Dilwar Hussain, Muslim leader of the Islamic Society of Britain based in Leicestershire, calls on Islam to further develop to become an “integral part of British life”, the BBC reports. Hussain encourages Muslim communities to think about their place in the British nation and to “adapt Islamic practice to feel more British and European”. To support his call, Hussain reminds of the Middle Eastern origins of Christianity and how it has been successfully incorporated into European societies. He also expressed his concern about extremism and called for cooperation to tackle any extreme voices.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — U.S. diplomats have expressed concern that an Islamic cleric convicted of whipping up racial hatred among Muslim converts in Britain might do the same thing in his homeland of Jamaica, according to a leaked cable from the island’s U.S. Embassy.
The dispatch, dated February 2010, warns that that Jamaica could be fertile ground for jihadists because of its underground drug economy, marginalized youth, insufficient security and gang networks in U.S. and British prisons, along with thousands of American tourists.
U.S. diplomats and law enforcement officials have expressed concern in the past that Middle Eastern terror groups might forge alliances with drug traffickers or take advantage of general lawlessness in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The cable is one of the quarter million confidential American diplomatic dispatches first obtained by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and separately obtained by The Associated Press.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/23/11) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to conduct an agency-wide investigation of the use of outside trainers who offer hostile, stereotypical and grossly inaccurate information about Muslims and Islam to the nation’s security personnel.
That request by the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) came after revelations that ethnic stereotypes were used as part of a controversial security drill at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. During the drill, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel used a person “who appeared to be Middle Eastern in descent or Indian/Pakistani” to test screening procedures.
Over the weekend, it was also revealed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paid a notorious Islamophobe $5,000 for a recent appearance at a conference sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The speaker, Walid Shoebat, claims “Islam is the devil” and that President Obama is a Muslim. Shoebat once told a Missouri newspaper that he sees “many parallels between the Antichrist and Islam” and “Islam is not the religion of God — Islam is the devil.” (Springfield News-Leader, 9/24/07) CAIR asked DPS to drop its endorsement of the conference.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The man accused of fatally shooting a soldier outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock in 2009 now says he wanted to start a terrorist cell in the U.S., but a prosecutor brushed off the claims Saturday as “just ridiculous.”
In his latest letter to the court, Abdulhakim Muhammad told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright that he wanted to return to the U.S. from Yemen to start his own terror group. Muhammad was deported from Yemen in early 2009, after being in prison in the Middle Eastern country for immigration violations.
Muhammad was born in Memphis, Tenn., as Carlos Bledsoe, but changed his name after converting to Islam.
He is charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder in the June 2009 shootings that killed Army Pvt. William Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. The letter, first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, focuses on Muhammad’s argument that his case should be tried in federal court.
Muhammad has told the AP in telephone interviews from jail that the shooting was revenge for American killings of Muslims and that he does not believe he is guilty.
The Texas State Board of Education adopted a resolution Friday that seeks to curtail references to Islam in Texas textbooks, as social-conservative board members warned of what they describe as a creeping Middle Eastern influence in the nation’s publishing industry.
The board approved the one-page nonbinding resolution, which urges textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books, by a 7-5 vote.
Critics say it’s another example of the ideologically focused board trying to politicize public education in the Lone Star State. Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates for religious freedom, questioned why the resolution came at a time when “anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has reached fever pitch.”
Archaeological evidence shows there was contact between Muslims and the British Isles from the 8th century. Beginning with these historical roots, Sophie Gilliat-Ray traces the major points of encounter between Muslims and the British in subsequent centuries, and explores Muslim migration to Britain in recent times. Drawing upon sociology, anthropology, politics, and geography, this comprehensive survey provides an informed understanding of the daily lives of British Muslims. It portrays the dynamic of institutions such as families, mosques and religious leadership, and analyses their social and political significance in today’s Britain. Through the study of the historical origins of major Islamic reform movements, it draws attention to the religious diversity within different Muslim communities, and sheds fresh light on contemporary issues such as the nature of religious authority and representation. It also considers British Muslim civic engagement and cultural life, particularly the work of journalists, artists, sports personalities, and business entrepreneurs.
Acknowledgements; Preface; Part I. Historical and Religious Roots: 1. The roots of Islam in Britain; 2. The development of Muslim communities; 3. Middle Eastern religious reform movements; 4. South Asian religious reform movements; Part II. Contemporary Dynamics: 5. Profiling British Muslim communities; 6. Religious nurture and education; 7. Religious leadership; 8. Mosques; 9. Gender, religious identity and youth; 10. Engagement and enterprise; Epilogue; Appendix: Source notes for researchers; List of references; Glossary; Index.
The spot begins with a dark-haired woman stepping out of the shower. With vaguely Middle Eastern music playing, she applies mascara, steps into high heels, slips on black lingerie and garters and spins in front of the mirror, clearly admiring her body and the lingerie she’s wearing. Up to this point, it’s typical lingerie commercial fare, but then the ad leaps from the mundane to the surprising: the woman quickly flips a niqab over her head. With only her mascara-ed eyes visible, she gazes out of a window. Then the tag line appears: “sexiness is for everyone.”
Of course, this ad is not meeting with approval from every corner. Islamineurope.com discusses a Norwegian television interview with religion historian Hanne Nabintu Herland, who criticized the commercial because it “links the Arab dress with sexuality, and not to morals and virtue.” Well, Liaisons Dangereuse is in the business of making money by selling naughty undergarments, so it’s unlikely their marketing plan called for promoting “morals and virtue.” Herland says the ad unnecessarily “trample[s] the cultural dress of Muslims”.
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Before Abdulmutallab’s attempted attack, the Obama Administration had increased military aid to $70 million in Yemen to thwart growing al-Qaida terrorism operations: al-Qaida units that were dismantled after 9/11 have returned, along with new fighters from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia. Prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay are also involved.
But Yemen’s problems will require a broader approach that encompasses its political, social, and economic issues if the US is to contend with al-Qaida. Its government, repressive and failing, is reluctant to go after al-Qaida. A separatist movement is taking shape in the south, and an armed insurgency poses a threat from the north. Its unemployment rate is 40 percent, and it is running out of water and its economic mainstay, oil. Its central location and ethnic hospitability add to its attractiveness for al-Qaida: Middle Eastern operatives can move in and blend in easier there than South Asia or Africa.
The Obama Administration is working with the World Bank, Saudi Arabia, and Europe on a plan for Yemen and will meet to develop a framework in six weeks. Stabilizing Yemen is key in destabilizing al-Qaida. But a senior Yemeni official points out seeing any counterterrorism efforts materialize into results will take months, if not years.
The Alavi Foundation, recently accused of illegally providing funding and services to Iran, supported Middle Eastern culture and language programs at Harvard to promote Islamic education. Harvard Spokesman Kevin Galvin said that officials of the university were unaware of Alavi’s ties.
Middle East studies Professor Roger Owen received grants from Alavi for his work at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.
The organization has also donated hundreds of thousands to Rutgers University and Columbia University to fund Persian language and culture programs. It also owns the Razi School, a private Islamic grade school in Queens.
They continue to deny charges of funding Iran and are fighting government efforts to seize their properties, which include mosques around the country.
With the widespread rumor that it contains alcohol, Coca-Cola has sought halal certification. This Le Figaro article reports that after some hesitations, Coca-Cola France sought the assistance of the certification organization of the mosque of Paris, whose spokesperson announced that “Coca Cola is without alcohol and therefore halal.” Still, concern among French Muslims with the company’s Middle Eastern politics prevails. The Union of Muslim Associations of Seine-Saint-Denis, for instance, announced that families avoid the product for precautionary measures.