The Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI), the second largest Islamic organization in Spain, held its first meeting in twenty years. FEERI and UCIDE (the other major Islamic organization in Spain), form the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE), and both have contributed in equal measure to its virtual paralysis and ineffectiveness. However, after a series of internal conflicts, the current direction of FEERI (in which Morocco has great influence), has started a series of moves to gain influence over the other Islamic organizations in Spain. This meeting should be understood in this context.
During the meeting, the direction of the FEERI has defended the need for change in the CIE and the independence of Islamic organizations vis-à-vis the Spanish government, to whom the FEERI accuses of interfering in the internal affairs of Islamic organizations.
On the 11th and 12th of February 2011, the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities of Spain (FEERI), one of the two federations present at the Islamic Commission of Spain (the other is the Spanish Union of Islamic Communities, UCIDE) and that, in 1992, signed the Cooperation Agreements with the Spanish State, will be holding its I Meeting, under the theme: “Official representation of Muslims in Spain: Present and future”. This Meeting concerning current situation and challenges in the religious issue in Spain, comes in a time when the Islamic Commissions’ structure is under debate – as an attempt to incorporate those Muslim communities of recent creation that are outside FEERI and UCIDE, and so excluded from the rights granted by the 1992 Agreement.
18 October 2010
Sura Al-Shawk, a Swiss citizen of Iraqi origin, has been unable to participate in any basketball games since her regional league banned her in 2009, due to the headscarf that she wears. Since that time her case has been tossed “like a hot potato” between the regional and national basketball associations, while a civil court has rejected the case. The regional association argues that it has been simply following the rules of the International Basketball Federation (Fiba), which bans religious symbols during official games.
Al-Shawk’s lawyer continues to argue that his client’s “individual rights have been infringed,” and is considering taking the case to the Federal Court.
The internal rivalries within the FEERI have worsened during the last month. The opposition to the current board of directives has tried to overthrow it. The opposition, led by the Islamic Federation of Murcia (FIRM) has elected Mounir Benjelloun, the current vice-president of the FIRM, as new president of the FEERI. That election has been contested and still there is not a final resolution of the conflict.
The overthrown board of directives is said to be close to the Moroccan regime. On the other hand, the opposition is said to be close to the Moroccan opposition (especially the al-Adl wa al-Ihsan movement).
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a message to greet the fifth session of the “Russia and the Islamic World” Strategic Vision Group held in Kuwait.
In the message he notes that “the Group has made a great contribution to development of trust and mutual understanding between Russia and Muslim states during three years of its work”. He also said: “Your activities help to resist radical and extremist initiatives. The Group is a platform for sharing experience in building tolerant relations between different cultures and religions.”
“The Russian Federation as Organization of the Islamic Conference observer state is firm in its intention to develop dialogue with the Islamic world,”–the message also reads.
Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney claims he is reshaping Canada’s approach to immigration and multiculturalism. Kenney claims: “We want to avoid the kind of ethnic enclaves or parallel communities that exist in some European countries. So far, we’ve been pretty successful at that, but I think it’s going to require greater effort in the future to make sure that we have . . . social cohesion rather than fracturing.” Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress applauds Kenney’s efforts. “He’s standing up for Canadian values. I would like every politician to stand up for this country the way Jason Kenney has.”
Kenney has recently, among other recent controversies, criticized Muslim-led attempts to censor Canadian writers through human rights commissions, and slamming certain groups that would stoke Middle East enmities, leading to accusations in Arab communities, and in some corners of the media, that the Minister has abandoned an unprejudiced approach and made Canada a stooge for the so-called Israel lobby: The CAF called him a “professional whore;” the Toronto Star a “professional fool”.
The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) condemned the “inexcusable and reprehensible” terror attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai. “The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe reminds of the vital importance of exercising self-restraint, and respect for the principle of peaceful coexistence and harmony in community relations in the multi-ethnic Indian society,” said a statement released by the Organization. The FIOE is an association that encompasses hundreds of Islamic organizations in Europe.
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The Council of Muftis, Russia’s highest Muslim council, issued a protest against a ban on some Islamic publications that are being considered by authorities as extremist. The Council “has taken a decision to request that the relevant institutions of the Russian Federation carry out a repeat analysis of the books,” adding that they were seriously concerned over the subjective compilation. Starting in 2007, authorities have complied a regularly updated list of publications that deemed banning, many of which are linked to Islam. The Council of Muftis represents Russia’s 20 Million Muslims.
According to the National Post, controversy has emerged on its editorial blog as the CAF (Canadian Arab Federation) recently sponsored an essay contest on The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine where it urged high school students to write about Israel’s wrongdoings. The group has recently announced a second controversial event, a July 14 Toronto speaking event entitled The 9/11 Deception Continues. The evening features Bob Bowman, who believes that the U.S. government participated in the 9/11 attacks, and Michael Keefer, a University of Guelph English teacher sympathetic to the same view. The CAF purports to represent both Christian and Muslim Arabs.
The Murcia Islamic Federation will accept 50 Imams and candidates to participate in the 3rd training course, with the goal to develop skills for those in charge of this religious activity. The federation will present teachers, trainers and ulemas from Spain and France, experts in the field of Sharia and also have a significant presence in the religious sector of the Moroccan embassy in Spain.