-viajan-a-paises-musulmanes-para-estudiar-el-coran-82331.html

Seven-year sentence for Laurel man who tried to join up with al-Shabab terrorist group

January13, 2014

 

A 26-year-old Laurel man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison after he admitted traveling to Africa to try to join the terrorist group al-Shabab and trashing his home computer so federal investigators could not track him, authorities said.
Craig Baxam was arrested by Kenyan authorities in December 2011, and he soon told FBI agents of his haphazard plan to elude them and connect with al-Shabab because he wanted to live somewhere that rigorously adhered to sharia, or Islamic, law, court papers say. He pleaded guilty to a charge of destroying records that might be used in a terrorism investigation and received the seven-year sentence as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, authorities said.

Federal investigators have long worked to root out so-called homegrown terror suspects, and Special Agent Stephen E. Vogt, who heads the FBI’s Baltimore division, said in a statement that Baxam’s case “highlights the FBI’s highest investigative priority, the prevention of terrorist acts.” But the resolution of the case seems to demonstrate that Baxam did not precisely fit the bill of a would-be terrorist.

Baxam was not convicted of the initial charge of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, and his attorney, Linda Moreno, said he never advocated specific violence, nor did he procure weapons or attend any terrorist training camps.
A 2005 graduate of Laurel High School who was born in Takoma Park, Baxam had experience in the Army and admitted to investigators that he was willing to commit violence, according to the criminal complaint against him. But he said that he felt offensive jihad was questionable, and his main use for violence would be to defend al-Shabab’s Somali territories from potential invaders, according to the complaint.

Moreno said that the violence he spoke of was only hypothetical, “based on interviews with the FBI where the FBI asked him what if this happened, what if that happened, what if the following.”

“Craig wanted to live and practice his religion in a country where he felt that Muslims were not oppressed,” Moreno said. “This was not a terrorism case.”

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/seven-year-sentence-for-laurel-man-who-tried-to-join-up-with-al-shabaab-terrorist-group/2014/01/13/539c5d8a-7c80-11e3-95c6-0a7aa80874bc_story.html

‘The Square’ filmmakers capture a revolution — and then an Oscar nomination

January 17, 2014

 

On a recent afternoon, Jehane Noujaim apologized for checking her cellphone in the middle of an interview. The director of “The Square,” an immersion into the Egyptian revolution, wanted to make sure her producer, Karim Amer, was going to be able to get back into the country — his country — to see an ailing relative. Such apprehension was nothing new for Noujaim.

“The Square,” nominated Thursday for an Academy Award for best documentary, opened Friday in theaters and via Netflix, but has yet to be screened in Egypt, whose tumultuous recent history is its subject. “The film is in censorship,” she said. “They won’t issue a letter to show it publicly. There’s an attempt to whitewash the last three years. That period is given intimate perspective in the film, which tracks the downfall of dictatorial Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 after 18 days of mass protests and military intimidation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The story continues as Mubarak’s elected successor, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, also is toppled, amid rising violence and discord between religious and secular factions. The tilts and turns meant that, shortly after winning an audience award for “The Square” at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Noujaim went back to shooting and re-editing the film. “Most of these verite films, you make up a story that you think you’re following,” said Noujaim, whose films include “Control Room” and “Startup.com.”

“You make a plan and God laughs, right? And that’s the exciting thing about making these films. You don’t know which way a story is going to go. But this story, much more than anything I’ve ever worked on, I had no idea where it was going. We had to have people ready to film at any moment.” The Harvard-educated filmmaker, 39, was born in Washington but raised in Cairo between the ages of 7 and 17. She grew up a few minutes from Tahrir Square but never imagined that one day she’d be sleeping in it.

“There was no place else I wanted to be in the world when things started happening there,” Noujaim said. It was in the square that she met the film’s key figures, each a different piece of the populist puzzle that came together in the story. “You look for people who will take you into worlds that you will never ordinarily see.”

The Academy Award nomination is the first ever for an Egyptian film. Noujaim compared the moment to “getting accepted to the World Cup for the first time.” The timing is crucial, as the country voted last week on a new constitution — backed by the military government — with presidential and parliamentary elections expected soon. “What Ahmed said when we were short-listed was, this means that despite censorship that this film will be unstoppable and our story will never be able to be obliterated or silenced,” Noujaim said. “The government will be in a very uncomfortable place, which is exactly where they need to be put for censoring a film about a hugely important chapter of Egyptian history.”

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-square-filmmakers-capture-a-revolution–and-then-an-oscar-nomination/2014/01/17/9617eb6c-7ee1-11e3-93c1-0e888170b723_story.html

More charges for NY man in X-ray weapon case

January 17, 2014

 

An upstate New York man accused of trying to build an X-ray weapon to hurt and kill people at a mosque and an Islamic center faces additional weapons charges. Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment late Thursday against Glendon Scott Crawford, charging the 49-year-old man with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, distributing information related to such weapons and attempting to produce a device to endanger people by releasing radiation.

Crawford and Eric Feight have been jailed since their arrest in June on charges they assembled a mobile X-ray device meant to be used in the greater Albany area to sicken Muslims and enemies of Israel. Authorities say the device was inoperable. Nobody was hurt. Crawford’s attorney declined to comment Friday. Feight wasn’t named in the indictment.

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/more-charges-for-ny-man-in-x-ray-weapon-case/2014/01/17/011466ec-7fce-11e3-97d3-b9925ce2c57b_story.html