‘Halal Homes’ Discussion n the Netherlands

25 November 2012
Dutch newspaper Parool last week covered designs for Amsterdam apartments by the  Eigen Hard housing corporation which accommodate the needs of some Muslim families. The apartments feature cupboards for shoe storage, additional water taps for ritual cleansing, and dividing doors around the kitchen.
The paper described the apartments as ‘halal homes’, but the housing company stressed that the designs could be suitable for many occupants, also suiting the needs of students and those with a physical handicap.
Home affairs minister Robert Plastkerk commented in response that he has no Robles with housing corporations taking the wishes of Muslim tenants into account during renovations.

The location of a mosque affects local politics in Portugalete

15 August 2012

The possibility that a mosque will open its doors in an inhabited house in Portugalete has shaken the daily life of the local City Hall. The Mayor, the Socialist Mikel Torres, yesterday accused the Popular Party of “lying” and generate “social alarm” by reporting  that “many residents will find themselves arriving from their holidays to see such a Mosque located under their homes. ”
Unlike Bilbao or Basauri, where government teams plan to ban Mosques in housing buildings, Torres does not believe this to be necessary. In his opinion, Portugalete lives a different situation. “Here we do not have 118 centers of worship coming from  eight different religious denominations like in Bilbao.

Torrejon, Spain: Divided by a Mosque

01 July 2012

The Islamic community in Torrejon, with about 200 members, has been installed for more than a decade in a central garage two blocks away from the Plaza Mayor. They have purchased land and they have the architectural plans for the facade of its new building composed of two floors and a small minaret. But the new mosque of An Nur (The Light), is not welcome.
The neighbors (who have collected over 2,000 signatures, according to the City Council) say it is not racism, but a question of space. The story follows a common pattern. “The problem is to fit places of worship of minorities, such as Islam, in areas where they are already present,” says Jordi Moreras, member of the Research Center for Risk Governance at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Moreras, a mediator in conflicts recommends priority to the “legal dimension” of the case against “unfounded rumors and fear of the neighbors of having to down the price of their homes or to be involved in violence.” He asked for an effort by the municipal officials of Torrejon, “Managing the coexistence sometimes entails to be contrary to what you have voted for.”

Sharia-compliant mortgage lender in receivership

The Toronto Star – October 18, 2011

UM Financial Inc., a Toronto-based firm that offered sharia-compliant mortgages to Muslims, has gone into receivership leaving more than 173 people fearful they may lose their homes. UM Financial was one of the first companies in Canada to offer so-called Islamic financing to Muslims who believe that sharia, or Islamic law, prohibitions against usury include interest on things such as mortgages. UM would buy a property then lease it to a client so they were paying rent instead of interest. Some homeowners complained that the firm would also charge extra fees. The company had $50 million in financial backing from Central 1 Credit Union of which almost $29 million is outstanding.

Picnic showcases mainstream Islam in Northern Virginia

One day after al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, Northern Virginia Muslims he once worshiped alongside gathered for an event that was both a community gathering and an effort to portray a version of Islam much different from the one he espoused.

The timing of Saturday’s annual Civic Picnic of the All Dulles Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, which attracted about 200 people, was purely coincidental. But in recent years, it has become an important component of the community’s outreach efforts.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, taught many American Muslims that they needed to become more engaged with their communities, said Wasim Entabi of Alexandria.

As Awlaki, once an imam at Falls Church’s Dar al-Hijrah mosque, rose to prominence in al-Qaeda, the picnic — which started in 2000 — became a kind of showcase for moderate, mainstream Islam in the Washington area. It attracts hundreds of Muslims, politicians and people of other faiths each year.

The society presented a $10,000 donation, raised by its members, for the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund to a representative of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) on Saturday. The money was intended for Virginians whose homes were damaged in this year’s flooding.

Belgium’s full-face veil ban comes into effect

News agencies – July 23, 2011


A law has come into force in Belgium banning women from wearing the full Islamic veil in public. The country is the second European Union nation after France to enforce such a ban. Offenders face a fine of 137.5 euros (£121; $197) and up to seven days in jail.

Two women who wear full veils launched an immediate court challenge, saying the law is discriminatory. Belgium’s law bans any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in places like parks and on the street. It was passed almost unanimously by the lower house of parliament in April 2010. MPs voted with only two abstentions to back the legislation on the grounds of security, to allow police to identify people. Other MPs said that full face veils such as the burka or the niqab were a symbol of the oppression of women.

Very few Muslim women actually wear full veils in France and Belgium, but critics of the law say it could end up excluding women, leaving those who do wear the full veil trapped in their homes. And they say the measures are over the top – estimates suggest only a few dozen women wear this kind of veil in Belgium, out of a Muslim population of about half a million.

Home for the Aged to be Founded for German Muslim Retirees

8 April 2011

German Muslims are planning a new charity fund in order to establish Islamic homes for the aged and kindergartens, the Islamische Zeitung reports. Chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said the initiative would reflect the reality in German society, and it was a necessary step for Muslims. The same rights and duties as for Christian charities would apply.

According to Deutsch Türkische Nachrichten, Muslim elderly have different needs than non-Muslims. A pilot project in Offenbach near Frankfurt has therefore started an apprenticeship programme, training young men of migration background to become carers for the elderly. The programme focuses on culturally sensitive issues, language and customs, something that become especially important with people suffering from dementia. Apart from working at homes for the aged, graduates of the programme could also be employed in new projects like shared housing for intercultural groups.

US Muslims seek to reconcile Islamic, Western law on adoption to find homes for orphans

Refugee children from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are being resettled here. Muslim couples who can’t conceive want to adopt but don’t want to violate their faith’s teachings. State child welfare agencies that permanently remove Muslim children from troubled homes usually can’t find Muslim families to adopt them because of the restrictions in Islamic law.

The prohibition against adoption would appear contrary to the Quran’s heavy emphasis on helping orphans. The Prophet Muhammad’s father died before his son was born, so the boy’s grandfather and uncle served as his guardians, setting an example for all Muslims to follow.

However, Islamic scholars say the restrictions were actually meant to protect children, by ending abuses in pre-Islamic Arabic tribal society. Advocates for a new interpretation of Islamic law are more hopeful, at least about the prospect for a different approach to the issue in the United States. Mattson argues that the flexibility in Islamic law for accommodating local cultures and customs can lead to a solution.

Muslim nursing homes expected in Denmark within four years

The umbrella organization ‘The Muslim Council of Denmark’ wishes to establish nursing homes for elderly Muslims. The nursing homes will serve food prepared according to Muslim practices and holidays such as Ramadan and Eid will be celebrated. The council hopes to open the first nursing home for Muslims within two to four years. A Jewish nursing home already exists in Denmark. However, several politicians are skeptical towards the plans of Muslim nursing home but the responsible minister, minister for Social Affairs Benedikte Kiær, says there is no hindrance to establish a Muslim nursing: “The law about free nursing homes is created to make it possible to create nursing homes with specific values” she says.