‘Deport 5 million Muslims’: Bernard Cazeneuve denounces Eric Zemmour’s remarks

“I know, it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising. Who would have said in 1940 that a million pieds-noirs, twenty years later, would leave Algeria to come to France?” - French Author Eric Zemmour's stirs controversy with remarks about France's Muslim community.
“I know, it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising. Who would have said in 1940 that a million pieds-noirs, twenty years later, would leave Algeria to come to France?” – French Author Eric Zemmour’s stirs controversy with remarks about France’s Muslim community.

Eric Zemmour has previously been referred to as racist, sexist and xenophobic and his October interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra has again created controversy.

The interview was published October 30 in the Italian newspaper and was brought to the French public’s attention by Jean-Luc Mélenchon who stated that Muslims “live together in the banlieues,” that “the French were forced to leave [the area] because of them,” and that “this situation of a people in a people, Muslims within the French people, will lead to chaos and war.” When asked: “Well what do you suggest: deport 5 million French Muslims?,” Zemmour responded: “I know, it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising. Who would have said in 1940 that a million pieds-noirs, twenty years later, would leave Algeria to come to France?”

On his blog, Mélenchon wrote: “Zemmour confuses foreigners and immigrants. This mix-up contains a logic that it could lead to civil war, and it’s why his suggestion is so dangerous.” Mélenchon also notes that Zemmour’s immigration statistics combine foreigners and naturalized citizens. “For him, those are ‘Français de papier,’ an expression used by the far-right said before the war and in current discourse. For him, one cannot ‘become French.’ When the time comes, it will be necessary to pick out and take away ID cards. Which is what Philippe Pétain’s government did.”

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

France-Qatar Agreement

January 28, 2014

 

France and Qatar signed an agreement to regulate problems that had emerged in the Lycée Voltaire in Doha. The agreement stipulates that Islamic studies and Arabic will be implemented in the school, and separation between male and female students will be reinforced in its future secondary school.

The president of the school’s administration board declared, ‘our French friends have been understandings, since it is essential is to let French-speaking Qataris remain close to their language and religion.’

The school, founded in 2007 by the Mission Laique France, had already experienced conflicts over the nature of the curriculum with their Qatari counterparts disagreeing with some of the science and history books. The Lycée Voltaire, numbering a thousand students, is now run by Qatar.

 

Source: http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2014/01/28/97001-20140128FILWWW00408-le-lycee-francais-de-doha-conforme-a-l-islam.php

‘The Square’ filmmakers capture a revolution — and then an Oscar nomination

January 17, 2014

 

On a recent afternoon, Jehane Noujaim apologized for checking her cellphone in the middle of an interview. The director of “The Square,” an immersion into the Egyptian revolution, wanted to make sure her producer, Karim Amer, was going to be able to get back into the country — his country — to see an ailing relative. Such apprehension was nothing new for Noujaim.

“The Square,” nominated Thursday for an Academy Award for best documentary, opened Friday in theaters and via Netflix, but has yet to be screened in Egypt, whose tumultuous recent history is its subject. “The film is in censorship,” she said. “They won’t issue a letter to show it publicly. There’s an attempt to whitewash the last three years. That period is given intimate perspective in the film, which tracks the downfall of dictatorial Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 after 18 days of mass protests and military intimidation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

The story continues as Mubarak’s elected successor, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, also is toppled, amid rising violence and discord between religious and secular factions. The tilts and turns meant that, shortly after winning an audience award for “The Square” at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Noujaim went back to shooting and re-editing the film. “Most of these verite films, you make up a story that you think you’re following,” said Noujaim, whose films include “Control Room” and “Startup.com.”

“You make a plan and God laughs, right? And that’s the exciting thing about making these films. You don’t know which way a story is going to go. But this story, much more than anything I’ve ever worked on, I had no idea where it was going. We had to have people ready to film at any moment.” The Harvard-educated filmmaker, 39, was born in Washington but raised in Cairo between the ages of 7 and 17. She grew up a few minutes from Tahrir Square but never imagined that one day she’d be sleeping in it.

“There was no place else I wanted to be in the world when things started happening there,” Noujaim said. It was in the square that she met the film’s key figures, each a different piece of the populist puzzle that came together in the story. “You look for people who will take you into worlds that you will never ordinarily see.”

The Academy Award nomination is the first ever for an Egyptian film. Noujaim compared the moment to “getting accepted to the World Cup for the first time.” The timing is crucial, as the country voted last week on a new constitution — backed by the military government — with presidential and parliamentary elections expected soon. “What Ahmed said when we were short-listed was, this means that despite censorship that this film will be unstoppable and our story will never be able to be obliterated or silenced,” Noujaim said. “The government will be in a very uncomfortable place, which is exactly where they need to be put for censoring a film about a hugely important chapter of Egyptian history.”

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-square-filmmakers-capture-a-revolution–and-then-an-oscar-nomination/2014/01/17/9617eb6c-7ee1-11e3-93c1-0e888170b723_story.html

Some schools cancel Christmas performances: League Sends Letter

December 17, 2013

 

“Reports received from some schools in Turin show that performances of a classic children’s Christmas play will not be organized or there will be a play but without any reference to the Nativity and the Catholic religion, to avoid offending the growing number of Muslims who attend local schools. In all cases, individual headmasters make this decision.

“If this report is confirmed it would be a very serious matter” said the Northern League’s Roberto Carbonero in a letter to the City’s schools. “It is not acceptable to favor uncontrolled immigration over our citizens, our children, who now must give up their own traditions and their own culture. In our schools we should not be ashamed of the Catholic base of our society and our history.”

 

La Repubblica: http://torino.repubblica.it/dettaglio-news/19:29/4441798

Quotidiano Piemontese: http://www.quotidianopiemontese.it/2013/12/18/nelle-scuole-di-torino-niente-recite-di-natale-per-rispetto-dei-musulmani/#_

European conundrum: Integration of Muslims or securitisation of Islam?

December 2, 2013

 

Across Europe, the general feeling is that integration of Muslim immigrants has failed and that multicultural policies are responsible for this failure.

However, a closer look at data on integration of Muslims reveals a more nuanced reality, writes Jocelyne Cesari, Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center of Georgetown University and Director of the Islam in the West programme at Harvard University.

First, it is important to distinguish between socio-economic, cultural and political integration.

On the economic front, the results are daunting. Despite the emergence of a Muslim middle class, the high number of Muslims in lower socio-economic groups is reaching the point that some talk of a Muslim underclass.

This means that Muslims are affected by lower social mobility and persistent discrimination, even when their levels of education or resources are comparable to other immigrant groups. In other words, discrimination seems to exist for immigrants or citizens with a Muslim background.

When it comes to political integration however, data gathered across European countries show that Muslims do participate politically and on some occasions even more so than their ‘non-Muslim’ peers. They also present specific features. For example, they tend to participate less in formal politics (vote/party membership) than in informal political activity like civic action or voluntary work.

Muslims also display higher left-leaning political identification than their non-Muslim fellow citizens.

The most striking finding is that they not only identify themselves highly with Islam, but also to European citizenship. The opposite is true for non-Muslims who do not express the same attachment to their religious tradition. This difference does not exist in the United States, where Muslims perform at the same level as other religious groups when it comes to religious self-identification.

Therefore, the alarming political discourse on the lack of cultural and religious integration of Muslims is ill-placed.

The perception of Islam as a threat is one reason for this gap between the social reality of Muslims and the political discourse on Islam. Anti-terrorism and security concerns fuel a desire to compromise liberties and restrict Islam from the public space.

The outcome is an increasing securitisation of Islam that includes a number of actions through which the normal rule of law is suspended in favour of exceptional measures. This is justified by extraordinary situations that threaten the survival of the political community.

This securitisation aims to respond to Islam as if it were an existential threat and therefore justifies extraordinary measures to contain it. Securitisation of Islam is discernible in speech and rhetoric, such as the justification for the War on Terror and the persistent linking of Islam with political violence.

Our research shows, however, that securitisation not only encompasses speech acts but also administrative and political measures not directly related to terrorism. For example, limitations on Islamic practices (minarets, the hijab, the burqa, male circumcision) as well as the restriction of immigration and citizenship. In this regard, these measures reinforce the perception of Islam and Muslims as ‘others within the West’.

Consequently, Muslims are under increased political scrutiny and control, especially those who assert their religious affiliation through their dress and engagement in public religious activities. Furthermore, the signs of these activities, such as mosques and minarets, have become highly suspect. In these conditions, not only radical groups are seen as a threat but also all visible aspects of the Islamic religion.

Securitisation of Islam regards Islam as a monolithic ideology spreading from Europe all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan. According to this perception, Muslims are determined by history and fit a mold from which they cannot escape. They are defined by their so-called conformity to the past and their inability to address the current challenges of political development and liberal religious thinking.

This perception justifies the imaginary creation of an insurmountable boundary between modern and pre-modern times, between secularism and Islam, and therefore supports exceptional political measures to fight against supposedly anti-modern and anti-Western forces. It leaves very little space for Islam in liberal democracies and it fuels the extreme polarisation of Islam versus the West on which European and Muslim extremist groups thrive.

One way to overcome the exclusion of Muslims in the West would be to include Islam in the narratives of European countries through a reframing of national history textbooks to locate this religious tradition and its diverse cultures within the boundaries of each national community. Another proven way to increase the legitimacy of any given group is through greater political representation in mainstream institutions (political parties, assemblies, and governmental agencies). Concrete action on these ideas has yet to materialise.

 

World Review: http://www.worldreview.info/content/european-conundrum-integration-muslims-or-securitisation-islam

Arabic Course in elementary schools: Morocco colonizes Treviso

Arabic language taught in Italian schools begins, surprisingly, in the fortress of the Northeast, the hard and pure Treviso. Just the inhabitants of the Marca Gioiosa, who pushed for the Venetian dialect to be the official language, people are now sending their children to learn Arabic. In fact  the elementary school Coletti will begin the lessons as part of a course on Arabic language and culture . “The institute in Treviso is the first in Italy to implement an Arabic language course totally free, paid for by the Government of Morocco” says professor Zinoun Bouchra, of Moroccan descent “…children in third to fifth grade will have the opportunity to learn the Arabic alphabet, and the history and culture they come into contact with through many of their companions. And all during the school day, Treviso is ahead of the curve offering this as absolutely free.”

 

Mosque emerges from Palermo home improvement: ‘We won’t serve alcohol here, out of respect’ say owners

MoscheaAugust 28, 2013

By Gaetana D’Amico and Christopher Livesay

Palermo, August 28 – Owners of a Palermo apartment were shocked to discover during recent renovations that part of their home was once an ornate 18th-century mosque. The flat in Via Porta di Castro is in an area of buildings over what used to be the Kemonia river, before it was filled in around the year 1600, near the Royal Palace of Palermo. The couple, Giuseppe Cadili and Valeria Giarrusso, both journalists, bought the apartment eight years ago. They had planned to knock down the wall of a room to create an open area, but Cadili soon realized that the plaster was damp.

“There was a leak inside of a wall. Cleaning it up a bit I realized that there was Arabic writing on it,” he said, noting the script was in gold and silver painted on blue background. “I would never have imagined that the writing covered all four walls”. Experts say the mosque was built inside a private dwelling, the first discovery of its kind in Sicily. It was at that point that the amazed owners decided to have it examined. Gaetano Basile, an expert in Palermo history, told them the inscriptions were artisan versions of a decorative calligraphy widespread in the 1700s. Most of it is purely decorative, Basile told Salvatore Ferro of the daily Il Giornale di Sicilia. “This is a well-known part of our culture, marked by the invention of ‘rabbisco’, an entirely Sicilian legacy of arabesque design,” he said. “The Sicilian artisan, who did not know Arabic, mistook calligraphic verses for decoration, and emulated them.” It is likely that the house belonged to a North African nobleman or merchant who had made his home in Palermo around the later 1700s,” he added, noting that a large Muslim community lived in the Sicilian capital at the time. “The owner basically had a mosque built in his house. There are clear indications of this.”

“First of all, it faces east, the walls are of an identical size – 3.5 by 3.5 meters, it has doors located in such a way as to prevent the placement of furniture, and the ceiling has a repeating lamp pattern”. The owners intend to preserve the space as is. “We wanted to give the proper weight to this discovery and convey our love for the historic center,” Cadili said. “Too often things from our past are destroyed instead of bringing them back to life.” This room also transmits an extraordinary feeling of serenity. “This is why we decided to keep it as we found it: we put in a sofa and a desk and, out of respect for the Muslim culture, we do not serve alcoholic beverages in this room.”