New sports uniforms level the playing field for Muslim girls

This is no ordinary fashion show. The models are East African, primarily Muslim girls living in Minnesota who designed their own culturally sensitive sportswear that lets them move freely without worrying about tripping on a long, flowing dress or having a head scarf come undone at a crucial point.
Sertac Sehlikoglu, a social anthropologist working on leisure, sports and the Muslim communities at the University of Cambridge, noted that Iran has been developing culturally appropriate female sportswear for years. She agreed with the Minnesota project’s organizers that the girls’ designs could catch on in other cities with large Muslim populations.

In this June 16, 2015 photo, East African Muslim girls practiced basketball in their new uniforms in Minneapolis. Muslim girls who play sports have challenges that go beyond the sporting. Their new culturally sensitive uniforms, designed by the girls, address worries over tripping on a long, flowing dress, or having a loosely wrapped hijab come undone during a crucial play. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) Read more: Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
In this June 16, 2015 photo, East African Muslim girls practiced basketball in their new uniforms in Minneapolis. Muslim girls who play sports have challenges that go beyond the sporting. Their new culturally sensitive uniforms, designed by the girls, address worries over tripping on a long, flowing dress, or having a loosely wrapped hijab come undone during a crucial play. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

US Appeals Court Revives SC Solitary Confinement Challenge Based on Religious Rights

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said evidence shows that Lumumba Incumma has never received any meaningful review of his solitary confinement, despite having no administrative infractions over the last two decades.
Incumma was placed in solitary confinement after he and other members of the Nation of Gods and Earths, an offshoot of the Nation of Islam, staged a prison riot in 1995.
He also claimed that his around-the-clock segregation violated his religious rights, but the appeals court said a judge was correct in rejecting that claim.

American Muslims Supporting Gay Marriage Speak Up

Often thought of as unremittingly hostile to homosexuality, some American Muslims celebrated Friday’s Supreme Court decision and chided their co-religionists who said judgment day was night.  The debate on whether Islam allows homosexuality is hotly contested among American Muslims.

Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty
Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty

Friends With ISIS: How To Tell One Young Woman’s Story

Like most developing stories, nothing was for certain. Earlier this year I went to rural Washington State to meet a young woman who had befriended Islamic State sympathizers over the Internet.  Rukmini Callimachi, the reporter on the story, received a tip about “Alex” from an online activist. In February, we spoke to the 23-year-old woman and her grandmother by phone and discussed protecting their identities in exchange for telling her story.

France: Islamophobic attacks increase by 23.5 %

Islamophobic acts in France have increased by 23.5 percent in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period last year, a French nongovernmental organization has said in a new report.

The figure was released Thursday in a report titled “Islamophobia in France six months after the January 2015 terrorist attacks” by the Paris-based Collective against Islamophobia in France organization.

“Attacks against mosques, death threats against veiled women, school kids humiliated by their teachers, female students prohibited from wearing long skirts, religious profiling of Muslim children, propagation of hate speeches and even declarations of war on Muslims whom are portrayed as a fifth column… the consequences have been and still are dire for Muslims,” the report said.

Moreover, physical assaults increased by 500 percent and verbal attacks by 100 percent during the initial months of 2015, the report said, adding that women were among the first victims of Islamophobia.

“Discrimination and violence against adults are now joined by the humiliations inflicted on numerous Muslim children that have been blamed for the terrorist attacks,” it said.

However, few people were making complaints about the Islamophobic acts because of apparently two main reasons: “Agents refuse to take my complaint,” and secondly: “Perpetrators are rarely convicted and if they are, justice is very lenient.”

The report also referred to a recent dialogue between Muslim representatives and the French Ministry of Interior, noting that the ministry had “urged police officials to accept complaints from victims of Islamophobia”.

After the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks in France last January, Islamophobia is believed to have increased manifolds in France, which is home to nearly five million Muslims, most of whom are from North Africa.Graffiti

Muslims call for ‘combatting extremism and terrorism’

“France is experiencing its second shock in six months,” said Kamel Kabtane (rector of the Grand mosque of Lyon), Laid Bendidi (president of the regional Muslim council), and Azzedine Gaci (rector of the Villeurbanne mosque), in a joint statement following the attack in Isere. They “wish to express their condemnation of the diabolical attack carried out during the month of Ramadan at the Air Products of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier factory.”

The three religious leaders called on “all mosques in the Rhône-Alpes region to use Friday prayer to call on Muslims to unambiguously fight and condemn all extremism and terrorism.” They added that no one should “tolerate that which the messengers of hatred do in the name of Islam,” and hope for a mobilization “all together, everyone together, to combat these criminals who want to weaken our country.”

© Tim Douet
© Tim Douet

After attack, French Council of the Muslim Faith launches appeal

“The CFCM condemns with the greatest vigor the terror attack that struck the Air Products of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier factory in Isere,” wrote the former president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith Dalil Boubakeur. “The CFCM expresses its deepest outrage following the unspeakable acts that cannot be claimed by any religion or cause,” he added, before calling on “the entire national community to awareness, unity, and to solidarity.”

The president of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, Abdallah Zekri, “condemned with force this barbaric and blind terrorism that claims religious roots but is in complete contradiction with the Islam’s values and more particularly during the month of Ramadan, a month of piety, brotherhood, and of sharing.

“A decapitation in Isere! The peak of the despicable and of the abominable has been reached,” said M. Zekri, who is also a part of the CFCM. “It is time for the great powers to react effectively and to stop countries from financing this terrorism,” he said.

© AFP Dalil Boubaker
© AFP Dalil Boubaker

Collective Against Islamophobia in France Statement

“The CCIF is profoundly shocked by the latest unspeakable act of violence. We send our condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

In an already difficult environment, where French society is plagued by a rise in racism and intolerance as well as by a recrudescence in Islamophobic acts, we warn against any attempt at amalgamations and ask that security for places of worship be reinforced, especially during the month of Ramadan where mosques are frequently attended.

We ask the leaders of places of worship to remain vigilant, and to report any hostile act to the authorities while alerting the CCIF (

Danger does not lie in the vain attempts of armed groups to weaken the Republic. Its principles are anchored in the French spirit, as our country’s History has shown.

The real danger lies with those who use these events to unleash their hate against a segment of the population which is, in fact, the one who pays the highest price in the face of terrorism.”

France Deporting Radical Muslim Imams

Are some mosques brewing militant Islam and terrorism? France thinks so, and they are doing something about it.

Over the past three years, France has deported 40 foreign imams for “preaching hatred.” A quarter of those have taken place since the January terror attacks in Paris, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday.

The minister vowed to clamp down on mosques and preachers inciting hatred after a suspected Islamist beheaded his boss during an attack on a gas factory last week, according to Radio France International.
Any “foreign preacher of hate will be deported,” said Cazeneuve, adding that several mosques were being investigated for inciting terrorism and if found to be doing so, “will be shut down.”

Yassin Salhi, 35, on Sunday confessed during interrogation to killing his boss and pinning his head to a fence of the Air Products factory near the eastern city of Lyon.

The severed head was discovered flanked by two Islamic flags and it later emerged Salhi had sent a selfie of himself with the head to a number believed to belong to a French jihadist currently in Syria.

After the attack French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told French television, “We cannot lose this war because it’s fundamentally a war of civilization. It’s our society, our civilization that we are defending.”

AP Photo/Patrick Gardin
AP Photo/Patrick Gardin