1000 cab drivers in caricature demonstration

Last week Dagbladet published one of the infamous Muhammad caricatures – this one showing the prophet as a pig – as an illustration to an article on the caricature being used on the secret police’s Facebook page. The publication (shortly after Aftenpostens re-publication of the caricatures) has meet with massive protests and demonstrations in Norway.

Saturday and Monday nights, approximately 1000 cab drivers of Muslim cultural background parked their cars in Oslo in a silent protest against the re-publication.

Norwegian police, as well as representatives of Islamic Council Norway (IRN) and Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) in Oslo is expressing worries about a planned demonstration Friday. The demonstration is being organized on Facebook by Arfan Bhatti, who in 2008 was convicted for an attack on the synagogue in Oslo.

Shoaib Sultan of IRN, just as imam Mehboob ur-Rehman (ICC), advice against the demonstration. Both express worries that it easily could degenerate into a violent protest which would do (even more) damage to the general opinion of Muslims in Norway.

There are currently reports of about 3000 persons joining a supposedly calm demonstration in Oslo.

The President of the ICC asks the Government to regulate the election and the payment of the Imams

Amparo S_nchez, the President of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Valencia has asked the Spanish Government to study in a regular basis the election and economical sustainability of the Imams of the Mosques with the objective of securing that these people have at least received an Islamic Theological education. According to the first female president of a Spanish Islamic organization, the Government should also pay a salary to the imam as he is a professional.

Report urges recognition of British Muslim diversity

The diversity of Britain’s Muslim population must be recognised and more done to engage overlooked groups in order to tackle extremism, gang culture and community tensions, a report said today. Researchers spoke to more than 4,000 members of Muslim communities and those engaged with local groups, for the report by the Institute of Community Cohesion (ICC). Britain has “probably the most diverse Muslim community in the world” with at least 15 large ethno-national Muslim communities, the report found. However councils and government too often relied on the “usual suspects” – often Muslims from the Pakistani community – when wanting Muslim opinion. That meant other groups were misrepresented and stoked resentment. Pressure on Muslim communities to distance themselves from extremism had also increased tensions between Muslim groups. “We came across many Muslims of various affiliations in positions of influence identifying other Muslims as extremist or militant. Whilst these accusations were not always unfounded, in most cases the sentiments were due to ignorance, prejudice and antagonism,” ICC local studies found. Outside pressures also increased tensions. Researchers found the US invasion of Somalia encouraged young men from one Somali community to travel to the country to fight. With a clear nod to Iraq the ICC report said predicting the impact of international events on communities in Britain was crucial and needed national co-ordination.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=0F72DF0491032253413233F7&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Muslim Writers Awards recognise Britain’s literary talent

The annual Muslim Writers Awards will recognise the breadth and quality of literary talent within the UK’s Muslim community tomorrow at the ICC in Birmingham. The Awards have already attracted support from the Prime Minister, local government and celebrity advocates like Jermaine Jackson and James Caan (Dragon’s Den). The ceremony will be broadcast live to millions of viewers across the UK, Europe and the Middle East by Islam Channel. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has pledged his support for the awards, stating: “This is a wonderful opportunity to bring excellent writing by Muslim writers to new audiences, and increase the mutual understanding of the people of Britain. Through literature we can learn about disparate cultures and widen our perspectives of the world. I would like to congratulate all of the participating writers and the winners of this year’s awards.” The Muslim Writers Awards initiative is now in its second year, and is organised by Innovate Arts – a non-profit body. MWA 2008 will recognize the work of 26 writers across eight categories, with the prestigious “Writer of the Year” awards being presented by Jermaine Jackson at the glittering Awards gala.http://www.themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=E093CE770C98BFA4A0853E30&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News