Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies Condemns Barbaric Violence

“The members of the Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies, French citizens of Muslim faith, express their horror and indignation following the abominable attack against the journalists at Charlie Hebdo, which caused many deaths and injuries. They express their compassion for the victims, and address their most sincerest condolences to the families affected. They wholly and unequivocally condemn this barbaric violence.

While everything suggests, unfortunately, that those responsible for the killings claim to act in the name of Islam, the members of IHEI wish to reaffirm that no crime can legitimately claim faith in God alone. This is intolerance, ignorance and violence that use Islam, as well as other religions, as a means for personal vengeance against society, or for combat between imagined and constructed identities, both being very far removed from the faith. With all that has occurred, French and European Muslims are trying to understand how such exploitation has become possible by doing all they can to promote comprehension of Islam as a religion of understanding and love.

In conclusion, the members of the IHEI are worried by the current climate where violence committed in the name of Islam justifies all misinterpretations of the religion. They call on their fellow citizens to break from this vicious cycle where the fear of some feeds on the fear of others. The members of the IHEI wish to reaffirm their participation in national solidarity during this mourning period. They will continue without respite, as they have done for years, to weave links between people and cultures that allows us to live together in harmony, despite our differences, in a peaceful and constructive manner, and with respect for the laws of the Republic.”

Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies

British Muslim Organizations Condemn Charlie Habdo Terror [Collected Press Releases]

Muslim Council of Britain

Paris Murders are a Greater Insult to Islam:

The Muslim Council of Britain reiterated its condemnation of the barbarous murder of journalists at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.  The attack has been condemned by Muslims in France, in Europe and around the world. In France,  the French Muslim Council (CFCM) has said: “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press.”

Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Nothing justifies the taking of life. Those who have killed in the name of our religion today claim to be avenging the insults made against Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. But nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder.  Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity go to  the families of the victims and the people of France.

Naturally, and unfortunately discussion will now fall on the right to intentionally publish hurtful material that denigrates religious figures and traditions. But however offended we may be, the ultimate denigration of our faith comes from these murderers who have unjustifiably taken life.

In the coming weeks Muslims will face the test of having to justify themselves and their place in Western society. As Muslims we are ever mindful of our Lord’s injunction to convey our true faith with wisdom and beautiful words. Indeed in the noble Qur’an we are told: ‘The true servants of the Merciful are those who walk humbly on the earth and when the ignorant address them they say: Peace.’

In addition, while Muslims must engage with fellow citizens in a spirit of dialogue and friendship, we must all come together to seek unity and defy the terrorists whose only aim is to divide us. The best defence against closed minds is for a truly open society, welcoming of all.”


 

Association of British Muslim Students

The Association of British Muslims calls for Europe to Confront Violence and Protect Freedom.

The Association of British Muslims (AoBM) strongly condemns the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has killed at least 13 people according to the news reports. Our thoughts are with the victims of this terror attack and the families affected at this difficult time.

At AoBM, we have maintained our differences with the editorial policies of Charlie Hebdo. We always have had questions about the judgement (but not the right) of publishing images which are predictably deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. However, at the same time we stand in support of freedom of expression and believe that there is no justification whatsoever, to take lives of people who we disagree with while exercising this right.

We note that the Quran instructs its believers to argue with the challengers in ways that are best and most gracious. The attacks in Paris symbolise nothing close to these Koranic instructions but instead represent a distortion of faith which is forgiving and open to debate.

AoBM also takes this opportunity to condemn the bomb attack in Yemen which killed at least 40 people. AoBM stands in solidarity with the people of France and Yemen and seek justice for the victims as well as the perpetrators of the attacks.

Zahid Ali AkbarHuman Rights Director, The Association of British Muslims
Paul Salahuddin ArmstrongCo-Director, The Association of British Muslims
Mohammed AbbasiCo-Director, The Association of British Muslims


Muslim Association of Britain Statement

Muslim Association of Britain expresses its total condemnation of the senseless and brutal killing of 12 French people including two police officers at the offices of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ newspapers in Paris.

MAB is shocked by the tragedy and deplores this unwarranted violence. MAB would like to state that whilst it is well-known that this controversial newspaper has previously published provocative cartoons of the Prophet (may peace be upon him), there can never be any justification for this criminal act.

MAB also believes that while the hunt for the offenders continues it would be unhelpful to make undue speculations about the circumstances surrounding this incident. It would even be more harmful if this incident would be used by extremists to increase Islamophobic attacks or rhetoric against Muslims in France, and Europe in General.

Omer El-Hamdoon, MAB President commented: “It is suffice to say this is an extremely sad day for the French and we support the British Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons that this is a ‘barbaric’ attack which he described as an attack on freedom.”

 

Laila Alawa: Do we really need mosques in America?

Laila Alawa, Associate Editor at Islamic Monthly, views the controversial documentary film Unmosqued and offers some observations on the mosque and its function and future in America. Situating her argument in a larger view of faith in America, Alawa writes, “There are buildings scattered across America, empty of purpose and congregations, simply because people left – and never turned back. For the future of mosques in America, Muslim Americans who have been unmosqued must make a decision. Alongside this sense of urgency, however, is a sense of freshness: the community, innovations and conversations taking place in third spaces is unlike any that happened within mosques – and for now, that’s okay. The future of faith in America might just not take place within a conventional center of worship. For many, that’s just how it’s going to be.”

"Mother Mosque of America," Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“Mother Mosque of America,” Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

33 year old lives in a basement, neglected because he is a non-Muslim

March 28, 2014

 

“I live in a basement because I am not a good Muslim,” Miadi is 33 years old and since November has lived in a basement.

Miadi travelled to Italy in search of fortune, but for Miadi, a 33 year old Algerian, fate turned its back on him shortly after his arrival. Suffice it to say that the young man has been forced to live in a small cellar, near the outskirts of Milan. To be precise, since last November, when the young man was literally kicked out of an apartment in the Aurora area where he lived with some friends, the basis of the argument was purely religious.

Miadi, in fact, is not a Muslim and does not follow the Islamic faith, a major issue for the people with whom he lived for a short time. “One day they caught me eating ham and I was forced to pack up” says the 33-year old. “For a few days I slept on the side of a road, then I met a friend who gave me a hand. I found this cellar where at least I can rest. Definitely better than being under a bridge in the cold.”

But even in a basement hygienic conditions are not exactly the best. In the small space Miadi has placed a mattress and some blankets. “I manage as I can,” says the Algerian. To complicate the situation the young man also does not have a job and has no family in the area to garner support. “I worked for a short time in the market. But with the little money I made I could barely eat.”

 

Torino Today: http://www.torinotoday.it/cronaca/miadi-casa-cantina-islam-barriera-milano.html

 

Gym faces lawsuit over Muslim head covering

March 20, 2014

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A gym in Albuquerque refused to let a Muslim woman wear her religious head covering when she tried to work out, according to a new lawsuit against the company.

An attorney for Tarainia McDaniel, 37, recently filed the lawsuit in a New Mexico district court stemming from a 2011 clash at a Planet Fitness that prevented McDaniel from using the gym while wearing the head covering, even though court documents said another Planet Fitness in the area had previously let her do so, the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/lqi6Xj).

On Oct. 3, 2011, she was turned away at her new gym and was told the informal head covering didn’t meet its dress code, the lawsuit states. The gym had a sign that said “no jeans, work boots, bandanas, skull caps or revealing apparel.”

McDaniel said she asked to be allowed to wear the informal head covering to accommodate her Muslim faith, and she even asked if she should come back wearing a formal head covering known as the hijab, according to the lawsuit.

But the gym denied her requests, the lawsuit states.

Planet Fitness attorney Erika Anderson said the head covering violates the gym’s dress-code policy. “My client’s position is that they didn’t know the head covering was for religious purposes,” Anderson said.

McDaniel’s civil lawsuit, filed under the New Mexico Human Rights Act and the Unfair Practices Act, alleges that Planet Fitness illegally based the decision to deny her access upon her religion, or alternatively upon her race — she is African-American — and that the gym had no legitimate reason to deny her entry.

Planet Fitness, in its formal answer to the claims, denies violations of either the Human Rights Act or Unfair Practices Act. It says McDaniel failed to participate in good faith and that the company has legitimate business reasons for its practice as well as measures to prevent discrimination.

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/gym-faces-lawsuit-over-muslim-head-covering/2014/03/20/755d6f7c-b074-11e3-b8b3-44b1d1cd4c1f_story.html

Targeted Islamic outreach to Hispanics achieving results

February 28, 2014

 

PEARLAND, Texas (RNS) Carlos Lopez works in the United States to earn money and send it back home to his family in Mexico. But he sends back something else, too: pamphlets and personal testimonies about his new faith.

On Dec. 22, 2013, Lopez took the “shahada” — the profession of the Islamic faith — and joined the ranks of what the American Muslim Council estimates is a 200,000 strong Hispanic Muslim community across the U.S.

Unlike previous generations of Hispanic Muslims who were attracted to the faith by their own spiritual explorations, Lopez and many others like him are converting as a result of targeted Islamic outreach efforts.

This new form of Islamic “da’wah,” or outreach, aims to translate being Muslim into the Spanish cultural and linguistic vernacular.

“To reach Hispanics, we have to be practical,” said Imam Daniel Abdullah Hernandez who teaches an Islam in Spanish course in Pearland, Texas, where Lopez converted. “Islam is practical, it’s social, it’s very easy to translate it into Hispanic culture, and it’s even easier to communicate it in the Spanish language.”

According to the Pew Research Center, just 4 percent of Muslim Americans are of Hispanic ancestry, though one of 10 native-born U.S. Muslims are Hispanic. “The American Mosque 2011″ report said the number of Latino converts has been steadily increasing since 2000, more so than any other racial or ethnic group.

As they convert, many face ostracism from their families who are predominantly Christian, often Catholic, and feel the converts are abandoning their Hispanic identity. Likewise, many Hispanic Muslims do not find a ready welcome in masjids that are largely made up of Middle Eastern, North African, South East Asian and African-American Muslims.

Islam In Spanish is not the first organization to focus its efforts on reaching Hispanics. Another group, the Latino American Dawah Organization, existed before it and paved the way.

Shafiq Alvarado helped found LADO, which offers help and support to new Hispanic Muslims. Born into a Catholic family and of Dominican ancestry, Alvarado converted when he was 25 through the efforts of Allianza Islamica (Islamic Alliance) in New York City.

“People who become Muslims inevitably become ambassadors for Islam,” said Alvarado. “Hispanic Muslims are not sitting on the sidelines; they learn Arabic, the Quran, Islamic jurisprudence, and many other things to take that knowledge and give it back to their communities, their families,” he said.

 

RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/02/28/targeted-islamic-outreach-hispanics-achieving-results

Islam in Spanish.com: http://islaminspanish.org/

LADO: http://www.latinodawah.org/

Baroness Warsi ‘saddened’ by rise in Islamic sectarianism

February 18, 2014

 

Islamic sectarianism has become a “deep and dangerous” problem in Britain that is being used to justify acts of religious extremism, the country’s most senior Muslim politician has warned. In a speech during a trip to the Middle East, Baroness Warsi said that differences between branches of Islam were being used by extremists to cause “tension, turmoil and terrorism”. She warned that such preaching was stripping the “soulfulness and kindness of spirit” from the heart of the religion and called on Islamic leaders to “reclaim the true meaning of the religion”.

In her speech, given at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman, Baroness Warsi said such divisions were rarely confronted but posed “a great danger to faith and our world”. “The hatred that can exist between sects – between people who follow the same God – disturbs and saddens me. And even in Britain we are not immune from it. With division being preached by some, and belittling another’s faith or denomination being used as a way of reaffirming one’s own. Often the strongest condemnation seems to be reserved for your brother or sister in faith. ” she said.

But she added she feared it was also politics masquerading as religion. “There’s a deeply disturbing political element to sectarianism when negative political forces exploit these differences,” she said. “And this approach takes on an even more sinister tone when sect is equated with nationality or loyalty to a particular country.”

Baroness Warsi, who was appointed the first Minister for Faith by the Coalition, revealed that she had been personally targeted by a gang who accused her of “not being a proper Muslim”. “They didn’t approve of me appearing in public without my face covered,” she said. “They reduced my faith to a list of ‘don’ts’, defined only in the negative, defining their faith in terms of what they were against, rather than what they stood for. I believe that this approach is at odds with the teachings of Islam.”

 

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/baroness-warsi-saddened-by-rise-in-islamic-sectarianism-9137124.html

Cincinnati woman elected mosque board president

February 14, 2014.

 

Eighteen years ago, when Shakila Ahmad offered to arrange tours of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati where she’s a member, she thought she was volunteering for a single weekend.

Since then, 70,000 visitors have stopped by.

What Ahmad offered visitors was an opportunity the vast majority of Americans never get – to enter a mosque, discuss matters of faith face-to-face with their Muslim countrymen and find out what Islam is and what it isn’t.

The reward, Ahmad says, is “seeing the transformation on a person’s face and hearing them ask a difficult question without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.”

“We’re not the same,” she says, “but we have far more in common than we have differences.”

Last month, she assumed one of the area’s highest-profile religious leadership roles when she was elected president of the Islamic Center’s board of trustees – the first woman to hold the role in the Center’s 18-year history and only its second president.

 

CAIR.com: http://cair.com/press-center/american-muslim-news/12378-cincinnati-woman-elected-mosque-board-president.html