Bishops’ Conference Wants to Strengthen Dialogue with Islam

24.08.2011

The German Bishops’ Conference and Pope Benedikt XVI are determined to strengthen their dialogue with Islam and collaborate to fight injustice, violence, and intolerance. According to the head of the Bishops’ Conference, Robert Zollitsch, this intention aligns itself with many Muslims’ and Christians’ desire for fair social conditions, more individual rights, and genuine democracy.

OIC Islamophobia Observatory Report May 2010 – April 2011

FORWARD

In the fifth year since its establishment, the OIC Observatory on Islamophobia has brought out its 4th annual report covering a particularly tumultuous period punctuated by some alarming developments. The scourge of Islamophobia continued unabated, despite all efforts to raise awareness of its dangers and the need to contain it. Rather it acquired an expansive dimension with some of the most shocking manifestations of the anti-Islam tirade. Islamophobia is already acute in Europe and in recent time it has unfolded in the US – a nation essentially premised on, and long admired as an exponent of, cultural and religious diversity. The unfortunate and outrageous episode of burning the Holy Quran was one of the most blatant examples of extremism that the international community has been consistent and unanimous in condemning since the 9/11 tragedy. Beyond the confines of electoral politics in the West, some important revelations during the reporting period suggested Islamophobia factoring as a variable in the conduct of international relations. Despite the UN resolutions reflecting international community’s loud and clear stance against conflation of any religion with terrorism, the tendency, on the part of media and motivated individuals and groups, of inflicting the psyche of over 1.5 billion Muslims by manipulating the portrayal of ‘collective guilt’ was unrelenting. The escalation in Islamophobia is indeed portentous. It accentuates the gravity of the issue and validates the OIC’s concerns with regard to adverse implications towards multicultural fabric of societies and peaceful coexistence, underwritten by interfaith harmony, as articulated in preceding reports of the Observatory as well as a host of resolutions and communiqués. Fortunately, a sustained frequency and intensity of Islamophobic incidents in this eventful year did not escape the attention of the international political and religious elite. OIC appreciates the stance taken by many Western leaders against the proponents of religious hatred and discrimination against Muslims. It was during my address to the 15th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva that I outlined a new approach towards evolving a consensus against incitement to violence and intolerance on religious ground that could plague peaceful coexistence and as such was antithetical to the very notion of a globalized world. I am glad that the eight points in the proposed approach found resonance with all the negotiating partners and formed the basis of the consensus reflected in HRC resolution 16/18. The importance of this resolution as a triumph of multilateralism must not be discounted. It could yield a considerable amount of positive energy. It would now be important to translate this potential energy into the kinetic form by taking action to implement the resolution in letter and spirit. Islamophobia remains a matter of transcendental priority for the OIC. From a futuristic perspective, events during the period covered by this report clearly establish that combating incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds must figure into the strategic calculations of the international community. Encouraged by the experience of the Observatory in the General Secretariat, OIC has proposed a similar mechanism at the international level as a first concrete step towards concerted action at both monitoring as well as combating Islamophobia, Christianophobia, Judeophobia and other manifestations intolerance, incitement to violence and discrimination on religious grounds.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Secretary General

Fifty Percent of Europeans Think of Islam As a Religion of Intolerance, Study Finds

11 March 2011

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a social democratic foundation, has published a report on right-wing extremism, intolerance and discrimination in Europe. Supremacy against particular groups is a widespread phenomenon in the eight European countries that the study focussed on (Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Hungary). Several racists statements found strong agreement among the participants, e.g. around fifty percent claim their country hosts too many immigrants, between 17% (Netherlands) and 70% (Poland) supported anti-Semitic statements, a third believes in a natural hierarchy between ethnicities. Islam also plays a large role, with 50% of participants claiming that it is a religion of intolerance.

Immigrants Make Up Two Thirds of Dutch Emigrants

January 28 2011

According to reports in the Volkskrant, two thirds of emigrants from the country are ethnic minority residents of the Netherlands frustrated by poor job prospects and intolerance in the country. This is particularly true for well-educated young people with Turkish or Moroccan backgrounds. An MP for the Liberal Democratic party D66 commented that “this is very bad for the economy… It is a real shame that so many well-educated people are being driven out by the symbolic drum rolls from the PVV.”

Islamophobia, the new anti-Semitism

15 October 2010

Having seen the disastrous consequences of virulent anti-Semitism firsthand, Germany must lead the fight against Europe’s rising intolerance towards Muslims, writes The Local’s Marc Young in this op-ed: “Let me be painfully clear here — I am in no way equating the persecution Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis with the anti-Muslim sentiment now simmering in modern, democratic Germany. However, just as it was once acceptable to badmouth Jews and scapegoat them for society’s ills — in Germany as well as Western democracies like America and Britain — millions of law-abiding, well-integrated Muslims are now being targeted unfairly.”

Op-ed: The new anti-Semitism

15 October 2010

Having seen the disastrous consequences of virulent anti-Semitism firsthand, Germany must lead the fight against Europe’s rising intolerance towards Muslims, writes The Local’s Marc Young in this op-ed.

“Pedants never tire of pointing out that the term anti-Semitism should not solely apply to prejudice against Jews, but also other Semitic peoples like the Arabs. For once, I’m for backing such Semitic semantics in light of the increasingly acrid debate about the integration of Arab and Turkish immigrants in Germany. In recent weeks, it’s become rather apparent that bigotry towards Muslims is Europe’s new anti-Semitism”, he writes.

Muslims Not Obliged ‘Forever’ to Condemn Every Gruesome Crime

June 28, 2010

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

A Republican candidate for Congress from Tennessee Lou Ann Zelenik argued against building a mosque in a Nashville’s suburb because according to her it poses a “threat to her state’s moral and political foundation.” I do agree with Zelenik about the need for sane and rational people to condemn radicalism, terrorism and all sorts of intolerance. However, a Muslim individual whether he or she is an American, a Kuwaiti or a Somali is not obliged to condemn terrorism 24/7 nor do they need to feel guilty or feel an urge to separate themselves from any mad act of intolerance, which allegedly happen in the name of Islam!

Muslims Not Obliged ‘Forever’ to Condemn Every Gruesome Crime

June 28, 2010

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

A Republican candidate for Congress from Tennessee Lou Ann Zelenik argued against building a mosque in a Nashville’s suburb because according to her it poses a “threat to her state’s moral and political foundation.” I do agree with Zelenik about the need for sane and rational people to condemn radicalism, terrorism and all sorts of intolerance. However, a Muslim individual whether he or she is an American, a Kuwaiti or a Somali is not obliged to condemn terrorism 24/7 nor do they need to feel guilty or feel an urge to separate themselves from any mad act of intolerance, which allegedly happen in the name of Islam!

Lleida Mosque

The difficulties in the relationship between the town council and the imam of the biggest Muslim association in Lleida, Abdelwahab Houzi, have flourished last week, because of a misunderstood about a personal trip of Houzi to Saudi Arabia. The problems arose when the town councilors were informed that it could be possible that Houzi had left Lleida forever without finishing the construction of the new mosque.
The construction of the new mosque was agreed by the town council, who transferred the land needed and promote the licenses for the construction, and the association leaded by Houzi, who would support financially the construction of this new building.

Some gossip spread in Lleida the past weekend, when nobody knew if Houzi would return to Spain and nobody was able to ask any question about where the money for the construction of the new mosque was.

On Monday, March the 1st, the imam Abdelwahab Houzi appeared in Lleida saying, that his trip was only a holiday trip and that he had no intention to leave Spain. In other hand he recognized that the association was suffering financial problems, but that he was trying to manage them and looking for some solution.
Anyway this misunderstood reflects the problems in the relationship between the town council and Houzi.
Houzi has suffered several critics of the town councilors and some members of his mosque, because of his intolerance and his rigorous understanding of the Islam.

Silencing Bosnia’s minarets

In the eastern Bosnian town of Bjeljina, 1,200 Serb residents signed the petition which calls for the reduction of the volume of the ezan (call to prayer) as it apparently creates a disruptive “noise” for the local Serb population. Harun Karcic, a graduate researcher at the Roberto Ruffili Faculty of Political Science thinks that this new move following a citizens’ petition demonstrates that Switzerland’s referendum has more far reaching implications than was first obvious.

“This move, which will most probably go unnoticed in most parts of the world, shows that the Swiss referendum and growing Islamophobia in Europe will have more serious consequences for Europe’s autochthonous Muslims than for the largely North African, Turkish and South Asian Muslim immigrants of Western Europe”, states Karcic among other things.