Muslim organizations celebrate Macron victory

 

Following the announcement of Emmanuel Macron’s victory, the Grand Mosque of Paris released the following statement:

“The Grand Mosque of Paris sees signs of a France that has reconciled its spiritual and religious differences in order to respond in unity to the threats of division that weigh on our Nation. It’s a sign for France’s Muslims of a clear endorsement of the vivre-ensemble that is grounded in republican, humanist, patriotic, democratic, and secular values.”

The Grand Mosque of Lyon thanked those who were “conscious of the danger a discourse of hate and rejection of the other has caused France.” The French Council of the Muslims Faith congratulated Macron “for his victory, which opens our country to a future of fraternity and solidarity.”

 

Manuel Valls preaches unity to combat “Islamo-fascism”

Prime Minister Manuel Valls launched an appeal on February 16 for unity in order to combat “Islamo-fascism.” Following the deadly attacks in Copenhagen, Valls stated: “We must not give in to fear nor to division. But at the same time we must also deal with the problems: combating terrorism, mobilizing society in support of secularism, combating anti-Semitism…Islam of France must take full responsibility, this is what is demanded of the large majority of our Muslim compatriots.”

Valls felt it was necessary to conduct “a war” against Islamo-fascism,” “outside, but also inside,” of the country, to combat jihadism. He stressed that every country in the region should act, militarily and financially, including Qatar and Turkey. Monday morning the Egyptian army bombed several ISIL locations in Libya.

Muslim Charities lose government grants due to accusations of extremist links

Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) is one of two Muslim charities in Britain to have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities.
Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) is one of two Muslim charities in Britain to have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities.

Two Muslim charities have lost their government grants following allegations of links to Islamic extremist activities.

Birmingham based ‘Islamic Help’ and the London based Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) protested the government’s decision, after the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) revoked their grants. The government informed the charities it did not want to support groups “linked to individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence.” The decision could affect a number of Muslim charities across the country, particularly those working with groups in Syria and Iraq.

The action follows a report produced by the think tank Claystone, which earlier this year found that more than a quarter of charities being investigated by the government were Muslim advocacy organizations. The think tank criticized what it saw as the “targeting” of Islamic organizations, particularly following the appointment of Sir William Shawcross as head the Charity Commission. Shawcross has also been criticized by Muslim groups for claiming “Europe and Islam” are among the world’s most “terrifying” problems, and that Islamic extremists were infiltrating British charities.

 

Breaking bread and Islam myths

Mosques have been opening their doors to people of all faiths, and none, to share iftar, the meal Muslims have when they break their fast each evening during Ramadan. These events have been taking place in scores of community centres, living rooms, parks – even flash mobs – across the country.

 

It’s all part of the “Big Iftar”: a month-long opportunity to show Islam in practice. It comes at a time when myth-busting is more important than ever; research earlier this year showed that nearly half of all Britons thought that a clash of civilisations between the West and Islam was inevitable, and less than a quarter thought that Muslims were compatible with the British way of life.

 

This follows unprecedented crackdowns on anti-Muslim hatred. The setting up of a cross-government working group to advise the government on Islamophobia and the government being the first to fund an organisation to record anti-Muslim attacks and support victims.

 

We can take inspiration from the Somali community of Muswell Hill, whose centre was razed last month. With the help of the Al-Khoei foundation, they held their own Big Iftar this weekend, to which they invited Mr Pickles. This is a community which has defied those who tried to create division; it has kept calm and carried on. And there couldn’t be anything more British than that.

“Allochtoon” to be Eradicated in Amsterdam City Council

13 February 2013

 

Amsterdam’s city council will stop using the terminology “autochtoon” and “allochtoon” to identify citizens. “Allochtoon” refers to first or second generation migrants, as well as third generation Dutch with at least one grandparent who is an immigrant. In colloquial discourse “allochtoon” refers to those of non-western ethnic heritage and “autochtoon” to autochthnous or ethnic Dutch. The council is eradicating the term on the basis that it promotes a division between “them and us”. With the change, a “foreign Amsterdammer” will now be defined as someone born abroad, or whose parents were born abroad. This is not the first attempt to shift the use of the problematic terminology, which is prolific not only in Amsterdam’s city council but throughout the nation and in popular discourse.

Norwalk supports mosque after lawsuit, fed inquiry

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — When Norwalk received a proposal to build the city’s first mosque, it was rejected by officials who said the structure was too big for the largely residential area and would create too much traffic.

The applicants filed a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination and the U.S. Justice Department, which has been intervening in mosque projects around the country, launched an inquiry into the handling of the proposal.

Now, the city is moving to settle the lawsuit and support a version of the closely watched project. Norwalk officials say religion was never part of their considerations.

‘‘It was not based on any religious bias,’’ Mayor Richard Moccia said. ‘‘I can’t recall any zoning officer or any city official ever commenting that it happened to be a mosque and that’s the reason they were opposing it.’’

Moccia said the Justice Department wrote about two months ago, seeking information such as minutes of a zoning hearing on the project. He said the city responded and has not heard back from federal officials.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

The Al Madany Islamic Center of Norwalk sued in June after the Zoning Commission rejected the $3.5 million project. On Nov. 29, the Zoning Commission voted to approve the mosque, subject to an agreement on the terms and conditions of a final settlement.

‘‘We are absolutely glad to see this,’’ said Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. ‘‘We’re going to let the process play itself out and hopefully we’ll celebrate at the end as a whole community in Norwalk.’’

While Muslims comprise about 1 percent of the American population, 14 percent of the religious land use investigations by the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the past decade involved mosques or Muslim schools, according to a report last year.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the division has opened 28 matters involving construction of Muslim religious institutions.

‘‘Of those, 18 have been opened since May 2010, suggesting that anti-Muslim bias in zoning is on the rise,’’ the report stated.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, blamed the spike in cases on controversy stemming from a proposed mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York. He said an opponent of that project wrote a manual on how to stop mosques

Lawmakers divided on post-9/11 program that collected info on Americans, not terrorists

WASHINGTON — Stinging criticism from Congress about a counterterrorism effort that improperly collected information about innocent Americans is turning up the heat on the Obama administration to justify the program’s continued existence and putting lawmakers who championed it on the defensive.

The administration strongly disagrees with the report’s findings, and leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee are distancing themselves from the report. The review criticized the multibillion-dollar network of “fusion centers” as ineffective in fighting terrorism and risky to civil liberties.

The intelligence reports reviewed by the subcommittee were produced by officials in the Homeland Security Department’s Intelligence and Analysis division, which was created after the Sept. 11 attacks with the hope of connecting the dots to prevent the next terrorist strike. This division has never lived up to what Congress initially hoped for.

Though fusion centers receive money from the federal government, they are operated independently. A federal law co-sponsored by Lieberman and Collins authorized that centers cover criminal or terrorist activity.

Five years later, Senate investigators found, terrorism is often a secondary focus.

The report is as much an indictment of Congress as it is the Homeland Security Department.

One of the report’s recommendations is that the department needs to do a better job of tracking how its money is spent; that’s a recommendation with which both Collins and Lieberman agree.

Despite that, Congress is unlikely to pull the plug because the program means politically important money for state and local governments, and Homeland Security officials are adamant that the money is well spent.

Two attacks against the vehicles of two Muslim Leaders

06 September 2012
The vehicle of the NGO Luna Blanca and the private car of the president of the Muslim community Al-Bujari have both suffered two separate attacks in two different points of Ceuta, according to complaints presented to the national police.

The vehicle of the NGO was burned yesterday while parked next to the house of the person driving it, while the second was painted with black spray in different areas.

The suspects of these attacks are related to the division between the Muslims of Ceuta, which prevented the final prayer of the Ramadan to be celebrated together.

New Publication: Muslims in Paris

“This neighbourhood has always been a neighbourhood of arrivals; people who come and are in need, trying to move into a more welcoming neighbourhood.” —Focus group respondent

Muslims in Paris highlights the everyday experiences and rarely heard voices of Muslims living in the neighbourhood of La Goutte d’Or, situated in Paris’ multicultural 18th arrondissement. The qualitative research reveals that both Muslim and non-Muslim residents share a keen sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, city and country. Challenging common misperceptions as to sources of division and exclusion, the report finds that Muslims and non-Muslims are united by common values—such as family and good neighbourliness—and that it is social and economic factors, not religion, which divides them.

The research offers a unique insight into how some of Paris’ diverse Muslim residents feel about where they live and the opportunities available to them to live as full citizens of France. The report examines the real sources of division, exclusion and discrimination they encounter in daily life, and efforts made to overcome these barriers.

By engaging with communities and policymakers, local experts heading the research explored the primary concerns of Muslim residents in the 18th arrondissement. Issues addressed include education, employment, health, housing and social protection, citizenship and political participation, policing and security, media, belonging and identity.

The report acts on its findings by offering a series of recommendations for local and national authorities, Muslim communities and other minority groups, NGOs and community organizations, the media, and broader civil society.

Muslims in Paris is the eleventh report in the Muslims in EU Cities series produced by the Open Society Foundations At Home in Europe Project. It is the result of research that examines the level and nature of integration of Muslims in 11 cities across Europe (Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Leicester, London, Marseille, Paris, Rotterdam, and Stockholm).

Muslims in Manitoba request exemption from physical education classes

News Agencies – February 5, 2011

A dozen Muslim families who recently arrived in Canada have told Winnipeg’s Louis Riel School Division that they want their children excused from compulsory elementary school music and co-ed physical education programs for religious and cultural reasons. “This is one of our realities in Manitoba now, as a result of immigration,” said superintendent Terry Borys. “We were faced with some families who were really adamant about this. Music was not part of the cultural reality.”
The families accept physical education, as long as the boys and girls have separate classes, but do not want their children exposed to singing or the playing musical instruments, Borys said. The division has suggested they could instead do a writing project to satisfy the music requirements of the arts curriculum.
However, a local Muslim leader says there is no reason for young kids to be held out of music or phys-ed classes based on religious and cultural grounds.
Borys said that there had been one or two requests for kids to be excused previously, but this year a dozen families came forward at six schools. Borys said that school division contacted a member of the Islamic community whom the parents suggested, consulted the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and looked at what other jurisdictions are doing about accommodation, particularly Ontario.