In the coming years a new Dutch think-tank called Knowledge Platform Integration & Society (Kennisplatform Integratie & Samenleving) will develop a new program pertaining to integration issues in the Netherlands. It will stimulate and facilitate current debates and present concrete solutions for inquiries by governments, business world, and societal organizations. The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment will finance the program that will be executed by the Verwey-Jonker Institute and Movisie. In the past similar projects were executed by Forum, a knowledge institute for multicultural issues, that ceased to exist last year.
Ireland’s Islamic community is to spearhead the fightback against radical fundamentalism after a top Imam admitted there has been a surge in Islamophobia nationwide in the wake of recent terror attacks.
Shaykh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri launched a website for Irish Muslims aimed at helping youngsters to avoid radicalisation and to allow those concerned about so-called ‘Jihad messages’ from radical preachers at Irish mosques to raise the alarm.
The website – www.jihad.info – was launched at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) where Dr Al-Qadri warned that Irish people needed to realise that Islam was a religion of peace and tolerance and not violence. He admitted it was a particularly difficult time for Irish Muslims who were fast becoming a target of hate attacks.
“People feel very isolated and very worried,” he told the Irish Independent.
“The members of the Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies, French citizens of Muslim faith, express their horror and indignation following the abominable attack against the journalists at Charlie Hebdo, which caused many deaths and injuries. They express their compassion for the victims, and address their most sincerest condolences to the families affected. They wholly and unequivocally condemn this barbaric violence.
While everything suggests, unfortunately, that those responsible for the killings claim to act in the name of Islam, the members of IHEI wish to reaffirm that no crime can legitimately claim faith in God alone. This is intolerance, ignorance and violence that use Islam, as well as other religions, as a means for personal vengeance against society, or for combat between imagined and constructed identities, both being very far removed from the faith. With all that has occurred, French and European Muslims are trying to understand how such exploitation has become possible by doing all they can to promote comprehension of Islam as a religion of understanding and love.
In conclusion, the members of the IHEI are worried by the current climate where violence committed in the name of Islam justifies all misinterpretations of the religion. They call on their fellow citizens to break from this vicious cycle where the fear of some feeds on the fear of others. The members of the IHEI wish to reaffirm their participation in national solidarity during this mourning period. They will continue without respite, as they have done for years, to weave links between people and cultures that allows us to live together in harmony, despite our differences, in a peaceful and constructive manner, and with respect for the laws of the Republic.”
Islamic Institute for Advanced Studies
The French and British greatly overestimated the number of Muslims in their countries, according to a study by the Ipsos Mori Institute, which found similar results in many European countries. The Institute published its “Index of Ignorance,” a survey conducted in 14 countries about the public’s perception concerning sensitive issues.
The survey’s results were first published in The Guardian, and shows that citizens in 14 countries overestimated the size of their countries’ Muslim population.
In France, those interviewed believed that 31% of the population was Muslim, while the actual figure is only 8%. In Britain, the actual percentage is 5% but those interviewed believed 21% of the country was Muslim. The overvaluation is “23 points in Belgium, 16 points in Italy, 13 points in Germany and 4 points in Poland.”
Switzerland is not included in the survey. The study also demonstrated erroneous beliefs about “immigration in general,” and adolescent pregnancy.
A new documentary trains a critical eye on the mosque in America. Unmosqued trains a critical eye on the future of the mosque in America. Based on research compiled by Dr. Ihsan Baghby at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Unmosqued, is a look into the dynamic and future of the American mosque.
More information on the film and the research that led to the creation of the film can be found here.
January 29, 2014
The Turkish Islamic Union Institute for Islamic religion (DITIB) regretted the comments of the Catholic Cardinal Meisner defining them “confusing”. None of the holy texts would categorize human beings, as all are created equal, stated DITIB. Citing a religious text, Meisner had excerpted one part of the text, commenting “one family of yours replaces three Muslim families to me”.
January 13, 2014
By Alessandra Coppola
The Austrian education system allows for teachers to teach Islamic religion in public schools. Another pilot-project is in Assia, Germany and was reported in the “New York Times.” The article in the Times called for similar programs across Europe – Islam in schools is already practiced and disseminated on a national scale and it is at the gates of Italy.
THE AUSTRIAN MODEL – Ayşegül Dinckan – Yilmaz, 31, of Turkish origin, is a member and head of IRPA (in English MTTC – Muslim Teachers Training College). The Institute gives a regular degree in Education, explains Ayşegül, but also gives accreditation by the Islamic Council of Austria, a body officially recognized by Vienna. To clarify: the teachers are paid by the Ministry of Education. Courses are taught in Islamic theology, pedagogy, teaching and law. “During the practicum our students begin to work with children of different ethnic origins. The teaching students have various backgrounds, many are from Turkey, but also from the Balkans and the Arab world.” 500 are already in the classroom, distributed to the classrooms of 50,000 Muslim students in the country: “more and more students enroll in these courses. The children are given the opportunity to learn their religion by specialists in German language and can use this knowledge to talk about Islam in German with their neighbors.” The program emphasizes interfaith dialogue: “We have several collaborations including exchanges of teachers, for example with the Institute of Training of the Christian churches in Vienna.”
THE SITUATION IN ITALY – is this imaginable in Italy? Is it a model that can be imported? Professor Paolo Branca, a scholar of Islam at the Catholic University of Milan, and among the most famous in Italy, explains that the school population is no longer homogeneous; there is a diversity of Muslims. “The reality is already moving in this direction alone.”
THE RISK of extremism. The thrust of the project in Frankfurt is also born from the fear of marginalization and subsequent radicalization of young Muslims. The case of a Turkish terrorist cell in Germany in 2007 raised an alarm on Salafi proselytism, the most recent reports of volunteers leaving Germany to join the jihad in Syria. There are no events far from Italy, and scholars warn that with the growth of Islam, Italy must not abandon the religion, marginalizing it and leaving it to extremist preachers.
THE HOUR OF ” RELIGION ” – The question then concerns the overall approach of the Italian Catholic community. As for the schools, since it is still being debated Branca suggested not to divide the students into religious traditions – the Christians on the one hand and the Muslim on the other, “it would be a step backwards” – instead Branca urges Italian officials to consider a course of study that holds together all Italians, of all faiths.
Corriere della Sera: http://www.corriere.it/scuola/14_gennaio_09/islam-scuola-austria-germania-lezioni-corano-classe-e19414a8-791e-11e3-a2d4-bf73e88c1718.shtml
December 9, 2013
On International Human Rights Day, December 10th 2013, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) have released a major new report into the growing problem of online hate targeting the Muslim community.
The report examines anti-Muslim hate on Facebook and was produced by the Online Hate Prevention Institute, Australia’s only charity entirely dedicated to the growing problem of online hate.
This major work examines 50 anti-Muslim Facebook pages. The Facebook pages range from “The Islamic threat” which today passed the 113,000 supporter mark and continues to rapidly grow, to “Mohammad the PIG” which vanished after reaching 2000 supporters. From these 50 pages the report documents 349 images of anti-Muslim hate. These images represent 191 unique images and many repetitions as messages of hate move between the different pages. The message of hate in this report are divided into seven themes which the report discusses.
Full report at ohpi.org.au – http://ohpi.org.au/islamophobia-on-the-internet-the-growth-of-online-hate-targeting-muslims/
Jocelyne Cesari, Religion and Diasporas: Challenges of the Emigration Countries, INTERACT RR 2013/01, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, San Domenico di Fiesole (FI): European University Institute, 2013.
Using the theoretical framework of transnational studies and sociology of religion, this paper identifies the most significant factors that influence the religious dimensions of the emigration countries: the majority or minority status of the migrant group in the receiving countries as well as the pre-existing level of politicization of religion in the sending countries. It shows that the interactions of sending and receiving countries take place in religious terms in a broader transnational space including deterritorialized religious and political actors.
28 people, including public officials, religious representatives and imams were awarded on Thursday in Lyon with a university diploma which validates their ‘knowledge on secularism’. The diploma was awarded by France’s Home Minister, Manuel Valls, who intends to expand this course to all religious representatives in the country. The course is financed by the French government and equals 200 hours of lectures on history, legal theory, etc., which are taught in University of Lyon III, the Catholic University of Lyon and the French Institute of Muslim Civilisation in Lyon.