How the Orlando attack could mark a shift for gay Muslims

Like their counterparts worldwide, many gay Muslims in the United States have long felt doubly ostracized – both by the wider national culture and by their co-religionists. But in the days since the massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., there have been some signs of acceptance by Islamic organizations and religious institutions more often known for shying away from LGBT issues than for speaking forcefully in defense of gay people.
To the surprise of many Muslims, some of the largest U.S. Islamic organizations, accustomed over the 14 years since 9/11 to quickly cobbling together news conferences and messaging against terrorism, decided to loudly, even eloquently, stand up in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia” are “interconnected systems of oppression,” Council of American-Islamic Relations national Executive Director Nihad Awad said Sunday at a Washington, D.C., news conference. Later, the organization delayed a report it planned to release on Islamophobia, saying in an email that “discussion should focus on anti-LGBT hate.”
LA Times:

PSOE breaks relationships with Muslim Party, Caballas

23 July 2013

The Socialist Party of Ceuta has decided this afternoon to “break” their relationships with Caballas, the first group in the opposition of Ceuta’s political Assembly, for their defence of Koranic scholar Malik Ibn Benaissa[1]. Benaissa had been denounced by the Socialists for classifying as a “fornicator” the woman who wears perfume and stilettos.

Caballas issued in a note that Malik Ibn Benaissa is a “person trained not only in Islam, but that he is also a committed citizen”. They expressed their support for Benaissa and demanded an apology from the PSOE to all the Muslim community.

This has led to the PSOE response announcing in a statement that they break all relations with Caballas limiting them exclusively to the “essential” for the government’s control of Ceuta.

[1] Benaissa is an Imam, a Qur’an expert who dedicates his life to give conferences and sermons. He has his own youtube channel: The following video called: “The Queens of Islam” is the own referred to in these new:

Mrs. Mamèche, private Muslim High School advisor: ‘We believe in our students’

Zaman France


In light of the approaching nationwide A-Level examination date in France, Fouad Bahri met with Mrs. Mamèche, advisor and archivist to France’s most successful high school. The Averroès high school is one of France’s few private Muslim schools and has a student success rate of 100% in regards to France’s Bac (A-Level). In conversation with Mrs. Mamèche, she reveals the success of her students. She speaks of the careful preparation her students for the Bac, including training session in time management, constant pedagogic guidance, revision classes and extra-curricular internships.

The school’s success is also tied to its integration of parents in the education of their children. They are invited to participate in conferences with scholars and psychologists who provide them insights to educational success for their students. In addition, the students are taught in optional courses on Muslim ethics on how to be a good human, citizen as well as Muslim.

A salafist congress in Vizcaya

On Friday 27 a Salafist congress was opened in Sestao (Vizcaya, Basque Country). Around 2000 people have attended it, many of them from Senegal and Morocco. The Congress has been closed on Sunday. As in previous years, the congress hosted spiritual leaders of Europe and the Middle East. A total of 6 sheikhs from Belgium, Germany, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, were responsible for providing conferences and meetings.

“Islam in Vienna” conference series

The West Vienna community college is planning a series of conferences on the theme “Islam in Vienna.” Between 19 March 2010 and 12 June 2010, twenty-eight events will be organized on themes ranging from Islamic theology, mysticism, and the image of Islam in Europe. The conferences are being organized in cooperation with the Vienna Islamic Institute for Adult Education (WIIEB), which aims to bring both the concerns and know-how of immigrants to the conference series.

Despite 2009 difficulties, promising horizons for German Muslims

In this article, the author sums up the major 2009 events concerning German Muslims. She refers to surprising statistics and remarkable conferences as well as political progress, pointing to the increased goodwill and determination of politicians to improve German Muslim living conditions.

The most painful event was, without doubt, the racist murder of Egyptian Marwa el-Sherbini in a Dresden courtroom. However, the author closes on a positive note and welcomes the start of Cologne’s mosque construction and the fact that minarets are present at many mosques throughout the country.

Call for Papers: “Negotiating and Accommodating Religious Identity in Public Arena”: New Delhi, February 2010

Papers are invited for an international seminar at Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), New Delhi, India. “Negotiating and Accommodating Religious Identity in Public Arena: Comparing Indian and European Experiences with Special Reference to Muslim Minorities”

The conference will take place February 10-12, 2010.

The major goal of the seminar, bringing together prominent scholars from different parts of the globe, is to undertake a comparative examination of Indian and European perspectives and policies dealing with the issues related to religious minorities, particularly their Muslim populations.

Europe today is facing new challenges of cultural and religious diversity. Muslim immigrants constitute the most important aspect of this diversity. Multiculturalism has emerged as a dominant discourse to deal with this challenge. India has historically lived with cultural and religious diversity but is facing new challenges in managing this age-old diversity since it launched the project of creating a nation-state after its independence. The focus of this seminar proposal is to undertake a comparative study of the approaches to accommodation of cultural and religious diversity in Europe and India. The seminar will reflect the ways both India and Europe can learn from the experiences of one another; negotiating and accommodating the religious identity of minorities, particularly Muslims, in public arena.

A comparative focus on state behavior is crucial to understand the process of political integration as it shapes and structures the relationship between individual citizen, communities and the state.

How the demands of unity and diversity are reconciled cannot be determined in the abstract, for the mode of reconciliation would obviously vary from society to society. Traditional societies like India have been historically multicultural and evolved better institutional mechanism to harmonize the demands of multicultural groups, though these mechanisms are today put to severe strain in the context of nation-building processes. In contrast, western modern societies have produced culturally homogenous nation-states which however have difficulties in dealing with community based cultural demands, though at the present time a good many experiments are underway for accommodating distinctive community identities. For example, Britain represents a case of a conscious policy that promotes and allows space for communitarian existence within the broader political framework. In general, much of Western Europe can live with individual differences but feels threatened in the absence of an organized, institutionalized, clearly defined, and singular source of unity.

On the other hand, the Indian Constitution aspires to strike a balance between individual and group rights and Indian political process has historically managed the various identity based demands-whether minority or majority-without demanding the authentic representation with such groups

Europe, having already evolved as a group of nation states in preceding centuries, is now being called upon to accommodate and incorporate a substantial religious minority into the dominant national ethos. On the other hand, India has devised a political framework where the attempt has been to incorporate minorities as an integral part of the polity while
allowing them a modicum of religious space. A comparison between these two divergence cases is premised on the assumption that such a comparative study would provide insights and lessons that might be extremely relevant for both. Muslim minorities within the framework of the nation states suggest strong points of mutual convergence.

The organizers are particularly interested in papers that address the following question/issues:

1. How do European and Indian approaches towards religion, particularly Islam, shape policy making towards Muslims?

2. How political institutions in European countries (especially in those with the largest Muslim populations, i.e., France, Germany and Britain), and in India at various levels of government are managing the demands of cultural and religious diversity. What modifications in these institutional mechanisms are suggested by comparative analysis?

3. What have been the Islamic responses to multiculturalism in Europe and in India?

4. How does the colonial past and experience of the immigrant groups in Europe and in India affect the post-colonial reality?

5. What are the different approaches of European countries and India towards citizenship and naturalization laws?

6. What are the forms and expressions of discrimination against Muslims in law and in social practices in Europe and India? Do these differences impact the way cultural groups respond to the state?

7. What measures of protection exist against religious discrimination in European countries and India?

8. What is the role of education in public schools and in Muslim schools in terms of promoting integration in both European countries and India?

9. How does Islamic religious identification interact with other social factors, such as class, language, and ethnicity, gender national and regional origin and shape the state policies in both, European countries and India?

10. What have been the impacts of the ‘securitization’ of Islam in Europe and India on their Muslim populations?

11. Who speaks for European and Indian Muslims? How has the debate on the issue of representation of Muslims in public sphere in India and Europe been framed?

12. Key features of the current politics of Muslim identity in Europe and India, including:

1. Approaches towards religion
2. Political institutions and religious minorities
3. Islamic response to multiculturalism
4. Citizenship and naturalization laws
5. State, law and discrimination
6. Legal protection against discrimination
7. Education, school and integration
8. Islam and securitization debates
9. Muslim representation in public spheres
10. Politics of Muslim identity

Please email 300-word abstracts by November 15, 2009 to Dr. Konrad Pedziwiatr at

Submissions should be in MS Word or PDF format and should include your name, academic title and institutional affiliation. Respective speakers will be informed of the approval by the end of November. The organizers will take care of accommodation, internal travel and food. Due to financial limitations the organizers are unable to cover participants’ airfare.

German State Plans Center For Islamic-Christian Dialogue

Prime Minister Christian Wulff of Lowez Saxony – a federal state of Germany, said he is planning to establish a Centre for Islamic-Christian Dialogue in the city of Osanabruck, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Tuesday. Wulff from the Democratic Christian Party said that the Centre will be a major one in Germany and the neighbouring European countries. The Centre will organise European and international conferences with the participation of scholars from the two religions in addition to scientists in medicine, astronomy and other human sciences. Wulff pointed out that the dialogue should be a comprehensive dialogue and not confined to the religious sciences and differences between the two religions. The cost of the Centre is expected to amount to about two million Euros.

Mosque in Naples to be inaugurated by mid-2008

A 1,000 square meter mosque is scheduled to be opened soon in Naples. “For a number of years we have had various problems with some of those living close to the mosque because there are so many Muslims present during Friday prayers at the mosque that they tend to take up space on the adjacent streets and block traffic for hours,” said Abdullah Cozzolino, the director of the Naples Piazza Mercto Mosque. Around 4,000 Muslims currently attend this mosque, but several informal prayer areas have popped up to deal with prayer overflow. The new mosque, which is scheduled to open before the beginning of summer, will also include a cultural center and have facilities to host conferences.