To Muslim Intellectuals, Pope Francis represents the Opportunity for Dialogue.

The election of Pope Francis has been hailed as an invitation to dialogue from other religions. Euronews correspondent in Turkey met Cemal Usak, a Muslim intellectual, according to whom the new pope represents a new hope, “John Paul II was very open to dialogue, especially with Muslims. Pope Benedict, was, on the contrary, very closed – remember Usak – We can say that the confrontation between Muslims, Christians and other religions at the time of Benedict XVI was close to zero. For the first time we have a Jesuit Pope and this change is revolutionary. ” Islamic Conference Organization is hoping for a friendly relationship with the Catholic leadership. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, will also attend the inauguration of Pope, an invitation that has never happened before.

The UCIDCE, Union of Islamic Communities in Ceuta very pleased with the outcome of the Third Islamic Conference


In the last of the conferences organized by the UCIDCE about the interreligious dialogue, the organization emphasized the large number of people and the quality of the contents of the various conferences that took place in the days of the event of The Third Islamic Conference. The conference counted with Zakaria Maza al Qurtubi [1], Isa Garcia[2] and Muhammad Al Toujgani[3].

[1] President of the Community Mosque Taqwa in Granada

[2] A graduate in Arabic Language and Islamic Studies in Theology on the University of Umm Al-Qura Makkah City, Saudi Arabia, specializing in the “Origins of Prophetic traditions.” Translator of numerous books and authored a series of titles for the correct understanding of Islam to non-Muslims entitled “Introduction to Islam”. He was the director of the Spanish department of the editorial “International Islamic Publishing House “(IIPH), Darussalam and different websites.

[3] Moroccan Sheik of the Belgium Mosque, Al Khalil



The III Islamic Congress of Ceuta

The III Islamic Congress lectured on the basics of theology to achieve peaceful coexistence in a pluralistic society and intercultural; the president of the organization, Laarbi Maateis, explained that the meeting aims to promote Arab and Islamic culture “because it is a world heritage site and we want to bring communication and knowledge about it to other cultures”.

The Congress was divided through three days and counted with the participation of three major figures whose short bio follows below.

In this link you can see the presentation in Spanish of the Congress and its Lecturers:

Muhammad Isa Garcia

Born in Buenos Aires in 1971 he has a degree in Arabic Language and Islamic Studies in Theology on the University of Umm Al-Qura in the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. He is a writer, specializing in ‘Origins of Prophetic traditions”. He is also a translator of numerous books and authored a series of titles for the understanding of Islam by Non-Muslims included under the title of ‘Introduction to Islam’. Speaker at numerous forums in Europe, Latin America and the United States, he was the publishing director of the Spanish department of the ‘International Islamic Publishing House’, Darussalam and different websites. He is director of editorial content of Canal Satellite ‘Cordoba’ and also an expert in mediation and conflict resolution, certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia. He has translated a collection of Islamic doctrine, a total of 8 volumes, and he is currently performing a translation of the holy book of Koran.

Manuel Maza Vielva (Zakaria Maza)

Born in Córdoba, Professor Manuel Maza Vielva answers to the name of Zakaria after his conversion; he was born 21 years ago and he achieved the title of professor of basic general education at the University of Cordoba; he continued his studies in Mecca with a degree in Arabic Language Studies and Methodology. In addition, he has also a specialization in Sharia and Islamic Studies in other sciences, through various seminars held both in Spain and other European countries. Besides being a professor at various centers in 1983 he became the co-founder of the Mosque Albaida in Granada, where he also taught at the Spanish-Arabic school. He has also taught Arabic at the International University Averroes of Cordoba and he has translated several works such as a collection of Hadiths ‘The Gardens of the Righteous’ or ‘resurgence of Islam in Al-Andalus’. Currently he is the President of the Spanish Muslim Community of the Fear of Allah Mosque.


Mohammed Toujgani

He does not speak French, but his charisma as a preacher has a strong emotional charge over a significant Arabic speaking audience: the Friday prayers (mosque al-khalil) are flowing with hundreds of devotees from different parts of Belgium. His speech is forging links with neo-Salafi approach, but it is characterized primarily by proximity to the strong political tradition of the Muslim Brotherhood, sensitive to the struggles in which Muslims are engaged in the world (Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan etc..). This preacher plays an important role since he became President of the League of Imams of Belgium, an association with the corporatist desire to defend the professional interests of imams. He has also influenced a number of important young preachers in Brussels, including Abu Abdullah Adil. It was in this center that the Afghan mujahideen Office in Belgium, close to the Hezb-i-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was established in the 1980s.

Lady Warsi: Pakistan’s treatment of women fails Islam

Muslim Tory minister Sayeeda Warsi criticized Pakistan for denying women rights that were granted in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago. Therefore, according to Warsi, “Pakistan is failing to live up to one of the tenets of Islam which guarantees rights to all women” (Guardian). While preparing to become the first British minister to address the Organisation for the Islamic Conference, Warsi made these comments in an interview with the Guardian. Warsi, who has Pakistani origins herself, had already raised the issue of women’s rights last year. During the interview, Warsi said her heritage allowed her to openly raise these concerns; what is more, she considers herself to be able to deliver a “tough message to Pakistan because she is unencumbered by “colonial baggage””. In addition to the lack of rights for women, Warsi had also voiced concerns about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan.

Lauren Booth, Tony Blair’s Sister-in-Law, Believes Rise in Number of Muslims Would Be Good For Britain

12 February 2011

The sister-in-law of former Labour prime minister Tony Blair has said a rise in the number of Muslims in Britain would be “good for the country”. Journalist Lauren Booth – sister of Mr Blair’s wife Cherie – converted to Islam last year.

And she told a conference in Colchester, Essex, that since becoming a Muslim she was a “better worker” and a “better mother” to her two daughters. She told the University of Essex’s annual Islamic Conference that Britons were “seeking not to be afraid” of Muslims and wanted Muslims “to be happy”.

Ms Booth was asked how Mr and Mrs Blair had reacted to her conversion and said: “My sister … recognises that it is a great faith that people follow. Tony Blair is Tony Blair.”

“If the number of British Muslims increases you should know it will be only good for the country,” Ms Booth told the conference, in a lecture entitled My Journey to Islam.

President Medvedev stresses Islam’s importance for Russia

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a message to greet the fifth session of the “Russia and the Islamic World” Strategic Vision Group held in Kuwait.

In the message he notes that “the Group has made a great contribution to development of trust and mutual understanding between Russia and Muslim states during three years of its work”. He also said: “Your activities help to resist radical and extremist initiatives. The Group is a platform for sharing experience in building tolerant relations between different cultures and religions.”

“The Russian Federation as Organization of the Islamic Conference observer state is firm in its intention to develop dialogue with the Islamic world,”–the message also reads.

Protesters Gather Outside Islamic Conference Near Chicago

Roughly 500 members of Hizb ut-Tahrir — a global Sunni network with reported ties to confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al Qaeda in Iraq’s onetime leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — met inside a Hilton hotel in Oak Lawn, Ill., to host “The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir insists that it does not engage in terrorism. The organization is not recognized by the State Department as a known terror group. Its supporters, however, blasted capitalism while calling for a rise of Islam during Sunday’s conference. “Free market, organization, capitalization — all has failed and brought disaster to America,” said one of the group’s speakers.

Dozens of protesters outside the hotel — many of whom held American flags — shouted as attendees left the conference late Sunday. No arrests had been made.

Integration, a national initiative in Germany [4:32]

When German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called a conference to open dialogue with the country’s Muslims in the autumn of 2006, aims were set high. Schäuble said then he wanted to send a signal that Muslims were welcome in Germany. At the same time, the dialogue was also intended to prevent the radicalization of the Muslim community. Representatives of Germany’s federal government, and Muslim organizations addressed the issues of Islamic religious instruction at German schools, education in accordance with Western values and ways to prevent young Muslims from drifting into militant circles. On Thursday, the German-Islamic Conference will meet for its final session.

Anti-Islam congress counterproductive to interfaith dialogs

Indonesia, the world`s largest Moslem country, considers the pro-Koln group`s plan to hold an anti-Islam congress in Cologne, Germany, on Sept 19-20 to be counterproductive to interfaith dialogs, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “Any plan to organize an anti-Islam congress would be counter-productive to interfaith dialogs which also involve European nations,” Teuku Faizasyah said on Thursday. The Indonesian government, along with other ASEAN members and other countries through bilateral relations had been active in holding interfaith and cultural dialogs to solve differences and avoid misunderstanding, he said. “We hope there will be sensitivity (on the part of the congress` organizing committee) because such an event will only worsen misunderstanding,” he said. He said the German government had yet to confirm the group`s plan to hold such a congress. “So, we have heard the plan only from a news report,” he said. Last week, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed deep concern about the plan to organize the anti-Islam congress.

Germany Needs to Do More Against Racism and Islamophobia, UN Body Says

Members of a UN anti-racism body have called on Germany to do more to integrate foreigners. A controversial citizenship test in one German state especially caught their attention. Members of the United Nations Committee for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Friday, Aug. 15, said that they were concerned about citizenship application questions targeted at Muslims in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. “The Committee recommends that the Federal Government encourage the use of questionnaires without discriminatory content, for all applicants for citizenship,” said the committee, according to AFP news agency. Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to car maker Daimler’s Mercedes Benz, apparently requires citizens of the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to answer specific questions when they apply for German citizenship.

German police warn of security fallout following Dutch film

Germany’s federal criminal police have warned of an increased risk of terrorist attack following the release on the internet of a controversial anti-Islam film. The film titled “Fitna”, by maverick Dutch politician Gert Wilders, features excerpts of the Koran interspersed with images of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. It also includes a cartoon image of the Prophet Mohammed, which provoked outrage in Muslim countries in 2006. The film has been condemned as inflammatory by both the Dutch government and the European Union. The 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference said the film aimed to provoke “intolerance among people of different religious beliefs”.