News Agencies – January 13, 2012
Speaking in Paris at her first campaign rally, Green presidential candidate Eva Joly argued that national holiday status should be accorded to the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
Currently six of the 12 national holidays in France are Catholic calendar events, with the other six having no religious connotation. “Each religion should benefit from equal treatment in the public sphere,” she said. “I believe that national holidays should also be accorded to faiths other than the Catholic faith.”
Joly’s proposals were rejected by all three leading parties. Minister of Higher Education and UMP member Laurent Wauqiez argued on French news channel BFM that “France’s national holidays have come about through our Christian history. We are not going to rub out our history.”
19 February 2011
The Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (IZRS) has held its yearly meeting, to which the president of the IZRS Nicolas Blancho had invited a number of prominent speakers. Approximately 2000 people attended the conference, where the star of the gathering was the Kuwaiti Sheikh Mishary Rashid Al-Afasy, while around 50 people from anti-Islamic and Christian groups held protests against the conference.
Three of the invited guests in particular led to raised eyebrows at the Swiss State Office for Migration (BFM). The first of these guests was Shefqet Krasniqi, an imam from Pristina, who shocked the Catholic world two years ago with the comment that “Mother Teresa is in hell, as she was not a Muslim.” The second was Yusuf Estes, who was an Islamic chaplain in US prisons, and who fights against public schools for Muslim children, arguing instead for Qur’an schools. Finally, there was Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist and former Taliban hostage, who converted to Islam following her kidnapping and now supports the Muslim brotherhood.
The yearly meeting was promoted by a youtube video which shows the word “Islam” followed by other words such as “Hate,” “Attack,” “Forced Marriage,” and “Honor Killings,” after which appears “Where are our rights? Who stands up for us?” According to IZRS spokesperson Abdel Azziz Qaasim Illi, the theme of the conference was “how to bring together in harmony Islamic identity and the modern era.”