Katy Perry accused of ‘portraying blasphemy’ with Dark Horse video

February 28, 2014

 

An online petition demanding Katy Perry’s Dark Horse video be taken off YouTube has attracted about 65,000 signatures. According to the petitioners at Change.org, the video is guilty of “portraying blasphemy”, because of the video’s use of a pendant reportedly inscribed with the word Allah.

Katy Perry’s Dark Horse clip, which premiered on 20 February, has already attracted more than 30 million views. A phantasmagorical riff on Egyptian mythology, it features Perry as a magical queen who transforms suitors into sand. One of these suitors, a man wearing an “Allah” pendant is struck by lightning and disintegrates into sand.

“At 01:15 into the video … a man is shown being burned whilst wearing a pendant (also burned) forming the word ‘Allah’, which is the Arabic word for God,” wrote the man who launched the petition, Shazad Iqbal, from Bradford. “Blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an [opponent] of [Allah]) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames. People from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world [will agree], using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.”

“The fact that Islam didn’t even exist in ancient Egypt is what really confuses me, Why [did] they [feel] the need to have anything to do with Islam in this video?” added a signatory from High Wycombe.

While the music video has not been pulled in its entirety, the pendant has been cut so that only a plain gold chain can now be seen. It remains unclear whether YouTube edited the video or was told to by the singer’s record company as both parties have yet to comment.

Dark Horse is currently at number six on the UK singles chart and more than 37 million people have viewed the video on YouTube since it was uploaded on 20 February.

 

The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-causes-offence-by-burning-allah-pendant-in-dark-horse-music-video-9153998.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/katy-perry-takes-break-from-offending-muslims-to-deliver-friends-baby-its-been-a-miracle-day-9157332.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/katy-perry-dark-horse-music-video-edited-after-causing-muslims-offence-9159660.html

 

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/26/katy-perry-petition-islam-blasphemy-allah-dark-horse-video

Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?

January 21, 2014

 

Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?
Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?

“What dress is most appropriate for a Muslim woman in public?”

Researchers at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan asked the same question to both men and women of various age groups and different religious faiths in seven countries with a Muslim majority. The real focus of the research was post- revolution Tunisia, but scholars also decided to investigate responses in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan. Each respondent was shown images of women. The left most image showed a women who was totally covered (burqa ), decreasing the pieces of cloth covering the woman from image to image until the last drawing, which depicted the subject as completely uncovered.

The findings concluded that on average the hijab (veil that covers the hair, forehead, ears and neck) was considered the most appropriate. You could say this is a compromise between the two extreme images. Another important aspect that the research shows is the partial open-ness to different styles of dress in Saudi Arabia as opposed to a greater closure in “post-spring” Egypt.

The research also included a question that went beyond mere aesthetics. Respondents were also asked: “Should the woman decide what to wear?

And this confirms the above trend:  in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Tunisia, 50% of respondents where in favor of the free choice of women, as opposed to 22% and 14% in Pakistan and Egypt, respectively.

I must say that by scrolling through the research data, I returned several times to the word used in the original question: appropriate.

What do the researchers mean by this term? Appropriate for whom? For others or for the woman? Who can decide when attire is appropriate or not?

Beyond the specific object of this analysis, veil or no veil, I am always convinced that there is only one parameter to decide how a woman should dress: personal choice. Do not take me for naive, I am aware of the incendiary debates that surround these issues, especially in our cities. In my opinion, the most appropriate clothing is what makes a woman feel free and proud to express herself regardless of expectations or fashions of the moment.

The external influences on not only clothing but also on the image of a woman’s own body, is not unique to Muslim women, but rather something that applies to all women in the world. Let me give you another example. Last year a global campaign was launched called “Dark is beautiful” with the aim to emphasize the beauty of dark skin in societies like the West where fair skin is favored. The pressures of fair skin often prompt many black women to resort to toxic products that promise to lighten skin. We must reverse this situation.

Corriere della sera: http://lacittanuova.milano.corriere.it/2014/01/21/velo-donne-islam-qual-e-labbigliamento-giusto-in-pubblico-e-chi-lo-decide/

Original report: http://mevs.org/files/tmp/Tunisia_FinalReport.pdf

 

Islam, the Milanese Judges in the Abu Omar Case: “Extremists Cultivated in Viale Jenner”

January 15, 2014

 

The written judgment that sentenced Abu Omar to six years in prison for international terrorism explained that the sentence was greatly reduced due to unlawful seizure by the CIA and Omar’s subsequent unlawful detention.

For at least two years, between 2001 and 2003, in the mosques of Milan’s Viale Jenner and Via Quaranta Omar, the imam, would instruct his flock to sacrifice themselves in the “battle” of “all Muslims against all non-Muslims ” or Jihad which involves the duty to “kill people.” The spiritual guide was “one of the main nodes in Lombardy to the “terrorist group Ansar al- Islam, also linked to Osama bin Laden.“On 17 February 2003, Abu Omar, of Egyptian origin, was illegally seized through “extraordinary rendition” in Milan by the CIA and taken to Egypt, where he was also tortured.

THE INVESTIGATION The imam kidnapped by the CIA Abu Omar was sentenced to six years in jail for international terrorism, on the one hand there are dozens and dozens of pages of wiretaps and documents proving that the former imam recruited “soldiers” in Milan who were ready for “martyrdom” in Kurdistan and on the other hand the imam was unlawfully abducted by 007 Americans. According to the indictment, the CIA was given the green light by SISMI, the Italian military secret service.

According to the preliminary hearing judge Stefania Milan Donadeo, although Abu Omar does not deserve the “extenuating circumstances given the seriousness of the facts” and his ” dangerousness,” and in “accordance with Article 133 of the Penal Code, the court had to take into account the illegitimate detention suffered.” The kidnapping of former imams has been brought to light in 33 convictions.

The sentence for Abu Omar, who was brought to trial in absentia (he is still in Egypt) by deputy prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli, came almost 11 years after his abduction. Before being seized, the former imam had already been under investigation for international terrorism by Digos , coordinated by the anti-terrorism PMs Armando Spataro and Ferdinando Pomarici . According to the indictment, between 2001 and 2003 he was a member, along with 13 other foreigners, of an association, which had “the purpose of committing acts of violence for the purposes of terrorism in Italy and abroad.”

 

La Repubblica: http://milano.repubblica.it/cronaca/2014/01/15/news/islam_i_giudici_milanesi_su_abu_omar_cos_formava_martiri_in_viale_jenner-76042412/

Al-Qaeda emerges amid Egypt’s turmoil

December 4, 2013

 

Summary: Information is emerging that al-Qaeda’s growth in the region is extending into the Sinai Peninsula and across Egypt.

Author: Mohannad Sabry

Full story at Al-Monitor: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/al-qaeda-egypt-sinai-insurgency-growing-influence.html?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8674##ixzz2mwlpGFZx

Coptic unity in Washington D.C. area starts to gel since Morsi ouster

For years, Steve Messeh watched his small Egyptian American Coptic Christian community remain splintered in a jumble of weak advocacy groups. But now, since the violent ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, the young Virginia financial analyst is seeing something new: an effort toward real influence.

Messeh belongs to Coptic Solidarity, which on Thursday pulled together perhaps the largest local Egyptian American effort in memory. About 500 people gathered at the White House and outside several media organizations (including at The Washington Post’s building in Northwest) to voice their support for the military’s removal of Morsi in June. Like-minded Copts who Messeh knows are lobbying Capitol Hill policymakers on the topic this month, and a contingent from political parties was in town this week in a drive to mold the Egyptian Americans who supported the coup into a more unified, effective voice.

The same burst of organizing is happening among Egyptian Americans who oppose the military’s removal of Morsi, who was democratically elected. New groups have popped up since Morsi’s overthrow, including Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, which is focused on the hundreds of civilians killed by the military in recent weeks.

But if the sudden activism this summer among Egyptian Americans, who for decades during the rule of Hosni Mubarak tended to be largely quiet, has solidified and motivated the two camps, it has also embittered them, activists and experts say. People’s positions have become hardened, and Egypt’s politics have become too fraught to discuss among friends and even family.

 

“There is an extremely deep polarization going on among Egyptian Americans,” commented Dalia Mogahed, a Washington-based native of Egypt who is the co-author of “Who Speaks for Islam?” and is a consultant to Muslim groups.

 

Ahmed Ghanim sees the same energy, but from the other side. The Michigan-based activist, who has 35,000 Facebook followers for his Egypt updates, is working with Egyptian Americans who oppose the coup. He’s now working with groups starting in Michigan and Texas.

“Even if we didn’t agree with Morsi, it’s a black comedy when you see an elected president in prison and Mubarak going free,” he said.

The new activism is tempered by the polarization, he said.

The revolution created a lot of Egyptian American interest in Egypt.

“Now everyone is accusing one another of being for or against democracy, or for or against revolution.”

Reactions to developments in Egypt from around the world

Reactions on Friday around the world to developments in Egypt following clashes in which hundreds of people were killed and thousands injured:

 

EUROPEAN UNION

 

European leaders spoke Friday about the need for a coordinated EU response to the violence in Egypt and agreed there should be a meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers next week. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an end to violence and a resumption of dialogue in Egypt. The German government statement said Merkel told Hollande that Germany, one of Egypt’s biggest trading partners, would “re-evaluate” its relations with Cairo in light of this week’s bloodshed. Hollande also discussed the violence with Italian Premier Enrico Letta and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah voiced support for Egypt’s military-backed interim government, saying the kingdom stands by the country in its fight against “terrorism and strife” — an apparent reference to deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. In a televised statement, Abdullah called for honest people and intellectuals “to stand firmly against all those who try to shake the stability of a country that has always led the Arab and Islamic worlds.”

 

TURKEY

Turkish officials kept up their criticism of the military government’s crackdown, with President Abdullah Gul saying that “all that happened in Egypt is a shame for Islam and the Arab world.” Turkey and Egypt recalled their ambassadors for consultations late Thursday as their relationship worsened.

 

TUNISIA

About 1,500 people flooded the main avenue in central Tunis, many of them pouring out of the capital’s most important mosque. They gathered in a large square in front of the municipal theater, shouting support for the Egyptian people, especially supporters of Morsi, and condemning the Egyptian military and the U.S. The hour-long protest was peaceful.

 

In Little Egypt, Echoes From Home

Little Egypt, NYC: Reaction to recent events in Egypt.

 

In the Casbah of Turin, a Christian Can Die

Magdi Cristiano Allam

July 22, 2013

Born in Egypt, he wanted to evangelize the “Muslim quarter” of the city. For this reason the fundamentalists will threaten and beat.

 

Sherif Azer, an Italian citizen, born Coptic Christian in Egypt, has the courage to do what the Pope, the cardinals, bishops and priests should do but do not do: publicly evangelize Christianity to Muslims residents in Italy in piazzas, spreading the extraordinary testimony of faith in Jesus in Porta Palazzo as Italy becomes Islamized.

 

This is how last Thursday, July 18, Sherif was savagely attacked with chains, punched and kicked by a dozen fanatical followers of Allah, they cried “we’ll kill you, Christian shit,” after Sherif admitted that he did not observe Ramadan, he also refused to repeat a ritual saying which would explain that he was a follower of Islam “Salli ala al Nabi” (Praise the prophet Muhammad begins the saying).

Sherif has the courage to do what the head of state, the President of the Council, the Parliament, the judiciary, law enforcement, the presidents of regions and provinces, and finally the mayors should do but do not: safeguard every inch of Italian sovereignty and enforce our laws to all residents regardless of their nationality, culture or faith. The Christian witness corresponds to a civil commitment against arbitrariness, arrogance and violence raging in Porta Palazzo to the point of being transformed into an extraterritorial area, the casbah of Turin. The area is now risky for Italians, who are forced to sell off their homes at bargain prices after being ousted from the market due to degradation and insecurity.

The evangelization of Sherif, 54 years old, his wife and four daughters with Italian citizenship, has happened for two reasons: it shows a deep respect for Muslims as people, even helping them materially due to his work as a building contractor (although he has a degree in Philosophy and Letters), he also knows the Koran by heart even the majority of Muslims have not read the ancient Classical Arabic authoritative text.

 

The barbarous assault on Sherif, who admits to being barely alive after being hit in the head with heavy chains, requires the Church to reflect on the substantive legitimacy of Islam reiterating the litany of the “big three monotheistic and Abrahamic religions” this attack emerges at a time when even Pope Francis sent well wishes for Ramadan on July 8: “I turn to the dear Muslim immigrants who today, in the evening, are starting the fast of Ramadan, which I wish them  abundant spiritual fruits.” Ironically almost all Islamic countries require not only Muslims but also non-Muslim residents to observe Ramadan with the penalty of not following can be imprisonment for the contempt of religion. The institutional legitimacy of Islam was confirmed again this year when the Foreign Minister Emma Bonino was offered Iftar by 42 leading members of the Islamic Conference Organization and of the Arab League.

Well church and state can learn a lesson from the attack at Porta Palazzo: Islamized sharia is imposed by force because obviously Islam is not a religion but an ideology that is comparable to seventh century Christianity, rife with war and terrorism. Muslims can be moderate as a people but the Islam of the Koran and Muhammad is inherently violent.

Wednesday, July 24 at 7 pm there will be a demonstration in Porta Palazzo in Turin in solidarity  with Sherif Azer and to say “No to sharia in Porta Palazzo.” The Mayor Piero Fassino, President of the Province Antonio Saitta and the President of the Piedmont Region, Roberto Cota are invited. The hope is that participation will condemn the cowardly attack on a Coptic Christian and an Italian citizen in the center of Turin, and to take all necessary political and administrative measures to prevent the recurrence of such attacks, terrorism, and return the Italian spirit to Porta Palazzo which has been transformed into a raging area where sharia prevails.

Police raid against Salafi network

June 28

 

The German police has searched 15 apartment and one mosque in the States of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. Salafist adherents and members of the banned association “Millatu Ibrahim” have been suspected to go hiding and shifting activities underground.

 

Furthermore, the police believes some of the Salafi activists planning “violent acts against the State”. On June 14th 2012, Minister of Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) banned the Salafi  association Millatu Ibrahim. According to the annual report of the “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” 2012, more than 50 persons have travelled to Egypt. They are said to be Salafi adherents.

 

report (PDF)

The Fall of Morsi divides Italian Muslim Youth

July 4, 2013

At 11:20 last night the news: Morsi is deposed. A heavy silence descended on Facebook and on phones that until shortly before were ringing. There are no more texts where friends were discussing Morsi, those in favor and those against. Then, little by little, everything seemed to perk up: a friend, Sara Sayed calls me: “Have you seen? The military did it,” while others say “Morsi paid for his errors, and the Egyptian people have done it.” The fall of the Egyptian president, one year after his election, divided the Muslim youth: There are those who weep and rejoice, those who do not know what to say and believe that Morsi was wrong but that a military government is absolutely unacceptable: a babel of opinions, thoughts and considerations which is part of the discussions of young Muslims in Italy.

“Morsi has done nothing for Egypt” says Sami Samarli “he made senseless speeches, instead Morsi had to propose solutions for the country.”

Sara Andil replied “The Egyptian economy was recovering and then after thirty years of dictatorship, Egypt was destroyed economically, as if they could think to fix everything in one year? Morsi needed more time.”

The clash between the different positions, however, is not limited to only the economy but it is also general: between those who support the Muslim Brotherhood and those who do not. Omar Afifi on this is clear “Morsi divided the country.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood has not been able to govern”

Khaled Al Sadat echoed this when he said “one must intervene if a task is not completed” and hopes that “God gives the best to Egypt.”

 

Karim El Sayed does not agree: “Morsi is still the president of all Egyptians, democratically elected therefore a military coup is unacceptable.”

“It’s true” he says “Mosaab Hamada Morsi has made big mistakes.” Omar Kudsi plays down everything with a bitter joke: “Just to remind you: Egypt – 2 Syria – 0”

D.C. area Egyptians celebrate Morsi’s ouster

Zeinab Mansour, 70, a librarian from Chevy Chase, returned to her native Cairo two years ago to participate in the democratic revolution that toppled Egypt’s longtime dictator, Hosni Mubarak. Last year, the dual citizen voted in Egypt’s first free elections, which led to the presidency of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

On Saturday, Mansour was out on the streets again, this time joining a rally in front of the White House to celebrate Morsi’s ouster by the Egyptian army Wednesday and to ask the Obama administration to support a second chance for democracy in her homeland after a year of turmoil and religious pressure under Morsi and his Islamist followers.

 

But even as many members of the Washington area’s large, middle-class Egyptian American community welcomed Morsi’s overthrow, calling it a “revolution, not a coup,” others warned that the sudden power vacuum and ongoing violent clashes involving secular, Islamist and security forces could lead to wider religious and social conflict in the poor Middle Eastern nation of 90 million.

 

“This is a very, very dangerous situation,” said Nancy Okiel, an Egyptian Muslim and staff member at the nonprofit rights group Freedom House in the District. “I am not optimistic at all when I see people dying in the streets, and I don’t think the issue is whether there was a coup or not. The country is very divided, and no matter how it settles, a lot of lives will be lost first.”

The demonstrators, along with many online Egyptian American commentators, expressed frustration at the Obama administration’s cautious reaction to the unfolding events in Egypt. Many suspect that Washington seeks to restore stability in Egypt at the expense of popular demands. The administration, which provides huge amounts of aid to Egypt, accepted Morsi’s election but also has close ties to the army.

 

“A lot of people are very angry at President Obama, and what he said has been lost in translation,” said Samia Harris, who heads a private school in Woodbridge. “The Egyptian people want freedom, human rights, justice and respect for law, and we want Mr. Obama and his administration to listen to them. This was not a coup. It was a marching order from the Egyptian people.”