World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily freezing immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries would affect only about 12% of the world’s Muslims, according to estimates from a 2015 Pew Research Center Report on the current and projected size of religious groups. In fact, of the seven countries named in the new immigration ban – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – only one, Iran, is among the ten countries with the largest Muslim populations.

As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. And although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center analysis. In fact, more Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million).

Sadiq Khan: ‘If you’re the only one fasting at Ramadan, you do stand out’

Sadiq Khan  was appointed to the Privy Council and first asked to attend cabinet meetings in June 2009, Labour’s MP for Tooting became the first Asian and first Muslim to do so. He is quoted as saying the following on the lack of diversity in government “You can get obsessed by it and people do. Just by virtue of the fact that mass immigration only happened 30/40 years ago, there are going to be lots of first-ofs” – but the lack of diversity, not just ethnically, but “the shortage of women and of people from different backgrounds” makes it hard not to feel some sense of isolation. “When you first get to No 10 and everyone else around the cabinet table is white … If during Ramadan I’m fasting, people get it, but when you’re the only one, you do sort of stand out.”

The report continues and states that balancing his faith and his role as an MP, has not always been easy. Last month, he was the subject of a fatwa calling for his death after he voted in favour of same-sex marriage. In response Khan stated that “What all minorities need to recognise is today in a pluralistic society it’s not just a question of tolerating others, you’ve got to respect others. I challenge anybody to find another country in the world which is more progressive or has laws that protect minorities more than this country. I speak to my cousins in Pakistan or India and they make the point that because [my family] aren’t well off and don’t have contacts in those countries, notwithstanding the fact that there is a Muslim majority in Pakistan, they couldn’t dream of being in the cabinet or doing the stuff that I’ve done here, and I’m a minority in the UK both religiously and ethnically and in all sorts of ways.”

Chicago man convicted of supporting terrorist group that attacked India sentenced to 14 years

CHICAGO — A Chicago businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.

Tahawwur Rana did not address the court before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber imposed the sentence and did not react afterward. But his defense attorneys said the judge was right to reject prosecutors’ arguments that Rana deserved a stiffer sentence because the charges were related to terrorism.

Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of providing support for the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam.

But jurors cleared Rana of the third and most serious charge of involvement in the three-day rampage in Mumbai, India’s largest city, which has often been called India’s 9/11.

The judge also rejected the government’s argument that the plot against the Danish newspaper was meant as a broader attack against the Danish government, amounting to an act of terrorism that should mean a harsher sentence. Leinenweber said it seemed clear the plot was solely targeting an independent newspaper on private property, and was likely intended to intimidate other media outlets that might defame Islam or its prophet.

The defense attorney, Blegen, also noted that there was no shortage of government targets in Copenhagen if they had wanted to strike at Denmark’s leaders.

He argued for a more lenient sentence for the 52-year-old Rana that would take into account his poor health and the emotional impact of his separation from his wife and children. He said the Pakistani-born Canadian citizen had suffered a heart attack while in the federal lockup. He also argued that Rana did not present a future risk.

Suspect in death of man shoved in front of NYC subway train once arrested for random assault

NEW YORK — The family of a woman accused of shoving a man to his death in front of a subway train called police several times in the past five years because she had not been taking prescribed medication and was difficult to deal with, authorities said Monday.

 

Erika Menendez, 31, was being held without bail on a murder charge in the death of Sunando Sen. She told police she pushed the 46-year-old India native because she thought he was Muslim, and she hates them, according to prosecutors.

 

They had never met before she suddenly shoved him off the subway platform because she “thought it would be cool,” prosecutors said. The victim was Hindu, not Muslim.

It wasn’t clear whether Menendez had a diagnosed mental condition. But her previous arrests and legal troubles paint a portrait of a troubled woman.

 

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly would not say what medication she was taking or whether she had a psychiatric history. Authorities were called to her home five times since 2005 on reports of an emotionally disturbed person.

 

In one instance, police said, she threw a radio at the responding officers.

Menendez was spotted by a passer-by who called 911 and said she resembled the wanted suspect. When she was arrested, she told police she shoved Sen because she blamed Muslims and Hindus for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and had been “beating them up” ever since, according to authorities. She said she thought Sen was Muslim.

 

Islam in Bosnia: ”We belong to the West, culturally and mentally”

Bosnia is entering a new phase in its history: the post-war era is over; communities and mosques have been rebuilt. But where are Bosnian Muslims heading in these turbulent times? Charlotte Wiedemann spoke to Ahmet Alibašić, lecturer at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo

In what direction are Muslims intellectuals of your generation looking?

Ahmet Alibašić: We’re not looking in any particular direction. Because we were cut off from the Muslim world for several decades, during the Yugoslavian Empire and the Communist period, we have learned to be self-reliant. We have developed our own education system and produced a certain Islamic approach to learning. We were forced to rely on ourselves; we are used to independence. And we are very pluralist.

The lecturers of this faculty come from a huge variety of universities: Chicago, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Turkey, Kosovo, India. You won’t find such diversity at any other university in the Muslim world. We have modernists here, traditionalists and reformists.

And where are modernists such as yourself looking?

Alibašić: Bosnian modernists are looking more to Muslim scholars who teach at western universities or who used to teach, for example Fazlur Rahman, Abdolkarim Sorush or Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid.

Sarajevo seems to be a market place for all possible strands of Islam. You have just compiled a bibliography of all the works that have been translated into Bosnian. Who is paying for all this?

The history of mosques in Germany

June 27

 

In an article published by Die Zeit, the political scientist Claus Leggewie writes about Islamic architecture in Germany. The first mosques were built in Germany in the 18th century. In conformity with the idea of religious tolerance, the Prussian King Frederic William IV allowed the construction of the first minaret in Prussia. This gesture actually had a symbolic value: the mosque was built by the Ahmadyya community, who at the time was persecuted as heretic in Pakistan and India.

 

Leggewie shows how architecture styles, the composition of immigrant population and the attitude of German society have changed over the decades. Today, mosques in Berlin or Duisburg-Marxloh represent places of intercultural dialogue, and are capable to reduce mistrust between the religious community and the local neighborhood.

Indian Embassy in Paris fully alert to security after news of planned attack

News Agencies – May 18, 2012

With reports of a terror attack plot being unearthed against its Embassy in Paris, India said the mission has been “fully alert” to security issues and was in touch with relevant French authorities in this regard. According to a media report, 23-year-old Algerian origin terrorist Mohamed Merah was found to have been plotting to attack the Indian Embassy in Paris on the direction of his Taliban handlers in Pakistan. Merah was was shot dead by French special forces two months ago.

 

Merah was killed after police and special forces laid an almost 32-hour siege of his apartment in Toulouse, after his armed attacks on a Jewish school and killing of army personnel outside their barracks on March 15.

Interpreting Shariah Law Across The Centuries

Sadakat Kadri is an English barrister, a Muslim by birth and a historian. His first book, The Trial, was an extensive survey of the Western criminal judicial system, detailing more than 4,000 years of courtroom antics.

In his new book, Heaven on Earth, Kadri turns his sights east, to centuries of Shariah law. The first parts of his book describe how early Islamic scholars codified — and then modified — the code that would govern how people lead their daily lives. Kadri then turns to the modern day, reflecting on the lawmakers who are trying to prohibit Shariah law in a dozen states, as well as his encounters with scholars and imams in India, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and Iran — the very people who strictly interpret the religious and moral code of Islam today. And some of those modern interpretations, he says, are much more rigid — and much more draconian — than the code set forth during the early years of Islamic law.

Islamic law is shaped by hadiths, or reports about what Prophet Muhammad said and did. The hadiths, says Kadri, govern how Muslims should pray, treat criminals and create medications, among other things.

Between Black and Immigrant Muslims, an Uneasy Alliance

Under the glistening dome of a mosque on Long Island, hundreds of men sat cross-legged on the floor. Many were doctors and engineers born in Pakistan and India. Dressed in khakis, polo shirts and the odd silk tunic, they fidgeted and whispered.

One thing stood between them and dinner: A visitor from Harlem was coming to ask for money.

A towering black man with a gray-flecked beard finally swept into the room, his bodyguard trailing him. Wearing a long, embroidered robe and matching hat, he took the microphone and began talking about a different group of Muslims, the thousands of African-Americans who have found Islam in prison.

“We are all brothers and sisters,” said the visitor, known as Imam Talib.

One thing stood between them and dinner: A visitor from Harlem was coming to ask for money.
A towering black man with a gray-flecked beard finally swept into the room, his bodyguard trailing him. Wearing a long, embroidered robe and matching hat, he took the microphone and began talking about a different group of Muslims, the thousands of African-Americans who have found Islam in prison.

“We are all brothers and sisters,” said the visitor, known as Imam Talib.

Doubt Cast on Threat That Deterred Rushdie

JAIPUR, India — At an old Mughal palace accommodating what organizers called “the greatest literary show on earth,” the headliners on Sunday included Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Tom Stoppard. But the absence of another star, Salman Rushdie, continued to overshadow the event.

A free-speech controversy has raged at the event, the Jaipur Literature Festival, since Friday, when Mr. Rushdie said he would not attend because the law enforcement authorities had warned of a threat against his life by “paid assassins.” But the story took a twist over the weekend: Was there really a threat?

On Sunday, several Indian news media outlets suggested there was not, and quoted police sources whom they did not name saying so. In a Twitter message, Mr. Rushdie pointed to a front-page article in The Hindu, an English-language Indian newspaper, which contended that the assassination plot was invented by the police in Rajasthan, the state where the festival is being held, to discourage the author from attending. “I’ve investigated and believe that I was indeed lied to,” Mr. Rushdie wrote. “I am outraged and very angry.”