Recently a meeting was organized in the Nelson Mandela Centre in Amsterdam by various civil society organizations under the title “Joining Powers Against Islamophobia.” Among the organizers where the Collective Against Islamophobia and Discrimination (CTID) and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Migration and Development (EMCEMO).
Among other things the meeting resulted in the establishment of a “Manifest Against Islamophobia.” Organizations and individuals can sign the manifest. Th initiative made a powerful statement against all forms of discrimination stating that “The government and politics should strive for a solidary society in which every citizen is valued and protected: gays, Jews, women, men, old or young, regardless of skin color, religion or ethnic background. A solidary society which in the most forceful manner takes a stand against homophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, or any other form of discrimination.”
To read the full manifest see the following link:
October 24, 2013
On the occasion of the XII Ecumenical Day of the Christian-Islamic dialogue, celebrated throughout Italy on October 27, the national organizing committee wrote an appeal to all of Italy. The committee consists of a series of pacifist and nonviolent associations, which are representative of the Christian and Muslim world. The appeal this year is entitled: “Religious freedom, the basis of civil society. One God, one humanity, human rights for all and all.”
To define this issue, the Committee started with a reflection on the “endless war,” which started on 11 September 2001 and is still in progress. The text of the stresses that “the war, with the related issue of unclean production of armaments, is the dramatic emergency of our time, as seen by the recent events in Syria. Religions still provide cultural – religious motivations in an event, especially war, which can not be defined as solely political and economic.”
For the promoters of the Day there is no doubt that peace is a valuable asset and must be safeguarded at all costs. Many who celebrate the day participated in a day of prayer and fasting for peace, which was supported on September 7 by Pope Francis.
Also urgent is the issue of religious freedom on which little attention is given, and despite the provisions of our Constitution it is still largely unimplemented. “Freedom of religion” says the appeal “is the subject of conflict in many regions of our country, especially in the north, and not just for Muslims who are systematically denied permission to erect their own places of worship. Missing is a law implementing the constitutional rules.
Hence the need to reflect on these urgent issues. The hope is that this appeal can be widely distributed so that October 27, 2013 may continue, as has already happened in the last eleven years, a positive encounter between Christians and Muslims but also with other religions and with civil society more generally.
With tensions very high as a result of the murder that took place in Woolwich on Wednesday 22 May, the Muslim Council of Britain issues the following advice to mosques, associations and British Muslims. We hope these messages are imparted throughout the country:
Advice for mosques and associations
1. You are not alone
Reach out to police authorities for liaison, and to other faith communities and civil society organisations for solidarity. Open up your mosques, and invite neighbours and the wider community to your mosque and events. Show the true message of Islam.
2. Do a risk assessment
See what the risk is to your buildings, communities and neighbours. Invite the police and local authority to your mosque to see what can be done to enhance protection.
3. Secure your buildings
Make sure your mosques and buildings are equipped with alarms and camera systems, ideally connected to the local police and emergency services. In making your mosques welcoming, make sure the area outside is cleared of rubbish, which also enhances security.
4. Report threats early
Keep a record of and report threats straight away to the police. Do not be tempted to touch suspicious items or confront threatening behaviour. Keep a record of any threatening emails or calls, and encourage communities to report this.
April 12, 2013
The journal Oasis will focus on the role of religion in democracy. Oasis is an international multilingual journal and published by the Oasis Foundation. The inaugural volume focuses on the Arab Spring and is entitled “Transition through whom? Religions and the test of democracy. ”
The volume will be discussed on Saturday, April 13 in Rome at a local bookshop. The main section of the latest issue focuses on the social and political transition in both the Middle East and the West. According to the journal, in the Middle East “transition is set and led by Islamist movements and parties in reaction to turmoil of the civil society. However, in the West, Christians seek new forms of political engagement in an increasingly secularized society.”
August 18, 2010
The vice president of the regional council for immigration in Veneto, a Muslim of Moroccan origin, has acknowledged that pedophilia also exists within the Muslim community and has been further facilitated by the cover up of some imams. Civil society, he says, should prevent such phenomena working specifically with mothers in order for them to recognize the signs in their children of abuse. It is important, he continues, to raise awareness within the Muslim community on this topic; so as to identify and face the problem in order effectively implement preventative policies.
Bosnia’s first gay pride festival has been forced underground after 10 people were injured when protestors attacked visitors on the festival’s opening night. Dozens of people chanting “kill the gays” punched, kicked, and threw stones at people leaving the event. Islamic leaders were angry that the festival of pride, which includes art, films, and workshops about sexual minorities, is being held during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Lead organizers of the event said that they are not canceling the festival, but changing the format from public to private, hoping that this will deter some of the harassment and violence.
See full-text articles:
The Irish Times
A Muslim college in Warwickshire is running the UK’s first official sharia law court. The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal has used sharia law to settle more than 100 civil disputes between Muslims across the UK since it opened last December. The tribunal, which runs along side the British legal system, was set up by scholars and lawyers at Hijaz College Islamic University in Watling Street, Nuneaton.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, recently said there was no reason why sharia law, derived from several sources including the Koran, could not be used for contractual agreements and marital disputes. Cases already heard in Nuneaton include an inheritance dispute between three sisters and their two brothers, a divorce and a neighbour dispute. In the inheritance case, the men were given double their sisters’ inheritance. The divorce hearing ruled that a Somalian woman should be granted an Islamic khula (annulment) despite her husband’s strong objections. And in the neighbourhood dispute, the tribunal ruled that the losing party – a group of young Muslim graduates – should teach the winning party, who had young children. Les Reid reports.
Full-text article available here. (Some news sites may require registration)
The government reiterated on Wednesday, August 27, opposition to a campaign by the far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP) for a referendum on banning minarets in the central European country, branding it unconstitutional and discriminatory. “The popular initiative against the construction of minarets has been submitted in accordance with the applicable regulations but infringes guaranteed international human rights and contradicts the core values of the Swiss Federal Constitution,” it said in a statement cited by Reuters. The SVP, who is spearheading the campaign, has amassed 113,540 signatures, enough to force a nationwide vote on the minarets ban. Under Swiss rules, the electorate can request a popular vote if it manages to collect 100,000 signatures within 18 months from eligible voters for the initiative. The minaret proposal has to be discussed by parliament before being put to a popular vote and the process could take several years.
Full-text article available here. (Some news sites may require registration)
The author has already written elsewhere about the failure of political Islam because of the non-compatibility of the Islamic imaginary with the structure of the modern state. A political agenda based on Revelation will be bound to coercively suit society to law rather than the other way around.
Olivier Roy, France’s leading philosopher-political scientist, disagrees with the way France is handling its ‘Muslim problem’ and warns it against what it calls Islamophobia, a collective sickness that will harm the country. He invites France to revisit its resistance to affording public space to religion and to differentiate between Islamic neo-fundamentalism, which is observance without demanding a separate state, and which is what the French Muslims want, and Islamism which assumes an Islamic state, and is plaguing the Islamic world. The expatriate Muslim in the West has integrated into the host culture less and less over the years. Two approaches to expatriate workers — assimilationism and multiculturalism — have failed. Assimilation insists that the expatriate person accept the local culture in public places to become a full-fledged citizen. Multiculturalism believes that Islam is a deep-seated culture too and will not fade away as new generations come and go. One approach opposes separation; the other allows separation to achieve integration. Both approaches have failed. Assimilationist France doesn’t allow the wearing of veil to Muslim girls in public places, and has caused protest. Multiculturalist UK, Belgium and Germany are poised to also follow France and restrict the wearing of the Muslim veil because allowing Muslim citizens to remain separate has not led to integration. Roy seeks resolution within the matrix of Western values and observance of human rights and thinks that remedies sought officially now are all wrong. He differentiates between the secularism of the UK where religion is kept out of public life through a culture of values and a way of life, and the laïcité of France where religion has been expelled from public places through a legalism agreed to by the Catholic Church. Yet he notes a lot of defence of Christian values in secular Europe through a damning interpretation of Islam. Writers like Oriana Fallaci not only condemn Islam for being against the culture of the West but claim that the Muslims are incapable of integrating because of their faith. Khaled Ahmed reports.
Daily Times review available here. (Some news sites may require registration)