Lorraine opens new Muslim burial plot

Between 150 and 200 people assisted at the inauguration of the Barthou cemetery, the new cemetery of Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy. The new cemetery contains a section of plots for Muslims that is over 2,000 m². The new burial plot is the result of “a long process,” according to Saïd Derbani, President of the Association of Muslims of Lorraine (AML), that, for ten years, has supported the project. While the city’s primary cemetery has a section of plots for Muslims, it has been full for many years.

The cemetery is responding to a “real need,” stated Derbani. He explained that in recent years there has been a shift from believers wanting to be buried in their home countries, to a new generation that wishes to be buried in France. “A 90 year-old woman who converted [to Islam] would ask me every time she saw me where she would be buried,” he said. As a result the new section is a source of “relief” for many.

“Integration takes place during active life. But also in the ground,” Derbani contended. “According to the Ministry of the Interior’s statistics, between 75% and 80% of Muslims who died in France are repatriated to their home countries to be buried. But it is clear that the number of those wishing to be buried in France has not stopped growing, notably within the new generations.

“It is more normal for citizens who have spent the majority of their life on French soil and for their children who have only known the homeland of France,” declared Amine Nedji, president of the Lorraine Regional Council of the Muslim Faith.

There are more than 200 Muslim plots in France. However, “This number is less than the growing need. It’s often due to the lack of political willingness that the memorandum is not found in certain towns. This is due to two reasons: certain politicians have a truncated and biased reading of the principle of secularism…Others simply prefer simply to close the discussion on the subject,” said Nedji.

The need is growing as there are estimated to be over five million Muslims living in France.

From Islam to Christ: the Conversion of Muslims from the Director of the Apostle

In an interview with director Cheyenne Carrone, whose latest movie The Apostle pays homage to a priest that she knew in her childhood whose daughter was killed by a young Muslim. The priest wanted to remain living near the boy’s parents “to help them live.” She was also inspired by a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and attended the same church as her.

She said that it is less likely for someone to convert from Islam to Christianity because it is forbidden. One hadith states, “One who leaves the religion, kill them.” She recognizes that in France this doesn’t happen and that “many Muslims are tolerant of conversion to Christianity when it comes to their brothers.”

When asked if she felt that “the difficulty for some Muslims to accept the conversion of their brethren tends to intensify,” she said “I don’t know. But I have a feeling that on the contrary things are changing, and that tolerance is slowly growing.”

Carrone has had difficulty finding movie theaters that will show her film due to its subject.

Khaled Bentounès, Founder of the Muslim Scouts of France: The Islamic State leads a crusade against humanity

Founder of the Muslim Scouts of France, the spiritual leader of the Sufi brotherhood Alawiya strongly condemned the jihadist atrocities committed by the Islamic State. Sheikh Khaled Bentounès stated that he joined the gathering of Muslims in France in late September to “express our solidarity and our will to put an end to the hate and monstrosity. This tragedy dishonors Muslims and Algerians, but most of all humanity. We will not yield.”

He added, “There is certainly Islamophobia in France, but it is primarily the extremists that feed it. Muslims must say: enough! Enough that savages speak and act in their name, disfiguring Islam and trampling the honor and dignity of 1.8 billion believers. They only represent .01% of the entirety of Muslims, but, due to their barbarity, they capture everyone’s attention.”

When asked how the jihadist ideology is contrary to Islam, Bentounes responded, “The savages of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” do not refer to the Quran to nourish their ego. Far from any theological approach, they want to assert their dominance. ‘Nothing coerced in the matter of religion,” states the Quran. These people are doing the contrary, they have purged Islam of its spirituality and transformed it into a catalog of requirements. It is no longer Islam of being, but of appearance. No longer a project of life, but of death.”

In order to dissuade young Muslims from leaving to fight jihad he said, “They must be directed toward reading and learning about their religion. Teach them that the key is to believe in the oneness of God, the sacredness of life, in peace and working [to better] oneself.”

New Islamic Center of Alicante will seat 600 people

The Alicante City Council signed yesterday a license to allow the construction of an Islamic Center.
The Islamic Center of Alicante will seat approximately 600 people. The center consists of three floors and a total area of ​​about 950 square meters, the first plant will have a surface of 650 square meters, a women’s section, a library, and offices. The second floor is devoted to the development of different cultural and social activities.

The Islamic community in Alicante, founded in 1991, is a founding member of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain.

Demonstrations against the IS, violence between Kurds, Turks and Chechen and the Islamic law

In several Austrian cities Kurds have demonstrated against the violence of the IS and for an international intervention to save their countrymen in Kobane. During some of the mentioned demonstrations people were seriously injured (for example in Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg). According to Austrian newspapers Muslims with Chechen or Turkish origin were attacking Kurds; however, there are also reports, which are accusing Kurds for acting violently against Chechens or Turks.

At the same time the Austrian government tries to stop such developments by redesigning the Islamic law. However, the leader of the Austrian Muslim community, Fuat Sanac, criticizes the efforts of the government; according to him the government is not interested in a dialog with Muslims, it rather wants to control the Muslim community.

Beside the Kurdish demonstrations, members of the green party have demonstrated in front of the Turkish embassy in Vienna. They accuse the Turkish state to not do enough to save the Kurds in Kobane; and to not do enough to fight the IS.

Scalia on Muslim Beard Case: “Religious Beliefs Aren’t Reasonable”

 On Tuesday October 14,  the Supreme Court heard arguments in Holt v. Hobbs, a case about whether a prisoner in Arkansas has the right to grow a ½-inch beard for religious reasons. One of the more interesting threads of the oral argument was Justice Scalia’s assertion that religious directives are “categorical” and not open to a reasonableness analysis.

How the Islamic State is recruiting teenage girls

Two Austrian teeangers, 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic (left) and her 14-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic, ran away from home to join ISIS.
Two Austrian teeangers, 16-year-old Samra Kesinovic (left) and her 14-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic, ran away from home to join ISIS.

In an editorial with The Washington Post, Professor Mia Bloom describes how IS is using social media to recruit and radicalize teen girls through social media. Further, there is a need to balance the security of the United States (preventing the return of dangerous foreign fighters) with allowing young people who made a mistake a way back home and back to their families.

Do Muslims Need to Defend Their Faith Against Extremists?

From The New York Times: “The rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East and the spread of extremism among disaffected Muslim youths around the world have led even some liberal people to condemn Islam itself as violent and intolerant.

As militants seem to be hijacking the name of Islam, how should Muslims respond to the threat of extremism?”

A group of seven Muslim activists and intellectuals debate this question for The New York Times.