Twitter features #muslimapologies

On Tuesday, September 23rd, Muslims with Twitter handles Tweeted #muslimapologies, a tongue-in-cheek response to President Obama’s speech at the United Nations where the President of the United States told the General Assembly that it is time for Muslims to stand-up against ISIS. As The Washington Post points out, “#MuslimApologies represents another reaction: Frustration over the assumption of collective responsibility.

Many of the tweets express weariness about having to apologize for the actions of extremists who claim to represent Islam, a religion with an estimated 1.6 billion adherents worldwide.”

Muslims took to Twitter in #muslimapologies campaign after President Obama's speech at UN calling on Muslims to denounce IS.
Muslims took to Twitter in #muslimapologies campaign after President Obama’s speech at UN calling on Muslims to denounce IS.

Unmosqued: Documentary exploring the future of the American mosque

A new documentary trains a critical eye on the mosque in America. Unmosqued trains a critical eye on the future of the mosque in America. Based on research compiled by Dr. Ihsan Baghby at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Unmosqued, is a look into the dynamic and future of the American mosque.

More information on the film and the research that led to the creation of the film can be found here.

Film poster advertising "Unmosqued: A film about the mosque in America." (Unmosqued)
Film poster advertising “Unmosqued: A film about the mosque in America.” (Unmosqued)

Spain and Morocco Arrest 9 on suspicion of terrorism

Spanish and Moroccan law enforcement officials have arrested nine people suspected of being part of a terrorist cell linked to the Islamic State, the Spanish Interior Ministry said on Friday.
In Spain, the leader of the cell was reported to be the brother of Zakaria Said Mohamed, a Spaniard who was suspected of fighting in Mali and whose arrest was solicited by the Moroccan authorities, the newspaper El País reported. The Spanish media said that the group leader had traveled to Mali and other conflict zones and was in charge of recruiting radicals for the cell. According to those reports, all of those arrested had been trained in the use of explosives and in handling arms.
El País said that Melilla had become a center of operations for jihadists and that investigators had uncovered three terrorist cells in recent months. It added that in March, the authorities discovered a group based in Melilla that had sent dozens of fighters, a majority of whom were French and Moroccan, to fight in Syria, Mali and Libya.

Spanish Muslims against ISIS

Spanish Muslims raised already earlier this month against terrorism remembering, through a statement issued by the Union of Islamic Comunities of Spain, yhat Islam conveys a message “of peace and coexistence.” “We are now facing the self-denominated Islamic State, which proves to be neither a state nor Islamic, and that steals the name of a religion, running brutal actions which are not according to Islamic values ​​of peace and coexistence,” said its president Riay Tatary.


In Austria, an amendment to the “Islam Law.”

In Austria, Islam was recognized as a religious corporate body by the Hapsburgian Monarchy in 1914, later on it was also recognized by the Austrian state.

However, since recent upcoming radical terrorist groups like IS, the Austrian government partly changes or adds new provisions to the existing Islam law. For example Muslim holidays will be included into the “Christian” calendar. However, the new law forbids Muslim clubs in Austria to accept money from Muslim organizations outside Austria; additionally it also forbids Muslim clubs to support Muslim organizations outside Austria financially. Several Professors in constitutional law, like Theo Öhlinger, criticized the new amendment; according to him the new law would be against the freedom of Religion. Christians, Jews and Buddhists clubs are not facing the same requirements.The mentioned groups are allowed to support their religious groups outside Austria financially and also receive financial support from outside. The Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz defended the states decision by arguing, that currently some Muslim groups are a great threat to the Austrian government.

Profiles of British Muslims going to fight for Jihad

More profiles of young British Jihadists have been released. Samiun Rahman, a young man arrested in Dhaka as an ISIS

Sara Khan, the co-founder of Inspire, is working to keep young Muslims, especially young women, away from radicalization.
Sara Khan, the co-founder of Inspire, is working to keep young Muslims, especially young women, away from radicalization.

volunteer to fight in Syria was a serious rock singer and guitarist with a recording contract with a British music company. According to police, Rahman had turned to militant Islam just over two years ago after he was arrested by police in London for being drunk.

Women and girls appear to make up about 10% of those leaving Europe, North America and Australia to link up with jihadi groups, including ISIS. France has the highest number of female jihadi recruits, with 63 in the region – about 25% of the total – and at least another 60 believed to be considering the move. In most cases, women and girls appear to have left home to marry jihadis, drawn to the idea of supporting their “brother fighters” and having “jihadist children to continue the spread of Islam”, said Louis Caprioli, former head of the French security agency Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. “If their husband dies, they will be given adulation as the wife of a martyr.”
Fifteen-year-old Yusra Hussein is the latest British girl thought to have joined Islamic State fighters. The “intelligent, beautiful” student – who dreamt of being a dentist – is now believed to be in Turkey preparing to cross into Syria and join up with jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Twins Zahra and Salma Halane, 16, from Manchester, are believed to have travelled to Syria in July. Aqsa Mahmood, 20, was a student in Glasgow who dreamed of becoming a doctor. Now she’s understood to be part of an all-female militant group in Syria, along with 60 other young women.

British Muslim women have spoken about their reactions to the number of women travelling to Syria. They simply cannot comprehend why they would give up their life full of opportunities. A big concern for these young women is that these “jihadi brides” will mar their religion’s reputation. Fatima Ali, an 18-year-old schoolgirl, states, “It’s impacting us as well. Obviously we’re young British Muslims so people will think we might do it too. People might discriminate against us more now.”

Inspire, a counter-extremism and human rights organisation which seeks to address issues facing British Muslim women, organised a protest in London against the Islamic State’s barbarism. The movement has its own hashtag -#MakingAStand. British Muslims have spoken out against the Islamic State before, with social media campaigns such as #NotInMyName, which went viral on Twitter. But the difference here is that #MakingAStand focuses solely on women. Sara Khan – co-founder of Inspire – says that the majority of the young women she meets are “utterly flabbergasted” when they hear about British Muslims jumping on a plane to Syria and Iraq, and “can’t get their head around the idea that young women who have all the freedoms and rights in this country have sacrificed all of that to go and marry a stranger”.

Analysis over British Jihadists – moving beyond the theory of ‘bad Islam’

Theresa May’s speech to Conservative conference in Birmingham has sparked a few controversies as journalists call for deeper answers to a complex issue. The Home Secretary quoted a now familiar phrase from the Koran, “let there be no compulsion in religion”, to illustrate that the violent conversion of non-believers is not permitted in Islam. And she added an injunction of her own for good measure: “Let the message go out that we know Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with the ideology of our enemies.”
The Standard states that we have to ask ourselves why young Muslims in this country are attracted to the murderous totalitarian ideology of those who behead aid workers. Ultimately there has been a breakdown of civil society, which has failed to deal with the segregation and alienation of many of our Muslim communities. This is not the job of national government. Our schools and mosques have not been strong enough to counter the ideology that fuels extremism, our local councils have failed to engage young Muslims and too few individuals, Muslim and non-Muslim, are taking the counter-arguments to the extremists.
As a first step let’s stop talking about Islam and Muslims in such infantile terms. It is patronising for British politicians to suggest they know the difference between a good and bad Muslim. Yes, Islam is, for many of its adherents, a religion of peace but like all religions it can also be used to justify violence. This is not a perversion of the religion because all faiths are open to interpretation and jihad is central to Islam. It is not difficult to see why a young British Muslim might feel driven by his religion to take up arms against the Assad regime. But we need to ask ourselves why a young British woman would choose to leave this country to live in the Islamic State. Only when we answer that question can we begin to work on preventing others from doing the same.

‘Jihadi’s from The Hague are terrorists’

A group of fanatical Muslim from The Hague will be sued for being an terrorist organization. If the judge agrees on this, leaders face lifetime imprisonment and other members face imprisonment for fifteen years.
Azzedine C. (32) is regarded as one of the leaders. Other prominent members are Rudolph H. (24), a convert, and Oussama C. (18).
Rudolph H.’s  lawyer is not impressed and says there are no specific grounds for suspicions against his client.

The police held an eye on the suspects since 2013, which leads to the arrest of twelve suspects. Six of them are suspected of forming a terrorist organization.

Mosque distances itself from ISIS

The al-Moslimin mosque in the city of Nijmegen distanced itself from ISIS and it’s violent jihadistic ideology that don’t correspond with the Quran. According to the mosque a lot of Muslims feel scared and threatened by the hatred towards Muslims that is the consequence of ISIS’ actions.
Board member Said Bouharrou says more Islamic organizations should speak against ISIS and other extremistic organizations to avoid people becoming scared of their Islamic neighbour. The statement is also meant for youth who consider travelling to Iraq or Syria: “You are on the wrong path.

Not sacrificing on Animal’s Day? We don’t ask the bio-industry to quit for a day’

The Party for the Animals has proposed not to slaughter sheep the fourth of October, when Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha and it is also Animal’s Day. Not everyone agrees: “Why are only Muslims being addressed?

Marianne Thieme (Party for the Animals) states that they don’t want to insult the religious tradition. But according to inspections, animals won’t be slaughtered individually and there won’t be time to sharpen the knifes in between. They therefore propose to give money, instead of slaughtering an animal.

Sandra van de Werd, spokesperson for three animal-organizations had contacted CMO (Contact device Muslims and Government) about the issue. According to CMO giving money is an important part of the fest, but offering an animal too.
Ibrahim Wijbenga, chairman of the Judea-Islamic Platform says it should be better to look at the bio-industry first.

The Animal Protection (dierenbescherming) was not involved in the proposals. “We don’t ask other slaughterhouses to quit for a day.”