Abruzzo’s Muslims mobilize to help earthquake victims

The Muslim community in the central Italian region of Abruzzo is mobilizing to help the victims and those injured in the quake by donating blood at local hospitals. “We heard that hospitals needed blood and thus I am coordinating with the Muslims in the area so they can donate it, and I ask all Muslims of the area to help the victims in any way necessary,” said Mustafa Badstami, spokesman of Abruzzo’s small Muslim community.

Badstami added that while the mosque in nearby San Nicolo was not damaged, he is trying to find out if there were any Muslim casualties in other areas affected by Monday’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake. Badstami has also joined relief efforts to help victims and continue the search for survivors.

English law reigns supreme over sharia, says Straw

The Lord Chancellor confirms that sharia ‘courts’ will remain subservient to common law. There is ‘no room for parallel legal systems’ and the law has not changed, he says: Earlier this week, I said here that the Lord Chancellor should deliver a major speech addressing people’s fears about Islamic law in Britain. Never let it be thought that this writer is without influence in high places. Yesterday Jack Straw did just that, addressing the Islamic Finance and Trade Conference in London. This, in full, is what he said on the subject of sharia: “As a Government, it has always been our aim to extend opportunity and prosperity to all – to all parts of the country and to all different communities. This is not about preferential treatment. It is about fairness. This is not about political correctness. It is about respect. “Whether it is employers with prayer rooms; faith schools; kosher and halal food in work places and public services like hospitals; laws to tackle hate crimes; or the provision of financial products that fit with religious beliefs – we have worked to provide a space in which the rights and diversity of people of all faiths are protected, whilst at the same time setting a clear framework of acceptable behaviour for all citizens. “This is the thinking which underpins our approach to sharia law. Of course those who live in this country will always be governed by English law and will be subject to the jurisdiction of English courts. “But there has been much speculation over sharia law in recent weeks, so it may be worth me setting out the true position. “Many dreadful things have been done in the name of mainstream religions. Barbaric practices such as stoning have been – quite wrongly – justified by reference to Islam, for instance. The same was true in earlier periods, for instance when the state apparatus was used to run Inquisitions in countries like Spain. Joshua Rozenberg reports.

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Muslims refuse male gynaecologists

BRUSSELS – More and more Muslims are refusing to allow a male gynaecologist to attend at their wives’ deliveries, says the head of gynaecology at the Brussels University Hospital VUB and the Ghent University Hospital. Various newspapers have reported on the problem. The Flemish Association of Gynaecologists are urging for a strict, uniform policy in all hospitals. The phenomenon is common particularly in cities with a large immigrant population. The Flemish Association for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (VVOG) acknowledges the problem and urges a strict attitude. “In my own hospital every patient that absolutely insists on a woman doctor is discharged from the hospital immediately,” explains Johan Van Wiemeersch at the Sint-Augustinus in Wilrijk. “As an association of gynaecologists we are urging that these same strict regulations be in place in all maternity wards.”