Actions of Finsbury Park Mosque leading up to attack

Darren Osborne, who attacked Muslims gathered outside Finsbury Park Mosque early Monday morning, had previously expressed his intentions to “do something about them,” meaning Muslims. Patrons at a Cardiff Pub say that Osborne had ranted about the pro-Palestinian Al Quds Day march occurring in London on Sunday. As such, it is believed that he intended to attack the march but did not make it to London in time to do so.

He talked about a need to “stand up to Muslims.” Others in the pub argued with him but did not report him to authorities.

Later that night, Osbourne was reported by a neighbour for being unresponsively drunk in his van but police found him not to have committed any crime and did not arrest him. A day later Osborne attempted to kill a group of Muslim worshippers leaving prayers and attending to an elderly man in need of first aid.

Osborne had a history of violence and was banned from all pubs in his old hometown of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. He was not banned in his new town of Cardiff. He recently seperated from his partner and reportedly is living in a tent. He has four children.

Police are investigating if he has ties to extremists. Far-Right extremism and domestic terrorism has been on the rise and police are struggling to keep up with related investigations. There have been some calls for the inclusion of intelligence services.

‘Why it is so important for us to wear the veil’

Amongst the 1.4 million Muslim women in Britain, Shalina Litt is one of a tiny minority who choose to cover their face entirely. This choice has come under intense scrutiny over the last few days, after a judge ruled that a 22-year-old woman from Hackney, East London, could not wear the full veil while being cross-examined in court. So when Birmingham community worker Shalina steps out in her niqab, she has come to expect the worst. “It gets a really bad reaction,” the 34 year-old mother of two says. “I’ve had glass kicked at me and when you drive people are extra aggressive. They will roll down their window to shout at you and at times like this when hatred of covered-up women becomes most heated you find that people are very aggressive,”

 

Unlike some who wear the niqab, Shalina does not feel obliged to keep it on at all non-family occasions. She explains: “Nobody is forcing me to do it and I can lift it up at any time. When I see my elderly white neighbour, I make sure I lift it up and show her my face. I actually find it cooler to wear on a hot day, but if it’s uncomfortable or I’ve got a cold and I’m bunged up, I’m not going to wear it. It’s a religious choice. Shalina, who has two young children, says she would be happy for her daughter to wear a veil, but that it would be her choice. “It’s a very liberating and empowering experience. I’m not oppressed by ageism, sexism or racism because nobody can see.”

 

Julie Siddiqi, executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain, who converted to Islam in 1995, believes the niqab is unnecessary but worries that there has been an overreaction to it. “It’s pathetic that some people are presenting this as a national issue”, she said. “This is a few thousand women and we need to keep that in perspective.

 

Rabiha Hannan, co-editor of Islam and the Veil, a book which examines Muslim women’s use of face and hair covering, believes that people’s fears about those wearing niqabs and burqas need to be addressed.

“Muslims are in the Streets like it’s their home:” In Borgo Allegri, citizens are exhausted

The residents of Borgo Allegri in Florence are exhausted, as they protest against the deterioration of their neighborhood in an area surrounding the city’s Islamic Cultural Center. The place of prayer has existed since 2007 and is located in the back of an old warehouse, not very spacious and extremely close to surrounding homes. The Muslim community, over the years, has increased in number (a community that is 30,000 strong in Florence) and this increase is paralleled by a worsening situation in the area: fights, late night noise and loitering on the sidewalk and in front of the place of prayer and other illegal activities.

The most difficult time was during Ramadan (a month of prayer, during which the Islamic center was stormed) and every Friday during the rest of the year: during these times residents stay in, and don’t have company over to their homes, staying locked in their homes. “We have signatures and we have asked for help from over 100 organizations and no one will help” explained Laura Battistoni, a resident of the area, who yesterday sent an email to Mayor Matteo Renzi, explaining the difficulties in the area around the Islamic Center.

“The crux of the matter is that there is no more law in this space: everyone does what they want. The faithful who come to the Islamic Center pray in terrible conditions, stretching out on rugs in the middle of the street, eating on the sidewalks. They pray at 4 am, often using a megaphone, making it impossible for anyone to sleep.”

The problem is not only from the residents in the area. “We are the cradle of the renaissance” said one resident “but we have a bad image abroad. There are tourists who have complained, and discourage others from renting a home in the area.” The faithful are also sometimes the most educated of the Italians, most of them are good people, but tourists do not expect this commotion on the street. Women and the elderly are afraid. I think being able to sleep at night and come and go freely from home, at any time , is within the rights of a citizen,” says the resident.

“The Muslims also have a right to pray, but it is only right to that they have a safe and dignified place to do so.” In this regard, that the Imam of Florence Elzir Izzedin asks for a mosque in the city. This has raised many issues like whether to allow it and where to put it. A number of places have been identified including southern Florence in viale Nenni.

 

Ramadan: Things you might need to know

It’s the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Muslims have been fasting throughout it for more than 14 centuries. And yet non-Muslims are always full of questions. Here are the answers to some of the most common:

 

So you don’t eat at all?

No, we only fast during daylight hours – from dawn until sundown. This year in the UK, that means over 18 hours of nil by mouth – we can’t eat, drink, smoke, or have sex during those hours.

 

Don’t you get hungry?

Yes, we get hungry and thirsty, but that’s the point. We eat Sehri, a pre-dawn meal, and at sunset we break the fast (called Iftar), usually with a date and a glass of water.

 

A date with whom?

A date with introspection. Ramadan is an opportunity to focus on the soul rather than the body, so we get through the day trying to be more spiritual, as well as seeking to improve our behaviour. We empathise with those in need and give thanks for having food at the end of the day, when millions of people don’t have that luxury.

 

Surely kids don’t have that kind of self-control?

Children don’t have to fast, but they can if they really want to. Although once puberty hits, there is no escape. Also exempt are the elderly, the sick, and anyone who has a medical condition.

 

Isn’t it a bit hot to fast in July?

Muslims follow the lunar calendar, so every year it moves back 11 days. The last time Ramadan was in July was 1980. Go figure.

 

So it all started on Wednesday?

Well, not quite. Every year there is a bit of chaos, because of the different ways of measuring. Generally speaking, Muslims follow the traditional method of sighting the new moon with the naked eye and we look to Saudi Arabia to declare it. Then there is the local sighting issue – do we follow the moon being sighted in the UK or do we follow the opinion that the first Muslim to see the new moon, no matter where, means the rest of the world can start Ramadan? Or there is the argument for astronomical calculations rather than naked-eye sightings.

 

I’m confused. Do you celebrate it every time you see the moon?

No, that would be ridiculous. But it is confusing. Especially when it comes to Eid.

 

And who is this Eid?

Eid is basically a rave-up at the end of Ramadan, when families and friends get together to feast after fasting. It starts with a prayer at the mosque and then we eat as if we haven’t eaten in a month.

Woolwich: Muslims are just as afraid as non-Muslims that these attacks will never stop

Radio or television news programmes soon turn to Woolwich, Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo, Michael Adebowale, and Muslims. So-called experts are quick to pass comments, thankfully most speak a great deal of sense, and members of the public call in with their opinions.

 

The English Defence League (EDL) wasted no time. They took to the streets and the internet within hours, stirring up support and spreading false rumours, causing further terror in a society which had been terrorised enough. Yes we can say they are ignorant and we should not pay any attention. But wasn’t it ignorance and lack of understanding that led to the horror on the streets of Woolwich on Wednesday afternoon?

 

As the days progressed and the press attention showed no signs of subsiding, fear turned to anger. Not only did the press continue to scaremonger, but members of the Muslim community began acting irrationally out of fear. A checklist posted online “for Muslims” on how to stay safe, with advice including don’t walk down a dark alley alone, don’t let the elderly, the young, or women walk the streets alone. We are quick to point the finger over issues of “us” and “them”, but we are just as guilty of it. Such behaviour can only lead to more divisions within society, when this is the time we must all stand together.

 

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown put it perfectly when she wrote, “We hate Islamicist brutes more than any outsiders ever could. They ruin our futures and hopes.” And she is right. If there is anyone who will benefit the most from the expulsion of these extremists, it is the law-abiding, everyday Muslim. But until that day comes, we must not separate ourselves. Yes we are Muslims, but we are also British, and it is up to us to decide which way this goes.

Trial begins for Muslim cleric, son accused of funneling thousands to Pakistani Taliban

MIAMI — An elderly Muslim cleric and his son funneled thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban to fund killings, kidnappings and suicide bombings “in the name of a perverted form of the Muslim faith,” a prosecutor said Friday.

That was the characterization of Assistant U.S. Attorney John Shipley Jr. while making his opening statement in the trial of Hafiz Khan, 77, and his 26-year old son, Izhar Khan. The elder Khan was imam at a Miami mosque, and his son held the same post at a mosque in suburban Margate.

Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and material support to terrorism. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. The trial is expected to last about two months.

A starkly different picture was painted by Khurrum Wahid, the elder Khan’s defense attorney, and Joseph Rosenbaum, who is representing the son. They argued prosecutors are misinterpreting thousands of phone conversations, intercepts and the bugged conversations of an informant.

Wahid told the jury that the elderly cleric’s words are filled with expressions of love for his madrassa, the school he founded in Pakistan’s Swat Valley decades ago.

 

Two elderly Muslims attacked on their way to morning prayers

News Agencies – May 7, 2012

 

Two elderly Muslims were beaten up on their way to the mosque in the northern town of Amiens. The attack occurred when the two victims, ages 70 and 71, were on their way to morning prayers.  They were accosted by two men with short haircuts who said they were part of the extreme right.  The men were admitted to the hospital with injuries to their legs and ribs.

Christian and Muslim Leaders Criticize Ban on Religious Artefacts in Old Folks Home

07./ 08.07.2011

In an attempt to promote diversity, residents at a sheltered housing complex in Preston, Lancashire, have been banned from displaying religious objects in communal areas. Both local Christian and Muslim leaders criticised the ruling and pointed to the importance of their faith to the elderly people. However, “Places for People”, the organisation that runs the place, are determined to uphold the ban of religious symbols in communal areas to promote diversity. The ban does not mean, however, that residents cannot display religious objects in their own home within the complex. 

Home for the Aged to be Founded for German Muslim Retirees

8 April 2011

German Muslims are planning a new charity fund in order to establish Islamic homes for the aged and kindergartens, the Islamische Zeitung reports. Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said the initiative would reflect the reality in German society, and it was a necessary step for Muslims. The same rights and duties as for Christian charities would apply.

According to Deutsch Türkische Nachrichten, Muslim elderly have different needs than non-Muslims. A pilot project in Offenbach near Frankfurt has therefore started an apprenticeship programme, training young men of migration background to become carers for the elderly. The programme focuses on culturally sensitive issues, language and customs, something that become especially important with people suffering from dementia. Apart from working at homes for the aged, graduates of the programme could also be employed in new projects like shared housing for intercultural groups.

‘Jihad Jane’ terror suspect pleads guilty in Pa.

A suburban woman who was the live-in caretaker for her boyfriend’s elderly father calmly told a U.S. judge Tuesday that she had worked feverishly online under the name “Jihad Jane” to support Islamic terrorists and moved overseas to further her plan to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims.

LaRose, who spent long hours caring for the father, also was building a shadow life online from 2008 to 2009. According to prosecutors, LaRose “worked obsessively on her computer to communicate with, recruit and incite other jihadists,” using screen names including “Jihad Jane,” “SisterOfTerror,” and “ExtremeSister4Life.”