French Magazine Express International Banned in North Africa – Some Claim it Offends Islam

This week’s issue of L’Express International, a French newsmagazine, has been banned in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, on the grounds that its cover story “The Jesus-Muhammad Shock” is offensive to Islam. The story title is the same as a book covered in the story. The newsweekly’s staff claim that they attempted to portray Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, with adherence to Islamic norms by covering his face with a white veil.

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International Herald Tribune

International Herald Tribune

L’Express

Macleans Magazine

Associated Press

French Magazine Express International Banned in North Africa – Some Claim it Offends Islam

This week’s issue of L’Express International, a French newsmagazine, has been banned in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, on the grounds that its cover story “The Jesus-Muhammad Shock” is offensive to Islam. The story title is the same as a book covered in the story. The newsweekly’s staff claim that they attempted to portray Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, with adherence to Islamic norms by covering his face with a white veil.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

L’Express

Macleans Magazine

Associated Press

On ballots this November: More Muslim American women

While many things have changed for Muslim Americans since the September 11th terrorist attacks, one remarkable and positive change is currently unfolding – more Muslims, particularly Muslim women, are running for political office.

Agha Saeed, founder of the American Muslim Alliance, has tracked Muslim candidates for over a decade. Before September 11th, less than 5 percent of the candidates were women, and now one in three Muslim candidates is a woman.

On local levels, there is Jamilah Nasheed, a female Missouri Democratic state representative vying for re-election. Ferial Masry is facing a tough state assembly race in a heavily conservative district near Los Angeles.

While dozens of Muslim Americans hold seats on city councils and are busy in Washington, only two serve in Congress – Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana. “9/11 had a big impact. We kind of came to the conclusion that sitting on the sidelines… was not going to be a successful strategy, and that people needed to get involved,” said Ellison.

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Associated Press

International Herald Tribune

Arrests during nationwide anti-terror raids

Spanish police arrested 13 men accused of harboring Islamic extremists, including several suspected of having connections to the 2004 Madrid bombings, and helping them flee Spain. The arrests were made in areas near Barcelona, Madrid, and Algeciras. The recent arrests stemmed from an operation three years ago, in 2005, in which Spanish police broke up a cell that allegedly recruited people for suicide attacks against US-led forces in Iraq. At least eight of the detained are of Moroccan origin; details about the others have not been provided

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AKI

Al Jazeera

Associated Press

The Herald

Senators seek rights protections in FBI probes

Three Democratic senators are seeking “bare-minimum” civil rights protection for those Americans who might be targeted in FBI security investigations, even without evidence of wrongdoing. Senators Dick Durban, Russ Feingold, and Edward Kennedy made demands on the measures in a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, saying that the new policies could allow surveillance of innocent Muslim or Arab-Americans based in part on just their religion or nationality. “The Justice Department’s actions over the last eight years have alienated many Americans, especially Arab and Muslim Americans. We are concerned that issuing new attorney general guidelines without a more transparent process will actually make the FBI’s job more, not less, difficult by exacerbating mistrust in communities whose cooperation the FBI needs,” the letter is quoted as saying.

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Associated Press

International Herald Tribune

Muslim meat workers to discuss prayer conflict

Muslim workers involved in a dispute at the Grand Island meatpacking plant in Omaha, Nebraska, are preparing for a meeting to decide the next step. According to reports, at least 86 workers were fired after they walked off the job during a dispute over the workers’ right to prayer during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mohamed Rage who leads the Omaha-Somali-American Community Organization said that up to 150 were fired after the dispute. The workers, most of whom are of Somali background, have been asking for accommodations to be made so that their break times are adjusted to occur around sunset – the time that Muslims generally break their fasts during Ramadan. One of the workers said that the break had been arranged and agreed by managers, but tension amounted when Latino co-workers protested the Muslim workers leaving to break their fasts. However, Dan Hopped of the Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union descried the events differently, saying that supervisors told the workers to return to work or leave – and the employees were fired after leaving. The meatpacking company, JBS Swift & Co said in a statement that the company is working to resolve the issue.

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Associated Press

Associated Press

New York Times

International Herald Tribune

Italian lawyers seek Condoleezza Rice testimony

The lawyers for a former Italian chief of intelligence want to call US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a witness in the trial of 26 Americans charged in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric. Defense lawyer Nicola Madia, who said that Rice’s testimony is significant, considering that she was in charge of the CIA’s rendition program, filed the request. Italian judge Oscar Magi is expected to make a decision on the request in October.

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International Herald Tribune

Associated Press

United Press International

Despite Objections to Size, Cologne Approves Mosque

Cologne’s city council has approved building plans for what is slated to be Germany’s largest mosque. Politicians hope the structure’s glass design and bilingual program will help integrate the Islamic community. Cologne’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Left Party all voted for the construction of the mosque, which will include two minarets that stretch 55 meters (180 feet) into the sky, the Associated Press reported. Mayor Fritz Schramma was the only Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member to approve the plans. The rest of his party has criticized the mosque’s design as being “too imposing.” Builders from the Governing Body of the Turkish-Islamic Union (DiTiB) will construct the structure with a 37-meter high dome in the city district of Ehrenfeld.

Somalis fill vacant jobs at Iowa meatpacking plant

Almost three months after a federal immigration raid on a Postville, Iowa meatpacking plant resulted in the uprooting of nearly 400 employees, dozens of Somali immigrants are slowly but steadily filling the vacant ranks left by arrested workers. The Somali immigrants, many of whom are Muslim, discussed with the Associated Press some elements of their faith and culture concerning their new job. The meatpacking plant is kosher, and is run by several Rabbi’s. However, many including Ahmed Ahmed, a Somali who works in the plant’s sausage department, did not find his employment to be a contradiction, citing work is work. Many of the workers have transplanted not only themselves, but their family, including women and children. The Somali immigrants – numbering at an estimated 100-150, are also beginning for form their own community within the small town with a population of just 2,200.

Fitna film fails to shock some

Wilders’ anticipated and controversial film ‘Fitna’ did not make as grand as an entry as expected, and hype assumed. While the film is dotted with Quranic verses and violent imagery of terrorist attacks in recent years, some cited the film’s content as highly predictable and nothing new. Maurits Berger, a professor of Islam at Leiden University told the Associated Press it’s a serious of photos, headlines from recent years which we already know. It appears Wilders is also running into some legal problems with the film; a photograph of the rapper Salah Edin was mistakenly used as the photo of Mohammed Bouyeri, the murder of Theo van Gogh. The rapper is consulting his lawyers on legal action. In addition, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is suing Mr. Wilders, alleging he infringed copyright by using a cartoon of his without permission.