Islam Online – September 27, 2011
A new law has gone into effect this month, banning France’s estimated 5 million Muslims from praying on the streets – in line with the country’s separation of religion and state. The move was not welcome by Muslim community in France. French authorities have offered a temporary solution, which is the cavernous quarter of an old fire station in northern Paris. Hundreds of people emerged from the facility one recent sunny afternoon, spilling into a wide boulevard not far from the city’s ring road.
Some locals have said now there is lots of space, and toilets, for worshippers. Muslim clerics say they expect several thousand faithful will use the facility. It already is overflowing.
Islam Online examines the availability of halal, or Islamically permissible foods on various US university and college campuses. At Stanford University, halal food is widely available on several places of the campus – though it is not already made, but must be done so on-demand. At Harvard University, already-made halal meals on campus have been stimulated by support from wealthy Arab countries. However, such availability is not always the case on other campuses with growing a growing Muslim student body. A Yale student reflects on the dining halls of the university’s New Haven, Connecticut campus. “I didn’t find any halal grocery or meat store on the campus. I had no car and we were frustrated,” reported Imtiaz Ali. Georgia Tech students reported sticking to vegetarian meals, without a halal option at school.
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Muslim footballer Sulley Ali Muntari has been receiving positive response from Italian Muslims, after celebrating a recent goal by performing a prostration to God during an important Italian football match. Muntari, who was born in Ghana, plays for Italy’s Inter Milan, and scored the winning goal against Juventus.
A supporter of Muntari said that they commented Muntari not just for team support, but because he “reminded all of us how you honor Allah, even on a football field.” “We are certain that Muntari’s example will be important for thousands of young Muslims that make up an important part of the sport in Italy,” said Hamza Piccardo, the director of Islam-Online Italy.
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In an effort to generate interest among Muslims in careers in the Canadian military, the Canadian Forces have begun making appearances in mosques. Reception is mixed. At Burnaby, British Columbia’s Al-Salaam mosque, some members claim a religious institutions should not be used to showcase the military, while others warn of an organization involved in a combat mission in Afghanistan where fellow Muslims are being killed.
Lieutenant-Commander Kris Phililps of the Canadian National Defense Public Affairs Office says that like women and Aboriginal people, Canadian Muslims are underrepresented in the Forces. The sessions seek to disseminate information in a direct, unfiltered manner to minority groups. They also highlight the army’s “Muslim-friendly” accommodations, including the availability of halal foods and Muslim chaplains.
The Canadian Forces has made strides in attracting women (about 37% are now women), but only 5.4% are visible minorities and just under 4% are aboriginal.
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The Globe and Mail
Thousands of Spaniards, especially academics, intellectuals, and anti-globalization activists are finding solace in Islam. “Embracing Islam is on the rise despite ferocious Western media campaigns,” Abdul-Nour Brado, the head of the Islamic Society of Catalonia. It is estimated that three to four thousand Catalonians have accepted Islam recently, with some suggesting that the numbers are even higher. No specific reasons have been cited concerning the spike in Islamic practice, but leaders of various Spanish Islamic societies cite the trend as a global one, and not just limited to Spain. Nevertheless, there are differences that can be seen among these “new Muslims,” such as where they choose to attend prayers. Overall, the differences are welcomed as a positive sign for living in a democratic country.
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According to Islam Online, a record number of nine Muslim soccer players are part of the 23-person squad of Les Bleus (the French team’s nickname). 25-year-old Franck Rib_ry is known for supplicating to God before the game kickoff, saying Islam is the source of power for me inside and outside the football field. Other players include Eric Abidal, Thierry Henry, Lilian Thuram, Nicolas Anelka, Lassana Diarra, Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Haten Ben Arfa. Sixteen teams are participating in the tournament which runs until June 29. The winner of the Euro 2008 will represent the European continent at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.
The president of Italy’s immigrant party Mousapha Mansouri said that there are at least 15,000 cases of polygamy in Italy, and has urged women to call a special helpline for female victims of violence. Mansouri and his colleagues have reported cases of men who converted to Islam with the sole aim of being able to have multiple wives. Polygamy is illegal in Italy, but imams presiding over these marriages often do not keep a paper trail to avoid prosecution. “For this reason, we are appealing to the victims – the wives – to encourage them to denounce such abuse,” Mansouri said. However, Muslim convert and director of Islam Online’s Italian website, Hamza Piccardi, told Adnkronos International that he believes Muslim immigrants who have several wives should not be penalized. “If a foreigner arrives in a European country with four wives, he should not be reported to the police,” said Piccardi.