A report launched on ethnic and religious discrimination against Somalis in Finland

The mission of Finnish Somali League held a press conference on May 27th to launch their newly published report on discrimination. The report is based on a survey directed at residents and citizens of Finland of Somali origin and tackled issues of verbal harassment, violent attacks and discrimination in the public sector. The aim of the survey was not to offer generalizing figures but to identify and investigate diverse discrimination experiences.

The report shows that out of 105 participants 80% had experienced discrimination and 80% reported having witnessed discriminating behavior towards other individuals of Somali origin. Moreover, 61% reported that the discrimination had been due to their Islamic religion and 31% reported their clothing to be the cause of discrimination. The survey’s narratives in open-end questions provide accounts of everyday struggles that residents and citizens of Finland with Somali origin experience. Especially racist accusations and verbal harassment were frequently reported. Yet, accounts on discrimination in public spaces such as denying access to services, being barred from entry to supermarkets and explicitly rejecting a job application due to the applicants head cover depict a detrimental picture of the current situation.

The full report in Finnish language can be downloaded here on the official website of the League.

A report launched on ethnic and religious discrimination against Somalis in Finland

The mission of Finnish Somali League held a press conference on May 27th to launch their newly published report on discrimination. The report is based on a survey directed at residents and citizens of Finland of Somali origin and tackled issues of verbal harassment, violent attacks and discrimination in the public sector. The aim of the survey was not to offer generalizing figures but to identify and investigate diverse discrimination experiences.

Out of 105 participants 80% had experienced discrimination and 80% reported having witnessed discriminative behavior towards other individuals of Somali origin. Moreover, 61% reported that the discrimination had been due to their Islamic religion and 31% reported their clothing to be the cause of discrimination. The survey’s narratives in open-end questions provide accounts of everyday struggles that residents and citizens of Finland with Somali origin experience. Especially racist accusations and verbal harassment were frequently reported. Yet, accounts on discrimination in public spaces such as denying access to services, being barred from entry to supermarkets and explicitly rejecting a job application due to the applicants head cover depict a detrimental picture of the current situation.

The full report in Finnish language can be downloaded from the official website of the League:

http://somaliliitto.fi/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Selvitysraportti.pdf

New Documentary about Italian Islam

February 23, 2014

 

The documentary “I sought to find Maradona [the famed soccer player] but I found Allah,” by Lorenzo Cioffi and Ernesto Pagano, presents two Neapolitan youth who converted to Islam, Ciro and Francesco. The protagonists discuss the reasons for conversion and anecdotes related to their choice. The documentary also includes Augustine Gentile and Massimo Cozzolino, teacher of Islamic religion and head of the Mosque in Piazza Mercato in Naples, respectively. Gentile and Cozzolino also discuss the case of the two boys within the broader phenomenon of a “return” to Islam in the city. The documentary broadcast on Rai News2.

 

Redattore Sociale: http://www.redattoresociale.it/Multimedia/Video/Dettaglio/454841/Islam-italiano-Ciro-cercava-Maradona-e-ha-trovato-Allah

One out of two Italians thinks Islam is dangerous

More than one in two respondents think that the Muslim religion should be neither seen nor practiced in schools, despite this separation many believe that the teachings of the church are still valid.

According to a recent survey by the marketing research company SWG conducted for The Festival for Politics (il Festival della politica) one out of two Italians thinks that “the Islamic religion is a danger to everyone”. The survey was carried out at the Festival which was presented on Saturday, September 7 in a session called “Francis I: the renewal of the church, a challenge to the policy” with Alberto Melloni, church historian and Antonio Ramenghi, director of Mattino di Padova (http://www.festivalpolitica.it/francesco-i-rinnovamento-della-chiesa.aspx).

The difficult relationship with the Muslim religion is illustrated in the SWG survey. Half of the sample is in agreement (33%) or strongly agrees (~17%) with the statement “Islam is a danger to everyone.” Ten years earlier, the survey reveals, this distrust was much less marked, so that the danger posed by the Islamic religion was perceived by 36% of the sample, 14% less than now. From here emerges the xenophobia of Italians, 55% of whom believe that Muslims should not be allowed to observe and practice their own religion in schools.

Since 2004 this figure has grown by more than 10%. Italy remains a country so strongly attached to their Catholic religion. More than six out of ten Italians think that the teachings of the church are still valid, 7% more than in 2012. In any case, the vast majority of Italians, more than 80%, declares its secularism by saying that the church should not in any way affect the laws of the State.

 

700 Muslims attend the End of Ramadan Festivities in Legnano

August 8, 2013

 

Despite the bad weather this morning, 700 Muslims “invaded” the sports field on via dell’Amicizia in Legnano to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

The event, for the second year in a row, was organized by the Cultural Italian-Arab Association of Legnano. The association was founded in 2005 and is chaired by Mustapha Lhamid.

Men, women and children, arrived around 8 o’clock in the morning; they gathered on the green to celebrate Eid Al-Iftar, the party that for the end of the period of reflection which takes place during the ninth month of the year, according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

The rain did not stop people from praying. In fact, all those present were positioned facing Mecca, creating a real human “carpet.”

The second most important holiday of the Islamic religion was meticulously planned: “At dawn they placed carpets and loudspeakers” says Lhamid “this was done in order to avoid discomfort similar to how we operate in the cultural center, also some volunteers pointed people to where to park their cars. After the speech of Imam and the time of prayer, came the time to celebrate all together, to share.”

Ramadan is a time of fasting and prayer: “The event taking place today is the celebration of the end of Ramadan, one of the two most important holidays in the Islamic religion” says the Lhamid. “Today, as last year, we welcome many of the faithful who are coming from neighboring countries. Until now we have never had any problems in our city. Ours is an association open to dialogue: in fact, we have also collaborated with many other Italian organizations. Multiculturalism is among our goals and that is why we are ready to get involved and participate in events organized by other local associations.”

 

Salam, Islam: a Trip inside the Muslim Community

June 6, 2013

Salam_Islam_book_cover[1]

After success with his first novel, Pasquale Nuccio Franco goes back to the library this time with another book.

 

“Salam, Islam” is a travel through the Muslim community, through a number of interviews and articles that have given life to an understanding of spiritual matters, politics and social issues of a religion very often viewed with suspicion if not bitterness.

 

With this work, the author hoped to illustrate the truth essence of Islam and open a window to little known aspects that are often misinterpreted. In fact, many include anecdotes, and stories told in library book pages little known to many.

From the social point of view, the author insists that the collective followers denounce those who now seem to be synonymous with the religion i.e. Islam and radical Islamism.

There are, however, also insights pertaining to market expansion as fashion, food, forms of tourism – including new tourists to the Islamic religion – search engines and the internet and the presence of women no the net and in the economy.

In this respect, the author delves into a topic that in a situation like the present, of the economic downturn, could make it a resource for international markets, namely Islamic Finance, focusing to the rules of Shari’a which is still little known in our country.

From the past, some considerations related to the so-called “Arab Spring”, the role played by the media as a sounding board of this movement and the struggle for greater freedom of information and the effect on the proliferation of newspapers, satellite channels and Internet.

Not the usual book, Salam, Islam’s purpose is to tell the reality as much as possible with objectivity and consistency in a framework that places the Islamic community as a pivotal player of our society.

J’accuse the Islamic community

Milan- “It should have been a day of celebration but it has turned in yet another act of discrimination and racism against Muslims.” The ANSA news agency reported the accusations of Sharif Lorenzini, Bari, director of the Italian Islamic Community, with respect to a water park “Acquaneva of Inzago,” in the province of Milan.

At the amusement park which had been sponsored by the Halal consumer association that certifies the quality of products according to the dictates of the Islamic religion. According to Lorenzini the owners of a water park would have rented the waterpark to the group, but then, suddenly, they changed their minds, leaving the organizers in trouble and with a deep sense of disappointment and over 200 participants from all parts of Italy attending.

“We had made arrangements to purchase the structure” explained the President of Halal, Basma Farrag both on price, date, and also the use of the structure. But from one day to the next the owner began to take an arrogant attitude towards us: constantly changing the cards on the table and then on the phone greatly increased the price.” When the group accepted the new terms, the owner told them that they would not have been able to use the slides.

Farrag adds, “we have to cancel the event and there is a strong feeling of disappointment sweeping across the Italian Islamic Community. A feeling that is turning into desire for revenge: we feel the racism and discrimination. And with us there are also many non-Muslim women who were to participate in the event.” Now, the association is considering whether to take legal action against the water park.

World without Islam

13 December 2012

 

Imran Firasat is a Pakistani citizen who rebelled against Islam when he and his Buddhist wife were rejected by their society due to their interreligious marriage

.After a series of police persecutions he and his wife were finally granted political asylum in Spain in 2006.

He then started a blog criticizing the Islamic religion, called “A World without Islam

(Mundo sin Islam). Similar to the movie, “The Innocence of Muslims,” he created a short  story”The Innocent Prophet: The Life of Mohammed from a Different Point of View,” posted  on YouTube (removed recently).

In April of this year he officially campaigned for banning the Qu’ran from Spain and there were indications that he planned to burn the Sacred book in one of the main squares of Madrid

. He was influenced by the North-American Pastor Terry Jones

, his main partner in the making of his movie. The police called him for interrogation and asked him to leave the country

.

As a consequence of this movie, he was condemned to death penalty in Pakistan and Indonesia. In Belgium as well, screenings of the video raised fear of terrorist attacks in the country. Due to fear of terrorist acts, the Madrid Court has requested an alteration the video. His  status of political refugee is also in jeopardy. On the 13th of December of 2012 the Court ordered the suspension of the video.

 

1 http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias-gaceta/internacional/una-vida-condenada-por-criticar-islam-20111105

2 http://mundosinislam.com/suspendido-la-mision-el-profeta-inocente/

3 http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias-gaceta/sociedad/solicitan-prohibicion-coran-espana-20120224

4 http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/414634/20121213/innocent-prophet-muhammad-anti-islam-muslims-firasat.htm

5 http://www.alertadigital.com/2012/03/06/la-policia-amenaza-con-enjuiciar-al-ex-musulman-que-quiere-quemar-el-coran-en-espana

 

The lack of teachers blocks Islamic religion classes in the schools of Álava

14 June 2012

Álava has yet to achieve the formation of an Islamic religion class even though there is an increasing demand from prospective students. Schools in the region do not have teachers for this course, a question that the Islamic community blames the Basque Government for, since they have high requisites for the admission of new teachers.

The Union of Islamic Communities of the Basque Country, calls for more flexible requirements. They explain that the implementation of Muslims in Euskadi/Basque Country is a “relatively recent” phenomenon so there are people who have not yet a recognized qualification in Teaching. As a result, and despite the significant increase in demand from families who want their children to learn the Koran in school, “the whole process is stopped.”

In view of the complexity that is taking place to incorporate this subject into formal education, the consulate of Morocco has organized extra Koran classes in some cultural centers  with the assistance of the City Hall authorities.