Swastikas and racist graffiti painted on Redditch mosque

Swastikas and racist graffiti have been painted on the walls and windows of a mosque. The mosque is still under construction and the vandals broke in and used paint taken from builders’ cabins on the site. Police are guarding the site and carrying out local reassurance patrols. Forensic examinations are going on. The North Worcestershire police commander, Superintendent Kevin Purcell, said: “For as long as I can remember the relationship between the Muslim community in Redditch, the police and the wider community would best be described as excellent.

 

West Mercia police have appealed for anyone with any information relating to the Redditch incident to call officers at Redditch police station on the non-emergency number 101, quoting incident reference 20-S-260613, or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

‘I am not a Nazi’, says EDL leader Tommy Robinson

 

Tommy Robinson, who is the organisation’s co-founder, was grilled about the EDL in a highly charged interview on the BBC’s Sunday Politics. Confronted by images of EDL supporters giving what appeared to be Nazi salutes, Mr Robinson said it was a “manipulated photo”. Asked by presenter Andrew Neil if it was a “fascist Nazi salute by any definition” he said: “I am not a Nazi, I hate Nazis, I hate fascism.” Mr Robinson said that the EDL had now advised that “whenever people hold their hands up like that we have told them to give the V” to avoid any misunderstanding. He said: “Nazism and Islamism are on the opposite sides of the same coin – we oppose both. Nazism has been defeated and Islamism is spreading across the country.” Mr Robinson said it was “political correctness gone mad” that the Help the Heroes charity had turned down a donation from the EDL in the wake of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. He added that the EDL had support among serving British soldiers: “Ordinary British squaddies support us – I know they do.” Last week serving soldiers were warned that taking part in any EDL activities could result in their dismissal. Asked if Britons were expected to believe that the EDL was “no more menacing than the Girl Guides”, he said: “Has anyone from the English Defence League blown anything up, has anyone from the English Defence League killed anyone, has anyone planned to bomb anything? “What you have to understand is there is a massive undercurrent of anger across this country – I have got my finger on the pulse, people are angry, you need to harness and channel that anger which is what we are trying to do.”

Parenting courses for Muslims aim to untangle culture from religion

Family Links scheme addresses concerns among parents of how to reconcile western values with their religious upbringing. Ifat Nisa feared her teenage son was hanging out with “the wrong crowd”, drinking, smoking or experimenting with drugs – but when she questioned him, they always argued.

 

Brought up not to challenge her own parents, Nisa was confused about how to parent an apparently disrespectful teenager. She heard about a parenting course at her mosque in Slough, Berkshire, and despite initially dismissing it – “My reaction was ‘it’s not Islamic'” – when she discovered it was tailored for Muslim parents, decided to try it out. Family Links realised that the course concepts were in tune with Islamic religious ideas but that Muslim women were reluctant to attend. To engage them, the course’s core principles (self-awareness or empathy, for example) were matched with religious verses.

 

One concern among parents is how to reconcile western values and life with their religious or cultural upbringing. The course, as Naeem says, supports parents towards adopting positive practices consistent with Islamic religious values, helping them be “good Muslim British citizens”.

 

Now Family Links is rolling out this version of its course, Islamic Values and the Parenting Puzzle, and partnering with the charity UK Islamic Mission (UKIM) to reach families who might not join mainstream programmes. The organisations ran the first training in Birmingham last year, teaching 21 volunteers to deliver the course, and a second course took place in London last month. The courses train parent leaders to deliver the programme to others. Evaluations have yet to be published, but Family Links says it could reach 200 people a year.

The courses involve roleplay and discussions about concepts such as praise and positive discipline. Participants use various approaches in different scenarios, from dealing with uncommunicative teenagers to discussing sexual issues.

 

Naeem’s aim is to untangle culture from religion, encouraging participants to realise that some of their parenting has little to do with Islam, but are learned cultural practices. She recalls dealing with misconceptions about discipline; when several participants on one course discussed smacking, suggesting that bearing punishment was a virtue, she told a religious story about oppression to reinforce messages about fair treatment.

 

The plan is soon to to train a group of Muslim fathers so they can deliver the programme to their peers, countering any assumptions that domestic life is solely the remit of the mother. As one father recently told Naeem: “No one ever asks us how we feel as a parent … [there are] so many cultural things – you can’t cry, you can’t feel sad, you have to be strong.”

 

Public debate on Muslim women, integration and Islam

May 3

 

According to a representative survey, conducted in 2012 by the Allensbach Institute for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the majority of the questioned people associate Islam with a propensity for violence, fanaticism and intolerance.

 

Although the real life situation of Muslim women does not correspond with the image of the “oppressed woman”, 83 per cent of respondents view Islam as misogynist and feel that it is characterized by discrimination against women.

 

In contrast to the negative prejudices towards Islam, only 13 per cent relate Islam to the grace of charity. Only 12 per cent relate Islam to charity and 7 per cent to openness and tolerance.

 

The study describes the attitudes of Germans as still dominated by the Huntington assumption of “clash of civilizations”. In 2010, only 36 per cent of Germans believed in a peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. However, only 19 per cent of the interviewees perceive Islam in itself as threatening. Although 48 per cent Germans are pessimistic about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, while only 39 per cent would agree with a minaret ban.

 

Interestingly, there is no positive correlation between tolerance and inter-cultural contacts. Despite a higher number of Muslim immigrants in West Germany, 48 per cent of West German interviewees feel discomfort in the presence of headscarf-wearing women. 45 per cent of the East German population feel discomfort in the presence of headscarf-wearing women. Only 22 per cent of the interviewees see Islam as an integral part of Germany and only 29 per cent perceive Muslims as part of the country.

 

Hence Islam as the “other” is deep-seated in the mindset of the German population.

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Pro-Islamic adverts taken down from London railway stations

12 January 2012

Muslim charity The Qur’an Project was displaying pro-Islamic posters in five major London Railway Stations – Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool St, Marylebone and St Pancras International during the period 10 – 24 December 2012. The project aimed to tackle Islamophobia by educating people about Islam. The places had been reserved and they had agreed on the cost of the advert. However, the adverts were taken down by JCDecaux, the company who manages advertising in the UK railways.

In their letter to The Qur’an Project, JCDecaux gave the following reason: “…rail companies have pointed out that this is not acceptable and we should not have done so. As a consequence, we began the process of removing your posters from the rail stations over the weekend…”
The move has been considered to have Islamophobic motivations since JCDecaux and Network Rail have allowed similar campaigns for other religious groups over the last two years.

16 British Muslims are travelling to Bosnia as part of a charity project

22 June 2012

 

Made in UK, a London based charity is taking 16 young Muslim volunteer a month-long programme to Bosnia & Herzegovina. They are travelling to the region to live and work with families around Srebrenica.

 

The programme aims to revive the concept of a journey as an act of learning and enrichment, while providing volunteers with valuable experience of life in a region that is recovering from brutal conflict.

Islamic Relief Canada charity to help food bank pay off debts

Toronto Star – May 17, 2012

 

A charity that normally deals with international disasters is answering the call of a Toronto Food Bank. Islamic Relief Canada has launched a campaign that will match dollar for a dollar any donations to help the Flemingdon Community Food Bank pay off the $30,000 it owes in rent.

Last week, the food bank — which serves 3,800 families in the high-needs area of Flemingdon Park — launched an urgent appeal to help it raise the money needed and save it from shutting its doors. Over the past three years, the rent of the food bank has increased from $22,600/year to $31,200, said Abdul Hai Patel, the acting chair and treasurer of the food bank. That is in addition to monthly costs of $3,100 for expenses, delivery, pest control and supplies, he said.

Princess Badiya of Jordan calls for more co-operation between Muslims and Christians

8 May 2012

 

While some Christian groups are joining in the Islamphobic discourse, Princess Badiya of Jordan was invited by Biblelands, a Christian charity to lecture in London’s St James’s Church about Muslim-Christian relations. In her lecture she pointed out the similarities between the two Abrahamic religions and called for more co-operation between the members of the two religions.

CAIR Reminds Gingrich that All Faiths are Equal in America

*(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/17/12) *– A prominent national Muslim civil
rights and advocacy organization tonight called on Republican
presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and other GOP representatives to
reaffirm their support of an American republic that treats citizens of
all faiths as equals.

Gingrich today told a South Carolina town hall that he would only
support a Muslim for the presidency if that person would “commit in
public to give up Sharia.”

“Newt Gingrich’s vision of America segregates our citizens by faith. His
outdated political ideas look backward to a time when Catholics and Jews
were vilified and their faiths called a threat,” said *CAIR National
Legislative Director Corey Saylor*. “The time for bias in American
politics has passed and Newt Gingrich looks like a relic of an ugly era.”

Saylor added that Sharia teaches marital fidelity, generous charity and
a thirst for knowledge. It includes religious guidelines for praying,
fasting, giving charity, helping the needy, feeding the hungry, and
caring for the environment. “The last time I checked, that was called
freedom of religion and it is all protected by the Constitution,” said
Saylor.

According to Saylor, Sharia literally means “path,” and it is a set of
interpretations that are dynamic and intended to accommodate the time,
place and laws — like the U.S. Constitution — of a particular
community. Sharia is interpreted differently based on its surroundings.
Sharia mandates Muslims to respect the law of the land in which they
live. Many familiar with Islam note that Sharia is similar to Catholic
Canon law and Jewish Halacha law.

Ex-Michigan congressman sentenced to more than a year in prison in terrorism financing case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Michigan congressman and U.S. delegate to the United Nations has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison for lobbying for a Missouri-based Islamic charity that had been identified as a global terrorist organization.

Mark Deli Siljander, 60, a Republican who served in Congress from 1981-1987, pleaded guilty in July 2010 to obstructing justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent in connection with his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency, based in Columbia, Mo.

In his plea agreement, Siljander acknowledged that he lobbied between March and May 2004 on behalf of the IARA for the organization to be removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism. The charity closed in October 2004 after being designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

Four co-defendants also were sentenced Wednesday. Among them were former IARA executive director Mubarak Hamed, who sent more than $1 million to Iraq through the charity in violation of U.S. sanctions. He pleaded guilty in June 2010 to illegally transferring the money and obstructing the administration of laws governing tax-exempt charities.