Polygamy, Practiced in Secrecy, Follows Africans to New York

Thousands of New York’s African immigrants are thought to be practicing polygamy as they did in their native countries, where it is legal; practice is clandestine because polygamy is grounds for exclusion from US under immigration law; no agency is known to collect data on polygamous unions, and many agencies that deal with immigrant families in New York have adopted don’t-ask-don’t-know policy; some men have one wife in US and others abroad; Islam is often cited as authority that allows polygamy, but practice is cultural tradition in Africa that crosses religious lines, and some Muslim lands elsewhere sharply restrict it; some African immigrant women speak bitterly of polygamy, saying they had no choice but to accept their husband’s other wives; many women accept situation, fearing to expose their husbands to arrest or deportation; presence of polygamy in New York was revealed after March 7 fire in Bronx that killed woman and nine children in two families from Mali.

Bernard Lewis Applauds the Crusades

Famed Princeton Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis drew a standing ovation from a packed house of conservative luminaries Wednesday night in a lecture that described Muslim migration to Europe as an Islamic attack on the West and defended the Crusades as a late, limited and unsuccessful imitation of the jihad that spread Islam across much of the globe. Lewis gave the nearly hour-long speech at the annual black-tie dinner of the American Enterprise Institute after receiving the group’s Irving Kristol Award. Among the attendees were Vice President Dick Cheney, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and ex-Pentagon official Richard Perle. Notably absent was I. Lewis Scooter Libby, convicted this week of perjury and obstruction of justice. At last year’s event, Libby, then under indictment, received considerable support from attendees. The 90-year-old Lewis, seen by some as the intellectual godfather behind the administration’s decision to invade Iraq, warned in his lecture that the West – particularly Europe – was losing its fervor and conviction in the face of an epochal challenge from the Islamic world. The Islamic world, he said, was now attacking the West using two tactics: terrorism and migration. He listed ideological fervor and demography as two of the chief strengths that the Muslim world had in its favor in its face off against the West, but fell short of offering any prescriptions for what Europe should do to stem the flow of immigrants from North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Lewis, author of The Arabs in History and Islam and the West, among many other books, also gave a ringing endorsement for the ill-fated Crusades, which spanned two centuries starting in 1095, when various European armies tried to regain the Holy Land for Christendom. -Neil King Jr. CORRECTION: Bernard Lewis called the Crusades a late, limited and unsuccessful imitation of the jihad, not a successful imitation as incorrectly described in the original post. In the AEI speech, he made the point that the Crusades, as atrocious as they were, were nonetheless an understandable response to the Islamic onslaught of the preceding centuries, and that it was ridiculous to apologize for them. The more central point to his speech was that Europe in particular is now losing its conviction in facing off against Islamic extremism and migration.

Italian Muslims Endorse Pope’s Criticism of West

ROME – The leaders of Muslim communities in Italy endorsed on Monday statements by pope Benedict XVI who warned that Africa and Asia feel threatened by the West’s materialism and secularism. “We agree with the pope,” said Roberto Piccardo, the spokesman of Italy’s largest Muslim group UCOII. “It is true that Muslims are puzzled by a West which is hostage to a materialistic system.” Mario Scialoja, the former president of the World Muslim League, also expressed support for the pope’s words, saying that the “West’s exclusion of God leads to the wrong life models.”

Vatican: Italian Muslims Endorse Pope’s Criticism Of West

The leaders of Muslim communities in Italy endorsed on Monday statements by pope Benedict XVI who warned that Africa and Asia feel threatened by the West’s materialism and secularism. “We agree with the pope,” said Roberto Piccardo, the spokesman of Italy’s largest Muslim group UCOII. “It is true that Muslims are puzzled by a West which is hostage to a materialistic system.” Mario Scialoja, the former president of the World Muslim League, also expressed support for the pope’s words, saying that the “West’s exclusion of God leads to the wrong life models.” Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech Sunday in Munich which made headlines in all the main Italian newspapers for its indirect reference to Islam. “People in Africa and Asia admire our scientific and technical prowess but at the same time they are frightened by a form of rationality which totally excludes God from man’s vision, as if this were the highest form of reason,” he said. Expressing concern that secularism and materialism have replaced religious faith in the West, Benedict XVI also said non-Western societies “don’t perceive the Christian faith as the true threat to their identity but instead contempt of God and cynism.” Yahya Sergio Yahe Pallavicini, the deputy leader of another leading Muslim group in Italy, COREIS, called for “more cooperation between different religions so as to make sure the West doesn’t become a place of materialism, loss of values and the absence of references to the sacred and spirituality.”

Sarawak Tribune Suspended After Running Prohpet Muhammad Cartoons

Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia will suspend the publishing licence of a daily newspaper after it printed the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have enraged Muslims worldwide, news agency Bernama reported yesterday. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ordered the licence of the publisher of the Sarawak Tribune to be suspended indefinitely with immediate effect. The publisher was not immediately available for comment. The paper ran the caricatures last weekend to illustrate a story on its inside pages about the global fury in what it called an “oversight” by a non-Muslim night editor. The incident embarrassed the mainly Muslim country’s government, which is headed by an Islamic scholar who chairs the world’s largest grouping of Islamic nations, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. “Cabinet members…unanimously agreed with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that the reproduction of the offensive cartoons was a serious offence which demanded stern action from the government,” the New Straits Times newspaper said. The suspension is pending the outcome of an investigation by the Internal Security Ministry, the newspaper said. Tens of thousands of Muslims have demonstrated in the Middle East, Asia and Africa over the cartoons, first published in Denmark, then other countries in Europe and elsewhere. One caricature showed the Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban. Many Muslims consider any portrayal of their Prophet as blasphemous, let alone one showing him as a terrorist. The Sarawak Tribune is published in the eastern state of Sarawak on the jungle-clad island of Borneo. It is one of the few Malaysian states where Muslims are in a minority.

‘Muhammad’ Is Growing Popular In Britain

LONDON, Jan. 6 (Reuters) – Muhammad joined the perennial favorites Jack and Joshua in 2004 as one of the most popular names given to British boys, a sign of growing ethnic diversity and a legacy of Muslim immigration decades ago. The Office of National Statistics said Thursday that Muhammad, meaning “one who is praiseworthy” or “exalted,” had moved up two places, to enter the top 20 for the first time. “It is all about demographics,” said Dr. Jamil Sherif, of the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella group of 400 organizations. “There are now more Muslims being born in Britain than previously. About 40 percent of Muslims here are under 25; there are a lot of young families.” Immigration from Asia and Africa surged during the 1960’s and 70’s and Britain, with about 61 million people, is home to about 1.6 million Muslims. But despite its increased popularity, Muhammad has a long way to go before it takes the laurels from Jack, which has topped the charts for 10 years. Joshua was No. 2, Thomas at 3, James at 4 and Daniel at 5. For girls, Emily held the top spot for the second year running, and Ellie was again No. 2.