Valencian Muslims Request Salaries for Imams

Representatives of Valencia’s Islamic Cultural Centre have suggested that imams across Spain be paid a wage, in the manner of Catholic priests. Amparo Sanchez Rossell, head of the Centre, advocates awarding salary based on university qualification in training related to Islamic studies. According to Rossell, instituting a salary “would help prevent extremists becoming involved in the mosque”.

Ukraine’s Muslims are part of ‘Muslim European Community’

“Ukraine is a European country and the Muslims of Ukraine are part of the Muslim European community,” according to the head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations of Europe (FIOE) — yet another way in which the people of Ukraine are underscoring their attachment to Europe rather than Eurasia.

During a visit to the Islamic Cultural Center in Kyiv last week, Shakib Benmakhlyuf, FIOE president, not only stressed the Europeanness of Ukraine and of Ukraine’s Muslims but “positively assessed” both the speed of Islamic rebirth there and “the public activity” of Islamic community there.

In response, Mufti Said Ismagilov, the head of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate (MSD) of Ukraine, said his community would like to expand its cooperation with FIOE and that he and the Muslims of Ukraine believe that the recent adoption of the Charter of Muslims of Europe can promote more active ties among European countries.

Rome’s Deserted Mosque

The Islamic Cultural Center in Rome, also called the Rome Grand Mosque, faces desertion and abandonment although it is the biggest mosque in Italy. Despite the fact that the mosque’s large prayer hall can accommodate some 5,000 people, it remains empty except for Friday prayers and Eid celebrations. The keeper of the mosque, Ya ‘quob says that the reason for this lies in the mosque’s own administration. The Islamic Cultural Center in Rome is backed by Muslim and Arab countries which established it. “The grand mosque’s administration has forced worshippers to seek other places even if they are more distant or smaller in size,” says Samir El-Khaledi, imam of the Al-Huda mosque in Rome.

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The President of the ICC asks the Government to regulate the election and the payment of the Imams

Amparo S_nchez, the President of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Valencia has asked the Spanish Government to study in a regular basis the election and economical sustainability of the Imams of the Mosques with the objective of securing that these people have at least received an Islamic Theological education. According to the first female president of a Spanish Islamic organization, the Government should also pay a salary to the imam as he is a professional.

Bologna’s mayor backtracks on mosque; project ‘badly handled,’ says scholar

A controversial project to build a mosque in Bologna has been scrapped, due to lack of agreement from local Muslims concerning two key conditions. The city’s Islamic Cultural Centre failed to reply to a letter laying town two essential conditions for the mosque to go ahead; the city’s councillor, Virginio Merola says this indicated a disagreement with the city council over the project. The city council’s letter asked for (1) a foundation to be set up to ensure transparency over funding for the planned mosque, and (2) that Bologna’s Muslim community distance itself from Italy’s largest Muslim group – the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy (UCOII). While plans for the mosque construction have now fallen through, Bologna’s Islamic Cultural Centre says it remains committed to building the mosque, despite opposition. A former coordinator for the mosques in the Emilia Romagna region, Hasan Giulio Soravia , criticized leaders for failing to break away from the UCOII, the largest Muslim group in Italy. The UCOII has many members that belong to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, and as such, Muslim projects in Italy have been encouraged to sever ties with the association. However, Soravia remains hopeful, that Muslims in Italy will e able to forge their own Islam that distances itself from the logic of Arab states.

Symposium on “Islam in the media” in Valencia

Several organizers are planning a symposium on May 9th in Valencia, to discuss the importance of the media, and how Islam is represented by various communication services. The primary goal o the meeting is to establish a roadmap or manual for journalists and journalism students that contains agreed upon consensus about issues related to the Islamic world. In addition, the aim is to promote a pluralistic and open debate about how to cover media information concerning the Islamic world, and to promote a two-way discussion to try to define some concepts that are presented in the media on a frequent basis, to avoid misinterpretation or biased views. The organizers of the symposium include the Islamic Cultural Center of Valencia and the Higher Council of the Valencia Region, and it is sponsored by the University of Valencia.

Peace Seminar to be held in Barcelona

A one-day seminar on the role of religion in the establishment of world peace is planned to be held on Thursday, April 10th. The seminar is organized by the Spanish Culture of Peace Foundation and the International Institute for Dialogue among Civilizations. The meeting is expected to be attended by officials from numerous cultural organizations, including UNESCO, the Islamic Cultural, Education, and Scientific Conference Organization (IESCO), and several Spanish church leaders. Former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami is also planned to attend the seminar.

A Portrait of Mohammed Taïfour: the Sheik of Montreuil and Founder of a Mosque School

This article presents Mohammed Ta_four, a Sunni sheik who opened the first Islamic Cultural Center East of Paris in 1994. Of Algerian-origin, in 2008 Ta_four purchased a series of buildings to expand his Mosque School. Ta_four is characterized in the article as being a learned man who among the Arabic books on his bookshelf, enjoys flipping through his Grand Larousse Encyclop_dique (purchased shortly after his arrival in 1953) and as an old school Muslim who has no problem shaking women’s hands.

Mosque attacked in Milan

A small bomb was thrown at the Via Quaranta mosque and Islamic cultural center in Milan on Saturday, February 2nd. The bomb caused damage to glass windows, and damage to the entrance area. Abdel Hamid Shaari, president of the Islamic Cultural Institute said this is the result of a racist and anti-Islamic campaign that’s been going on for years. The Italian security service DIGOS is investigating the attack.

Ireland opens three-in-one faith school

A first-of-a-kind faith school will be launched in Ireland under the patronage of Catholic, Muslim and Jewish leaders to accommodate pupils from the three religions under the same roof. “Instead of having one patron, the school will have tripartite patronage,” said Mary Shine Thompson, chairperson of the Intercultural Interdenominational Primary School (IIPS). Enrolment in the tri-religious school in Kildare county, southwest of Dublin started on Monday and it is due to open its doors by the next academic year. Unlike most schools, which are run under the Roman Catholic Church, IIPS will have a joint Catholic, Islamic and Jewish supervision. The project’s main sponsors are Dr James Moriarty, the Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Rabbi Charles Middleburgh of the Dublin Progressive Jewish congregation and Imam Hussein Halawa of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. Founders say the school will be the first of its kind in Europe, capturing the ethos of three religions together.