Abu Qatada will be able to preach while incarcerated, prison officials said at the Muwaqqar facility where the firebrand preacher is currently being held. Inmates are referred to as guests, “like we’re talking about a hotel where we provide them with services,” say staff at Jordan’s smartest prison, the Muwaqqar Rehabilitation and Correctional Center. “It is better for him here than in Britain” said Abd al Hamid Gamil AlKafawin, one of the prison officials. “Here he is treated just like any other guest, and has no restrictions imposed on him.” He is also allowed visits by his family three times a week; on Tuesday his mother and 8 of his siblings visited Abu Qatada, though they could only communicate by telephone from behind a glass screen.
Contrary to initial reports that he would be kept in solitary confinement, Abu Qatada is sharing a cell with 15 inmates. His cell, furnished by 12 bunk beds lining the walls, can accommodate up to 26. Many of the 950 inmates, including his current cellmates, are doing time for the same crime Abu Qatada is charged with; crimes against state security. If sentenced, Abu Qatada would remain here and be able to teach inmates, say prison officials. Although the position of sheikh is currently filled, the Salafist preacher is bound to find a keen following. Such a position would be paid; teaching is but one of several occupations available to inmates. Others include carpentry and agriculture.
The Adaleh Center for Human Rights, which the British government has appointed to oversee his wellbeing, visited the facility twice last year.
The swelling crowd, ranging in age from 21 to 50-something, meant the evening of speed dating and socializing known as the Matrimonial Banquet was about to begin. Kadir, 35, was sitting on a bench outside a ballroom at the Renaissance Washington hotel, surrounded by several hundred single Muslim men and women.
The banquet has been part of the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in some form or another for more than two decades, said the group’s matrimonial assistant, Tabasum Ahmad. But in recent years, the demand for such banquets has increased, and the society plans to hold them more frequently. More Muslims are embracing them as an acceptable alternative to arranged marriages and the vagaries of 21st-century, American-style dating. Online matchmaking is also popular, but some prefer to meet in person. Saturday night’s banquet was sold out, as was a second one scheduled for Sunday.
The ACLU is representing a Muslim woman who says she was harassed and told she could not wear her head scarf as a hostess at a Disney hotel cafe in Anaheim.
A former Disney employee is expected to announce Monday a federal lawsuit against the entertainment giant, saying she was harassed and unfairly removed from her hostess job after refusing to remove her head scarf while at work.
Imane Boudlal, who is Muslim, said she had worked at Storyteller’s Cafe in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim for two years when she began wearing her hijab to work in August 2010. Boudlal said she was told wearing her scarf was a violation of company policy, and she would either have to remove it, cover it with a hat or take a job working out of public sight.
Boudlal, now 28, refused. She has not worked at Disney since Aug. 21, 2010, said Mark Rosenbaum, an attorney from the ACLU of Southern California who is representing Boudlal.
News Agencies – January 23, 2012
A month after Canada banned Muslim women from covering their faces during citizenship ceremonies, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the policy has won widespread support. Speaking at a Muslim Canadian Congress event honouring his “courageous decision,” Mr. Kenney said polling shows that eight out of 10 Canadians agreed with the decision while only 14% were opposed. He said he would not act on suggestions to hold separate citizenship ceremonies for Muslim women who cover their faces in public.
The minister characterized the new rule as part of a broader strategy to strengthen the value of citizenship in Canada, which he said has the highest rate of naturalization of any country in the developed world. While the audience gathered at a Toronto hotel spoke mostly in support of the niqab ban, one woman said she was “extremely offended” by the comments she had heard. “If somebody believes in it [the niqab] then it’s their right to practise it,” said Fatema Dada of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/29/11) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today termed “unprecedented” a claim by a Washington, D.C., hotel that it had the right to discriminate against a Muslim employee because of a “national security exemption.”
In a motion filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel said the Muslim employee’s discrimination lawsuit should be rejected by the court because the hotel “was following a mandate from the federal government regarding a matter of national security.”
The hotel’s motion blames its discriminatory actions on security requirements allegedly imposed by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS).
“It is chilling to see the Mandarin Hotel — a private company — claim that national security concerns shield its discriminatory conduct from the law,” said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas. “We are confident the court will reject this unprecedented claim.”
Abbas said CAIR’s suit on behalf of the Muslim employee alleged that in December 2010, the American citizen of Moroccan heritage was forbidden to go to the 8th or 9th floors of the hotel because an Israeli delegation was staying there.
The Toronto Star – October 14, 2011
The Sheraton Centre hotel will not host a Muslim religious conference that was to feature speakers who have expressed anti-gay and anti-Semitic views. The Star informed a Sheraton convention services manager about the speakers. A hotel spokesperson then said it had been “cancelled due to the organization’s failure to satisfy a contractual requirement.”
The conference, which had been scheduled for Oct. 23, was organized by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA), a British organization seeking to establish a Canadian presence. “The aim of the upcoming conference, far from promoting hatred, will focus on getting Muslims to pro-actively engage with the wider society by sharing the true essence of the Islamic faith in both word and deed,” the IERA said. Jewish and gay organizations had criticized the IERA for inviting four speakers who had disparaged gays, Jews and Christians.
Daily Mail: April 4, 2011
Women wearing burkas in France will face fines – but the areas around mosques will be exempt
Police in France have been warned not to arrest any women wearing Muslim veils ‘in or around’ mosques. The strict instructions, from Interior Minister Claude Guent, are contained in a nine page circular issued to officers prior to a full-blown burka ban coming into force next week.
With tensions running high within the country’s six million strong Muslim community, people have already been warned not to perform ‘citizen’s de-veilings’.
This means that members of the public will not be allowed to take the law into their own hands when they see a woman hiding her features in a public place.
Instead they will have to call the police, who will in turn consider whether the offender should be fined 150 euros. This will apply to all garments which cover the eyes, although scarves, hats, and sunglasses are excluded.
As well as a mosque, Muslims will also be able to put on a veil in the privacy of their own homes, a hotel room, or even a car, as long as they are not driving.
The new ban, which came into effect on April 11, will mean France is officially the second country in Europe, after Belgium, to introduce a full ban on a garment which immigration minister Eric Besson has called a ‘walking coffin.’
Muslim employees of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington said they felt discriminated against after being barred over the weekend from floors where an Israeli delegation was staying, a Muslim advocacy group said.
The hotel’s general manager, Amanda Hyndman, said the hotel rearranged some shifts and told some workers not to come in after a routine State Department background check found “irregularities” in the checks of 12 employees.
An official at the Israeli Embassy said that “as a policy, the embassy does not discuss the logistical arrangements for visiting Israeli officials.”
November 11-15, 2010
Langenthal, a town in Oberaargau known for design, porcelain, and reflecting average German-Swiss tastes and opinions, continues to make headlines due to a local minaret project. Though occurring one year following the banning of minarets in Switzerland by national referendum, the minaret project had already received approval from city officials before the referendum, and thus has been permitted.
This is being contested by the “Stop Minaret” action committee, which is taking the decision to court and recently has attempted to erect a monument in the city to commemorate the persecution of non-Muslims in Islamic countries. The monument, which is supposed to be placed in the middle of a traffic circle, has been rejected by the local council.
Thomas Rufener, the mayor of Langenthal, is a member of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), though he criticizes the way political parties and the media have exploited the issue to gain attention and serve other agendas. The local Muslims find the situation paradoxical as the majority of them are Macedonian Albanians, and they had arrived in Switzerland precisely because they could not live freely as Muslims in the former Yugoslavia.
Nonetheless, business continues as usual for those who come to deal with the local Langenthal companies. A foreign employee of a local hotel mentions that those in Langenthal on business rarely notice the protests as they take place on the weekends, while Swiss visitors are simply used to them.
Leaders of local and national groups gathered at the site of the planned center, two blocks from ground zero, and declared not only that the planners had a constitutional right to build it, but also that they would help the project move forward in the face of heated opposition. They insisted that, as a matter of principle, the center should not budge from its planned site.
The Muslim leaders called on elected officials “to join their colleagues in denouncing and rejecting inflammatory rhetoric that endangers the lives of Muslim Americans.”
The proposed Islamic community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan got its strongest vote of confidence yet from major Muslim leaders on Monday, after months of behind-the-scenes grumbling that they were not properly consulted on the project, and a day’s worth of intense and painful conversations at a hotel near Kennedy International Airport.