Minnesota’s Somali-Americans Urge New Treatment for Would-Be Terrorists

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge ordered three young men accused of plotting to travel to Syriato fight for the Islamic State kept in detention while awaiting trial, at least for now. That decision came after the defense argued that entrusting the men immediately to their families and Somali-American leaders was the best way to insulate them from radical Islam.

But United States District Judge Michael J. Davis, in a shift from what other federal judges have done in similar cases involving young people accused of being Islamic State recruits, signaled a willingness to revisit his decision in the coming months.  “This is way too important for us to treat it as a regular criminal case,” Judge Davis said at the end of the third hearing. “It has a dynamic to it that we have to address, and hopefully we can.”

But some Muslim leaders here are trying to make a different case: that the best way to push young people away from militant Islamic groups is to keep them engaged with their community, with responsible clerics and their relatives.  Such an approach, they say, would be a humane counterpoint to the terrorist narrative that the American justice system is anti-Muslim and strictly punitive.

Osman Ahmed, a Somali-American businessman. His nephew died after joining Al Shabaad. (Angela Jimenez for the NY Times)
Osman Ahmed, a Somali-American businessman. His nephew died after joining Al Shabaad. (Angela Jimenez for the NY Times)

Religious leaders removed from the board of the National Advisory Council on Ethics

January 27, 2014

 

In nominating the new board of the Comité Consultatif National d’Ethique (CCNE) or National Advisory Council on Ethics in September 2013, President Francois Hollande chose not to include any religious leaders, and replaced them with secular figures.

This Council, created in 1983, is in charge of providing advisory guidelines on bioethical questions raised by medical, scientific and health research. The CCNE may have an advisory purpose but remains nonetheless influential.  Under its influence, the abortion limit went from 10 to 12 weeks in 2000. The Council opposed medically assisted reproduction in 2005, surrogate motherhood in 2010, and assisted suicide by euthanasia in 2013.

The 1983 founding decree states that the interdisciplinary board must be composed of forty members including ‘five belonging to the main philosophical and spiritual families’. Until 2013, two clerics had been chairing: Pastor Louis Schweitzer and Rabbi Michael Azoulay. Islam wasn’t represented by an Imam but by a Muslim thinker, Ali Benmakhlouf. Likewise, Catholicism wasn’t represented by an ecclesial figure but by a professor of theology, Xavier Lacroix. All four have now been replaced with more secular figures.

In theory, Francois Hollande respected the founding decree, which implied that the five religious board members could be secular but not necessarily clerics. However, the President changed a tradition. ‘We want to return to the founding principals of the Council in 1983, and to call on secular figures to represent the religious communities’, said the Elysée.

According to a former president of the CCNE, ‘nominating civilian figures over clerics is a good thing, because they always end up deploying religion in the debates.’ Mohammed Moussaoui, former president of the CFCM (Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman) deplores the eviction of Rabbi Azoulay and the other religious members. To him, it reflects Hollande’s changing vision of state secularism.

 

Source: http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/pourquoi-religieux-ont-ete-ecartes-comite-consultatif-national-dethique-7505.html?utm_source=newsletter-karisik-liste&utm_campaign=08cb84806d-Zamanfrance+28_01_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2d6e3a9a0e-08cb84806d-315948881

Muslim women’s group launches a campaign against domestic violence

8 January 2013

 

Muslim women’s charity Amina, based in Scotland is to launch a campaign to tackle domestic violence in the Muslim community.  There has been a widespread misconception among the certain sections of the Muslim community that Islam warrants husbands to beat up their wives. The group however, is planning to use Islamic teachings and clerics to challenge the misconception. Smina Akhtar, from the group stated that: “We have women coming in, phoning our helpline, time and time again and saying: ‘My husband said it’s okay, he told me the Koran says it’s okay’. We’re quite surprised that Muslim women are often not educated, even in Islam, because Islam does not condone violence.”

 

Organizers are asking people to promise to oppose all sorts of violence against women and girls and, crucially, to talk about the problem so that it cannot remain hidden.

 

New Islamic Center emerges outside Paris

Islam Online – September 27, 2011

 

A new law has gone into effect this month, banning France’s estimated 5 million Muslims from praying on the streets – in line with the country’s separation of religion and state. The move was not welcome by Muslim community in France. French authorities have offered a temporary solution, which is the cavernous quarter of an old fire station in northern Paris. Hundreds of people emerged from the facility one recent sunny afternoon, spilling into a wide boulevard not far from the city’s ring road.

Some locals have said now there is lots of space, and toilets, for worshippers. Muslim clerics say they expect several thousand faithful will use the facility. It already is overflowing.

2 Muslim clerics accused of financial support for Pakistani Taliban again seek release on bail

MIAMI — Two Muslim clerics accused of providing financial support to the Pakistani Taliban terrorist group are again seeking release on bail.

A hearing was set Friday in Miami federal court for 76-year-old Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan and his son, 24-year-old Izhar Khan. Both are imams at South Florida mosques. They have been in solitary confinement since their May 14 arrests.

A magistrate judge in May ordered both men held without bail until trial. Their lawyers say prosecutors have scant evidence that they pose any threat or would flee to Pakistan rather than stand trial.
A second son charged in the case, Irfan Khan, will have a bail hearing July 15. Three other people, including a daughter and grandson of the elder Khan, are also charged but remain in Pakistan.

Netherlands to Increase Muslim Clerics as Prison Chaplains

January 26 2011

More imams and fewer Christian chaplains are to be hired for work in the Dutch prison system. A story in Trouw reveals an internal justice ministry document showing that 12 of the current 32 positions for non-religious posts providing advice to inmates are to be eliminated. At the same time, the number of Islamic clerics ministering to inmates will rise from 35 to 47. The total number of religious advisors in the prison system will be reduced from 177 to 160.

Islamic Studies in Germany: Who Has the Final Say on Religious Authority?

22 Oct 2010
In Germany, centres for Islamic studies are to be set up in three universities in order to train imams and religion teachers. Muslim associations like the Schuras, or associations of mosques, in northern Germany have been calling for years both for the introduction of Muslim religious education in schools and for the training of Muslim clerics in Germany.
All the same, there’s a substantial difference between the aims of the associations and those of the politicians making the decisions. The politicians have been led to make this historic decision by considerations of integration and security policy.
For the Muslim associations there have been other issues: equal rights; the development of an authentic Muslim theology in a European context; independence; and the emancipation from the Muslim countries of origin.

Saudi Clerics Declare Women in France Exempt from Full-face Covering

Two Saudi clerics have declared Muslim women are exempt from wearing full veils in France, which is planning to ban them, but added they should avoid visiting it as tourists. The comments, by Islamic jurisprudence scholar Mohamed al-Nujaimi and author and cleric Ayed al-Garni, come two weeks after French lawmakers passed a bill under which women could be fined for appearing in public with the all-covering burqa or the niqab, which leaves the eyes exposed.

Muslim scholars are divided over the veil, disagreeing on whether and how much of a woman’s face should be covered. Saudi clerics widely recommend it. Every summer, tens of thousands of Saudi holidaymakers leave the kingdom and its searing heat to spend their vacation abroad, with many travelling to European countries.

German interior minister speaks in Cairo on Muslim integration

In a speech at Cairo University in Egypt, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble sought understanding for Germany’s integration policies. The speech came just ahead of the next German Islam conference in Berlin. In his Cairo speech, Schaeuble pointed out that there was legal equality for Muslims in Germany. The country’s three million Muslims have “the same rights, because our state guarantees freedom of religion and is not limited to a singular world view.” The interior minister explained it was crucial that Muslims living in Germany learnt the language and added that the successful integration of Islam into western societies will only work if Muslims accept democratic constitutions “without condition.” “Whether we like it or not, there are many people who think that Islam and democracy don’t mix. These are often people who have prejudices against Islam,” Schaeuble told the audience of Egyptian politicians and intellectuals. “But we must also not ignore the fact that there are some Muslims who also hold this opinion,” Schaeuble continued. He warned that this minority was seeing to it “that their opinion is heard worldwide.” To combat anti-democratic tendencies, Schaeuble also said that Muslim children living in Germany should receive Islamic courses in German. He supported the plan that Islamic clerics in the country should also be trained at German universities. Currently most of the clerics at Muslim mosques in Germany have received their religious training outside of Germany. This, Schaeuble stressed, could only be a temporary solution.
Ahead of his speech, the German interior minister met with several representatives of the Egyptian government, as well as Muslim and Christian clerics.

Europe: Morocco sends moderate Muslim preachers to Europe

According to the Ministry for Religious Affairs, Morocco is planning to send moderate Muslim clerics to Europe this September, coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan, to help fight extremism among Moroccans abroad. 167 men and 9 women will be part of the mission of clerics instructed to answer the religious needs of the Moroccan community abroad, to protect it from any speeches of extremism or irregular nature, and to shelter it from extremism and fanaticism. The ministry said that 100 preachers would go to France and Belgium, while 10 each would be sent to Spain and Germany, and 7 will be sent to the Netherlands. The remaining others will be sent to Scandinavia and Britain, with one imam going to Canada.