Evidence of early Muslim burials unearthed in Nimes

February 28, 2016

Three sets of medieval-era remains found France may turn out to be some of the earliest evidence of Muslim presence outside of the Iberian Peninsula, scientists say.

The Early Middle Ages was a period of expansion and conquest for the Arab-Islamic world, culminating in the expansion of Islamic caliphates into what was once known as Al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain. The impact of several hundred years of Islamic rule in the Iberian region has had an indelible and unmistakable influence on Spanish, Portuguese, and Mediterranean history and culture, but the period has shown little in the way of evidence of an Islamic expansion outside of the region – that is until the discovery of these new graves.

As detailed in a newly published research study, the medieval graves dating to the 8th century CE were found in Nimes, near the Mediterranean coast of France northeast of the city of Montpelier, not far from the Côte d’Azur. Researchers from the University of Bordeaux and the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research examined the graves closely, claiming that evidence of the way the remains were interred seem to be in line with Islamic funerary practices. Additionally, preliminary DNA analysis and forensic examinations of the remains made in order to determine the age and sex of the individuals in life indicate the possibility of Arab-Islamic ancestry.

The evidence is slowly but surely mounting that these graves may be Islamic in origin. The remains were found to be buried with their bodies pointing towards Mecca, a widely-established Muslim funerary practice. Genetic markers also indicate North African ancestry for the exhumed individuals along their paternal genetic line. Finally, the remains themselves have been radiocarbon dated to somewhere between the 7th and 9th centuries. Researchers have drawn some initial conclusions from this data, theorizing that the individuals interred within the graves at one time could have been Berber soldiers that had been part of the Umayyad army after the caliphate expanded into North Africa.

The authors of the new research study into the identity of these graves say that the graves may be some of the only evidence discovered to date that indicates Muslim settlement north of the Pyrenees. While there does seem to be a high likelihood that these three individuals may have been North African Muslims that had traveled to the south of France via the caliphate’s occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, how or why they came to be, by themselves, so far into what would have been Frankish territory at the time remains a mystery.

Salafi bombing attempt in Bonn

May 22

 

The German Federal Office for Criminal Investigation has found a DNA track belonging to the Salafi Marco G. He has been suspected for planning and executing a bomb attempt at the central station of the city of Bonn in Fall 2012. However the attempt failed. There is little information about the 25 years old Marco G. who comes from Oldenburg, a small city in North Germany. It is said that Marco G. converted to Islam a few years ago and speaks perfectly Arabic.

Pork found in Halal lamb burgers supplied to Leicester schools

Halal lamb burgers have been withdrawn from a city’s schools after tests revealed a sample contained pork. The decision follows DNA tests on a batch of frozen burgers manufactured by Doncaster-based Paragon Quality Foods Limited in January, Leicester Council said today. Assistant city mayor Vi Dempster said: “I am appalled by this situation. It is disgraceful that none of us can have confidence in the food we eat.

All other Halal products used in the council’s kitchens – including 24 city schools – are supplied by another company, the council said and that 19 schools were supplied with the frozen burgers.

The council has written to 6,000 families whose children might have eaten the burgers.

 

Suleman Nagdi, from the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO), said: “The community will be extremely shocked and distressed to learn of the contamination that has taken place. The FMO is working closely with the local authority and calling on them to take legal action in respect of this contamination and would urge the local authority to instigate criminal proceedings against the company involved under the Food Safety Act.”

 

In a statement issued today, Paragon Quality Foods said it had “never knowingly bought or handled pork” and it was working with the relevant authorities. “Paragon Quality Foods Ltd is a pork-free site and has never knowingly bought or handled pork and has provided this information to the relevant enforcement authorities.

 

The decision to remove halal lamb burgers from Leicester schools comes after a number of high-profile meat scandals this year. In February, the Ministry of Justice said it was to suspend a firm supplying meat to prisons after tests found that it may have provided halal pies and pasties with traces of pork DNA. Then there was the horse meat scandal in January where investigations revealed beef products sold by retailers including lasagne, spaghetti Bolognese and frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets including Tesco contained were contaminated with horse DNA.

Meats Pass for Halal

April 11, 2013

The Halal International Authority, the only Italian organization that is a member of the World Halal Food Council, complained that 220 butchers in Milan were falsifying claims of Halal meat. A pool of experts tasked with uncovering issues with Italian butchers preparing Halal, claim that there were traces of pig DNA and other non-Islamic practices of slaughtering the meat.

Newly released emails say no sailors watched bin Laden’s burial at sea after Navy SEAL raid

WASHINGTON — Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony.

The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid. In a response to separate requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Vinson.

The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed.

Suspect killed in shootout during arrest of suspected jihadist cell in France

News Agencies – October 6, 2012

 

Police carried out raids across France on Saturday after DNA on a grenade that exploded last month at a kosher grocery store led them to a suspected jihadist cell of young Frenchmen recently converted to Islam. The man whose DNA was identified, named by police as Jeremy Sydney, was killed by police after he opened fire on them, slightly wounding three officers in the eastern city of Strasbourg. Officials said he had been under surveillance since last spring, around the time a French Islamic went on a shooting rampage against a Jewish school and French soldiers, killing seven people.

Paris prosecutor François Molins said all the arrested suspects were French and recent converts to Islam. They were all born in the 1980s or early 1990s. Four of the men involved in the raid had written wills.

The prosecutor was careful not to draw direct links between these arrests and Mohamed Merah, a young Frenchman of Algerian descent who died in a shootout with police in March after the killings in the south of France. That attack terrorized the French Jewish community, which has since ramped up security in many parts of the country.

UK’s Liberal Democrats to fight discrimination against Muslims

The leader of the Liberal Democrats has promised he will fight against anti-Muslim discrimination perpetrated by the government and the police in many guises.

Riding high in the opinion polls and looking set to be a potential kingmaker after the 6th May election, Nick Clegg told this newspaper exclusively that his party was completely against the anti-Muslim prejudice at all levels and will campaign to end the discrimination that hurts Muslim communities, from restricting stop and search, to scrapping control orders, to getting innocent people off the DNA database.

“We’re also pushing for changes to reduce discrimination against Muslims in the work place, including anonymous job application forms and pay audits to make sure people aren’t being paid unfairly,” Clegg said, who whop has seen his star rise in the last few weeks in a way unseen in the modern political history.

DNA study shows Spain’s Jewish and Muslim ancestry

The genetic signatures of Spaniards and Portuguese are providing evidence of the mass conversion of Muslims and Sephardic Jews to Catholicism during the 15th and 16th centuries. Eleven percent were found to have DNA reflecting Moorish ancestors, according to geneticists. The finding bears weight on two different views of Spanish history – that Spanish civilization is Catholic and other influences are foreign, or that Spain has been thoroughly enriched by drawing from all three of its historical cultures, including Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim. The genetic studies were based on examining the Y-chromosome in people, as the Y-chromosome remains unchanged from father to son, detecting similarities in those in the present population with those just after the expulsions of the 15th and 16th centuries.

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Germany, US to Improve Data Exchange in Terrorism Fight

The United States and Germany plan to speed up the exchange of information to help in anti-terror efforts. Washington said it hopes the groundbreaking deal will serve as a model for cooperation with other countries. Under the new information sharing agreement, US and German law enforcement officials will have immediate, albeit partial, access to each other’s fingerprint and DNA databases. The move will allow authorities to check within minutes if a database contains a suspected terrorist’s personal information. Should a match be found, authorities would then have to submit a request for more detailed information. The effort will speed up the exchange of information and help in the terrorist fight, said German and US officials who met in Berlin to launch the bilateral agreement on Tuesday, March 11.

French experts accept DNA tests

The body that rules on the constitutionality of French laws threw out an article in the new immigration measure that would have allowed the collection of data on ethnic origin in relation to French diversity. However, the Constitutional Council approved a controversial amendment allowing for DNA testing of immigrants’ offspring. The council ruled that the DNA tests, which are voluntary and meant to ensure authentic family ties, must be limited to establishing a direct link with the mother. The immigration bill bas passed by lawmakers on October 23rd, and will take effect once President Sarkozy signs and published it in the official register – expected sometime in the next few weeks.