Minneapolis Muslims protest ‘sharia’ vigilante in Cedar-Riverside area

A man trying to impose what he calls “the civil part of the sharia law” in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis has sparked anger among local residents and Muslim leaders.

Minneapolis police received reports in February from concerned residents who saw Rashid in a dark green uniform that said “Muslim Defense Force” and “Religious Police” and had two flags associated with ISIS and other terrorist groups.

“We’ve had conversations with community members that live over there,” said Officer Corey Schmidt, a police spokesman. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to deal with it, but it’s something we’ve been monitoring.”

Saudi funded mosque opens in Nice after 15-year struggle

A Saudi-funded mosque in Nice opened its doors for the first time on Saturday, after a 15-year struggle with the local town hall.

The Nicois En-nour Institute mosque received authorization to open early on Saturday from the local prefect, substituting for town mayor Philippe Pradal, who recently took over from Christian Estrosi.

Estrosi was opposed to the construction of the mosque and in April had secured the green light to sue the French state in a bid to block its opening in the southern city.

He had accused the building’s owner, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz, of “advocating sharia” and wanting to “destroy all of the churches on the Arabian peninsula”.

Estrosi, mayor since 2008, said that the project, which was initiated under his predecessor in 2002, was unauthorized.

People in Nice had shown their support for the mosque, with a petition for it garnering over 2,000 signatures.

It’s no surprise that the mosque is popular. Practicing Muslims in the Riviera city have so far only had one smallish downtown option at which to pray, where worshippers can spill out on the street at peak praying times.

The mosque’s opening was described as “a real joy” by Ouassini Mebarek, lawyer and head of a local religious association.

“But there is no smug triumphalism,” he said. “This is recognition of the law, and a right to freely practise one’s religion in France in accordance with the values of French Republic.”

Ten Muslim faithful entered the mosque’s basement, which can hold 880 worshippers, for evening prayers.

“A Muslim prefers the house of God to his own home, provided it is beautiful,” said Abdelaziz, one of the worshippers who came to pray with his son Mohamed.

In the room reserved for women, Amaria, a mother from neighboring Moulins said: “Today we are happy. Happy and relieved to have found this place. … We are tired of hiding ourselves, we aren’t mice.”

The construction of the mosque began in 2003 in a building in an office district.

July 2, 2016

Original Source: http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2016/07/02/la-mosquee-de-nice-ouvre-apres-15-ans-d-une-gestation-douloureuse_1463633

Green Islam – The fair mosque

by Ulrike Hummel

June 4, 2014

Mosques with solar panels, fair trade products and a guide to living an eco-friendly life during the Hajj … Eco Islam is gaining momentum. Ulrike Hummel reports on a project that seeks to develop environmental awareness among Muslims in Germany

Various organic teas, lovingly prepared vegetarian dishes as well as porcelain plates and cups are arranged on a buffet table laid out for the midday break. Small sample bottles of high-quality argan oil products have been placed on the tables in the meeting room – all fairly traded and “halal”.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, some 20 young Muslims have gathered in Dortmund to create something new: a “fair mosque” concept that the local mosque association, Wali e.V., has agreed to try out. There’s a pioneering spirit in the air. Today’s workshop is the outcome of a conference on fair trade that took place last year.

“What the Solingen meeting showed is that it is above all young people who want to get involved, young people who regard the subject of climate protection and Islam as one of burning importance, and who have just been waiting to get started,” says project leader Hafssa El Hasbouni from the Forum for Social Innovation (FSI). The people in question are young Muslims who have grown up with the debate over environmental destruction and who are now developing an Islamic perspective on this.

Changing social structures

The aim of the pilot project’s kick-off event is to hammer out fundamental ideas regarding what a “fair mosque” is. “The aim is that the concept we come up with, which will then be trialled at the Wali mosque, will serve as a model for other mosques,” says the 24-year-old, adding that the eventual aim is to establish a “fair mosque” label. “But this is all still in up in the air and depends on many factors,” she adds.

So what do young people think a fair mosque should be like? Solar panels on minarets, adherence to the “Green Hajj Guide” or simply a reduction in meat consumption? Not a bit of it. Evidently, the issue closest to the hearts of this generation of young Muslims is the social dimension of mosque communities.

“I would make a basic distinction between ‘hardware’ and ‘software'”, says Hafssa El Hasbouni. ‘Hardware’ refers to the use of environmentally friendly paper or the purchase of fairly-traded goods, in other words, a more responsible utilisation of resources.

“But something that many people brought to the table – and this is what I call the ‘software’ dimension – was fair treatment of one another, in particular of women,” she says.

People would like to see mosques where women are not discriminated against and where they are accepted whether they choose to cover their heads or not. At the Wali mosque in Dortmund, for example, men and women are already allowed to attend prayers together. Suggesting this as a possibility to other mosques is, however, certain to meet with considerable resistance.

An open, tolerant attitude

Fair wages, financial transparency, flat hierarchies in association structures as well as the regular rotation of German-speaking preachers for Friday prayers are all important aspects that could feature in the “fair mosque” concept for the future, says Hasbouni.

An absolute no-go would be to close the community off from non-Muslims, she continues. Instead, the focus should be on openness and tolerance. The latter could also mean not excluding gay and lesbian Muslims from mosque communities.

“What’s important to us is that the label goes hand in hand with a certain attitude: in other words, that we’re not running around, wagging a finger and telling others what is fair and what is not. What we really want is an open, positive attitude, an invitation to other mosque communities to join us in this project,” says the project manager.

The Muslim eco-activists believe that a “fair mosque” would essentially be built on its social dimension. Building on this, concrete measures affecting the protection of animals and the environment should be developed. “Inter-faith exchange with our partners in the Protestant and Catholic Churches made us aware of the issue of ‘fair trade’,” says Mohammed Johari from the I.I.S. Mosque in Frankfurt.

This led to a search through the Koran and Sunna for sources from which to derive a Muslim commitment to fair trade and environmental protection, he continues. “We’ve had a selection of fairly traded products at our mosque since 2011. We source our products from all over the world and even manage to break even,” says Johari.

It is now hoped that the “fair mosque” concept will benefit from the positive experience with the One World Shop in Frankfurt. Moreover, the positive side effects of environmental protection from an Islamic perspective should not be under-estimated: “Islam is so often associated with negative things. Our commitment to environmental protection is a big opportunity to correct this negative image,” says Johari, adding that coverage of the One World Shop story showed this.


Raising awareness in the Muslim community

A group of young Muslims who joined forces to form an association named “Hima” in 2011 is convinced that respect for Creation is deeply anchored in Islam, and that this should naturally result in an ecologically-sound way of life.

“Hima”, a term from Islamic teachings that can be translated as “conservation zone”, sees itself as a participation forum for Muslims who are interested in environmental issues. “Our main task is to raise awareness. In other words, we want to encourage Muslims to take an interest in the issue of environmental protection, initially through educational work and then through simple yet concrete projects,” says Kübra Ercan.

It is also hoped that the experiences of “Hima” will also be incorporated into the “fair mosque” concept. One of the forum’s first nationwide activities was fair trade brunches. “These gave us the opportunity to debate the responsible utilisation of resources from an Islamic perspective,” says Ercan.

“Hima” is now involved in the pan-European “Green Up My Community” project. By the end of 2014, 20 eco-friendly European mosques will be presented as part of the campaign. “There are some lovely garden projects in England. Suggestions in Germany include fitting mosques with solar panels or fitting minarets with wind turbines,” says Kübra Ercan.