CDU politician from Rhineland-Palatinate demands burqa ban

Federal deputy and head of faction Julia Klöckner from the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) has demanded to restrict the full coverage of women in the

In Germany, full coverage of Muslim women being employed at schools, kindergartens and hospitals has become a controversial legal and political issue within the last months.
In Germany, full coverage of Muslim women being employed at schools, kindergartens and hospitals has become a controversial legal and political issue within the last months.

public. Underlining her claim for the burqa ban, Klöckner added: “The burqa would not stand for religious diversity but for a degrading image of women”. The State of Hesse was the first German State that banned the burqa from public service in 2011.

Full coverage of Muslim women being employed at schools, kindergartens and hospitals has become a controversial legal and political issue within the last months.

 

Laila Alawa: Do we really need mosques in America?

Laila Alawa, Associate Editor at Islamic Monthly, views the controversial documentary film Unmosqued and offers some observations on the mosque and its function and future in America. Situating her argument in a larger view of faith in America, Alawa writes, “There are buildings scattered across America, empty of purpose and congregations, simply because people left – and never turned back. For the future of mosques in America, Muslim Americans who have been unmosqued must make a decision. Alongside this sense of urgency, however, is a sense of freshness: the community, innovations and conversations taking place in third spaces is unlike any that happened within mosques – and for now, that’s okay. The future of faith in America might just not take place within a conventional center of worship. For many, that’s just how it’s going to be.”

"Mother Mosque of America," Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“Mother Mosque of America,” Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

State senators advance controversial ‘anti-Sharia’ bill

TALLAHASSEE—A controversial measure dubbed an “anti-Sharia bill” advanced out of the Florida Senate on a 24-14 vote Monday.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, touted SB 286 as “an American bill.”

It would restrict judges from considering foreign law in matters of divorce, alimony, child support and custody.

Under the language of the bill, an order of a foreign court would not be enforceable if it “offends the public policy of the state.”

It goes on to say: “Any attempt to apply the law of a foreign country is void if it contravenes the strong public policy of this state or if the law is unjust or unreasonable.”

Several senators said they were baffled by perceived need for the bill, feared it would inhibit foreign trade and adversely affect the state’s large Jewish population and their Israel-granted divorces.

“There is no record of Sharia law being implemented in the courts of Florida or any other state,” Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat said, in opposition.

Sharia is the moral code and religious laws that governs Muslim life.

In Washington, Muslims gather to get ‘Happy’ for the camera

April 22, 2014

 

A young man drummed on a bucket as a portable speaker played the uber-upbeat song “Happy,” Pharrell Williams’s anthem to joy and to the pure communal value of boogying in the street that has engendered countless copycat videos across the globe.

Because I’m happy — Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth . . .

Malik, 39, and Salma skipped through a gantlet of applause and cheering.

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you . . .

Jamal, wearing a thobe, and Kareem, in jeans, performed a high-stepping routine of their own. Behind them and in front of them, husbands and wives, parents and children, and total strangers bounced and shimmied and twirled as curious passersby stopped to watch and the camera rolled.

They were brought together by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which advocates for U.S. Muslims, and which last week announced a plan to help steer susceptible members of their communities away from radical Islamist ideology, and Make Space, a Washington-area organization for Muslim professionals and youth.

The video comes on the heels of a version depicting British Muslims that has garnered 1.2 million YouTube views. Like that one, this will show Muslims old and young, male and female, wearing headscarves or letting their hair flow freely — all embracing the concept of happiness.

“It sort of happened in a grass-roots sense — a couple of days ago I posted on Facebook and we put the word out yesterday,” Hasan Shah, Make Space’s board chairman, said Tuesday. “It was something that everyone wanted to do, because it could be done within the boundaries of our religion. It’s not provocative, it’s not risque in any sense.” After all, he said, happiness “is neither Eastern nor Western, it’s universal.”

Still, the British version, called “Happy British Muslims” has been controversial in some circles, underlining the challenges Muslims can face when trying to create art in a Western context.

While many Muslims were elated by the video and wanted to copy it immediately, some said it violated Islam’s law or at least its spirit of modesty, particularly with women dancing and singing in public. Others felt it was humiliating and unnecessary to prove that members of the planet’s second-largest religion are, in fact, happy.

But the 50 or so Muslims who gathered at McPherson Square were hardly encumbered by these concerns — though the organizers did remind them to limit their gyrations to the upper half of the body.

The song’s contagious popularity seemed like a perfect vehicle for that, said Haris Tarin, the D.C. director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “Since this song has gone viral, we thought, why not take advantage of it? It may be a little wacky, a little out of the ordinary . . . but it gives that idea of the American Muslims in the public square.”

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/in-washington-muslims-gather-to-get-happy-for-the-camera/2014/04/22/c2dd9108-ca34-11e3-93eb-6c0037dde2ad_story.html

Federal Court Orders YouTube to Take Down Controversial Anti-Islam Video

February 28, 2014

 

A federal appeals court ordered YouTube to take down a controversial anti-Islam video in an unusual copyright decision that Google, which owns YouTube, said raised questions about freedom of speech.

The video, “Innocence of Muslims,” was briefly blamed in 2012 for inciting violence across the Middle East that killed four American diplomatic personnel in Libya and was the topic of a debate over free speech at the time.

Many countries, including the United States, asked YouTube to consider taking down the video. YouTube refused because it said the video did not violate its guidelines governing hate speech, though it put the video behind a warning page. (It temporarily restricted access to the video in Egypt and Libya, which it called an extraordinary measure. It also restricted access in countries where the video is illegal, including Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia, in response to court orders.)

But the latest court order is about an entirely different legal issue: copyright.

The case was brought by an actress in the film, Cindy Lee Garcia, who had a minor role for which she was paid $500. The California Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, overturning an earlier federal court decision, ordered YouTube to remove the video because it said that Ms. Garcia had a copyright claim to the work and that the infringement of the copyright had led to death threats against Ms. Garcia by critics of the film.

Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in the majority opinion that the filmmaker had lied to Ms. Garcia about the movie, which turned out to be very different from the one in which she agreed to perform. He also said her performance could be copyrighted.

NY Times: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/federal-court-orders-youtube-to-take-down-controversial-anti-islam-video/?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%234&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry714%23%2Fmuslim%2F30days%2Fallresults%2F5%2Fallauthors%2Fnewest%2F

Ukip MEP says British Muslims should sign charter rejecting violence

February 4, 2014

 

A Ukip MEP believes that British Muslims should sign a special code of conduct and warns that it was a big mistake for Europe to allow “an explosion of mosques across their land”. Gerard Batten, who represents London and is member of the party’s executive, told the Guardian on Tuesday that he stood by a “charter of Muslim understanding“, which he commissioned in 2006.

The document asks Muslims to sign a declaration rejecting violence and says parts of the Qur’an that promote “violent physical Jihad” should be regarded as “inapplicable, invalid and non-Islamic”.

Asked on Tuesday about the charter, Batten told the Guardian he had written it with a friend, who is an Islamic scholar, and could not see why “any reasonable, normal person” would object to signing it.

Batten also repeated his view that some Muslim texts need updating, claiming some say “kill Jews wherever you find them and various things like that. If that represents the thinking of modern people, there’s something wrong, in which case maybe they need to revise their thinking. If they say they can’t revise their thinking on those issues, then who’s got the problem – us or them?”

Asked why Muslims have been singled out, rather than followers of other faiths, Batten said: “Christians aren’t blowing people up at the moment, are they? Are there any bombs going off round the world claimed by Christian organisations? I don’t think so.”

With Ukip hoping to top the polls in May’s European elections, Batten is top of the party’s MEP candidate list for London, having passed a round of psychometric testing to make sure his views were acceptable. However, Batten – Ukip’s spokesman on immigration and a former candidate for London mayor – appears to have held some controversial positions on Islam for some time. His “proposed charter of Muslim understanding” was written in 2006 by Sam Solomon, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, with a foreword by the MEP himself.

In a press release from the time, published on Ukip’s website, Batten calls on Muslims to sign a five-point affirmation, in which they would promise to accept equality, reject violence in the name of religion, and accept a need to “re-examine and address the meaning and application of certain Islamic texts and doctrines”.

 

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/04/ukip-mep-gerard-batten-muslims-sign-charter-rejecting-violence

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/05/ukip-batten-muslims-halal-banned

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/05/tory-mp-ukip-muslim-code-conduct-frightening-halfon-batten

Nick Clegg will not drop Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz who tweeted a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed and Jesus

January 30, 2014

 

Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the liberal Democrats) has said he will not drop a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who sparked widespread protests among some Muslims by tweeting a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed. Maajid Nawaz says he has received death threats since posting the image earlier this month, while a petition calling for him to be ditched as Lib Dem candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn in next year’s general election has gathered more than 20,000 signatures, and a rival petition in his defence has more than 7,000.

Mr Clegg told LBC 97.3 radio that he would not personally have tweeted the controversial cartoon of a stick figure of Jesus saying “Hi” to a stick figure called Mo, who replies “How you doin’?”But it is important to show respect to people of all faiths, beliefs and religious persuasions when discussing religious matters. But the Lib Dem leader said: “He is not going to be dropped as a Liberal Democrat candidate. He has the right – as any Muslim, non-Muslim or anyone of any faith or none in this country has – to say things even if that causes offence to other people.

Mr Nawaz, the co-founder of counter-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, posted the image after appearing in a BBC television debate about religious tolerance which featured two students wearing it on T-shirts. He said that he was sending out the “bland” cartoon to show that, as a Muslim, he did not feel it was a threat to his faith and to demonstrate that “Muslims are able to see things we don’t like, yet remain calm and pluralist. My intention was not to speak for any Muslim but myself – rather, it was to defend my religion from those who have hijacked it just because they shout the loudest”.

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nick-clegg-will-not-drop-lib-dem-candidate-maajid-nawaz-who-tweeted-a-cartoon-of-the-prophet-mohammed-and-jesusclegg-will-not-drop-lib-dem-candidate-9095691.html

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/28/speaking-islam-loudmouths-hijacked

Sundance premiere ‘Camp X-Ray’ explores Gitmo life

January 18, 2014

 

Kristen Stewart takes a lot of abuse in her latest film, a gritty drama about detainees at Guantanamo Bay. “Camp X-Ray,” which premiered Friday at the Sundance Film Festival to boisterous applause, features Stewart as Amy Cole, a guard stationed at the controversial U.S. prison in Cuba, where suspected terrorists are being detained. Stewart’s character takes an elbow to the face, is spit on and splattered with excrement, but learns her treatment is nothing compared to the detainees.

The movie is sympathetic to the prisoners’ plight; Stewart’s character eventually forms a bond with innocent inmate Ali Amir, played by Peyman Moaadi. In an interview with The Associated Press, Stewart said she relished playing such a strong character.The film originally intended Stewart’s role for a male, but he shifted to a female lead because he felt it created more conflict between the two. “And Muslims’ extremist relationship toward women also complicated (the story),” he said. “So I clicked into that.”

Lane Garrison, who also plays a guard in the movie, told the audience that working on “Camp X-Ray” shifted his thinking of Guantanamo Bay, which has been the center of a battle over whether it should close. President Barack Obama has said he would like to see it shut down. “I had a belief that everyone down there was responsible for 9/11,” said Garrison. “After doing this film I started asking questions about Guantanamo Bay and come to find out that there are still men down there that no country wants and I started thinking ‘What if there is a guy down there that is innocent that’s not a terrorist — does he deserve that day in court? It changed me to start asking questions and not just go along with the flow.”

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/sundance-premiere-camp-x-ray-explores-gitmo-life/2014/01/18/bb060d92-8048-11e3-97d3-b9925ce2c57b_story.html

Michigan Republican Dave Agema under fire again for questioning contributions of American Muslims

January 14, 2014

 

Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema is under fire this week for another controversial Facebook post — this one questioning the contribution of Muslims in American society.

Agema, in a Facebook communication dated January 9, shared with his followers an old internet attack piece comparing Catholics to Muslims.

“Even if you’re not Catholic you may find this eye opening,” Agema wrote.

He then copy-and-pasted an anonymous blog post that has circulated on the web and through email for years. It highlights charity work of the Catholic church before posting a series of questions about Muslim heritage.

“Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?” it asked.
While Agema’s post generated upwards of 40 “likes” on Facebook, it also prompted a series of critical responses on the social media network.

Republican political consultant Joe Munem replied to Agema in a Facebook post of his own, highlighting the contributions of his father, Mustafa Munem, who heads the math department at Macomb Community College.

“My muslim father, an internationally published author, 52 year math professor, business owner and gentleman farmer has done far more to contribute positively to the American way of life than you ever will,” Munem wrote.

As a state representative, the Grandville Republican introduced a bill seeking to ban the implementation of foreign laws, such as Islamic Sharia. Critics said the legislation unnecessary and could fuel anti-Muslim paranoia. It did not pass.

Agema made headlines in recent months for a series of inflammatory andinaccurate statements he made about the gay community on Facebook, conservative radio and a Berrien County GOP holiday party. While many prominent Republicans rebuked his statements, they stopped short of calling for his resignation.

MLIVE.com: http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/michigan_republican_dave_agema.html

“Mosques in Italy:” The Northern League and Muslims in confrontation

January 14, 2014

 

On Friday January 17th laws, rights and the overall distrust. The conference is titled “the Northern League and Young Muslims in confrontation” and will take place in Bologna. The Northern League will be represented by Umberto Bosco, board member of the Emilia party. Representing the Young Muslims will be Yassine Lafram, from Turin and of Moroccan origin.

Bosco promises that the event “will bring about a heated but civil debate between supposedly antipodal positions. The topic of the mosques is very controversial but little known, and the debate will not be a simple opportunity to reiterate the familiar opposition of the Northern League to their construction, but the opportunity to clarify and argue its position.”

 

Modena 2000: http://www.modena2000.it/2014/01/14/moschee-in-italia-lega-nord-e-musulmani-a-confronto-venerdi-a-bologna/