Exclusive: Dagestani Relative of Tamerlan Tsarnaev Is a Prominent Islamist

Last year, when Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months in the Russian region of Dagestan, he had a guide with an unusually deep knowledge of the local Islamist community: a distant cousin named Magomed Kartashov. Six years older than Tsarnaev, Kartashov is a former police officer and freestyle wrestler — and one of the region’s most prominent Islamists.

In 2011, Kartashov founded and became the leader of an organization called the Union of the Just, whose members campaign for Shari‘a and pan-Islamic unity in Dagestan, often speaking out against U.S. policies across the Muslim world. The group publicly renounces violence. But some of its members have close links to militants; others have served time in prison for weapons possession and abetting terrorism — charges they say were based on fabricated evidence. For Tsarnaev, these men formed a community of pious young Muslims with whom he could discuss his ideas of jihad. Tsarnaev’s mother Zubeidat confirmed that her son is Kartashov’s third cousin. The two met for the first time in Dagestan, she said, and “became very close.”
Eventually the man remembers Tsarnaev ceding the point. Some weeks later — the man could not recall exactly how long — many from the same group of friends, including Kartashov, gathered on the same beach again for another barbecue. This time the discussion was different. Tsarnaev also brought up the issue of holy war, “but in a global context,” the man said. They talked about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the civil war in Syria, which some of the men from Kartashov’s circle accuse the U.S. and the U.K. of helping to foment. “Those questions that he brought from America [about the holy war in Dagestan], those didn’t come up anymore,” said the man who attended both barbecues. And what was Tsarnaev asking about then? “Listening,” the man said. “He did more listening.”

What Muslim women really want in the bedroom

Sex is taboo subject for most Muslims. However, a growing number of young Muslim women are talking about what they really want when in the bedroom. Shelina Janmohamed, author of Love in a Headscarf, explains how women are leading the way in her faith when it comes to understanding sexuality.

 

The author mentions examples such as Abdelaziz Aouragh who runs an online sex shop for Muslims, as well as how Muslim women are leading their male counterparts in the discussion about sexuality and intimacy. According to Islamic law, sex is limited to between those who are married. But when it comes to exactly what you can do, and how sex is generally discussed, Islam itself is quite open. Sex is of course for procreation, but it’s also for pleasure. This openness has been lost over time, and discussions about sex have become taboo. However, things are slowly changing.

 

The author recalls a story about a woman came to see Mohammed on her wedding night, to complain her husband was too busy praying and hadn’t come near her. The Prophet went to see the husband, admonished him for being too engrossed in religious prayer and instructed him to pay more attention to his bride.

 

Wedad Lootah is a UAE marriage counsellor who published an Arabic sex guide, Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples, on how to achieve sexual intimacy with your partner. Her book was blessed by the mufti of the UAE. But she received intense criticism.

 

There are accounts regarding pre-marital seminars, included sex education. The aim is that the young women receive this education, and criticism is kept at bay because “The girls don’t know what should be happening in their intimate lives and the men tell them to do X or Y and they don’t know any better.”

 

There are descriptions of books that Muslim women themselves are using to try to open a discussion about sexuality, its role in their identity, and their fears and aspirations. For those Muslims who want to live a chaste life, the pressures are immense especially as their surroundings are increasingly sexualised. Virginity is seen as abnormal. And rejection of ‘sexual liberation’ is seen as backward.

The article points out that if contextually appropriate teachings are not available – whether at home, in the mosque or in other social settings – then the taboos about sexuality become entrenched, lead to diminished knowledge, and pleasure or even negativity about sex.

Muslim job consultant

March 9

 

28 years old social pedagogue Funda Doghan is specialized to advise Muslim job seekers. Although, migrants with “diversity” skills have been employed at German public services and job agencies to advise minority groups, the job consultant is a new concept. The city of Waiblingen in the German State of Baden-Württemberg has implemented a unique concept, advising Muslim immigrants in addressing them in parent-teachers conferences, mosques and women centers.

 

Jürgen Kurz, chief executive director of the employment agency of Waiblingen explains the inhibition of Muslims in dealing with German bureaucracy as one challenge for immigrants. For instance, many parents do not have sufficient knowledge about the German education system and cannot guide their children. Having advanced from secondary school to University, Funda Doghan has earned respect among Muslim immigrants. Her knowledge about Muslim traditions enables her to understand classic gender roles when encouraging women for a career path.

 

New Report – Understanding Trends in North American Muslim Divorce and Marriage

This report by Julie Macfarlane (University of Windsor) for the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding addresses the shortcomings of Muslim communities when dealing with divorce, and what support and services counselors and community leaders can provide in times of marital crisis. The report has important conclusions and recommendations that can be a resource and discussion guide for couples, community leaders, and the public. The goal of the four year empirical study was to explore what North American Muslims understand as their Islamic obligations in marriage, the challenges they face in their married lives, and under what circumstances they might consider divorce – including their decision-making process, where they turn for help, and what rituals of closure and divorce outcomes are important to them.

Reaction to Frankfurt Attack: US Officials Urge Caution after Airport Shooting

4 March 2011

Although German and US investigators are still looking into the shooting at Frankfurt Airport that left two US airmen dead, German officials have played down the need for more security at US installations and public places. American officials cautioned military personnel and civilians to remain vigilant, and published a self-help antiterrorism guide online.

Two days after two US airmen were killed and two others wounded by a lone gunman at Frankfurt Airport, German authorities said Friday that the incident had not prompted an increase in security at most of the country’s airports and train stations.

On Thursday, the US Army Garrison Stuttgart posted “A Self-Help Guide to Antiterrorism” online that was produced by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 2010. The 60-page manual gives US military personnel and their families instructions on how to avoid being the victim of terrorist attacks. In one section it describes “Indicators of a Potential Active Shooter,” such as making “anti-American statements asserting that US police and authority is illegitimate.” It advises the Americans on how to evacuate, or to find shelter “out of the active shooter’s view.”

Self-Proclaimed Imams Proselytizing in Italian Prisons: A Conversion Boom

The article’s writer deals with the problem of jihadist radicalisation in Italian penitentiary institutions. He warns of the risk of self-proclaimed imams who proselytize other Muslim prisoners, leading them towards extremism. According to European reports, in many Italian prisons Muslims enter as thieves and come out as Islamists. Once freed from prison they are recruited. This means that, although the recruitment doesn’t take place inside the prison, connections are nevertheless possible and even actively established with the outside. Many convert to Islam when in jail because Islam gives them a sense of redemption. In the light of this spiritual need, the author suggests, it would be advisable that along with Christian chaplains, official imams should be appointed to provide their services in Italian prisons. 80 Islamists are in Italian prisons for crimes related to terrorism. They have received a strong military preparation as well as the logistic and organisational capacity to guide the gangs in prisons. In such a scenario, the main risk is posed by rebellions: there have been protests by Muslims about the overcrowding of prisons and for perceived religious and civil persecutions by the maximum-security regime. The author warns that the terrorists in our prisons would be ready to die in the name of their jihad and that, in the event of a rebellion, they would not hesitate to take prison officers hostage.

Difference in ethnic and immigrant dutch voting opinion

20,000 potential voters in the upcoming national elections filled out an online questionnaire that indicates their position on issues of immigration and integration. The guide, created by Maroc.NL, was filled out by as many ethnic Dutch as immigrants, and results suggest that responses from the two groups vary considerably:  for example, while 68% of Turks and Moroccans completely disagree that “Islam doesn’t fit in a democratic state”, almost half of ethnic Dutch respondents believe Islam is incompatible with democracy.  The most popular parties among non-Western respondents were the Dutch Muslim Party, the GroenLinks (Greens) and the SP (Socialists).

New guide for Canadian immigrants denounces “honor killings” and calls for gender equity

The new document, which will be the citizenship study guide for the 250,000 immigrants who arrive in Canada each year, thus instantly becomes one of the country’s most widely read and potentially influential pieces of writing.

Canada’s revamped citizenship guide warns newcomers that “barbaric cultural practices” such as honor killings will not be tolerated, marking a stronger tone against importing beliefs that clash with Canadian values. “In Canada, men and women are equal under the law,” the document says. “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honor killings,’ female genital mutilation or other gender-based violence. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada’s criminal laws.” No longer will new Canadians be told that Canada is strictly a nation of peacekeepers, for example. The new guide places a much greater emphasis on Canada’s military history, from the Great War to the present day. It also tackles other issues of historical significance, from Confederation to Quebec’s separatist movement.

The guide, released yesterday and called “Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Canadian Citizenship”, is the first of its kind to explicitly denounce violence in the name of family honor — a crime in the headlines just this week after an Ottawa man was sentenced to a year in jail for threatening violence against his daughter. While honor killings remain relatively rare in Canada, several high-profile cases have drawn attention to the issue. Even the use of the term “honor killings” has stirred debate, as critics of the wording say it implies the practice is accepted by certain religions when, in fact, it is not.

The inclusion of honor killings and spousal abuse in the guide reminded some onlookers of the tension over reasonable accommodation, a concept that came to a boiling point in Herouxville, QC. Farzana Hassan, spokeswoman for the Muslim Canadian Congress, said there is nothing controversial about the statement in the new guide, adding that it is a long-overdue step toward tackling a cultural practice that does not jibe with Canadian values. Antonia Maioni, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, said the new guide fits with a Conservative strategy to redefine itself with regard to immigration, an issue that historically has been closely linked with the Liberal Party.

“Arab House” intuition publishes Spain’s first Muslim guide

Spain has released a guide on the Muslim community in the country. The guide includes such data such as demographic information and information about mosques and/or places of worship. According to the guide, there are approximately 1.3 Muslims in Spain, with Moroccans, Algerians, Pakistanis, and Senegalese making up the majority. Previous estimates put the number at about 1.5 million out of a total of 40 million in the country. Approximately 300,000 Muslims live in the north-eastern province of Catalonia, 120,000 in Andalusia, and 80,000 in the capital city of Madrid. The guide also shows that there are nearly 400 mosques and prayer spaces in the country, but only 13 “big” mosques and Islamic centers. The guide was released by the Arab House Institution of the immigration Ministry.

The largest survey of Muslim women in the UK: A poll of 1,000 British Muslim women finds they are both religiously observant and keen shoppers at Primark

A unique and groundbreaking 1000 Sisters’ voices survey carried out by Ummah Foods, a new generation British Muslim food company, and by SISTERS, the inspirational new magazine for Muslim women, has found that, while an overwhelming majority view Islam as their guide to life, read the Qur’an and observe hijab, they also shop at high street stores, go out to eat and travel regularly. The picture that emerges is one of a population balancing the demands of their faith with the opportunities afforded by life in the UK. Khalid Sharif, founder of Ummah Foods, and Na’ima B. Robert, editor of SISTERS Magazine, began asking some interesting questions about the lives of Muslim women in the UK so they could improve their products for them. The result has been a groundbreaking look at the thoughts, opinions and ideas of Muslim women in the UK. The survey, which is the largest ever, gathered respondents from all walks of life, from around the UK, all eager to give their views on issues as diverse as their relationship with Islam, their opinions of hijab, halal shopping, Internet use, entrepreneurship and of course Muslim men and marriage. One of the most surprising findings was that British Muslim women, married and unmarried, are still romantics at heart.