Diam’s, France’s female rapper: the rebel submits to Islam

France’s currently most successful rapper, Diam’s, has turned to an entirely religious life. The 29-year-old woman, who converted to Islam in 2000, has so far not displayed her religion publicly or reflected about it in her lyrics. She was rather known for her rebellious and feminist position, voicing the needs of youths from Paris’s banlieues.

Now Diam’s has released a new album, “S.O.S”, which is very different from her previous ones in terms of lyrics and underlying ideas. Diam’s struggle is no longer for freedom and equal rights, but rather for traditional gender roles. “Because no one can change these roles,” she assured in her song “Rose du bitume”. If her husband was a Kalashnikov, she sings, she would gladly be the shoulder supporting him.

Diam’s has also decided to put on the veil, which many fans and feminists regard as a step backwards. The artist, who suffered mentally from a difficult upbringing, claims that where doctors failed to help her, religion will now step in. She refuses to explain her decision to journalists.

Approximately 5000 Canadians leave for the Hajj despite H1N1 fears

This year, as he does every year, Dr. Munir El-Kassem, a professor of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, is escorting a group of 450 pilgrims – the largest Canadian contingent – to the Hajj. He said the pilgrims he leads receive an intensive Islamic course in the field.

“I go over to provide religious guidance for people not fully aware of the rituals and the meaning of the rituals,” Prof. El-Kassem said.

On concerns about H1N1, he notes that the five daily prayers include the act of cleansing the nose and mouth: the only two portals the H1N1 virus can enter the body through. Doctors suggest cleaning hands and gargling with warm salt water, and the same for the nostrils, to get rid of the H1N1 virus.

Iraqi shoe-thrower launches Geneva-based agency

The Iraqi journalist who pitched his shoes at former United States President George W. Bush is in Geneva setting up a foundation to help Iraqi war victims. Munthader al-Zaidi, a television reporter, shot to fame on December 14, 2008 when he hurled his two shoes at Bush at a Baghdad news conference, shouting: “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!”

“From Geneva, the capital of humanitarian institutions, I am launching an appeal on behalf of my people,” Zaidi told journalists in Geneva on Monday. He aims to build orphanages, a children’s hospital, and medical and orthopaedic centres offering free treatment and manned by Iraqi doctors and medical staff. He also wants to set up income-generating schemes for widows to help them get back on their feet. The foundation carries his last name.

Zaidi arrived in Switzerland on October 13 on a three-month tourist visa, accompanied by his brother. He was released on September 15 after spending nine months in an Iraqi prison. “He hopes to surf on the wave of support he has gained to do some good,” explained Mauro Poggia, his Swiss lawyer, who organised the visit.

Real Madrid Footballers Fast for Ramadan

Three stars from the Real Madrid football club have begun fasting for the month of Ramadan, according to AS. Lassana Diarra, Mahamadou Diarra and Karim Benzema will follow a special program of daytime fasting designed by club doctors to help the players during their intense summer training. Sport reports that Barcelona trio Erical Abidal, Keita and Yaya Toure, all Muslims, will delay their Ramadan fasting to honour their professional commitments with the club.

Two doctors face car-bomb terror trial in London

Two doctors charged with trying to bomb a Glasgow airport and London’s West End will be portrayed by prosecutors as terrorists in thrall to a fundamental form of Islam, a jury in London heard Wednesday. Justice Colin Mackay also instructed jurors to set aside their prejudices and prepare for “an interesting case.” Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 28, have been in jail awaiting trial since the abortive June 2007 attacks. The Iraqi-raised Abdulla and Asha, a Jordanian, had worked in British hospitals since 2004. Two poorly designed car bombs abandoned outside West End night spots on June 29, 2007, failed to detonate. They were discovered only accidentally — one when paramedics spotted it emitting smoke, the other after it had been towed away by traffic enforcement officials. Police said both contained drums of fuel, packs of nails, timers and detonators. The following day, an attempted suicide car-bomb attack on Glasgow International Airport caused only one death — that of attacker Kafeel Ahmed, who suffered lethal burns while trying to ignite a propane-based bomb on board his vehicle. Indian-born Ahmed was the alleged driver of the sports-utility vehicle that rammed into security barriers outside the airport, while Abdulla was the alleged passenger. Police suspect that Abdulla and Ahmed also delivered the West End car bombs. Asha was arrested hours after the Glasgow attack while driving with his wife on an English highway, and police subsequently identified him as a likely ringleader based on cell-phone and other electronic records. Shawn Pogatchnik reports.

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British Muslims Fully Support Catholic Leaders In Their Opposition To The Embryo Bil

Muslims, as well as many Christians, MPs, doctors and parents, are very concerned about the new EMBRYO BILL, which will shortly be voted on in the House of Commons. The bill, called The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, will if enacted allow for many immoral, inhumane and undesirable procedures and outcomes.

British doctors told to keep beliefs out of surgery

Muslim doctors have been advised not to wear a veil because it could restrict free communication and serve as a barrier to building relationships of trust with patients, a medical council has said. The guidelines, developed by the General Medical Council (GMC), cover topics including abortion, wearing a face veil and male circumcision. The call is similar to the controversial reasons given by the then home Secretary Jack Straw who said the veil served as a barrier to intergration. Doctors have been told to keep their personal beliefs out of the surgery to ensure they do not compromise patient care. The GMC says doctors “must be prepared to respond to a patient’s individual needs”. “In some situations this may require you to set aside your personal and cultural preferences in order to provide effective patient care,” the guidelines said. Although doctors are advised not to discuss personal beliefs with patients they can do so if they are directly relevant to patient care. The guidelines direct: “Whatever your personal beliefs may be about the procedure in question, you must be respectful of the patient’s dignity and views.” Dr John Jenkins, chair of the GMC standards and ethics committee, said: “The GMC recognises that personal beliefs, values, and cultural and religious practises are central to the lives of doctors and patients.

Code of conduct for gynecologists to prevent choosing gender of doctor

The Belgian association prepared a code of conduct that makes it impossible to choose the gender of doctors in emergency services. Immigrants often reject male doctors for pregnant women. A physician at the Brussels Brugmann hospital says that at least one immigrant woman a week cannot give birth in the hospital because there is no female doctor available. The code of conduct, which applies to all Belgian maternity wards, must be signed by anyone who registers in a maternity institute, allowing doctors to check up or help regardless of the doctor’s gender.

Complaint against Muslim who refused male anesthetist

An anesthetist from Bree has issued a complaint against a Muslim man, for refusing aid from a male anesthetist during the emergency cesarean section of his wife. After two hours of difficult talks between the man, doctors on hand, and an imam via telephone, the man permitted the male doctor to aid his wife. Citing that he would have been responsible for potential complications, which could have included death of the baby, the doctor had gained the support of the Association of Anesthetists in his complaint.

Making Room For Muslim Educators

By Jeffrey Fleishman The son of an immigrant coal miner, Musa Bagrac was raised in a city of steam and smoke, a place where men walked with crumpled lunch bags in calloused hands and Muslims felt adrift in makeshift mosques shadowed by church steeples. Bagrac moved like an unsure spirit between two worlds. In Hamm, his hometown about 20 miles south of here, he attended St. Joseph’s Elementary, where he sang “O Tannenbaum” in the choir. Twice a week he went to an Islamic school, learning the Koran and about the prophet Muhammad, wondering how to escape the working-class life of most German Turks. “We need poets, doctors and a middle class that German Muslims can aspire to,” said Bagrac, a 28-year-old university student with a wide face and sideburns. “Germans have come to see Islam as a religion of the working class. But Islam is a religion of all classes. That’s why it’s so important to get more Muslim teachers into schools.” Bagrac is a missionary of sorts in this nation of 3 million Muslims – nearly 4% of the population. He and about a dozen other students at the University of Muenster are enrolled in the first course of its kind in Germany: a curriculum preparing Muslim instructors to teach Islam in public schools while being sensitive to Western culture. Such ambitions have arisen against the backdrop of a troubling arc of violence, from the Sept. 11 attacks to last year’s train bombings in Madrid to this summer’s assaults on London’s transit system. The Islamic extremists’ war against Europe is widening, and conservative and liberal politicians across the continent are perplexed about how to better integrate a Muslim community that has doubled since the 1980s but remains in a largely parallel universe. Young Muslims such as Bagrac personify the intersection of the Islamic creed and European life. They carry iPods and hang out at dance clubs. Many are more attuned to reality TV than the bloody politics of Iraq. But they also pray five times a day, wanting to be devout without being stereotyped as fanatical. Most believe they can keep their faith despite the increasingly secular atmosphere around them. They move not apprehensively, but in a manner that suggests there is an invisible yet impenetrable divide between them and native Europeans. Some are demure. Others are quiet but forthright. A few are angry. They sip nonalcoholic beer and sweet tea; some of the more intense among them quote from both the Bible and the Koran. They have learned how to politely refuse “currywurst,” or pork sausage, sandwiches. And most have grown used to, though some still blush at, the public nudity in parks and on billboards advertising sex shows. This is a continent where Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan coexist, and national constitutions eloquently uphold human rights. But the rising militancy among young Muslims has challenged those constitutions and cast a shadow on the meaning of being European. “Learning Islam in school will finally give Muslim children the feeling of being home,” Bagrac said of his course, which awaits final state approval and may start graduating prospective teachers within three years. […]