Religious leaders call for assault weapons ban, background checks on gun buyers

Religious leaders from across the country gathered Saturday at Washington National Cathedral to call for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as more attention to poverty-related problems underlying gun violence in inner cities.

The meeting, part of a four-day “gun violence prevention sabbath,” was broadcast via a live Web stream to about 400 congregations around the United States, including some that held similar events locally, organizers said.

Several leaders said they had a unique perspective on the gun issue from years of burying shooting victims and comforting their families. Others said their political strength stemmed from their diverse backgrounds — Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus — that straddled party lines. Several compared religious leaders’ role in the gun debate to that in the civil rights movement.

Suspect in death of man shoved in front of NYC subway train once arrested for random assault

NEW YORK — The family of a woman accused of shoving a man to his death in front of a subway train called police several times in the past five years because she had not been taking prescribed medication and was difficult to deal with, authorities said Monday.


Erika Menendez, 31, was being held without bail on a murder charge in the death of Sunando Sen. She told police she pushed the 46-year-old India native because she thought he was Muslim, and she hates them, according to prosecutors.


They had never met before she suddenly shoved him off the subway platform because she “thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said. The victim was Hindu, not Muslim.

It wasn’t clear whether Menendez had a diagnosed mental condition. But her previous arrests and legal troubles paint a portrait of a troubled woman.


Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly would not say what medication she was taking or whether she had a psychiatric history. Authorities were called to her home five times since 2005 on reports of an emotionally disturbed person.


In one instance, police said, she threw a radio at the responding officers.

Menendez was spotted by a passer-by who called 911 and said she resembled the wanted suspect. When she was arrested, she told police she shoved Sen because she blamed Muslims and Hindus for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and had been “beating them up” ever since, according to authorities. She said she thought Sen was Muslim.


Edmonton, Alberta Muslim community holds funeral for ‘baby M’

News Agencies – September 23, 2012


The tiny pink casket at the front of an Edmonton mosque was the focus at the funeral of Baby M, the two-year-old girl who died this week after four months in a coma. About 150 Muslim mourners, including many small children, gathered at the Al-Rashid Mosque at 13070 113 St. for the toddler’s funeral prayer, which took place directly after the daily lunchtime prayer.

Among the mourners were the girl’s parents, each charged with two counts of aggravated assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to provide the necessities of life to Baby M and her twin sister, who is now in foster care with an older brother. The parents, in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre awaiting trial, were granted permission to attend the funeral on the condition they do not speak with one another.

The parents, both 34-year-old Algerian immigrants, were escorted out immediately after the service.

Obama says anti-Muslim video ‘is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well’

UNITED NATIONS — Mr. Obama will tell world leaders that the United States will not shrink from its role in troubled, transitioning nations despite the killing of four Americans in Libya, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

More than 50 people have died in violence in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia linked, at least in part, to recent protests against an anti-Muslim video posted on YouTube that mocks the Prophet Mohammad.

In excerpts of his General Assembly speech released in advance by the White House, Mr. Obama will say, “There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy. There is no slander that provides an excuse for people to burn a restaurant in Lebanon, or destroy a school in Tunis, or cause death and destruction in Pakistan.

“The attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded.

“If we are serious about those ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of this crisis. Because we face a choice between the forces that would drive us apart, and the hopes we hold in common.

Mr. Obama will declare that the United States of America will stand up for the aspirations of people everywhere who “long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes from faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people – and not the other way around.”

Much of the recent violent protests have been directed at the United States because the anti-Islam film was produced in this country; there have been public calls for the filmmaker’s arrest, extradition nor murder.

The White House has now deemed the attack on its consulate in Libya a “terrorist attack” but they have stopped short of calling it premeditated.

Ramadan in Murfreesboro

Id al-Fitr — the end of Ramadan’s monthlong fasting and sacrifice — has turned out to be an especially joyous holiday for the Islamic American community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Hundreds of worshipers were finally able to occupy their new suburban mosque this month, prevailing in their constitutional right after a two-year assault of bigotry, persistent court challenges, arson and a bomb threat at the construction site.

The community’s religion became a heated issue when residents at a public hearing angrily maintained that Islam was not a religion and that the mosque was an outpost in a plot to undermine the Constitution with Shariah law. The ugly fervor quickly spread to the political arena, where an openly anti-Islamic candidate enjoyed hefty donations from a conservative Nashville businessman in a run for Congress.

To its credit, the Rutherford County government upheld the rights of the Muslim congregation and approved the new mosque. But a local judge stopped work on the mosque in May, bending to opponents in ordering local planning officials to reopen hearings because of the controversy stirred by opponents. Judge Todd Campbell of Federal District Court in Nashville put an end to this nonsense last month, ordering occupancy after federal officials filed a religious discrimination suit. With patience and dignity, the Islamic Americans of Murfreesboro learned the hard way the endless American lesson that constitutional rights don’t come guaranteed.

Veiled French Muslim woman charged with inciting riot

News Agencies – August 7, 2012


A French Muslim woman has been charged with assault and inciting a riot after she refused a police ID check because she was wearing a banned full-face veil.

The 18-year-old is to appear in court in the northern city of Lille charged with assault, insulting police and inciting a riot after police tried to take her to a station for refusing to provide identification.

A French law passed in 2011, the first of its kind to be enforced in Europe, banned the wearing of the full-face-covering Islamic veil.

The law came into effect at an already fraught moment in relations between the state and France’s Muslim minority − the largest in Europe − with then president Nicolas Sarkozy accused of stigmatizing Islam to win back votes from a resurgent far right in this year’s election.

Supporters of the law have defended it as a measure aimed at supporting women’s rights although the text makes it clear that a woman cannot choose herself to cover her face in public.

The woman, arrested on Saturday, was stopped by officers in Roubaix, outside northern France’s largest city of Lille.

She allegedly said she did not have time and did not want to show her ID card and covered herself up with another veil as she walked away, the police source said, asking not to be named.

When police tried to take her to the station, she allegedly grabbed hold of a vehicle and started kicking, punching and screaming, the source added.

She allegedly tried to bite police and scratched one of them before being taken into custody. None of the officers were hurt.

In a similar incident on July 24, three officers in the southern city of Marseille sustained minor injuries after they stopped a fully veiled woman by a mosque. The woman, two men and a minor are due in court over the alleged assault.

Muslim street cleric claims to protect Canadian women from sexual assault

News Agencies – July 16, 2012


Canadian laws should be changed to require women to “cover themselves” to prevent sexual assaults, says an Islamic street preacher in Toronto. Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, a 33-year-old Islamic convert, called for legal change in response to recent sex attacks at York University. Atangana is connected with a group called Muslim Support Network and is one of a number of street-corner clerics commonly seen at the Yonge and Dundas Sts. In an e-mail to the Toronto Sun, Atangana said “the reason … these sex attacks are continuously happening is because (of) Canadian laws, which give too much freedom to women” when it comes to how they dress.

Moderate Muslim writer Tarek Fatah says Atangana’s view is a stark example of radical Islamist misogyny. It is an example, Fatah says, of passages taken from the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, and exaggerated to fit an antiquated, patriarchal ideology such as that of the Muslim Brotherhood. But Alia Hogben of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women sees things differently: Atangana’s opinions are not as much to do with Islam as much as they reflect a general patriarchal desire among some men to control women.

The Celebrity Photographer is tried for assaulting on a Muslim Woman

4 July 2012

Cinnamon Heathcote-Drury, a famous British photographer is being tried for racially aggravated assault on a pregnant Muslims woman. The row started in the local Tesco branch when Cinnamon Heathcote-Drury offered her help to the Mrs Hamoumi who was six months pregnant at the time. According to prosecutor when her offer was refused she lost her control and assaulted Mrs Hamoumi and pushed her on the floor.

Ms Heathcore denied the charges and the trial continues.

Ruling on circumcision

June 29

A German District court in Cologne has decided to penalize religiously motivated circumcision. It would be counted as an element of assault and battery against individuals. Neither religious and cultural motivations nor medical argumentations would justify circumcision.

Ali Demir, representative of the community of Islam criticized the decision, because it would discriminate believers. Circumcision is a harmless intervention which has been rooted in different traditions throughout the last 1000 years, he declared. Demir also pointed at the potential of circumcision in reducing infections. A ban would actually encourage “circumcision tourism” of Muslim people to neighboring countries.

The President of the Jewish Central council in Germany Dieter Graumann condemned the decision as an unexampled intervention in the right to self-determination of religious communities.

The representative of the council of Muslims in Germany Aiman Mazyek criticized the decision as an inappropriate intervention in the rights of religious communities and parents. In his words, freedom of religion is a valuable good and should not become a cue ball of a one-dimensional jurisdiction.

The Turkish community in Germany expects a correction of the decision by a higher court. Many doctors will have to face a dilemma: Muslim communities will continue to ask their services even if circumcision has been compared to crime.

Only the human rights association “terre de femmes” and its representative Irmingard Schewe-Gerigk have welcomed the decision as “a pioneering step”, helping to prevent female genital mutilation and religiously motivated harm to the human body.

Thug who attacked Muslim women is due to be sentenced

A Muslim woman was attacked by Ian Brazier, a 26 year old man in a busy shopping centre, in Solihull, West Midlands. In an unprovoked attack Brazier ripped apart Farhana Chughtaia’s veil, after his frustration that his favourite movie was not showing. He pleaded guilty to one charge of racially aggravated common assault in court and is due to be sentenced on July 4.