Beaucaire mayor accuses Morocco of terrorism, calls for banning Arabic in schools

Julien Sanchez, who serves as the mayor of the city of Beaucaire in South France, recently released a video in which he expressed his opposition to teaching Arabic in schools.

Sanchez accused Morocco of “becoming in recent months a country of origin for terrorist organizations, which exposes French schools to danger” because many of the Arabic teachers are originally from Morocco.

“We are asked to secure our schools, but we don’t know exactly who penetrates them”, he said.

The FN mayor said he will not allocate money for such a project and will instead give a symbolic Euro.

Nice: Muslim waitress assaulted for serving alcohol on first day of Ramadan

Source: http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/faits-divers/20160607.OBS2086/agression-a-nice-il-m-a-dit-tu-devrais-avoir-honte-de-servir-de-l-alcool-pendant-le-ramadan.html

June 7, 2016

 

A Muslim waitress says she was verbally abused and physically attacked by two men who accused her of shaming Islam by serving alcohol during Ramadan.

 

The woman, who is in her 30s, said she was working in a bar in Nice on the first day of the holy month of fasting when the attack happened.

 

“I was all alone in the bar when two bystanders stormed in,” said the waitress, who did not want to be named.

 

“They pointed to the bottles of alcohol behind the counter, and then one of them said in Arabic. ‘You shame on serving alcohol during Ramadan. If I were God, I would have you hanged’.” She said she stood up to the men, telling them: “You are not God to judge me.”

She said they responded by calling her a “prostitute” and a “bitch”, before leaving the bar.

 

Shortly after, she said one of the men returned and hit her, causing her to fall to the ground.

 

“I was so scared,” she said. “I couldn’t understand. Why have they insulted me? Why that slap? I felt belittled, humiliated, dirty. I do not want other women to be victims of such aggression.

 

“It’s not because I serve alcohol that I do not fulfill my duty. I do it because I’m a waitress. In Tunisia I was practicing the same profession and I never had any problems.

 

“I did not think in France, a country of freedoms, I could be attacked for this. I fear they will come back, but I do not want this to impact my work,” she told the paper.

 

Fortunately the incident was caught on camera. The manager, who is also not named in the report, said: “Around 12:30, she called me in tears. I immediately went to the site. I alerted the police who arrived on the scene very quickly.

 

“The whole scene was recorded by CCTV cameras, and I have passed it on to the authorities.”

Muslim chaplains in prison, “formidable” work lacking direction

“Formidable work, but not encouraged.” Thirty year-old Ammar Maireche is training in Nièvre to become an imam and chaplain and would like to work in France’s prisons to combat the problem of radicalization. However, the lack of available resources has severely limited his ability to achieve his goal. The European Institute of Human Sciences (IESH) hosts some 220 students, men and women, who come from all over Europe to learn Arabic and Islamic theology. Throughout the course of seven years, each year around a dozen of graduates become imams and among them several become chaplains.

“The chaplaincy has not been supported and people are discouraged because there are not enough people. There is the financial aspect (only the costs are reimbursed,) and the prison does not provide enough resources so that the imam can help where it is needed,” explained Maireche.

“Everyone knows it’s impossible to support yourself from only this work,” he said. Radicalization of certain prisoners is for him “a real problem,” of which responsibility is “shared” between the Muslim community, who must portray a peaceful Islam, the politicians who must create more jobs, and the media.”

Chérif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who launched terror attacks January 7 and 9 in Paris, were radicalized in prison. To combat this phenomenon, the government announced they would hire an additional 60 Muslim chaplains, and promised the creation of five “ living quarters” to isolate radicalized detainees.

There are several problems involved in ameliorating the problem. The Institute’s director Zuhair Mahmood stated: “we can only produce five to ten imams each year, we can’t do more.” As well as the fact that “a chaplain must be better formed than an imam because prison, it’s the hardest area, it’s where there is the most need for pacification.”

The days at the school consist of both classes and daily prayer. Some women wear the veil, and several men are dressed in traditional garb. Jean-Jacques Pierre-Joseph, a 42-year-old convert who is an administrator at IESH and a prison chaplain, deplores the job’s “crisis of direction,” due in particular to its volunteer nature and the lack of personnel. In France, 182 Muslim chaplains are available for more than 200 prisons.

In prison, the chaplain plays “a theological role, but also has a social dominance as well, an ear for listening like a psychologist,” said Pierre-Joseph. Because “among the roots of radicalization, there are underlying elements such as instruction, the economy, frustrations and stigmatizations. Radicalization, it’s more about taking a position against the system, more than conveying religious ideas.”

Faced with this, “there shouldn’t be fear of confrontation, we must promote dialogue. We must work hard and sometimes ask anger-provoking questions in order to regulate them,” he said.

However Pierre-Joseph remains “completely opposed” to the prison living quarters dedicated, which would be even more of a “stigmatization,” for Muslims. “We can’t say that we want to reinsert these people into society while putting them at the margins,” he argued.

Following a visit to the United Nations on February 10, Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, believed that prison was “one of the breeding-grounds” of extremism but “not the principal site of radicalization,” stating that only sixteen percent of people charged with terrorism had a criminal background.

The Union of French Muslim Democrats Presents Eight Candidates

Established in November 2012, The Union of French Muslim Democrats (UDMF) claims more than 900 members and 8,000 supporters. Most are Muslims who do not identity with the current political parties and who are “fed up” with bipartisan politics. This year, the party will present eight candidates in departmental elections in Lyon, Nice, Pas-de-Calais, and others.

Directed by Najib Azergui, the party hopes to promote Islamic finance, an alternative form of traditional finance, as a method to avoid future economic crises. The party also hopes that certain “tragic chapters” in French history (Algeria, colonization, etc), which are “silently passed by” in certain schools, will be made part of their curricula. They also hope to provide Arabic classes, which are “unfairly banned” in secondary schools.

The party most notably defends the right for girls to wear headscarves in schools, as well as civic and philosophic education to teach students to “think and debate.”

Suspected of jihad, a young man from Savoie imprisoned in Morocco

French citizen Thomas Marchal was arrested by Moroccan police for suspected involvement in jihadist activities.
French citizen Thomas Marchal was arrested by Moroccan police for suspected involvement in jihadist activities.

Thomas Marchal, 22 years old, converted to Islam two years ago. Following his conversion he became increasingly zealous in his religious beliefs and left France to live in Morocco “to practice his faith in a Muslim country.” Prior to his arrest he was living in Marrakech working at a call center.

One month ago Moroccan police visited his workplace for questioning. Two days later they returned and arrested him. He was held in custody for thirteen days and was not allowed to contact a lawyer or his family, nor was he given a translator. Marchal said he signed papers written in Arabic under duress without knowing what they said. After being imprisoned for three weeks he finally reached his sister Charlotte by telephone and asked her for help. She has received help from the Collective of French Prisoners in Morocco. She says she “does not understand why her brother was not allowed to have a lawyer or translator,” and has not received word from the consulate about his condition.

 

 

Verses from the Qur’an translated in Zeeuws [Dutch dialect]

Hans Vos and Johan Goossen have translated the Qur’an in the Dutch dialect Zeeuws in ‘Zeeuwse knoppe, Arabiese blomme.’ De Vos already translated some Bibles into this dialect and now wanted to do the Qur’an. They hope it will motivate the speakers of this dialect to get interested in the Qur’an, although they are mainly strict Dutch reformed Christians. The translation is, compared to the Arabic original, more ordinary and has less of a lofty touch that Qur’anic Arabic has.

Music Mix: Spirituality and Protest: ‘Rebel Music,’ by Hisham D. Aidi

The subject matter of “Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture” could not be more far-reaching unless its author, Hisham D. Aidi, had unearthed data about youth culture and musical influences on other planets. As far as Earth goes, his highly original and ambitious book has got it covered.

“Rebel Music” exhibits a breathtaking familiarity with different forms of radicalizing music and the widely different ways it is understood in different cultures, with a special emphasis on Islamic youth. Mr. Aidi starts his book simply in the South Bronx, an epicenter of young Muslims’ hip-hop obsession.

Mr. Aidi goes there, in part, because he hopes to talk to the French rap crew 3ème Oeil (Third Eye) from Marseille. They are equally glad to meet him when he tells them he’s from Columbia, mistaking the university (where he is a lecturer) with the record company. No matter. He has the illuminating experience of finding a French D.J. who says he has dreamed of visiting the Bronx his whole life, because his role model is the Bronx D.J. Afrika Bambaataa. Mr. Aidi meets others there who are simply searching for a Muslim-friendly environment. If this book has a unifying theme, it is the eagerness of young Muslims in every culture to find musical expression that feels honest and a safe haven in an endlessly combative world.

“Rebel Music” has no chance of ending on a note of peaceful resolution. But it does lay out an array of fascinating conflicts, taking on a subject that has rarely been addressed in book form. Its most tender chapter describes Judeo-Arabic music, which flowered in Algeria in the 1960s but later became a lightning rod for controversy. Like every topic brought up by Mr. Aidi’s jampacked compendium, it deserves a closer look.

ABC Family Drops Alice in Arabia Pilot After Complaints from Muslim Groups

March 22, 2014

 

ABC Family recently ordered a pilot of a potential new series called Alice in Arabia, about an American teenager who’s kidnapped and kept as a prisoner at a distant relative’s home in Saudi Arabia. The pilot script was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously worked as a cryptologic linguist in Arabic while serving in the U.S. army, but it came under intense fire from Muslim advocacy groups for concerns it would paint unfair, broad stereotypes of the Muslim faith.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations panned a leaked copy of the script, with its “familiar narrative of a beautiful girl kidnapped from the United States by sinister Arabs, held against her will in the desert, and threatened with early marriage.”

And now ABC Family has officially shelved the pilot for good. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee touted the victory against a show that “perpetuates demeaning stereotypes” about Muslim individuals, and used the opportunity to highlight other issues they believe ABC should be addressing as well.

Mediaite.com: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/abc-family-drops-alice-in-arabia-pilot-after-complaints-from-muslim-groups/

A book review of The French Intifada: The Long War between France and its Arabs by Andrew Hussey

February 28, 2014

French Intifada

 

A book review of The French Intifada: The Long War between France and its Arabs by Andrew Hussey (publication date March 6, 2014)

 

‘’ Going well beyond news reports, the book shows just how hot and fierce a vein of hatred for France runs through the Muslim populations that have experienced French rule. More than half a century after the North African states achieved independence, France remains an object of deep loathing for many of their citizens, who often associate the former imperial overlord with oppressive French-speaking elites. Even the Moroccans who carried out the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Hussey argues, ultimately linked Spain with these elites, and thus with “the hated nation of France”. Meanwhile, in the book’s striking opening scene, Hussey describes how young Muslims he encountered at a riot at Paris’s Gare du Nord in 2007, most presumably born on French soil, broke into a chant in colloquial Arabic: “Na’al abouk la France” – “Fuck France!”

Hassen Chalghoumi interviewed by Le Figaro: ‘We have not built a French Islam’

February 16, 2014

 

Hassen Chalghoumi, the President of the Conference of Imans of France and President of the Muslim Association of Drancy was the guest speaker on the Talk Orange-Le Figaro show on February 11th.  The main themes were the nature of French Islam and French Muslims going to fight in Syria.

Chalghoumi began by saying he doesn’t like the word ‘Islamophobia’ when discussing discrimination in France, but prefers to say there is ‘racism’ and ‘anti-Muslim sentiment.’ When asked about the challenges facing the creation of a ‘French Islam’, Chalghoumi replied that Muslims have an ‘Islam in France’ and not yet an ‘Islam of France.’ Critical of associations like the CFCM (Conseil Francais de Culte Musulman), Chalghoumi claimed Muslims in France have yet to establish a representative body that is neutral, independent and not under foreign management and influence. As for the CFCM, Chalghoumi concluded they haven’t focused on doing anything effective for the youth and lack the tools for doing so.

Some of the immediate problems facing the community include a suitable training program for French Imams. It would be important to educate Imans nationally instead of letting it be done by Qatar. Other topics that haven’t been sufficiently dealt with include properly managing the halal meat system and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Referring to the government’s Integration Report released in December 2013, Chalghoumi declared he was for the push to teach Arabic in schools, since Arabic is not just a sacred language but an important business language. ‘France needs to open up to the world’ and teaching Arabic as a means to work abroad would be a good thing.

According to Chalghoumi, integration policy has been disappointing in France since there is no real mixture or diversity. Instead, separate ghettos are created and even elementary schools feel segregated with some schools having only African and Arab students.

If France did have a French Islam, then society wouldn’t have the problem of extremism. According to Chalghoumi’s estimate, there is a minimum of 700 French citizens fighting in Syria, including minors. Their profile is that they’re lost, desperate, ignorant of their religion and drawn into jihad via internet sites. Chalghoumi deplored the state of radicalization in the suburbs and said this has been a longstanding problem that he has already tried to address. When guiding families with a youth at risk, he tells them Syria is not an Islamic nor holy war, but an internal matter. Chalghoumi warns that these young fighters are today the enemies of Syria, and tomorrow the enemies of France.

 

Source (Video): http://video.lefigaro.fr/figaro/video/hassen-chalghoumi-on-n-a-pas-fait-un-islam-de-france/3215081510001/