Are Americans ready for a Muslim president? New poll suggests maybe

A recently released Gallup poll found “tidal shifts” over the past 60 years in Americans’ willingness to support a well-qualified black, female, Catholic or Jewish candidate for president.

But the study also found that 60 percent of Americans would be willing to vote for a president who was a “generally well-qualified person who happened to be Muslim.”

“If the 60 percent is to be used as a proxy of acceptance of Muslims, I am encouraged by an upward trajectory,” wrote Saud Anwar, the mayor of South Windsor, Conn., and that state’s first Muslim mayor.

 

Dutch Jewish-Muslim walk of solidarity in Amsterdam

The Dutch Jewish and Muslim communities have deceived upon a joint march for solidarity in Amsterdam as a symbol against hatred. Jews and Muslims will walk together from the synagogue at the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein until the Al Kabir mosque at Weesperzijde. At both houses of worship a ceremony of laying down flowers will be held.

By means of the march for solidarity the participants are resisting against aggression against synagogues and mosques, antisemitism and Muslim hatred, and are pleading for peace, respect, love, and friendship.

The dialogue organization

The dialogue organization Salaam-Shalom - brought into existence last year with the goal of bringing together Jews and Muslims - organizes the march together with the liberal Jewish community and the Al Kabir Mosque. According to the organizers non-Jews and non-Muslims are also welcome.
The dialogue organization Salaam-Shalom – brought into existence last year with the goal of bringing together Jews and Muslims – organizes the march together with the liberal Jewish community and the Al Kabir Mosque. According to the organizers non-Jews and non-Muslims are also welcome.

– brought into existence last year with the goal of bringing together Jews and Muslims – organizes the march together with the liberal Jewish community and the Al Kabir Mosque. According to the organizers non-Jews and non-Muslims are also welcome.

Report: French less racist, Muslims increasingly anti-Semitic [PDF Download]

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Racist acts in France in 2014 were down 5% from 2013. In contrast, anti-Semitic acts doubled in 2014. There were 851 acts reported in 2014 compared to 423 in 2013, a 101% increase, and were all committed by Muslims.                 (Photo: Dreuz.info)

Racist acts in France in 2014 were down 5% from 2013. In contrast, anti-Semitic acts doubled in 2014. There were 851 acts reported in 2014 compared to 423 in 2013, a 101% increase, and were all committed by Muslims.

Half of violent acts in 2014 were committed by Muslims and were directed at Jews. France’s Jewish population is less than 1% of the total population, which means that less than 1% of the population were the targets of half of France’s violent acts.

[Download Report Here]

Paris Attacks: 10,000 troops deployed as France hunts for accomplices

Following the deadly attack at Charlie Hebdo and hostage-taking at a kosher market in Paris, the government is deploying 10,000 troops throughout France and sending 5,000 police to protect Jewish sites. Authorities continue to search for the accomplices to both attacks. Prime Minister Manuel Valls believes that the gunman who killed a policewoman and four other people after taking a customers in a kosher store hostage had an accomplice. He stated that “the threat is still present” after the attacks and that “the work on these attacks, on these terrorist and barbaric acts continues…because we consider that there are most probably some possible accomplices.”

Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian affirmed that troops would guard any sensitive locations. Following a national security crisis meeting he stated: “We have decided…to mobilize 10,000 men to protect sensitive sites throughout the country starting tomorrow [Tuesday] evening. This is the first time our troops have mobilized to such an extent on our own soil. The threats remain and we have to protect ourselves from them. It is an internal operation that will mobilize almost as many men as we have in our overseas operations.”

In response to the public’s fear seven hundred police officers are guarding 717 Jewish schools throughout the country. There are already 4,100 gendarmes deployed.

It is not known how many accomplices French authorities are searching for, but it is believed that Coulibaly’s partner Hayat Boumeddienne has fled to Syria. The security meeting was held after the video of Coulibaly declaring his allegiance to ISIL was released on the Internet. In the video Coulibaly states that he collaborated with the Kouachi brothers.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that he would travel to Paris for talks on countering violent extremism. His statement followed criticism of the Obama administration for not sending anyone to attend the rally that drew between 1.5 and 2 million people. Marchers carried pencils, pens and placards that read “Nous sommes la République” and “Je suis Muslim.” The march was led by the victims’ families and a group of 50 world leaders including President Hollande, Angela Merkel and Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas.

Muslims of Créteil: whoever harms a Jew will face the Prophet

After a Jewish couple was attacked by three young Muslims in Créteil, the Muslim community condemned “a shameful act that is contrary to Islam,” and hoped both communities could live together in harmony.

While the local mosque’s imam did not bring up the recent attack at Friday prayer, it was on the minds of many attendees. “It’s disgusting. It’s a shameful act that is contrary to Islam,” declared 30 year-old Abdel. “Whoever harms a Jew will face the Prophet. It says in the Quran,” added 27 year-old Icham, who said that many of his neighbors are Jewish and are “far from being rich.”

“Our remarks are not always the same as our young ones who are 20 years-old. They talk differently. They don’t think about what they say,” said an older man who attended Friday prayer.

23 year-old Aïcha added, “as a woman and as a Muslim, I’m ashamed of what happened to that young woman. We all must carry peace in our hearts, not hatred.”

Law aims to boost halal, kosher food for poor

DETROIT — For the first time, the federal government is required to purchase and provide food banks emergency supplies of kosher or halal products, serving a population whose survival could otherwise be at odds with strictures of faith.

The void was first revealed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc on the East Coast in the fall of 2012 and led to food shortages for those most in need.

A Jewish philanthropic organization in New York alerted lawmakers to the rising numbers of people coming to its food banks and often finding shelves devoid of kosher offerings. That led to legislation aimed at boosting emergency supplies for food prepared in accordance with Jewish and Muslim dietary rules, and, after some unsuccessful attempts at passage, the measure was tucked into the sweeping federal farm bill signed into law in February.

Federal agriculture officials now must implement the novel law, which requires them to buy food prepared in accordance with the faiths’ dietary rules but isn’t more expensive than regularly produced food. Then, it must be tracked through the distribution chain and properly labeled to ensure it gets to food bank operators and meets the needs of their clients.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s challenges include gauging the demand and finding vendors that can supply the appropriate amount of food to keep it cost-neutral.

Demand for kosher food is high in the New York metropolitan area, and both the New York and Detroit areas are major centers of halal consumption.

The USDA currently buys some kosher and halal foods but not in an organized, regulated fashion. It’s hard to know how soon the full effort can launch or how successful it will be, but a test run that predates the Farm Bill’s passage is underway.

Jewish scholar lectures on ‘How Islam Saved the Jews,’ at UAB

April 22, 2014

 

David J. Wasserstein, a professor of Jewish History at Vanderbilt University, will lecture on “How Islam Saved the Jews” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

The free, public lecture will take place at UAB’s Volker Hall, Lecture Room A, 1670 University Blvd. The event is co-sponsored by the UAB Department of History and the Birmingham Islamic Society.

“It’s a chance for Jews and Muslims who are now often at odds politically to reflect on our glorious historical past and for a moment forget about our political differences, and work on future peace,” said Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society.

Wasserstein will discuss how the spread of Islam after Muslims conquered Mecca in 630 A.D. led to a thriving Muslim culture that also allowed a thriving Jewish subculture, until about 1300 A.D.

“Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond,” Wasserstein wrote in The Jewish Chronicle. “Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.”

If not for the Muslim conquests, Jewish culture might have died out, Wasserstein believes.

Alabama.com: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2014/04/jewish_scholar_lectures_on_how.html

Shootings at Kansas Jewish Community Centers: a case of domestic terrorism

April 14, 2014

 

As the news of the tragic shooting in the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, broke across the nation, here are a few thoughts and prayers that I wanted to share:

1)  Silence, Grief, and prayers.

– See more at: http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/2014/04/14/shootings-kansas-jewish-community-centers-case-domestic-terrorism/#sthash.1nrPtbBA.dpuf As the news of the tragic shooting in the Jewish Community Center in Kansas City and Village Shalom, a Jewish retirement community, broke across the nation, here are a few thoughts and prayers that I wanted to share:

1)  Silence, Grief, and prayers.

2)  This is about all of us.

3)  The shooter is not “mad”, “crazy”, “deranged”.  This is a case of Domestic Terrorism.

Let us resist every attempt to soften the savagery of this attack by calling it the work of a single, isolated, lone madman.    Yes, there are facts that still need to be collected, but there is a trail of evidence that’s hard to ignore.

This is not the work of one solitary crazed man. The SPLC has tracked 939 extremist KKK, white-supremacist, and other hate-groups. We have a lot of work to do.

RNS.com:  http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/2014/04/14/shootings-kansas-jewish-community-centers-case-domestic-terrorism/#sthash.1nrPtbBA.dpuf

Halal, shechita and the politics of animal slaughter

March 6, 2014

 

The practice of slaughtering animals by slitting their throats (The traditional practice in Judaism and Islam) and draining the blood in line with religious custom should be adapted to prevent suffering, the leader of Britain’s vets has said. John Blackwell, head of the British Veterinary Association, said animals should be “stunned” before slaughter.

Mr Blackwell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that animals should be “stunned at the time of death”, which would render them “insensible to pain until death supervenes”.

“It’s important at the time of death for the animals’ welfare not to be compromised,” he said, while adding that he “respected the beliefs of religious sects”.

He said that sheep could remain conscious for up to seven seconds after having their throat cut, while for cattle it was two minutes and said there was “good evidence” that showed that animals could perceive pain at the point of having their throats slit, but he conceded that this research was not conclusive.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also disagreed with the views of Mr Blackwell .stating that stopping this type of slaughter would “remove the right of Jewish communities in this country, Muslim communities in this country, to stick to their religious beliefs about how they prepare food and how animals are slaughtered”.

UK legislation allows halal (Muslim) or shechita (Jewish) “non-stun” slaughter as long as it does not cause “unnecessary suffering”. Ritual slaughter is lawful in the UK and the EU to satisfy the dietary requirements of Jews and Muslims.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is a voice for the UK veterinary profession and has over 14,000 members.

Mr Arkush, who is the vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said the Jewish slaughtering practice was a “humane act designed to bring about the animals’ end very quickly” and that Mr Blackwell’s comments were “misleading”.

 

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26463064

The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/06/halal-shechita-politics-animal-slaughter