August 22, 2014
A mosque located in Tarragona has been attacked with a Molotov cocktail which caused “limited damage”. The leaders of the mosque have had knowledge of the attack by a call made by the Fire Department. At the time of the attack there was no one inside.
The Autonomous Police, will now try to clarify who were the perpetrators of the attack and whether the motivations had a religious background.
Riay Tatary, President of the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain, when asked about whether it said: “this is done to create an atmosphere of confusion and rejection about the Muslims in Spain.”
August 14, 2014
CAIR today called on imams (prayer leaders) nationwide to devote at least a portion of their khutbas (sermons) for tomorrow’s weekly congregational prayers (jummah) to the issues of racial equality and social justice.
That request comes in the wake of racial turmoil resulting from the fatal police shooting on Saturday of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri. Police claim the unarmed Brown had struggled for an officer’s gun in a patrol car before he was killed, but witnesses said Brown, who is African-American, had his hands up when he was shot. Brown’s death triggered angry demonstrations, as well as vandalism and looting.
CAIR’s St. Louis chapter joined calls for a federal investigation into the shooting.
“Despite progress in race relations over the past decades, our nation still has a long way to go to live up to the true American values of equality and justice for all,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We need a serious and deep national conversation about how to heal these wounds, starting with all of us as individuals, family members and community leaders.”
August 13, 2014
LINCOLN, Neb. — Iekhan Safar moved from Iraq to Lincoln for the same reason that hundreds of Yazidis, a Kurdish religious minority, came to Nebraska’s capital city: to live near family, far from the dangers they’ve long faced as a persecuted group.
Lincoln has the largest concentration of Yazidis (yah-ZEE-dees) in the United States, and many of them brought their families to the U.S. after receiving visas for serving as translators during the first Gulf War. Now, the city is at the center of a frantic effort to draw attention to the group’s plight in northern Iraq, where Yazidis are fleeing from Islamic State militants to escape violence and attempts to convert them to Islam.
Yazidis in Lincoln say they’re grateful for the humanitarian airdrops and airstrikes against militants that President Barack Obama ordered last week, but fearful that their loved ones can no longer live peacefully in Iraq.
Uncertain of what to do, Yazidis staged a hastily organized rally at the Nebraska Capitol and the governor’s residence this month and reached out to U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who along with four other congressmen sent a letter to Obama calling for immediate humanitarian assistance. They also sent five vans of people to Washington to appeal to the State Department, asking for food, water and protection for their relatives.
“Once a small group of relatives establishes a home base somewhere, it serves as a magnet for other families,” said Sebastian Maisel, a professor of Middle East Studies at Grand Valley State University in Michigan who has extensively researched Yazidis. “It’s the way that many communities from the Middle East like to live. They rely on a support network in the larger community.”
August 14, 2014
(RNS) Civil rights and religious groups say efforts to rid federal agencies of anti-Muslim bias have faltered and prejudice against Muslims persists, particularly in the training of anti-terrorism officers.
On Thursday (Aug. 14), 75 groups — including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Auburn Seminary and the NAACP — sent a letter to the White House urging an audit of federal law enforcement training material.
“The use of anti-Muslim trainers and materials is not only highly offensive, disparaging the faith of millions of Americans, but leads to biased policing that targets individuals and communities based on religion, not evidence of wrongdoing,” the letter reads.
A National Security Council representative said the letter will be reviewed and a response issued.
Anti-Muslim sentiment, flagged several years ago, prompted the White House to order an assessment of the intelligence community’s training materials and policies — but that never happened, the letter charges. Instead, the groups wrote, administration officials settled on expanded sensitivity training and other measures that don’t directly address the continued use of anti-Muslim materials.
The letter states that its allegations are based in part on a July 9 article in The Intercept, an online publication created by journalist Glenn Greenwald. According to its website, its immediate goal is “to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,” the former National Security Agency systems analyst now a fugitive living in Russia.
Former teacher and current president of an extreme-right association, Christine Tasin was fined 3,000 Euros on August 8 in Belfort after she made “insulting remarks against Islam” during the celebration of Aid-el-Kebir. She was charged with “incitement of racial hatred.”
Tasin made these comments on October 15, 2013 in Belfort during an exchange with Muslims. “Yes I’m Islamophobic, so what? I’m proud of my hate for Islam. Islam is filth…it’s a danger to France.” Her statement, which was filmed and posted on YouTube, occurred in front of a slaughterhouse that was installed for the ritual sacrifice during Aid-el-Kebir.
The Organization Against Racism and Islamophobia soon filed a complaint against Tasin. When she appeared in court on July 2 she was dressed in blue, white and red and made no attempt to deny her remarks. Prosecutors in Belfort stated that the words were “likely to incite rejection of Muslims by referring to them as a threat to France.” She received a three months suspended prison sentence and a 3,000 Euro fine. Tasin’s lawyer Joseph Scipilliti announced that his client would appeal the decision. “I find this judgment incomprehensible,” he said, “These are negative comments about Islam and not Muslims.”
August 14, 2014
When the extremist group Isis (now known as Islamic State or IS) declared a caliphate taking in parts of Syria and Iraq it reignited a debate over the role of an Islamic state. For many a caliphate is a political leadership, others a spiritual figurehead, and for some a combination of the two.
“What we’re seeing being carried out against helpless civilians like the Yazidis and other groups isn’t what an Islamic state is about,” says Yasmin Khatun, a journalist from London.
- The institution of a caliphate (khilafah in Arabic) is how Muslims were led for centuries after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
- The last widely recognised one was the Ottoman Empire which was abolished in Istanbul in 1924.
- Caliph or khalifa – which means “successor” – is deemed by certain strands of Islam to be a leader destined to unite the Muslim “ummah” or community.
- The position of caliph is often likened to that of a pope, a king, or head of state.
- Many of those who want a caliphate today compare it to having an Islamic superpower – “an America for Muslims”.
- It would also be a place to live that would be governed by Sharia law, the Islamic legal system.
Yasmin Khatun, 26, a journalist from London is a Sunni Muslim, Mina Topia, 29, a business development manager from Birmingham, is a Sunni Muslim, Joy Ahmed, 27, works in banking, lives in south London and is a Sunni Muslim, Zahra Abdeali, 31, is a recent graduate and a Shia Muslim, Fida Ul Haque, 23, is studying accounting and is an Ahmadi Muslim, Saif Ul Islam, 31, is self-employed and was born Hindu but converted to Sunni Islam offer their various opinions on what the Caliphate means to them.
August 13, 2014
Because moderate Christians and Muslims are so pleasant people believe that religion is good, decent, ordinary churchgoers have helped enable religious fundamentalists to become suicide bombers by being “so nice” that people do not question their faiths, Richard Dawkins has argued.
Dawkins, the evolutionary scientist and outspoken atheist, said moderate Christian and Muslim believers had inadvertently paved the way for extremists by saying they had made non-evidence-based belief a “legitimate reason” for their behaviour, he claimed they have now helped “make the world safe” for fundamentalists to exist.
“It’s very important that we should not demonise ordinary, law-abiding, very decent Muslims which of course is the vast majority in this country, but what I do think about the difference, and let’s leave out Muslims specifically, but the difference between moderate religious people and extremist fundamentalists is that although of course it’s only a tiny minority of any sect which is ever going to get violent or horrible, there is a sense in which the moderate, nice religious people – nice Christians, nice Muslims – make the world safe for extremists, because the moderates are so nice we all are brought up with the idea that there’s something good about religion faith. That there’s something good about bringing children up to have a faith, which means to believe something without evidence and without the need for justifying it.” he said
August 13, 2014
A woman accused of trying to smuggle 20,000 euros (£15,800) in her underwear to a Briton fighting in Syria has been found not guilty of funding terrorism. Nawal Msaad, 27, from north London, was stopped at Heathrow Airport as she prepared to board a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, on 16 January. Amal El-Wahabi, 27, who was accused of trying to get her to smuggle the money, was found guilty of funding terrorism. Prosecutors said El-Wahabi’s husband had joined rebels fighting in Syria. Ms Msaad, who was a first year student at London Metropolitan University at the time of her arrest, had denied being an Islamist extremist, saying she had been duped by El-Wahabi.
El-Wahabi began screaming after her conviction, forcing Judge Nicholas Hilliard to clear the court. She is due to be sentenced on 12 September and faces a maximum of 14 years in prison. She is the first Briton to be convicted under terror laws of funding jihadist fighters in Syria.
In many terrorism cases, prosecutors often present evidence of an extremist mind-set gleaned by police from forensic examinations of mobile phones and computers. In Ms Msaad’s case, her Facebook profile was focused on socialising with friends at parties and festivals. In one Twitter picture she had given her electronic bail tag a designer touch by attaching a Chanel logo. After her release from prison on bail in March, she published on YouTube a cover version of a Jennifer Lopez song, protesting that she was the “same girl” who’d been let down by fake friends. She also posted a statement on Facebook denying the allegations, saying: “At no point did I try to conceal the money from the police, I volunteered the amount of money I was taking. I can’t help but wonder if I had been called Natalie from Surrey whether the authorities would have presented terrorism charges against me.”
August 1, 2014
A Sudanese woman who fled to Italy after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam has arrived in the US. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag arrived in New Hampshire on Thursday evening with her American husband and her children. Welcoming her on a brief stopover in Philadelphia, the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, described her as a “world freedom fighter”.
He compared her to Rosa Parks, who became a symbol of the civil rights movement in the US when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama.
When in Rome, she met the Pope, who “thanked her for her witness to faith”, according to a Vatican spokesman.
July 29, 2014
“Immigration Street”, a follow-up to Benefits Street, is being filmed in Southampton, despite residents campaigning against it. Channel 4 and Love Productions were criticised for showing people on benefits in a negative way in their previous programme. Mohammed Afzal Khan, secretary of nearby Abu Bakr Mosque on Argyle Road, agreed to be filmed and told BBC Asian Network: “This is a thriving community; there are Asians here and Polish. So far they have asked me questions about Islam and Muslims in general and about this mosque, which have been positive and I am pleased to be taking part.”
At the meeting Kieran Smith, creative director of Love Productions, said: “We would never come and film a series in order to cause division, or where there is harmony, cause disharmony.”
Councillor Satvir Kaur, who grew up in the area, said: “Just like me, the majority of people who live in Derby Road are not first generation immigrants. They will be second or third generation. This begs the question, at what point do me and my neighbours stop being classed or considered as immigrants and start being considered British?”