Lee Rigby’s sacrifice should be commemorated with a public memorial

12th May 2014

We were disappointed to read about the apparent decision to refuse a request for a public memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby, and hope this can be reconsidered. Lee Rigby’s murder shocked our country. In its wake, we saw Britons from every faith and none come together, both locally and nationally, to mourn his death, to commemorate his service, and to reject the hatred of his killers.

Extreme groups such as the BNP and EDL did try to exploit the tragedy, but found very little public support, being widely seen as part of the problem too. The Rigby family, in their grief, were consistently strong voices in challenging the tiny, unrepresentative minority who sought to use his name to stir up hatred.

If the family’s desire is to have a memorial, neither they, nor the British public as a whole, should be denied the chance to commemorate Lee Rigby’s service and sacrifice in a proper way.

 

Signed,

 

Sughra Ahmed

President, Islamic Society of Britain

 

Mohammed Amin

Deputy Chairman, Conservative Muslim Forum

 

Sunny Hundal

Journalist

 

Dilwar Hussein

New Horizons in British Islam

 

Sunder Katwala

British Future

 

Nick Lowles

Hope Not Hate

 

Imam Ajmal Masoor

 

Stephen Pollard

Editor, Jewish Chronicle

 

Stephen Shashoua

Director, Three Faiths Forum

 

Julie Siddiqi

The Big Iftar

Queens street renamed for Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a Muslim police cadet who died helping victims at the World Trade Center on 9/11

Hamdani, born to Muslim parents from Pakistan, was initially the subject of leaks suggesting that he was a possible suspect in the attacks

A police cadet who died helping World Trade Center victims on 9/11 was honored Monday at a Queens street renaming — 13 years after being accused of involvement in the attacks.

Residents and elected officials came together to formally rename 204th St. at 35th Ave. “Salman Hamdani Way” after Mohammed Salman Hamdani, the son of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan who lived a block from the Bayside street.

“It’s a joyous and victorious day,” said Talat Hamdani, the mother of the police cadet, who died at the age of 23. “And it’s a turning point in America’s fight against prejudice and bigotry. It symbolizes that OK, American Muslims are also Americans, and we are an integral part of society.”

Hamdani’s name was initially tarred by leaks to the press from anonymous police sources suggesting he was suspected of ties to terrorists, but was eventually given a funeral with full police honors in April 2002, a month after his remains were found in the wreckage at Ground Zero.

Residents and merchants cheered the new street sign on 204th Street at 35th Avenue, one block from the house where the former Bayside High School football player grew up.

“It’s a great idea,” said Gidon Pesso, owner of Pesso’s Italian Ices across the street. “He should definitely be recognized.”

At Muslim LGBTQ retreat, attendees try to reconcile their faith and sexuality

There was speed dating, a talent show and a baby naming.

But there was also a locked Facebook page. And a strict rule: Attendees should not disclose the retreat’s exact location.

That’s because the 85 people who gathered in the Pennsylvania woods over Memorial Day weekend had come from 19 states and three countries for a somewhat surprising event: a three-day LGBTQ Muslim and Partners Retreat.

Some wore T-shirts that read, “Muslim + Gay = Fabulous.” They prayed. They attended workshops about pioneering progressive Muslims. Ever heard of Isabelle Eberhardt, a.k.a. Mahmoud Saadi, a convert to Islam who challenged gender norms at the turn of the 20th century?

And they held discussions on struggling to reconcile their faith with their sexuality, and their sexuality with their faith. (Many folks said that they face Islamophobia from inside the mainstream LGBTQ community.)

 

French Imams assemble at Holocaust Memorial

04.02.2012

Le Figaro

For the first time in France around 50 imams from all over the country have come together with members of Islamic associations , representatives of other religions as well as the French Secretary of State to assemble at the Shoah Memorial in Drancy.

The assembly was organized by Hassen Chalghoumi who is the founder of the Conference of French Imams (Conférence des imams de France), which remains unrecognized by the French Council of the Muslim Faith. Chalghoumi came to be known for opposing the full veil and practicing an Islam compatible with secularism. He has received fierce opposition from groups associated with the salafi mileu and has been provided police protection after being threatened with death. Chalghoumi’s involvement in the initiative has further brought up questions of legitimacy and representativity of the meeting. A point in question is also Chalghoumi’s attempt to render Drancy a fort against fundamentalism and racism.

Calgary Board of Education considers Arabic in public schools

Metro Calgary – May 12, 2011

The Calgary Alberta Board of Education is now considering Arabic language studies in city schools. With a growing Arabic-speaking population, a group of parents banded together to petition the CBE for this change and with enough demand the board could move forward.

Like all of CBE’s bilingual programs, 30 per cent to 50 per cent of classes would be taught in Arabic, with the rest being taught in English. A cultural component would also be included. The parents are expected to present their case May 19 at Central Memorial High School. The CBE is expected to make a decision thereafter. Arabic would join four other languages offered by the CBE, including French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.

British Muslims commemorate Srebrenica genocide

The British Muslims commemorated the Srebrenica genocide by paying homage to more than 8,000 Bosnia Muslims men and boys massacred by Serb forces despite being in a UN-protected safe area in July 1995 during the civil war in former Yugoslavia. The Muslim Council of Britain in a message on the occasion said, “The massacres of defenceless Muslims in Bosnia and Srebrenica will continue to bleed the hearts of Muslims in Europe and beyond. It is vital that we bring about awareness of the genocide, especially on the back of recent wave of Islamophobia and attacks on Muslims, their properties and places of worship across Europe.” The MCB Secretary-General Dr.Muhammad Abdul Bari added: “This new phenomenon is symbolised in Britain recently by the bombing of mosques and other Muslim buildings, and across Europe, by the shocking and brutal murder of a Muslim woman in Germany killed because she chose to wear a headscarf.” The MCB also distributed a Khutba prepared by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Rais-ul-Ulama Dr. Mustafa Cerilć about the Genocide, which was read during the Friday prayers across mosques in the United Kingdom.

CCFM Coordinates Memorial for Air France 447 Victims at the Paris Mosque

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CCFM) organized a memorial for the victims of the Air France 447 crash at the Mosque of Paris. Muslims also participated in an ecumenical vigil with Nicolas Sarkozy at the Notre-Dame de Paris.

Muslims need to take part: Palestinian dispossession is a reason to participate in Holocaust Memorial Day, not boycott it

The freedom for Muslims to express their identity in Europe is today under attack. Implicit in this attack is the view that Islam is intrinsically repressive, and embodies values alien to western values of liberty, tolerance and democracy. The memory of the Holocaust stands against such a grossly sanitised view of European history. It reminds us that in the heart of modern Europe the demonisation of a religious and cultural minority culminated in genocide – the mass, industrialised slaughter of European Jews. Why then, with European Muslims subject to attacks reminiscent of the gathering storms of anti-semitism in the first decades of the last century, has Holocaust Memorial Day become such a difficult issue for some British Muslims? One objection has been outlined by Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. “There have been many further instances of genocide and mass killings since we vowed ‘never again’ in response to the Nazi crimes,” he has pointed out. “Do the innocent killed in those horrific episodes not equally deserve to be commemorated in a more inclusive and aptly titled Genocide Memorial Day?” However, for many Muslims, arguments about the specificity of the Holocaust are not the main reason they are uneasy about participation in memorial events. The main reason is Palestine. The way in which Zionists have abused the memory of the Holocaust to bolster support for today’s Israeli state and its racist and murderous policies towards the Palestinians repels many Muslims, as well as some anti-Zionist Jews, from participating. In fact, Palestine should not be a reason for boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day, but a reason for participating. As the peace campaigner Uri Avnery, who organised a demonstration against the killing of Palestinian children on last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day in Tel Aviv, put it: one of the lessons of the Holocaust is that you must not accept an ideology telling you “that other people are inferior and subhuman” or that loyalty to your country justifies “the occupation of another country and oppression of another people”.

Kelly Challenges Muslim Groups

Ruth Kelly yesterday challenged Muslim groups who have boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day, in a speech warning Islamic organisations that sitting on the sidelines in the struggle against extremism was “not good enough”. The communities secretary announced that funding for groups would depend on their willingness to take a lead on the issue, and defended the government’s record, insisting: “Britain is a good place to be a Muslim.”