No Food for Muslims in the Parliament Building: Rep Chaouki thinks this should Change

August 8, 2013

“I have asked my party to bring up this issue tomorrow (today, ed.) and to attend the ceremony for the end of Ramadan.” The deputy Khalid Chaouki, elected by the Pd, is a practicing Muslim, and this month has followed the fasting of Ramadan; he now asks his colleagues to join in the celebration. What’s more, he also proposes that the refreshment stalls have halal meat.

He will tell you the problems faced by Italians are part of his campaign…
“I know that what I say may seem like a provocation, but my intent is to open a debate on the perspective of our multi-religious society and this includes our Parliament.”

How was the month of Ramadan?
“Difficult for the pace of work that we have had. I was also excluded from the conviviality of my colleagues who celebrated here with refreshments. Here you risk getting served croquettes that should be vegetarian and instead contain ham…”

Yeah, because he does not eat pork …
“I think it will be important to open a discussion on how public places and institutions should ensure the opportunity for all to have food that fits into the laws of their respective religion.”

Then would he like meat to be butchered according to Islamic rites?
“I think it is a duty to guarantee all citizens the right to eat. Here for example we have a chaplain but I would like to speak an imam.”

 Are you not afraid to start a controversy?
“We need to make changes to institutions in our society. Although there are many misconceptions about Islam: similar to the Catholic representatives who cast their votes according to their constituency, there are also Muslims who are secular legislators.”

Anti-Islam Activists Are Freaking Out About Crayons Now

Anti-Shariah activists have a new target in their sights: Crayola. Late last week the Pickens County (Ga.) Republican party posted a call to action on its website about a new promotion from the world’s leading crayon manufacturer, which had begun offering free Islamic-themedcoloring pages in honor of Ramadan. Zut alors! The images are pretty innocuous—one features a prayer rug; another features a young boy kneeling while reading from the Koran. But the Pickens GOP sees something more nefarious…

 

Both the Pickens County GOP and another anti-Shariah website, the appropriately named “Creeping Sharia,” both published the exact same text on the exact same day, so it’s not clear who plagiarized whom. Crayola is in good company. Other American institutions that have fallen under the spell of Shariah (according to anti-Shariah activists) include David Petraeus, the grocery store Wegman’s, and Nashville’s Hutton Hotel.

Young Muslims and being a student: Criticism without appeal “The things he did do not have anything to do with Islam. In doing so it causes us enormous damage”

June 14, 2013

 

No one comes to mind more quickly in the cause of Islam: for both institutional and foreign students in Brescia than the case of Anas El Abboubi (a recently discovered extremist living outside of Milan)

 

Yet, the word “Islam,” today in Brescia’s city of Vobarno, as well as in Niardo a few months ago jumped out. If for no other reason than to understand what moves a twenty year old to take the lead in extremist ideas.
And, in an attempt to give an answer, the word “discomfort”, yesterday, was the most invoked. A discomfort caused by a lack of integration seen in the classroom, where Anas was showered with insults and curses by his companions. A discomfort that he would find an outlet in Islamic radicalism and jihadism, as understood by Roberto Tottoli.

“Mah .. Even I, when I worked at the factory, I was always called Taliban or Saddam Hussein: I was certainly displeased, but I never thought to kill anyone. It occurs to me that the boy has been manipulated” says Sajad Shah of the Islamic Association Muhammadiah.

“These are isolated cases, it is true, but it should give us pause. The violence must be condemned and prosecuted, but at the same time, we must take action to prevent it: It is important that Italian institutions understand that mosques are important, because it is there that young people are educated to peaceful coexistence with civil society and to channel their energies towards true and noble ideals.” Said Meghras, the former president of the Federation of Islamic Lombardy.

Muslims and unknowns: ‘Abd as-Sabur Turrini, “Italy knows too little about Islam”

5/24/2013

The Islamic Religious Community (CO.RE.IS.) Italian, has, for twenty years been active in dialogues with institutions and with other religions. It is committed to spreading the knowledge of Islam in the larger society. To understand Islam and Italy we spoke with the general manager of CO.RE.IS. Italian, ‘Abd as-Sabur Turrini.

What is known about Islam in Italy?

Almost nothing, unfortunately. In our country Islam is considered a problem, based on news reports and unfortunate incidents related to terrorism in the world which is always the media focus. Whoever carries out terrorist acts, however, violates the teaching of the Qur’an (the holy book of Islam) and the example of the Prophet. This lack of knowledge is furthered by the fact that in Italy, Islam is “immature” compared to the rest of Europe, because, although it has many faithful, its spread is recent. In other countries there is a lot longer history, like in France, for example, where some Muslims are fourth-generation, or in Germany with Turkish immigrants, or in England.

In Italy, for example, you think that the Muslim community is monolithic and abides by a pyramidal structure like that of the Catholic Church, therefore, hierarchy is expected especially when entering into interreligious agreements. In fact, the community is divided into heterogeneous groups, but united by the principles of faith. In our country, as well, which is unique in Europe, Islam is not recognized, despite the large number of the faithful. The state should treat agreements only with groups willing to enter into dialogue; expecting the presence all groups, even those who do not want to be there, is a sign of lack of knowledge of Muslim reality. Of course, the agreement can be reached by a single organization, but for the CO.RE.IS. Italian platform it is preferable to include many because Islam is heterogeneous.

What does the CO.RE.IS. Italian do to spread the knowledge of Islam?

For twenty years CO.RE.IS has supported religious dialogue. CO.RE.IS has a very good relationship with both the Jewish community and with the Christian community. Our vice president Yahya Pallavicini was a member of the Council for Islam at the Ministry of Interior with the ministers Pisanu and Amato and then the Integration Committee established by Minister Maroni. The association carries out many initiatives for both the dialogue between religions and cultural activities. Of course, spreading the knowledge of Islam in Italian society depends not only on us, but also on institutions and the media, which can make the job easier and more widespread. Knowing that, for example, the god of Islam is the same as the Christian and Jewish God, and that the Islamic religion recognizes prophets like Moses and Jesus.
At the beginning of 2013, the CO.RE.IS. Italian has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to include Islam in school teaching, could you expand?

This agreement is part of a more general initiative carried out by our organization. We do not want school and Islam separated rather we want the education institution integrated with knowledge about Islam to promote integration.

Veiled women protest against exclusion

Liberation

Veiled Muslim women protested on Saturday in Central Paris against the exclusion of mothers who wear veils (hijab) from public institutions. The Muslim women joint together with the ‘Mamans toutes égales’ (Mothers are all equal) collective, which was founded in 2011 by Muslim and non-Muslim parents in Montreuil, following the exclusion of a Muslim mother from an elementary school because of wearing the Muslim veil.

The collective of mothers demand the retreat of the Chatel decision of 2004, which they consider as discriminatory. The decision was mainstreamed by the centre-right Sarkozy government, which advocated against the wearing of religious symbols in schools to safeguard public schools as secular institutions. According to the Chatel decision, schools are allowed to regulate their own internal policies in regards to religious symbols, which provides inconsistent everyday practices as well as confusion and room for selective discrimination.

The current centre-left government under President Francois Hollande has sent, according to the group, ‘worrisome signals’ in regards to a future legally applicable amendment.  A spokeswoman of the group said ‘We can’t be fooled. There is a tendency to fabricate laws of exception against Muslims in general and for Muslim women in particular. The left has taken the same path as the right in this game’

Chicago is ground zero in U.S. Muslim renaissance

CHICAGO — Religious affiliation may be on the wane in America, a recent Pew study asserts, but you wouldn’t know it walking into the storefront near the corner of West 63rd Street and South Fairfield Avenue.

 

Inside a former bank in a neighborhood afflicted with gang violence, failed businesses and empty lots, a team of volunteers drawn by their religious faith is working to make life better for Chicago’s poorest residents.

 

The free medical clinic has expanded its hours; 20-something college graduates are clamoring to get into its internship program; rap stars swing by its alcohol-free poetry slams; and the budget has increased tenfold in the past decade.

 

The storefront belongs to Chicago’s Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) and it is part of a wave of new Muslim institutions emerging at an unprecedented pace. More than a quarter of the nation’s 2,106 mosques were founded in the last decade, according to a recent University of Kentucky study, and new social service organizations, many of them run by 20- and 30-something American-born Muslims, are thriving as never before.

 

This surge in new Muslim institutions, led by a nationwide network of young activists, “is the most important story in Islam in America right now,” said Eboo Patel, founder of the college campus-based Interfaith Youth Core.

 

Young Muslims “are going about the process of institution building in concretely American ways,” said Kambiz GhaneaBassiri of Reed College, author of “A History of Islam in America,” adding that the 9/11 terrorist attacks shaped a generation of young Muslim activists.

 

Six banks attacked in retaliation for an anti-Islam video

Six major American banks were hit in a wave of computer attacks last week, by a group claiming Middle Eastern ties, that caused Internet blackouts and delays in online banking.

Frustrated customers of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and PNC, who could not get access to their accounts or pay bills online, were upset because the banks had not explained clearly what was going on.

A hacker group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters — a reference to Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, a Muslim holy man who fought against European forces and Jewish settlers in the Middle East in the 1920s and 1930s — took credit for the attacks in online posts.

The group said it had attacked the banks in retaliation for an anti-Islam video that mocks the Prophet Muhammad. It also pledged to continue to attack American credit and financial institutions daily, and possibly institutions in France, Israel and Britain, until the video is taken offline. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were also targeted.

Last week, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in an interview on C-Span that he believed Iran’s government had sponsored the attacks in retaliation for Western economic sanctions. The hacker group rejected that claim. In an online post, it said the attacks had not been sponsored by a country and that its members “strongly reject the American officials’ insidious attempts to deceive public opinion.”

Such attacks are fairly common and generally don’t compromise sensitive data or do any lasting damage. Still, they can be a huge headache for companies that rely on their websites to interact with customers.

The hackers maintained that they were retaliating for the online video. “Insult to the prophet is not acceptable, especially when it is the last Prophet Muhammad,” they wrote.

Inter-religious Research Training Group

June 18

Four German academic institutions joined forces and established a post-graduate programme, called “Theology as a science: historical and systemic analysis of the formation processes of self-reflection in faith traditions”. The institutions involved are the Universities of Frankfurt and Mainz, the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt and the College for Jewish Studies in Heidelberg.

The aim of the project is to study theology as a science in an inter-religious character. Training groups and summer schools will be held each year in different cities such as Istanbul and Jerusalem.

An initial 1.5 million euro financing was provided by the German Research Foundation. This support covers the first four years, but could be extended to nine years, benefiting up to three intakes of students. Stipends are awarded for three years.”

Interview with Mohammad Mojtahed ShabestariWhy Islam and Democracy Go Well Together

The Shiite scholar Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari is regarded as one of the Iran’s most influential Muslim reformist thinkers. In an interview with Jan Kuhlmann, he explains why there is no inconsistency between Islam and democracy.

You have stated that Islam is a religion and not a political programme. Many other Islamic scholars, however, say that it is not possible to separate religion and the state or, alternatively, religion and politics. Do you thing these spiritual leaders are mistaken?

Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari: You cannot expect politics to adhere to the sort of ethical principles found in religion. And conversely, you cannot expect religion to follow a political programme with the aim of achieving certain social objectives. As I understand it, religion is the relationship between man and God, in which man speaks to his God, his God listens, resulting in inner emancipation. This is why I hold the view that religion, and also Islam in particular, cannot be equated with a political programme.

Art Review: Getting to the Bottom of ‘Islamic Art’

NEW YORK — The West has a problem when dealing with the cultures of the lands that adhered to Islam over time. It begins with apprehending their differences, far greater than those that separate European nations.

On the museum scene, the meaningless label “Islamic art” is stuck to works visually and conceptually unrelated.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which ranks among the world’s four or five greatest institutions of its kind, the recently opened “Islamic department” unwittingly illustrates the confusion.