Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Grand Mosque of Lyon, published a communiqué before the first round of the elections in which he called on the Muslim community to assume its “duty” to vote.
“Our responsibility, as citizens of this country, commands us to take part in France’s future at a time when certain irresponsible persons attempt to convince us to desert the voting booths and separate us from our fellow citizens,” he wrote. “Those who advocate retrograde beliefs, contribute to the image of a community who is uninterested in the Future of its country. The Muslims of France are in fact concerned, about the future of their country, just as they are concerned about the future of their children.”
Contacted by Lyon Capitale, Kabtane stated that salafist places of worship have attempted to dissuade Muslims from voting. “All the mosques are on alert and the sermons will call on Muslims to fulfill their duty as citizens. That is our objective,” he concluded.
“The Grand Mosque of Paris and its National Federation (FGMP) calls on France’s Muslims to vote en masse for the candidate Emmanuel Macron who, regarding Republican values and the strict application of laïcité, personifies the route to hope and confidence in the spiritual forces and citizens of the nation” said Dalil Boubakeur, the mosque’s rector.
Before the second round “which will determine the future of France and its minorities, all Frenchmen must remain united against the threat of dangerous xenophobic beliefs in order to sustain national unity,” Boubakeur added. The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) also tweeted for “Republican mobilization,” before the second round of elections.
May 8, 2016
The CFCM, the organization that governs the 2,500 mosques in France but is often criticized by French Muslims for its lack of concrete action, has taken steps to increase its religious presence.
The 2015 attacks and the success of Daesh in recruiting hundreds of youths shed light on the need for a theological council. “This new body provides our organization with a new dimension, which is no longer solely focused on administrative tasks and management,” CFCM president Anouar Kbibech stated, referring to its creation as an “historic day.”
The first meeting was held Sunday in Paris, where “all interpretations” of Islam were represented–except Salafists–including the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), and the Tablighi Jamaat.
The Council is made up of 22 members, including the Imam of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou, liberal member of the UOIF. It will meet twice yearly, ‘exceptional’ circumstances notwithstanding, and will give “advice,” as Kbibech prohibits using the word ‘fatwa,’ which has a ‘reductionist connotation.’
The committee “will be able to provide counter-discourse based on accepted theological arguments, in response to discourse circulated on social media, notably among young people,” according to the CFCM statement.
“On subjects such as jihad or hijra we need advice issued by competent and credible leaders,” said Kbibech. According to Kbibech, establishing a theological council was a “prerequisite” for the project of imam certification in order to ensure that preachers in mosques respected Republican values.
The new council can “recommend” imams after interviewing or a written exam, Kbibech explained. According to the leader, the council will “complement” the committees of religious expertise already established by certain federations, notably the theological council created one year ago by imams in the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/13/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on federal and state law enforcement authorities to offer protection to American Muslims, includingCAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad, on a hit list of Muslim leaders in the West published today by the terror group ISIS.
In the latest issue of its online magazine Dabiq, ISIS lists a number of Muslim leaders and activists in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia to be targeted. CAIR’s Awad is pictured in the article about the hit list, but is not named specifically.
Awad may have come to the attention of ISIS because of CAIR’s repeated condemnation of the terror group and because he coordinated the release of a 2014 open letter signed by more than 120 international scholars of Islam and Muslim leaders refuting ISIS’s ideology.
CAIR, along with the Fiqh Council of North America and a number of national and local Muslim scholars and leaders, released that letter at a National Press Club news conference in Washington, D.C.
In a statement reacting to being pictured on the ISIS hit list, Awad said:
“Our life and death are in the hands of God.
“I believe this threat is a reflection of the outstanding work CAIR does in opposing the anti-Islamic message and brutal actions of ISIS and other terror groups.
“The best response to such threats is to continue challenging extremism, whether it is espoused by organizations like ISIS or by Islamophobes who seek to demonizeIslam based on that group’s brutality.
“When extremists of all stripes attack our efforts to promote tolerance and mutual understanding, we know our work is having a positive impact.
“It is incumbent on state and federal law enforcement authorities to provide protection to American Muslim leaders who seek to counter ISIS’s message of hate.”
Awad said CAIR has reached out to appropriate government agencies.
CAIR and other American Muslim organizations have consistently and repeatedly condemned terrorism in all its forms, including that carried out by ISIS.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
To request legal assistance from CAIR’s Civil Rights Department, fill out the intake form at:https://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
Those who visit “Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam Through Time and Place” at the Newark Museum may also be interested in a screening of “A Thousand and One Journeys: The Arab Americans,” an award-winning documentary currently on the festival and screenings circuit.
Then again, they may not be.
Grouping together Islam and the Arab-American experience is precisely what the curators of the exhibition and the executive producer of “A Thousand and One Journeys” hope people will not do.
Myth-busting is a goal of both undertakings, whose paths converge only in that they hope to engage New Jersey audiences.
In addition to the misguided notion that all Arabs are Muslim, Mr. Kasbo addresses other pet-peeve fallacies in the film, including the idea that Arab-Americans come from unsophisticated cities.
“Aleppo is as cosmopolitan as New York, but people think it’s backwoods. It’s ridiculous,” he said of Syria’s largest — and currently war-torn — city.
The high ranking Dutch University of Amsterdam (UvA) had been occupied by unsatisfied students for months (since February 25th) before being violently cleared out by the riot police last week. Students were camping in the occupied “Maagdenhuis” which is the main administrative building of the university. Critical students and university professors unified themselves in a new movement called “De Nieuwe Universiteit” (English: The New University) criticizing the university management for their neo-liberal policies and focus on financial revenue. Some of the main demands of the occupiers are more democratization in the university and more influence in the decision making process and university policies for students and teachers. After the violent clearing out by riot police the movement’s latest demand is for the university management to vacate their positions. UvA professor of politics Jean Tillie was interviewed by the Dutch newspaper Het Parool. In the interview Tillie makes comparisons between radical students and Muslim radicals. What follows is a full translation of the Dutch interview. To read the interview in Dutch follow this link:
“Muslim radicals and radicalized students are almost the same”
Jean Tillie, professor of politics at the UvA, expects a radical group will unify itself in the student protests. And he warns. “In radicalism we can observe democratic phenomenon but it can also be innovative.” If students radicalize we all [trans. i.e. prominent figures] visit them in order to profile ourselves. But when Muslims radicalize we view that as a security threat.
The joy over the “Maagdenhuis” started when Jean Tillie (54) saw a picture of parliamentary members Mei Li Vos (Partij van de Arbeid / Labour Party) and Jasper van Dijk (Socialistische Partij / Socialist Party) in conversation with students in the occupied administrative room of the UvA college-chairman Louise Gunning. On the picture you can see someone in the background looking at books about administrative thought.
Tille has been doing research on radicalism for years. When thinking of radicalism people mostly think of Muslim radicals. This is not fair, he thinks. Student who are occupying the “Maagdenhuis” should also be seen as radical. So what then is a radical? “A large amount of distrust towards established elites, combined with an interest in their thought.” This is symbolized by the person in the background of the picture studying the bookshelves.
Do politicians then associate with radicals?
“I can say so because I used to be a radical anarchist. Aside from that radicalism may exist in a democracy right? It is not the same as extremism. But behind radicalism may lurk potential innovative changes. If students radicalize we [i.e. prominent figures, trans.] all visit them because we want to profile ourselves. But if Muslims radicalize we view that as a security threat.”
You think that is hypocrite?
“Radicalism can have something in and of itself that can be revitalizing and innovative. But it also contains democratic phenomena, even if the persons involved claim to be autonomous. I have never experienced democratic people as with the anarchists.”
“The terminology that is used I also find embellishing. My colleague professor Ewald Engelen pleads for the establishment of a “commission of truth” at the UvA [‘waarheidscommissie’ in Dutch. A term used for the commission responsible for the research on the infringement on human rights during the Apartheid regime of South Africa, trans.]. ‘Exactly!’ I think at such a point. Because through that you are actually saying that the UvA college board – just like the regimes of South Africa and Uganda – should be taken to account for their past mistakes, should get out of their position as an elite with an us-and-them mentality, and should reconcile themselves with those who actually give them their worth. In that way you can also see the value of the radicalizing professor, dangerous for powerful elite that operates in the shadow!”
Must politicians always associate themselves with groups that are radical?
“The offices of the management board should always be open. Even for students. And especially for radical renewers. As a politician you should get excited by such means. You must be able to connect aims and means.”
How did such things happen in your time?
“I’ve been a squatter and an anarchist for eight years. I participated in the crowning riots [i.e. the riots during the crowning of the former Dutch Queen Beatrix in 1980, trans.]. When I became 24 years old I stopped. Now I am 54. So I have had thirty years to think about it. And this is my conclusion: leftist radicalism is the same as rightist radicalism is the same as Muslim radicalism. But if it is from the Muslim community, from low educated youth, we tend to act hypocritically and untrusting. If it is about right-radicalism it already becomes much more complicated – take the examples of Breivik and Hans Janmaat [a former extreme rightist Dutch politician, trans.] – and if it is from the leftist community then listening is suddenly seen as a value…
The reasoning of activists is: the elite does not want to listen. Sometimes more radical actions are necessary to be able to achieve something.
“In my time as an activist we also we also organized rather firm actions. And did it have a result? Yes. If we take a look to the anarchist movement – that got little money and support – the profits were not minor. We were against nuclear energy and a further development of nuclear power station did not come to pas. We were against cruise missiles but unfortunately we stumbled upon deff ears there. You could say the housing has improved but not that squatters have been stigmatized as extremists and isolated their public support and because of that their engagement has been lost.
The occupiers of the “Maagdenhuis” say that it has not been up until now that they are being heard. Before the protests there was no serious discussion going on at the universities.
“If you want to be really effective it takes a much longer process. Then you should have a look at educational programs and departments. And you should translate the radical movement into renewed and better politics. It is not until then that the movement becomes meaningful. So the students should above all be persistent.
Must the students leave the “Maagdenhuis?
“No. My proposition is that if you can warrant your own sympathetic aims you don’t have to go away. It was not up until now that serious conversations took place with the college board. I expect a slow recuperation of the communicative trust between the elite who at first did not want a conversation and the group of radicals who are careful of an all-to-quick settlement without the political renewal I just spoke about. If they will leave de “Maagdenhuis” a new divide will come into existence between the elite and the people and a disappointed ever more radicalizing group of students.”
What will happen with such a hardened group?
“It is a very uncomfortable story. Such a hardcore group could be further stigmatized, which was already seen during the student demonstrations and for which a ritual from 1969 was criminalized. Then it becomes extreme. It remains attractive to fight for justice. It is the attraction of democracy, dissimilar to what the racist and aristocratic Le Bon claimed about the mass. Something you get from beautiful human things such as sex of dancing but also through commercial surrogates such as drugs and violence – opium of the people – to obstruct them from real democracy.”
You eschewed violence. Why did you yourself stop being an activist for peace?
“I became a father. But a few years before that another incident happened. We were at a big party in the squatting house “De Groote Keijser” and supporters of the extreme-rightist Hans Janmaat – who just won a seat in parliament – were also present. They celebrated this by beating up a black friend of mine. It became a huge fight and I almost died: I was hit in the face with an iron rod. When I was recovered and returned into the movement people reacted as if I was whining. I was simply the victim of an international struggle. Romanticism withers away in such an activist movement.”
– Translated by Jeroen Vlug –
Racist acts in France in 2014 were down 5% from 2013. In contrast, anti-Semitic acts doubled in 2014. There were 851 acts reported in 2014 compared to 423 in 2013, a 101% increase, and were all committed by Muslims.
Half of violent acts in 2014 were committed by Muslims and were directed at Jews. France’s Jewish population is less than 1% of the total population, which means that less than 1% of the population were the targets of half of France’s violent acts.
[This is a full translation of the interview with Islam critic and political leader of the Dutch Freedom Party that appeared in the Dutch news paper Het Parool on 9 January 2015. For the Dutch version see the link below.]
“The attack in Paris is a key moment”, says Geert Wilders (Islam critic and political leader of the Dutch Freedom Party). According to him now more than ever it became clear that freedom and Islam don’t go hand in hand. Citizens will not accept it anymore: “The revolution will come.”
Nine pictures are shown on the death roll that appeared in the online magazine of Al Qaida. Left of the middle shows the picture of Wilders. Located right of him is a picture of Stéphane Charbonnier, the killed editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo.
“On the internet I saw that the list is now also circulating with a red cross through his head,” says the Freedom Party leader, “with texts such as: ‘and now the rest.’ That’s not something to be happy about.”
This morning he woke up at 4.00 AM and afterwards could not sleep. “I knew this would happen at some point. But off course I was shocked anyway because I’m on the same list. I would lie if I said I am not afraid. Off course it has consequences…” He looks at the security guard who just checked the room in which the interview is being held.
“It’s war,” he already declared a few hours after the attacks. Directly after this statement he demanded a debate with the Dutch Prime Minister [Mark Rutte]. “Because if this attack makes one thing clear its that jihadis should be dealt with in a much firmer manner,” he said. “Isn’t it crazy that tens of them walk freely in this country? Who goes to Syria should never be able to come back. And the ones who have returned should be send to prison immediately. By way of an emergency law, not by way of the judge. The security of all is more important that the basic rights of some. If we do nothing the same will soon happen here. It’s a matter of time.”
And you think you can stop this?
“If we would close the borders for immigrants from Muslim countries and would deport everyone who has bad intentions it would already be a huge step. If we have achieved this we should extract ourselves from the Schengen Agreement and start to guard our own borders again. And we need the army. Isn’t it baffling that our soldiers are in Mali while our own security is under threat? Our soldiers should be here guarding stations and shopping malls. The jihadis are walking there now freely. They have declared war on us and we do nothing. They are laughing at us!”
What about the reactions of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other political rivals?
“They express their aversion and then continue to busy themselves with the usual daily business. But they do not mention the cause. Islam is the cause. They don’t say it but people see it. Our voters are no xenophobes, they are people who feel that something is not right. That the Islam doesn’t belong in their country and that everything that happens is leading back to that. I do not want to suggest that all Muslims are terrorists but what is happening does have something to do with it.”
Do you not think that a lot of Muslims also reject this attack?
“I don’t know that. I don’t hear that much. I have seen a declaration from some mosques I believe and [Mayor of Rotterdam] Ahmed Aboutaleb said good things. Besides that it remains quiet. I don’t see large demonstration in which Muslims distance themselves from it.”
“I’m not at war against all those people. I also believe that their mosques should be safe spaces. Someone who gets it into his head to set a mosque on fire should remain behind bars according to me. So I do not say all those Muslims are at fault but they bring with them a culture that is not ours.”
A part of our culture is also the freedom of religion. You want to close mosques.
“But I do not believe Islam is a religion. It has the symptoms of a religion – a holy book, an imam, and what not – but it is not. It is a totalitarian ideology. A dangerous, frightening, violent, and wrong ideology.”
“It will lead to a revolution because citizens will not have it anymore,” Wilders says. “Not the British – mark my words, Ukip [the UK Independence Party] will have extraordinary electoral results! In Germany the Pegida, in France Le Pen. The revolution will come, let that be my single most important message. There will be no stopping this. Even if [Prime Minister] Mark Rutte will demonstrate on the Dam every evening.”